As if I needed reasons

It’s the loud noise in the streets.
It’s the ups and downs, the steep stairs and the slippery stones.
It’s the sound of the seagulls.
It’s the smell of pastries.
It’s the unnerving, slow, distracted crowd.
It’s the chilly wind.
It’s the cheap beer on a remote beach.
It’s the feeling of getting lost.
It’s the fear of being too small.
It’s the surprising music around the corner.
It’s the people dancing and drinking to that music.
It’s the flirtatious smile of the guy behind the counter.
It’s the melody of the language.
It’s the ocean, right there, and the guy playing the guitar right in front of it.
It’s the guy recommending that pastelaria because it’s the best.
It’s the tiny shop and the old man inside, pouring some Ginjinha.
It’s the unexpected colourful street art.
It’s the sunset on the ocean.
It’s the ocean, still there, when you least expect it.

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Lightheaded

Taking back my blog in this moment seems the most appropriate thing to do. I guess it’s human nature to delve deep in our thoughts and try to give them a common thread, to make sense of those I don’t know how many thousands of thoughts cross our brains every day, and this happens when we feel our life is changing radically.

This illusion of order, of control we might have over our ever stopping neurons, is somehow comforting. It’s the little stability we can have over a life which changes and definitely seems out of our control.

That is precisely how I felt in the recent month.

I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for three years now, a little more. I have to honestly say I am not diligent in my practice, I chant on and off, too little, too fleeting to build a strong faith. I have to say though that I stuck to the practice, even in this unhelpful way. And one of the things I clearly experienced from the very beginning was that, whenever I did not chant, I felt like I was chasing after my life, breathing heavily and struggling to keep pace with it; on the other hand, whenever I was chanting more regularly, I felt I could keep up, and no matter what would happen, there was a sort of acceptance, easiness in letting things go.

I have to say I still feel confident that things will turn out the way they should, even now that I haven’t chanted in weeks. Collateral effects though are my growing tiredness, my rapidly changing emotions. My lightheadedness.

I feel lightheaded.

Two months ago I resigned from my company. Today was my last day.

I spent exactly two years and a half in that place, which I came to hate but also love. It felt comfortably despicable.

I dreaded the things I was doing and where I was lacking, alas, I am still dreading those things now that I left. I fear failure and I have feared it for the past two years and a half, even though I got very little criticism from others. As for me, I pushed very hard. Often, uselessly.
In a while, I will take some time to focus on understanding my mistakes, because I am really sure I have done plenty, there is much to improve in my working style. I wish I had someone to guide me to improve, I was unfortunately not so lucky in the past year and more. I was left on my own and I did not have the strength to buck up and change things. It was me, complying with an environment that was harsh and not motivating. It’s was a 50/50, I suppose.

But, after this short and messy overview of the root causes of my resignation, I have to go back to the reality: I have quit my job.

Let’s be very honest: I have had mixed feelings about it for a very long time now, for sure more than one year. It started when I felt it was too much, the energy I put in and the reward I got out, they were not matching. It took me the expression “burn out” to start to realize that this was not normal.
On the other hand, I am the one who always tries to mingle, create friendships, to make the best of the situation. This is me and I am proud of this, but it comes with the price of having friends and having to leave them, if need be. And despite the tears and the anxiety, I had friends, many. People were surprised I quit, and I can see why. If you did not know the inner workings of our operations, you would see me as perfectly integrated in the company and in the society.

But I quit.

I quit.

And I will start a new life.

Apparently I will fly to Portugal in the second week of June to have an experience I have never had: giving my time for accommodation and food and surf classes. It is such a crazy thing from me that feels absolutely right. I’m scared as fuck, but it feels right.

Between Portugal and Hungary stands a month.

May. I should have been born in may but somehow this month was stolen to me, or  stole it to get out of my mum’s belly earlier than planned. Now I’d say I am taking this month back. It will be my month of self care and self love. It will be a transitional month where I do not work. I will be taking care of myself, which actually is a tougher job than my job was.

It’s gonna be a challenging month. I am shit scared that I will let myself down into boredom and sadness, because that’s my tendency.

But I started practicing Buddhism, years ago, and now it is finally time to put this into practice.
One month. One month of daimoku campaign.

The determination is to have 2 hours of daimoku every day for 31 days. Now I have the chance and I don’t want to waste it.

The goal?

  • finish my Assimil course, Kafka a Beira-Mar and Viagem a Portugal
  • Bring down my HbA1c to 8
  • Find an alternative to bingeing.

