Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In which I shamelessly spam a friend's brand new blog

A friend of mine, a colleague in the US really, was recently persuaded (by me) to start her own blog.

She, like me, is a technical writer who is sick of the corporate world and would like to go into something more meaningful. In her case it's holistic healing and nutrition.

She's a great lady and she knows her stuff. When I checked into her blog today there were three posts.

The Future of Mankind

You should go check it out.

You should totally check it out.

Monday, November 28, 2011

In which I have nothing to say - again!

I'm tired. I can't remember the last time I actually felt this prepared to sleep. It's almost like I'm relaxed and just kind of rolling with it. I'm almost starting to see something of the old me, you know the old me that could easily sleep in to lunch unless the roof feel down on her.

There's something else that seems to be wanting to return. I used to have the most amazing ability to daydream. I would just slip into it and take off on my little adventures but somewhere along the line Corporate 1.0 was installed and it's not compatible with daydreaming so it had to give. I'm slowly finding my way back, it's a kind of crawling thing and it's not going to happen in a hurry.

I don't have any rants to share and there's really nothing upsetting me in the world today. I'll just let it go on without me keeping track on it for a while. It seems to be doing alright. Even Kyle Sandilands looks like he's finally falling out of favor with the people. If you were in Australia you would know why it's important that he does.

I'll be back with thoughts. When my brain decide to come back from vacation.

Friday, November 25, 2011

An Eschatological Laundry List - A partial register of the 927 (or was it 928?) Eternal Truths

1.   This is it!
2.   There are no hidden meanings.
3.   We can't get there from here, and besides there's no place else to go.
4.   We are all already dying, and we will be dead for a long time.
5.   Nothing lasts.
6.   There is no way of getting all you want.
7.   You can't have anything unless you let go of it.
8.   You only get to keep what you give away.
9.   There is no particular reason you lost out on some things.
10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for
      misfortune.
11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You don't really control anything.
14. You can't make anyone love you.
15. No one is stronger or weaker than anyone else.
16. Everyone is, in their own way, vulnerable.
17. There are no great men.
18. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends (yes, you too, and most certainly myself).
20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.
21. All of you is worth something, if you only will own it.
22. Progress is an illusion.
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.
24. Yes it is necessary to keep on struggling toward solution.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-
      it-for-you grown-up.
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things, each of us most do for themselves.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but there's all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run but you can't hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. you need only face the consequences.
42. What do you know...for sure...anyway?
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again...

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! by Sheldon Kopp

Edit 15th May 2012:
Dear Jonathan,'
If I have stolen your father's wise words without giving him credit I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Truth is that I have actually found them extremely useful since my nervous breakdown.  

Yours faithfully,
Spilling Ink

Sleep

I suffered from insomnia.

I remember those days.

Like it was yesterday.

Because it was like yesterday!!! (The blatant overuse of ! denotes that I'm going through some sort of emotional ordeal because of the situation. I just don't overuse ! unless things have gotten really bad.)

In the space of, mmmm, a week I have gone from having to use all sorts of sneaky methods to make myself sleep to hitting the pillow and sleeping through the whole night. Which usually means I wake up busting to pee because some of us still haven't learned that it's not a good thing to drink a lot at night.

Yes mum, I know you told me decades ago. You are right.  I am wrong.

I love sleeping. I really do. Although the whole dreaming thing can get a little complicated. I don't enjoy having a whole night of dreaming of disemboweling. I know I watched a David Lynch movie before going to bed but COME ON! I like dreams that are made of fluffy bunnies and kittens, and the occasional unicorn. Oh, and at least half of the male cast in True Blood.

I remember a time when I used to nudge O all the time because he was snoring. When he's snoring it's sleeping with a grizzly bear with a cold. Between grizzly bear and its left leg, a leg that sometimes get possessive and decides that my right leg belongs to it, I had a hard time getting shut eye.

 Not so anymore.

I now put on my little beanie, it was one of the little tricks I used to make myself sleep, and I disappear for the night and travel to places in my dreams where Stephen King would shit his pants if he was with me. But he's not and I don't care. The dreams don't even bother me to be honest. (I'm really all that desensitized. I sat through Blair Witch and I came out a changed woman - and I didn't pee myself even once!)


I would love to go back to bed now. It's my day off and it's winter weather out. It's November in Sydney, Australia and we had the heater on last night. Global warming?! My Dad is right. Someone's made a mistake. Al? Can we talk about this please? I'm a little confused.

(And don't give me all those scientific explanations about how it all works and it gets colder in some places but it's still global warming and we should be in an ice age now and you're making me tired with all that stuff and you're making me want to sleep!!)

I have to go clean now. As I'm renting my house we have a house inspection today and I have two hours to get things ready.

Then I will sleep. Maybe.

Or Christmas shop. I have figure out what grizzly bears like.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If you want to be the best, you must... lose... your... mind

No, the topic is in no way related to the topic of this post. No really. I mean it.

Some of you were here with me when I lost my mind and my grip on reality, and I began to relate to my manager at work with the same fondness one would a T-Rex. No really, that is how I felt. She was a T-Rex, I was going to die and she was the one who was going to kill me. I didn’t literally believe all that but that’s how I felt.

I realized, even at the height of the breakdown (or should that be the lowest point?), that I was going through something that distorted my reality profoundly. It took me longer to figure out why my mind had a meltdown and the cause of it.

I think most breakdowns occur when you’re faced with something that conflicts with your own beliefs to the point that you can’t match facts with those beliefs. If you believe something strongly and you suddenly have irrefutable proof in front of you of something contradictory then you’re going to have some trouble reconciling things in your mind.

I’ve figured out what caused my breakdown and that was a huge step for me. It was a very important step. It made my recovery easier. I was so glad when the penny finally dropped.

