Hell-av-a-Monday

I feel stupid, frustrated, disappointed and depressed today. I can hear The Cranberries sing in my head, asking me ‘do you have to let it linger?

I don’t want to, but it just won’t go away either…

First Event

I went back to BIR South to follow up on our Authority to Print, with Form 1906 on my hand. I was more hopeful that everything’s gonna be okay because I was referred to a ‘better’ person (that handles) updates regarding pending ATPs – who is Ms. May. Only to be told that the received stamp was not from their office but from the other district’s branch.

More simply, our printer gave the application form to the wrong branch.

ATP BIR

Biogesic please!

Now angry and frustrated, I went back to Roedils Printing to report to them what I was told. I should’ve known they were disorganized when they had a hard time finding our Form 1909. This time, they said they would prioritize us with their next batch of follow ups with the BIR. I asked them where should I follow up next? Took a while before anyone from the 4 printing press staff could respond that they would update me later around 5:00 pm (which didn’t happen).

Second Event

I was supposed to cross off 3 items on my to-do list: 1) withdraw additional petty cash 2) pay our water bill 3) get a haircut. I was only able to accomplish 1.

Because I felt bad already, I was thinking twice whether I’d give myself a break and go to SM to do everything there. But because I was so fickle-minded, I took a jeep going to the main MCWD branch to pay there. I didn’t even know I lack enough cash, but I retreated upon seeing that it was so crowded inside. I opted to go to E-mall instead.

Cebu Jeepneys

Braving the commute and losing my way…

I hailed a jeep and asked if it would go by E-mall. Speaking in Bisaya, they said no, but would drive by the coliseum. Thinking that they were being sarcastic, I ignored them, but hopped in anyway. I was thinking it would go around anyway and I could just hop off and walk. But it didn’t drop by the Coliseum, and I noticed that we were already on the N. Bacalso highway.

Goodbye haircut.

Third Event

Trying to brush off my stupidity and my misfortune, I was thinking to pay the bill at the nearby bank when I get off on the way to our apartment. I was able to withdraw money from the ATM and was about to enter the bank when I was stopped by the security guard.

Oras

Tumatakbo ang oras naiiwan na ako…

Turns out water bill payments are only until 2:00 pm. I didn’t notice that it was already 3:00 pm. I was still feeling rebellious and I wanted to accomplish more today, so I stood by the roadside, waiting for a jeep to drive by…

I could still pay the bill. I could still get a haircut. I might lift my mood for even a little.

On Second Thought

After I few seconds though… I just walked back home.

Olive is alone with her yaya. I have a deadline to meet tomorrow. I have collections to follow up. I can’t manage to smile or even look at myself in the mirror. I feel dirty from the smoke and dust particles. I feel like an old haggard mom.

And I found myself irrevocably sad.

What Happened?

Why am I sad? Why am I down again? Can’t the happiness factors outnumber the bad things that happened today? Maybe… But my mind is just too clouded to look at the silver linings.

I felt stupid for not being fully literate with this third language. I found my confidence lost because I can’t engage in a full conversation with other people. I lose my way around. I’m like a handicapped person. I wasn’t like this since elementary and high school…

That’s sad, right?

And then I wanted to attend to myself. Because I feel old and unkept. Because I was told that I looked pregnant even if I’m not. Because I didn’t have the freedom and the time I used to have when I was single. Because I can’t go out anytime I want when my husband is working and there’s a baby, a business and a freelance job to look after.

But then, if I want to go out, I’m just by myself – no besties, no friends to talk to – about movies, how our friends are all getting married and having kids, the latest hook-ups in our social circle, where to find a good hairstylist, how was traveling to this country like?

I think I’m going mental…

Even an introvert needs a bit of socializing.

First Aid

So what’s a quick remedy?

I was thinking of Jollibee Flip Float, but its gonna make me more fat. Running? Too early, and it looked like it would rain anytime. I have calls and emails to check. Coffee and chocolate mix – too much caffeine, I might go Parkinsons mode again.

Instead, I rushed to check my Facebook and read the news. Flooding has reached Cavite, and it got me worried some part of our house would break. So I checked on my folks to see if they were alright. My dad called and I learned that the wall at the National Power Grid (which was near our residence) gave in from the the flood and caused damage to the main road and a portion of a huge house nearby. Work was cancelled at the city hall. And the weather was just chilly. Gosh I miss home!

Typhoon Maring + Habagat

Water world ang peg ng Cavite ngayon…

I received mail from a satisfied client. I’m happy that it was worth not sleeping for.

Lastly, I took everything in here. Without this blog, I’d probably be in an asylum now or ran off elsewhere (to mini-vacation on impulse). Its like I’m having a monologue. Unsure if anyone would read, understand or respond. But at least I have a blank page to talk to.

