Tag Archives: stress

Is it ok to be proud?

Standard

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. Especially when I was in London for work a few weeks ago. Almost exactly one year after I’d been there for a little holiday over Easter. It had just been a week or 2 after I’d been at home for a week because of all the stress at work and the pressure I’d put on myself. I was having a hard time enjoying my time in London back then. What had happened was still affecting me. I couldn’t believe something like that had happened to me, I didn’t understand it all in its enirety yet. And I still had to fight with the aftereffects. Months and months after that.

One year later I was back in London and the work situation was pretty similar to the one of the previous year. Lots of work, lots of responsibility and so little time. There were and are times where I feel under pressure. And it’s not the easiest thing to calm myself down when this happens. There’s always the fear that the panic attacks might come back. They have been flaring up here and there in extremely stressfuls situations. But I’ve learned how to breathe them away and it usually works. The difference this year is that I’m aware of all this. I know the triggers and I know how to handle them. And I do talk about it with the boyfriend and even my boss when I need to. After I came back from London, having worked almost 70 hours that week and only half a day off before the new work week started, I asked to work from home for a day. I knew I needed that rest. The old me would’ve dragged herself to work. So yeah, even though it might just be little things I’m very proud of the way I’m dealing with it.

I know this is a phase and less stressful times will come sooner or later. This situation at work right now is a challenge and one I want to take on. I know this will move me a lot further in my career, it’s a chance to learn and show what I’m capable of. I’m not a real career person, but when a challenge like this comes along I take it. And that’s another difference I’ve noticed compared to last year. Back then I didn’t want to be in that job anymore. Much later I realized this was basically just due to a superior and the way she was treating me. Ever since I stopped working with her, things have changed for the better. So attitude towards your jobs plays a huge role. I wasn’t really aware of that back then. At least not that much. But things have suddenly become so much easier since I’ve decided I wanted to be there. I wanted to identify myself with that job again. I don’t see myself doing this job for the rest of my life. And of course I wish it would leave me a little more time for my real dreams and passions right now. I’ve been neglecting music big time over the past few months and we’re just starting to get back into it. But in a way this job makes it possible for me to pursue these things. It gives me financial freedom. We’ve recently moved into our dream apartment which wouldn’t have been possible if we both didn’t have well paying jobs. We’re going on holiday in Japan this fall. And we’re able to finance a rehearsing room and music equipment (and every musician knows that you can spend a fortune on stuff like that). And we’re making plans for a future together.

A year ago I only saw my job as a burden and a hindrance to pursueing my dreams. When it actually does help me to get closer to them in a way. And it feels good to be aware of that. Especially during tough times like these.

Advertisements

I have never… been to Lille

Standard

DSC02918

So, I’m back from my little concert trip to France. I’ve actually been back for a couple of days, but I needed time to process what happened before I felt like I was ready to write about it. I know I’m making this sound overly dramatic. Probably because it was for me at the time it happened. But I guess that’s what happens when you travel. You experience an adventure, the unexpected and it’s not always pleasant. Before you’re starting to speculate what exactly happened to me last weekend, here’s the story (and a little more on the city of Lille, of course):

I started off in Frankfurt last Friday with 2 friends. We got on the TGV, the French high-speed train, and made ourselves comfortable. The 4-hour-ride to Paris went smoothly even though I’d already spent more than 7 hours on a train the previous day for a business trip to Munich and I wasn’t really in the mood for another long ride. So anyway, everything went fine. Until we got off the train in Paris – and I couldn’t find my suitcase in the rack I’d put it in. At first I thought I was just confused and had put it somewhere else. Or that someone had moved it to get out his own suitcase. But one passenger after the other left the train and in the end there was just one other suitcase left. A black one. A Samsonite. Just like mine. There was no doubt that someone had taken my luggage and left me theirs. I had no idea if it had just happened, here, in Paris. Or somewhere on the way. At first I was hoping that person would realize their mistake and return my stuff while we were still there. But noone showed up when we were looking for the train staff (which took ages to even find someone, let alone someone who spoke English). Or when we were trying to explain our problem in our broken French (“You have a suitcase, where’s your problem?”). Or when we went to the information desk to ask for help. Or to the Lost & Found where they were not happy at all we were showing up so close to closing hours (not speaking French, how dare we! And trying to leave a German phone number which of course is impossible to dial in France!).

