Getting back on track…

I’ve become a person I don’t identify with anymore.

It can happen so easily. And it doesn’t happen overnight. But one night is all it takes for one to wake up the next morning and think, Who are you? Where are your boundaries? How did everything spin out of control?

For me, it has been 1.5 yrs since I’ve felt more like me.

A lot has happened in the last 1.5 years. Without going into too much finite details I will say some key points:

  • Whatever depression I had experienced two years ago, which lead me to therapy, has pretty much been kept at bay. Not to say it’s not lurking in the shadows waiting for the right opportunity to pounce out at me, but from my cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, I’m still able to exercise myself back on to a straight path anytime I feel like I’m being sucked back in to the darkness. More importantly, I no longer have suicidal thoughts!
  • Regardless of whatever shitty people or shitty things people have done to me, I’m still pretty confident in who I am, which is something I completely lost 2-3 years ago.
  • While this past year has been the most challenging, I am still feeling blessed with what I do have in life.

The issue is that I have this extreme want to excel my career.

On the one hand, it’s been quite obvious the vast number of skills and management responsibilities I have seen over just the past 6 months alone come to being. I am doing things that I know is what will launch my career further down its path.

On the other hand, I have lost that balance. I am sometimes a workaholic, working overtime and like this weekend, spending a few of my free hours each Saturday and Sunday to catch up on a workload which I will always be behind in.

I am a very accountable person. But not just because I have been given a lot to be responsible over, but it is in my nature to do what I can to not fail. I take great accountability in everything that I do. It is both a strength and a weakness.

What I want to do for myself in 2016 is to know when to stop, know when I need to just let go of work and spend some peaceful time, while at the same time, being efficient with my productivity at work.

The challenge with the former – even when I’m not working, I’m thinking about work.

The challenge with the latter – my new manager (a.k.a. NM), is not one to allow me to be efficient. New manager is all over the place with projects. I am not the only one who has observed this. All my close co-workers have pointed this out upon meeting NM for the first time. NM is everywhere, is what they will say.

It’s true. How many times has NM double booked dates/months for clients where I would have to spend a considerable amount of my time trying to sort out on a calendar that is one of my key performance indicators? How many times has NM allocated time for meetings on new ideas NM wishes to push only for our VP to decline as it isn’t top of our priority for our company? Not bad ideas, mind you, but given our low resources and the long list of top priorities, said ideas are just not important enough to discuss right now. I spent half a day on my business trip discussing one of these “to-do” projects where there was so much more we needed to discuss first.

And finally, how many times has NM emailed me, stated a certain procedure which is new to me (as has been most of my job) and that we will discuss it together first, only to then get frustrated with me a week later for not working on that procedure? Yet I was instructed to wait on it until we’ve had a chance to discuss it. <- This has been the worst. Not just from NM’s poor lack of memory and proper management style, but just the demeaning approach put on me. The tone of voice can be abrasive and sometimes even shrill.

My challenge is to manage my NM and this will prove difficult.

My first task is to document all that I do for my projects, specially when there is inconsistency with NM’s work and/or communication (with documentation where possible followed by clarification. I will remain diplomatic but firm. If NM shows anger or frustration for how I decide to do my work, I will eventually need to take all my documentation and approach my VP for advice.

This tactic of mine is not to seek revenge or try to ruin NM’s career. It is simply has come to a point where if I do not do anything, the only person who will suffer is me.

I’ve had lengthy discussions with my husband about this and he continues to encourage me to remember that I deserve taking a break and to not let work own me.

Anyway – wish me luck. 2016 is not going to be easy but I am optimistic something good will come out of this.



A Lesson for All Mothers and Wives

If you’re a wife/mother like me, you’re probably the “manager” of the household. While holding down a stressful career where you’re always having to prove your skills, you also are in charge of daily management of your family.

What this might involve might differ from one person to another. I manage all our bills, am the go-to person for mortgage and insurance renewal, know everyone’s weekly schedule, social planner, event planner (i.e. birthday parties, mother’s day/father’s day dinner, christmas present shopping list, summer camp registration, etc.) and am the homework police to boot.

The bigger picture of all this – I still think this is due to the fact that society still places different expectations on women than men. On the other hand, when it comes to my own personal life, I see this as partly my fault.

I have been accountable for setting the standards and expectation of each person’s role in my own household. It wasn’t intentional, of course – I just went with what I was good at. I had the talents and skills to remember not just what was on my plate, but everyone else’s plates, and my multitasking skills, compared to that of my husband and so far my daughter, is pretty much outstanding. It was only natural I took on this Manager of Household (and sometimes, Overlord of the Universe) title.

So lately, I’ve been letting go a lot. And it’s evident that both Doug and Chaeli are a little bit lost now that they have to think for themselves. I was actually amazed to see what a difference it made.

For example, in less than a month, Chaeli forgot to bring her gym gear twice (both times when Doug was in charge of taking her to school). In all her four years, she has never forgotten her gym bag. Why? Because I never let her forget. I couldn’t rely on Doug when she was too young to remember herself – Doug’s memory is pretty terrible. So I just took over.

