24/09/2010

A friend mine – probably the only one I made during my time at uni – called me all the way from her holiday in the Mediterranean to tell me how happy she was when she received her degree certificate last week. It made her feel like she had accomplished the most important thing in her life, she said. Did I feel that excitement of having accomplished something? Like really accomplished something? Yes, I told her. It’s a great feeling.

Of course I lied. There was no euphoric mood from me at any time last week because I did not receive my degree certificate. I owe the university £1500, and I won’t be getting that precious paper until I pay up. The phone call made me think, if only briefly, of  my dad. I really needed him to help me with this payment but he let me down. He  prefered instead to spend his summer days at home doing nothing. Let’s just say that this added to the amount of resentment that I already have for him. I don’t like to dwell on it much anyway, and thankfully, the university sent me a transcript so that will do for the time being,  incase  I need to show any proof of my grades. The plan is to pay in installments and be done by the end of December.

Fingers crossed.

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23/07/2010

From this post: Yes, I think my dad is depressed.  I’ve been depressed too so it’s clear for me to see. My mum thinks this too but she has this absurd way of walking around  issues without really dealing with them. My mother has also gone through periods of extreme stress but being busy and being responsible for keeping the family together coupled with a very resilient character has made her stay on top of things.

When I was 18 and everything was starting to fall apart,  my mother took out her stress and frustrations on me. Being the eldest child, she would tell me off about anything that happened at home that she did not like. She would even refer to my brother’s mistakes as mine. If my brother did something she would start with ‘you children always do this…e.t.c”. Being a teenager and going through that roller coaster phase that every teenager goes through I always made sure to let her know that I was not happy with that. I would argue with her, we would talk about things as a result of these arguments and I would get it out of my chest and then we would make up, but of course she never stopped. She  minimised it, but she didn’t stop. I understood somehow that her treating me differently from my brother was because  she was looking to me as the eldest of the two to set an example which is fair enough. However, it was very tiring  to have this kind of responsibility weighed upon me when it was that it could be shared, and sometimes none of it was my fault.

So she called me selfish. All the time. I was selfish because I told her her to be  specific about the mistakes I made and the mistakes my brother made. I was selfish for pointing out that responsibility was not mine alone. I became very frustrated that I didn’t communicate exactly what I felt because I have a introvert-extrovert kind of personality.  Sometimes I got really angry and complained and shouted and then cried. Sometimes I just stared at her blankly as she ranted away because I couldn’t take it anymore. I could feel my spirit dying away very slowly. She called this selfish.

So, I went around doubting myself. I’m I being selfish now? Is this right. What should I do here? Would my mother think this is selfish? I went around not thinking about myself and my needs because I was scared of being selfish.

Then I grew up. No longer a teenager and starting to understand the serious issues in life I decided to back away from unnecessary arguments with my mum. Our relationship changed to the point that I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want any arguments, so I usually told her calmly if I didn’t agree with her and just generally avoided unpleasant situations. If she was having a random rant I would just let her let it all out and then just nod or offer my very brief opinion and that would be the end of that. Part of me wanted a good relationship with her while the other part of me just wanted some peace and calm. I was tired and weary of arguments and resentment. I changed. I grew up. This has been good for me because we can now communicate as adults without any one of us going away huffing and puffing with resentment, disappointment or even anger. This change in attitude  also helped me learn that I can think about my needs and not be selfish. In fact these days I don’t listen to my mum when she starts with that selfish tirade, which thankfully she hasn’t done in about two years. I know better now and I think she finally realised that I saw through her manipulation because let’s be honest she was manipulating me by calling me selfish.

My dad is different. My dad is difficult. He’s an extreme introvert. I mean really introverted. He’s not flexible too. He has this type of personality where it’s very easy for him to develop a low self-esteem. With him, when things are going well, money flowing in, kids getting good grades, affluence…influence..you know the lot, he’s happy. When things are difficult he gets stuck in this negative and self deprecating rut that is almost impossible to get him out of.  Sadly, life isn’t that one-dimensional. I remember once last year he refused to talk to my brother because he was not getting good grades. My relationship with him hasn’t been bad at all, although being the way he is and with all the problems around us, most of the times he hasn’t made the effort to communicate with me. And when someone doesn’t communicate with you and you have so many issues to deal with it gets really difficult to  get talking properly about things. It’s also extremely hard when this person is very negative.

