Let Go, Ego

If you insist on calling me out on things and telling me I must accept these “calling outs” because to do otherwise is to allow my “ego” to harm only myself; then, by the same logic you must accept it when I call YOU out.

You can sulk all you choose, but by your own logic, I am right.

So, who is more childish and egotistical:

  1. the person who sulks in the first place, or
  2. the person who feels being right is somehow an argument won?

Both, equally, of course.

 

Bus Stop Musings

Shapes and shadows danced in distorted cacophony making it difficult to focus.

Although bright lights of stores trimmed with Christmas decorations and twinkling street lamps would have painted a far more joyful scene beyond the glass, the water streaking down the pane cast a sobering edge from where She sat in darkness.  Deciphering exactly what lay beyond the bus was made more difficult by a grubby smear at her eye level – perhaps from a child who had occupied the seat earlier in the day – distorting her view.   She fancied a child may have knelt up on the seat, rested their face and hands against the window as they peered out, absorbing every detail of the outside world in gleeful anticipation of their arrival at a destination.

It would have been sunny then.  The weather had turned very rapidly this evening.

Eventually, the shifting colours and shards of light began to take shape and materialise as human forms.    Young women in heels, arms laden with shopping bags, handbags, gym bags, laptops, umbrellas and more. Men striding confidently along, raising arms and umbrellas sporadically to avoid colliding with those who, finding themselves without umbrellas at an inopportune moment, were running blindly for any type of awning, regardless of size.

A trembling hand appeared in the forefront of the bustling scene, and She observed an ageing woman seated at the bus stop just outside Her window.  The woman was replacing a cap on a small bottle, but her hands rattled so violently she could barely bring cap and vessel together.  In one hand was an electronic cigarette. The device resembled more an elaborate pen than a modern-day smoking implement.

As She raised her eyes to rest Her gaze on the woman’s face She was surprised to discover, at second look, features much younger than expected.  That’s not to say the woman was young, but rather, the stoop of her shoulders and the haggard poise of her fingers belied the youth of her face.

Or perhaps it was the other way around.

Would She prefer to have a youthful face, or a youthful body? What a strange thing to wonder.

The image of the older woman melted into a blur of shadow and shards of light as the bus pulled forward onto the road.

Perhaps, neither, She pondered. A youthful mind, is surely far more important.

Dance in the Face of Your Fear

uncertain

“What do you want?”

Why is that such a difficult question to answer? Decisiveness, it seems, is not one of my strengths.  As I get older, it becomes ever more difficult to make a clear decision and feel comfortable about it.  Strange really, when I think about how I always assumed that decisions would come more easily with age and experience.

What I hadn’t counted on, was the fact that seemingly wrong choices can make you fearful to trust your own judgement.  Is that my gut talking? Or my old companion, Fear? I don’t know.

People often say there is no such thing as a “wrong” choice.  I would like to think that is true, and I do hope it is.  But you never really know until later, do you? Until you have found comfort down the road, that you can look back and feel good about what you did to get there.

So, if you can’t know until later, then even seemingly RIGHT choices can wind up being royal clusterfucks – where is the comfort in that???

And then of course, there are the disasters that are never chosen at all, but forced upon us anyway, despite our best efforts to keep them at bay.  Illness, unemployment, freak fatal theme park accidents…

And that there my friends, is just a very mild example of my escalation to catastrophic thinking.

*deep breath*

All I can do is keep going, one choice at a time, and trust that I will one day wonder “why did I waste so much energy worrying?”.

Calm Down, It’s Only Survival Instinct

When we aren’t where we think we want to be (or worse, the dreaded “should be”), it becomes so tempting, so easy, to romanticise the past.  We look back at jobs we had (and left), or relationships that we had (and left), and strangely only ever remember the good things, and before we know it, we are craving to go back to an old life, with our known comforts (an discomforts).

But not only is going backward not an option, it is also not recommended.

I do remind myself, however, that when things are seemingly going well for me and I am confidently striding along my desired path, that I also have a tendency to belittle my past experiences.  “I am so much happier now”, “This is so much better than where I was/who I was with before”.

The truth- I know- is that neither of these scenarios is actually correct.  They are both false representations of my current situation (and my past).  It is my mind playing [a rather nasty] trick on me.  Maybe it is somehow linked to our survival instincts, i.e. when things are good and we are safe we should roam far and wide and gather food, etc. vs when there is danger, we retreat to a place that we know to be safe.

The problem is, our mind only perceives things, it rarely ever really knows things.  So, for example we only perceive that last job to be “not so bad after all” relative to the stressful situation you might find yourself in this moment. But in a moment of clarity, you might realise that there are so many different reasons why the current position is better and might help you move you closer to your goals.

So, I am trying to not let my mind play tricks on me, and I am going to try to plunge through that veil of false perception in those moments where I begin to demonise my current trajectory.

 

The Work is Never Done

breakup

I get that breakups are never easy, even when you are the one doing the breaking, but man, I wish that experience with breakups could at least count for something.

Wine doesn’t help.  In fact, it really does make things a whole lot worse, and I will be the first to confess to a couple of “raging bitch” moments this weekend.  Perhaps that is one thing I can keep in mind for next time (of which I hope there won’t be one but, you know, statistically speaking that is wishful thinking).

I also hate being “that woman” who does the breaking up but then proceeds to bawl through the entire process.  I feel those tears start to burn and I want to punch myself in the face.

And why are we even breaking up? I have absolutely no idea.

Maybe its the way he blows his nose in the shower, or chews with his mouth open, or his endless observations about the likelihood of the economy crashing so badly that we will all one day have to go back to subsistence farming.