Now, Chaeli is older. And there’s no excuse for her to not remember what she needs everyday for school. And when I’m on a business trip (or just simply in the middle of a big project at work), Doug needs to step up to the plate (especially between shifts when he is not working for a few days).

So perhaps I’m doing this a little later than I should have. But when my health and career started to become more challenged, I realized it’s never too late to correct some bad habits (in all of us).

Things are slowly improving. I let both Doug and Chaeli fail (not without some frustration on my part, mind you – I’m not perfect) but that’s okay. They learn from their failure. It will all work out.

old navy sizes – smaller than normal

i just went to old navy to take advantage of their $15 jean sale (only for today) and decided to take some time in the fitting room. i knew i needed a smaller size since i’ve been belting up my size 10 (also from old navy) for awhile now.

so i figured, “size 8… that’s what i’m looking for.”

i picked up two different types of leg opening – skinny and boot cut. both size 8.

i walked out to the mirrors where doug and chaeli were waiting for me. doug asked, “so how are they?”

looking in the mirrors, i frowned as a replied, “i don’t know. they’re comfortable. but awfully baggy around the hips/thighs. and i can definitely pull the waistband away from my stomach that it may be too loose.”

“so go and get a size smaller and see.”

size 6, this time. i came back out and modelled the smaller size for both to see. i asked, “so? how do they look?”

chaeli responded quickly, “they still look baggy.”

“what? how can that be! i’m a size 9/10 for other brands. i know old navy label their sizes smaller than the rest of the fashion world, but this is ridiculous! i’m not a size 6. i’m not even a size 8! and for cryin’ out loud, i’m SO not a size 4!”

well, i didn’t bother trying on a size 4. i do like my jeans on the more confortable size so i stuck with THEIR size 6. it’s still a bit loose but at least won’t fall off with just a tug (unlike the ones i currently own in my closet).

the thing is, i think it’s sad. that they have to lie to us women who shouldn’t be lied to about their size. what we should be told is that we’re okay the size that we are. that the size of our pants should not define who we are and that no two bodies will be the same so there is no ideal size.

i have the same issue with many scales at a few goodlife fitness centres i’ve been to. i can weigh anywhere from 5-10 lbs LESS than i know i weigh (i trust the scale at my doctor’s and at my dieticians – they have no need to lie and calibrate their scales regularly).

we don’t need to be lied to – in the end, that’s not doing us a favour. but more awareness on REAL body image is definitely a must!

thank god one company out there understands the importance of this.

artificial nocturne

I’m just as fucked up as they say
I can’t fake the daytime
Found an entrance to escape into the dark
Got false lights for the sun
It’s an artificial nocturne
It’s an outsider’s escape for a broken heart

the past.

my memory takes me back to when i was about chaeli’s age – 10 or 11. there i was sitting in the kitchen of our old house. my father, standing there beside me – hovering over me.

math. it stared back at me. numbers. something that always confused me.

he was talking impatiently, asking me to solve the problem. but i couldn’t. i barely could see the problem from the notebook anymore. and as i sat there, sweating and staring in silence, his voice started to get louder… and more anxious.

fear started to creep in as i desparately stared harder and harder – hoping, praying the answer would come to me.

there was a long period of silence before a thud was heard.

i don’t know if that thud came from his hand hitting my behind, or when i landed on the kitchen tiles after flying off my chair and under the kitchen table.

the pain of the impact his hand made on me was very real and very scary. but i was in so much more pain from not being able to please him. not being able to solve that math problem.

why couldn’t i solve it? was it true? was i stupid like he’s told me i was before?

why couldn’t i have just solved it?

the present

we’re sitting at my aunt’s and uncle’s place after dinner.

my uncle has diabetes type 2. just like me though he’s had his for 25 years. but he’s managing it. and i go to him, and my aunt as she’s been a big part of helping him manage it, for not just advice and knowledge…. but mainly for support.

and for empathy.

empathy has become a theme in my therapy sessions. i have learned that my childhood lacked empathy. and as a result, i give myself very little empathy – and through that, i have a lot of guilt. mostly from things i had no control over. it is this pain from this inner turmoil – this guilt – which has caused anxiety over every decision that i make, not just in the present, but struggle of past decisions and fear of making wrong decisions of the future. everything i do, i fear if it’s the best way.

the best way – my mother always made me see what was the best way. if some one hurt me at school, i was told which was the best way to have avoided being in that situation. if i planned to take the public transit downtown, i was instructed to the best way. on my best friend’s wedding day, when i was maid of honour (which was with such great honour, i might add, as it was one of the best days of my life), i was told my hair was not the best way for the day. the list goes on.

my father – he never told me what the best way was. he just expected me to know and i suffered his wrath if i simply did not know.

basically, a lot of people/parents will give a statement of empathy such as, i’m sorry you are going through such pain, BUT…

the ‘but’ usually negates the empathy. and that’s okay to some extent. we care and love our family and friends so much that we want to fix their problem, forgetting that the first reason they came to us was not for a fix, but simply for empathy. as humans, we’ve probably all made this mistake.

