In between two worlds...
The blog has been quiet for sometime.
I am always here, yet no new posts coming up.
I was joking around to Arda telling him that I am doing some deep infrastructure maintenance; making things prettier - connecting my pages, adding different sections etc.
It did help to create some really cohesive content reflecting my developing self.
Yet, I still missed creating/birthing pieces that took so much, thought, effort and putting words to my "wounds" at times, which felt so cathartic, therapeutic and healing in the end.
I thought I could break the silence, this hiatus, with an introductory post with what has been on my mind lately.
While I am still thinking, contemplating and maturing some unique & quite detailed stories in my head (When Family Hurts is one of them), there has been so much going on in my life, in our life as a family which I would like to share here.
I am about to start my Master's program.
We are moving our home to Toronto.
Elly has started daycare again.
We got both of our Covid vaccines and Ontario has been opening up. Finally.
A lot of change. At once.
(If you think moving to Canada, leaving my job and applying to school during a global pandemic was not eventful enough, I always have more drama for you!)
Can you relate to the fact that when there is so much going on -around you and in you-
that you literally want to stop in the middle of this craze and sink down to "your inner sea"
I shuffle back and forth between my inner sea and automatic pilot (don't-think-much-about-it - just-do-it!) these days.
I slow down and speed up over and over again, while I really wait and hope for more predictable and slower times coming up in our lives as a family...
My thoughts these days:
- My driving experience in North America, comparing New York and Ontario
I got my driver's license in New York two years ago and swapped it for a G2 here in Ontario. I have been driving here for a while now and I realized how different the traffic culture is between NY City and Mississauga; the excessive use of horns, huge intersections with so much going on and the hostile behavior towards female drivers (especially where we live in Mississauga)
I feel very proud of myself that I learned to drive and am a good driver. It gives me so much independence and autonomy. And at times when I feel intimidated and reprimanded by some aggressive and mean-spirited driver, I remind myself that I am a careful, safe driver and should not self-doubt my driving skills due to one strange person.
- Integrating a fitness routine to my life, again
Before Elly, we used to go to gym 3-5 times a week with Arda and I discovered that it is literally the fountain of youth. I found strength - both mentally and physically- by exercising and being able to push my body to limits. It made me realize how powerful and resilient my body is and that I can create a healthy body with some serious effort and discipline.
It was one my biggest losses after getting pregnant when I realized we won't be able to going back to gym with Arda again ( it was our thing ) and losing the fitness level that I was at.
After two years, I decided to get back on my fitness regime seriously again and gave myself the permission to be a "strong" mother.
Yes, mothers can be physically fit & strong. It is actually fierce self-care and good for whole family - when a mother starts to invest time and effort to their well-being.
Going forward, fitness and routine resistance exercise would be one of the integral parts of my "second life".
-Reading, reading, reading and immersing myself with ideas
I have finished Mindsight from Daniel Siegel and it has been one of the most profound books I've read lately. He is a pioneer in the field of interpersonal neurobiology and explains the biology of change and transformation through detailed brain structures, neural circuits, integration has been a game changer for me. (My scientist part LOVES him!)
Siegel does an amazing job explaining different integration stories from his real patients and how he was able to use this knowledge in psychotherapy.
I felt like this could have been the connection that could bridge my past (the scientist) to my future (the social worker) as I am going forward. I will be definitely looking more to interpersonal neurobiology as a cultivate my unique social work practice.
( Another detailed post will be coming up about the Social Work Practice book and the key take away concepts/messages from different chapters. More about Aware below. )
- Classes being online on Fall semester
It has been announced by FIFSW that the Fall Semester will be online.
When I got this news, we were already set to move to Toronto ( an apartment super close to subway...) and made the contract. So, it is a bummer.
I was surprised and bit disappointed initially. With all the good news coming up from Ontario, lowest case numbers since last year, vaccinations ramping up, it was a confusing news yet I was able to understand the rationale behind it after the community meeting that explained the thought process behind this decision.
I considered the option of deferral, thinking perhaps after a year, classes might be back to in-person. After giving some thought, I decided that at this moment of time, I am fully committed to do this, already quit my job, left my career behind and ready to dive in fully.
I am aware that having on-line classes might create a different experience for our cohort, yet I don't think it will impact my abilities or competency negatively as a social worker in the future.
I am staying open-minded and optimistic about what is awaiting for me.
The lesson that pandemic thought all of us: We can not control what is happening around us ( the pandemic, the governmental decisions, the way school or faculty responds and takes action... and a lot more ) yet we can always choose how we will react and respond to a situation.
(This reminded me Viktor Frankl's key message in his great book, Man's Search for Meaning: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”)
I am excited about starting this program and I believe I will have a great experience, no matter what the instruction method is at the moment.
-Diversity training at FIFSW
The first training of my social work master's program gave me the opportunity to learn more about diversity, identity, intersectionality, racial discrimination and harassment concepts.
I think this was a great introductory training to be aware of systemic issues such as racism, ageism, ableism, ageism and reflect on our own biases and help to de-construct these oppressive systems as a social worker that enable variety of discriminative behaviors and practices.
I enjoyed connecting with my peers in a small group, doing some reflective analysis and discussing, learning new ideas with larger group. This training really gave me this butterflies-in-my-stomach kind of excitement about how my classes would be in fall!
-Our Toronto move process
Second move in a year... It is definitely something stressful yet I am very excited about this one! We are moving form Mississauga to Toronto, to get closer to UofT downtown campus.
