Monthly Archives: December 2015

Reflection… Things That Keep Me Up At Night

It’s been a long time since I’ve really struggled to fall asleep at night. I can usually occupy myself enough to the point where I tire myself out, but not tonight. I have one million and one things going round my head and I just can’t seem to settle.

It’s that time of year when people seem to reflect on their life over the past year, as well as think about the future. I feel restless and here are just some of the reasons why:

I get contacted by so many wonderful people via this blog and I absolutely love hearing from them. People from similar backgrounds as me, people who share my frustrations, as well as those who’ve unfortunately had it even worse than me. I am grateful to each and every one of these individuals who’ve impacted my life in such a positive way, they have no idea. There are times when I’ve questioned the path I’ve chosen, or feel sad about how some things have turned out. But these people have helped me realise how far I’ve come and often remind me what is important in life. I truly believe it is up to us to find the things that make us happy and if I can help others realise their potential in any way, then I will always try my best. But this does sometimes keep me up at night because I really want to help, but there isn’t always an instant solution.

With busy lifestyles, we can sometimes lose touch with people who are important to us. Over the holiday period, I usually try and get in touch with those I haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, which can be wonderful but also sad at the same time. Sometimes it’s a bit too late to repair a friendship which was once so prominent in your life, and other times, you feel disappointed in yourself for not making more of an effort. I recently came to realise how one-sided a friendship of mine was with someone I’ve known for over 15 years, and it hurt. I am one of those people who has always tried to be everyone’s friend, I can’t help it, it’s just who I am. So I’m used to being there for my friends no matter what. But when it came to me needing this particular friend, this wasn’t reciprocated. I know many people go through this in life, but I wear my heart on my sleeve so can’t pretend to be okay about it, especially as the other party is carrying on like nothing happened. This keeps me up at night. It’s one thing dealing with family drama, but it’s another thing when it comes to friends.

I’m at a particular stage in my career where my once dream job, no longer is a dream job. People tend to evaluate their job prospects and career around this time of year anyway, but for me, this started about a month or so earlier, so I’ve been in this awful, unfulfilled bubble for nearly 2 months now. The only solution is to look for other opportunities that can help me find fulfilment again, but it’s easier said than done. I’ve previously worked in recruitment, so you’d think this wouldn’t be an issue, but that’s not the case here. This keeps me up at night.

I feel like there’s a ticking clock dangling over my head. Spending this much time with family over the holiday puts me on high alert. So far, I’ve managed to escape any awkward conversations, but you know it’s going to happen at some point. The unspoken, lingering issue of marriage. I’ve heard via my siblings that I’m about to get a warning of some kind. I’ve spoken about the pressures of marriage and the issues around my imaginary wedding many times before, but even I’m getting annoyed at myself now. I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m now in my late 20s, so I’m no longer a ‘spring chicken’. I need to stop making excuses and face my fears, rather than pretend that this isn’t happening. I have many insecurities and the thought of putting myself out there and allowing others (who don’t know me) to point these out and judge me, just freaks me out. I have this internal battle with myself to sort it out and make plans to make a change in my life to get rid of my ‘flaws’. But then I wake up and it’s a new day and the pep talk the night before vanishes… until later.

I could list every single thing keeping me awake, but then I’ll never get to sleep. I know there are some simple solutions for a few of these problems, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I feel like just being Bengali turns these into bigger issues than they should be, which is basically the story of my life. Are there things that stress you out and keep you up at night?

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Keeping secrets from parents

I’m not sure if this will come as a shock to many people or if I’m not actually alone in this, but keeping things from my parents has become a norm in my life. Now, before you jump to conclusions and start thinking I’m one of ‘those girls’ who goes off behind her parents back and gets up to all sorts of mischief, let me set the record straight – I certainly don’t.

What I’m referring to are the little white lies you have to tell your parents or things you leave out on purpose in order to live an easier life. I’ve been doing this ever since I was a teenager and have always felt a pang of guilt whenever the topic came up. It’s only recently when a friend and I were talking about it, that I realised how much I actively avoid telling my parents things.

