Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Beginning of a New Era?

My period has started getting weird. I remember skipping a month before we got married (not sure which year), but other than that my periods haven't been so weird until this year. My periods range between 31 - 43 days. I remember a few years ago it arrived on CD (calendar day) 45 and at that time I was scared of getting pregnant, so I was relieved when it finally arrived. At the beginning of this year, I had another period on CD 27. It had never happened before. Then this summer I didn't have any period for 65 days. Is it the start of peri-menopause, I wonder? 

In the beginning my period lasted 7 days and there was so much blood and for many years I almost always dirtied my uniform with some blood (ugh!), then for a long time now the length of my periods went down to 5 days and the amount of blood was thankfully getting less and less. The last period before this one only lasted 4 days and on the fifth day, I was squeaky clean. Not a drop of blood. I don't mind getting short and sweet periods, though. :-) If this is really the start of peri-menopause, no wonder I couldn't get pregnant when I started trying at (almost) 30. I thought I still had years of fertility left! After all, my mother had me at 32 and my brother at 34! 

How do I feel about the possibility of peri-menopause? Neutral so far. 


*******************

On an altogether different note, I'm almost ready with the preparation for my mom's visit. Can't believe the day is coming soon. Felt like ages ago when we first started talking about it. I remember holding my breath every now and then, hoping that she stayed healthy (and alive!) to make it for her trip and now it's finally right in front of us! :-D

The Japanese learning has been put on hold for a long time. I've been focusing more on healing my bilateral tennis elbow and spending time with relatives this summer. This year has been full of physical healing trials and errors. I've also been forced to learn to set my boundaries and stick to them (even if it means disappointing people). Two people have told me that it took them two years to heal their tennis elbow, so I'm trying to be patient with myself. I hope my bosses and coworkers will also be that patient. So far they've been awesome with me, but nobody knows how long it'll take for me to heal fully. I've learnt a lot of things about stretching, self-massage, and strength training as well as bought and tried different types of exercise/massage tools. My new fave self-massage tool is a spiky ball. I combine using that with my Pain Hook and Gymstick foam roller.

Yesterday I finally sent a story to the Finnish (non-fiction) writing competition. I started writing it months ago and then got stuck. After a long break I continued writing it, but almost gave up as I thought it wasn't satisfactory. However, I decided to push through. A coworker had promised to read it, so I had to keep my promise. I finished the story, sent it to my coworker and she gave me some positive feedback and correction (bless her!). :-) I'm not hoping to win (though it'd be a nice surprise - there are more than one prizes), but I hope that my story is one of those that will be published. However, my deepest wish is to see the faces of the judges as they read my story. That would be the best thing ever! :-D 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hologram

Lately I've been reacting to several things in ways that I couldn't do when I was still in the depths of TTC after infertility. Two friends who are at least 40 y.o. have just told me they are pregnant again (one was a surprise pregnancy) and I could congratulate them in a neutral state of mind/heart. Another friend joked on FB, "Go make five (children)!" when I commented how cute someone's baby was. Years ago, I made a similar cute comment on someone's baby photo and the mother said, "Quick, you should go make a baby then!" and it took all that I had not to lash out to her. This time, though, the words didn't affect me in such a way at all. Instead, I instantly joked back and told her, "You go and make 5 children yourself LOL!" (side note: I know the word "make" sounds weird, but it's the direct translation from the Indonesian word).

These three events have made me think of 3D holograms (use your imagination freely as you read the next lines). You see, in the beginning of my infertility journey, whenever I saw someone's bulging belly, I often had a strong reaction to it and many times I almost cried right then and there. It was as though my 3D hologram jumped right in front of myself. The grieving hologram of myself with an empty belly, who was crying out loud right then and there and screaming in agony, "Why not me, too? I've done everything right and prepared myself to be a mother etc. etc." 


