Back in the day (Jan 2008) I started a new job. My first position in Sydney and on the bus trip in, I spent a moment in reflection. What were my dreams, my goals, my ambition. What did I want to achieve?
I wanted to make friends. I wanted to achieve, and to be noticed and to be acknowledged. I wanted to belong.
I met one of my best friends through that job (a friend of a wife of a colleague). I achieved inasmuch as I could. I belonged to a fair extent. And spent ten years in that position. Before I finally had the courage to admit that I had achieved everything I could, and it was time for change.
This past year has been that time of change. Leaving comfortable environments. Pushing myself. Discovering who I am and what I stand for. Being tested under adversity. How will I react? Will I crumble or will I rise. Do I have what it takes. Can I fight and face my fears.
Today I start again. And my focus has changed. It is not on being noticed and acknowledged and being ‘liked’. My focus is on giving. On creating and producing and achieving. On being the best I can be. To provide my strengths the room to grow, to strengthen, to shine. I’ve discovered talents I never knew I had. I’ve discovered creativity. I have tenacity. I have drive. I have passion.
Whatever may come, whatever time I have left, I will be the best version of myself that I can be.
Sometimes it can feel that everyone is in on a game except for you. Perhaps you feel that you are the weakest link. That you have played as a team but never scored a single goal. That you have spent more of your time stumbling than actually playing.
Perhaps you have not even stumbled but rather fallen. On the ground with legs in air.
What to do if you find yourself in a situation like this. What do you do if you find yourself kissing the ground? Well. This is an awkward position to be in. And let’s not sugarcoat this. It is not flattering. (Yes, we do care). So there is only one thing to do. Kiss the ground right back, put your hands down, and stand up. Don’t forget to dust off! Because being covered in dust (even whilst standing) is not flattering either.
Hands on ground. This is important. Hands on ground anchors you. It helps find solid ground. It restores your bearings, and helps you find your balance.
Quite often, I find myself stumbling. Not quite in the literal sense, but with words. With interactions. With sentences, and communication. How to communicate effectively? How to interact effectively? How to respond when I have no words? How to speak with authority?
As much preparation as I feel I can do, it still never feels enough. There is still a “gotcha” lying in wait, waiting to trip me up. And I trip often. But, and here’s the thing, I will not be defeated. Hands on ground, dust off, stand up, step forward.
I will not be defeated. In every battle I face, I will be brave. I will overcome. I will be defined not by my failures, but my tenacity. My Passion. My Strength.
I’ve been reading about some truly beautiful role models over at Mum C’s blog. It is so uplifting to read about courageous young women, and their hopes and dreams.
As life goes by, we can forget about dreams and aspirations, just trying to pay the bills and raising kids and keeping all the juggled balls in the air.
But dreams keep us alive! They give us something to live for.
We as women have so much to offer this world. Compassion, empathy, nurturing and just a femininity that we can truly own.
So I endeavor to own it, dream on and live big. Because I can!
Female Role Models: Salamatu Musah Salifu
For the past year, I have been on a very light medication for depression. I started as an experiment to see whether changes – if any – would occur.
For years I had been subject to the condition of my mind. It seemed to have complete power over me – I was on a down hill roller coaster that never went up.
Sure I would have better days and could still enjoy a sense of humor at times, but on the whole, I would often be obsessing over life in general and writing poetry, a lot of poetry.
In the past year, my life has had a complete makeover. I am studying graphic design, a course which I would never have considered doing previously, and to my amazement I really love it.
I joined Toastmasters and spoke in front of a room-filled audience.
And. After never believing I would ever find another job, or thinking I was even worthy of same, I am in a new job. That I found on my own, in a completely new industry, with a clean fresh slate.
Today I find myself in Japan. A couple of days into my trip, I decided to stop my medication. Because who needs it when on holiday? And before I knew it, my mind starting obsessing. I know the feeling well. Being pulled back inside my mind to where there is darkness, anxiety and fear. To a place where there is no light at all, and happiness is an elusion. Within a couple more days my poetry came back. This was a sure sign for me. Poetry is my outlet from mental chains.