It’s not over for me yet it seems. I have apparently been left suffering with something related and that’s depression. I think I can safely say that I’m suffering from depression. If I go and read a list of depression symptoms I pretty much tick all the boxes.

I regard myself fortunate that I know enough to realize that it is depression and that it’s not me. It’s my dark passenger, the black dog that shadows my every step, the little black cloud hovering over me every step I take.

It’s not me. It’s something I suffer from. It colors my work, my relationships and my outlook.

I’m currently on a very low dose of mirtazapine. I was put on mirtazapine so I could sleep and I decided to cut down a few months ago because it didn’t help me sleep anymore and I was experiencing severe bouts of sadness.

I know it will pass but I don’t how it will pass. I know I’m blessed because I have so much going for me. I’m afraid and I’m very sad most of the time. I know this is not me. I know that’s the depression.

I will not, if I can help it, get on other medication to help with the depression. My aim is to get through this and find the root cause. I believe there is a root cause. I believe my depression is a symptom of perhaps something I haven’t dealt with. I have a very strong sense that there’s something I have to break free from, something from the past.

If you have suffered from depression I would love your input. I would love to hear from you, leave comments, because I know more and more people who are feeling depressed and who are getting that diagnose. I’m interested in hearing who people cope with it and what they do to find their way out of the darkness again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Name's Barf. I'm a Mog, half man half dog. I'm my own best friend

I feel decidedly much too serious and I completely lack a sense of humor at the moment. Not one funny thought went through my head today to entertain. As I sat there and played with Sharepoint all day at work, and I use the word play loosely, I resorted to watching documentaries about serial killers on Youtube.

They're not funny. I'm just saying.

So basically I need to chill and relax and stop being so serious.

The world is serious enough as it is.

What we need now is a clown.

I came here to build a bridge

I did set up that third worm farm and it was at the end of setting it up, in the finishing phase like, that I came to realize that I was missing one important ingredient:

Enough worms.

The simple solution to a lack of worm is to get more worms. You can wait for the worms to make more worms which they will especially in the warmer months. If you're a little impatient like I am, apparently, then you find a place that sells them and you buy some more which is how I've come to sit here and wait for 2000 little beauties of five varieties and 1000 eggs (which hatch within three weeks and take six weeks to mature) to arrive.

You're not going to believe this but when I was living in the actual city I used to own a business that sold worms to the local council. I was a worm farmer. We had 25 working factories in our little concrete backyard.

Food for the worms came mainly from a local fruit and veg shop that was more than happy for us to take old veg for our worms in return for some of the castings to use with their own plants in their homes. Sometimes they would even leave us a tray or two of plums that were too ripe to sell. Worms love sweets. I bet you didn't know that!

I'm hoping that my next project will be to grow some corn. I like the idea of growing something we can eat!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Apaches, Captain! The hills are swarmin' with 'em

The heat is pressing in Sydney, Australia this weekend. Thank goodness O went and got new ice cube trays. Ice cube trays that make ice cubes that look like space invaders.

I'm tired but I still set up another worm farm this morning and am currently contemplating setting up a third. I already had one that I started last year.

We compost all of our organic matter and the compost heap is a hap hazard heap that we just throw things on. I dug around in it this morning to find some earth to put in the new farm, accidentally chopped a huge earth worm in half which upset me a bit and irritated a whole bunch of flies who obviously consider it to be a five star restaurant. I was half expecting the heap to start talking and begging for mercy when I first put the shovel in it. It's teaming with life.

Have any of you out there got worm farms that you feed your compost waste through?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hello, hello, hello. Is that the clinic?

It's Friday. I've decided to name it Finally Friday.

This week I discovered how to stretch time. Apparently.

Intrinsic value

Intrinsic value is:


The actual value of a security, as opposed to its market value of book value.

or

The amount by which a call option is in the money, calculated by taking the strike price and the market price of the underlier.

I don't claim to understand any of that. It's investor talk. It's also what you get if you google "intrinsic value". I told I was going to have to come back to it.

My worry is that applying terms that are quite clearly based in investing and marketing to  people is really eroding humans being. I think it really devalues us. We are not numbers.

I'm going to have to circle back to this one again and I try to figure out that the equivalent of "intrinsic value" is when applied to humans, why it's important to have and how you go about getting it.

That's for a later post though. Not right now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

America, America – we have your president (we promise that no harm will come to him)

I was out in the kitchen fixing myself the first cup of coffee for the day. That is, to be precise, the first cup of coffee at work for the day.

Anyway.

The TV was on in the general lunch area and I caught a glimpse of it. Kind citizens of the USA, apparently we have your president. The President of the USA. He’s visiting apparently.

It’s just by sheer fluke I realized that he’s here now. I’m not paying attention. Not to that sort of thing anyway. Apparently.

Apparently the English Queen and her main squeeze Phillip were here a few weeks ago too. I kind of missed out on paying attention to that too which is why I have little to say about it. I saw the Queen back in the 90s. In her car. My puppy dog and I waved to her. I’m sure she thought that my Cattledog pup was a Corgi. She seemed excited.

I saw the Pope too. Not the German one (I don’t like him), the other one (I liked him). He didn’t seem excited.

I would have completely missed out on knowing that the Swedish princess Birgitta, she’s the Swedish king’s sister for the uninitiated, was visiting Australia recently had it not been for my partner’s father who kindly told me then proceeded to find a local newsrag, with a picture and all, so I could be part of it all. Exciting times!

Anyway.

I swear I have ADD. I just can’t keep my thoughts straight.

I remember posting a pic on my blog the last time our prime minister and Obama met. Y’all don’t mind if I call him that, do you? It’s a catchy name!

