Back in the saddle and I’m not okay. My patience is fraying and it’s hard to paste a smile on my face and be present.
Work stressors are a recurring theme for M & I. We’re both struggling but still being supportive of each other. There are interesting parallels to our individual situations which is helpful for me to be able observe and adjust _my_ own reactions when I’m in similar situations.
This, too, shall pass.
How do I learn to stop taking things so personally? If there is a failing in something I had a hand in, my prevailing feelings run along the following lines:
- Defensive – e.g. thoughts on my end that the issue not being as bad as reported (downplaying the issue) etc
- Primarily Anxiety – negative self talk e.g. how could I be so stupid or how could I not foresee $thing?
I am painfully aware of how harmful my instinctual responses are and lately, I’ve been pushing myself to add a third bullet to the list above: hope(ful). Rather than flagellate myself, I should observe these events as learning opportunities for the larger organization. It’s far easier said than done for a conflict avoidant personality like yours truly but I have to try. I’ll see how this plays out. 🤞
My father was interred this week at our village. It was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced so far. Seeing him lying in state was surreal. I wanted to touch him but couldn’t. I didn’t.
I couldn’t cry like I wanted to because the crying would have triggered certain unwanted behaviors from observers. Specifically, when survivors start crying publicly at a traditional burial, it could trigger attendees to attempt to provide comfort by touching/hugging which are actions we were strongly discouraged from engaging in.
This aspect of being back in the village (worrying about who means you well) was the least favorite part of returning home. I fully believe that no one who meant me or my family harm would ever succeed. There were several instances where we got spanners thrown into the works but we (my siblings and I) pulled through admirably. It was eye opening to witness bad behavior from people supposed to be supportive but I was incredibly grateful that we got enough help from other quarters (notably my ma’s sister) to make it through the burial.
I’m back in Lagos for the final stretch of my visit and I’m happily drained. Now the work begins to plan out what life after dad looks like for my mother.
Back in my childhood home and I have all the feelings. I never realized how tiny my mom is! All my life, she’s seemed larger than life and I’m all too aware of her frailty/mortality now. I can only pray for the strength to take care of her and our family home properly.
Seeing my siblings stand strong as a family unit is so soothing to my soul. Relatives have also stepped up in major ways for us and I’ll be forever grateful. Truly in Nigeria, it takes a village to raise a child and a village to lay one to rest. Rest way, dad.
It’s hard to put how I’m feeling into words.
Excited (seeing family)
Scared (expectations and fear of getting judged)
Sorrow (that this visit will be missing one very key person, my father). Dad, I can’t believe you’re gone. I can’t believe you won’t be there to welcome me home and ply me with peanuts. I’m just so sad that you’re gone. I want to rage against the world. Why you? Why did it have to be you? Why now?
It’s been over 3 years since I last saw my family and I feel a deep sense of regret that it’s taken so long for me to visit again. All the reasons I had for why I couldn’t leave feel ridiculous after my father’s passing. Yes, I couldn’t have predicted the future but what I wouldn’t give to see him once again and hear him call me by his pet name for me.
I’m excited to see the rest of my family again and I will hug everyone a little tighter. My in-laws have been amazingly supportive especially in trying to be culturally sensitive to Nigerian grieving rituals and I remain incredibly thankful that I married into M’s family. ♥️
On the work front, things have been in so much flux that it makes my head spin. We’ve had several departures and most recently, have announced that we’ve gotten acquired by a pretty big name.
All in all, I’m getting a message from the universe that 2020 will be a year of flux. The question now is how I can harness this chaotic energy in a way that helps me stay true to myself.
Last year was a doozy.
I started a new job, traveled more than I ever have in the past 4 years, developed some negative behaviors in response to stress, and capped the year with the loss of my father.
I’m implementing some strategies this year to take back my life and heal. Starting with regular physical exercise! I’ve been phrasing this as building a habit and choosing to refer to this as just a habit is helping me view my workouts in a more positive light.
Planning for the funeral is underway and expectedly, it will mean a not insignificant amount of money will be spent by me. Rather than bemoan the unexpected expense, I’m incredibly grateful that I can absorb the hit without jeopardizing my future.
Anyway, so far so good.