I do not regret living here and having a family, the business and all. Its just that it sucks when you don’t have a social circle and you have a language barrier to break. Maybe its also my fault because I’m not the type to easily make friends with anyone. I often stick to my wolf pack and meet new friends from there. But they’re just beyond my reach right now…

You know that feeling when you miss going out with your bunch – drink, sing at the videoke and talk about stories you’ve talked about infinitely? You wanna catch up with their lives and yours, get advice and share some insight. Girl talk! Bitch out, rant and throw fits for fun or nothing at all. Spend time with people who share the same favorite TV series, books, places, foods… It hasn’t happened for years now. And maybe I’m at my social need limit.

If I was a character in The Sims (yes the game & my favorite one), I’d probably be the depressed one, the one crying helplessly, or the one who fails to wake up and prefer to stay dreaming. (Or later on begin to see aliens and ghosts as well, lolz)

Depressed Sim

Depressed character in The Sims game

And how do you satisfy that virtual need? The character calls up friends to chat, invites them over or they go out.

That’s in virtual reality.

But I think, right now, it essentially holds true in real life.

On the last note, I actually feel better after writing out everything.

Mindset Overhaul

Hello blog!

Its been 4 months since my last post and I sincerely missed you! I’m currently on my energy boost mode (that’s between 11:00pm to 2:00am daily recently). And as I found my to-do list brightly highlighted with “DONE”, I figured I now have a guiltless time to revisit my alternate world.

Last time I checked, I mentioned that we had Olive baptized. She was 3 months old then. Fast forward to now. She’s a budding 7-months old baby with advanced locomotor skills which have kept us (me, Mr. H and Yaya) all the more watchful of her. She’s been laughing at funny faces we make, peek-a-boos and quirky sounds. A few weeks ago, she was down with mild fever, cough and flu, but she’s all better now. She’s grown her first teeth and has been fond of biting anything and anyone. She has really become our source of fatigue and joy. And each day, I wanted to spend more time indulging in this phase of her childhood.

7 months old Olive

7 months old Olive

Time is essential for me right now. And time is something I do not want to spend often as a stressed out work-at-home mom who doesn’t have a social life and is unhappy. So I decided to shift back to gear one and take things in stride.

The Happiness Factor

In June, I was able to earn $300 a week from my freelance job. It felt great and I wanted to maintain earning that figure for as long as I could. But that accomplishment came with a price.

I was less attentive in taking care of Olive. I did not gave enough attention to my husband and our business. And despite those, I still found myself constantly stressed and feeling guilty. Stressed because I know, I left a lot of things undone for our business, and guilty because I felt I was irresponsible as a mother and a wife. Think of having a bag full of a month’s laundry which I only washed because we didn’t have anything to wear anymore.

I tried justifying my act. I pushed myself to work hard because I wanted us out of our current apartment. The houses we are looking at cost the same, if not more expensive. But I was looking for a place where we could be more comfortable as a family with a growing kid. I was unhappy with our current environment and the fact that we’re experiencing flooding.

I wanted us to be financially capable of drawing ourselves out of here. But I learned that I can’t change everything in a month’s time, no matter how mad and desperate I am with working.

I was only leaning to become more stressed, more unhappy. I felt like no one was taking me seriously and I was hating by myself, alone.

Pause and Realizations

That’s when I tried to stop for a while.

I felt like I deserved to rest after working so hard. I took time to literally just lie down and do nothing but reflect. Then realization and remorse hit me.

I realized it wasn’t just me who’s having a hard time. Mr. H has also been restless (driving for days, sometimes sleepless working on preventive maintenance schedules and lifting heavy objects). It wasn’t my sole responsibility to earn for us. We’re partners and he’s also burning his ass off earning for our family. I need to stop saying “I”. It should be “us”, “we”.

I shouldn’t work hard. I should be working smart. But right now, the place just doesn’t allow for an engaging workplace to hire an assistant. The first and last one who came for a walk-in interview didn’t came back. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t work smart in the future. Answer: Set up a spare workstation once we’ve transferred office.

I am unhappy and whining all the time. I am too stubborn to accept that some realities that can’t be changed overnight. I read somewhere that 90% of the problems a man has is caused by himself. For instance, I was sleepless for 2 nights in a row because there’s a wild and loud party on a nearby covered court. I can’t do anything about it. And yet I kept myself bothered about it for several days.

I don’t have a social life. But becoming a mother didn’t cause that. I chose to live here, that’s why. And naturally, I wouldn’t have my family and friends here.

I am not the best person to take care of a child. I admit that. That’s why we hired an in-house nanny. But that doesn’t excuse me from bonding with my baby, and for not lending a hand when Yaya needs to do the cooking, dish washing and the laundry.

