Story of the Ex-es

On this blog, I have written about two of my ex-boyfriends – Mike and Jai. Jai was the love of my life (so far) from my 20s who broke up with me 8 years ago. Mike was the recent fiasco, a year ago, after a very short relationship.

Last year, when my relationship with Mike was not going well, I reached out to Jai to seek his advice about my behaviours for the first time ever. He was kind and helpful and since then we have been in touch occasionally. Jai is now happily married to a more age-appropriate, less traumatised woman, from what I gather. He is a very private person and I don’t quite have the patience to navigate that to push him to give me information.

Yesterday I texted Jai to share my experience with him. He got to it quite promptly and he first started with “constructive” feedback – you need to make more eye contact, you should have waited for laughter to die down. Haha.

I thanked him for his feedback and explained that even if I cried and fumbled, people would have cheered for me. He went on to express a lot of what sounded like judgement. For the first time, I just listened, asked some questions but didn’t get antagonistic or defensive in response.

Towards the end of our discussion, I said to him that the next time I come to him for relationship advice, instead of asking me to do better and be better, he should remind me I deserve better. This led to a really really funny and endearing conversation.

Jai said that he tried to tell me in very clear ways whether I really wanted to be with this guy. In his opinion, I was way way better than Mike. I just wasn’t open to it and listening. His remarks were beyond hilarious about what he thought of Mike. I have still been laughing when I think about them.

This conversation was really helpful to finally close the Mike chapter forever. No pondering, no questioning. Time to move on to my next prayer to have a healthy committed relationship in my life. It is so timely too, I was starting to feel a bit rudderless with my practice. Anxious about settling into the new job and a bit low on life force. Losing steam about my goal win in every area of my life this year.

Need to renew my determination and start over.
Which means I must really sleep now at half past midnight.

Riding the Wave of Courage

Today I decided to share my experience speech with a work colleague and also my brother-in-law. Brave attempts to connect others to my own journey through the practice.

I think I’ll stop for now, though. I feel a bit intensely burnt out. My brother-in-law was very kind in his response. He said he had many questions and would prefer to discuss but perhaps it was better to let it be. Initially I said I was open to discussing it but then in an hour I started to have anxiety about this far away discussion. I was triggered. So I let him know I can’t. He said, that is why he said to let it be.

I am great with courage, need to learn a bit more about self-preservation too. Haha.

Now that I think about it, I did have courage to say no soon enough. Next time, I have to be better at standing up for my constraints and not let my mind do a number on me by making me do something it thinks I “should” be able to do.

Always a tough lesson to learn, isn’t it?

Recognising and Overcoming Fear

Yesterday, I shared some of my sensitive life experience in public, including my history of long term childhood abuse. Afterwards, I shared the video or text of my experience with a few friends in faith in other cities. They read or watched the experience and were very inspired.

They asked me if it was ok for them to share the experience with others. I said no. When I was chanting this morning, I realised that I had put limitations on myself again. For my mind, sharing the experience in a big meeting was meaningful and enough. Outside that perceived safe space, my mind told me I didn’t need to open myself up. I realised I was again acting upon my fear and deep-rooted shame.

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Moving Mountains

Today was a gigantic mammoth magnificent milestone in my practice. I got up on the stage and shared my experience with 400 people. I shared about my abuse and almost open sourced this information. It is no longer privileged and secret information. I can no longer keep track of or control who knows about it. This information has been set free in the wild and in turn I’ve set myself free.

When I was asked to share my experience, I was going to share the same experience as what I sent to the Indigo magazine. However, my leader nudged me slightly and when I chanted I realised I was missing a huge opportunity. How many times in my life would I have the opportunity to share two unique experiences within a span of a month! Usually the experiences from the meeting are published in the magazine, not the other way around.

As I started to chant to write this experience, I realised it has to be very powerful and courageous. More so than the experience I had already shared. My leaders advised me of the differences between written and spoken experiences, how having too much detail is hard for people to follow in 10 minutes. I still didn’t know what the content would be, just that it would be about my work.