Maybe.

However, in the scheme of things that constitute bad boyfriend behaviour, or “deal breakers”, these things don’t even make it into the ball park.

We get told all of the time that in order to be capable maintaining healthy relationships, we must be comfortable with being alone with ourselves.  I sometimes wonder if I have taken that concept far too literally and now find myself unable to sustain the company of another.  Or maybe it is something to do with that whole “loving yourself” caper.  I really did think I was all over that, but I have begun to develop and inkling of late that my initial conclusion on that point was flawed.

Someone told me recently also, that their therapist had brutally (albeit accurately) said to them “No one is coming to save you”.  I agree wholeheartedly with this statement, academically, I understand that we can only save ourselves, but despite that (and despite having literally spent days listening to Eckhardt Tolle and Alan Watts recordings) – I shamefully confess that deep down I think I secretly still thought my knight would come, and that I would be fixed and I would finally find happiness and then live forever after in soul-warming bliss.

I am disappointed to discover that my heart still is not on board with my head, and that there is still much work to be done.

I know of course, that the work will never be done.

Now I have unwittingly allowed another to get caught up in this mess, and suddenly I feel like I am back at square one.

:/

New Beginnings.

open_road-43842533

It is somewhat ironic that I have revisited my old blog now, given the contents of my last post, and what has recently happened in my life.  That canister of pick-up sticks that I was so worried would be up-ended? Well it happened, but not in the way you might think.

First, my employer relocated me, my dog and my life to the other side of the country.  Then, I was retrenched.

For someone, who was very comfortable with her life as it existed, this turn of events could easily have been interpreted as “bad”, but somehow, it wasn’t.  Somehow, I coped without any major breakdown breakdown.  Somehow, I found myself re-employed sooner than even I wanted to be! Somehow, I realised that money isn’t everything. Somehow, I realised I was quite unhappy but like a frog in boiling water, I hadn’t realised until I was cast free.

So what did I learn about myself during this process?

  1. My friends and family are amazing – at no point did I find that any friends “disappeared” and in fact, they all rallied to help me stay connected in networks that might lead to a job.  They booked holidays and shipped me off to a mountainside to drink red wine and eat copious quantities of cheese and chocolate.  They assured me that I was worthy of employment and that being retrenched is in no way a measure of my abilities.  They shared their own stories of retrenchment and/or feelings of fear and insecurity.
  2. I am stronger than I thought – I am not going to pretend that there weren’t tears, or moments of silent, gut clenching panic, but for the most part I felt I coped with the news pretty well.  Here I was, recently deposited into a new city, with barely any networks and even fewer friends.  Regardless, after receiving the news on Friday, by Monday I was on the phone contacting as many people as I could to set up meetings and flush out any potential opportunities for any kind of work.  I cannot deny that this helped.
  3. I can drink A LOT of coffee – a natural side effect of “networking” is that most of these meetings happen ‘over coffee’.  Also, the more coffee I drink, the more I like it so yes people – it IS addictive!
  4. I want an exciting life with lots of changes – OK this might have been a different story if I was still looking for work and running out of money.  However, as it turns out, on one level I secretly enjoyed the little rush I had from not knowing what was coming next.  I experienced a little thrill from the prospect of starting something new and knowing that I could completely change my path right then and there if I wanted to.  And I am even more pleased to discover that I am now feeling much more open to new changes and perhaps some calculated risks in future. Watch this space!
  5. I am a positive person – I used to think of myself as having a slightly negative outlook.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I still do grumble, but I surprised myself with my relatively upbeat attitude through the whole process. Not only that, but having made that realisation, I now find myself noticing more and more when I am being negative, and I try to flip those thoughts.  Sometimes I still need help from external parties, but even then, I am more likely to accept the “positive” counter argument instead of sticking to my guns about how crappy XYZ situation is

I also discovered that when the thing you dread the most happens, the worst moment is actually the anticipation of the thing.  In the moment it happens it kinda sucks, sure, but immediately after that, comes a wave of relief.  Because now the thing has happened, and you are still alive and the only thing to do is to accept it and move on and move forward.

If you had asked me this time last year where I would be, not in a million years would I think to respond “living on the other side of the country, in a new job, and starting up my own consulting gig on the side”.

So now that I know I cannot really control my future with a vice-like grip, perhaps it is time to relax a little, breathe and just start focussing more on today.

 

 

Endings.

36078607_sIn the past few weeks I have witnessed the two extremes of the end of marriage.  The tragic promise of “’til death do us part” coming to fruition, and the heartbreaking reality of separation following the annihilation of trust. I have also listened to a first-hand account of something that falls fairly squarely in-between….that of the amicable separation (if I dare to believe that such a thing truly exists at all).

I have also been extremely conscious of my reaction to all of these scenarios, and I have to admit that I am rather disappointed in myself.  For, though there was of course empathy, I cannot deny that one of the overriding emotions I experienced in each of these scenarios was: Relief. Relief that it wasn’t me. Relief that my cosy little life is still intact.  Relief that I know exactly where I am, what I am doing, and what my plan is to face tomorrow.

If that wasn’t selfish enough, the another major emotion I felt was: Fear. Fear, upon the realisation that despite the fact that I am single, it is inevitable that somehow – perhaps soon – my life too, will be upended like a canister of pick-up sticks, and scattered in indiscriminate chaos.

I truly hope when that day comes, I am capable of of handling it nearly as well as these dear people, whose grace has been humbling, their strength inspiring, and honesty so refreshing.

In the meantime, how does one, standing on the outside, provide any kind of assistance or comfort? It all seems so futile, so trifling, so…unsatisfactory.