31 days.
22 crossfit classes to do.
3 books to finish.
62 hours of daimoku.

Let the fun begin.

Seasons of love

Autumn arrived. Officially starts tomorrow but yesterday I has a short skirt, no tights, short sleeves. I think I said goodbye to summer in a nice way: spent one hour at the river, in the chilly air, watching the sunset while listening to music, while trying to quiet my mind down.
And then autumn came, with this unpleasant drop in the temperature, a light though irritating rain in the morning. Perfect weather, I thought, for an afternoon in Starbucks with some coffee (and, luckily, a nice lunch with my best friend).

I have been dragging this weight on my shoulders for years now. The thought that I am not capable of taking care of myself. 
The last years of failures to take care of me convinced me of this, to the desperate moments of hell, when I thought that maybe I am not mentally sane (okay, I know I am not completely mentally sane, but in a good way) and that I need to go to a psychiatric something. That maybe I am bipolar or simply I am dangerous for myself. While in a calmer state of mind I know that these thoughts are the result of stress, hopelessness and a certain tendency to be dramatic, I have always this background thought and insecurity that maybe I am really not capable of loving myself enough to take good care. Always engaged in this battle against me.

But you grow up. Slowly, not everything goes at the same pace in you. You are mature for some aspects. For other things, you are still fucked up. Things are changing slowly. But they are.
I am accepting my body, my ever bothering dislike for my physical appearance that I thought would never leave me. I thought I would have to always live with this self hatred. But I am starting to feel stronger and that helps with the confidence. So much that a few weeks ago I managed to workout at Crossfit without my t-shirt, one of my dreams. In my dreams, my tummy was flat and I was super lean. It is not like this. My belly is round, maybe bloated. It will probably be better but I doubt it will ever be flat like I would like it to be. And that is fine. And, even more, I started to think this tiny thought: my beauty is not defined by that excess skin or fat over there.
And we get to the point: beauty.
For a multitude of reasons I have always thought myself not pretty. I am a nice person, maybe an interesting one, a deep one, sensitive, curious. But I never thought I could be physically attractive. Someone could like me because of my inner light and despite my appearance. But, eureka!, what if the physical appearance is somehow influenced by my inner light? What if, overall, I could also look pretty, because of how I am as a whole human being?

Well, if my mind is not messed up.

As for the inner light… It is easy for me to slip back into old bad habits. Into expecting too much from me and never saying no and always saying yes to please others. This is the perfect, quickest recipe for BURNOUT. Yaaay, so since I was burnt out twice in six months, why not three times?
Well, it is not really like that. I have started a journey, months ago, years ago. It is made of several ingredients, to keep it on a culinary aspect: buddhism is the first. It gave me hope. Then there was the counseling and it gave me some perspective. And the mash together very well, although I am deeply convinced that without Buddhism I would be lost. And they both brought me to the third, which is Crossfit.
I swear if someone told me, six months ago, I would wake up at 5.30 in the morning to go to train, I would have laughed and then offered this person a Vodka Szoda, patting him/her on the shoulder, recommending a good counselor. Proved me very wrong. Third month and still going, loving it more and more. When I try to explain people why I love it, the challenge is the first thing that comes to my mind. It is a constant challenge with myself, with the voice in my head saying: Fede, you are too weak. It is not for you. 
I remember the first class I took. During the workout, breathing heavily and trying to focus on not falling and hurting myself, on the brink of giving up, I thought angrily: Fuck, no, I am gonna do this!
And I did.

Less than three months and going, yesterday I was in a class full of people who are well trained. My usual trainer was training with us, we had another one, whom I had somehow thought was a jerk. And maybe he is a bit, but he was patient and encouraging, yesterday.
There were still 3 minutes left to go, I had some reps to do and I felt tired. Not like I was dying but very tired, I had trained three days in a row. It was 7.56 am. I was the last one working out, the others were already done.
Always the same, always the last one, the weakest, I had this bitter thought, while trying to do a jumping pull up, my hands hurting from gripping the bar.
And then the others started.
“Come on Fede!”
“You’re almost there!”
“Go Fede, don’t give up!”
They started to encourage me, several people. I wish I could tell them how much it meant to me. My eyes are wet with tears now, because it was touching. They did not have to do it. But that is the spirit of Crossfit.