The picture was of Julia (she’s ours so I can call her by her first name) and Obama (it is a catchy name!) playing football in the oval office. I think they were tossing an Aussie rules ball around and I couldn’t help thinking “Wanna play ball Julia? Here! Fetch the ball Julia!”

I’m not saying our prime minister is a dog but it just seemed so out of place.

Look! A chicken!

No, it’s not. That’s all in my mind.

Anyway.

There’s apparently been no ball play this time around. There’s what seems to be the obligatory photo in the office though.



I can’t help thinking that we could have done this better. I know what you people think the Aussies are like and as such I think we should have given it to you. It’s only fair.

I want to see pictures of Obama in Julia’s backyard with her partner Tim wearing an apron and throwing a few shrimp on the barbie. And we would call them shrimp just so all y’all wouldn’t be confused by our provincial weird way of speaking the English language.

I believe in giving people what they want and I think they want Aussies to barbeque. Ever since Paul Hogan, remember him, he was Crocodile Dundee, did that ad for all y’all over there you’ve come to expect barbeques. We should stick to that because it’s less confusing.

“Where’s the President now?

“I don’t know. Wait! They’re showing him in some backyard at a barbeque.”

“Aah. Australia!”

It’s not too late, I hope, to save this whole circus from becoming Cirque du Désastre. I’m sure Julia’s neighbors wouldn’t mind nicking down to the butcher’s to procure some snags. The neighbourhood ladies could surely whip up some coleslaw to go with them.

We can do this Australia! We can fail to disappoint!

I’m just saying.

Unless of course you think that the fact that a fullscale US Marine force was given the green light to conduct its own war games on Australian soil for the first time, under a new military agreement signed yesterday is more interesting.

I would totally understand.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things I think may be useful to develop a positive outlook

I tend to make a distinction between positive attitude and positive outlook. It’s more than likely because I’ve got a bit fed up with the whole positive attitude cult. At the same time I know, God do I know, that having a positive outlook in life does helps you enormously.

Here are some of my tips for whatever it is worth:

Pay attention to your internal dialogue. If the majority of your thoughts are negative, especially if they’re about you, then you need to do something if you want to improve the way things are for you. Some people recommend making a list out of the negative thoughts then rewriting them and keep doing this until your negative list gets down to a more reasonable size.

If you’re having trouble communicating, then do what you have to do to learn. Not saying how we feel can lead to frustration, anger, anxiety and hurt. Find ways to communicate more effectively both with yourself and with others.

Get back to basics. Stop trying to do it all and do more of the things you really enjoy doing. Reconnect with friends, for a walk, visit an art gallery or read a favorite book.

Spend time somewhere you’re guaranteed to see people worse of then you are. A friend used to go sit in the shopping centre during the day when he was out of a job because he would always see people who were quite clearly worse off than he was. He claims that it made a huge difference when it comes to how he felt about his own situation.

Learn to let things be. There are things, situations and there are people we can change. There are a lot more things, a lot more situations and a lot more people we can’t change. It’s easier to change how you look at things, your outlook, than it is to change things that are outside of you.

Allow love in your life. Loving and being loved are basic human needs and when we do it makes it easier to combat emotions born out of fear.

Laugh. Trawl youtube for stand up acts or whatever else makes you giggle. Have a great big laugh at it all.

Exercise and eat healthy foods.

Read blogs. Yep, I know I don’t have to tell you that but just in case you’re wondering why you do it I can tell you why. Blogs are often very inspirational and you can learn so much from reading about others’ experiences.

These are just some of the things that are off the top of my head.

Outlook is to an extent a matter of choice and it is something you can work at changing so it works for you and not against you. Sometimes it’s hard work but it pays off in the end.

I’m just saying.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On being positive in the workplace

There’s been a lot of talk about being positive lately and I have my own little opinions about the usefulness of being positive at all cost…

Google is my friend and yesterday I googled (don’t you just love how it’s become an accepted verb?) “being positive in the workplace”, a favourite topic of mine possibly of all time.

I found some handy tips at http://www.rezamaze.com/ by way of the article The top ten ways to be positive in the workplace of life by BZ Riger-Hull, Certified Success Coach. He/she should know what he/she is talking about.

I’ve taken the liberty to quote some of the bits out of the article and adding my own comments because I think we need to think critically about the whole thinking positive cult. If it’s so good it should stand up to scrutiny, shouldn’t it?

Please keep in mind, when reading my comments (the quoted parts are in italic), that I’m grouchy and I really feel completely at ease with pointing an accusing finger at the world and blaming it for just about anything.

Ready? OK. Let’s go.

“There is a growing volume of research that shows’ staying positive is better for your health; you can cope better with stress.” 

There’s also plenty of research showing that putting a lid on your feelings and pretending that you’re feeling positive works to some extent but that it also can be very harmful and can leave you feeling disempowered. We all know that having a great big whinge to a friend is a great relief and does reduce stress. My therapist thinks along these lines but that’s maybe because she makes her living listening to people whinging…


“It’s better for relationships; you keep from judging people and getting the bad habit of gossiping.”

I’m a little confused by this one to be honest because it seems to be directed mostly towards the people who don’t have a lot of power in the workplace. Every worker who has KPOs (key performance objectives) to work to and be judged against knows that there are managers who love using them to criticize people. Basically it ends up like this: It’s better for some in relationships if you don’t tell them that you’re not happy. Gossiping of course is not nice but there’s a fine line between sharing your experiences with a particular person with your colleagues and gossiping.


“It takes much more energy to be negative, always worrying, thinking of the “what if’s”, the “should’s”. Being positive, living in the present will lighten your life and the mood of others around you.”

