I didn’t seek therapy when I should have…
This was from advice that I can now assume was made based on fear. Now, when I find myself out of clarity, not able to focus; I reflect on my choices. This instantly plunges me into a depressive state. I used music in the past to help with my moods, but it hasn’t been enough to quiet my mind. This week has been a dragging for me and I find myself not being able to focus a lot. I keep searching for enough to do to exhaust me, I keep busying myself with list on top of lists on top of lists.
Upon referral, I purchased and started reading ‘Outwitting The Devil’ by Napoleon Hill. The very first chapter made me want to burst into tears. ‘If you wish to be of enduring service, not only to those now living, but to posterity as well, you can do so if you will take the time to organize all of the causes of failure as well as all of the causes of success’. Further, as I quote, ‘My experience has taught me that a man is never quite so near success as when that which he calls ‘failure’ has overtaken him, for it is on occasions of this sort that he is forced to think….if he thinks accurately and with persistence, he discovers that so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to re-arm himself with a new plan or purpose.“
At my lowest, I learned to be extremely calculating and present. I most importantly learned how life can be at a minimum. What is important and what is definitely a luxury. At my lowest I saw myself as my own salve, needing to pull back the covers and emerge as a viable, productive member of society. There was a major failure under my belt, but with this came a start to completing my degree, re-employment at my favourite place in the world and a school opportunity for my son. While my grades suffer a bit due to working, I can’t afford to quit and not be able to pay my school fee or my son’s. Either way, at my lowest or at my biggest ‘failure’, I was forced out of my own way.
‘Men are forced to change their habits and to think their way out of difficulty.’…’I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.’….
There is a humbling that comes with age. When you are young, you are on top of the world. YOU feel like you know so much, and others are not seeing clearly. My, how terribly mislead we were. A doing of our own nonetheless. You know the most humbling part? When we think people are not keen on patterns of behavior and they had to just watch us fail. When we think our plan is so fresh and new and effective, but it really is repetition considering the trajectory of lives before us. How blind were we that we couldn’t see and reason that those older than us know more? That maybe, we should listen. Have you ever thought to yourself, why didn’t I listen? We will say we have no regrets in life, but in reality we reflect on the what-ifs. I keep trying to pinpoint, what it was that made us think the way we did and ignore walking, living, breathing, real life examples of history. What was it that made us not heed to the wisdom of our elders.
Why was it that we hated those that were loving us?
I can say, it’s because it is what I wanted. Is this enough? What a sad and piss-poor reason. What did it cost us? It’s mind blowing to wrap my mind around our youth, but exhilarating at the same time. Exhilarating considering that if you used that strong-minded, push to do what you should, then greatness can be the only result.
19yr old…wild and obnoxious…I had a conversation the other day with a 19yr old and a 35yr old about patterns of behavior. I mention their ages because I wanted to show the gap in age. 16 years between them and their thoughts were concrete with their life experiences. Displaying patterns of behavior gets you certain places. Prison, a good job, an affluent life, a strong family, setbacks in life. It all connects with the choices you make and continue to make in life. I hate the ‘ it just happens’ or ‘things just got away from me’ type of excuses. The ‘before we knew it’ type of excuses. I have a genuine fear of hitting 40 with nothing to show for it. I also know in my youth I displayed patterns of behavior that accounts for why I don’t have what I should now. I try to hold myself accountable for all my actions. I see and is an example of making serious poor life choices. I also see and is an example of someone trying to turn things around. I just find it interesting how we don’t see ourselves following patterns of behavior and not act on a change. I understand becoming a product of your environment. I still wonder why this happens without resistance. I also know doing the right thing is hard. I also know you will get assistance when you decide to play fair in life. I just find it odd, how, we can’t see the end of a certain story; the same story repeated many times. How much we think our end will be different. It’s scary to think, ‘man, if I had just listened. Why did I think I knew it all’.
It’s scarier to watch someone not listen….cycling.
I love observing immigrants. It is my weird thing. I just love their take on culture shock and seeing how they cope. They move with such caution, light footed. Their choices are so tied to so many things. It is almost a burden. We are so lucky to be in a country were compassion is natural response. As much as coming to this country was scary and had difficult moments surrounding navigating the systems in place; I cannot say migrating has been something to regret. I blame that solely on how I assimilated. Also, the birth of a Canadian-born child. You see, if you moved here with children from another country, they will be subdued and burdened with things a child shouldn’t. When you have a child in the country you migrated to, they almost seem to cruise through life. We find ourselves shaking our head at the simplicity and ease of my son’s life. This caused me to compare the resolve within that never truly let’s us settle. This isn’t our home, but it is his. He will never have to learn to assimilate and will naturally thrive in certain situations. This will be worse, once he goes through the various systems that span his life cycle. No internal battle to attach himself to Canadian ways or to hold on to his ‘first culture’. A lot of immigrants become so stuck in their ‘first culture’, they refuse to adapt to the ways of their new world. Irresponsibly imparting certain views in a tolerant environment. Carelessly handling themselves in a way that makes them think their ‘first culture’ is an excuse. Recklessly throwing away all the sacrifices and investments made to pave the way. I say all this to say, assimilation is so important.
