The Merry Go Round

My last post was well over a month ago, and I praised myself for achieving the final visit with my CBT Therapist.  Today I have come home to a letter from the Therapist to my GP extoling me for my quick progress to get back to my old self.  Praising me for making significant changes to my life, more specifically changing jobs.  I did this and I was happy.

Now, a few months in and the façade of niceties from my colleagues has vanished.  The games of politics are invading my peace of mind that I worked so hard to achieve.  Promises were made to me about progressing in a role.  As I am a Contractor, I do seek out the opportunity to be a full time permanent employee.  Who wants to constantly have to look over their shoulder wondering when the talk will come to say you are no longer required.  So, I being a dutiful and committed Contractor gave my utmost to the role I was handed.

I have a bit of a sixth sense with people and body language.  Last Friday I saw my big boss speaking with my Line Manager.  I put two and two together and knew that the end was nigh.  Today, on Monday I broached the topic in a very casual way.  Low and behold I was right.  The role that was promised to me is not coming to fruition.

I dropped my own bombshell and let my Line Manager know that I knew something was up as I have now applied for another internal role.  His eyes widened in surprise but his words were supportive.  Okay I can only take it that he was being genuine however I want the honesty.

I am sick to death of employers holding you to their mercy about progression and acknowledgement for the good work that you do.  Instead of treating grown adults like children, make an effort to be forthcoming with good and bad news.  No one needs to have the decisions about their future packaged in doubts and condescending tones.

And so I am on the merry go round again.  Selling myself to the highest bidder.  Wading through poorly written job specifications.  Pandering to unprofessional Recruitment Consultants.  Trying to wedge the door open to the next opportunity.  Bring it on!  I am ready and willing to take on this challenge: permanent job with good salary and benefits!

 

 

CBT and Me

imageI had my last CBT session.  I felt relieved to not have to go to the appointments any longer, then there was sadness knowing that I would no longer see my Therapist.  Over the course of 1/2 a year I had established a bond with him.  He brought me to a dark place to help me face my deep rooted issues.  He brought me to a light place to finally acknowledge my self worth.

The journey had been tough and not without tears and laughter.  My therapist armed me with the tools to go forward and most importantly he gave me the courage to realise that I already had these tools.  I just did not know how to use them in a constructive manner. I told him as my parting that I hope I never have to see him again.  He laughed and said that is what everyone says.  I really meant it.

Going forward, I will have to be more patient and loving of myself.  I know I can and will.

To The Absent Father

I heard his voice once over the telephone.  He called me, us, from prison.  I knew it was him straight away even though I never heard him speak.  There was a street hood rat twang to his accent.  He told me he was calling me, us to see how we were doing.  We is my brother and I.  Just before the call, I had taken a bong hit and was high as a kite.

I can’t remember the call.  I only know in present day that I spoke to my father for the first and only time.  It is hard and easy to understand why I never met him.  My father the heroin addict couldn’t keep himself clean enough to remember his two children.  I don’t blame him.  I can’t blame a person who was sick.  Addiction was his illness for a while and it should have killed him.  But, it didn’t.

AIDS.  My father the heroin addict died from complications due to AIDS.  It was a fateful prick from a needle or it could have been a sexual encounter.  When he died, my mother told me it was a heart attack.  And this is what I believed for a couple of years until my aunt, my father’s sister, called me and told me the truth.

I felt a sword impale me.  I couldn’t breath.  All the years I resented him for being who he was but my heart ached to know this truth.  I never had the chance to meet him.  Only in recent years I had photos of him.  He looks so much like my brother.  I look like him too.

 

Just Me

I started reading the book Just Kids by Patti Smith.  I only just started the book.  And so far I just can not help but think about me growing up on Long Island, New York.  Patti’s bohemian beginnings were my beginnings.  I too was/am the artist.  I had my own tribe gathered from a hodgepodge of fringe people who will always be on the outside.  These people were my family.  We shared poetry.  We sang songs.  We danced.  We indulged (sometimes too often) in mind altering substances.  We soon realised that that was not as important as our ability and compulsion to create.

We trampled to the train to escape the Island and go to the City.  Me wearing my shit kickers and thrift shop clothes.   We were an eclectic lot.  We were not trying to be like anyone else except ourselves.  Ourselves who had been shunned in cliquish high school and snubbed in university.  We ventured to St Mark’s Place.  It was our street.  Our place.  Our time.

That seems so long ago but inside I am that young lady who is quick with her tongue and ready to take on the establishment.  But it is the enforced conformity that comes with territory of getting older.  Getting married.  Getting divorced.  Getting sick.  Realising you are not so young when your back hurts from standing too long on the platform waiting for the tram.  To go to a job that is paying your bills but stealing your soul.

It could be our time again.  It could be ours all of the time.  If only we could just be who we really are all of the time.  Why can’t we?