I don’t know but being negative seems to come easily to me if scrutinizing the system is being negative. Worrying is a drag but it’s easy to slip into the habit of doing that if you have manager who likes to dog you or you work with evil bitches. The author seems to assume that the problem lies with you and your thinking, not the attitude of others toward you. Both can be a problem.


“Attitude is everything. It is the lens that you look through to experience your reality. Take a look at your attitude. Are you negative? Do you color everything with fear or need? How will your life change if you change your attitude?“

Attitude is important, no doubt about that, but let’s not exaggerate. Attitude is not the only lens you look through when you experience your reality. The beliefs you hold about yourself and the world colors your every experience. Are you fearful? Ask yourself what it is that makes you feel fearful and try to find a way to deal with it. If you’re constantly being told that you could lose your job any day because of “right-sizing” then you’re being exactly what they want to you to be; don’t try to change your attitude in that case - look for another job.


“Treat people with kindness and respect. Everyone that you encounter should be valued, treated with courtesy. Acknowledge that they have feelings and their own perspective on life, they may be different than yours but they are also valid.”

Your mama taught you to be polite and you should be. Respect others and most of them will respect you. You don’t have to value each encounter in the workplace, let’s face it some people are pains, but you should strive to at least keep it civil. Valuing it is optional.


“Avoid comparison- whether you are looking down at the people who have not mastered special strengths or up at people who may be more experienced or accomplished. Constantly comparing yourself keeps the focus on the other person instead of what you can do, want to do, and are good at doing. Look inside and improve from there.“

Comparing yourself to others can really help you set new goals. For example, telling yourself that “I’m going to become a better technical writer by striving to become just as good, or better, than the other writers in my team” is not a bad thing at all. We need people to look up to, aren’t they the people we call role models?, and sometimes we need to look down on people too in order to help them perform better.


“Take responsibility for your work, actions, and life… Don’t pass the buck. Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility; acknowledge a mistake fix it and learn from it. Don’t beat yourself up about the mistake, or hang onto past mistakes. Resolve them, own them and move forward. Today.”

The only thing I can add to this one is: Ask for help when you get stuck. There’s no shame in asking for help. Asking for help is a must and is why they have us working in the same building together in the first place.


“That doesn’t work for me. Keep this in mind when someone offers a put down. When they cross your boundaries. Your worth comes from you; your being, your true self. They cannot change your intrinsic value unless you let them. Make it clear that what they are doing doesn’t work for you, keep your boundaries and move forward.“

I have real issues with this one. How many people do you know who have the self-confidence to truly fob off a put down? How many people feel empowered enough to do it? I don’t know many at all to be honest. Most people don’t have “intrinsic value”; hell they don’t even know how to define themselves. This one is bigger than Ben Hur my dears. We’re going to have to circle back to this one in another post at some stage.


“Respect other people’s time and boundaries. If you are having a bad day, feeling stuck, or you are just enjoying procrastinating. Make sure you don’t use that as an excuse to waste other people’s time or cross their boundaries. Time is the most valuable thing we have. If you feel like wasting your time that’s your decision but don’t waste other people’s time.“

Time is the most valuable thing we have in a stressed out world perhaps because that’s all we end up focusing on. The most valuable “thing”, I prefer the word resource personally, is other people. We need to allow each other time to bounce things off each other and not call it wasting time. Not having time is the most popular excuse used by managers when it comes to not dealing with issues the people they manage have.


“Make a “what I have accomplished list”. Too often people make huge to-do lists and then beat themselves up when they have only accomplished a few things on the list. Keep your master list of what you want to accomplish so you don’t forget things that are important to you, but keep a second list you update daily. Each day keep a specific list of all the things you did and how much time you spent on each thing. You’ll know where the day went, can feel good about what you did accomplish and see where you need to focus, to get what’s most important to you, done.”

“Celebrate your victories”. It’s the new favorite in corporations. Maybe we should all get some gold stars to give to ourselves to acknowledge our own achievements. How about you break down some real barriers and acknowledge someone else’s good work? Now that’s useful.


“Take notice of the people around you; co-workers, customers, clients, vendors, and other people you come in contact with each day. Acknowledge what they are contributing and don’t take them for granted. Thank them for buying from you, for their help, their value to the relationship, and for a job well done.”

Sure, if they’re doing a good job. Comes back to being civil again, doesn’t it? If they’re giving you crap then please don’t. You don’t need to stay positive in the face of their mess ups.


“Enjoy the little things that happen in your day. The compliment someone gave you on the insight you shared at the staff meeting. The big smile the customer gave you when they picked up their order. By recognizing your accomplishments even if they seem small or routine, you are acknowledging a job well done.”

There’s nothing intrinsically bad about this one except that you have to keep tally all day. I think this happens automatically though…


“Coming from a positive attitude and perspective you will feel more in control. Consider each job and interaction as your best performance, rather than just running them together as part of your day. You will see the impact you have and the value you offer. People will be attracted to this. They will notice how well you do things and they will truly value you.” 

How about you just make it your goal in life to enjoy things more? How about you take stock of what really makes happy and do more of that in whatever way you can? If you’re a cleaner and you don’t enjoy the floor scrubbing part of your job then please don’t feel like you have to change your attitude to it. You hate it, end of story. You’re glad when it’s done and you can go on to doing the favorite part of your job – scrubbing toilets!


It’s probably not lost on you that I was being a bit negative. I was being negative because I think it’s important that we don’t go about swallowing being positive hook, line and sinker at the cost of our own health and well being. Sometimes we have a right to complain and should do it or nothing will ever change. We'd be standing out in the fields trying to grow corn to eat and not worrying about sitting in a cubicle farm being miserable.

I believe that one of the most common tools used in corporations today is telling people that it’s their attitude that’s bad and that there’s nothing wrong with the actual work environment. This puts the responsibility firmly back on the individual and leaves the corporation free to do pretty much what it wants. This is not a good thing. This is a very bad thing and it causes a lot of stress for people.

