Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It did hit the fan...

...yeah, you know 'what', I won't spell it out.

3 weeks of flux, moves, changes, and yes too, hurt. By now most of you will know that around March 26 I resigned from my position as senior editor for the main line at Eirelander Publishing. What prompted this? It was a part of the flux. I was getting sucked into a sort of sandpit and just couldn't keep my head above at breathable level. Remember the issues with my oil and water and the whole breakdown thing? While all these were formenting in the background (they would've blown in my face sooner or later), well, let's just say sometimes a catalyst comes along. In my case, the catalyst was how I was living my life.

I was busy. Too busy actually. I wanted to be everything, and another thing that 'kills' with me is my desire to help. Need a hand with anything, just ask Z, because she'll never say no. In that respect, I think I take after my dad. Before retiring, he was a career nurse. People were always coming to him for help with medical stuff, or if relatives were admitted to hospital, he knew everyone it seemed and got all the info for everyone.

What I also recall is - for all my dad helped people, to me it didn't seem like he was helping us. Maybe I was selfish, but we'd see him receive a call at 1 in the morning, on one of those rare nights when he wasn't on duty, and a short while later he'd be getting into the car of some relative who needed his 'help' with some hospital matter. He'd usually start duty while still helping that relative, and we wouldn't see him until close to 24 hours later. I grew up knowing my father was almost never at home, and I treasured those moments we did have together. I also knew, and this burnt, that we never heard from these said relatives when none of theirs was in need of my dad's 'help'. But that was the man he was, still is, btw. Ask for his help and he'll never say no. Today as a grown up, I realise that's a wonderful trait of his, but as a kid, I resented it.

And now I was turning into him too. I 'helped' everyone but wasn't there for those who mattered. I 'lived' in my house, but my husband was just the man I was married to, not the one with whom I shared all my woes, dreams, issues, nonsense, like in the past, like not so long ago actually. My son was growing up but sadly, I didn't really know him and the little man he was growing into. And he too knew his mom as 'the woman who was always at her computer and always busy with work'. I never read anythin from my TBR pile; I watched movies with the hubs because otherwise he'd pitch a fit because we never seemed to share time together; on some days lunch consisted of wolfing a protein shake on the way down the stairs to pick kiddo from school, at quarter to 3 in the afternoon; sleep was after working on the PC online in the evening, working on the laptop at night, and working on the PDA phone in bed just before going to sleep around midnight or 1 AM. And in the morning it'd start again at 8.30 AM at the PC to check email before switching to the laptop to work until quarter to 3 when I'd dunk a shake and go pick the kid, to come back again online an hour later.

The fact was, I no longer had any time. I'm very much a perfectionist - when I do something, especially for others, I want it to be perfect to the dot. Without realizing, I will be sucked into the venture and helping out in any way I can. Now if I had no life, that would be great. But that wasn't the case. I was me, I was a wife, I was a mom, and I was a writer.

It came down to a choice - who did I want to be? Strangely, this scene from the movie Cocktail jumped at me - you know where Tom Cruise is eating reheated pizza and doing his assignment where the teacher asked them to write their own obituary. What would my obituary look like if I died today? What would it look like if I continued along the same path I was on? What did I actually want my obituary to say about me?

Certainly not that everyone loved me because I helped at the drop of a hat but the people who mattered said I was there in body but never in spirit and heart. Did I want my husband to ask, why did I stay with her? Did I want my son to tell his kids, my mom never had time for me coz she was always working?

And the writing - let's talk about it. Nothing there. Dry as dust. Forced. Stilted. The problem was - I had no time. Writing was akin to a chore, that I had to fit in with as much gusto as a trip around the house with the hoover in tow (hoover trip that I have to fit in this week, btw, ack!).

I had to face it - I was a writer! Wife and mom and daughter too, yes, but most of all, I was a writer. Not anything else. The choice - writer or everything else work-wise.

Every writer will know and reckon that writing is not a hobby. It's work, it's a job. It takes time, investment, dedication, heart. It takes all your brain and all your soul too.

So the choice came down to - I am a writer. Period. Which meant that while I loved to edit and help authors, that task wasn't me and what I was cut out to do. In a choice between editting and writing, I chose writing, and in the same go, I chose to be a not non-existent wife and mother.

