Help On Hand

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.

Quicker, Faster, Go!

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

Vonita

Xo

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/quicker-faster-go-vonita-buirski

Male Aggression

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.

Mindfulness 

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.

Scent

Yesterday I bought an old favorite of mine, Estée Lauder Beautiful Sheer. Apparently it is being discontinued. I managed to purchase one of the last three bottles in the store.

I wore this scent on a trip to Harare, Zimbabwe a few weeks before I left South Africa. It invokes memories for me. Good and bad and pain on my then soft heart.

But today! I am wearing it again. And I am back in Harare. With my perfume and my children then still babies, and a new future ahead of me.

And my heart is no longer as soft. The years and scars and experiences and feelings have toughened it up.

The scent, though, still lingers.

Playing with Fire

My grandmother once warned me, if I should ever take one puff of a cigarette I will be addicted forever. And so I never have. And I never will. Smoking repels me. I truly hate it. 

And yet. There are other addictions she never told me about. Addictions I willingly seek, and cannot resist. Playing with fire, and getting burnt. Burning the flesh that has already been scarred.

Just like that first puff of a cigarette. It is the first line that is crossed. That has the power to draw and hook you in. Into a tangled, messy, uncomfortable, powerless web.

And at the end, all that is left, is the burnt ash of a once beautiful flesh. 

Growing Stronger

On Friday I encountered two situations that would have triggered meltdowns. Not one meltdown, but I would have gone straight from one into another. Things that happened that are my trigger points for sure. Those situations – a comment from someone, a fear of missing out, of rejection, of abandonment came rushing to the fore.

But I am healed and healing. If I ever wondered if I needed to be on medication, now I can testify how much it has helped. I was able to acknowledge those situations, identify that they are trigger points for me, that they would have had power over me in the previous days, and set them aside. Continue with my day.

I have been reduced so many times in the past to tears. The trigger points that  invoke a pain inside that shortcut any rational thought. I would be overcome. But on Friday I was not overcome. And it felt good. Empowering.

Every day I am growing stronger.

Otto Warmbier

The first car I owned was a metallic green basic no frills car, but it was my first car and I was fond of it and it was mine. Until it was stolen. A few weeks later it was recovered and I was summonsed to identify it.

I was unprepared for the shock. It was not my car. Until I looked closer. There were a few marks I recognized. It had been my car. And now it was completely stripped and unrecognizable.

I felt something similar whenever I see images of Otto Warmbier from the last time he was seen in 2016. He was strong and healthy looking, a fine young man, physically full of strength and vitality. I wondered how he would appear when he resurfaced after serving his fifteen year sentence of hard labour. For attempting to steal a banner.

I cannot imagine how his parents must feel today. The pain and shock and anguish. The torment of seeing their comatose son a year and a half of being in the hands of the brutal regime that is North Korea.

They have their son back. But they might never have him back.

And their agony might endure forever.

Sexism

This is not a topic that I usually have much to say about. Perhaps because I have always worked in a male-dominated environment, and have only felt disadvantaged through my own lack of confidence. But the past few days I have experienced sexism first-hand from a technology company that has left me completely gob-smacked.

I booked for a training course in December, and bought the voucher through the ticketing company that was selling them. I received my voucher, and the Friday before the training commenced I was contacted and informed the training had been cancelled. I was upsold a mentorship program in which I had to pay in extra to cover, this being a superior alternative to the training course. I was not offered a refund, so I hesitantly agreed to the mentorship program but only for the new year, and I did not pay in the extra. As at the end of May I have not had the time or capacity to complete an after hours mentorship program. So I approached the sales person a week ago, and explained the situation of which he is well aware, and requested a refund for the original training course which was cancelled. And told him I cannot commit after all to the mentorship program. Sorry. He referred me to his upline. His upline conjured up a ‘no refund’ policy, and offered a credit note. I checked their training courses. There is one course this week for quarter of the price that I paid in December. And not much else I can use the credit note for.

Not happy. He referred me to his upline, could be the owner of the company? Whatever. I received an emailed with an apology for the ‘heartache’ that this has caused me and offered to speak to my manager. FFS!!! Heartache? Manager? Honestly, would he say that to a man. Would he apologize to another man for causing him heartache?

I managed to get him on the line today. I introduced myself, we emailed on Friday. Oh yes, Veronica I remember. Veronica? My name is so not Veronica, I have just introduced myself at vonita, and you actually emailed my email address on Friday? This dweeb actually compliments me on my name, it is so lovely and where is it from? My parents, and what does that have to do with the price of eggs? Question, would he be complimenting a man on his name?

Still no refund. We are past the point of refunds he told me. Since when? Since I agreed to a mentorship program even though I have not paid for it, and that is not what I originally bought a ticket for. And the course was cancelled by their company. It wasn’t cancelled, he tells me, it was postponed. Bullshit.

A thought popped into my head. This man is so fucking sexist I am guessing there is not one female engineer in his company.

And what do you know. On their website they have a full page of developers and their bios, and not one female. Completely one hundred percent you-guessed-it male. Until the admin section at the bottom. Yup. Ladies for the admin.

F*ckers. And they owe me.