You’re allowed be negative. You have my permission. You health demands that you have a negative outlook occasionally.

I'm just saying.

Hunger strike, eh? How long has this been going on?

Is there a way one could bottle and sell the way you feel right after you've done yoga? No? That's a shame. I'm going to have to keep doing it then!

I love yoga. I would marry yoga if it was single and willing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's not all gloss and fairy floss! (Fairy floss is provincial English for cotton candy all y'all)

I’m not known for being overly positive on my blog I should think.

I’ve shared my breakdown with you and I’ve shared too much about the man problems I had a few months ago (we need to talk about that you and I but now is not the time).

I spend a fair amount of time sniping at the world in general and especially at things corporate. Lately I started snarling at capitalism too (and I now fear that I will soon be referred to as “Castro’s little bitch” in the blogosphere).

I’m discontent and grouchy. The best thing about writing about it is that I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one feeling bitchy. I’m not grouchy because of hormones. I’m grouchy because there’s something amiss in this world.

Don’t get me wrong, I count my blessing every day.

All three of them.

Or six if you count the cats.

I think that most of us in the blogosphere want to paint a rosy picture of our lives for fear of being seen as failures if we don’t. Partially at least. Perhaps even more importantly though we do it because we want to inspire. I would bet my last dollar that most of the female bloggers out there have some sort of “hidden” agenda that makes them want to write things that inspire other women into doing great things. We all have a little Oprah inside us that just can’t wait to shine on through.

Some of us want to appear to be Wonderwoman too. Look at me! I can make the kids’ lunch, counsel friends on the phone, do my beauty routine and exercise, have a great sex life, quilt pillows in the shape of vegetables for starving children in Africa and blog all at the same time, and so can you! You go girl!

I’m guilty of it and I have to admit that even in my darkest moments I get all kittens and fluffy bunnies on the inside when I get a comment on one of my posts that tells me “I needed to hear that”. Is there anything that could possibly validate you more or to make you feel that it’s all worth it, and I mean ALL worth it, in the end? No. There’s not. At moments like that the little Oprah who lives inside me (yes, I have a small black woman living inside me and so do you!) puts on her cheerleader uniform, brings out the pom poms and does a little dance for me. Oh, yes. It's good.

One of the reasons I read blogs is that they inspire me. Another reason is that I thirst for the experiences of others. I can’t possibly do it all with the limited time I have in this life so I cheat and assimilate the experiences of others. It’s nice when those experiences are good but I tell you what inspires me the most; it’s the experiences that show me that something needs to change and brings about action as a result of it.

The truth of it is though that I'm just one woman living one life.

It’s easy to feel lonely when things are not going well. 2011 will go down in my history as being one of the most tumultuous years of my life. It’s one of those years when I should have had it together but lost it completely.

In March I suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of work related issues. You can read about it in any post tagged “the Breakdown”. I wish I could say I was OK now, it’s been a long time, but the result seems to be that I suffer from depression and anxiety.

I don’t cope with work very well, or perhaps it’s more a case of me noticing how stressed work makes me now, and every day I think that there has to be a better way to make money and to live. I’m capable. I’m awesome at what I do. I have come to loath the word career. I don’t like my job one bit. I like some of the people there but I don’t like my job. I would like to have a job where I get to inspire people to greater things than they even imagined they could do themselves. The black monolith building I work in is full of people who feel like me.

I don’t spend enough time with my 13 year old daughter. I fear that we will drift apart and that I seem to her as distant and disinterested as my own parents did when I was a teen. She still needs me. I should be more available.

I live from holiday to holiday. I don’t sleep well and coffee is my best friend.

I’m one of the fortunate few who earn enough money to be able to put some away for a rainy day. That’s being fortunate. Many people I know are losing their homes and can’t afford to put food on the table. These are scary times. I’m blessed.

I’m in a relationship that is a bit weird. Some of you know about the troubles I had a few months back. Some of you told me to get the hell out. Maybe I should have or maybe there is such a thing as being scared and mouthing off not really knowing what you said. Take a swing before the opponent does. I’m hedging my bets and things are a lot better. I am though, as always, deathly afraid of being abandoned but I would be no matter who I was with. This is one of the major issues I need to deal with and it’s what kept me in relationships that were not great in the past.

I’m a survivor but I hate to admit it. I carry scars that I don’t feel I’m entitled too. I feel I didn’t suffer enough to warrant the scars I know are there. I try to forget about being shoved up against a wall, having my life threatened and being dragged through the house in front of my scared daughter. I count my blessings every day that I had the guts to leave. I kick myself every day for allowing myself to be in two relationships that were like that, for wasting years and years of my life. I wonder if I will ever be OK and feel good about me again, if I will ever feel safe in a relationship. I walk around saying things like “It’s not like they nailed nails into my feet to keep me from running away” because I have developed some sort of weird survivor’s guilt. I blame my parents for my poor self-esteem.

My mind is sometimes a very messy place and right now I feel like I can’t structure my thoughts enough to write a good post. I want to do so many things and write so much. I forget that I started this blog just to write without thinking about if the content was any good or if what I was saying was important. The ambitious part of me demands that I be inspirational, clever and witty. The real me keeps telling me it’s just a bit of fun and to relax.

No, it's not all gloss and fairy floss (remember that's cotton candy all y'all) but at the end of the day I can’t complain. All in all life’s not all that bad and I can certainly see, very clearly indeed, that things could be a lot worse.

Have a great day out there! You know you deserve it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Confusing

I was just talking to someone and we were on the subject of aftershave. I love scents and I have way too many perfumes but I can't say that there's an aftershave that I actually know of that I really like. I used to love Lagerfeld in the 80s and then in the 90s Artemis but I don't think guys wear those anymore. At least if I'm to believe my nose.