Finally, I felt like I was too hard on myself for no good reason…

Night owling again…

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Cultivating Good Vibes

The rest period after my workaholic June was an extended one.

WE treated OURSELVES to a full body massage. It wasn’t at the expensive spas we used to frequent when we were still dating (those that offer sauna and 1.5 hour couple massage). But with a baby behind us, Nuat Thai at the nearby Shopwise sufficed. The last time we had a more luxurious one was the day before our wedding in 2011. I know… its 2013 already.

I started declining job invitations I’m unsure if I could accomplish in time. Instead, I focused with my regular clients who send me tasks every now and then. That meant I didn’t have a full load. But I wasn’t really happy with having a full load and restless just the same.

Pending job invitations... >_>

Pending job invitations… >_>

I scoured the newspapers, internet advertisements and braved talking to the Cebuano landlords/ladies of apartments and houses for rent. I wasn’t successful and we were nearly frustrated discussing with prospects only to back out because of practical reasons. Just in time, my father-in-law told us that someone from their hometown is building a house and they’d want to rent it out to someone they know.

We visited the site (it was still under construction) and it turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. A 3 bedroom duplex house with a garage. The owners are kind enough to allow our business. One room was allotted for our office. They had a really nice ventilation (strategically placed windows in almost every room) which were lacking in most of the houses we’ve seen. The bathrooms are new. And Olive can roam around in a walker. It was the answer to our prayers!

There was a kapilya nearby where fiestas and parties are held oftentimes. But instead of whining about it, I just found a valid excuse for us to occasionally sleep in a pension house.

Alba Uno

Alba Uno Pension House. I dream of sleeping here one noisy night.

I volunteered to do collections from business clients and bank deposits from time to time. Going out of the house makes me forget that resentment of not having family and friends close by. Aside from the cardio, I’ve been able to visit the public library and learned that they offer free wifi access. I was able to enroll our accounts for online funds transfer which has been in my to-do list for so long. I also made efforts to meet with fellow freelancers within the city (who also lack the social life that usual employed people enjoy).

Looks familiar? #librarygirl

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More than anything else, I made it a point to express and show my love for Olive and my husband. I let her crawl, sit, roll and stand on our queen size bed, play with stuff toys, sing songs to her, teach her how to high five, clap and close/open her hands. I embraced her, kiss and cuddle as much as I could, because I know tomorrow she’d be bigger. I carefully watch over her milk, vitamin and hygienic supplies so we wouldn’t run out of stock, and personally walk to the drugstore to make the purchase even when her dad isn’t around.

Whenever my husband comes home after a full schedule (of deliveries, checkups and pull outs), I remember to prepare a dry bath with lukewarm water and a soft towel. I kiss him whenever he goes to sleep first, and take the 2-3:00 am shift of feeding Olive. I became more thoughtful of buying material things (while we’re together) that he needs but wouldn’t prioritize because he’s thinking of our expenses, like a new collared shirt or a better brand of hair gel.

Let Go

Within that rest period, I let myself indulge with things unrelated to work and with which I felt gratification afterwards. Things I stopped doing because I thought I didn’t have time or I couldn’t afford them like:

  • Cooking a meal
  • Doing the laundry
  • Reading AND finishing books (I’ve finished 2 books within that rest period, including Steve Jobs)
  • Watching movies and random Youtube videos
  • Having drinks and pastries in a cafe
  • Appreciating new artists and downloading MP3s
  • Running (although I haven’t repeated this after that one time)
  • Sorting things (clothes, files, bags etc.)
  • Making random lists
  • Thinking about the good times and how I could repeat that with my family in tow

Otherworldlyworkplace

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With those, I let go of my workaholic self and saw how different everything could be. The end result wasn’t like an Extreme Makeover Self edition radical kind of change, but I knew I felt better.

I saw that I have a budding family, a promising business and career, a hope for a better household and the resources to enjoy life. Nobody was demanding me to work 40 hours a week while looking after a baby and running another business but MYSELF. I should stop because I wasn’t actually happy.

And when I did, I felt more lighthearted. I was more playful and was easier to get along with. Everything seemed simpler.

I finally came to terms that in order for me to be happy with what I have now, I should not focus on my anger, frustration and sadness. I am licensed to feel angry, frustrated and sad. But I shouldn’t keep myself feeling that way all the time. Looking back, I felt stupid and stubborn acting like a kid.

I couldn’t say that I won’t feel negative again in the future, its part of my personality after all. But I wouldn’t force myself to go robot mode again, and feel sorry about myself afterwards.

To sum it up:

My to-do list is always full. But I’m pleased that everyday, there’s something being crossed off.