Crisis of confidence

I normally prefer to write these sorts of things when they are not so close. When they are not pressing in on you, the walls shrinking, deadlines breathing down your neck, a mountain of responsibility weighing you down and the expectation that you’ve got this and are performing brilliantly crushing your soul…

In an earlier post I briefly touched on my motivation and drive for work being AWOL and my working to find it again. Well I adopted more of a “fake it ’til you make it” sort of approach to try and coax it back. I think it is starting to work. But the early glimmers have been fitful and fleeting at best.

There are times I strut my stuff confidently, arms swinging, bouncy gait, head held high “I have got this”. However, recently I have been red faced, avoidant, my memory has been shocking and the pressure of deadlines almost undoes me. Feedback framed in purely negative terms makes me want to throw myself under a bus, or at least my thesis and all the many hours of work that have gone into the last three years of my life in any case.

Over reactive, ill equipped to make informative and clear responses, highly stressed, tired and flustered. I wouldn’t see a helpful sign if it bit me on the bum. The truth is that sometimes, months on decisions don’t always make sense in the current context and it is my role to clearly present an argument in support of those decisions that are unable to change. It is also my responsibility to request help where I need it. I have been struggling with this a great deal in recent months. I am holding myself to an impossible standard and the ensuing waste of energy limits my capacity to do awesomely at a manageable level. But there is a reason that people start small. I am small in my role. A little fish. I am learning. I am also leading the way. I have responsibility. I can do as much or as little as I want with all of it. I can walk away. I can commit the rest of my working life. It is all on me.

I need to find the way out of feeling like a stupid squishy mess. I am not an idiot, I have a very capable brain on my shoulders. How to take a breath, calm and relax? Let life flow without the harsh expectations. Simply be satisfied that I applied my skill set to the best of my ability. That is my current challenge. I love what I do and I am good at it. But right now I don’t feel good at it and I am taking things that are not personal and making them mean something about me and how good I am at my job. I know that as soon as I lift off the self imposed pressure I will perform at the level I want. In the meantime you will find me quietly reading a Toltec wisdom book and chipping away slowly at some deadlines in my pyjamas.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” ~Attributed to Hanoch McCarty

For the romantics

I am always aware that expressions of love can make people around you uncomfortable. Screwed up faces, vomit finger gestures and uncomfortable laughter often accompany a showing of affection. My awareness does not give me a clue as to why. And I wonder. In this day and age we are very quick to (well in fairness, not all of us are quick to…) accept people as we find them how is it not the case with public affection. 

I am not talking about the full on graphically sexual displays in which you may see one person trying to retrieve another’s lunch by means of deep throated kissing. I mean the hugs, touches, occasional heart shapes made with hands. The gentle affection, eye contact, laughter without words preceding it. I am puzzled that this can make people uncomfortable.

I think that people should hold hands more often, they should dance in the kitchen, shower together, laugh, play, sing! Have fun together in every sweet way possible, and share that so that it can warm the hearts of others around them. We should hold love lightly and shine in its glow.

aww snuggle halloween goodnesssoggy bottom brigade star wars

This weekend just gone my love and I went camping. While camping we came across a well known and gorgeous swimming spot- Greens pool. Greens pool in Denmark is chilly, like ice cold. My wonderful man raced in, came back for me and grabbed my hand and on the count of three we dived in. This may have required some cajoling of me on his part- it was so very cold. But once in we played and laughed and joked, it was the most marvelous day in our time together. When we got back to camp he got cooking and I got writing, a brief poem because I just so loved that moment. Here it is.

Magic Water

The blue and green scene
With sunshine glinting
Draws us nearer, inviting
The icy chill hits
Breath escapes me

You grin and move forward
Further ahead and beckon
Then make up the space between us
The gleam in your eyes should have been my warning
You take my hand and draw me in

On the count of five, no three we’ll do this
Together we will dive and acclimatise in two minutes
The water we hit in unison and rise gasping
Laughing and swimming we did it!
Playing and laughing hugging to warm up

Kissing carefree who care who might see
Share in the joy expressed here
The love streaming through us demands expression
The sun and the waves enhance the mood
The ocean washes over us enjoying our mirth

The giggles, sweet looks and ginormous embraces
The chill unnoticed by us as we play
Revelry does not cease as the time comes to emerge
To dry off and warm up but we will return
We move our dance on now, each moment pulsing with love 

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Be free to be a goofball, be free to have fun and express your love for another, you will find it is returned in kind and then some.