When I was still in school and in my teens and I was doing my engineering course there was this guy who was from Paraguay or Uruguay, I forget which, and he was a friend of my friend Carlos who was from Chile. The guy's name was Jorge and I thought he was so hot. He had the nicest behind I had ever seen. I never went out with him or anything because I was quite content perving at his behind while I was hanging out with my friend Carlos wagging classes so we could smoke and drink coffee.

One day I realized that Jorge wasn't all I thought he was cracked up to be. His behind wasn't really all that nice to look at suddenly. I was puzzled for a while but then I realized that he had changed aftershave. He went from wearing Lagerfeld to wearing something else that my olfactory sense didn't find nearly as appetizing.

Not long after that I was having dinner with my family and I can't remember why we were talking about aftershave but I declared at some stage during the conversation that Lagerfeld aftershave was the kind of stuff that could make any man, and he could be butt ugly, look dead sexy and completely irresistible to any woman.

Within a few weeks my father and my brother were both wearing Lagerfeld.

It was a very confusing time in my life.

Fair game - the art of only worrying about your own work

It's become a bit of a theme in the comments on this blog and to at least some extent it's provoked by subjects I choose to write about. Women feel like they're not getting an even break in our society.

I don't think we are, I think I've made that much clear, but I think it's more due to our won mindset than anything else. Yeah, you heard me. I think it's our own fault, not fully and wholly but we have to take responsibility for at least some of it girls!

We're very quick to say that we are taught to behave like good girls. We don't seem to get very far when we do but we still do it. When we don't do it the men around us are pretty quick to call us bitchy and most of the time we start behaving again.

We were sent out to work in a man's world and what we have failed to do is to make it our as well. Women do think differently and I think we have more of a tendency to try to be fair and to think more of the team than the majority of men do.

I'm not all for changing yourself until you can't recognize who you are anymore but what I am in favor of is playing the game the way it should be played. If someone is giving you the shits you should tell them and I don't think it matters what level that person is on. What is wrong with turning around to your boss and say 'I don't like the way you treat me!" There should be nothing wrong with that at all.

And as for being called bitchy. Take a look at how men treat each other and you soon realize that most of them call each other names too. They get over it though.

Personally this is something I need to do. I have spent a lot of time covering for the shortcomings of my senior writer because I felt it reflected badly on me. Truth is that it reflects far worse on him but I have to allow others to see it. That means that I don't check his work and correct it before it goes out. It means that I allow documents to reach others so that they can see.

The attitude is all wrong, I know. It's about getting the work done and to do it well but this guy takes credit quick enough and when the other guys in the department walk past me to talk to him, I am his boss, and he proceeds to talk like he runs the show then I think it's kind of fair game. Don't you?

This week I will take full responsibility for everything I author and I will take none for what he authors. I need to do this because I need to play by the rules that exist in my workplace. There is no one for all, all for one. There's only one and none.

It's an experiment.

Literature v. Entertainment

I'm not really a snob when it comes to reading material.

It's not like I go through everything I read and edit it in my mind.

If the writer has something decent to say I'll read it no matter how bad the grammar or spelling is, it matters not to me one little bit.

I'd be hypocrite if I picked on others for that sort of thing considering I'm just about the laziest person there is when it comes to proofing my own blog posts to make sure everything's above board.

I do, however, take issue with certain writings being referred to as literature.

There are days when I and my senior technical writer end up having heated discussions about that sort of thing (one favorite topic is capitalism - I think it's not working and he thought, please take note of the past tense used, that it's really good for all) and we seldom agree. Our last discussion of this nature started with me ranting about Stephanie Meyers and her god damn Twilight Saga. It's badly written. Period.

I don't have to clarify why I say that, you're a clever cookie.

My senior technical writer loves bullet points, they're sometimes our friend but not always, and also tried to convince me the other day that you can drill out a rectangular cutout in a cabinet in the field (i.e. after it's been installed at the customer's dig and is no longer in manufacturing). Think about that for a brief second my dears...

Drills make holes that are round and we're looking for a rectangular cutout...

Anyway, said senior technical writer's wife is reading Twilight and she loves it. My comment was that he shouldn't let her read that shit because it will rot her brain and he actually got angry.

Literature. There's a difference between it and entertainment. Twilight is entertainment and as such it is adequate for some. Literature it's not.

I couldn't personally sit down and read Twilight because it makes me angry. I have read pieces and that'll do me, thank you very much. To be honest, I had enough problems reading Dan Brown's the Da Vinci Code but it suited me at the time. The chapters are very short and I was traveling on public transport at the time.

I guess what I'm trying to get at there is that just because something sells doesn't mean it's good. It very much depend on marketing and the ability to get merchandise out there with a movie or a book. In the case of Twilight it's saturated the market and people get used to seeing it and accept it because of that. A lot of people automatically assume that because something is popular it means that it's good. I disagree.

I think it's really important to know the difference. When I was studying engineering I had a Swedish teacher who used to hammer on about James Joyce and Fyodor Dostoevsky to the point that you wanted to fill your ears with pieces of glass rather then listen. She had a really good point though: By all means read anything that you can get your hands on and if you're entertainment by it then that's good. Just make sure you know the difference between literature and entertainment.

It's taken years but I agree with her. Still don't like admitting it though.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remember when I was five...

I've been quiet this week because I've had nothing concrete to say.

I do that.

I have a massive spurt of writing and giving birth to ideas then I withdraw as if I need to stop and collect data again. It's not so much that I don't have anything to say during the withdraw phase, it's just that I lack the right vocabulary to say it with it seems.

