Uncategorized, emotion, selfishness, support, relationships, conversation

I wasn’t made for small talk, but it’s safe

I wasn’t made for small talk.

I’ve been told the normal route of conversations is that people talk about the weather, politics and even TV.

Of course I know this. I’ve done this. I can actually get passionate talking about some of this. I love debate and diverging views points that grow my world. And I laugh. A lot. And like it. What’s not to like? The rush of energy, serotonin and the occasional snorted or spat out drink. They are genuinely laughing matters!

But there’s this other thing. A thing I think I’ve always know was there, but only now do I realise it’s uniqueness. I build intrusively emotional connection.

I don’t mean to, honestly I don’t. But I often find myself in a labyrinth of untouched emotion around areas of such personal depth that I’m often left wondering, how did I just do that?

Within ten minutes of meeting a new person, I’m likely to know some pretty personal ins and outs. And likewise with people I love, I give them my all because I care. I ask questions and want to know they’re ok. I’ve tried to play it down or side step it but I often end up at the same place eventually – being emotionally intrusive.

I guess that sounds like the people don’t want to be there, but they do. I just happen to have built the path to that destination. Trust me, they willingly get on that road and walk it.

I’ve know the horrors and happiness of this double edged trait. That awkward moment when I realise I’ve gone too deep and can’t get out. The moment when I realise this person needs more than me to get of what they’re facing. That “how the fuck did that conversation just happen?!” moment.

And then there’s the joys and breakthroughs. The moments of happy tears, held back emotions released to roam and people just knowing that it will be ok.

I love and hate this deep part of me. I have forever wished I was the happy go lucky, keep it light type of person.

The truth is, my real connection comes in small clouds, crowds and bubbles. There’s an intimacy and hilarity that usually binds it. A connection that feels raw, delicate and vulnerable while being sturdy, hopeful and helpful.

Tonight I met my cousin – a friend as well as blood – she bluntly told me that’s why she loves me, needs me in her life and misses me.

I apparently punch her in the stomach with questions that cut right to the heart of the shit that matters.

Apparently that’s good, even though it sounds painful to me quite frankly.

I’ve heard and felt this a lot in my life – or at least the essence of it.

The long phone calls and chats, the reflective moments, the support, tears, laughter, hugs, smiles, stares and hidden wounds. I’ve felt emotions on so many scales and through so many people that I’ve often used them as distractions from what I was feeling. I’ve inadvertently created scary co-dependencies that I’ve had to ween myself away from.

I can’t tell you how hard that part is. Telling someone you can’t be there when otherwise you always have. Saying “no, I can’t” just so I can selfishly protect myself, my sanity, my energy or emotion.

And at these times I have hated myself more. Why have I done this to myself? Why have I created a place where others are safe at the sacrifice of me? Why am I me?

And then, I speak to my cousin, my friends and inner circle on the days I’m feeling strong and hear what they say.

We love you for all you are and all you share. We don’t want another version.

Apparently I’m just fine as I am. Even when I’m punch-in-the-stomach moving.

Who knew?

Mojo&Me xx

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fear, life, Uncategorized, work

It’s your path to travel, with or without excuses

Starting a new job, is like the first day at school. There’s some nerves. A struggle to sleep the night before. Apprehension.

Will I fit in? Will I make friends? Will I be successful?

And then, joy.

Please let this be the reason for me to buy new stationary… Ok, maybe that’s me.

Last night I felt all this and more. This would be the first job in a while that hasn’t been a short term contract. It’s the first job in a while where I haven’t been brought in for a specific purpose, with a specific end. It’s all encompassing. It’s at the centre of the business. It’s in my happy place of my expertise with driven, clever people who make things happen. Could I hold my own being there?!

Bring on a new day

Today I woke up and shunned my nerves. I’ll be who I am and just see how things go.

As soon as I met my boss I realised the learning curve was about to start, all over again. I got told things about projects, politics and people; history, holidays and (mild) hysteria; I laughed with my team, chatted to new faces and figured out how to set up my laptop and phone. Essential things.

But there’s something I can’t articulate…

Tonight, as I ride the train home, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am.

Have you ever had a moment of clarity where you just sit and think, thank fuck I did this? That’s me right now, on this train. Every risk I took in taking this role suddenly makes sense. I had to do it.

