Archive | July, 2008

For those looking for my thoughts on hot gossip

30 Jul

…I seriously don’t give a damn. So stop haunting my blog already. I have nothing to say on matters that don’t involve me. At all. Go buy yourself some good caramel popcorn instead.

The curse of second-guessing

29 Jul

I have this friend, see. Let’s call him AR (short for Anal Retentive).

Funnypictureleftfootcat

AR’s a decent dude. But his obsessive compulsive tendencies can drive me up the wall at times. It’s good to have high standards and strive for perfection. Sometimes, though, I wonder why he puts Pulitzer-Prize winning effort into pithy blurbs no one will remember months down the line.

But humans aren’t perfect, ergo we’re never going to reach absolute perfection.

Not that I’m not capable of being critical. AR tends to be critical of external things – I direct all my criticism internally and end up spending too much time second-guessing myself.

Am I good enough?
Will I ever be good enough?
Shouldn’t I be doing more with my blessings?

It’d be nice to be a cat. They don’t spend a lot of time navel-gazing and worrying. They go out, eat, sleep and procreate without lying about pondering their own self-worth.

So I ask the ALMIGHTY GOOGLE (I’d ask God but I needed a slightly faster answer) what do I do to stop second-guessing myself.

I find this. A nice little PDF entitled "Break the Curse of Second-Guessing Yourself".

My favourite part is where it explains the difference between self-criticism(bad) and self-reflection(good).

Second-guessing, or self-criticism, is a destructive habit. Self-criticism
wastes your time and erodes your self-trust, confidence, and personal
power. It can spiral into a vicious downward cycle that undermines your
success and satisfaction. Ouch.

Self-reflection is the opposite of second-guessing. Self-reflection benefits
you. When you unplug from today’s fast pace to consider your intentions,
behavior, and impact, you enrich your creativity, contribution, and
fulfillment. As you explore new options, you improve your performance.
Many models of leadership identify this kind of self-reflection as a core
competence.

It’s normal to have moments of self-doubt and insecurity. The key here, then, is to go on despite all that.

And break out of the habit of worrying.

Like my friend Dave said to me recently when something fell through, "Just have faith." In the end, everything works out for good and if I’m patient, trust and do my best despite the circumstances, things will sort themselves out if I let them.

John Scalzi demonstrates absolute pwnage

29 Jul

Everyone has to deal with their usual dose of stupid. But Scalzi’s response to a rather dimwitted commenter really should make the Internet Archives of Utter Win.

"Reading this person’s understanding of how the First Amendment applies
in these instances is like being slathered in a thick coat of ignorant,
and then being put out into the sun to dry out before a second coat is
applied, which itself will be topped off by a sealant of complete and utter stupid, and lightly drizzled with a glistening varnish of epic fail."

If I had to explain just how I totally relate to this, I would likely be hit with quite a few libel suits so I shall refrain.

Of course, just so you know, that description also totally describes our ruling coalition.

Under the same sky

29 Jul

It’s said that to understand life, you must look at it backwards but it must be lived forward.

And sometimes I almost get it, Pa, why our carefully ordered lives had to be turned inside out for us to be where we are now.

I remember always being fearful, never feeling I would be worthy of anything but your criticism.

When did it all change, Pa? When you fell in love with another woman and Ma demanded, with me as a witness, a divorce? I know you didn’t want me to see all that, Pa.

But I don’t blame you. All those years of tension, of fights, of incompatibility. At the back of my mind, I always wondered why you stayed. Why you held on in spite of everything and how all that pent-up resentment you both held poisoned everything around you.

I remember coming home the first time after you’d gone. And it was the first time I’d ever felt peace, Pa. No more yelling, no more fear, no more secret hurts nursed in silence.

It’s strange that as a grown woman, I am secure in the knowledge that you love me. That despite the vestiges of guilt (perhaps you wonder if I took Prince’s I Would Die 4 U as gospel when you played it all the time when i was little), you’re more open with me than when I was little.

I know you fear for me sometimes. And you feel like you’ve failed somehow in keeping me on the path we both thought we’d walk until the day I die.

Just look up, Pa. We’re both here, under the same sky, walking on the same earth, breathing in the same air. And despite what anyone else will say, we pay homage to the same God.