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Hypersensitivity to Rejection

This morning I went to see my psychologist for my weekly Neurofeedback appointment. Last week I had requested her for receipts on my email which she had sent to me. However, today she printed one out. When I asked her for an electronic one, she said she couldn’t as she is working late today. It turned out sending it electronically was too hard for her and she wasn’t good at saying no.

As I understood this, I bid her farewell with the usual pleasantries and she did the same.

However, for hours afterwards, I just could not put this incident out of my mind. I kept replaying and analysing this exchange in my mind. I beat myself up for not seeing the obvious that she did not want to do electronic receipts. I blamed her for not being upfront about her constraints and being a bit snarky and terse.

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Return from Hiatus and Win!

Since I wrote this post, my life has been insanely busy. Everything was devoted to making the utmost effort for my interviews, chanting, engaging with others and going to Buddhist meetings. I struggled so much that I needed all this to keep fighting my tendencies and put in my greatest effort. The more effort I put to contribute to others, the more I found I could do towards my life and prep. Strange how this works.

It was as though this period has been one of deep learning and understanding about myself and my life. This understanding in turn has led to a deep inner transformation and awareness in my life.

After being bullied at work for the last 4 years, I have finally started to find my voice again. I am learning to better identify and speak up when I find something offensive. I am learning to set boundaries and stand up for myself. I am learning to be more in charge of how I want to respond, rather than reacting to someone’s disrespectful behaviour.

It’s like finding myself again, only a new improved version.

Oh and in other news, I got the dream job. Still waiting for everything to be finalised before I can put a stamp on it. But almost there!

Making Life Happen

This morning while chanting I was again reminded of my cowardice and that my life is my hands and I gotta make it happen.

In my cowardice, I was hiding behind my inability to confront what I needed to do in the situation and take action. Instead of aiming to schedule the interview for my dream job, I was already planning for my failure and plan B and planning to spend time doing assignments and interviews for jobs I did not find interesting.

I realised I gotta put them off and give my all to this dream job interview. Here. And. Now.

After much deliberation and turning things around in my brain I now have an idea of when I want to schedule it. I started to rehash it. In this process as I was reading the New Human Revolution volume 6, I came across this quote from Sensei:

A leader has no time for speculation; she must be firmly resolved to win over all obstacles and negative forces without the slightest shadow of doubt.

-Daisaku Ikeda NHR vol 6 p210

Question is, am I going to be the leader of my own life or not?

I firmly resolve to be so.

Dignity at Work

As I was challenging myself towards 3 July, mentor-disciple day in my Nichiren Buddhist practice, things went to hell at work.

The team lead of one of my projects made a remark in a public chat forum on my presentation that I didn’t know what I was talking about and I hadn’t been around in the project in the last six months.

I fought my tendency to react and give him a piece of my mind. Obviously, this also happened just a couple of hours before another big meeting for me. When I confronted him in person with another colleague sitting in as a witness next week, he made further personal attacks e.g. “You play your role in this project only when someone is looking.”, “What have you done in the last 6 months?”, “When you speak up in a meeting, I feel afraid of what you might say.”

Fast forward to this week, many difficult conversations with my manager and HR later, I am no longer supposed to work with this person. Initially, they talked to him and still wanted me to work with him. It took me a while to realise that the situation was not adequately addressed for me. The guy had said later that he had asked me to be removed from the project. I had said I don’t want to work in a project where I am not valued and respected. The management still wanted me to be there anyway. It took all my courage to keep standing up for dignity. Each time I thought they got it but then they didn’t.

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The Obstacle of Illness

Since I came back from India last month, after my grandmother’s passing, it has been a struggle to find my energy and rhythm. I responded to this challenge by creating causes in faith. I have been going to all the SGI meetings in my group and at the centre, I even met with members in my interstate work travel last month. I knew that the practice is the only way I can find my way back to life and even if not, to continue to create value out of whatever was happening to me and inside of me. If I were to think about it, it didn’t even come from a place of what I can contribute but rather from a place of how I can engage with my life through faith and perhaps find some joy.

I signed up to participate in a dance performance for a big meeting next month and this has been a great joy. However, last week, I fell really sick after my dance practice.

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