If you have read my previous piece where I wrote about how we found our first place here in Ontario - a nightmare to remember, you would know how hard this first move process was.
Our new apartment is in Etobicoke, super close to subway yet in a secluded area. There is a playground couple steps away and the best thing: There is tree in front of our window! I know it sounds super silly, yet I believe in the energy of a place and this place has a very sweet, positive energy. ( The tree really helps with that :)
I am super excited about this move and hoping that it will be easier than the US-Canada one!
-Getting very serious about my self-care inventory
I am literally creating an inventory list for my self-care activities as well as things that I should stay away at difficult times. I feel like having this list makes me feel in control, especially at times when things get out of control around me or in me (hormonally) I will be building this ever-growing list and practicing them, beneficial for both my personal life & professional life as a social worker.
Some of my self-care go-to's : reading a good book, taking a walk, smelling lavender, writing a journal entry, tend to my plants or creating something at Canva.
You can find some of my positive affirmations that I lean on occasionally, here.
- Me, Elly and my mother : The intergenerational bridges, identity and the motherhood
Ah motherhood, is there a moment where I am not thinking, breathing and living you? Of course not.
Lately, Elly has been going through the famous terrific two stage and it is triggering me to think more, and reflect more about my parenting skills, my motherhood identity, my identity as a daughter, an adult child and my relationship with my mother.
It is a very deep and intense conversation that has been going on between me, myself and I, which I hope to detail in a future post.
So far my thoughts revolve around;
- Understanding my own mother, as a working mother who wanted to do it all, failed at times and did her best,
Even though she is not fully able to grasp the effects of her past behavior effected and shaped her daughter, as a person and lasting effects on our bond, she is trying to understand and tune into my life more lately.
I stopped waiting for an apology or understanding from her and expressed my immediate need form her to be more cognizant of her behavior and hope that she can tune into my life, rather than expecting me to tell her more *when she was not really listening * I asked her to listen more. I think it worked to a certain extend and we are on a good mood lately.
Understanding and forgiving her, not condoning the wrongs, give me a peaceful and calm perspective and I feel like it has been significantly effecting my bridge with my mother.
I am currently working on being more compassionate to myself as as new mother, forgiving my mistakes and accepting myself with my best efforts - as I gain deeper understanding to my mother's psyche and the factors that contributed to her behavior.
- Differentiating myself from my mother and how I would like to mother Elly;
Being very cognizant about my own traumatic reenactments, internalized values and behaviors about how and what a mother should be doing and challenging them actively. Realizing that I am not my mother, see our differences and give myself permission to be the mother I would like to be, how I choose to be, for Eleanor.
- My relationship with motherhood and grieving the loss of my previous life,
Still working on this, as this is one of the toughest integrations of my life so far. There are days that I miss my freedom, my old self, my old fill-in-the-blank before Elly - yet I am able to move on to the other side, which is full of gratitude and joy quicker than before.
As usual, grief is an iterative, circular process. It comes and goes and and I am in the process.
My ideas these days:
- The art of building bridges
-Creating connections, making repairs, holding space and believing in change: balancing the positive reinforcement of good behaviors, appreciating and accepting what other part is genuinely offering
-Expecting realistically ("Don't look for milk at the hardware store", know what people are realistically capable of, so you don't set yourself for disappointment - note to myself)
-Maintaining boundaries, sometimes against our own will (ending a good conversation because the limit of that conversation should be 15min nevertheless)
-Pushing back when boundaries are violated, staying firm yet kind, reminding the boundary, stating that it is there for everyone's good.
- How I want to be seen by other people and want to tell more to the world and on the other hand how fast I feel VERY vulnerable, exposed and stay back, small and invisible at the same time, how this ambivalence effects my presence in my personal life.
- Talking - feeling like I said too much
- Listening - feeling like I never get a chance to talk
I guess the art of relationships lie in balancing talking, listening, showing up and creating a mutual space in a relationship.
-Being invisible is strangely comfortable yet I am not comfortable with being invisible any more. Getting increasingly vulnerable and testing my limits. Scary yet exciting.
Reading some Brene Brown here and there, going back to The Gifts of Imperfection and reflecting on my wholehearted living skills.
-If I keep being nice, and not showing my real self to world, can I really complain when I attract the wrong kind of people or energy to my life?
What is the risk here?
Risk is that people will not know the real me cause I am not showing up and being authentic to myself, consistently. Which ends of projecting an image, not my true values and creating resentment in the end which usually explodes and ends some of my connections.
What if I stop being nice and start being real & kind, telling what I really mean or need, and share my real self with the world, increasingly. What if some people won't run away - and those people would be my people. And those who freak out or get uncomfortable, what if I let them go, peacefully.
What if this is what I need to do - keep sharing fearlessly- even though it feels like an open-heart surgery at worst and very uncomfortable at least...
- Loneliness comes from feelings of invisibility and being misunderstood yet seeing/feeling that we are all connected at a higher level and nothing happens by "chance" gives me belief in a higher power.
Something that I want to get better at progressively:
After completing Mindsight by Daniel Siegel, I got very convinced that the beneficial effects of mindfulness are undeniable and I would like to seriously commit learning this skills, to use in my professional and personal life.
My next read from Daniel Siegel is Aware and in this book he is detailing on the practice of mindfulness, the wheel of awareness and how to use this framework to train our mind to be more present.
I am glad this interesting piece came together and I am able to move on from this hiatus.
July 15, 2021