New beginnings and being vulnerable

It’s a very slow day at work, so I’ve been clearing out my dropbox by deleting unwanted documents and such. I came across something I wrote in early April in the early days when I started seeing H. I’ve included it all below.


    ‘I have a book on love where you think of a question or person and open up randomly to a page that gives you insights. It sounds silly, but it’s surprisingly good I find. Today I saw the book as I was getting ready for work and thought of the guy I recently started seeing. The topic that came up was ‘birth’. It was about birth in the literal sense and birth as the start in something new, such as a relationship. It mentioned that after birth is the period of infancy, which is characterised by vulnerability and the need of nurturing and protection.
    This guy is currently on holiday in Spain. I don’t like to admit this, but I’ve missed him. I don’t like being vulnerable and caring about people who may not feel the same way back. He acts like he cares, but he’s not great with constant communication. But what he does say, he actually delivers on, so that’s promising. I messaged him to tell him I miss him, but have received no reply so far. The raw feeling of vulnerability is not nice.
    I don’t know what I want from him. I would like to feel more secure and want the mention of exclusivity, but then I’m going to Japan in August. It’s not fair of me to want both and yet I do’

I like looking back on things I’ve written in the past. It’s satisfying, interesting and sometimes heart wrenching when you look back on old diary entries. Even if years has passed, certain moments and memories can still be powerful.

This was written nearly two months ago and not much has changed with regards to me and H. I had to bring up the topic of whether he was seeing anyone else (no he wasn’t but he did have a few dates after we first met, but those were stopped) and I asked whether he was still on OKCupid, which is where we met (he said he still had the application, but he asked if I wanted him to delete it – I told it’s up to him and he got the impression that I wanted him to not use OKC and so deleted the app).

I like H, but I still feel like I’m in no man’s land – everything is uncertain, undefined and confusing.

– Am I dating someone? Yes.

– Am in a relationship? Er, no, I’m not in a relationship to be honest. I’m not anyone’s girlfriend and don’t have a boyfriend.

– Am I single? Technically, yes I am.

– Can I date other people? No, I would feel it’s wrong and don’t want to either.

I’m an anxious type, so love to have certainty and know where I stand. I have mentioned this to him. I also know that I’m going away in August for a year and don’t feel that I would be good in doing a long distance type of thing. Me and H get along, but what we have is definitely in no way strong enough to last that long and that many miles away.

What to do, what to do?

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5 Things That Make Being An Introvert Pretty Awesome

I enjoy being an introvert! Yes, in some ways it would be nice to be a social butterfly and love being the centre of attention, but you know what? I like my time alone and, as mentioned in this blog, I never really get bored or lonely.

Thought Catalog

I’ve spent years feeling guilty whenever I wanted to spend time alone instead of doing things with family or friends. And I still feel guilty every time someone points that out. “It’s not good for you to like being alone so much.” She said to me. “What do you mean, it’s not good for me? I’m not dying.” Her statement had made me angry, it was as if she had attacked a part of who I was and defined it as something bad. “I’m just saying that we – humans – are not made to be alone.”

People often use the words “introverted” and “shy” as if they’re the same thing. They’re definitely not. There’s nothing wrong with either one of them! They are, however, not the same. While a shy person is most likely also an introvert, an introvert is not necessarily shy, as well. This should clear up…

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Family means the world to me, so why do they annoy me so?

I love my family a lot. They are a kind, supportive and odd bunch. When I list the things that I am grateful for, family is always up there. I’m lucky I have parents who are supportive of what I do, no matter what that is. I have brothers that care (one of whom doesn’t always show it, but I know he does care). If something happened, I know without doubt my family would come to help me in whatever way possible. So, why is it that sometimes they irritate me so much?

It was a bank holiday last weekend, so I spent three days at my parents because I like to go visit them often (especially since they are getting on a bit) and I knew my mum was a bit down as she’s readjusting to being retired.