I am so glad to know this condition is not cast in stone. I don’t need to live there anymore. I can be totally present and enjoy and appreciate each moment.
If it takes medication in order to do this, I am so thankful that there is indeed help on hand.
In my younger days, especially in those when I began work as an IBM graduate, I had no idea of who I was or where I would like to be.
I remember attending a conference where we heard about vision. The difference between having dreams and a vision. A vision is more concrete. It has a plan. Steps to take. I remember feeling disheartened. I had no dreams or visions. I had no idea where I wanted to be. I wanted some day to be married with children. I wanted to be a wife and mother. And that was about it.
Looking back, I have been blessed in what I wished for. I’m a wife and mother. And I know more about myself now than I ever did. I love to draw. I love to create. I love to write. I love to achieve. And I have tenacity.
Hopefully I still have a few more days left. I still don’t have much of a vision. But I know I want to achieve. I want to be the best I can be. The best designer, the best writer, the best software developer, the best person I can be.
After three years of constant poetry, photography and general blogging, I have taken a big step today. I have written and published my very first ‘technical’ article on LinkedIn. I always wanted to write one but never knew what to write.
If anyone is on LinkedIn, please do view my article and like it! It would mean so much as a first step in my technical writing journey!
Love and blessings
I have had an incredible year. Since March after I had a meltdown at work, and decided to change. I went on medication and joined Toastmasters. I was privileged to have a full year of work. I started a Graphic Design Diploma. And I gave my very first presentation to a large-sized audience.
This afternoon on a work conference call it all came crashing down. The client project manager used tone on me. In front of his team. I managed to hold it together, but as soon as I disconnected I burst into tears.
There is an automatic trigger inside of me. It invokes a feeling I have no control over. The aggression of a male.
This evening, I am wounded. Tomorrow I will be prepared. I will be strong.
The past few months we have been witnessing a front-row seat to textbook narcissism (thank you, POTUS). This morning I saw a clip of him throwing papertowels to those in Puerto Rico. His lack of empathy and delusions of grandeur know no bounds. He truly is a despicable person.
I needed some papertowels in the kitchen this morning. Oh POTUS, where are you when I need you?
It feels so good to be able to look back at the past six months, since March when I had an adverse reaction to a life situation, and I was finally able to say ‘Enough’. And so I went all out on making positive choices and change to my life. (Thank you Zoloft, Calm app, Toastmasters, diploma of Graphic Design).
And here I am. Something happened on Friday that would normally have been a major trigger for me. In previous days I would have been a hopeless mess, struggling to deal with my non-existent self-esteem, and placing everyone higher than myself.
I’ve had a passing thought this weekend, what about the trigger on Friday? Shouldn’t I be upset about it? Shouldn’t I be struggling to cope?
And yet all that happens, is that it is a passing thought. I can see clearly that when people don’t act in a way we wish them to act, it is sometimes doing us a great favor. We are being saved from further pain. I am able to move on quickly to the next happy thought. Something that is uplifting and positive. And that’s a wonderful, wonderful place to be in.
I have hope!
For the past two months I’ve been practicing meditation and mindfulness. It has been helpful in so many ways. Learning more about myself. Accepting myself. Having compassion.
Yesterday I had a relapse into negative behavior. I reacted in a way that is so typical of how I would normally react, an unwanted reaction that offers short-term relief with negative undesired consequences. So this morning I have been doubling up on my meditation.
And what I love is that there is help! There is strength. A relapse is part of being human. It is not an abnormal, evil condition that dooms us into drowning in the deepest ocean. It is okay. It is to be expected. And what is important is forgive ourselves, get back up and have a renewed step.
Be thankful for those who help us even if we do not like the help they offer. Have gratitude for this miracle called life.
And to live each day, not in abject aberration for our shortcomings and weaknesses, but to accept them, be comfortable in our discomfort, strive to be stronger, and to love.