Allergic to work???

Adoption, Cancer, Diabetes, emotions, Family, Uncategorized, Work

I think I am allergic to work.  No, seriously.

I have spent the entire day forcing myself to pay attention, with my eyes skittering off the page like a toddler on too much red cordial.  The trouble is, this is the latest of a long line of jobs I have loathed.  My first job was when I was in high school.  That was decades ago.  I still feel exactly the same about work as I did then.  It’s tedious, exhausting, unrewarding and generally, a crapulous experience.  Hence, my conclusion.  I think I am allergic to work.  We’ve certainly had enough people over the centuries praising it as virtuous, character building,  blah de fucking blah.  But I have to ask myself, are they perhaps not shouting a little too loud?  It certainly seems like it to me.

It’s hard to avoid the modern rhetoric about the importance of work and career.  Indeed, I am conscious of the fact of the ongoing struggle of some women to even be able to participate in the workforce on anything like equal grounds.  I feel churlish about complaining about my lot, which has a window that opens, a door that shuts and plenty of freedom and flexibility.

Not enough freedom and flexibility, however, to be able to run with my essence.  I woke up this morning feeling like shit, and didn’t want to leave the house.  It’s nearly the end of the day, I still feel like shit and I want to be at home.  In bed.  With the cat. Period.  But I am not in any position to honour these feelings, to give them space and work with them.  One of the lessons of that I think we all need to learn is to honour our emotions, however challenging or difficult they are.  I have known too many who haven’t and in the process tend to have had more trouble, both within their own lives and with others, as a result.  Maybe if I’d stayed at home and accepted how I felt, I might have gotten through it quicker, and then when I got to the office, I’d have been ready to actually do some work.  But I’ve not been able to achieve a thing, because the urkness inside still wants its day.  So, end result is that I still feel like shit and I’ve also achieved nothing.

I do have good reason to feel this way.  My mother does indeed have cancer, in addition to heart disease and diabetes.  I’m crapping on the universe for giving me two mothers with cancer to deal with.  Such a lucky little adoptee.  But even despite this profoundly good reason for wanting to crawl under the doona and NOT COME OUT EVER AGAIN, I feel the same about work.  I felt like this before I got the news about my mother.  It has just made me feel my feelings about it even more strongly.

I wonder how many people would genuinely continue to go to their job if they didn’t need the money to pay the bills and feed themselves and their family if they have one?  Would you still do what you do if you didn’t get paid?  My answer is no.

Yet, if you were to consider my CV, you might think that it couldn’t possibly have been all that bad.  Maybe it wasn’t.  I certainly have met lots of kind, intelligent and wonderful people, some of whom have been become treasured friends.  I’ve found that I get to spend perhaps half an hour a day enjoying the company of my colleagues, and the remaining majority of the hours I’m locked to a computer screen.   Some of my work may possibly contribute to making the world a better place.  Emphasis on possibly.  Certainly that was my intent but you have no guarantees.  Did I enjoy the processes of work? No, not really.  Not enough to counter the depression and the exhaustion.  Am I in the wrong job?  Clearly the answer is yes.  What worries me is that there is no right job.  And that I have to show up here, day after day for at least the next two decades.

Oh happy thought.


The confused diabetic

Diabetes, emotions, food choices

I didn’t have a very good day yesterday.

It was my best friend’s birthday but she died a few years ago.  Then, the glucose reading.  Enough to set me off on a day long bender, starting with crepes for breakfast around 10.

Around 3 I started drinking, and I shall not reveal exactly how much but suffice to say my hangover is extremely well deserved.  I accompanied this with most of a wheel of Brie, and biscuits, and for dinner I ate a whole pizza.  Yes.  All of it.  I did no exercise, unless you count lying on the sofa laughing hysterically as I watched The World’s End for therapy.

This does nothing for one’s beauty sleep.  I’m up earlier than usual, and steeled myself for the reading.  Here’s the irony.  After all that, it was only 0.3 over yesterday.  I was expecting much, much worse.

So now I’m really confused.  Does anything I do in relation to this damn disease matter?

Roses for anger


Are there roses for anger? With a stretch of the imagination, yes.

We have Wildfire, Wildcat, Le Vesuve, Lavaglut and Typhoon. None are particularly about anger, but all suggest that more violent end of the spectrum of human emotions. More accurately, they suggest the effect of a sweeping bout of rage. We all know what Vesuvius did to Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Le Vesuve, Laffay, 1825.  Photo by the author.

Le Vesuve, Laffay, 1825. Photo by the author.

Le Vesuve, pictured above, seems too sweetly pink to really carry the weight of her name. She has an alternative name, Lemesle, and was bred by Laffay in 1825. None of the sites I have consulted have given the rationale for her name, and I must confess that I am going against all professional training and making an assumption that her name is related to Vesuvius. But in any case, while she is a lovely rose, she wouldn’t be my pick for a rose to symbolise anger.

Wildfire.  Photo by the author.

Wildfire. Photo by the author.

This is Wildfire, photographed at the Old Parliament House Garden. She is far more like it. As is Typhoon. She almost glows like embers.

There’s also Wildcat, which I’ve not seen in person but from photos she is channelling the same orange to red glow. We feel these colours when we feel angry. I know that when I am angry my body feels hotter, I have more energy. Sometimes it really is like a wave of lava. This brings me to the final rose that I have seen, Lavaglut, which I photographed at the last rose show in Canberra.

Lavaglut, on display at the Canberra rose show in 2014.  Photo by the author.

Lavaglut, on display at the Canberra rose show in 2014. Photo by the author.

Anger is perhaps the most misunderstood of emotions, reviled even. Most of us are taught to shun it from an early age, especially if we were punished for showing it. Alternatively, we learn to fear it if someone in our close circle bursts their anger upon us.

Anger is one of the four basic emotions that all humans have. Cross cultural research suggests that this is consistent across borders, and across other less well defined borders such as age and gender. If this is the case, then surely anger serves some purpose. What might that be?

I have gradually come to believe that anger has a protective function. It exists to let us know when some vital boundary has been crossed, and it means that we need to take some kind of action to restore them. I say gradually because as I grew up, I had a little of both my scenarios. Anger was not acceptable, especially from a girl, and my father was prone to outbursts that would always send me scurrying away to safety.

Recently I’ve been rediscovering my anger, and I can assure you that after more than four decades on the planet pretending that it’s not there, there’s quite a lot of it. Approaching it through the lense of rose appreciation has given me a soft entry to engaging with it. Historically I would never have chosen any of these roses to plant. I lean towards soft and gentle colours, creamy yellows and dusty pinks. I would have judged these ‘anger’ roses for being brash, vulgar or some other negative description. Really, what I was reacting to was the boldness. Anger is a bold emotion, it doesn’t shrink and bow its head and apologise for itself. Nor do these roses.

The only rose that I have currently planted that even approaches these colours is Afternoon Delight. I had noticed that with this garden I had begun to choose bolder colours, rich reds, glowing purples, stronger pinks. I find with some delight that Afternoon Delight is a prelude to a greater me, as I begin to reintegrate lost parts of myself.

I wonder what I could plant next?