 

Notice

This past Thursday I emailed my notice of resignation to my bosses.  It was the 2nd draft which thanked them for the opportunity, expressing how much I learned and wishing them the best of luck in their future with the company.  The 1st draft was a laundry list of all of the things that I did not like about the company and how I was treated unfairly during the two years with them.

Yeah, it was only two years but a lot happened during this time.  I left a full time employed job to go work the company as a Contractor.  More money gave me the financial freedom to leave my husband, which I did so exactly two months after starting my contract.  My life was going in the direction that I wanted it to go.

During my two years, my bosses praised my work and offered me the opportunity to be staff.  The salary would be about £10k less than what I was earning as a Contractor and so at the time I had to ask if the offer could be postponed for several months.  I was renting in the City, and it was expensive.  They understood and said, yeah sure no problem, we will get the paperwork started and it should be completed by the time your lease is up.  Mutual agreement.  I thought to myself what a nice thing to do for me.

I was so wrong.  They offered staff roles to other less qualified people.  This was upsetting.  I asked, when is my staff paperwork going to be completed?  The response I received from my bosses was, what are you talking about?  I couldn’t believe it.  What a bunch of lying numbskulls.

Then the bullying started.  I soon learned that as a Contractor, HR were not interested my welfare.  Not one person cared.  I was left feeling very low.  My self esteem had plummeted.  I had to seek help.  I did, and after about 6 sessions my confidence was becoming restored.  I put my CV on the job boards and soon was being head hunted for roles.

Persistence paid off and I was offered a role with a higher salary and working less hours.  Boom!

After the email was sent to my bosses, one of them replied by telephone pleading with me not to go.  We had a meeting the next day.  This is when I let my lips loose to sink their ship.

I went through the timeline of my employment with them and gave exact details about all of the times they messed me about.  I made it clear that the way they treated me had negative reprecussions and I had to seek medical help.  My boss sat there with his mouth open.  That’s when I told it like it is.  I made my excuse before I started and forewarned him that where I come from, New York, I can only be honest and straight to the point.  I told him that the people he has hired are incompetent as what I have seen with my own eyes.  That they would rather play on their phones than work.  And here I am, hard working and dedicated and you chose them over me.  Well, it’s their problem now, because there is not anyone of my colleagues who has the experience and dedication that I possess.  Yeah, good luck to you.

Button Your Lip

imageTrump.  That is the name of the moment.  People are outraged by what he professes and what he intends to put into action if he is elected. In the UK we started a petition #blockDonaldJTrumpfromenteringtheUK.  The signatures quickly added up and have far and above reached the quota for Parliament to debate.  I am one of those signatories and being an American who is also a Hispanic New Yorker, I felt empowered by this.

As inflammatory as Trumps words are, I am sure glad that he has a big mouth and everybody knows how openly bigoted he is.  His bigotry has opened the floor for us to debate the very real issues surrounding terrorism and IS.

While Trump’s big idea is to ban Muslims from entering the United States is fundamentally wrong I can’t help but feel that it is time for Governments to do more for the refugees.  Make the checks on individuals more concise so that there are not interlopers entering our countries.  We need to take care of those individuals who are fleeing for their lives.  They are human beings and should not be identified as Muslism.  They should have the freedom to practice their religion without fear.

The Trump saga has started a debate on my Facebook page.  One friend opposed Trump while another supported him.  The debate went on for quite sometime.  Both parties let their differences lie, however they both felt that their views were right.  These two friends are New Yorkers.  And there is one thing that New Yorkers are not afraid to do is confront one another.  They will speak their mind and lay it out all on the table.  It is our culture.  As much as the world is shocked by Trumps words, I am not surprised he said those things.  New Yorkers can’t help themselves.  It is a tell it like it is culture.  And when we say something that we shouldn’t have, we’ll be the first to pull ourselves up on it.  It’s the saying, “Me and my big mouth.”  Oi vey!

Trump is a different kind of New Yorker.  He’s a chump.  He’s the guy in the bar who just won’t button his lip until another guy tells it like it is and says, “shut your mouth or I’ll shut it for you.”

Mental Health Month

My employer declared November Mental Health Month.  I thought that in the current state of my own mental health that this would be a light bulb moment for me.  I had high hopes for the past month.  I was expecting to be given an opportunity to witness this proactive approach by my employer to give those who suffer in silence a voice.  The extent of the November Mental Health rounded up a series of posters referring employees to call a help line and that there would be a session to speak with a Health Professional.

The reality of all this help was rolled out onto an email to everyone with the subject declaring that free lunch would be given during the Mental Health session and that during the hour you would learn how to identify when you are stressed, how this affects you, how to recognise this in your colleagues.  This attempt to educate employees is laughable.  I did not attend because I had my own CBT appointment that morning and felt that it was sufficient and concise.

I did contemplate attending the session because any time free food is offered you can bet that the attendees will be all too willing to be attentive in between chewing and clambering up to the buffet.

