Day 3 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

Well done me, I made it to day 3! 😊

This morning, I am absolutely one happy bunny around. I think this pinning down yourself business to accomplish and achieve something really does works. Holy macaroni! I can actually see myself achieving in other areas of my life if I keep this up.  I may actually just about do it, this time round honestly. That alone makes me so happy.

Following up on my previous post where I touched a bit on a very sensitive nerve of my precarious, particular close  relationship- my marriage, I brave tackle it one more time.  I think its an area that needs my undivided attention right now as a priority because if you find yourself obsessing over one area in your life for the thousandth time- action is needed. Otherwise its just wasted reserve of your energy that could have been channelled to better use. It boils down to your mind  definitely tripping and your emotions going round and round a closed loop round-about.  I believe that’s where I find myself right now.  As a realisation of this truth, my fear is that as I cruise round and round this loop just like the principle of momentum, I think my emotions continue to pick speed. However,  as nature will have it, when an object is caught in a spiralling moment going at a crazily high speed the risk is that one wee loss of grip will send me flying out of control causing insurmountable  damage and possibly irreversible and  immense collateral damage along the way.

So, I can absolutely say it loud that this area in my life needs more attention once and for all. Like most marriage issues, this did not just crop up from nowhere. I think if I am honest with myself, I partly saw this coming. At the time I did not want to believe the reality that was unfolding. How could I, our relationship had weathered many huge storms and earth quaking moments and I reasoned this was not even registering on the Richter scale.Oh boy ,oh boy was I so wrong. I will call my husband DH. So, it all kicked off when DH decided to go and have an affair (I don’t think it was as this sudden, nothing ever is, but hey ho). Initially after denial then in some perverted way I blamed myself. I resolved we would work things out and reasoned there must be an explanation cause surely he was a good man and I was lucky to have him, everyone said, and besides many marriages survive these things right? Yet something deep down in my very core I knew instantly that things were never going to be the same again for us, regardless of the outcome.

I have now resolved In my heart that things indeed have been irreparably damaged.  I still question myself whether this was the icing on the cake or the final straw for me cause to be honest the feeling that something was wrong started way before the discovery of DH’ affair.We for a long time seemed to be viewing the world through different lenses and the clashes of opinions seemed to be the order of the day. We just seemed never to agree on a single one thing and that was painful to me. So, in some funny ways the discovery of this affair regardless of its shuttering my heart into a million pieces, it  was some sort of a relief that I had been right all along that something had changed in the way DH saw us as well as his view of me.  

I  know some couples when they have such problems they work them out. So, I also did try to get us help. I shared with DH how I was struggling to come to terms with this and I suggested we sought help- perhaps a marriage counsellor or a trusted family friend. DH would not have it. Instead although he knew his relationship with this “other woman” was slightly inappropriate he thought I was being unreasonable and melodramatic to make a big deal out of this and that we didn’t need to see anyone and besides nobody needed to know our business and said we just needed a family holiday and time to re-group cause we had not been connecting for a while. While I saw it for what it was- a mess needing all hands on deck to rescue our marriage,  DH was burying his head in the sand and wishing this would all go away without a fuss. He made it clear that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. At this time I was now having panic attacks from nowhere and found myself so sad all the time for no reason.  In my desperation to feel some relief I agreed- to go on holiday that is. As a family we took a family holiday for the first time in years.

After the once hailed as a saviour holiday was over and done, needless to say my sadness did not go away, nor my feeling of inadequacy disappear. Instead I found myself contemplating divorce form the very first time or at least a separation. Although everything we did as a couple just felt laboured, forced and awkward, DH chose to pretend everything was back to normal and I should just trust him that he had ended any liaisons with the other woman. DH continued to ramp up his narrative that everything was back to normal and wouldn’t talk about why and how we got to where were.

DH continued like before and pretended he was all loyal and faithful at every turn. However this proved not true, cause in my scepticism rightly or wrongly I viewed his mobile phone once again looking for evidence to validate bad vibes I still felt. Given that this is how I had found out about the affair in the first place by reading his Whatsapp texts. I think DH didn’t think I would keep the other woman ‘ number  cause although  he did delete her name from his contacts, he did not cut her off completely. So, second time around when I viewed his Whatsapp messages- although the name was gone, there were several photos and videos from a particular unsaved number which when I loaded onto my mobile, lo and behold, no prize for guessing belonged to the other woman. She had sent  a number and uncoordinated messages proving that conversations in between had been deleted but DH somehow could not delete these particular media. At this point, every fibre of hope that I held that maybe we could work things out despite his refusing counselling and his laissez faire attitude evaporated instantly.

