Time to be Cheerful Again

In Preparation

In Preparation

It’s been a while – and I realise the year has almost finished and I have only written TWO full blog posts!

Well what can I say? 2014 has been so incredibly up and so incredibly down. I will say that this is the year that I turned 25, and then turned 30. About 5 years of aging… seems about right? Hopefully it was only mental – having a 54 year old mother who is frequently mistaken for 34 means pressure – I have some very youthful shoes to fill (sexy strappy sandals with a 5″ heel, to be precise). And the only things she credits are: sun block, excercise, and plenty of fruits and vegetables! Thanks Mum. :P

A’s due date is fast approaching. We named her. It is a beautiful name and I will tell you that it begins with the letter A. I worried that I would be falling apart this month but really – I have reached a space. Memories of my pregnancy are filled with joy, so I feel joy when I remember. Memories of my miscarriage and the months following are filled with pain, so I feel pain when remembering. I can feel both emotions fully and completely and still continue to feel and experience what is present, whatever that is. Thoughts of the future… well I have so many scenarios in my head with so many different emotions.

I take care of my health more. I’m more paranoid about pills, herbs and meds. I was never a big drinker of caffeine or alcohol but I have cut down even more now. And I feel kinda weird around 2nd hand smoke – like – the Crazy in me starts to yell out “GETAWAYFROMMEYOUAREKILLINGMYOVARIES” even though my logical brain knows that 2nd hand smoke exposure has been found to be dangerous during pregnancy when experienced daily, I think the number was about 4 packs of 2nd hand smoke a day?? YES I have checked the facts. A couple hours outdoors, around smokers, one day a week, is not going to hurt me or any unborn babies – according to the research.

But generally speaking, I am more paranoid about my health. I spent 25 years with a strong sense of trust in my own body and that suffered a major blow. I question EVERYTHING.

The miscarriage and the months following were the hardest in my life so far. I got a crash course in emotional management. That is: cry 1 hour before work – go to work and go HAM – go home and cry for another hour… or however long I need to for the evening. I actually allocated slots of time for myself to just cry non-stop… I had no idea I had that much control in me but it’s what I had to do, so I did it. Eventually, that daily schedule turned into an every-other-day schedule. Now its more like an evening once or twice a week. There were some adjustments along the road as well. Eventually I had to toughen up for my husband who was also suffering but differently. I’m not saying anything very new here but it should be said nonetheless: two different people in a relationship will react to everything differently. Relationships survive when you understand this fact and do not try to fight it. The emotional consequence of losing a baby can be equally as painful for men as it is for women. Because of our macho culture, men can feel very caught off guard to be feeling such pain after a miscarriage (not that we aren’t caught off guard, it’s just that the emotional pain is a little more expected of us), but for many men it is still there nonetheless. They may not all show it the same ways we do, but it’s still there and it still hurts.

To say work was crazy when I went back after my week off is an understatement! Whether this is coincidence or not – I have no idea. But professionally, I have grown a LOT. Once again – out of necessity, being thrown into the deep end and all. My boss resigned days before I found out I was pregnant and for the next couple months it was all easy and quiet despite being the only employee in my department. Then, somehow, I came back and major presentations and deadlines just APPEARED! I worked a tonne of extra hours that first month in order to take part in my first ever presentation as a professional. I’ve been going to fancy meetings, taking control of several projects… I have crossed several milestones in just 6 months… and I am very impressed with myself. I can even say the same for my husband experiencing the same thing! All this acheived while sorting through so much pain. I actually felt like I was losing my mind through all of this and that is not an exaggeration. Seriously considered going to therapy, however that would have meant taking more time off work as NO ONE makes appointments past 4pm. Plus, that sh*t is EXPENSIVE. Husband and I decided to tough it out with friends and family. Whether we would have benefited from therapy, I don’t know, but we have survived.

The reason why I have named this post “Time to be Cheerful Again” is because finally, I feel like my husband and I are in sync again. I feel so loving towards him and I feel so loved by him. After months of distance between us when neither of us felt much of these things towards each other, I feel so blessed to be back here again. We are not perfect, we never will be, but we work and we are in love again.

My parents and brother are coming to visit in 5 days and I cannot wait. I have missed them more than ever, I just wish my sister was coming too but she has a dissertation to write :P so I understand completely, having been there before!

Praying for health and love through the next step.

A’s Mother.

