staying afloat

At the risk once again of sounding like a broken record as I succumbed to over-rumination, the mental image of a piece of driftwood out on the rough turbulent seas surfaced. Perhaps that is what describes the state I am in, physically and mentally. I really do admire people who put in the effort to live each day meaningfully and with some purpose because I think that is not something easy? I have chosen to be weak and whine about my predicaments, that my mental fog somehow prevents me to squeeze that ounce of effort from my self to do so because the dreams I have each night that oddly remain fresh in my mind when I awake in the hours of pre-dawn leave me bewildered and more weary than I was when I laid myself down to rest the night before.

I need to consider relocating my living quarters. I do not know how to handle the various sets of neighbours who create so much noise disturbances that even for the short few hours I am at home, I cannot enjoy a single moment of peace even when I try to drift off to slumber.

Change is internal, and it needs the person to want to change and make an active effort to change, starting first from the mindset before anything will see any results. I know. Many years ago, my sister-in-law told me that “change comes from within”. I had scoffed at that back then, my insolent and stubborn self who rolled my eyes and made a joke out of that with my friends. It was only after I had embraced Christ, and only after working for many more years in a role that sees me having to engage in sector development work, that I began to appreciate the veracity and value of that phrase.

Maybe it isn’t me that will effect the change, rather it is God who will bless me with what is needed to change, that I would be able to because I believe He will cause all things to happen for my good, for I have been made righteous in Christ. Head knowledge is something I have a bit of, where biblical truths are concerned (I am not that conscientious when it comes to reading the Bible I will admit that as much) but trusting and believing in what those verses say is an altogether different concept because it requires alignment of the thoughts, words and actions. How often have I confessed myself to be a blessed child of God, only to grouse to every living thing around that I am stuck in a rut I cannot get out of, then praying to God to remove me from the valleys that I am in?

That said, I came across this the other day, which made me think of what others have always talked about on self-love. What exactly is self-love and how does one demonstrate that or ‘get better at it’?

Also, is it that I am just not being resilient enough or too idealistic, and not veering on the edge of burning out as I sometimes feel, that I am just so unhappy at my workplace. Many have told me to be thankful for what I have, and perhaps then that would take my mind off the negative aspects of the role, that according to them, are just part and parcel of working that we all have to learn to accept, that if I were to stop expending so much of my brain cells on such thoughts, then maybe this “isn’t such a bad place after all”? Is it really?

This is just another set of useless thoughts that nobody needs to read about. But I don’t know where else to put them down otherwise, so this will have to do for now.

happiness can be simple

It may seem like the most complex concept yet simultaneously the way to it can be amazingly simple.

I understand that it is a state of mind that we have the ability to influence and change but far too often, we are given to a multitude of external factors that impair our perception of this and make us feel so worn and tired that it is far easier to succumb and submit ourselves to the defeat.

Happiness, joy or perhaps contentment – it is never a constant unwavering state, because even the Bible says that we will have trials and trouble. That is why we need our saviour. But it is also easy to speak thus while practising it is another totally different ballgame.

I cannot fathom and comprehend the unkindness that some people are capable of. The frequent alternating of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde treatments just leave me completely exhausted and taken by surprise. I cannot anticipate such situations and have zero defence against these that leave me bewildered, befuddled and fundamentally, hurt. Maybe it is part of my schema that I am wont to return to such unhealthy relationships/friendships, even though I know these people are just not good for me and they are not worth my time and effort. Yet time and again, I have let myself slide back into the comfort of their friendship when they are in a good mood or when I am in their good books. Then when they decide to cut me off one fine morning, I have to suck it up and deal with it.

I wrote this to myself and I hope it is something I can always remind myself of, like a permanent sticky to adhere to myself in my mind/chest/forehead:

“Dear self,

Do not let someone repeatedly make you feel like a worthless piece of shit. You are more than enough.

Once is enough so please, I beseech you, please learn. Do not keep committing the same mistakes and allowing these people to treat you so badly as they wish and fancy. You are not responsible for their mood swings and if they do not see and appreciate the value of your friendship, so be it. Do not grovel at their feet. Learn, please! They are just not worth it.

Ironically, it isn’t what people whom we frequently complain about (at the workplace) who make it hard for us to carry on. It is the people who we were supposed to be closer with, the ones we spend more hours and days commiserating about our woes and complains over lunch, who drive us to leave eventually because of the emotional abuse they subject us to, because of the callousness with how they treat us, because of the disregard they show when they take my heart of friendship and trample on it like it is dirt.