A lot of people think to leave their home country for a better life, but never check the culture of where they’re going. What is common place in the corporate world? How loose or strict are certain industries (of interest)? Something as simple as understanding what a ‘scent free’ environment is, knowing a sharp fragrance is a part of being fully dressed. You will have to go back to school. Period. Even to do a ‘small’ course. Are you open to learning and formal education again? Are you ok with ‘play-based’ learning for your children? The concept of free public schools may be new and seem like a relief, but can you accept limited say in your child’s education? If religious, how would you navigate the LGBT curricula that is taught in public schools? How would you handle private school tuition, knowing as an immigrant you won’t necessarily get a high-paying job right away? It is imperative to consider residences and learn about surrounding communities. Child-rearing will fall heavily on parents and a daycare provider. Are you keen on the cost both financially and mentally to get an older relative to come and help instill your values and morals? Are you prepared to leave your children for hours with someone who looks nothing like you? Are you aware of the political practices where you’re going? Is there civil conflict, uprisings or mistreatment of those marginalized? What are their considerations around health and healthcare? What do their people look like? No, really, intersectionality creates clusters of people and what they look like is very important. Where is your community located and what are their social stats? What about social programs and views on community support? Who gets respect? Will your qualifications mean anything? Can you promise yourself that you will seek to manage your mental health when faced with coercion from societal pressure? Are you racist and known to discriminate? There is also more interracial dating because the culture of those who grow up or is born here is wholly Canadian with references to their parents’ culture. They do not live by their parents’ culture with reference to Canadian mores, no matter how much parents speak their language, take their kids to visit ‘back home’ or inundate them with stories of past times. Can you accept interracial relationships? Can you child marry who they please? Are you a person that will experience a language barrier? This will affect how far you get ahead in the corporate world, so can you learn a new language at your age? Immigrant health is known to decline over the years, what is your coping plan? What will you do when you are homesick? Do you laugh a lot and often, or know how to at all? You will have so many moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I say all this to say, research and prepare yourself so that you can assimilate, as this is non-negotiable when it comes to survival.
I wish more people would decline to give parenting advice. The stigma around the very presence of children is so telling! We see the annoyed looks on your faces and that twisted smile. There is nothing wrong with saying, ‘I can’t say because I’m not sure myself’. Saying, ‘my situation is a bit different’ is acceptable too. It’s perfectly fine to just keep quiet as well. It just gnaws at me when people who do not celebrate their children tell others not to have any. It physically pains me when people say ‘they ruin your life’. No, you ruined your own life with your choices and is now inflicting this irresponsibility on an innocent being. Do not tell people to not have kids because you don’t want any. Don’t speak against children knowing you want them but just haven’t found the right ‘situation’. I completely understand times where children are born into situations that end up changing. As a product of a single parent home, I know it’s extremely hard. Hats off to all of you! I’m referring to those who were told their partner doesn’t want children, lays bare to procreate then find themselves in a ‘rut’. I’m speaking to those who birthed a child out of a convenient relationship and is miserable with being grounded. Do not fix your mouth to tell people children are a nightmare, when you couldn’t control yourself long enough to use protection. I’m also referring to those who have multiple children, inflict all sorts of abuse on them and have the nerve to say they ‘messed up’.When I was pregnant and about to go off on mat leave, I had lunch with my manager and he blatantly told me he has no advice for me. I made a face naturally and he laughed and said seriously, ‘I’ have no advice for ‘YOU’. Of course, I called out his unfairness because he had recently become a father and could have imparted so much knowledge on me knowing what ‘this thing’ is going to be like. He was quite bemused with my pressing, as his statement was simple. Simple, but weighted. The only other thing he said was that I should do what’s best for my child and don’t listen to anyone. I shot him another side eye as his mother was a prominent figure in his child’s life. I let him have that one, as much as I wanted to know more.
When we had our son and came to grips with PARENTING a child, not babysitting or tolerating one, I got it. When I went back to work, we had lunch again. He was smiling from ear to ear and so was I this time. We talked about the antiquated ways of child-rearing and all that I had escaped by doing things our way. I trusted him and would have listened to his advice; this stranger to MY child. We learned about our child and we cared for and led him with our choices. Everyone was happy. When I told my cousin I hadn’t read any books she was in a rage and sent me title after title of all the popular stuff; we politely declined. Months later when I attempted to find a solution with a popular site I felt like the one thing I was looking for wasn’t there. The one word to connect my issues to a solution wasn’t there. Why? Nothing in parenting is cookie cut; it’s ever-changing. Every time I had posted my issues on mommy boards on Facebook, I was rewarded with comments filled with nuggets of gold. All ending with ‘THAT’S what worked for US’, MAYBE it will for you. A small side-eye there as I thought if it worked it worked, what’s the deal? The more we dealt with and overcame, the more I got it. How can someone else tell you what will work for you or your child when they have never met the child? When they are born, you the parent don’t know their ways and cannot bend them to follow someone else’s routine. In a room with 10 people, 10 of them will be different; kids are exactly the same. Here’s another thought, in a room with 10 people, 10 of them will be from a different situation. Same. There are no super parents and it is perfectly ok to hate being a parent. Be honest about your experience though. Decline to offer advice when you know your ‘situation’ comes with circumstances! Don’t tell people to not have kids when you have 4 with 4 partners and consider time with any of your children as babysitting. Do not have children with someone who does not want any and blame them for a failed relationship. For the love of God kids will not save your relationship, but pit you against each other and teach your children horrible relationships are acceptable. Finally, a single parent experience may seem to be 10 times worse than a 2 parent household, but unless both parents are involved, its one and the same!