‘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?

Love vs ego and the need for clarity

I met up with H, the guy I’m kind of seeing, last Friday and had a great time with him. I was a bit surprised that when we met up, he had a friend with him. Then we went to a pub where I met more friends of his! It was my first time meeting his friends and on our 6th (?) date, I met about 8 of them! It was a bit surprise, but I rolled with it and did the best I could. They seemed to like me and said good things about me to H, so I must have made a good enough impression (or they’re too nice to say anything to H!).

On the first date with H, I was by surprised by how we got along. Now as I have seen him more and more, I’m starting to really like him. He’s interesting, I feel safe around him, he can be very sweet and can be challenging, but in a good way. I noticed that I learn a lot from him and I enjoy that. The one thing I don’t like it that when we are apart, he can be bad at keeping in contact. He says it’s been remarked on before and is not intentional because he does care and think about me.

He asked if we could meet midweek and he’ll cook me a meal, which would’ve been great. It’s Wednesday however and I haven’t heard from him about any such meet up.

Half of me wants to hold out and see when he’ll get in contact, but the other half wants to contact him again (I seem to initiate contact mostly).

I believe in ‘He’s just that not into you’ and support the belief that if a guy wants to see you, he will make the effort. But I hate the waiting to hear from him, the fact that I keep loose plans in case he wants to meet up.

Then again, is it my ego that prevents me from contacting him? I wonder how many potential relationships were stopped from developing because of a person’s ego, whether it was due to selfishness or based on fear and being defensive?

lovevsego

I’m finding I’m liking him more and more. I like clarity. I want to ask him if he’s seeing anyone else. I would  like to be in a proper relationship with him, a bona fide girlfriend/boyfriend type of thing, even though I’m still going to Japan in August. These worries come to me particularly at night and keep me awake. I’m sure it’s way too much to ask, but I got to be honest.

Negative thinking, old habits and possible strategies to help

I’m a negative person. Trust me, if I had it any other way I would be one of those smiley, shiny happy people who seem to have a spring in their step rather than be an individual who sometimes dwells on what could go wrong and worry about things before they happen.

I don’t know how much of this is programmed in me due to genes or habit, but I do try to change my thinking by using different strategies. The problem is that although they work, it’s easy to forget them and slip back into old negative habits.

  • Reframing

One possible way to change negative thinking is to reframe situations and see the issue or thought in a different light. For example, right now I’m feeling so tired from lack of sleep and my body feels runs down. I’m meeting the guy I’m currently seeing later. I normally would look forward to seeing him, but right now I’m thinking “I’m so tired, I’d rather not meet up later because I need rest and feel I look so tired!”

It would be better if instead I thought “Why do I think it will be an ordeal of some type / a difficult evening? It could be fun and re-energizing. It may be what I need. It’s the start of the weekend and I can choose to do what I like”.

One big worry of mine is the Japan issue. It’s strange how something I’ve looked forward to for years and worked hard for is now nearly a reality (teaching English in Japan) and yet I am super terrified of the idea! People ask me about it and I evade their questions. I’ve put off the starting date 2 times already (from originally starting in April to June and now changed it to August). It’s like I’m dragging my feet when I should be so excited I can’t wait to go.

I saw a friend yesterday and she asked if I really want to go to Japan and I had to think about it. And the answer is yes, I do. I want to live abroad, I like working in a classroom, I want to live abroad and learn a new language – that’s like 3 or 4 birds with one stone!

I need to change my current opinion from “It’s scary / can I do this?” to “I know I’m made of strong stuff and I can do this. I can prove to myself and others that I am capable of dealing with this situation”.

The brain, when stressed, reverts back to what it did last time that we were in, and survived, a similar situation, i.e., the body tenses up, the brain gets anxious, etc, because this worked at one point (even if it’s maladaptive). When I’m stressed, I get very anxious. Although this is bad for me, it has some purpose in a strange way. My anxiety either leads me to want to disappear and wallow in a hole somewhere or spurs me on to create action points or ideas on what I can do that may help.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if we bypassed the trigger (e.g., the anxiety) and go straight to the response (e.g., action plan)?