I don’t want to be around negative people. I don’t want to deal with negativity.  Is that so bad?

When I was away at uni my dad never really called me or sent me emails a lot, just the odd one. I used to send him  e-cards on occasions like his birthday or father’s day when I couldn’t afford the postal ones but he didn’t respond  most of the times. Our communication was mostly along the lines of:

‘Hi dad, are you alright, how’s everything bla bla bla. My uni work is this and that bla bla bla…’ and he would reply with the same kind of thing , ‘I’m fine…bla bla bla. This is what is happening at home bla bla bla…’

It was just like that. It worked most of the times because I understood that my dad isn’t that big on words and opening up, so I left it like that because I knew my dad loved me and I love him very much. I was aware it was due to my dad’s depression and the stressful situation were in so I just worked at making myself feel better first and making sure my family was OK.  Things got bad and they are now worse after he quit his  job. When I talk to my dad I feel as if I’m being judged for something. He used to call me the last few days when I was at uni and it always felt like I was under watch. We didn’t communicate. He was just frustrated.

‘What are you doing? Where are young going? I called and you were not at home, where were you? How are your studies?’

That is not a phone conversation. I hated that, so all I did was just answer his questions, offer brief explanations and that was that. My parents in general haven’t been the let’s-be-open-and-talk-about-everything kind of people. I don’t know, I guess it could it could be because of my parents need to protect us and in a way treat us as precious little children or it could just be tradition, but that’s the way it is and I can’t change that now.

Still, my mum is very hands on. She calls us, emails, talks to us. She is generally the one who’ll tell me to get out there and live life. She makes an effort to make everyone happy. Now my dad has started saying that we are excluding him in stuff and my mum is blaming me. He says that we are talking to each other and doing things together and leaving him out. I don’t understand this. It’s his doing. He doesn’t want to do things, he is always worried about how much money we spend. He’s constantly stressing over things and when my mother tries to make him do things to make him feel positive, he refuses to do them. He sometimes even refuses to go for walks or treat himself to something that will make him feel better. He just wants to stay at home and be depressed. I don’t want to live like that. I want to be happy. I want to meet people. So I make an effort not to be in the company of my dad because he is so negative and I don’t want his kind of mindset. It’s not that I don’t like him. I love my father but I don’t want to live like him. Is it so wrong that I don’t want this kind of life? Does loving your parents mean putting up with a negative attitude? I’m also a grown up now and I’m a woman, surely my relationship with my father is going to be different from my mother. At this point in my life, I’m going to be close to my mother than my father but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him or care for him. So  why is my mum blaming me?

She went to work yesterday and called me for about half an hour to tell me off. She says I should make an effort even if my dad does not make any effort at least I’ll have done my part. But why is this? It’s not fair. He’s the one who isn’t making any effort, so why shouldn’t he be told to make an effort? I’ve been extremely patient with the situation at home. I’ve respected him. I’ve never shouted at him and or been rude to him when things were getting extremely hard and when he was not being very nice to my mum. I’ve never demanded anything of him, so why I’m I being told that it’s my fault? It’s not my fault that he’s depressed. It’s not my fault that he’s not working towards feeling good and being happy. I’m angry at my mum for making me feel guilty. Deep down I know it’s my dad making my mum feel guilty. It’s his low self-esteem and depression that is making him think  he’s being neglected. I just feel as if every time I try to stay on top of things, my dad puts me down again.

Tell me what’s wrong with wanting to run away from all this negativity?

Whenever my mum starts going on about this, I always think of that moment when I found a note from my dad to my mum in the kitchen table with my mum’s bank statement.

‘We don’t have money. She’ll never finish university’

Or that day when my mum sent me a message asking me to come up with a surprise present to give to my dad after graduation. For his efforts. I’m sorry but as much as I’m supposed to thank my parents for financing my education but I’m the one who is graduating. And my mum is the one who has struggled a lot more than my dad. A lot more.  If I was goin to buy a present it would be for her.  But, I didn’t say anything. Didn’t complain, just focused on completing my  degree, and now I’m the one who isn’t making an effort.