I had such great hopes that I would go visit them, we’d have a great time and I would have a nice relax after a busy time at work. It was all good Friday night, but on Saturday, I just found myself irritated. What started out as a headache prolonged into a state where everything my mum did or said was irritating. My mum has this habit that when she notices I’m in a mood, she tries more to coax me out of it, but it just makes things worse. I’m an introvert. If I go quite, don’t keep on asking me questions or making random comments about inane things. I would appreciate the silence to just gather my strength again.

I knew I was bothering my mum by being irked, but I could not stop it and turn my mood around. This in turn made her mood worsens and my parents ended up having an argument that night, which happened to be their 41st anniversary. On Sunday too, I was getting more and more weary of my mum and her constant natter as they day went on.

I normally get along so well with my mum, so I find it hard to comprehend that when I go back to my parents, I sometimes have these dips where my mood quickly darkens. I sometimes think it’s because when I’m back at my parents, I’m sometimes treated like the child that my parents know and not the adult I am now.

On Sunday, I got a text from a friend of mine whose dad has been ill. She’s the type of friend who doesn’t disclose personal things much, so I don’t push her for more information and just let her tell me things when she wants to. Her dad was being treated for cancer for some time now and she moved back to her parents about 6 months ago. She mentioned in her text that her dad’s cancer spread and that he passed away peacefully at home and that his funeral was last week. I feel bad for her because it must have been such a shock. It’s one of my fears, my main fear to be honest, that my parents will die. I know that they will one day, as we all will, but it scares me so much to lose them. I love them so much. My dad had cancer about 6 years ago, and thankfully, the chemotherapy and radiotherapy cured his cancer first time round.

I received my friend’s text hours before I had to leave my parents. Even when I was conscious of how I wanted to enjoy my parents’ company and not be affected by the slightly aggravating things they do, I found it hard. In some weird way, I find it much easier to love and appreciate them at a distance – we talk often over the phone, keep in touch with what each other is doing and how we are feeling. I had previously thought that I could not leave the UK because I didn’t want to be too far from them and this is still very true, but maybe I can love them as much while I’m travelling?

I just checked my phone as I was writing this and I got a message from my mum, saying simply ‘I love you x’.

Am I scared? You bet your ass I am!

Ah, the duality of life. Sometimes you can’t help, but see the bad with the good.

Travelling = yay!    but also travelling = is it dangerous? how do I stay safe?

Last August, I went backpacking around Europe and travelled around by Interrail. I did this solo and it took me just short of 4 weeks to cover 10 cities in 9 different countries. To say I’ve never done this type of thing before is an understatement! I’ve done a bit of backpacking before, but this only consisted of a few days in places like Amsterdam and Edinburgh with friends.

The trip was fun, exciting, stressful, scary, enlightening, but it certainly wasn’t boring. I discovered that I liked travelling alone and that I’m stronger than I think. I enjoyed exploring a city by wandering around and seeing what grabs my attention. Certain cities, like Venice, I would have enjoyed more with someone else there, but I still had a good time.

It’s scary enough to move to another country where you share the language, but to move to another country where you don’t share the same language, culture or customs can be downright daunting!

So, why am I doing it? I have a good life, I do realise that. I live in London, which a great city; I’ve had great education; a lot of culture is available to access; I have a variety of different possibilities to me and yet I want more. I have dreamt about living abroad for ages. I want to look back on my life when I am 80 years old or whatever and say ‘what an interesting life I had!’. I don’t want to settle in some humdrum office job where I’m clockwatching to when it’s leaving time. I want a job that’s more exciting and where I can help people.

I used to work as a teaching assistant in primary schools and found it very rewarding. Unfortunately, the pay is terrible and not enough to really live on. I was not paid for any of the school holidays or half terms and schools have a lot of them! I was unable to eat out or do things with my friends, so I chose to get a education-related office job. Some aspects are interesting, but on the whole, I hate how it’s pretty much me in an office, staring at the computer.

exactly one life

You only have one life, so live it.