It was pretty clear my suitcase probably wasn’t going to show up soon. And we had a train to Lille to catch in a few minutes and still had to make our way to Paris North from the Paris East station. For a minute, I was considering to wait and just catch a different train. But I didn’t want to stay behind on my own. As long as I wasn’t alone I was able to fight the tears that were piling up behind my eyes. And I could still buy the bare necessities the next day, so it wasn’t the end of the world. Even if my suitcase would never show up again. And then it hit me. In the streets of Paris. My concert ticket was in the suitcase. And the concert was sold out. This was the only reason I went on that bloody trip and now I probably wouldn’t even be able to experience that freaking concert. I guess you can imagine my devastation. Now tears were literally knocking on my eyelids. But I didn’t cry. We made that train, I sat down and just wished for that whole nightmare to be over already. I just wanted to get to the hotel and sleep and hope for a brighter day. Then, on the way to the hotel, I noticed a missed phone call. And a message. Both from an unknown number. It was the people that had taken my suitcase! I called the number and we agreed to meet in Paris again the next day, so I could get my stuff back. I would’ve preferred to spend the day sight-seeing or just hanging around at the hotel, but I’d be able to go to the concert and that was all I wanted.

So the next day after breakfast, I bought a train ticket back to Paris and hopped on a train. I was a little shocked at the price of more than 80€ for a 2-hour return-ride. But I was hoping the person who took my luggage would have enough decency to offer to at least cover part of my costs since it absolutely wasn’t my fault. Boy, was I wrong! At first the guy seemed nice. An elderly French man. We chatted for a bit. He gave me my suitcase back (with the ticket in it, I checked). Then I told him about the hassle I’d had to come back to Paris just to pick up my suitcase someone else had mixed up. And how much money it had cost me. At first, he pretended he didn’t get what my problem was. Then he told me a stupid story how his 5-year-old nephew had taken my suitcase. And when I asked who was with the child, who’d actually taken my luggage since a young child certainly wouldn’t have been able to carry my suitcase and wasn’t travelling alone, he said he didn’t know. He also didn’t forget to tell me how he’d also had to make some effort to give me back my stuff. How he’d had to drive to Paris, to pay at the Lost & Found to get his suitcase back and how expensive it was to park his car at the station. That’s the point where I got really angry. I’m usually nice and polite to strangers, but when there’s one thing I absolutely hate it’s injustice. I was getting loud, trying to explain to the guy how absolutely he was in the wrong here. But if someone wants to be a dick, there’s no changing that. As a goodbye, he told me I should be happy about how lucky I’d been to get my suitcase back. And if I felt like he’d done me wrong I could go to the police. Merci beaucoup!

I just walked away while he was still talking to me. I sat down on a bench and suddenly, there was no holding back. I sat in the middle of a station in Paris with tears streaming down my face. And I didn’t care what the people around me were thinking. I just want to let it all out right there at that moment. I had to wait 2 hours until the next train would go back to Lille and all I did was sit there. That’s the moment I turned to my beloved “This is War” album from 30 Seconds to Mars (the band I was going to see that night) again. That album which had accompanied me for more than a year on an almost daily basis. Through some difficult moments (see my previous post for more on that). I actually can’t remember for how long I hadn’t listened to that album. Or to any Mars album. But in that moment, it was exactly what I needed. It instantly made me feel a little better. When I was back at the hotel, I wasn’t really feeling in the mood for a concert. But the people I was with quickly helped me to forget about all that shit that had happened. And when I stood in the back of the concert venue that night, I was hooked again. I jumped around like a maniac and sang my heart out. I let all my bad feelings go. The band was probably in the best mood I’d ever seen them. They had fun. They wanted to be there on that stage playing music. And while I still don’t dig the new songs, I had a great, great time that night and enjoyed every minute of it. So much so, that I’m actually looking into where I want to see them next. Some time in summer maybe.