Everything feels right despite the list of reasons it shouldn’t:

  • I took a pay cut. In the charity sector I’m not going to make that up money anytime soon. And given the nature of the role, I’ll be working harder, for less
  • I walked away from a pending promotion – from a job I hated, but still, a promotion!
  • I mentally put on hold life goals, like buying a home
  • Did I mention the pay-cut?! Seriously, what was I thinking?

But none of this worries me, today.

What’s the narrative?

I had to choose a new path that could make me happy. And I did. It scared me, there were compromises, but I took the risk, even when I wasn’t sure, and did it.

It was so clear my company wasn’t right for me. But I started to kid myself it could be. If I could just…

  • Find someone to speak to, I’ll be ok
  • Take pleasure from not being challenged, this could be a sweet deal I have
  • Put up with bad leadership, demotivating managers and ridged bureaucracy, I could get that promotion
  • Accept that management wanted to keep me in a box and not stretch me, but pay me more money to do it, all would be just fine and dandy

Really? What a load of bull.

Let’s call out what these things are. Excuses, softeners maybe, a narrative I wanted to buy into to survive my day to day. But you know what? It didn’t work. I made that narrative and knew deep down I disbelieved it.

I knew because I felt terror in my tummy on the way to work, anxiety rising through my throat into my eyes every time I walked into a building where I felt trapped. Not physically maybe, but I started to believe I couldn’t get out, that I was better with the devil I knew than taking a risk playing with the devil I didn’t.

Choosing a path

My new job has made me realise that we often make excuses for staying on a path that we know, we’re not happy on. Maybe it’s too hard to challenge. Maybe we drown that whispered gut feeling with busyness. Or maybe we just kid ourselves into believing all will be fine, if we just do X, Y, Z. That will shut that little voice up at the back of my head. And my gut. And my friends.

But there is choice. There is always choice. Even when you think you’re trapped, you’re not. I urge you right now to reassess anything you feel trapped in. Assess the risk you might have to take to try a new way… and then… do it. Or at least, do something towards it.

Because you know what? No one else can do that for you. It’s your path for a reason. Make it count.

Mojo&Me xx

emotion, fear, happiness, home, mental health, travel, Uncategorized, work

The life I dreamt

Out of no where it hits me. Grief. Sadness. Disappointment. A loss of hope. All for a life we’ve just missed out on. A property that grew on me. A slow growth where I began to imagine things. A life. The next chapter. A home for now and the future. The tangible middle ground that would take us from being the ever adjusting travellers, finding our feet still (more than a year on), to a couple looking forward to and excited for all that is coming.

I know this feeling will pass and even as I type I remember all we have that I am grateful for. We aren’t homeless; we have family we can live with; I have a new job to start soon. Life actually isn’t too bad.

Sure, it’s not moving at a pace that we hoped for. Sure, since coming home I have felt like this is the road less travelled for me, where city life continues as my mind and body exist within it, but really, I’m still playing catch up.

Sure, my sense of self has changed endlessly and I have moments of never really knowing who I am now, what I keep from the past, what I let go of and what I build. Sure, it’s not been smooth. Or easy. Actually, it’s been pretty fucking hard and sometimes down right overwhelming. But hell, it could’ve been worse right?!

More recently…

I have been feeling the tug of the hamster wheel recently – the one I promised myself I would never get on again, the one I would look at from outside the cadge. But recently I have thought:

Wow. We work to pay off a mortgage that we don’t yet have. So we can provide for the children we dream of. Where does the fun fit in? Where does careless, reckless uninhabited happiness fit? Is it in the day to day or do we need to work harder to build it in?

So it’s been a funny road, this one of (non) property ownership. It’s left me feeling many things along the way and yet I can acknowledge, now it’s prematurely-over, that actually I wanted it. A lot. Even when I thought I didn’t.

Hard dreams

The thing about disappointment and sadness is that it can become so consuming that you can’t see what it’s taught you.

I’ve learnt so much about myself; I have pushed boundaries and confronted fears of the future; as a couple we have worked together, envisioning a future that is yet to happen but excited none the less.

Then sometimes, as I have fought my instinct to be short-termist, it had grabbed my throat and chocked me. Reminded me that deep down I’m frightened. And I didn’t always know what of.

Sometimes it’s because I don’t know how we get to all the things we want without becoming blind to the small things that make life great. How do we stop becoming impatient to rush ahead? What happens to appreciating the now? Can these two realms ever co-exist?