Yes, moving to Tokyo is frightening. However, it sure won’t be boring. Even if it’s not the right move and doesn’t suit me, at least I’ve tried and can always try something else. I often feel stagnated in the UK, so here’s my chance to change it up.

I should not let my fear stop me from doing things because there will never be a time when I don’t have fears or doubts of some kind. The unknown is always scary at the beginning.

Scary can just be seen as the flipside of exciting.

And just because I’m scared, it doesn’t mean this move is wrong. I just need to plow on through.

Worrying about what the future holds

I’ve started meditating again, in order to be more present. I have a tendency to think about things in the past as well as worrying about what will happen in the future. I know that a lot of what I worry about will not happen and never materialise. In some ways, I think my overthinking can be productive in that it spurs me on to take action to alleviate a situation. Most of time, however, it just makes me anxious and unable relax.

But what happens when you worry about the things that you know are going to happen? In my case, I am moving to Japan for a year in August. This is what I’ve been hoping for and attempting for many years. So why does it worry me so?!

I know I like working with children in a classroom and enjoyed the teaching when I did the CELTA, but it’s a big gap from doing this for some hours spread over a few months to doing it full-time. Japan will be so different to the UK, which makes it amazing as well as scary at the same time.

I googled how to stop worrying about the future and found some great quotes.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
– Leo Buscaglia

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”
– Swedish Proverb

By worrying, I will not be able to stop things from happening, but it also stops me from enjoying now. I live in London, one of the most interesting cities in the world. It has many museums, galleries, exhibitions, events and other things to do.

So far I’ve come up with or read about the following techniques that may help me stop from worrying so much:

~ Writing in a journal – somehow the process of writing my worries down helps me analyse them, helps me work out why I am stressing and be able to forget the needless worrying of inconsequential things

~ Meditation –  there are many health benefits attributed to this (physical and mental). Different types of meditation can help with different aspects, such as loving kindness with being more compassionate to myself and others, or mindfulness to be more present

~ Talking to loved ones – worries always seem worse when you have to fight them on your own and sharing can help you feel less overwhelmed and get fresh insight on certain problems

~ Body relaxation – I know that when I’m stressed, I get tense and it probably acts like a feedback loop where the tension makes me more stressed. Having cues to remind a person to relax should help. I even bought myself a necklace (a black tourmaline pendant to be exact) to act as a reminder, so that each time I’m wearing it I simply need to touch it to remind myself to relax.

~ Getting enough sleep – I know that when I’m tired, I can’t deal with things so well

~ Exercise – during the Pleistocene era, life was very dangerous. Stress gave humans the ability to be able to fight if they needed to or flee like hell. Even though we have advanced in many ways, our bodies are more or less the same. Instead of stressing about the rare, but lethal, saber tooth tiger attacks, our stresses tend to focus more on work deadlines, what he really means when he says X, embarrassing things we’ve done and worrying about how we may be judged, etc. Not only has what we stress about changed, but also the frequency.  It’s good to use up this energy that prepares us to fight or flight by actually getting physical, hence why I enjoy kickboxing!

Worrying can be construed as the fear of uncertainty, but what in life is truly certain?

I want to learn how to let go and relax amongst the chaos, to not be a tense person who frets all the time. Life is too short to not enjoy it.

Maximiser or satisficer? When enough is enough

I’ve been trying to decide which laptop I should get now that my current one is old and on its last legs (it won’t last more than 30 minutes off the mains and does this thing where it won’t turn on or turns itself off whilst making odd beeping sounds!)

I’ve been saving up money and am lucky to have enough to buy a decent laptop. Since I’m going to go travelling soon, I thought that the MacBook Air may be a good choice because of its lightness and that it has a great battery life reportedly. It’s still a very expensive choice though with the entry level 13″ MBA at £750!

