Saturday, 5 November 2016

Florals and Other Matters

Just so I don't forget that this blog also used to be about personal style once upon a time, here are some of the latest additions to the ever growing wardrobe department:

ZARA print top and not just your plain white shirt







































Two bracelets







































And a nice scarf




















They all say autumn and tie in with the rest of my wardrobe quite nicely. I also got a sparkly tunic top from ZARA, black and blue with an asymmetrical hem, as well as a red sweater from LEGEND with a necklace-like decoration around the collar, very nice, but for the life of me I cannot find decent pictures of them.

Rules and Routines

What's a woman without her 9 to 5? A question I ask myself often these days. Who am I without an office to go to? Without an immediate task at hand? Without a purpose? Without a routine, that soothing and comforting rhythm behind everything I do, that sets boundaries, clear and welcome, that tempers the existence, balances it?
Well, I've learned that I am not much without it. Or, rather, I can't seem to grasp what's beyond it. I feel anxious, lost, highly strung, and about to crack. My armor is pierced. I no longer define myself through what I do as I am currently unemployed. God, how awful! I hate the sound of it. I have not come to terms with it. I can't stop mulling it over and over, wondering if it's entirely my fault that I've found myself in this situation again after almost five years - five years of hard, honest work, and why me? Shaking off the victim mentality does not come easy for me. Also, always finding fault with myself, blaming myself, I excel at that. I'm thinking of adding the skill to my professional resume.
I can fully grasp how people lose it after, e.g. 40 years in the workforce, and then they retire and boom - lost, bobbing on the rough seas of life, left to your own devices to find meaning and purpose, again. To remember who you are/were, before - everything. To reclaim your own self. Whoever that stranger may be.
Why is it so hard to let go? Why are we programmed to cling tightly to the reins of control, however big an illusion it may be? Deep down, I know I could use this free time I am suddenly in possession of much better. I can use it to do all those things I like - walk, read, learn new things, be with myself, breathe, just think nothing, do nothing. But, and there is always a but, I cannot. Because the only thing I am acutely aware of is not how blessed I am to be living the life I do with a happy and healthy family, but how wretched I am to not have a job. I let that one thing that makes the equation of who I am ruin everything else and govern my perception of reality.
I wish I could undo it. I wish I can do better at not doing anything.
When I do give myself some breathing space, though, and let the real me through, this is what comes out - art, or as close to is as I'll ever be:



































Thursday, 27 October 2016

Stillness

A big claim, stillness is. I am rarely still. Even if I'm not moving, my mind is not still. It races, it jumps, it overdoes thinking, worrying, planning, work, life, everything. Achieving even a pretence of stillness is hard for me. I'm officially unemployed as of two days ago. Imagine what that does to my head. It does me in. It is not the first time I've been in this situation, in fact it happens in cycles every four-five years as projects end and new ones begin. In all previous instances, though, I was not able to take it easy during the hiathus. I would tie myself in a knot and shrink myself both physically and emotionally to a ticking bomb of anxiety. I have considered changing that this time around. I am thinking of not doing anything for a month and not worrying about it. For me, that's harder than giving birth. Making myself reconnect with the person underneath the worry and angst, listening to myself, feeling the feelings, making time for it, gosh, how am I ever going to do it? But, I'm willing to try. I took a walk yesterday around the empty Kalemegdan fortress and I was almost scared by stilness, peacefullness and quiet.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

And another big one rolls around the corner

My birthday, that is ;) What's changed? Nothing, no big a-ha moments for me this year, just another birthday. I don't feel older, I don't feel that much wiser either. The past year was a lot in a way, and not that much in other ways. I've come back to work after baby number 2 and my older kid started school back in September 2015 - so these were the big things. Things that caused most anxiety and stress, so much so that when I've finally let up, overcome the first pangs of guilt and worry, it was like someone opened up the flodgates and my body responded by going haywire. It took three months to get me back on track. I strated exercising and kept at it for almost four months, doing pilates for four times a week for the ast two- I felt strong, toned, fit, satisfied with my self and the effort I was putting in. I didn't lose much weight, primarily because I gained muscle, but I just looked and felt better. Summer rolled around and I stopped exercising but I need to get back to it, pronto! Work-wise, uh, I don't know. I slided right back into the groove of things, as if I never left, no one took my place, no one competed for my job, I had no empty desk sindrome, I just continued. I even got my own office - I asked for it, and I got it. And than I felt as if somehow I stole something from someone, like an impostor. Which I'm not. I worked my ass off on this project and I deserve recognition. But, it seems I'm not over my self-effacing days. I want to grow, and be recognized by my superiors and my peers alike, and yet I want to remain invisible, hiding behind my work, happily toiling away, not asking for anything. And I need to find another job, soon. So what do I do? Do I want to continue with the same old same old, do I change sectors, do I start over, do I want a higher position, a better salary, or do I want stability and more time for myself and life in general? Do I pursue a further education degree? Or do I strive for simplicity and balance? I haven't got an answer on any of those questions.
There are few things that I can describe as certain about me, it seems that a lot is up in the air. I know that I love my kids and my husband; I know that their health and well-being is more important to me than anything else; I know that I thrive in stable conditions with clear boundaries; I also know that the only way I grow is if I take a challenge; I know that travelling is what makes life worth living (Vienna city break in May, hubby and me, all alone, away for five days, for the first time in eight years, bliss); and I know I need to move and exercise more to feel (not necessarily look) better. And that is about it. Other things - I still have to figure out.