And in the past when someone told me she was pregnant (especially if it was an unexpected one), my grieving hologram showed up again and the unexpectedness of it all was like a (serrated) blade that stabbed me. The wound then started bleeding again (or started bleeding more) or the gaping wound became even bigger or deeper. It hurt. It hurt because I knew they didn't mean to hurt me, yet I was in so much pain. It hurt because I wanted to be happy for them, but I couldn't. And it hurt even more because I felt like a horrible person, so I got even more frustrated at myself, but at the same time I felt that I had the right and the need to take care of myself.


You see, my own hologram (that popped up between me and that person) was blocking me from accessing the other person's happiness fully. I mean, how can you disregard that kind of projection when she's standing right in front of you in such a state and in such intensity?

In the beginning of my healing journey, this hologram (the projection of my grief/pain) was so intense, vivid, and relentless (even uncontrollable). Over time and plenty of grief work (with lots of help and support from my tribe), the intensity and the frequency of my grieving hologram has diminished. In fact, as the hologram gets weaker and weaker, at times I can even press "pause" so that I can be fully present in someone else's company and then press "play" when I'm on my own again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"Write Me!"

Sometime near the end of last year, I spotted a writing competition on a Finnish magazine. I took a photo of the competition with my mobile and I was so psyched in submitting my entry. The competition ends at the end of summer this year, so I wasn't in a hurry as I had a story in mind already. The competition isn't non-fiction. However, soon after I got really busy at work and then I got tennis elbow. During the time I was on my sick leave, I was in such a dark place that the competition was the last thing I had in mind.

Must admit that on my darker days back then, I felt some shame over my tennis elbow. It was the first time I had invisible health symptoms. I even avoided going to my workplace as much as I could. I was afraid of not only losing my job altogether, but not being able to work well with my arms anymore. Both arms! What kind of job would I be able to do in this small village if that happened? And the thing is, I still enjoy my job, so I'd still love to continue doing it.

Thankfully my long and winding road to recovery finally started in the middle of January and now I've been back to work for a full month already. I still have some tennis elbow symptoms and the degree of the symptoms depends on what I've been doing, but at the very least I can go back to work as long as I don't do too much work. Anyway, I felt like my life was put on hold before I found out my final diagnosis and before I met my two physiotherapists. I tried many things I found online, but since they usually made me feel more pain afterwards, I refrained from doing them. It was difficult to know what to do, what not to do, how much I should do the things I should do, when would be safe to start doing it, etc. Now I've gotten more help and pointers on what to work on, so I've also spent time working out more than before.

Anyway, back to the writing competition. Now that I feel that my new year has finally started, the writing competition popped back into my mind. It's mid March already, so I don't have as much time to write my story. The other day I started thinking about how to start it off and for the first time in a long time, I literally felt joy bursting forth. It was so much fun to think of different ways to start a story! It's as if the words are begging me, "Write me! Write meeee!", so I can only obey them he he he...I feel excited simply by imagining some people (the judges) who are going to read my story. I hope the story will make them smile. :-D

I'll start blog-hopping bit by bit from now on. It's been a long time since I last wrote a blog post here.  

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Splendid Sodankylä

I've been silent due to many reasons. One of the major reasons is my wrist/thumb/arm problem. I've been staying away from using the computer to rest my active hand fully. The second major reason is linked to my previous post. 

Let me try to summarize it. Basically speaking, written text is by far my most fave form of communication. Always has been, always will be.

The barrage of written text after the Paris attacks was like the last straw that broke my back. It's like this: if written text is like my fave chair in the house (bad analogy, I know), then I feel like people are throwing their fave chairs at one another instead of inviting other people to sit there and have a good, private discussion. And it scared the shit out of me. It was disturbing enough to be surrounded by the mirrors of what-I-could-have-done (I could easily have been one of those people), but it was all the more disturbing to see so many chairs being hurled at one another. It also disturbed me that people used social media as a means to somehow say this: "This is what I stand for. If you're not with me, then you're against me." "If you stand for XX, then I'll delete you from my friend's list." Ugh. Ugh. And more ugh.