The next day, there was finally time to have a look around the city. It was a beautiful day, sunny, blue sky. And while there isn’t that much sightseeing to do in Lille, I enjoyed walking around. My experiences with French people might not have been the best, but I love French cities. The old buildings, not one looking like the other. The whole atmosphere. The food. So, to end this post on a little more cheerful note, here are some impressions from Lille. This trip certainly wasn’t the usual. I could’ve done without some of the things that happened, but I’m still glad I came along for some fun time with my friends. I can’t wait for the next adventure, but this time I’ll make sure to keep an eye on my luggage.

DSC02950DSC02956DSC02957DSC02960DSC02962DSC02964DSC02966

Time to stand up!

Standard

DSC_0435

I was raised with the mindset that I should put other people’s needs and wishes over mine. That I should try to please everyone and that I better keep my mouth shut if what I had to say was going to upset someone. I was raised to be what my parents thought a good girl should be like. And I don’t blame them. I know they had the best intentions and I totally understand where it comes from. I’m also glad they didn’t raise me to be an egoistic idiot who doesn’t care about others. But I do feel that in a way it also made me blind to my own needs, to finding my own way for the longest time. It took me decades to convince myself that it’s ok to have dreams and to do things that others might not approve of. Even if it’s your own parents. Sometimes it’s totally ok to piss someone off if you have reasons. You don’t have to please everybody. And you can’t. It’s the most normal thing in the world. And most importantly, admitting this is not a defeat!

A while ago, my company gave me the opportunity to attend a stress seminar because I’d had some problems with my workload and coping with the stress that came with it. I’m convinced that anybody would have had a problem with the situation I’d been in at the time, but I thought I’d give that seminar a try anyway. To my surprise, I had to realize that I’m still pretty much caught in that mindset my parents taught me. Even though I thought I wasn’t. Subconciously, I still felt the urge to please everyone, my clients, my bosses, my coworkers and all the other people I had to deal with. And when I wasn’t able to fulfill these high standards (which was basically not possible in my situation) it stressed me out. To no end. But did I say anything? No! I just suffered. I talked about it with my boyfriend, my family and friends, but I didn’t complain to anyone at work. Or just subtly. I hoped for things to change for the better. But they didn’t. They even got worse. But everything looked fine from the outside, so of course noone came to rescue me. In the end, I pulled myself out by breaking down. I can tell you, it wasn’t pretty and I don’t wish for anyone to experience anything like it. After a week at home, I went back to work, but it took me weeks to get back up again. In fact, I think it’s still leaving it’s traces here and there.

For me, that breakdown was a warning sign. That it’s time to stand up for myself again. And that I have every right to. It still have to force myself to do it, especially in the work environment. When it comes to my private dreams I’m a pretty good advocate for myself, but for some reason not so much jobwise. Last week, however, I had one of these awesome moments where I actually had the guts to stand up for myself. I had been told to do an assignment on very short notice which absolutely wasn’t my responsibility and which could’ve already been done days earlier. In short, it was just totally unnecessary to put it on my desk which was crammed with work already anyway. Probably a result of bad planning and I was the one to pay for it. I didn’t complain. I did the work that needed to be done, but I swore to myself that this time I wouldn’t just swallow all the feelings I had. I needed to make clear that it wasn’t ok to treat me that way. And I did! There was a brief moment where I thought of backing out, but I was brave enough to speak my mind. It was such a relief! And guess what, nothing bad happened. I didn’t get shouted at or anything. And even if I had, it would’ve been worth it.

I know I will continue to stand up for myself. I need to if I want to lead the life I’m dreaming of. It’s inevitable. This is really just the beginning I think!