It would benefit me to be more in tune with what I am feeling and question what’s going on with me. If I know I’m starting to get anxious, it would help to think of:

a) why am I anxious?

b) what can I do about it?

So that begs the question what can help me now regarding the Japan situation? It would help to:

  • learn Japanese (check – started doing this already)
  • Prepare myself mentally and get tips from those who  have done the same, especially those who went to Japan and Tokyo in particular (contact P, C’s boyfriend who lived in Tokyo for 1 year)
  • Get tips from people who I know that have moved abroad or taught English as a foreign language (contact E and her husband/ S’s friend)
  • Make connections to people living in Tokyo / Japan (facebook groups, etc)
  • Get support and advice from ELT teachers (discussion boards, etc)

Writing this list, I have already found I feel more peaceful and less overwhelmed with the situation. It also gives me focus on what I can do to help myself.

I want you…but I don’t want you.

I enjoy attention and like being with someone, but if I had to be truly honest, I don’t want to be in a relationship. Well, I do and I don’t if that makes sense. Yes, it’s great having security and knowing that you can phone someone up to chat to, meet up to have fun or get support when you need help. It’s awful when you’re single and you see all the (seemingly) smug couples who are holding hand and doing PDA’s (public display of affection) right in your face. I don’t want to see couples acting all kissy or yucky in front of me, save that for your private life! It’s annoying , but a part of me is more annoyed because I’m jealous and wish I had the same.

 But at the same time, I can’t commit myself fully. Not now and not ever in the past, if I’m honest. Exes have pointed out that they feel I keep a barrier up or that I’m hard to get to truly know. It’s very difficult to give yourself fully to another being I find. It makes you feel very vulnerable with all your flaws, idiosyncrasies and anxieties out there for show.

 

I’m in a weird situation where I’ve gone on 4 / 5 dates with a guy now, but I’m planning on moving to a different continent (Asia) in August. How can I start something up now when I know I may have problems later on. Either I get attached and have a quandary on what to do (although I know I can’t stand being in London, there’s nothing really here for me apart from family and I have itchy feet). Or the other person may get attached to me and I end up hurting them. Neither option is good, but it’s hard to deny that I do like making a connection and enjoy dating someone. I am only human.

Enthusiasm, doubt, pushing through

One of my friend’s told me about a deal she could get near her for cheap snowboarding lessons. I’ve never tried, but in spirit of being more adventurous this year, I expressed interest. I came across keen and my friend booked it for me before I even confirmed! This wouldn’t be so bad if she lived local, but she lives in a town up in North England.

After a confusing period of me expressing doubt, I thought about why I was stalling. Was I afraid? I’ve never done anything like snowboarding before and it does seem a bit scary. Is it the money? I tend to save money, but if I have some money to spare and want to use it wisely, why not visit my friend for the weekend and try something new? After doing a 360 degrees, I got back to my friend and decided I am going now. The tickets are booked and I will try snowboarding for the first time in early May!

Upset and can’t snap out of it

Today I am feeling like bah.

I don’t know if it’s lingering from the recent feelings of vulnerability I’m feeling or the fact that my birthday is coming up (I’m on the wrong side of 30!), but I just feel like something is wrong. Work yesterday was hard and I came to the point where I just wanted to cry.

My birthday is in late April and originally I was going to celebrate it in London. I have some friends, but not a strong social network. I have odd friends here and there from different points in my life. If I took away the male friends who I once dated or who reportedly fancied me, I calculated I would be left with between 3 – 5 friends.

I was looking at cheap flights via skyscanner and saw there were cheap flights to Thessaloniki in Greece and Malta, and I’m seriously tempted to just get away from it all and go somewhere else. I’ve had this feeling before though many times and don’t know if it’s just me trying to disappear or hide under a rock, which I do when I’m feeling vulnerable or upset. Would I be happier or more at peace if I celebrated turning 31 in a different part of Europe by myself? I’m not sure if I will appreciate the peace or will feel more bummed out. It’s hard to tell.