My most fave form of communication never felt like the destructive two-edged blade the way it did after the Paris attacks. And it hurt. It hurt. It hurt that I became scared of using that tool to express myself, even though it had always been a tool that makes me feel the most alive. And another disturbing thing is the TMI factor. It feels like in the past, we only get to know other people's inner beliefs/personal opinions when you talk to them/write to them/spend time with them in real life. These days, it almost feels like Mel Gibson in the movie where he suddenly got the ability to read people's minds. On a smaller scale, it doesn't feel disturbing, but when it feels like the global world is giving you TMI, it's overwhelming.


So I took time to recharge and stay away from all the "white noise" and figure out how I wanted to use social media. Here are some things that I've found during my cave time:

- We all make mistakes. We all fuck up. I'm also prone to reacting when I'm in fear, prone to lashing out when I'm angry, prone to defending myself, prone to be narrow-minded and obstinate in my beliefs and ignorant. I've also hurt other people with or without intending to do so. My words have been misunderstood or taken out of context. My words may have fueled other people's feelings to a certain direction and may have created more chaos than peace. But you know what? That's all a package of life. The only people who don't make mistakes are the ones who don't do anything. Yes, silence is sometimes better and wiser than words and yes, I've made the mistakes in speaking when I'm supposed to be silent and not speaking when I'm supposed to speak up, but what matters most is that as long as I have another day to live, then it's a brand new day to do better.

- Life is a journey of learning. So go and write, speak and make mistakes and learn from them. Learn to be brave to speak when you need to speak up and learn to shut your mouth when necessary.

- No matter how hopeless an act of peace can be among those who want to create chaos for their own personal reasons/gain, keep striving to spread peace wherever you go, because the world doesn't need more hatred.

- Even though there is a potential of darkness within each of us (like Yin/Yang), I shouldn't be afraid of the darkness (during my low moments I felt like dark shadows were creeping out from the corners to get me), but instead I should focus on how the darkness can help me see some things better, for example how bright the stars and moon can be when it's pitch dark all around me. Focus on those stars and moon (or the Aurora or other people's lit inner candles) instead of the shadows that you're afraid may swallow you up whole.


On a totally different note, I went for a walk along the river bank yesterday and took a video. I combined the video with last year's Christmas video, added a song and some quotes. Here's my End of Year greeting to you all...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Broken Mirrors

I've been staying as far away as possible from FB for a while. I had been feeling low before the Paris attacks. After the Paris attacks, though, it got worse as I couldn't help reading some random FB discussions/wall posts convos. PMS didn't help, either. The lowest point was when I asked God, "God, I don't understand why You still love us. If I were You, I'd have destroyed the entire world many times over."

Yep, no gratitude whatsoever. Just confusion, anger, disappointment, and frustration. I had a hard time sleeping well at nights and my thoughts and feelings were all muddled. I was disappointed at some of the things people have written in FB, but mainly I was disappointed being human. I wanted to stop being human, if that makes any sense at all. I felt like what should have been talked about privately shouldn't have spilled outside in public places like FB as it only produce more reactions instead of healthy discussions. I felt that people should have just shut up instead of posting things that may only provoke other people.

All those random things that I read in FB made me feel like I was surrounded by so many mirrors, each reflecting my dark sides that had been lurking in the back, threatening to swallow me up whole. It was very disturbing to be made very aware of those sides that dwell inside of me, because all I wanted to do was to close my eyes and stay the hell away from those mirrors or break those mirrors altogether.

Reading Ecclesiastes comforted me somehow. I wasn't the only one who felt like everything we did was like chasing the wind, yet for days my brain was still muddled. Yesterday I finally found a clarifying moment. What disturbed me the most was knowing that I could have been one of those people who fussed over nothing amidst a tragedy (for example why one puts up/doesn't put up a tricolor profile photo), who posted reactive texts instead of discussing my thoughts/feelings in private, who shared stuff without thinking/checking twice, etc. 

You see, if I read about what a psychopath has done (for example), I feel that there's a huge emotional distance between what that person is capable of doing with what I am capable of doing, but what about the emotional distance between me and those people in FB? Well, the distance between us was way too close. I get where they were coming from. I could have easily done similar things. I have been guilty of similar things.