When I chose Him, I thought I’d lost you. I was so afraid and so angry that I should have to choose.

You walked away, though everyone would accuse you of abandoning us. And in the end, we never lost each other. And I took that same leap of faith by walking into another pair of arms.

And by choosing them, I got you back.

I still fear too much, worry too much, stress when I don’t need to, hide when I should be happy in the sun.

But I hope you know, Pa, that nothing you’ve ever bought me comes close to the gift of realising that you love me, despite my choices. "No matter what", you said.

And I love you too.

Why worry, love?

28 Jul

The long break helped clear my head.

Sometimes, it’s good to hear your shortcomings told to you kindly, gently, by someone who loves you.

Who has nothing to gain from not telling you the truth.

"Why worry, honey? We’re not going to live forever."

***
My return from Singapore was delayed. Unexpected circumstances kept me 4 nights longer in Singapore than I wanted. The extra expense was hard on the wallet but it gave me a lot to think about.

A lot of idiocy happened in the country while I was away. And despite my misgivings about Singapore, the reservedness of its people, the comparative blandness of its food…everything works over there.

Public transport in Singapore is clean, efficient and reliable. The streets are safe; I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulder at night, nor do I have to clutch my bag close to me in fear of cutpurses.

I can trust the policemen – they’re decently paid and don’t practice extortion instead of doing their jobs.

It’s true. I admit it. I envy the Singaporeans.

And now the tussle begins for power. Conspiracy, lies, high drama. And into this mix comes…Mercedes Benz cars?

Oh, my country. I weep for you.

I don’t want fortune. Fame would likely hurt, not help me.
I don’t want beauty, longevity, power.

I want things to work in my country.
I want leaders who won’t lie today, and get exposed in the papers tomorrow.
I want a nation built on principles, ethics and concern for the welfare of all its people.
I want a nation not torn asunder by a maddening obsession about affirmative action for the majority race.
I want to be proud of my country.
I’m not.

Offered freedom

27 Jul

Sometimes attempts at being noble and doing the whole "I love you so I’ll let you walk free if you want to" deed doesn’t quite work out the way you plan:

"So, I’m being serious here. If you want to break up with me you should do it here. Not over the phone."

"If I do it here, you’ll kill me."

"How do you know I won’t hop on a plane to you and kill you if you break up with me from there?"

"Good point."

Never too late to apologise

26 Jul

In my 30 years of life, I’ve learned that patience is more than a virtue – it’s a blessing in itself.

When I was working at the UN, I was unlucky enough to be picked on by a group of individuals who I’ll just christen the ‘office sharks’.

Every office has them. Either they’re a group of gossipy biddies who distract themselves from their own personal problems by bitching about a target, or a group of males feeling threatened by the new cocky recruit. It doesn’t matter what guise they come in, it’s the same story. One person being picked on by a mob. A mob who should know better.

So I ended up the target of one mob and it didn’t help that I was still in treatment for clinical depression. But thankfully, my other colleagues were supportive and helped make the remainder of my time there bearable.

A few months after I left, another colleague who had remained neutral and refrained from taking sides in the matter spoke to me.

"Erna, I just want to tell you I’m sorry. I should have done more."

It seems after I left, the sharks went for her. She got to know first-hand what it was like to have people gang up on you just because they could. And I told her it was all right. That I understood she didn’t want to be involved, that she just wanted to keep out of it, out of trouble. She felt that her failure to stand up for me came back to bite her.

And I said she had nothing to apologise for. In the end, we must all fight our own battles and not blame those who can’t be right there with us for whatever reason.

Today, I received another apology out of the blue. Apologising for not believing me, for having reservations about my capacity for telling the truth.

But there are always two sides to every story. If I was said friend, I’d have misgivings too. It’s easy to exaggerate, to misrepresent, to twist the tale to make yourself the hero and the other party the villain.

Sometimes, both parties can be at fault. Sometimes, the blame must be shared.

I don’t forgive my friends.
Because there is nothing to forgive. For I would rather keep my friendships, and lose all my grudges.

From a letter written by Fra Giovanni:

I
am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can
give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that,
while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!

The
gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is
joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see – and
to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

…And so, at this time, I
greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound
esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day
breaks, and the shadows flee away.