Back to life

Standard

So, I’m on holiday this week! Big yay! This is probably one of the most deserved holidays I’ve ever had. And I had my last holiday just 3 months ago. I feel like from the beginning of September I got sucked into this crazy work schedule and have tried to get out of it ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I can sure take some stress, pressure and a heavy workload. But if someone would’ve told me what was lying ahead of me at the time I probably would’ve run away screaming. Instead I hung in there hoping it would get better. But somehow it never really did, except for a couple of days in between which weren’t enough to take a breath. Sometimes I felt like the only option I had to get out of this was to either run away or break down. I did neither, but there were times when I felt like I wasn’t able to go on much longer. It’s amazing to see that I actually could. But to be honest, I don’t wanna do it again. And I hope that things will get better. At least a little bit.
What I hate the most about the past weeks is that I feel like I didn’t have any time to live at all. All I did was work, work, work and when I didn’t have to work on the weekends I was so tired that all I wanted was to sleep. My apartment turned into a dirty mess because I couldn’t be fucked to clean it up. I still made time to make music though and that is probably what saved me. It was something to look forward to, the only time I could feel connected to myself. I get miserable when I don’t have enough time to myself, time to be me. I can’t tell you how happy I am right now that at least for one week I’m getting a break from all this. I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas already. In my head it’s still the end of summer. But anyway, I’m gonna spend this week doing things just for myself. Of course, I’m gonna make as much music as I can. I’m gonna organise the chaos that still surrounds me at home. I’m gonna visit my sister for a couple of days and enjoy some quality time with her. And just live. As much as I can in those couple of days. And then it won’t be far until the Chrismas break.

To all those people who are also having to deal with live’s crazy ways, I hope you’re making sure to take a breath once in a while. Take care of yourselves!

Whoa!

Standard

“Whoa” is exactly what my life is like right now. I hate that I have to apologize again for neglecting this place, for not having been around when I wanted to. Believe me, I’ve been here in my thoughts many times, collecting ideas for posts. I just absolutely didn’t have the time for it. You’ll see when you’ve read the “whoas” that are currently keeping me busy ;).

  • Whoa, I’ve turned into a machine! Involuntarily. At least that’s what I’m feeling like. A machine that’s working and working and working and almost never gets to rest. Work’s been really tough lately. Probably one of the toughest times I’ve ever experienced. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with working hard and/or a lot. What I do have a problem with, though, is having to get up for work early for 3 weeks straight without being able to sleep in just once. Today has actually been the first day in 3 weeks that I got to do that. It felt like heaven. And it was more than necessary. I’m not sure if I could’ve gone on like that much longer. I was so exhausted, I felt like a zombie – and I’m sure I looked like one, too. Horrible! And the worst thing is that I still felt like I wasn’t resilient enough. Stupid, right? I have no idea yet when and if the situation will change, but I will fight for my right, that’s for sure.
  • Whoa, we have found a drummer! Yay, the band is coming along really well. It’s amazing what becomes of a song when you add drums to it. When I listen to the things we’ve created it still seems like a miracle to me. I never thought I would be where I am now a couple of months ago when I had this idea of founding a band. And I’m sure that’s what the majority of people I told about it was thinking. Now all we need is a bass player and we’re complete. There’s actually talk going on about hitting the stage sometime next year. I have to hyperventilate at the mere thought of that and there’s still a lot of hard work to do until we reach that point where we’re actually ready to step in front of other people and share our creations with them. But I’m convinced that in the end we’ll get there and it’s going to be the beginning of an amazing adventure.
  • Whoa, I’m turning 30! Oh yes, next Friday this girl here will have to say goodbye to her 20s. And you know what, I’m actually looking forward to it. The last 10 years have been an exciting ride and I’m sure the next will be even more so. I have a nice little party planned and can’t wait to celebrate with all those great people in my life. I’ll even have a friend from London coming over who I haven’t seen in 4 years. Good times!
  • Whoa, there’s more!  I’m finally going to buy an electric guitar which I’m sure will entertain not just me, but the whole neighbourhood ;). I’ll see Billy Talent live on Sunday. If you haven’t listened to their new album “Dead Silence” yet, go and get it. It’s a powerful piece of music. I’ll have a meet up with people from a 30 Seconds to Mars forum where I’m probably spending too much time. I’m really looking forward  to meeting some amazing people and having a good time. There is also a little mission involved as a certain lead singer is supposed to be in town that day.

So yeah, my life is pretty crazy right now. And as much as I like craziness, I could do with a little less just for a little while.