You would not believe how much time and energy I have spent looking at different laptop reviews, contacting various computer people I know, etc, to try to find the best deal and work out what’s best for me. It’s good to do some research, but I have literally wasted so much time and head space on what laptop to get and this has been going on for nearly 6 weeks now.

In the maximiser vs satisficer continuum, I am definitely the former. It sounds great, doesn’t it? You would think that trying to get the maximum out of everything and choosing the best option would be great, but in reality, this can lead to perfectionism and indecision with the feeling that something has to the best or it’s not good enough.

http://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2006/06/are_you_a_satis/

I need to just set the criteria on things on which are good enough and choose what fits. Life is too short to waste time on inconsequential things. I can understand why Zuckerberg wears the same type of clothes everyday! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/10/obama-zuckerberg-us-president-facebook-founder

It may seem strange or boring to do such a thing, but it can be quite liberating http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/04/13/woman-same-outfit-everyday-three-years_n_7053168.html

I saw this post on the BBC website about orphans who survived concentration camps during the Nazi era and how they fared afterwards – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32589411

This is definitely a bump in reality. Why do I worry so much about if X is best or whether Y is good enough, when it’s the important things that matter – survival, family, life.

‘Coming To a Bookshelf Near You’ – what my book would be about

“Inga, a young woman with a hidden past, comes to England to make a new future for herself after her family escapes wartime Germany and anti-Semitism. From dealing with family taken to concentration camps and readjusting to hostility in the UK towards foreigners, she must learn how to survive.”

There’s a saying that each person has a book in them that they can write.

If I ever wrote a book, I would love to research more about what my grandmother had to go through. Her mother’s side of the family were Jewish and they lived in Germany, which was not a safe area to be in the 1930/40’s!

I would love to find out more what it was like leaving a place knowing that you had to in order to survive; what happened to my family members that went to Belsen and died in that concentration camp; what my grandmother faced when she came to UK; what life was like for those who escaped persecution from the Nazi’s to only be detained in an internment camp in the UK ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutchinson_Internment_Camp ); find out why and what is was like for my grandmother to hide the fact that she was of Jewish origin from the rest of family. This and so many more questions I would love to explore and tell.

– In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Coming To a Bookshelf Near You.”

Update on current dating situation

Hi all,

I’ve been quiet for some time, just lying a bit low. I’ve been busy, but I also do tend to get more introvert when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

It’s getting closer and closer to the time when I go to Japan. I had a dream last week that I was on the edge of a precipice and something behind me was pushing me to the edge. I was worried and thinking ‘am I going to sink or swim?’

I know I do worry about it, but it’s a great opportunity that I’ve been wishing for some years now.

Dating with H has been fun, but a bit confusing. We get along and it’s nice that we can connect and share. We have similar interests and I do like him, but I’m still assessing how much I like him. It’s different from M, whom I dated in January. That was more visceral and intense. Looking back though, I realise I was acting impulsively and was seeing things that weren’t there. I was hoping for a proper relationship and he wasn’t. I was way too into him and he didn’t feel the same.

H is different. He’s kind, he listens and is not selfish. He’s not great at keeping up with communication, but I know he’s trying. It’s been 7 weeks now since we started dating and yet the relationship is not defined. I had to ask him last week if he was seeing anyone else and he said that he had two dates after our first date, but those ended by choice. I get the impression he’s really into me, more than I am into him.

I want security. I want to feel safe and get rid of this anxiety of whether we’re an item or not. I don’t even know he if still uses the dating website were we met from or not.

And yet, I don’t know if I want to be with him that way. I like him, but I’m not crazily into him. I enjoy our time together, but it’s not like I get a ‘crazy on fire’ feeling that I feel I should.

It’s confusing for me because I want to have ‘the talk’ and be in a proper relationship, but I’m still working out how much I like him. In some ways I feel that I cannot truly be myself when whatever we have is not secure.

Why share myself when he might just turn around and leave? What’s protecting me from getting hurt?