36 - bring it on!


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Summer TV

Just a short one today, with a few proposals for binge watching some of the finest entertainment to be found on line:

1. Happy Valley - oh how I love me some British crime dramas! This one - two seasons so far - features a brilliant lady detective with a troubled past and complicated family history (Sarah Lancashire) and an easy-on-the-eyes twisted villain (James Norton). The plot is riveting in both seasons, I gulped them in one big delicious slurp. Besides, James Norton is our new British boyfriend - see for yourselves:

He is the star of a much less sombre Grantchester - a priest with sleuth propensities, with a soft spot for women.








2. Billions - we've already established how much I love and adore Damian Lewis (our original British boyfriend). So imagine how giddy with excitement I got when I learnt of the Billions - Damian Lewis in the role of the wealthy, greedy hedge-fund manager, with a soft spot for Metallica gigs and putting his name on buildings around town, and Paul Giamatti, a public attorney on a crusade against the wealthy working around laws and rules, with a secret propensity for some S&M on the side. It's a roller coaster, exciting, epic at times. Season two is in the making. Can't wait!




















3. The Good Wife - I know I'm late to this party, seven seasons already under the belt, but boy, goooood seven seasons. And Julianna Margulies is killing it.




















Enjoy!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Routines

Routines are safe. They are life-savers most of the time. When you're stressed, when you're out of your mind with worry, when everything is going wrong, you can count on routines to pull you through. The job sucks, there's too much pressure, but the weekend is around the corner and it unfolds in a reliable, well known set of steps which bring order to chaos. Get up, have breakfast, go out, take the kids to the park, walk, come back home, get the younger one to bed, chill with the older one, make lunch, eat, do some chores, go out again, come home, bathing time, sleeping time, do some more chores, go to bed, wash, rinse, dry, repeat.
Yet sometimes it drives me nuts. It drives me so nuts that I feel I could go out of my skin just thinking about it. I don't want to go to another freaking park, I don't want to pound the same pavements day in day out, I'm so fed up with the same places, same store fronts, same faces... I don't want to clothe, feed, bathe, over and over and over in the same sequence of movements, same times, same way . . . What is so reassuring and welcome at times, becomes so infuriating, insufferable at others.
And I find myself being infuriated more and more so. If things don't go as planned, if any of the routines is harder to execute than usual, if there is an unexpected turn of events, I get so mad. I don't know where the anger comes from, but it surfaces so easily that it catches me off guard at most surprising times. And it is directed at my kids and at my husband most often - the people I love more than life itself. The people I could die for.
I'm lashing out and sometimes it's so bad. I hate myself for it. This creates another spiral, that's bound to produce more anger. I'm sure stress that I've been a lot under recently has something to do with that. But also I think years of not listening to myself, my body, my soul, my needs. Years of not letting go of some things, of not slowing down, of not changing the bad habits, the taking on too much, the having to have everything perfect and no other way, of being righteous, judgemental, wrong.
And, most importantly of not being able to forgive myself for all of it. It all boils down to that. The proverbial guilt and not letting go of it.
So that is what I need to do. Let go. Forgive myself for all the mistakes, the big ones and the small ones, and all in between. And writing it sounds so scary. Let alone doing it.
And I also need new routines. Of the self-loving, self-nurturing kind. Any suggestions?

A long and winding road to self acceptance

Friday, 5 August 2016

Retirement

Not for me, not yet, not ever maybe - who knows, the way things are going I may just drop dead behind the screen one day and that would be it. My mom retired. She was made to retire. Retire - retire your work, retire your position, retire the way of life, retire your colleagues, retire the rhythm and rituals of your day, retire the habits, retire the workplace presence and appearance... Sounds so harsh, so final, so defeating. My mom is anything but a defeatist, a loser, someone to quit, give up, let go and become invisible, cruising meekly towards old age and death. She will fight it, she will do anything to show everyone she is not affected by it, she's still larger than life, she can do and conquer all. And that's what worries me. I worry that something will be unleashed within, something related to this be all, do all presence that will push her into an overdrive and then into a melt-down of monolithical proportions. I don't want to witness that. I want my mom to be well. I want her to be healthy and content and live her life to the fullest but without hurting herself, burning out and ending before she gets to enjoy her retirement. My kids adore her, I wouldn't know what to do without her on a daily basis, so you could say that it's a completely selfish need. But it's more than that, I want her star to shine on, to continue making this world a greater place with her in it.

100 roses for my mom on the day she retired