I've had better weeks and I say this because I have hit some really low points. I've had moments of extreme sadness and of feeling utterly lost and fearful. I'm starting to learn that this is not me, it's something I carry with me. What I can't tolerate is my inability to figure out where it comes from. I suspect that I know I just won't let myself see it yet.

End of last year I junked every single post on this blog and started fresh again. I won't do that this year but it is time to change direction a bit. I've been lacking real structure in life and what I write (just look at all the labels I've used for my posts!) but it feels now as if I'm heading somewhere. I'm not sure where that is yet but things are changing in me and while I'm unsure of the details it's feeling rather profound.

I stood in a kitchen a few moments ago and I remembered a feeling I had when I was perhaps five.

I had been sitting in the backyard carving a piece of wood with a knife (those were the days when kids were allowed to use proper tools...) and my mother had told me several times that unless I cut away from me I would end up cutting myself. I stubbornly continued doing it "my way".

I did cut myself. I cut one of my fingers. When it happened I didn't cry and I wasn't afraid. I went to the bathroom where the band aids were kept and put one on my cut after wiping it clean and washing it. I went back out into the backyard and began carving the piece of wood again this time cutting away from me.

My mother noticed a while later. I knew she did because she stopped obviously noting that I had changed the way I used the knife and of course she also noticed the band aid. She never said anything to me though and I remember feeling glad that she didn't especially since I was already fully aware that it was my own fault that I had been cut.

When I stood there in the kitchen moments ago I found myself revisiting how I felt when I was five and how utterly unafraid I felt back then. I felt like I was truly in charge of what was happening to me and I knew that it was mostly about how I chose to react to things that determined how I felt. I felt protected and it wasn't only my parents that made me feel that way, there was something bigger that I was aware of too, as if I was aware that what was happening to me, my life, was just a temporary experience and nothing to worry about.

That's the me I am, that's the me I want to be again. When I felt that feeling again I found myself grinning from ear to ear.

When we talk about feeling empowered I think that's what were talking about, the knowing that you're not a victim of circumstances and that you have the power to change if nothing else just how you feel about something.

Monday, November 7, 2011

When others are breaking

I have an awful habit of feeling powerless when it comes to my own life and situation. There have been days after the breakdown when I have oddly enough felt the complete opposite. I began to get that real feeling that I am really in charge of my own fate, that I am the captain of my own life.

I have a friend who's breaking and he's breaking bad. He suffers from the most debilitating panic condition and the problem is that it's not a mental health condition, it's more like seizures. He's never found anyone who could tell him exactly what's wrong with him and there's certainly no hope of a cure.

Slowly but surely I've watched his attacks get worse over the past month to the point that he actually has what almost looks like an epileptic fit only he gets to be completely conscious through the ordeal.

He's ready to give up. He knows that the attacks will get worse until he ends up in hospital. He knows that he will again be told that there's nothing they can do to help him. He'll spend time in there until he's well enough to get out again.

I don't want him to go through this. I need him. He's a very important person in my life and I really can't stand the thought of him not being there. Selfish huh? Most of all I can't bear to hear him say that he can't take it anymore. It scares me.

There are days when I wish I had superpowers, days like today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Starving Demi

I was reading a newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, today and I usually find something I think it utterly ridiculous in it. Today it was Ros Reines (to be honest I'm not even sure who she is - some sort of celebrity peeping Tom?) dissecting Demi Moore and her relationship with Ashton Kutcher.

Or should that be flailing marriage to Ashton Kutcher the philanderer?

Or should that be the marriage of two philanderers?

Or should that be the marriage of two people of very different ages?

Or should that be the marriage of a cougar and a toy boy.

I don't know.

I kind of prefer to think of them as Demi and Ashton.

The media has been watching Demi like a hawk of late giving us constant updates on her alarming weight loss. It is alarming. the poor woman looks like she would break in two if there was a sudden strong wind gust.

You have to be a little concerned but then I don't think we need to really know why she's lost so much weight. I don't anyway. If Ashton's been a right bastard well then he's been a right bastard but of course perhaps she was a right bitch. Maybe the relationship has just run its course.  Maybe having relationships last forever just isn't anymore.

I don't care.

Seeing Demi Moore starving is not nearly as alarming as seeing one third of the world starving. Maybe Demi is taking a stand against starvation. It would be kind of cool if she would front up one day barking at the press for taking such interest in her getting too skinny when they can't be bothered writing about starving Africans anymore.


Alarming

A lot more alarming


I'm just saying.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh, there's just so much of it!

Mouse over at A mouse in France commented on the last post (and she’s got the Che Guevara t-shirt) and it made me think. Again! There’s no bloody end to it once my brain gets a hold of something to entertain itself with. The internal conversation is pretty much me telling it shut up and concentrate while it finds references and new ideas and ways to string that together in posts. I’m not in control. That much is apparent.

“I am still incensed about the bankers and their bonuses.”
Oh my god, yes! Do they need that much money and what have they done to deserve it? I’ll raise you the Qantas CEO last week stranded 68000 travellers because he had a bit of a tantrum over talks with his pilots. Oh, I forgot to mention that he just got a $1.7M pay rise a few days prior so he now earns $5M a year. Poor man!

“…about the hypocrisy of the whole BP thing…”
How big can you make a carpet? Big enough to cover huge oil spills should you ever need to sweep one under a carpet.

“yet Bhopal is still a toxic mess 25 years after the 'accident' that killed thousands.”
Have you ever watched The Yes Men Fix the World ? If you haven’t you must do it as soon as possible. There are two movies and in one they take on Dow Chemical (Dow bought up Union Carbide after the Bhopal disaster) and set up a fake interview with the BBC in which Dow announced that they would pay for the cleanup. Dow’s share price plummeted as a result. Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno have balls the size of volkswagens (watch it and you’ll know what I mean) and as a bonus are not bad to look at (I had to throw in a bit of sexism there – had to).