 A few days later when I put it to DH that he was continuing communicating with the other woman even though he had promised it had stopped, he instead again denied ever reconnecting, blamed me for being nosey, and untrusting and said the famous Elvis line  to the effect of how can we go on, with suspicious minds, and bla bla bla …how can we even rebuild our dreams and family on suspicious grounds.” So, I dared him and asked him on the spot to show me  his mobile convinced that I would prove it to him that the number matched the other woman. To my surprise, he had actually deleted everything and was denying senseless that they were ever there. I explained as we wrangled about it but he kept denying saying I was becoming very paranoid about all this and it was messing with my head this obsession I was having.

Fear and anger flushed across my face how mist have thought imwas so stupid and how dare he insulted my intelligence and how silly was hismploy to turn tables around and gaslight me like that! This time he had under-estimated my investigative ass cause  I had actually taken screenshots of these messages and the dates they were sent to prove they were more recent. At that point I  decided enough of this cheating liar- I showed him and he bowed in defeat feeling cornered and apologised for calling me paranoid and obsessive.

You would be forgiven to think that we separated. Nope, this was 3 years ago! Hence labelling myself as spineless and gutless and no longer a cut-throat badass I used to be when I was young.

I do need to deal with my fear of the unknown I resolve.

I want to one day say, Here’s what’s worked best for me over the years and how I finally kicked being timid. Unfortunately,  I think nature is against me on this one cause research states that most of us get more timid with age cause our brains process chemicals differently.  However this girl is ever an optimist- challenge accepted-so game on!

“Day 2 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. Mark Twain

This morning the stars are out because its still blooming 5am and nice and dark as I look out my garden facing window I am currently using the dining room as my office. Its gorgeously calm and I feel so peaceful and privileged to be tasting and entering this day while the majority of the people are still in the world of snooze. I of course realise that this just applies to only a fraction of the world and only people in and around my time zone, thus the (GMT+1)

Today is day 2 and I am absolutely buzzing for sustaining the project by showing up another day. I continue my quest to a transformational me in the coming now 109days as I spotlight and explore my courageous self in these areas:

•  Social relationships (partner, children, friends),

•  Structuring my time (work, study, hobbies, parenting)

•  Prospects (basic attitude, /point of view/perspective, opportunities of growing my side hustles)

•  Money and vitality. How I can exponentially transform and how I can boost my health and my net worth through my daily exercise and current day job and other streams of income I am currently exploring and pursuing.

These four areas I am focused on will of course expand and inflate no doubt as I research and sink my teeth into various aspects of my more courageous self project. Yesterday as I read the book by  #Sean Whalen’s “How to make sh*t happen” I loved how he summed up all the facets in our lives into 4 areas he calls the “Core 4” He stated that these areas are fundamentally everything that concerns and affects us and getting them into ship-shape is the secret and beginning of achieving and succeeding in all areas per sei.

These #Core 4 are 1. Passion (which is all about our relationships), 2. Power (which in general covers all things body, wellbeing and vitality), 3. Purpose (this is all to do with the mind) and  4. Production (all about business).For my quest journey I found myself wondering how in shape my core areas are holding up. I know I score High in assertiveness and courage in the Purpose and power department but equally poorly or at least work-in-progress in the passion and production department.

Me thinks its actually brilliant that I have actually discovered about this lack and flaw this early in my quest to becoming more bolder than ever before. It’s all good to discover this about your character but it led me to ask why are these two core areas in my life sh*t when it looks like my purpose facet which is faring more or less not too bad?

I definitely know deep down that my relationships are not where they’re supposed to be. So this is a beautiful opportunity and chance for me to absolutely prode deeper into this area and see how this can be transformed moving forward. After all that’s the essence of my quest isn’t it?

So,  I want to know how I can be more assertive in the passion area which is my relationships . When it comes to my relationships I am kinda a back seater at the moment. In my young-self days I used to be very passionate and good at building strong and lasting relationships but I suppose as life happens to you things and priorities shift and change and I  just can’t do it as easily any more.  I just seem to have stopped growing in this area and kept the same friends that I made like decades ago.  I’ve met  and made very few more recently but I seem to lose them eventually and find myself reverting back to my old loyal. I don’t know maybe in life we settle down with very few people earlier in our teens and almost avoid bonding stronger later in life. Its either that or its just me having lost the touch of picking and keeping people around me. This has jolted me to wanting to actually explore which is which and if it’s the former- fair enough but deep down I suspect its the later- which means I have become rubbish at picking mates, cause somehow I still wish I was as freer as I was before when I had confidence in buckets loads. I therefore think then something needs to change and I need to know where it all went wrong.

Don’t get me wrong I do have a bunch of really great and loyal friends, such beautiful women around me most of the time I need them but I just don’t seem to be up to scratch when it comes to formulating new lasting relationships anymore. I am wondering whether my once bubbly character has just gradually fizzled off.