A few nights ago, I had a dream where I had been attacked. All I remember from that scene was that I was standing up, still alive, looking like Frankenstein. Lots of cuts and bruises ALL over me (including my face) and stitch marks all over. Yep, my dream was very much in line with my inner world. But you know what? I was still alive. That was the part that I held on to. I'm still alive. I still have a lot of inner work to do, but may I learn how to be wise with my words and actions...
 

Monday, October 5, 2015

What Next?

The question "What next?" had been on my mind for a while. After a period of contentment in this childless-not-by-choice life, something that other people have failed to understand (such as what I wrote here), I began to wonder what else I wanted to learn that could bring me joy and excitement. The combination of moving to Finland and infertility have dampened my quest in setting a long-term project/goal. I used to set long-term goals and worked as best as I could to reach those goals with gusto. I enjoyed both the process of getting closer to the goals and the moments when I was able to reach them. Moving to Finland and infertility have helped me become more able to focus more on the present and enjoy each moment (something I'm forever grateful for), but I must admit that I miss the joy of chasing after a long-term project/goal. 

Because I don't feel like going up the ladder at work, I need to find a project/goal elsewhere. You see, back in High School I studied Japanese for two years, though I wasn't really serious and it was only once or twice a week, so I never did learn that much. The idea of (re-)learning Japanese occurred to me a while back already, but I was afraid that it would only mess my brain even more, so at first I told myself that I would only start learning Japanese after I became more fluent in Finnish. However, at the back of my mind something was nagging me. Was it just an excuse? Why did I want to postpone? For how long? The excuse couldn't stay too long, though, as the thirst to learn something new kept on growing as time went by. 

I started off by using some online resources from the basic: learning Hiragana and Katakana once more. When I was doing the trace sheets, I realized that I remembered some of the characters, but the rest looked completely strange (I couldn't believe I could memorize both Hiragana and Katakana already back then!). I also realized that it felt awesome to be able to hold a pencil in my hand and trace those characters as it felt a bit like drawing (something I rarely do). However, using online resources was challenging as I got distracted quite easily.


So, to keep myself committed, recently I've purchased some Japanese books from TheBookDepository (I love them because they ship anywhere around the world without any postal charges and since books can be heavy, that means a lot to me!) and they've just arrived. WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!! I know there are plenty of free online resources to learn Japanese, but I love learning a language through books first (I still love the feeling of holding a book in my hand and being able to sift through the pages). Once I sort of get to know the basics, I can then move on towards using the online resources. That was how I studied Finnish on my own before I started going to Finnish courses.


This Japanese self-learning started very slowly and I even had lots of breaks in between (due to being busy at work and being sick after our holiday), but now that I'm having my second batch of summer holiday, I'm psyched to learn more. It feels GREAT to have a long-term project that would expand my brain without any pressure from outside (and my Mochi with his tick-tocking tail is just as excited LOL!!!).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rising Strong

What probably prompted me to create Mochi (see my previous post) was listening to Brené Brown's talks and her mention of how the narrative (story) we tell ourselves have a big effect on our lives. So there I was feeling forlorn and melancholic because my chamber of cheerleaders was rather empty and I was wondering if I could somehow manipulate that story in a creative way. Here's what I'm talking about: Brené Brown's Rising Strong Excerpt.

You know what? After creating Mochi in my mind, I played with my imagination a little. I imagined a dozen versions (or more) of Mochi dancing around and playing around in my chamber and I felt GIDDY with excitement. Like a little kid with a new toy. Or an adult with a delightful secret. I don't remember when the last time I felt that giddy, but now whenever I close my eyes and imagine Mochi, my devoted imaginary cheerleader, a smile always appears on my lips. 

Anyway, if you want to listen to her talk about Rising Strong, here's the video below. I managed to catch half of the video live, but had to wait for the video link to be uploaded to watch the first half of it.