I always find it strange and a little bit baffling, how much a few of my friends share with their parents, the ins and outs of their lives. I mean, I actually admire having that type of relationship to a certain extent. But then I imagine myself having those open conversations with my parents and it completely weirds me out.

When I was younger, I was constantly frustrated by the made up rules and regulations they thrusted on us which made no sense at all. I always questioned things and pushed boundaries (as mentioned in my previous ‘never good enough’ posts part 1 and part 2). But I would always get resistance from them and this just ended in me getting ultimatums and stern looks. So naturally as a teenager when you’re put in these situations and wanted something so badly, you will look for every possible way to make this happen. I wasn’t even that ambitious with what I wanted, which is the sad thing about all of this. All I really wanted was to do all the little things all the other kids got to do. Like go round to each others’ houses, go into town on the weekends, attend (supervised) birthday parties, etc. Was that really too much to ask for?

I discussed this at length with all my little friends at the time and hatched a plan to get their parents involved. So on this particular occasion, my friend’s aunt (who was her legal guardian) called my parents to ask if it was okay for me to go round on the weekend to work on a project together which required us to go to the big library in our town centre and do some research. She even offered to pick me up and drop me off, so my parents reluctantly agreed and I was over the moon. I could not have been happier if I tried – it was the best day of my life! Haha, now thinking back and writing about it seems silly, but the reason why I’m telling you this story is because this was a huge triumph for me, because the other thing is, none of my friends were bengali. So naturally my parents didn’t really care much about them and didn’t take any of my friendships seriously.

So yes, I did go round and do a little bit of homework with a trip to the library, but the rest of the time, we went to the shops, bought all the sweets our money could buy, stuffed our faces and I even had dinner round my friend’s house, where I felt like an alien. It involved sitting at the dinner table with her family, napkins, knives and forks and polite conversations, where people actually took interest in their kids’ lives – school, projects, friends, hobbies. What was this new and different world that I clearly wasn’t living in?

I don’t think bengali kids these days truly appreciate how good they’ve got it. Their parents are somewhat younger and much more educated than my parents, who genuinely want their children to do well in school and life and will be there to support them. I didn’t have that growing up, and that is how my relationship with my parents ended up like this. Me keeping secrets from them.

Many years ago when I was given the ultimatum of going to a university close to home, which meant commuting everyday or getting a full-time job, I chose to go to the uni of their choice. This meant I didn’t really get the true university experience, which I’m still trying to figure out if it was for the best. But meeting these new people who were experiencing new found freedom of their own, I was invited to many cool and exciting things. Obviously, I hardly ever took part in social activities because, firstly my parents wouldn’t approve and secondly, I always had to answer to them whenever I came back ‘late’. By late I don’t even mean midnight, I just mean later than my normal class times. But even then, I was a good kid at heart, so didn’t even want to get involved in the clubbing/drinking/smoking scene. But I made some genuinely lovely friends and we liked to treat ourselves to nice lunches and dinners now and again, so I told my parents I was studying in the library – the classic.

My relationship with my parents has somewhat improved over the years because of me living away from home. But I will only share nuggets of information with them because as soon as they get too much insight into my life, they find a way to use it against me at another opportunity. Or they give me a lecture there and then about how I am careless with money and only think about myself and how I value having fun with my friends more than spending time with family, apparently. It always comes down to two things – money and marriage. The two evil ‘M’s in my life. For example, if I book a holiday, I’m ‘wasting’ money and therefore not saving for my imaginary wedding. If I tell them about an amazing meal I had at a nice restaurant, I’m washing money down the drain. You get the picture.

So now to current day, a quite big change has happened in my life recently which, as you may have gathered, I haven’t told my parents about yet. I feel bad for keeping it from them, but I know that ultimately, it will only mean that they will worry or tell me to move back home (their default answer to everything), which is not happening, ever. So for them, it’s business as usual.

I don’t know if this even changes your opinion of me or if you think this thing that I do is right or wrong, but I would be really interested to know how you feel about it.

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