“..the War On Terror which smells too much like 1984”.
I can’t talk about that. I wouldn’t know where to start or how to for that matter. I can’t even look at it. I avoid this topic because it’s so loaded. We’re going to have to talk about this soon some time though, we really do, but it’s a landmine of epic proportions.

I’m loving this, not because I get attention on my blog but because we’re talking about really important stuff here.

I’m just saying.

P.S. I need the t-shirt. I really need the t-shirt.

Overwhelming

OK, so there are a lot more people out there who think that the world leaves a lot to be desired and that we could do a lot better than we’re currently doing. Basically we want more fluffy bunnies (julochka has some of those) and kittens (any animal shelter should be able to help there - I hear they have a massive surplus – watch out though, they grow up).

Seriously, I thought I was alone and radical but it appears that I’m almost mainstream. I tried to feel bad about that, who wants to be average right, but I realize that it’s all very encouraging. However, I will need to buy a T-Shirt with Che Guevara on it to stand out a bit. They kind of look good if you’re wearing jeans.

I’m being naughty. I’m writing this at work. Let’s call it a warm up before I get to writing about machines and equipment. I need more coffee.

Anyway.

The last 24 hours have made me realize that the Wall Street movement is just the tip of the iceberg. As much as that movement seems a little vague and disorganized I think we need to look at it more as a sign that things are brewing. They’re not rioting yet but they’re expressing their dismay at…a lot of things. This is good. We can’t expect everyone to have a clear view of what they want instead and we shouldn’t tell them to shut up until they do. They’re unhappy and they’re letting us know. Good on ‘em.

I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at the world and you know you want it to change because it’s basically going wrong. As normal people we have a feeling that things are out of control and that we, the people, are not having a lot of say in where it’s heading.

Democracy. Anyone remember that? We elect people to represent us in parliaments…yeah, you remember? How do you feel it’s working for us?

To me it’s seems that politicians have completely lost the plot. I don’t think it’s their fault necessarily but I think the system needs a shake-up.

Here in Australia we finally got a female prime minister last year. She didn’t get her job through election. There was a sort of hostile take-over. Now the previous prime minister whose job she took is rumoured to be plotting a hostile take-over, this month, so he can get back in power. Come on people! This is not a personal power struggle! This is our government! Keep your eye on the ball and lead the country people! Concentrate and do what you were elected to do.

We actually had our prime minister appear on Junior Master Chef as a judge here in Australia. Cute (PR smart as well) but not terribly useful. Keep your eye on the ball.

It’s time for me to switch into corporate mode and do something useful.

I’ll be back. Except not Terminator style OK.

Blog meltdown

It appears that my blog has had a meltdown and my template is all messed up. Please bear with it until I can get home and fix it or until it fixes it self. Until then it will have to be an assault on the eyes I'm afraid.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wow and hi!

Today brought a nice surprise. A mention of me and my blog at julochka's moments of perfect clarity brought an avalanche of new traffic which means I had some new faces around here. All that really made me happy.

I was going to write a follow up to yesterday's post but I think julochka pretty much covered everything I wanted to say about it, at least for now.

I've never really had any real intentions for this blog. I just really like to write, Most of the time I write to get things out of my head so I can look at them a little more objectively.

I guess when I write about things that tick me off, like corporate crap and injustices in the world, I do it also in the hope that it will make more people think about those things should they happen to stop by and read it.  I also like to see if there are more people who think like me out there. Especially in the past few weeks I've had people comment and they're expressing their own individual views and I love it!

I've had this blog for a few years and it's almost a year ago since I decided to delete all the old posts and start anew. I've thought about adding them all back but I'm not sure I want to. I don't think I'm the same person I was even a year ago.

Right now, at this exact moment, I feel incredibly blessed. In the past few months I've stumbled across a lot of really good blogs that I started to read regularly and these people are now coming to visit me. I feel humbled.

All this may seem a little like sentimental crap but I'll tell you why it feels so important to me right now. I have a voice again. For so many years I wasn't talking at all and I've held it in. The moment I let it lose in this blog I expected that it would be ignored or criticized but instead I'm seeing people come back and I keep track of them in turn on their blogs.

If you're one of the people who come by regularly, and I know you are because I look at the stats, and never comment please join in. I'm no comment whore - I just love a good discussion.

I've had so many great comments today and I hope all of you stick around. You've all just made my day!

This little possum is off to her nest to get some well earned sleep.

If I'm lucky cat #3 wants to play teddy bear again and I get to cuddle up with her little warm body against mine. We pretend we're little bunny rabbits but we don't tell anyone because we fear they will think we're being childish. Cats worry about things like that too you know.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yesterday beet. Today *yawn*

I arrive at this point occasionally. The point is that I'm tired but not in a bad way. At this particular stage I feel something akin to contentment and I may even be a little satisfied.

Things aren't perfect but they're good enough and good enough is pretty good.

Maybe it's finally being off the medication that's making me feel like this and more, ummm what's the word, normal than I have in years it seems. But then time tends to be deceptive and it stretches and contracts in your mind as it pleases.

I feel like something is concluding, coming to an end and is about to get off my back once and for all. I hope that feeling is right. I have a list of things that want to get off my back.

Today, my dear friends, life's not so bad after all.

So, no profound thinking today I'm afraid folks. Tonight it's just little old me ready to curl up into a little ball so I can fall asleep and dream pretty dreams. I want to sleep like little bunnies do: innocently and huddled up together with other furry tiny bodies to remind you that sometimes when you feel alone nothing could be further from the truth.

Bonne nuit mes amis...

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