Thought Snippets

Have spotted a couple of gems on my Reader in the past day or two :)

This one encouraged me a lot before starting yesterday’s post as of course I can relate to this whole thing entirely!! Feels like a snapshot of my life, wish I had written it myself. I think every woman needs to read this anyway. So go ahead then get back to me. Do it now!

The other one stated a quote I had not heard before, but I love it so have decided to share.

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.— Frank Outlaw

Don’t know who Frank Outlaw is, have not felt like Googling him just yet as I am sleeepy! But I like this quote anyway, would like to turn it into a painting and hang it above my bed.

I need to buy some paint.

And some paper.

And some brushes… gaaahh!!

Hope that these snippets inspire you as much as they inspired me :)

Small Victories: Acting Out the Honour

So being engaged and all, I now have to open my self up to the responsibility of the vocation which I have to honour that is now staring me right in the face.

I knew it was coming, but it just wasn’t IN MY FACE like it is now!

I didn’t expect the “inmyface-ness” to be so intense, me and my fiance have been together for almost 10 years now. Yep! Our first date was one week before my 14th birthday :-) sweetness! So needless to say, we have had plenty of time to prepare.

I’ve been looking at bridal websites as that is how I do my research on how I’m supposed to plan a wedding, what the etiquette is etc. These websites also have a fun selection of quizzes and articles to help prepare us for married life… pssshhh! Right! These articles and quizzes have all become a big vague blur of shallow bullet points detailing top 10 date night ideas, what our sleeping style says about us, how to win over the in-laws bla bla bla.

Then there is the occasional emphasis on marriage being a lifelong commitment. Which is true. We know this already and we’ve heard it many times before! But that is all that is said. I don’t know why all these articles everywhere can state that “marriage is a lifelong commitment” but never actually dissect what it is they are really saying. It is just a blanket statement! What does this commitment entail? What is it made up of?

So what I want to emphasise today is this: Marriage is not just a “life long commitment”. Marriage is a responsibility and it is an honour. Honour is something that needs to be acted out. It needs to be lived. It is a continuous every day action.

I think this viewpoint is important because sometimes people can view the word “commitment” as simply implying that you are to stay with your spouse til death do you part. That’s not all there is and it’s not that simple!

Marriage is not just staying together.

The actions and responsibilities aren’t just that you do what you have to do just to be with your partner.

You do everything you can to grow together as a unit or a team.

Your partners growth is now not only their own responsibility, it is now yours too. Just as it is now their responsibility to help you in your own personal growth.

You are not there just for the sake of being there. You are there with a job to do! You are there to act as your partners rock, support and empowerment.

This is the action of honouring the vocation of marriage.

For example:

I know the cycles My Dark Side goes through. There are three or four, haven’t actually counted but anyway. I need to put little goals in my mind. This is a good thing because when I am working towards a goal I do my best to achieve it. I have on my best behaviour and I think everything out as best I can. The bad thing is that once I have reached that goal I stop. I feel like I have reached. I can afford to relax. I don’t need to put more effort in! I’ve done enough! So I stop thinking, stop trying, stop my positive actions. Then boom My Dark Side is back again. I slip up and didn’t even think it was that bad because “my previous good actions can make up for that! So I’m still good! I’ve done enough!!”

Then there’s the next cycle. Once I have realised the error I have made in the previous cycle of reaching a goal followed by a big lazy fall from grace, I am now aware of how bad it feels to fall from such a height. With the knowledge that it is human to fail, I become fearful of reaching such a height again due to the “inevitable” fall that will soon follow. So I enter into a cycle where I will follow a short burst of good actions by a self sabotaging burst of mess ups and failure. I know what I’m doing. I would just rather mess up now while both my partner and I anticipate it.

When you think it is O.K. to just be there with your partner for being there’s sake, this cycle is entirely possible. Because even though either of us can mess up and take our relationship for granted, at least we are there with each other and not moving!

But when you are engaged, when marriage is on the horizon, you are no longer just there to be there. You are there to honour your vocation to marriage.

Once again, you have a job to do!

So… when I hear My Dark Side begin to whisper in my ear at the beginning of any cycle it may be going through I have a new motivation to hold it off as long as I can. Yes, a fall from a great height may hurt much more than a shorter fall I chose for myself. But in the end the fall does not matter if I can climb back up again. And I know I can, I’ve already done it many times over the past 9.75 years! And even if the climbs get higher and the falls more so, isn’t that part of growing up? More responsibility? More honour?