the issue with me, however, was that it was rare, in the past mostly and sometimes in the present, where i even recieved that first startement of empathy. and so, a lot of what i came home with, my problems, my struggles, was made apparent that i was responsible for everything. not accountable in some way, shape or form, but completely responsible. even if it was not my doing, somehow, i could have prevented it.

and so, i sat there at the dining table expressing my concern over my glucose levels as for the past 2 weeks, there were very high spikes i could not account for (nothing changed in my diet or exercise – yet, my levels would got up sometimes as high as 3 units after a similar lunch i had 2 weeks before with very normal readings afterwards).

i was very upset, i mentioned. and frustrated.

my dad then interjected and told me, “yeah, but, you have to take control of your sress and not obsess over this.” it wasn’t what he said. it was how he said it – a manner that expressed, this is your own-doing. there was frustration in his voice – and while i understand now that it’s his own anxiety and worry over my health, that he has no time for empathy and just wants to fix my problem for me, i was just so angry at him for not being more sensitive.

and so i responded, “yes, well, easier said than done.” in other words, okay… thanks for the piece of unwanted advice. perhaps you would like to tell me HOW to do this since you seem to have all the answers?

he was not happy with my one liner. and started to raise his voice, arguing with me that he KNOWS it’s not easy, etc. i ignored him then and returned to my conversation with my uncle who was, at least, giving me the reassurance and support i was searching for.

all the time, i thought to myself, if i wasn’t so depressed, i would be laughing. here is a person telling me to take control of my stress and yet he’s arguing with me and stressing me out even more. how is this helping, i wonder?

the summary

the above is simply an exercise of my thoughts from this past week, which links to what i posted yesterday.

i understand it is up to me to tell my parents how i require the support yet at this point, i’m not sure i’m ready to try this step as it would be a very big step. anyone who knows my parents, would understand how big it is.

the issue is that i could tell them but they would either argue back and say that they’ve always been supportive of me. or that they simply would refuse to reflect on their own path of self-improvement due to what i had already mentioned in my previous post, their lack of self-awareness.

the above video and song by metric, is a song that is close to my heart at this moment. i do not know exactly what the intentions were behind the meaning of this song, but it seems to mirror how i feel these days.

the trick with therapy

my last therapy session was good – very good. we did a lot of digging. so much was uncovered that i added another session between this last one and the next one which i had planned for early may.

i figured, before the session, that i would be ready to go every couple of months as planned. but as soon as i got home, i emailed the lovely, friendly receptionist (they chose a good candidate to take care of business in their office) and asked for another session between now and then. so about 5-6 weeks appart between each sessions.

this was my own decision and my therapists never puts any pressure on me as to when i feel the need to return. everyone is differnet. some people need to go weekly, some monthly and some, just go ever other month or so for a “tune-up”. some need more time to process the information and put it to good use before the next session. and some require the frequency to be more intense because it helps with the motivation.

i chose to make it sooner than later because i feel we’re at a crucial part of this digging.

it’s tiring, though. and painful. what i mean is that old wounds were open. i went home and for the past week since i saw my therapist, have been flooded with painful memories of my childhood. memories not forgotten but simply put away or off to the side.

there was some frustration though… these are memories i thought i was over. things that have been dealt with. i want to move on with them. i thought i had moved on from them. but the reality is that these things from the past are still here in the present. perhaps they are disguised in different shapes and forms, but they are very much still here. either metaphorically as the culprit of my anxiety/depression issues. or, evern more painfully, embedded in my current relationship with my parents.

now, as i mentioned already, i do not want to hold any ill-feelings towards my parents of my childhood. which is probably why i am frustrated with these haunting memories that have caused so much emotions.

but the truth is that, perhaps, my frustration lies in our relationship at the present moment. and i’m aware now that something happened between my father and i this past friday, just a couple of days after my therapy session, which angered me and opened up the flood gates to some of these horrible memories.

it’s a reminder – when something happens in the present, it automatically links, for me, to the past. and until i deal with my personal demons – and learn how to handle my current relationships – this will always be the case. at the least, through my progress in therapy, i’m able to link this cause and effect relationship.

it’s tricky – to be strong enough to go through all this digging, opening old wounds and NOT go to that dark place where it’s easier to just point fingers and blame them and think, you did this to me! this is the way i am because of you!

i don’t want to go there but during the most painful parts of these past few days, the temptation was there. but what point would that be? it would be vengeful and spiteful – and that will not help me in the end. plus, i know my parents just didn’t know any better way – they were raised in probably a harsher and/or more abusive way than how i grew up. and part-way through my adult life, i could see there was regret on their part.

the best thing i can do is to try and deal with this – and move forward. i’m lucky, very lucky, to be more self-aware of what is going on inside of me. unlike my parents who still to this day struggle with the concept of self-awareness.

i use this ability of mine to make sure i be a better parent to my own daughter. because i don’t want to put her through what i went through – i don’t want to pass on this anxiety/depression issue to her. i hope she has a future of much greater freedom than this type of inner prison i’ve been trapped in for decades.