On match.com

Okay, so I’m a seasoned online dater. I’ve tried all the big sites (Plenty of fish, Ok Cupid & Lava life) on and off for 6 years now, with varying degrees of success. Well, online dating has gotten me some great lovers, plenty of dates and allowed me to meet some really nice people. I’m now ready for a bit more than just a fling/lover, but I’m also I’m kind of tired of online dating.

However, my friend suggested I go on match.com. Well, she thinks that the guys are better looking. So, I tried it. I mean, I paid for 3 months. I signed up last week. I always said to myself that I would never pay for online dating, but at Thirty I caved! Is that a sign of being desperate? I just figured what sort of online dating expert would I be if I hadn’t even tried a paid site!

The interface is ugly and old school, and not that user-friendly. The picture graphics are pretty grainy. And more importantly I just wanted to share that I don’t think it’s doing wonders for my self-esteem. Like 300 people have viewed my profile and only like 20 have winked, emailed or “favourited” me. My friend assured me that the same thing happened to her, but still.

I kind of regret the 3 month deal and wish I went for 1 month. The guys I message don’t message me back and I’m not getting as many emails as I would if I signed up to another site. Plus there are a lot of seemingly douchy guys! I miss Ok Cupid, but I’m going to persevere. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it. I’m going to be strong and keep growing thicker skin.

On being grateful.

When things are tough, not better time to count our blessings and be thankful! I have decided to reflect on things I’m grateful for in 2013:

  • I’m grateful that I have a job. 
  • I’m grateful that I can afford to live on my own.
  • I’m grateful for my spacious one bedroom apartment.
  • I’m grateful for my friends.
  • I’m grateful for how much both my parents love me.
  • I’m grateful for the colourful City that I live in.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunities that my parents provided for me: immigrating to Canada; supporting my education; exposing me to the world; allowing me to think for myself.
  • I’m grateful for the intimate relationships that I have developed in my life.
  • I’m grateful for my physical and emotional health.
  • I’m grateful for my independence.
  • I’m grateful for my freedom as a woman at Thirty.
  • I’m grateful that I know who I am.
  • I’m grateful that I have been and continually am allowed to be myself.
  • I’m grateful for all the people in my life whom have taught me something.
  • I’m grateful for my education.
  • I’m grateful that there’s no familial pressure to conform to the status quo.
  • I’m grateful that there’s no familial or peer pressure to live a more conventional lifestyle.
  • I’m grateful for the bubble I live in that is full of compassionate, left-leaning, critical thinking people.
  • I’m grateful that I live in a democratic society.
  • I’m grateful that I didn’t have to experience economic hardship growing up.
  • I’m grateful for my support system.
  • I’m grateful the my benefits cover things like acupuncture, massage, therapy so I can be well.
  • I’m grateful that my sisters are my best friends.

This is a good start for now.

On glimmers of hope.

I want to document the mood I’m in right now. Because I haven’t experienced it for a while. And because I’m aware that it might be fleeting, and I might forget that I was ever in it.

I feel good.

I just came from a dinner with two of my closest friends. I was really happy to see them after about a month. I also let something go today at work, learning from someone that it’s not worth fighting or being angry. I also gave my team a pep talk that I hope keeps them balanced in a time of uncertainty. That all felt good.

In my current mood, I feel the undercurrent of possibility and excitement that I used to feel in less darker times. The glimmer of hope.

I asked my sister over the break if she thought I was depressed. Because I felt like shutting down. Because I was having thoughts about death. Not that I wanted to die, but that death was certain. If that was so, where and why should I find meaning in life itself.

She said she didn’t think I was. She said that I was dealing with the experiences of burnout that I recognized last month- that she saw me as being disillusioned with the change-making, social justice oriented process and developing a new belief that love doesn’t exist. Which I can work though, via therapy.

In the same sentence, she also said that she was excited for me; that she saw the possibilities for me in my life and felt confident that those life affirming feelings would return. I am hoping that she is right. And if my current mood is any indication, I think the excitement for life is there. Perhaps it’s just lying dormant, weighted down by years of unspoken things, and things un-dealt with.

On New Year’s Resolutions.

I haven’t drunk alcohol for about three weeks now and I haven’t drunk coffee since the second week of November! Why? Well, I’m kind of giving my liver and spleen a break from having to process some of these toxic substances, but in general I’d like to be healthier. I haven’t been craving either substance, although I have looked longingly at cups of espresso and bottles of Malbecs and Bordeauxs that my parents have been dining with in front of me over the holidays.

My plan is to kind of keep going into the New Year, at least for the first few months of 2013. Do you think it will possible?

I wonder if the not drinking will affect my social life- will I stop enjoying going out to bars? Will I leave early at parties? Will I become anti-social?