And how do I hold off My Dark Side? Well this is just another small victory I have discovered. When I hear that whisper of My Dark Side I pause, nod, then get up and decidedly do something the complete opposite! I will do something nice for my fiance. Not just a hug or kiss because that would be for my own benefit. I get up and either pour him a drink, cook him lunch, massage his shoulders…. just something to say that this is my purpose, this is my vocation. Nothing else comes close!

So there we go, another small victory!

My Dark Side Helps Me To Forgive

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…

My Dark Side helps me to forgive.

Or maybe I should say “awareness of My Dark Side helps me to forgive”?

I can’t say I’m an expert, that’s not why I started this blog.

I think forgiveness has layers. If someone wrongs you, you have to choose whether or not you want to retaliate.

Someone may say that choosing not to retaliate may be forgiveness… but is it really?

I would like to describe myself as a generally calm person. In fact, I often do! If I’m having a good day or if I am in a situation where I NEED to appear positive a.k.a. job interviews, meeting new people, bla bla bla… I describe myself as someone who is “calm” and can stay “calm” in many situations.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t walk away and spend the next 3 days plotting my imaginary revenge or re-playing countless witty comebacks or even cat fight techniques that I should have thought of hours/days ago.

That’s right, I am not a calm person. I am VERY passive-aggressive!!

But on the outside, I really do look like I have forgiven the person! I look like an angel. And oh, don’t I wish I was :'( sadface.

And no, in my grown up years I can say that I have never gone out specifically with the intent of acting out revenge on an annoying acquaintance/friend/loved one. But I have on many occasions “slipped out” an action, word, face or whatever to portray that I really am not happy and that if I were a little more gutsy, maybe I would have thrown a real temper tantrum and thrown my dinner plate all over said acquaintance/friend/loved ones face!

One thing leads to another, bing bang boom everyone hates each other and we are all throwing imaginary dinner plates across the room.

SNOWBALL.

I’m making it sound funny, but it’s not. Relationships, families, communities, nations have broken down this way throughout the history of humankind. Sorry if I sound like someones Mother right now but hey, it is what it is.

I often think I am good because I haven’t retaliated, I have shown “forgiveness”.

But in the end it always comes out.

Those darn emotions get the better of me again :-s

So, anyway, My Dark Side had a (few) big snowball fight(s) and I’ve had time to recuperate. It is The Thorn In My Flesh. It is there to keep me from being conceited. It is there to remind me that I am flawed, I am weak, I am imperfect. I am reminded every day that I need to forgive or else I should not expect to be forgiven. I am reminded that this is something we all go through and that this is something we all need.

This helps me to forgive much more wholeheartedly than I ever have before.

The very freeing thing about this which I am sure has been said before is that forgiveness makes love so much easier.

I can’t stress this enough to anyone. It allows you to give knowing that what you get in return may not be immediate or perfect, but that’s O.K. because we all have our Thorns to deal with and you are going to be a part of the process.

I don’t think this is something I would be able to feel or understand without having to deal with my own Dark Side.

So there we go. My Dark Side helps me to forgive.

“…my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

A little elaboration for you :-)

Quietly thanking God for this, although not rejoicing just yet. This was a friggin hard lesson to learn and I still can’t get it right as often as I should. SMH!

Yours Thankfully,

Smileyface :-)

Small Victories: Taking My Own Advice

I have this new trick I’ve discovered. It’s fairly simple but it works for me.

I like to think that I am a fairly good advice giver, particularly when it comes to relationships. I give good advice by trying to relate to the various people involved in whatever dilemma is being presented to the person I am advising.

My issue is that I am not very good at taking my own advice.

I know I can’t be the only one!

I get a kind of “fight or flight” adrenaline feeling where I believe I have to do whatever comes to my head first to get away from the situation at hand. This gives me absolutely no time to really think about how I am going to handle anything. All I am looking for is a quick way out whether that is :-

  • Defeat: Agreeing with something I really don’t understand.

or

  • Victory: Fighting until I feel I have “won”.

Dealing with anything in this way leads to a pretty hollow result, and chances are that when I deal with something in these ways it is never really finished. Whatever the issue is, I feel it hovering over my shoulder until My Dark Side decides to jump out again and restart the entire cycle.