Love, Me”

detachment

I have always struggled with investing too much of myself emotionally to people and perhaps even things.

The latter is a problem only to the extent that it has made decluttering difficult because throwing things away is made tougher, exacerbated by the other issue of a tendency to be lazy in efforts to re-home these items that I no longer need/use.

Attachment to people is a way bigger hurdle that I need to constantly remind myself to learn my lessons, and let go of putting myself too much into interpersonal relationships. It is actually fine and nothing wrong in being authentic and giving my all in friendships (beyond acquaintances or colleagues), but I need to learn about managing expectations or not becoming overly-expectant of what “should” the connection be like.

Frequently, a point-in-time closeness has sometimes made me forget the pain and heartache experienced in past experiences where I have let myself go too deep into expecting how the relationship should be, and ended up burnt and getting myself hurt. Sure, it really is a case of me asking for it, but how is this balancing act going to be maneuvered in a way that I don’t hold back in authenticity, while being able to accept that things aren’t going to be how I wish for them to be all the time? I cannot expect that the other party, whose actions and thoughts I have zero control over and not absolute awareness of, would always behave in a way that I would have in the same situation. Different people hold different values and they may not always be considerate of the other person, or they could be dealing with some shit that has resulted in them behaving in a capricious manner that inadvertently and unconsciously hurt someone else, i.e. me.

It will always be a work in progress that I have to keep posting these mental ‘post-it’ notes to myself. It is tiring indeed, but I believe that in the longer run, being able to manage this well would contribute greatly to my overall mental health and well-being.

rain rain and more rain

The rain finally stopped after what became an almost never-ending weekend of rain. The weather was gloomy right from Friday afternoon and when the first drops of rain spilled, there was hardly any respite.

Through the sploshing through puddles while trying to make my way from office to yoga class on Friday evening as dry as practically possible, maneuvering a complex network of underpasses and sheltered walkways, to braving the relentless drizzle that fell in light and heavy spurts for a family dinner to celebrate Dad’s birthday on Friday the 13th no less, the drastic dip in temperatures definitely signalled the year-end. As much as I am not fond of getting my footwear wet from traipsing about in wet weather, or even having my clothes feel damp and clammy from the specks of rainwater that inevitably fall onto me, I really enjoy how this whole thing makes the whole Christmas season seem more real.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the rain pressed on in the early hours of the morning when I roused from bed, blinking my eyes open to a cloudy grey sky and shivering under the thin duvet cover (without the quilt inside) that I usually used as a blanket. Hot yoga in such weather felt like an awesome idea to get myself warmed up, and it felt good to just sweat for a couple of hours before once more stepping out to the cold atmosphere.

I read something online about how when we feel a lack of connection to the people at work, whether we just do not connect on a personal level or feel that maybe there is too much toxicity that we don’t really want to be a part of, the article recommended building up on relationships outside of the office. In such situations, we are not going to remain in touch with the people in office the moment/day we leave, so while we are in the midst of trying to leave, it is much better to be able to focus on work while looking forward to forging deeper ties with our friends outside. It is true I suppose, that this could be a way to take my mind off the disappointment or sadness I feel at being left out of cliques or with co-workers who fail to or are simply unable or unwilling to demonstrate the same kind of empathy I display to them. But friendship is never about equal reciprocity, in or out of the workplace. Yet this unequally yoked relationship automatically subjects one party to an automatic disadvantage when this person attaches too much weight or invests too much emotionally into the connection which the other party probably doesn’t at all.

It seems trying on too many fronts at work. Short of being able to finally discover and identify what it is that I want to do that can be a professional pursuit, the simple thought of continuing at this current place for an indefinite length of time certainly makes for a depressing one right at the start of the week, as we count down to the last 15 days of 2019.

do we need to have a purpose?

Something that I used to ponder, from way back, right up till now.

I don’t know if our lives are meant to be purposeful and if it they, what does that even mean.

Do we find purpose in each and every second of our lives, in the relationships that we nurture and keep, in the jobs that we hold, the activities that we engage in, the thoughts that we think, the values that we hold steadfast to, or… what else is there?

To be frank, I do not know if I have ever tried to look for a purpose or search for my heart’s desire in the jobs that I have had over the last… 10-over years. I always questioned if I enjoyed my work enough to want to stay whenever I felt the urge to send in the resignation letter – most of the times, the answer was “No”, which explained the urge in the first place. Maybe I hadn’t thought hard enough, because on hindsight, when we have perfect 6/6 vision, there were some jobs that I guessed I needn’t have left and maybe, just maybe, I might still be sort of contentedly be employed there.