Sadly, not everyone understood my stand. I faced some scathing remarks, some attacks on my person. It was never my intention to let anyone down, but that's how it was construed by some. Thank goodness the people I relied on and cared about rallied around me and I realised how blessed I was to know such amazing ladies. They all 'got it', and hugged and listened and cheered me up.

It hurt me that in a few instances, I saw the real face of some people whom I considered friends. But like every hurdle teaches you, it's in tough times that you realize the real truth, that you see reality for what it is.

But I am moving forward. I quit a job, a prestigious position, and though some would feel like they should regret their lives for such a 'rash' decision, I don't regret it. I'm sad it had to come to this, but I am who I am and the reality is such that I couldn't keep going the way I was. In the process, there are some indelible marks upon my heart now, but this is how we learn, innit?

My goal now? Be the writer I was meant to be all along. I took a detour along the way maybe, but I'm back in stride now. In my personal life, I am getting to know my son better. I am hearing his laughter everyday, a sad fact to mention was that while I was 'working', this 6-going-on-7-going-on-30 little man wasn't laughing anymore. I am getting better acquainted with my husband too, letting the two of us realize why we had chosen to be together for the rest of our lives in the first place (amid some china breaking, of course, but that's us, hot-tempered Indian-origin folks!).

So I am writing, and hopefully, I will have an update for you shortly. I'm thinking of revamping the blog a little too, with some posts of cross-links to life, love, relationship articles I come across on the Net. Sort of like making my Perception Tunnel sub-heading in the weekly post a weekly or bi-weekly happening on here.

All revved up - yes, my mojo is back! I am back too, and let's hope that I won't lose myself anymore!

Thanks to all who stand by me and who in any way, small or big, have touched my life with their presence, words, hugs, and friendship in the past few weeks.

Don't forget:

Live. Laugh. Love!


Angela Guillaume said...

My wonderful Z - I'm happy that you're back to the "you" that you were meant to be. The world would miss out on so much if you couldn't write any more. And your family, yes, that is the most important investment of your life. Love ya always x

Chicki said...

Ah, now I see ... You inherited that compulsive need to help and inability to say no. I'm so glad you saw how it was affecting you before it was too late. Welcome back to life, girl!

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Angela - thanks darling. It's good to be back, and finally able to be me!

Chicki - yup, it's inherited all the way! Like I just told Angela here, it's awesome to be back and feeling alive and no longer like a crawling zombie anymore!

Huge hugs!!

Lynn S. said...


I know how it is to give up something you really loved to better your life. As much as I loved writing, my health and well-being was more important thus making my family life better in the process.

Many hugs to you!

Gemini said...

Writing should never be a chore. I know exactly what you mean. You've come to a comfortable place -- or back to it. I go up and down myslef and need to back away a refresh. Good for you for taking care.

Sandy said...

Great blog, Z. It's especially hard for women to say no. We are used to doing everything for everyone. We are programmed that way from an early age.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Hey Lynn, so good to hear from you, darlin! I remember you went through such a phase too not so long ago, and yes, it's hard, but it comes down to a choice and we have to cut it somewhere along the line. I hope things are going well for you. We need to catch up!

Gemini - strange, innit, how we need to go forth and back to find the balance. It can never remain a status quo, and though in a way that's good, it makes for some turmoil too when you're limbo-eing. Very true - when writing becomes a chore, then you know something in the big picture isn't right.

Sandy - yes, seems like we are programmed, we need to be the nurturers, the carers, the fixers. We are almost encouraged to forget ourselves in the process, because 'we' don't matter. In a way it is women themselves who push us into this spot, while it's men who take us out of it. Is that the measure of a hero, how he pushes us to be ourselves to our full potential, and not just what others want us to be...? Food for thought, eh?

Thanks for your lovely words, ladies. True friends indeed!! Huge hugs

Theresa Stillwagon said...

Life is full of ups and downs. Too many choices. I'm glad to see you back and feeling better about you situation. Getting to hear your son's laughter again is worth all the pain.
And thank God you're writing again. The world would be a much poorer place if you stopped doing that.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Thanks you so much, Theresa. Your words just made my whole week!

Huge hugs

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately and typically, those who chastise are likely to be those who are annoyed that you won't be there to bail them out of their own mistakes or are too lazy to figure out the answers themselves. Either those people will find someone else to lean on, or they'll come into new-found wisdom. You made the right decision. :) Bearhugs!!!

prashant said...

that is the most important investment of your life.
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