The Roar Sessions: Madhuri Pavamani

12096219_10153032679652554_5239486416339484535_nThe Roaring Forties
by Madhuri Pavamani

I am horrible
at admitting
personal faults

I am a perfectionist
and have been
for as long as I can recall

It’s exhausting
and lonely
and yet I slog along
in my made up

But today
today I’m going to shake shit up
and throw myself
for a loop
and admit something
quite difficult to embrace

12088414_10153032689627554_5055003318919196266_nIt took me damn near forty years to find my roar

I come from
a line of badasses
women who roared
more often
with more urgency
their entire lives

Women who didn’t
take no for an answer
who claimed their place
stood their ground
and prospered

My mom
lifted me with her words
“you can do anything”
and her belief
I could do anything

My aunts
inspired me
with their acts
their can-do
their oh hell yes

12112268_10153032689632554_7389041269564330889_nMy grandmother
badass to end all badasses
awed me
with her mere existence
her choices
her belief in self
her gangsta

My alma mater
Barnard College
that bastion
of women’s education
that brilliant
patch of green
in Morningside Heights
nurturing young women
teaching us the finer points of badassery
providing us the tools
necessary to survive
this cruel world
then releasing us
with the admonition
to kick ass
and take names

12106862_10153032689637554_8482521332335081235_nMy friends
amazing women
who will fuck you up
at the drop of a hat
then piece you back together
with a caress
and a kiss

My husband
a man’s man
total alpha
and believer
that I can do it all
and do it better
than anyone

12108261_10153032689642554_5096299934423566471_nMy kid
that gorgeous
bundle of brown
with laughter in his voice
and sunshine in his smile
and a soul
older than mine could ever dream
who thinks
I hang the stars

All of this support
and belief
in me and myself

And still
as I struggled
under the weight
of bruised hopes
uncertain realities
deferred dreams


what mattered
and how to
find it
achieve it
make it mine

April 25th
that year
when it happened
that thing my teenage self never believed
my twenties self scoffed at
my thirties self laughed at
and said bring it

I turned forty

We live
in a society
obsessed with youth
where women
are told
from the time
we’re children
“oh god,
eventually you’ll be 40”
as if it’s a sin
a death knell
the end

Let me tell you something
those motherfuckers lied

Forty is the shit

It’s when
everything clicks
your meaning
as a woman
becomes clear
your mind
sheds the bullshit
clears the dust
and sings a new song
full of hope

It’s when
being smart
means weeding
out the nonsense
ridding oneself
of the negative
the soul

It’s when
being skinny
no longer matters
and suddenly
the woman
staring back in the mirror
with her curvier hips
fuller thighs
bigger ass
is goddamned hot

It’s when
is understood
to be a hopeless ideal
something to box
one within its
suffocating confines
a concept
impossible to achieve
and yet
for so many years
the goal

It’s when
I allowed myself
to love freely
have fun
not pay attention
to what society
deems normal
but to do
what feels right
and good
for my body
and my soul
and fuuuuuuuuck yeah
it feels good

It’s when
I remembered
what mattered most
– my imagination
and my words –
I grew some balls
and decided
I was not going to die
the girl
with all the notebooks

It’s when
I let my inner voice soar
that internal rhythm
playing in my head
pounding out a steady beat
guiding my ifs
or buts
my whos
or whys

It’s when I
settled into myself
understood my power
and let her rip

It’s when I
stopped being scared
embraced my inner poet
and unleashed her
[and all of her nasty]
into the ether

It’s Dev and Wyatt
Ryker and Jools
it’s Darby and her lovers
Carter and his evil
Ava and her gangsta
Dutch and his pain
Juma and her light
It’s The Sanctum Trilogy
The Keeper Series
It’s blogging
It’s selling myself
because I believe
I am
that fucking good

It’s romance
it’s raunch
it’s writing all of it
when the need strikes
and knowing
my words matter


It’s finding them
and putting them
out there
for the world
to see


*dedicated to all the badass women out there, turning forty. You have no idea how good it’s about to be. Embrace it, love it, and keep on with your bad selves.

Read previous Roar Sessions posts.


11670_1049250048433618_2331636278988596548_nMadhuri is that Indian girl everyone thinks is Black, or Spanish, or Black and Spanish. She’s from down South, has lived in the New York City area for more than twenty years, and is proof that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.

She loves Old Scout bourbon, tattoos, french fries, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, her mom’s Indian food, all kinds of naughty, filthy things, Friday Night Lights, coffee, and Martha’s Vineyard. She can wiggle her ears, flare her nostrils, and curl her tongue.

She is an introvert who can fool people into thinking she’s an extrovert, all the while wishing she was home alone, not having to speak to a soul, lost in a fantastical world of her own creation.

As the great Charles Bukowski said, she writes because it comes bursting out of her. She cannot stop it, nor does she want to.

She’s the author of the paranormal romance trilogy, The Sanctum, and the upcoming erotic romance, The Keeper Series. In a past life, when she was much sweeter and kind of shy, she wrote and published the middle reader series, Ayesha’s Teenage Survival Files.

She does other things to pay the bills. (blog)

11 thoughts on “The Roar Sessions: Madhuri Pavamani

  1. Dana says:

    Love this so much! And as a newly minted member of the 40 contingency, I wholeheartedly agree. “your mind sheds the bullshit, clears the dust” and here’s to being the girl who doesn’t have all the notebooks but has the books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christina Mitchell says:

    Love. This. It’s beautiful and so are you.

    I feel the same way about my thirties. Everyone I know freaked out when they hit thirty and to me, my thirties are the best years of my life. I learned to set boundaries in my thirties. I learned to reach for emotional help when I need it (something I never did before). I learned what it means to love and be loved in return, and how profoundly painful and beautiful it is to hold someone when a loved one dies. I learned to shut the door on the dusty museum of memories of my painful past. Sometimes I still find a way to climb in the window, but I don’t stay long. My thirties have been a rebirth for me and I’m looking forward to forty. I know it’s going to get better from there.

    You made my day Madhuri!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mblaylock4 says:

      YOU made my day, Christina! with your beautiful words. thank you so much. Your thirties story is very similar to my forties story and like you said, it can only get better. There’s so much power in coming into yourself – even when bad shit happens, I feel like I handle it so much better these days. of course, I still have my moments of wallowing and self-pity and doubt, but they’re rare and easier to pull out of. Rock on, badass woman. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gailnhb says:

    Wow. So strong. So very strong. Love this piece so much. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Rock on, Madhuri. Write on.

    I echo Diane’s comment. It only gets better as you get older.
    I will turn 50 in December and the badassery only gets stronger.
    You care less and less what other people think.
    Your friends and family and children mean more to you.
    But you mean more to yourself.
    Being alive is a gift everyday, a gift that you take for granted earlier in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mblaylock4 says:

      “you mean more to yourself” – god, I love that, Gail. Thanks for reading my piece and sharing your insight. All you fabulous women are making me feel all kinds of good right now about me, my roar, and what’s around the bend. Rock on, fellow badass, rock on. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dhenryb says:

    Mahura–I love you wild, honest, pushing forward energy showing no stopping at all. You put so much into a woman’s development to finding your own strong voice—relating it to the voice of your mothers—family “badass” women. You know, you wake up the feminine wildness in me—the creative lust for experience and to hell with what others think….gender expansion, so important for a man….thank you dearly and best in all you do….



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