And sometimes, when I feel we’re almost there, I then think, what then? Will we be trapped? Is this it?

And now, as the future we were so close to getting slips from our grasp, I remind myself of all I’ve learnt and been through in this microcosm of life.

And it’s this.

It will all be ok, eventually. Dreams sought easily were never the big ones. The ones you fight yourself to achieve are this ones that grow you. Even if you don’t get them right away.

Mojo&Me xx

 

mental health, Uncategorized, work

A note to you, my colleague. A note I’ll never send.

 There are days that I feel like crying at my desk.

There are days that I feel that no matter how hard I work, I’m not god enough.

There are days that I feel used, unappreciated, ignored and sidelined.

 Work used to be fun. Now I feel I am trapped – trying hard to escape but getting nowhere.

 Then you send me an email.

You say thank you for the work I put in.

You say that it’s because of me things are running smoothly, that things are happening, getting done, showing results.

You tell me that I’m more than good enough.

You have brought me cake to my desk when I can’t stand the day and am crying behind my screen.

You have hugged me as I’ve had a melt down over things.

You remind me that nothing is worth getting upset over – especially not this.

 So although I will never send this note, I just want to say thank you.

Your words have pulled me back from the edge without you knowing and shone kindness in what often feels like a thankless place to work where I feel cadged to continue working and giving till I break.

 But I won’t break, not over this. As you say – it’s just not worth it.

 Mojo&Me xx

 

difference, hate, race, racism, Uncategorized

Fighting the racist thoughts

Last night, I was caught up in a racially aggravated fight. My husband was punched several times as were two other guys we were with – one needing stiches near his eye from where the glass from his specs broke on his face, the other a bloody cheek.

There was no need for this. Our friend had reported being racially verbally abused, minutes earlier to the pub manager. And by the time he walked over to us, his would be attacker had followed.

We didn’t fight back but instead tried to break people up. They ran out of the place. The police were called. Details were taken.

“If we can find who did this, do you want to take this further and press charges?”

“Yes – so it doesn’t happen to more people” my friend answered.

I had a 40 year old man cry on my shoulder at the shock of his first racial abuse having (literally) hit him. He grew up abroad where his ethnicity wasn’t a minority. Of course hate exited, but it wasn’t based on skin colour per say.

I had his English wife, in shock, stating: “I can’t believe this is the reality… Our husbands need to watch their back because they’re brown.”

“It’s not always like this, honest. Don’t let this skew your perception. Yes, this shit happens. But we’re lucky – for us it isn’t the norm,” I said to them both.

Deep down though, I was feeling differently and various thoughts and emotions flew through me.

1. No one hurts my people

I don’t mean ‘my people’ in a racial way. I mean it in a solidarity sense. If you’re my friend, if you’re my family, if I care about you – you’re my people. We’re in the same team. Mess with one of us and I see red.

I literally put myself in harms way for these people. I am not a violent person and have my temper in check over most things – but this is the one scenario where I loose my rationality.

I will shout. I will protect. I will be present.

Do not tell me not to. Do not tell me I shouldn’t. Because I will.

2. Not everyone will feel how we have felt in that moment

Isn’t that a good and bad truth? It’s great that not everyone has to feel this, but it’s sad, unfair and angering that a truth we have experienced, is something still unseen, unfelt and unreal for some.

Do we have an obligation to speak out; to tell our truth, to tell our stories; to make real what others don’t see? But to what end, I ask myself. Who cares, really? After all, this happened outside of your bubble – it happened to my people. Not yours. So will you care? Would you care more if the people were more like you?

Do disasters in a foreign country with brown people, mean less than disasters in another, where the people are more like ‘you’? The media thinks so, so why wouldn’t you?

3. I am aware of my difference

I watch my step more carefully – ensuring I don’t touch anyone; I observe people to see if they are watching me differently. I feel on edge as I travel home, aware suddenly of my difference to so many of the people I’m around. Could any of these people turn on me, my husband, my friends?

I’m shocked and saddened at my response to this. I don’t know what to do with the emotion that makes me hate, fearful and weary of people that have done nothing to deserve this.

A drunken, racist minority brought about this mind frame. I cannot be like them. If I judge everyone as if they are the person who swung at my husband or punched my friend, am I not as bad as you – the racist? Am I not tarring a whole swam of people with a brush tainted by a malicious moment?