So recently when I was presented with one of my own dilemmas to deal with I took a moment and thought to myself “what would I tell someone else to do if they were in my situation?”

Sounds simple, but it actually worked!

This was a few weeks ago, and I can’t remember what the actual dilemma was. All I remember was that after I took a few moments to reflect inwards and take the advice that I would give to someone else in my situation, everything just felt much clearer. I also felt like I had finally overcome a piece of My Dark Side that had been bothering me for a very long time! These are fairly small things, but the end result when coming peacefully out of a dilemma is a feeling of true victory. This brings confidence, an ego-boost, harmony amongst all involved (at least for a little while!) and in this case a few very happy days :-D

The fact that I am a pretty emotional person means that I do really appreciate small victories!

New new new!!

So as mentioned in my first post I was moving abroad IMMINENTLY. Well that was referring to YESTERDAY.

I am now in my new home! In reality, this country isn’t that new to me :-p. I spent a very large chunk of my formative years here before leaving to start university a whole 6 years ago.

But nonetheless, this chapter of life is still new!

There are a few differences this time around as opposed to when I last lived here as well.

For one thing, my family no longer live here.

Neither do many of my friends although I know they will be back regularly :)

I am now here living with my fiance and his family (parents, aunties, uncles etc.) which is a blessing!

It is beautiful, and although I do have to fit in all the business of new job, new bank account, new phone bills, new stuff (bla bla bla!) all I really want to do is take a nice long walk in the rain forest/beach/town and soak it all in. Note my little clues I’m dropping as to where in the world I am right now! So far: rain forest, beach and town!

I know that this blog is meant to be focused on My Dark Side. But I don’t think she deserves that amount of attention right now.

Of course moving has always been filled with all sorts of drama, EMOTIONS, worries and complications which are littered with all sorts of opportunities for any Dark Side to grab on to and hump away at :-s …. For anyone concerned with the Dark implications of moving, I may delve into those a little later in this blog.

Overall though, I am happy to turn over a new leaf and I am especially happy that for once I really did manage to keep it all under control despite all the opportunities My Dark Side has had over this past couple of weeks. It wasn’t easy but I really do hope I can keep this up!

Anyway, I think I will end this one for now with a key word that I find has been a lot of help to me throughout all the little challenges and successes throughout my life:-

PERSEVERANCE.

Think about it!

Until the next time…

Smileyface!

A beautiful photo my Dad took the last time we all lived here!

The Thorn In My Flesh

My Dark Side does not make a statement with colossal mistakes or a grand entrance. It does not draw attention to its self or else it would be easy to spot and then eradicate. It creeps up on me in the little blunders and moments of careless, selfish indulgence that I encounter day to day. I ignore and dismiss these little blunders as they are just small and do not seem to represent anything more than the little blunders that they are.

Unfortunately, when I ignore these things they pile up. They can pile up unnoticed for months or years so that by the time I notice them, they have already done the damage necessary to make me feel like a horrible excuse for a human being. The one positive outcome of this is that it forces me to acknowledge that I do in fact have a Dark Side. Now what?

You see, the issue is that My Dark Side manifests its self when I am not aware of it. In order for me to not be aware of it means that I am probably at a wonderful place in life! I am getting everything right! I am feeling confident! I am happy!

This fact TERRIFIES me.

It terrifies me to the point where all I can come up with to counteract My Dark Side is stay on edge. I can never let myself get too happy or too confident at the risk that if I do, I will forget, and then My Dark Side will regain the momentum it had lost when I first discovered it.

I wish that I could forget it. I wish I could believe that I am the wonderful person with the dismissable imperfections that I thought I was.

A few months ago I rediscovered this verse:

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

This is beautiful. With the little but growing Faith I have, it doesn’t magically put everything right. But on my low days it is something I look at to remind myself of many things. Things happen for a reason. If I was perfect, then I would not need to grow. I would not need anyone to help me. I would not need love. I would not need God. I would be self-sufficient and alone on a pedestal.

Besides, if I ever thought I could become truly perfect, then I would probably just become conceited by my own amazingness and near perfection and then once again, alone!

So I know that living in fear of My Dark Side, putting a lid on my overall happiness, confidence etc. is not the right thing to do. It is actually quite exhausting and destructive to the bundle of joy that I strive to be!

Here is me finding another way :)

Yours Truly

Blankspace.

Tillah Willah

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