What happened yesterday made me even surer of my determination to become a Crossfit coach.
This was an idea my father gave me last sunday, while we were having lunch with my mother and my hungarian sister at a nice, sunny restaurant in Italy, back home. He threw this suggestion probably without thinking and it struck me. “You could inspire many people”, he said.
It was really like I was discovering hot water or something like that.
Who better than me? Me, struggling with an eating disorder and with type 1 diabetes. I had been looking for a purpose, a mission to take care of myself, to inspire others to take care of their diabetes because I suck at that. Me that I have been always interested in teaching, training, inspiring people.
I am slow, lazy. I am uncoordinated, not flexible. Not a sporty type. So, how on earth could it be me? But I am also stubborn, determined, empathetic, compassionate, ambitious. So, why on earth shouldn’t it be me?
This is the best gift my father could give me.

Goodbye, summer. Welcome, autumn.
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Nonsensical nonsense

I cannot believe it is already august 2018. More than two years in Budapest. Almost two years of working. Two burnouts. Two apartments (and a half, if we really want to consider that thing I lived in when I arrived).
Feels like nothing has changed and, at the same time, so much has changed.

I did not think I could have so many friends. Not that I didn’t have so many before, but to rebuild a life in another country. It is a different kind of friendship, maybe more mature, more fleeting, more tentative. And I guess I am amazed by how popular I am. Well, not popular in the way of a teenage cheerleader in her high school. More like I know so many people after one year and a half (okay, and nine months) in the same workplace.
I did not think it possible for me to find a band, even if a temporary one, and to be so thrilled to perform with them again. Nor did I think it possible for me to fall in love (poor me) with crossfit. Should have expected it though.

On the other hand, I am still struggling with the same things. With diabetes, which plagues my dreams with threats of blindness and an overall aura of fear. With binge eating disorder, that lurks there waiting for my moments of fragility, stuffing me with junk food and self hate. And still I haven’t found the love of my life. Or not even the love of one night. Well, not really, but you get what I mean. I have found the crush of the moment. This year I got back to my previous standard of someone unattainable (yay me!), while last year at least I went for someone possible. Anyway.

But I do have a project. Maybe half a dream. Still trying to make the most out of this life we have. In the next one, we will see if I am a human, a sloth or a cat. And I will try to make the most out of it as well.

So yeah. Once again, to the infinity and beyond.

This post doesn’t make any sense. Fuck.

Rescheduling

Today is a day of learning.

I have been quite busy recently. Maybe because of my poor time management skills, or maybe because I have just been particularly busy, between work, moving in the new flat (yes, cheers to having my own, solo apartment, even if it’s incredibly tiny), band rehearsals for Year End’s Party, preparation for the Buddhist Autumn Course and, last weekend, the Buddhist Autumn Course.

I signed up (not entirely on my own will, but I still did that) for the grade 1 Buddhist exam and I am -supposedly- studying for it, since the test will be on november 12th.

So, I thought, november 1st is the perfect day to progress in studying! I really want to learn lots of things from this exam.

Life is funny. Today is a day of learning, but not quite what I expected.

Lesson n. 1 – work is just work
Yesterday, upon request of my supervisor, I accepted to work 1 hour overtime today, which is bank holiday. It was not needed anymore, so today I left, without my laptop. Then I got a message from her that maybe we still have to do that.
I feel devastated by this. I feel like there is no respect for me. And worse, I have no respect for myself, because I keep saying yes. And actually I would just like to scream.
It is my responsibility, saying yes. I ALWAYS say yes. To be nice, to be accepted, to be good. And so much more often I should say no.
So this is a lesson to learn: learn to say NO.
Learn to stand up for yourself.

Lesson n. 2 – not everyone deserves you
Very few, actually.
I have always had this lack of confidence, this poor self-esteem, and whenever someone I like (friendly or any other way) pays me some attention, then oooooh, yes, tell me to jump from the 30th floor, I am glad to do that. By the way, do you need anything else?
For the second time in a couple of weeks, a meeting was canceled with very little notice. A meeting with someone who matters to me.

People, I think, often do not do things to hurt you. They just don’t realize. And that’s okay. What is not okay, is the fact that I keep saying yes to these people. And they will keep doing that, because I did not say it is not fine. It is disrespectful. It is hurtful, especially given the fact that I have very few spare time and I try to spend it with people I like.
So this is another lesson to learn: learn to say NO.
Learn to stand up for yourself.