Whatever happens, I’m kind of excited! My mood is generally better as is my skin, and my energy levels have been higher. I’m started to actualize my vision board! That exercise was so powerful! Here’s to keeping New Year’s Resolutions!

On choosing a therapist.

I booked my first appointment with a therapist last week and had my first session yesterday.

Before I say how it was, I just want to say that I have high expectations for therapists and am overly critical of them. The first time I ever went was when I was doing my undergrad. I used the university’s services. It was a terrible experience. She didn’t pay attention to me; she was scribbling through her agenda on and off the entire time.

When I was recently looking into therapists, the first woman I was emailing back and forth with didn’t use proper punctuation and grammar in her emails. I mean, nothing too serious but used things like “…” and didn’t capitalize her letters (think 16 year old text or bbm messages). So being harshly critical and judgemental, I wrote her off. I just figured that if I’m paying you $150 a session, your communication with me should be professional, no? I mean, given that I’m in social services, I realize that there could be a lot of factors contributing to her seemingly casual style of communication like a learning disability, English as a second language, age (sometimes older people just aren’t good with technology), but given that I’m in crisis right now I don’t think I have it in me to be so forgiving and non-judgemental. Anyways, she’s out.

Then I found another lady. I looked up psychologists online and found a decent profile of a woman who was knowledgable about a variety of approaches (psychodynamic, relational, Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy). Her picture was up and she seemed young and looked to me like a woman of colour. Seeing someone I could relate to was important. Someone that might be sensitive to experiences of ethno-cultural communities, and who understands the role race plays our lives was important.

Our first session wasn’t bad. She seemed a bit younger and less experienced than her online profile indicated. It felt good to talk for an hour. She asked good questions. She was a bit disorganized at the end in terms of booking a second appointment and she rushed off to go downstairs to get her second client, which I didn’t appreciate.

BUT, all in all it was good I think. She offered me a sliding scale. Our initial conversation went all over the map. I have no idea which issues we’ll end up focusing on. I realize I’m seeing her because of burnout, career transition stuff, emotional stress, but am fully aware we might have to delve into my past, aspects of which I may never be ready to talk about but am fully aware that there are potential blocks there.

Here’s to finally getting some help!

On Burnout.

I think I’m actually burning out, like in a bad way. And looking for a new job might not be the answer. I mean, that’s what I thought for the majority of this year, as I started to think about sectoral changes and doing something completely new. I thought that was the answer to my issues with my current job. I had this huge five year plan that I had started thinking about which focused on a career in  the healing arts. That all seemed very solution-focused, and practical. But back then, 6 months ago I was able to think about this rationally.

Something new has been happening to me this month– it’s not usual ups and downs, and it’s incredibly irrational.
  • My body is exhausted all the time.
  • Work used to make me angry but it was primarily directed at my boss and frustrations with unethical non-profit practices, lack of leadership and lack of efficiency. Now I find that I’m angry all the time at work.
  • The smallest error someone on my team makes triggers me into major anger and irritability. There have been three incidents this week when I have snapped at people, one in writing which has turned into something else. That is not me at all.
  • I’m also forgetting things in a way that I have never forgot things before. Usually I’m highly productive and a huge multi-tasker and really efficient. Now I am totally completely blanking on things like I have never blanked on before. As in completely not remembering some tasks and to-do’s even after I write them down.
  • I’m avoiding all situations where I have to interact with all staff. I called in sick recently to avoid people.
  • I feel the usual stuff- undervalued, under supported, frustrated, under-compensated.
  • I’m starting to think that I come across as an emotional, bitchy stress-case.
  • I crave quiet days at work where no one talks to me.
  • My heart rate has increased.
  • I’m go into phases of deep despair, because I feel like I’m losing hope in social justice, community-based work- the work that I’ve been doing for years now and that makes me really really sad because if I don’t believe in the work that I’m doing then why I am here. As in, I thought that this was my life’s purpose.
  • I’m bitter, jaded and frustrated.
  • I feel like we can’t make social change because we’re up against these giant systems.  And the gap between the haves and have nots just becomes wider and wider in my eyes as I see it played out in my work. As I start to realize that the people I work with will only get so far in life and will continue to struggle and middle-class people like me will rise farther up the ladder (until we plateau).
  • I feel isolated at work- I can’t talk to anyone about how I really feel.
  • Work is starting to keep me up at night and taking up mental space into my weekend, like this weekend. This year I finally got work-life balance, as in by Friday at 6pm I usually left all my troubles (and there have been many) behind and didn’t think about anything until Monday morning. My weekends have been fabulous, and nourishing.
  • I do not want to interact with people at work any more.
I’ve started reading up on burnout and I don’t think my symptoms above are a case of having a bad month. But, the good thing is that:
  • I’m aware of my behaviour.
  • I’ve just emailed a therapist to deal with this.
  • I read somewhere that I should give myself two weeks off and if I still feel this way after the two weeks then I know that this is not just a funk or heightened stress, but possibly really burnout. And I’m going on vacation for two weeks over Christmas.
  • My sister suggested that I start reading up on burnout, and read books like What’s the point of revolution if we can’t dance.
  • She also suggested recognizing for myself what it means for me to make real changes, and hold on to those.