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”  ~Erich Fromm

Sun puppy

I have a step daughter. When I met her she seemed to be a spoilt brat with her pa wrapped around her little finger. He would come running when she called, he cancelled dates when it might rain and at 10 years of age she remains and will always be his Sheila puppy.

Fur baby

Sheila puppy is a doberman. She is on the small side for this breed of dog and she has a gentle manner that would melt your heart… if she didn’t spend most of her time crying for attention. This sweet little girl was wrapped up in a love so full, so giving and so responsive to her every look that she need only cry and everything she could want for was hers.

When I met Sheila and her dad, Sheila was on time-share with a cat. This meant that for the most part she was an outside dog and when she did come inside she and the cat were kept separate. Sheila cried a LOT. Poor love. No longer was she a sleep inside in the bed with dad kind of dog, as she had when he was a single man.

Since spending time with me meant being apart from his girl, sometimes Sheila joined us on our dates. Mostly we took her to the beach where she would shouty bark at other dogs and fret at the water. Then we would go to my house where we ate dinner with her outside and she looked in at my cat, quietly observant of the fuzziness that was his majesty. And so our lives entwined.

Three months later Sheila’s dad and I joined our now blended family under the same roof and Sheila showed me just how much a well loved dog can cry and cry and cry. This particular method of getting needs met is an incredibly irritating one. Worse still, if you live next door to your landlords and you find out that it is distressing to them how much your fur baby cries, you begin to worry for the longevity of your tenancy. Sheila is in no way wanting for anything. She has simply learnt that she can get a large amount of affection, or prompt action of any sort through crying, and this escalates when you try to ignore her.

At this time, Sheila was, for the most part still an outdoor dog. Scott was concerned for Tenshi- my furry cat child. He did not believe that Sheila would be able to cohabitate peacefully with a cat creature. But I could no longer handle her noise. I started to shake up her routine and not respond immediately to dinner time antics and shouty noise. I responded with a sharp telling off, progressing months on to a newspaper for reprimand of excessive noise all the while inviting her inside when she was calm and quiet. A wonderful thing. Stretches of quiet increased to the extent that our landlord neighbours remarked on the quiet. Sheila did not try to maul the cat. And better still I began to love her.

As I asserted my role as pack leader, this previously irritating little beast who sooked when her dad and I had a cuddle, turned into a courteous and loving friend. I felt a care for her I did not imagine was possible. And the joy for Sheila is that she is far more calm and gets a truck load of inside family time.

Sheila puppy

When Sheila recently got sick, it was me sitting beside her coaxing her to eat, me working from home to monitor her health status and ringing the vet, and me who did not have the heart to send her outside at bed time. The bond that we have built through working damn hard at integrating our lives in a loving and sustainable way has caused such a love that the sight of her old hips giving out breaks my heart. The suggestion that further investigations are needed is met with a “then that is what we will do”. The thought that she is getting old and may not have a great deal more time breaks my heart. I love this little girl, she has forged a place in my heart, one I was not expecting. We just met, it doesn’t seem fair that she start on a health plummet. The solace that I take is in knowing that the quality of her years has improved, and though she had to work hard for it, she has everything she wanted. And if we are very lucky, she will surprise us and we will have her company for many years to come.

siblings

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”  ~Corey Ford

Smiles from a passerby

Smiles from a passerby
A word or two with friends
The feel of cool clean fresh sheets
A cup of coffee that never ends

The salt fresh air upon an ocean breeze
Perfume wafting from unseen
Dampness on the air at dusk
Sunshine gently warming me

a hug, a touch, a tender kiss
Advances from a lover
The firm and gentle welcome embraces
Connecting me to another

Time spent looking around
Seeing more than earthly stresses
Perfection exists in every corner
Relishing the realization

Every breath of life a gift
Joy in every immersive sigh as life ebbs and flows
Precious detail oft times fleeting
Like morning dew upon a snow-white rose

This is my earliest and favourite piece of writing so far. It began mid-shower as the best ideas tend to do during a particularly introspective period of time. Many thoughts raced through my head- questions about what is perfection, is it a worthwhile pursuit, does it inherently exist, how does it express itself in my life? And so smiles from a passerby was born. My perfection. I do believe that is why I like it so much. It is not perfect, but it is perfect in it’s imperfection, much like me, and I dare say like you.

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~John Henry Newman