During the November Mental Health month, my employer conveyed to their staff and contractors that work is drying up and that we will have to tighten the purse strings.  The result of this message is that everyone is nervous, stressed, full of anxiety as they enter into the most festive time of the year.  The potential is that you may not have a job after December.  Well done Employer you have now had a success with your November Mental Health month.  There will now be a number of employees contacting the helpline.

CBT

I had a session this morning with my Psychologist who is helping me with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  It is one of only two sessions so far and in today’s visit we laid out a plan for me focusing on three problems.  Number one is work related stress.  Number two is my relationship with my boyfriend.  Number three is my distance away from family.  I live in a different country to them.

After the session I felt confident and that things are going to better.  I went to work and was very productive in my day.

I left work with excitement to get home because it is a beautiful day.  I called my boyfriend from the car to see if he was up for going for a bite to eat.  He told me that he had a confession to make.  My heart sank.  Okay, I can deal with this.  He continued to tell me that he had made two major purchases this week.

I asked him what it is, and he told me that he bought items for his music.  I was stunned because for most of this week he had been upset about work and thought that he might lose his job.  I spent a lot of my emotional energy in trying to make him feel better mean while he is treating himself.  And to make matters worse he felt that he couldn’t tell me because he knew that I would not be happy.  This then made me feel very sad because it is apparent that he doesn’t trust me and doesn’t respect my input.  We live together and for most of this year the financial burdens have fallen on my shoulders.  I have been worried sick with anxiety about money and my job.  This spending carried on from the previous month when he bought himself an 8 string guitar and keyboard.

I feel like I am being played here.  I’m the one who is upset and stressed and paying for most things, while he has spent about £1200 in the past month on himself.

I objected to his spending.  I objected to his not trusting me.  He however is angry with me.

I never yelled.  I only told him I was upset.  The conversation ended abruptly when I told him that I was sat in the car and it was getting hot.  I was in the supermarket car park and I said this and if he needed anything.  He hung up the phone.

I have come home to him sat at his computer ignoring me.  I was upset and went in the bedroom.  When he emerged I asked him to come sit with me.  He was reluctant to.  I went into the living room to see what he was doing.  I offered to help him.  He was ambivalent towards me.  Then he accused me of messing up his computer.  Which I did not.

Nice way to start my weekend.

Going Hungry

When I was a young teenager my brother and I would fight over silly things.  This was to be expected as we were both going through puberty.  My Mom’s reaction to this bickering was unexpected.  She would threaten not to buy food and not to give us lunch money.  At the time this angered me and my brother but we were unable to stop the arguing.  The result was no food.

I would come home from school and there would not be dinner most nights.  I would then go to my boyfriend’s house.  My brother to his friends houses.  My Mom would hold out on us.  She was teaching us a lesson, in her words.

Oh yes, the message was loud and clear to me.  What I learned was that abuse comes in many forms.  Neglecting a child has a lasting effect on them into their adulthood.  What my Mom did all of those years ago was to imprint on my brother and I that we are not worth her love and care.  I do not know if she understood the implications of her actions.  I do not hold a grudge but I do hold my Mom at a distance.  Even to this day, my brother and I equate her to the portrayal of Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest.

While we starved, Mom had fancy dinners and fur coats.  When we were cold, she would drive past in her car to work not even waving while we stood shivering at the bus stop. When we had school events, she would yell at us if she had to pick us up.  When I graduated from High School, I was the Class President and had to give a speech.  My Mom was late.  When my brother left school, my Mom got a job in Saudi Arabia.

She left us and this was the happiest time in mine and my brother’s life together.  We bought food.  We had parties.  We got to know each other.  We forever formed a pact and friendship that my Mom could not infiltrate.

My brother is now a father.  I am his daughter’s Godmother.  My Mom now is the doting Grandma.  She is all full of love and warmth.  Maybe my Mom finally grew up and became a caring adult.

I am still skeptical and wait for the next act in the Mommy Dearest performance.

Selfish vs Selfless

Recently my boyfriend took a psychometric test for his new job.  The results were that he was deemed to be a selfish person.  He came home miffed and a bit taken aback by this and asked me if I thought that he was selfish.  I answered no, which was unfortunately a lie.

I did not feel badly about the lie because I felt at this point his behaviour in our relationship was proving to be selfish and self-centred.  In not so many or if any words, I have not broached the subject with him.  It is difficult for me to do so because I am feeling quite vulnerable in my relationship.  This is not good.

His selfishness is balanced by my selflessness in the relationship.  I know I have always been a giver and due to my lack of self esteem time and again always accept that people may not reciprocate my behaviour.

I now am reflecting on this and can see that to be selfish is not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes one does have to think only of themselves, it is our survival technique.  Being selfless is deemed to be an act of kindness but it can also be a sign of not knowing your self worth.

Lesson learned here is that we both have to change a little to give the relationship more balance.  It will be good for our souls.