Lesson n. 3 – I deserve
Now that I am hurting, it seems so long ago, but it has been actually just three days. At the end of the Buddhist Autumn Course, where I did activities as a byakuren (nothing too much under the spotlight, mostly helping out with setting up the conference room, welcoming guests at the entrance, bringing water…) I stepped on the stage to say out loud my determination after the course.
Before I could even speak, people clapped, loud, shouting.
I was astonished.

They didn’t do it with others. They did it for me. Because, I realize, I took care of them, or at least I tried. That was enough. I was enough. As I was.
I have been enough as I am, not because I was acting cool or because I was wearing a pretty dress or because I was achieving any sort of professional result.
I have been enough because I have been myself and I tried to care for them.
It has been one of the best moments of my life, now that I think of it.

This is what I want. These are the people I want, the things I want in my life. This is what I deserve in my life, not because of how I look or what I achieve. Because of my strength, my weakness, my compassion, my smile. And I feel genuinely sorry for those who do not want to see it, but there is no place for them in my life.
This is the third lesson, the hardest: you are an amazing human being.  The way you already are, just for your soul.
Recognize it and learn to stand up for yourself.

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The new buddhist experiment

 

To be really honest, my first Buddhist experiment did not go very well. It ended up in several days with sadness, crying, depression and bad feelings about me.
It also brought people in my life, which is good, because these people are positive for me.

And then other things happened, but the same pattern keeps coming up: my problems with my non-existent self-esteem. I guess there is some karmic bond in this.

So I decided, based on this post that I found, that starting from tomorrow I will chant to be a woman of unlimited self-esteem. If I don’t challenge this, it will keep coming back. Diabetes, love, work…

 

Troubles

Somewhere I read that we are incredibly honest with the web. I have been honest in my previous posts and I intend to keep doing so, mostly because I am not advertising this blog at all, and only people who really want to read it find it.

From a medical point of view, last weeks have been quite hectic. I started wearing sensors again, with first week being definitely positive (BGs are, according to my endo, much closer to human decency, so I guess that means thumbs up for me).
Then my period came, together with the weekend, and a rather unpleasant experience, resulting in bingeing, incredibly high BGs (partly because of my period, which makes it incredibly hard to lower blood sugar, but partly because of eating lots of carbs, i.e. binges).
So today, after waking up with a post-binge awfully (really awfully) high BG, I got back on track.

Since I embarked in this journey, several things have happened on a human perspective.
I have, first of all, learnt to put some distance between me and my endo. Before all this, I did not know much about her. I liked her a lot, she seemed really positive and encouraging and cool and young and I felt understood.
Then I was back for holidays and it happened that she checked my HbA1c and said what she said and ever since she has repeatedly hit me, even when I have shown her a picture of my tattoo. She acts for my wellbeing, she has been tough for my wellbeing, then she started again being nice and funny and she hugged me after devastating me. I think something is broken now, with her.

At least, even if I was a wreck for days, starting this online sharing of my struggles has led some of my friends to get back to me. The ones that matter, I guess, have asked me what is going on. The ones that matter have asked me what they can do to help me. They have started encouraging me. My best friend has started carrying sugar around with her. My other friends, the colleagues I am closer to, ask questions on how it works with my blood sugar (and some of them have started to realize how messy it is to deal with it).
In this emotional mess, I have found so very heartwarming that they are, no matter how, close to me.

I have, if not completely at least partially, recovered a friendship which, at that time, had been quite strong to me. Someone I was connected to at university. We parted in a not so friendly way and then life happened, I went somewhere, she went somewhere else and from me there has been some resentment up until a few months ago, when I realized that she was actually the first person I practiced Buddhism with.
And then she came up with a long and moving message about this blog (and maybe she will read this too, so if you do… well, I don’t know, actually 🙂 ).
So, wow, this whole tragedy has got me back a friend I thought I had lost.

Diabetes has also made me realize something.
I am completely screwed up.

I have met someone, let’s say randomly (at least, without any sentimental purpose) who looked like the last person on earth I could ever consider interesting. Damn appearances. I discovered that this person is unbelievably interesting, and open, and curious. And I started to fall for this person. Come on, it’s just a stupid crush, it’s nothing. And I was well aware that this wouldn’t lead anywhere, that I am not enough for this person to like me.
The real tragedy happened when this person helped me count carbs for a meal. And paradoxically, I have felt this as the most personal and intimate thing in my life.
And with this realization I understand how screwed I am.

So diabetes has taken a lot from me and it has also given a lot to me. I don’t know if it gave more or took more from me. The thing I know is that I am in deep trouble. troubles