So this quest seem to betaking me to some really deep corners of my mind where I’m thinking- have I gone soft with age? How did I get here and if its not the best place to be how do I get out of it? I suspect once upon a time I got hurt and I coiled in to protect myself from getting hurt. Its human nature to react this way isn’t ?However I think in life such subtle changes at time they simply creep upon you and ultimately you just can not point to an “event” per sei as to when it actually happened. From my experience working with people going through crisis in their lives – I know I probably picked up some toxic relationships along the way that are to an extent also contributing to keeping me prisoner.

I Read an article from https://www.joinonelove.org/ and it mentioned that dropping any toxic relationship in your life is often more of a process than an event. I find myself admiring  badass people that make decisions such as sassing that someone in their life is toxic and without delay drop them straight away. In fact if I am honest I used to be such a badass! Hellow! However, now I find myself having been transformed into this ever careful, ever cautious kinda of person. Normally I would say- its not a bad trait to have picked cause maybe it makes me a more deeper and reflective person rather than an impulsive happy go lucky person. If truth be told, think not- I loved being pollyannaish, cause I wasn’t shallow or rude. In fact I was confident, intelligent ,likable and fiercely ambitious in my assertive optimism besides I actually think i made and kept some wonderful friends I adore and enjoy to date during those seasons of my life. Had I been a poisoned chalice I am sure I would have found it impossible to create these relations by the way they really are awesome and amazing people.

Lessons I intend to implement to journey back to my old self by getting rid of toxic relations I picked along the way will be partly as suggested in a nutshell by the article I read from https://www.joinonelove.org/

  1. Keep a journal- thank goodness I already do. In fact I have also been writing myself letters reflecting for over a decade now through a beautiful platform called futureme.org and I so look forward to these letters which serve as a snapshot of my emotional position at the time. I must say through these letters I have gleaned that nothing changes much yet nothing at the same time stays the same. Each time I receive one letter from the past- I have been comforted, thrilled and surprised by the ridiculousness of situations I would have considered a  crisis at the time.
  2. Giving yourself some TLC by giving yourself a slack, creating happy ahh moments on purpose and baring negative chitter chatter swirling around your mind. This is when you tell yourself and believe it fully that you deserve better even when all in you is going “you fool you don’t deserve to be happy and this is the best it will ever be for you”. I am going to believe fully that I am worth it and I deserve to be happy and I deserve people around me who will definitely love and support me to that extent, and that they are out there.
  3. Above all, don’t isolate yourself but at the same time watch out cause sometimes when you reach out to well-meaning friends and family networks,  you will be given relationship advice that is not healthy or realistic. All so very true in my case actually. Added on top of that is that I come from a culture that naturally compress and depress  women’s opinions and voices. So, it’s uncommon as one of my dear close contact when I sought advise about my fractious marriage once said to me- you can’t get a divorce- there are no men out there for a divorced mum, while the other said divorce is the worst legacy you can give your children. I must admit they both touched a soft nerve cause I believed it.  To be fair I do come from a dysfunctional home and deep down believe my parent’ divorce has also become my family legacy. What with all my sibling relationships breaking all around me. So, in an effort to remedy this wrong I have found myself persevering in a bad marriage (or did I say this loud for the first time 😱! Maybe I have. Good day everyone.

Flexi working- finally the new norm!

Sunday Times polled people during lock downs to gauge their attitudes towards Remote working results in August were:

45% of workers expected to work more flexibly post lock down

33% expected at least 3days a weeks to work from home

81% expected at least 1 day remote working….

Flexi work- it’s official everybody With polls like  that☝🏽:-

I must say, this I have been hoping for since I became a mother. How such common sense was almost obscured from view for this long is almost ridiculous to imagine. I remember how I saw this as the blooming obvious way forward to counter costs for childcare that seemed to be spiralling higher and higher. This to an extent sadly I recall led many mums of non-school attending kids choosing to stop entering or practising as social workers. I too almost gave in had it not been for me finding an amazing Germany au pair who moved in with us for 18months and enabled me to return to work following the birth of my son. I had sworn that I would not be leaving my son in a nursery setting type before he was at least 2years old.

This resolve had come about following a painful 1 day trial at a local children’s nursery. I recalling literary weeping as I picked my then 9month old covered not only in dirt but dry poo, wee and stale wet clothes (not his by the way as he had been changed into some random oversized dirty baby overalls apparently) as I picked him at the end of the day. What shocked me the most was that regardless of my instant take that it seemed as if my baby had been crying for such a long time, given that he had dried blocked noses and streaks of multiple layers of tears stains running down his cheeks- the nursery assistant’s report to me was that “he had a really lovely day, ate well and even made a new friend” I was like… really! as my insides churned with disbelieve , regret and sadness. This was not helped by my observing another possibly 7month old who was crying sitting alone against one corner with no worker seemingly worried or bothered as I picked mine. I imagined this was exactly how my own son spent today feeling. My little boy’s face was so sad and his eyes looked hollow and I so wished he could speak to tell it all but again was relieved he couldn’t as I feared he would have said “what the hell mum….what was that about? Why on earth did you leave me here?”

