ups and downs

I gingerly but boldly stepped into 2020, as I recalled how on the very first day of the new year of the new decade, I told myself I wanted to be rid of certain thought patterns and behaviours, and proceeded to order brunch that included creamy scrambled eggs and smashed avocado on toast. Despite that it appeared in a rather disappointing fashion, I think taste-wise, it was still rather delicious. In the not so distant past, scrambled eggs, connoting cream and lots of eggs, maybe even sugar, were something I would have never allowed myself to eat. It was a sad sight, thinking back, even if I have yet to fully let go and not even coming anywhere close to that, of how I really scrape at the food that I eat. Thinly-spread peanut butter on a single slice of multigrain/wholemeal/whole wheat/whatever-grain bread, never any of those fancy (and yes pricey) bakery buns that contain anything remotely described as custard/cheese/cream… you get the drift.

Eating wise, it definitely is a long and arduous journey, not unlike that of a roller-coaster ride, which I have never been fond of and do not imagine that I ever will be. It is just like any other forms of recovery that involve the psychological state isn’t it?

Myself aside, the year in itself, almost 3 months and a quarter that has just sped past, we have witnessed so many occurrences in the world in such a short span of time it seemed like history has been compressed in this period. Curve balls have been thrown left, right and centre, impacting on practically every single part of our lives and every nook and cranny of the world.

The week that passed has also thrown me into a state of disarray and heightened anxiety and stress levels. I thought I had settled into a fairly comfortable routine, ever since mid-February when there were some adjustments in the work schedule due to the virus situation. But what transpired in the week definitely was not within expectation (yet again demonstrating how unpredictable and sudden things can happen and change) and once more everything was tossed up into the air like a pile of dried leaves being ruffled by a strong gust of wind.

It was extremely challenging and stressful trying to navigate the changes, and try to once again put some order into creating a routine for myself to draw comfort from and restore a bit of sanity that I so badly need. I need control, which explains the situation(s) that I have gotten into, and this is definitely not good where control is concerned.

It is easy for someone to tell me to let go, let God, because He is in control. I know that too, but head knowledge vs heart knowledge – we know which usually emerges triumphant. It shows that my heart is not fully immersed and in belief of His provision, and it is hard. It would take a massive amount of trust and faith to really commit one’s whole life into His hands. My mind is crowded with a million darting thoughts and progressively it is getting noisier; this week was exceptionally bad, which probably also explained why I had been quiet here, because I didn’t have the headspace to put into words what had been darting through and around my mind, even though journalling is meant to help. I just did not have the energy to sit down quietly and write.

It is a Saturday morning. I am allowing myself to breathe a little as I try to think about how to readjust my weekly schedule, both weekdays and weekends. We may not need to control our lives so much, but some form of routine is always helpful to keep us sane and grounded. Particularly in times when we really are being forced to live day-to-day and planning has almost become irrelevant.

Instagram has always been lauded as being toxic but it probably also takes conscious curation to maintain that hygiene over who we follow and what content we allow ourselves to feed on. I’ve spent hours mindlessly scrolling through it and I wouldn’t say it’s the best but sometimes we do find gems.

Timing.

That is what most people have offered up, mostly of course fellow believers in Christ, when I lament about the state that I seem to be stuck in.

It isn’t breaking news, in fact it is extremely stale, that I have almost always been looking out for a new job. Maybe not all the time like 100 percent, constantly kind of always, but somehow it appears like I do not seem to be able to break out of that cycle of, I don’t know, momentum? which gets to me after a couple of years into a job.

It explained why I had decided to seek professional advice in the form of a coach, although with life/career coaches, they work pretty much like therapists in psychology or psychiatry, where a lot depends on the individual, to face up honestly to what the other party tries to get you to acknowledge, despite that it often gets very, very uncomfortable. It isn’t just with psychologists and psychiatrists that we are made to confront our inner demons, even with life/career coaches, there is quite a fair amount of uncomfortable feelings that need to be dealt with in the sessions, as much as we always tell ourselves to go into it ‘with an open mind’.

So anyway, that aside, it has been frustrating when said person, yours truly, is frequently prospecting for that elusive job that would perhaps provide me with a greater sense of satisfaction or even just an inkling of not constantly considering the prospect of leaving. Maybe the crux of it lies with me not knowing exactly what I want or seek – do most of us do anyway? Ok, actually some people do know quite clearly what they want in a job, but for me, it’s just a giant mess inside my mind. Probably that is why my professional trajectory has been so ‘choppy’ or tumultuous.

