Conversations

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I don’t think people understand how it is for me. That although I could have so much sadness in me, I am still so sincerely happy, I am. It’s not being confused or bipolar. It’s called being human. I think we live acting as if we should feel one thing at a time, or hold onto one emotion for a certain amount of time. But the truth is, life isn’t still like that. There is always so much going on. I am simply honest with my emotions, and that is the most freeing thing I did for myself. To know I can feel sadness when it is there, but never forget to recognise the happiness that I’m blessed with constantly. There’s a sense of beauty in both sadness and happiness. I embrace all of it, knowing I am, in fact, okay. And that I am so beautifully human because of it.

Of decisions, transitions & new beginnings. 

A couple of days ago, amidst our usual chats, a friend randomly threw a question to me. It was simple, straight to the point, but I was stunned for a moment.

“Have you been okay?”

It’s fascinating how facades can be seen through so easily by some, yet carelessly overlooked by others. When posed that question, the first thoughts that ran through my mind were – Don’t I seem alright? Were there cues hinting otherwise? Why’d you even ask that?

“Okay, what does okay even mean? What does being okay entail?”

It means being okay both physically and mentally. It doesn’t mean that things have to be smooth sailing – that’s unrealistic. It’s about being able to handle circumstances that arrive & not be beaten down or broken by them. Sure, there’d be instances where you choose the route of avoidance (I’m no less guilty of that). But perhaps avoidance is merely a temporary escapism, to get your mind sorted out.

“I’m lost in life, frustrated at the overwhelmingness of things. And I’m afraid of decisions I’ve been making & have to make.”

But who’s to dictate what’s “right” and what’s not? This is all part & parcel of growing up. Yeah you might make decisions that are unwise, but such is life. If you never ever make mistakes, you’ll not learn, would you? What’s important is that after making informed decisions & yet realising there are better alternatives, what would you do? Are you going to let yourself be stuck deep in the abyss & wallow in self-pity of unhappiness & wrong moves? Then that’s not okay.

“It’s terrifying, this whole process of growing up.”

Whoever said it wouldn’t be anyway? Life’s not all rainbows & butterflies. Appreciate and be thankful for the happy moments. Be humble and learn from the darkest times in your life, because if you’re able to walk out of those times – be it independently or with the help of others – you’ll emerge as someone way stronger than you were previously. And that, to me, is admirable.

And perhaps after all these years, all I crave for is to be able to say that –

I’m okay, I’m okay, I am okay.

Something

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You don’t get better on the days when you feel like going. You get better on the days when you don’t want to go, but you go anyway. If you can overcome the negative energy coming from your tired body or unmotivated mind, you will grow and become better. It won’t be the best workout you have, you won’t accomplish as much as what you usually do when you actually feel good, but that doesn’t matter. Growth is a long term game, and the crappy days are more important.

But I’m still learning. And it’s tiring.

Core

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Today marks the start of the seventh week of placement, and I figured it’d be helpful to pen down some of my thoughts here hmm.

The past 7 weeks haven’t been easy – I’ve been challenged in all aspects, times are hard, they haven’t been the easiest yet, and I keep falling back into the cycle of self doubt & uncertainty of capabilities. I’ve treaded through the darkest paths, and while I’m able to come out of it, all it takes is just one tiny push to relapse all over again. I get it, it’s all about learning & the curve is steep, it’s about being pushed to our limits & realising they are way further than you thought. But what if you’re pushed during the times when you’re standing at the edge? What happens then?

And yet, while being clouded with all these unhelpful thoughts (lol), placement seminar today helped clear my mind slightly:

I used to think that I am very open with my values, my beliefs & my opinions. But am I really? Getting people to be at their most vulnerable – that’s what we do, don’t we? To get them to be vulnerable enough to share their honest thoughts, and that’s where the change process kicks in. That’s where we connect with them, we intervene, that’s where we progress along the helping process. But who are we to ask for the trust of people to be vulnerable in front of us, when we can’t even be open, vulnerable & honest with ourselves? There’s just so much room for improvement.

Something that we always worry about is whether there’s a goodness of fit between us & our jobs as Social Workers. But if there doesn’t seem to be a good fit – what’s causing the discrepancies? Is this where we say, “perhaps I’m not cut out for this profession?” No. At times when we are at the lowest, when we wonder what’s our purpose in this, when we doubt we’re able to live up to the “expectations”, when there isn’t this goodness of fit, take the time to examine the situation. What are the factors that causes this misfit? Are you going to work on them, or are you just going to accept them & choose to leave the profession?

“Therapeutic use of self” – something we hear so often in our work. But while we try to increase the fit between us & our jobs, are we merely trying to match ourselves to the role/stereotype of a social worker? What exactly makes a “good” social worker? Are social workers people who seem to have this halo over their heads, able to solve everything & any problems in the world? At this rate, matching ourselves by becoming who we are not – will only lead to the eventual burnout.

& today, we were told to think of who we were, what is our core as a person – de-roled from our selves as Social Workers-to-be. What are our values, abilities, our skills, our beliefs, our life experiences? What can we bring to our profession then? The importance of knowing ourselves as individual persons has always been emphasised. But today, I think I got to find out about myself a little more. To accept my vulnerabilities, to accept my flaws, to embrace my strengths, and to know what I can give.

It’s all about management. Managing our workload, managing client’s expectations, managing agency’s expectations, managing expectations of self. And more often than not, managing the expectations of our selves has always been the hardest – we’re far too harsh & critical of ourselves. Being emotional vs. feeling emotions; feeling compassionate vs. burning out, these are all things that help shape us.

It has been overwhelming, it still is, but with hope I’ll persevere on. Saw this quote in one of the interview rooms at work, and it’s my new mantra so I’ll end my lengthy post with this:

In every heart lies the strength to pull us over the bumpiest trails.

Adiós, 2016

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2016, you’ve gifted me a year full of cherished memories, many ups & downs, and many challenges. Although you haven’t been the best yet, you’ve helped shape me to be who I am today. And for that, I’m more than thankful for the experiences you’ve given me in these 365 days.

As the clock strikes midnight later, may all the unhappiness of 2016 stay in the past, and that happiness will pursue from then on.

2017, I’m having high hopes that you’ll be a good one. It’ll be a better year ahead, please do not disappoint x

Broken

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Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

Pourquoi

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Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.

This morning, I spent an hour or so just reading through social work related articles, watching social work related videos, and just reflecting about social work/being a worker in general.

I felt happy, witnessing the efforts of this profession that I’m definitely proud to be a part of in the near future. The dedication, the sincerity that comes across as genuine concern and compassion for people.

But somehow, my heart felt heavy. And … burdened? Videos that reflected the realities of being a worker, of the things that we’ll encounter, it was all too real. Some issues depicted in the videos hit home way too hard.

And no amount of preparation could ever be enough for facing what’s to come. But I’ll try. For what it’s worth, I’ll try my hardest. I’m just hoping that my hardest will be enough.

On a lighter note, one last paper tomorrow after a long preparation time for finals whoop whoop so excited for it to end – although I haven’t exactly been the most studious haha, I really enjoy learning but I’m not one for studying.

Last day of November, and hello to December. My favourite month of the year, & I was just thinking about reasons for that randomly and came to the conclusion that December brings about a strong sense of nostalgia, and it’s a feeling that I really, really like.

This post has been nothing short of incoherence, till the next time when my thoughts are more organised haha x