This is rhetorical of course – I know the answer.

I refuse to be you, the racist.

My world is better than that…

Mojo&Me xx

 

emotion, friendship, life, marraige, relationships, Uncategorized

Inaction into unhappiness

His eyes moisten when he speaks of his partner.

“I can’t talk about this with you – I feel like I might cry” he tells me.

It has been two years and two months since I last saw my old colleague. He helped me when I felt my worst, listened to me as I sobbed, not knowing how I would ever feel  better, fretting over all the life that had been and all that could fearfully follow.

And now, as we drink wine and eat tapas and it seems while my demons may retreat now and then, and time has changed me, his world seems not to have moved.

He’s hurting over something that he has not dealt with and won’t in fear of how he could feel, how she may feel. But in not dealing with it isn’t he just choosing not to be happy?

He cannot commit to their future dreams, be it holidays or homes. He seems like he’s on pause. He tries to ignore his gut and his unsettling happiness yet it resides in every decision (or non-decision) he makes.

He cannot hide from his true feelings. He can pretend to the world all is ok and yet in his depths, his unhappiness and unwillingness to face things is stopping him having a fulfilling life where dreams can be dreamt and the future isn’t frightful.

Waiting two years and two months is too long to be in debt to undealt-with emotion. In honestly we all do this for too long.

But what if he chooses a different way? What if he faces all this is…?

I’m pretty sure it will become harder before it gets better. His moistened eyes will cry, his fragile heat will break a little. But then, he has done something. He has tried to make life more than bearable. He has chosen to seek happiness; not simply hide sadness and discontent like it doesn’t exist.

Dear friend, I hope with all my heart this works out. After all, don’t we all deserve to choose happiness?

Mojo&Me xx

emotion, life, marraige, mental health, travel, Uncategorized

Anniversary

Today is our two year wedding anniversary, marking a momentous turning point in our life. Not because of the wedding per say, but for what we promised each other for that year and beyond.

Today also marks a year since we came back from a year long honeymoon, exploring the world and our marriage through a lens of freedom and hopefulness.

You posted a beautiful heartfelt message to me. Things I know you feel because you tell me often. Things that touch my heart and make me grateful for all I have found in you – my partner, my best friend, my soul mate, my other half. 

But my emotion is a private one.

I hide it often behind laughter, hardness, look always and stolen glances; behind a toughened heart, only you have softened and see through to. My expression is overt when I see you and want you close – hand in hand, face to face, an unexpected hug, a playful jump on you. A reassurance that you’re mine. That somehow the universe brought us together and we are one of the lucky ones. At other times it is independent and stubborn – not something I need overtly, sometimes it is shunned as I block out the world and protect myself from forces that are breaking me.

Our wedding was a magical moment in time, but the life we are striving to create, even when things are hard, is what I love you for. The belief that we have in knowing all will be ok, if we face things together. The belief that the road we travel is bumpy, especially as we struggle to find our feet after travel, but we will be ok.

You are my optimism during hard times, when I can’t face another day. Everyday I am amazed that you can love me even with my damaged edges and troubled mind.

My biggest fear is that one day you will realise who I am, how different I am to girl you met all those years ago, how I can no longer match or challenge your ambition or mind.

My spirit to run away and hide is there still, tamed, but when I am scared of life I have to fight the urge to run. You are my reason to fight. You are my reason to stay. You are my reason on many days, to live.

When I see you sad at the thought of loosing me to the devil I have within, I want to get better, for you. So I don’t ever loose you and you don’t ever loose me.

I hope you don’t read this. On day I should be writing you a love note, I have needed to be cathartic about how our anniversary of travel and marriage has built this foray of emotions. Ones of love and hopefulness against the fear and sadness that I am trying to conquer.

This years anniversary will be tinged by being the time I went to the doctors; the time I was advised I needed medication, the time I was referred for further help for an illness not seen, but felt.

I don’t want these things to define this time; I don’t want them to define me.

So if you are reading this, please remember this: today is another beautiful day of our marriage. I love you with a spirit I can’t always express. Look into my eyes and I know you’ll see it. Small hearts dancing in my iris as I look at the man who I will be with for the rest of my life. No matter where it takes us.

I love you for all you are, all you will be and all you give me. You are my reason for being and my inspiration to keep going. On the days I don’t want to wake up, you’re the reason that made me glad I did.

Forever yours,

Mojo&Me xx