I just want someone to reach out and look after me. I don’t want to rely on my family and worry them with my neediness  and anxiety however. It seems everyone has loads of friends or boyfriends and seem super happy smiley. I feel like I’m slightly cracking and don’t know if I will break.

I googled on what to do and came across this http://galadarling.com/article/100-things-to-do-when-youre-upset-the-sad-trombone-list/

It’s a bit silly, but some of these suggestions may work. I may:

Turn up music you really love. Play it so loudly that it soaks in through your skin. Dance in your pyjamas. Feel the pain lift.

Call a friend & ask them if they want to have a slumber party. [I would love to do this!]

Throw yourself head-first into a creative project. Something that you’re excited about but which feels a little too big for you. You’ll be so consumed by it that it will fuel you for ages.

Sing. Loudly. Badly. Off-key.

Write a list of things that you appreciate right now, in the present moment. Focus on each of them & let the love inside you well up. Even when things appear to be going really, really badly, there are always things to be happy about. (That’s one of the reasons why we do Things I Love Thursday — to help bring your attention back to the positive.)

Listen to old Motown hits. Come up with dance moves. Wear something sparkly & work it out. (DJ Z-Trip’s Motown Breakdown is an excellent time, too.)

Plan a holiday.

Spend an hour in your variety store of choice, set yourself a budget ($20?) & buy some junk. Lip treatments, candy, maybe an exfoliating scrub… Then go home & play with your new purchases. There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy, you know (though of course, it doesn’t last).

Go to a yoga class. Surrender & breathe deep.

Plan a party with a theme that makes you feel really, really happy.

Write a letter to yourself in the future. Then hide it. Maybe in the pocket of a coat you never, ever wear.

Colour your hair. (You can always dye it back.)

Notice where you hold tension in your body, & let it go.

Find a secret place with a great view. Like a tree, or a rooftop, or a hill.

Try on a pair of really, really expensive shoes & act like you’ll be back tomorrow, but you’re just going to go home & think about it. (Bonus points: take a photo of you in them. Often you will need to be stealthy about this but it’s worth doing.)”

Feeling vulnerable

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.

If I had the chance to redo my life, would I choose to do differently?

I read an interesting question yesterday, which asked “If I had a chance to decide what I wanted to be in another life, would I choose what I am now?”

I wouldn’t have changed my experiences (both the good and bad), since they made me what I am. Sure, life would have been easier if my father wasn’t a (non-violent) alcoholic. Yes, my childhood would have been less sad without all the bullying I suffered from as a child. But maybe I was meant to experience this life and go through these challenges to be the person I am?

I would change myself, however, or more specifically, I would have changed my responses and reactions to things. I would have stood up for myself more and be honest about what I wanted. I would like to have been more adventurous and open to experiences, but at the same time caring more about myself and what was best for me.

I would live life more to the full, but put myself first. I may have not done this in the past, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it now.

In gratitude

I love Quora. It always has interesting questions and great answers that can lead to wonderful realisations.

Today at work, I read an article on quora about great career advice. One of the answer was from Nikant Vohra and I checked out his webpage. This lead to finding a post he wrote on how to be happier, which focussed on gratitude

http://www.nikantvohra.com/post/105083779423/how-can-i-become-happier

It’s easy to get down in the dumps and think what’s wrong with life, but reading this made me realise that I have a lot to be grateful for.

I am grateful for having rights, which many women in the world do not have. I am grateful that I can choose how to live my life. I am thankful that I am financially independent and use the money I make to do things I enjoy as well as support my basic needs of food and shelter.

I am thankful for being alive. It’s not always easy, but it has it’s good moments. I am grateful that there is more to come – more opportunities, more crossed paths with people, more learning.