Back to timing. I get unduly and unnecessarily annoyed when I share my thoughts and someone patronising tells me that ‘Oh, maybe everyone is waiting for their bonus’, which in retort I would tell them that I have gone through MANY rounds of bonus payments but somehow the job is still not forthcoming?

One of the things that I look for in most job searches is the feature of ‘travel’. It is something that is both a pro and con. There were times I enjoyed it in my past jobs but there were also times where that has resulted in me wanting to leave because of the circumstances of the travelling and as well the fatigue that it caused me to experience.

So I didn’t know if it is God’s will not for me to travel, because somehow things are not moving along, and with what happened recently on a global scale, is that His hand protecting me? I would wish to think of it that way, but then again, it wasn’t just travelling jobs that I applied for. Sigh.

Then there are those who would tell me ‘Your work/job (there) is not done yet’, so what is it that needs to be done? ‘Ask God.’ Duh.

Ok, this post is just getting very ranty and laced with disgruntled feelings.

Back to timing. Being the indecisive person that I am, I had been vacillating on booking vacations. It had in the past caused me to pay much higher prices for airfares and hotels, not in the spirit of spontaneity but more so due to inability to decide and resolutely make the plunge to book when prices are low and attractive. But this time, I guess it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the 2 places that I would have most likely booked my holidays to are under the areas where we are advised not to carry out non-essential travel to. Nobody knows how it would develop and if it would be, if and when I was there, the situation takes a turn for the worse and I would be served with a SHN when I return, or perhaps not be able to cancel my trip and get a refund if I had booked fares and accommodation that are saver rates.

So again, is this His timing at work?

Sometimes, there are people who would say that we do not need to fear and we can just go ahead because God’s favour and protection is on us. But thing is, there are also times when we are being led by the peace (or lack thereof) and wisdom from the Holy Spirit to not go ahead – because we don’t need to intentionally throw ourselves into harm’s way if the Holy Spirit is leading us away from it.

An unusual order and it felt artery-choking because of how much oilier it is than my usual crispy toast. But French toast with the rich eggy taste and a swop for PB instead of kaya… divine!

when no one knows…

What goes on in your head.

Of course nobody is going to know because even psychologists and psychiatrists can’t profess to know what someone is thinking about. Which is why psychology as a discipline is I believe, hugely exploratory and experimental.

Sometimes, it is easy for people to tell someone else to “not think too much”, or “be strong”, “have faith” and so on, but when they are not the ones going through the mental and emotional agony day in and out being in a situation, predicament or valley so to speak, it almost feels like the tone is so dismissive and patronising. It is debilitating to not have proper and restful sleep for years; it is recommended that adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep to be healthy and functioning well, but on most nights I only manage between 5 to 6 hours of broken sleep. The rare nights where I get to sleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow and all the way till an alarm goes off, it almost qualifies for a firecracker setting kind of celebration.

It would be too ungrateful however, to say that ‘talk is cheap’ because really, most of the times, they do mean well and are just trying to help in whatever way they can, and usually this is through such ‘words of advice’. But maybe the crux is not whether someone can truly empathise, but rather what is it that we seek when we share or overshare?

Am I seeking validation from someone to agree with a planned course of action and not refute that it is impulsive and unnecessary? Am I just seeking comfort, for someone to assuage my bruised emotional state even if I already know that no one can actually help unless they are going to hire me for a job, or provide me with an alternative residence that I can move into? Or am I really just sharing because I hope that somewhere along the way, someone, anyone whom I am sharing all these thoughts, compulsive habits, idiosyncrasies… with, will tell me what to do, and that it is perfectly understandable and legitimate and even reasonable for me to feel the way I do?

I have so many questions that I seek an answer to which no one can answer. Well, someone would say that “God has the answer”. He always has. And I don’t deny that or not believe that. It’s just that… I can’t get it. And I don’t get it, and do not want to wait for it. It is never said that life will be easy, God never promised that. Instead, the promise is that for everything, if we were to turn to Him and rely and depend FULLY on Him and not on our own minuscule efforts, then His plans for us will come through and to fruition. Problem is, can I hold on for that long? Can I still bear all the torment that is wreaking havoc internally and has also manifested externally?

God. Help me.