 

Let’s hope this work week ahead goes okay. And then I hope it all passes because right now, the future feels a bit dark.

On Vision Boards.

Image

So I created a vision board this weekend for my year of 2013. It’s not totally finished; I’m waiting for a few more bold words to come my way to include. But, here it is. I think it’s beautiful. It’s meant to inspire me. It’s supposed to be raw, and vulnerable so that I remember that I’m on a journey, and intention-setting can not actualize without reflection on past and present, which includes struggle.

The biggest thing that jumped out for me, is that no where to I refer to love. There’s one word that says love, but my intention was about self-love. No where in 2013 do I envision or want a serious relationship or commitment. It’s all about personal growth, values, balance and moving in to the healing arts.

Pretty cool eh? I’d be so curious about other people’s reactions to this! Do tell!

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On people rooting for the career girl in me.

This past week I have made a decision to leave my current job by March 2013. The job market is tough out there and I don’t have anything lined up, but I’m still going to do it.

Part of what made this decision easier for me is because I realized that I have so many people rooting for me. I’m not talking about friends. I’m talking about my professional networks. 

I have never considered myself a networky type person. In fact this past year I have been reflecting on themes of introversion vs. extroversion with regards to career paths and finding new employment. If you’re introverted and awesome at what you do, how do you move ahead in this extrovert-driven society? All these extrovert type personalities are fantastic at promoting themselves and being proactive about meeting people and making connections. I’m not. It doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all. 

But, I do have a lot of connections, and I do really good work. And I guess somewhere along the line my work has spoken for itself, because people are rooting for me. People are telling me about jobs in their organizations, enthusiastically agreeing to be a reference, getting me ins for interviews, and endorsing me on Linkedin. The latter might seem so trivial, but having senior people who you have met in in passing endorse you for skills on a public career profile page is a pretty awesome feeling.

When I realized all this, I relaxed. The weight lifted from my shoulders. I felt so grateful for all support out there. And, I really feel like I’ve made a dent in this City, in my field of work. At Thirty I can reflect on the past 7 years in which I’ve literally given my blood, sweat and tears to my career, and I can honestly say that I’m proud of what I’ve done and the City has got my back. It’s rooting for me to be the best that I can be, have a fulfilling career, and work in an environment where I feel supported and am truly valued for the work that I do. 

It’s in the stars, I can feel it! 

Feeling Blessed. 

On releasing emotion through yoga.

I’ve been doing yoga on and off since I was 18 and in a more dedicated way in the last few years. One of the reasons I love yoga is because I believe that we store our emotions in our body and yoga helps us to release, unblocks parts of our body and helps us to heal. If I’m going through a tough time, I get super cranky in yoga. So much stuff bubbles up. Releasing my hips is like releasing 30 years of pent up pain, anger and grief.

I skipped out on someone’s birthday drinks Friday night to go to a yoga class instead to deal with the last two weeks, work stress etc. and boy was it helpful. I felt frustration, anger, irritation throughout the entire class; I was fighting with myself, my demons the entire time. Every pose was a struggle. I even cried in lunge pose variation hip opener, which tends to happen once a week by the way, particularly in pigeon or King pigeon. 

By the end of the class though, I felt peaceful, balanced and calm. My walk home was meditative.

Sticking to going three times a week.

 

 

On allowing myself to grieve.

Today I sat in a space with two grief and trauma facilitators for two hours and cried.

Someone I know recently passed. And the context is work related.

And tonight, for whatever reason it just so happened that it ended up being just me and these incredibly supportive wonderful two people for two whole hours, even though the intention was to create the session for everyone else.

For two weeks I have been holding space, supporting others and carrying a huge amount of weight. I have been worried sick about everyone that has been deeply affected by this. And a friend of mine said she was worried about me as she thought I didn’t get a chance to process my own emotions.

I did tonight though. And I felt validated in the work that I do. He looked at me and said “It’s so clear that you love your work.” And I felt grateful for their support. And they gently kept reminding me that I was talking about how everyone else was feeling, and how I wanted to do more for everyone else. And that I shouldn’t internalize any of this. And that I needed to bring it back to myself and the support that I needed. And I felt supported.

It’s funny how it felt selfish to allow myself to be okay with the fact that I was grieving too, and that I experienced trauma. I had a hard time being okay with the fact that the facilitators were more than happy to be there for me

For me and only me. For me by myself. For me, alone. For me. Me.

Grateful.