So, Flexi and remote working becoming main-stream to me feels like the natural reasonable and logic way forward.

Flexi working in general not just in Social work post COVID looks  totally different yet almost inevitable . Not least the dress code could be heading south in a big way. Social workers in the past were notorious for rubbish dressing. One would say, they absolutely did not care how they projected their image. Social interpreters and observers even going the word “sandal-socked” fashion bashers especially for them. Its beginning to look like all professionals now due to working from home may find that dressing up will become less necessary- apart from that crisp white shirt and tie and jacket on top with your favourite pyjama bottoms or shorts for those Teams or Zoom calls. However, it’s the in thing now to almost forget you have that court shoe which is sadly gathering dust in the back of your shoe closet. Is this the end of high fashion brands?

As I was reading the Sunday Newspapers the columnist India Knight  speculated on how Covid has changed how we dress because rocking the latest look now seems pointless. I caught myself agreeing 100% with this as I contemplated the last time I rocked a suit since lock down- let me see…never actually! What, with even some court hearings going virtual. As a social worker mainly the need to dress up has always been unnecessary because as I was advised during my training  that if you’re trying to relate to young people or less privileged families and aiming at building  an effective relationship with them, you didn’t  want to dress up to look like someone who might oppress them with your tailored suits and trendy slacks, so, hay ho..dressing up is toast! 

COVID-19 has indeed made dressing down acceptable. Sweat pants are in with a vengeance. The Sunday Times reports that even massive fashion brands such as Ester Lauder are cutting up to 2000 jobs as they react to waning profits  due to decrease in sales and perhaps going virtual and needing less staff due to man their brick and mortar shop fronts.

In social work since the lock down we are like all areas in the society have too gone virtual. All our core-group meetings and conferences are done virtually. This is still on-going even following easing of lockdown restrictions. Building we could use pre- COVID are still closed.  I must say some of families I work with have gone super fade up with lack of face to face as they seem to be struggling with video calling and are calling for the return to physical meetings. I don’t personally see this happening soon due to risks these meetings could present. Imagine the transmission rate to start with. For instant on average most of my meeting reviews usually have 7 core members comprising of parents and professionals. So, if I continued having 3-4 core groups  a day as I can logistically do now given these meeting being virtual- (Needless to say this is an impossible stunt to pull logistically given the physical distances of venues I would need to go to), but lets just say I was able to… anyway, given that I am a Super woman; I could literary spread COVID to 100s of people a week alone and raise the R- rate to stratosphere single- handedly if I contracted COVID-19. 

Of course the other difficult it will take us much longer to adjust to reasonable levels of meeting statutory targets with the caseloads we are currently managing. Lo and beyond this would be crazy to expect the same standards in meeting targets post Covid since caseloads would not naturally correspond accordingly by dropping- cause if truth be told- you can only do so much in any given 35-37hrs week. In fact any social worker will tell you how we work almost double of these hours on average in the hope that you could take these hours as TOIL(but again realistically- this also is next to impossible without sending you spinning or wasting time you have taken stressing and anxious about what mess you will find awaiting you upon your return. It’s a vicious cycle and we endlessly find ourselves chasing our tails days in day out.

So in a nutshell COVID has boiled many so long-believed to be immutable truths down to their bare bones literary such as need  to being office based when all you do is get there and get out again to attend your meetings and visits.

It signifies the end of an era for those micro managers whose sole purpose is to progress and maintain the bums on the sit policy.  I used to have one vicious manager who had a habit of strategically sitting in the office checking her watch as you entered the office after 9am asking “which family were you visiting this early love? 

I must say, I salute and welcome remote working. May it live forever. High performing employers like Virgin in the business world sassed this long back, why did it take Social work this long to implement this practice too? Richard Branson oink years ago was already saying flexible working was reducing overhead costs and saving his companies money by reducing office space while also cutting his companies’ carbon footprint.

So, finally!, the ingrained and traditional routines of “presenteeism”are being ditched in the corporate world- social work looks like it’s heading that way too. So, goodbye hot desking, time wasting trips of driving to the office only to find all desks are occupied but above all being stuck in horrible traffic on the M6 due to congestions. While for some working mothers, it is answered prayers for juggling work and child care, for me- its simply common sense prevailing finally! One wonders why it took COVID-19 to convince the world of this common sense. Ahh- I forget. Common sense is not always common 🙂