But… after so many years, after so many thoughts and countless gazillions of brain cells fried from thinking so hard, I have come to a sort of conclusion, a sort of truce, and in the midst of it all, to challenge myself to convince me, that a purpose does not need to be in a job, even if I spend the majority of my time, the best years of my life perhaps, the best hours of the day, in it.

I need to tell myself and believe in what I am telling myself, that a job is well, just a job. I may not love it, and I may not find much purpose in it, but it is something that I trade my time for, in exchange for monetary rewards and some kind of other non-monetary rewards – that I can then use for other things, e.g. necessities and wants.

There’s always a caveat though. As much as I do not need to love it, I must not hate it. It must not drain the living daylights and sanity out of me that it affects my well-being beyond its hours and confines, so that I can still live a wholehearted, meaningful life outside of it.

That said, I am still searching for that elusive purpose. I know now, finally perhaps, or maybe I will fathom more as the years go by, that purpose doesn’t have to be there every living, breathing moment, in every thing and every action. There are things we engage in that hold absolutely zero meaning, just because.

I don’t know if all this makes sense, or if as usual I am just rambling. Maybe I am just too tired and my brain isn’t functioning too well. But hopefully, I can find peace now.

I wonder…

On good days and in good moments, I would constantly remind myself to practise gratitude, to give thanks for the little blessings that God bestows on me. For the most insignificant small wins that I count towards making a day better, to help bring a little twinkle to my eye and a light, wistful smile to help make the day a tad brighter, even if the dark clouds have eclipsed the sun entirely in an ominous foreboding thunderstorm.

It is always on the days that are not so good, when the tiniest setback could trigger a whole chain of negative emotions that seem to interlock with one another to grip you and your sanity in an iron-clasp hold, dragging you into the deepest depth of the ocean floor, anchoring you there with the heaviest anvil that makes you powerless in struggling to break up through the surface of the water for a life-saving gasp of air.

 

Today, I met with a friend whom I have not seen for a while. As we chatted, I was glad to see that she seemed truly happier, and I hope that is indeed what the reality is, as compared to the last time when we met and I felt a tinge of sadness for the bitterness that dripped from her words which I thought ensnared her. Maybe she has truly learned to let whatever it was eating at her go.

I didn’t face similar demons that she did back then at work, but I had my own to deal with, which to this date, I am still fighting to get to know, accept, and let go. Healing takes time, and I don’t know how long it will take.

 

Social media has its good and bad points. There are times when I would browse through my social media feeds and feel extremely worn and lousy, filled with envy and jealousy, even bitterness and resentment, when I see beautifully-curated snapshots of other people’s lives, even if I know that is just what it is, curated fragments.

Yet social media also has its merits. Through it, I have come to know of more varied lives beyond my own. I have come to know that perhaps the life that I have may be one that someone else dreams to have, even if there are so many instances when I have felt only abhorrence for myself and my existence on this earth. There are people who are literally living from day to day, giving thanks for each morning when they wake up because it is one more day claimed from whatever terminal illness they are fighting.

Each of us face a different set of struggles. That’s why our lives are all unique.

I don’t know what lies ahead, but I can only take it a step at a time, a day at a time, and if this is not it, then I will move on and not let it define me, not let it defeat me, not let it cause the crash that almost led me to commit the greatest sin of all.

2017

Happy 2017. Although it’s already the third week of the new year.

Philippians 3:13-14 says:

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

In this brand new year, I should learn to look forward and not into the past; that whatever has passed is past and put them behind me. It is ok to reminisce but to live in past memories only serve to make us get stuck in a time warp, unable to progress forward.

Well, I don’t know if there is anything that I am hanging on or holding on to in the past that is rendering me unable to look forward or move forward, but I know that action is important. We can have the best-laid plans but if no action is taken then there will never be any breakthrough. I hope that this can be the year of change for me, in all aspects of the word, that I can persevere in making the kind of changes that I want to see in my life.

Being financially-bound by commitments, the biggest of which is the housing loan that I should stop harbouring resentment towards but be filled with gratitude and gladness that I now have a roof over my head and place to sort of call “my own”, add on the various other necessary payments such as taxes and insurance premiums the latter of which medical-related ones are on the uptrend, I may be constrained with pushing forward with my initial plans to action.

That said, I still want to believe that this is going to be the year of change. Changes can come in small steps, but I need to take one step forward to make things happen.