23/06/2010

I learnt yesterday that I got a 2:1 for my degree. Not bad for a struggling girl like me. I know though, that I’m first class material academically. I don’t mean to  sound up my arse or anything but I was a straight A student before uni. Before all the bullshit. I look at all the guys in my course and I can’t see anyone who’d have put up with what I had to put up with. None of them. They would have dropped out without question because it’s tough beyond words.

31/05/2010

Fish turned 27  last week. There was no celebration because of his work commitments* so I just sent him a happy birthday message and wished him well. We hadn’t spoken in about two weeks so he asked if we could chat on messenger. We talked about stuff, mostly his work* and my uni projects.  Hearing  his voice, seeing his face…it’s just so beautiful. I really want this man.  As it is now, we are not in a relationship. We’ve never talked about the R word but there is something there. I can feel it and I know he can feel it too. I know he likes me. I don’t know how much but I think it’s a significant amount otherwise he wouldn’t be doing these things. Did I mention that he had to cancel a job interview to come and meet me for the first time?

The night before we met, we were chatting online and planning on when and where to meet when he mentioned that he had to call the company he was supposed to turn up for an interview the next morning. I wasn’t expecting that. He told me it was fine. In fact this is how he put it:

“The letter said I should call them if I had any emergency.”

“What’s the emergency  tomorrow then?”

“I want to come and meet you, so I can’t make it for the interview.”

“But it’s not an emergency,” I replied and laughed.

“Well it is. It’s an important day for me because I’m coming to meet you.”

“OK, but if the interview is important let me not disrupt you. Just go.”

“No, meeting you is important, not the interview.” he finished.

 I went into bed that night thinking this man meant business. Cancelling a job interview? But  here I am thinking and then what? He’s in a different country from me. What happens here? I don’t have a problem with LDRs but since we are not in a relationship, how do we make that step into one with the distance between us should things go that way? I’m really confused because I like him so much and I’m at that stage where I am scared of losing him. I keep thinking, ‘what if he meets someone else there? Someone more interesting than me?’.  He’s not mine yet but that’s how I feel. I promised myself I’ll do things right this time and be honest because the possibility of something happening is there  and if it doesn’t go that way, then I’ll try my best not to go crazy and still be friends with him because he really is very important to me. I’ve learned a lot from him. I want to keep him.

On the other hand I could be deluded. He probably doesn’t feel all that for me. I probably shouldn’t put all my hopes on us but my instinctints tell me otherwise and when this happens I’m almost always right.

*I’ll just go ahead and say what Fish does so you can understand exactly how the situation is. He’s in the army.

28/05/2010

A letter from the Royal Navy and Marines came through the post. Apparently they’ve tried to reach me on my phone (an unknown number has come through but I never pick those!). Now, I can’t for the life of me remember when I ever contacted these people for a  career in the navy. I don’t even know how to swim! OK, I’m taking classes but my progress dare I say is painfully slow. My arms keep sinking and I have this weird feeling that once I let go of the floats I’m going to bang my head on something. Very frustrating. Anyway, I sat in the kitchen having breakfast and laughing with the letter in my hand as I tried to rack my brain. I looked at the date 25th May, where was I on 25th May? On 25th May I had a very boring lecture in the morning and spent most of the day pretending to do research in the library. Just as I was about to give up, I saw at the end of the letter something about ‘if they can’t reach me then it will not be possible for them to give feedback to my careers office.’  Aha!

I know what happened. I went to the careers office at uni about five months ago. I wanted advice on how to find jobs related to my degree and with the skills that I have. I basically just needed someone to show me the way. They normally take student’s details just to check up on them after a year and find out what they are up to. What they didn’t tell me is that they also pass our details to potential employers. OK, that in itself is very good, but could they please pass these details to relevant employers?  Afterall I did leave the details of the course I’m doing and the particular skills I had and even went ahead to discuss at length the kind of field I wanted to get into. I mean, seriously, if they are going to do this they might as well do it right, not give student’s details out for them to be spammed.