I need a paper towel and a Valium.


Nos somos humanos, e nos não somos perfeitos. Mas, tentamos.

Isn’t it a relief to have your car insurance sorted? It feels like a bit of a load off…though sadly not a huge amount. I was supposed to have finished everything by now…but here we are, almost mid-July and I am yet to complete my PhD lab work. It’s not entirely my fault or ineptitude either, something I’ve ordered and subsequently re-ordered over a period of 5 months has yet to arrive. Bio-Rad. Why the incompetence? My PCR studies should’ve all been completed by now, but I’m still waiting to hear from you, it’s unacceptable!!! I’m now hoping that the one contact I have at the company can speed through their incredibly useless processing and get me what I need ASAP. Apart from that…everything else seems to be dependent very much on luck. I seemed to be unable to yield any results from something which worked at a 100% success rate…and now that (with a great deal of help) I’ve got it up and running again, I’ve now run out of antibodies…so despite spending 10 hrs in the lab yesterday…I’ve nothing to show for it.

On a slightly better note…my DoS has just sent back corrections for me to do with my chapter…and although that’s a good thing, having a flick through, I don’t feel so great about it. There are a lot of tedious things that need changing and some data which is apparently not needed. But of course…I spent weeks if not months collecting the data and then of course the painful analysis, so it feels a bit painful to remove. I feel quite deflated to be perfectly honest, the sort of feeling where you’re trying to pump air into a balloon with a hole in it. Absolutely futile. I won’t lie. I’m exasperated. I want to finish everything and move on with my life. This PhD has been draining and not because it’s too difficult, but because this environment is corrosive. This is where hopes and dreams come to die, Little One.

But let’s end on a slightly positive note…I tried baking peanut butter and M&M cookies on Sunday. The verdict was positive, though being self-critical (as always) they weren’t what I had wanted. Recipe was from Tanya Burr, although she also adds pretzels and I didn’t have nearly enough M&Ms (little brother ate them!). Enjoy! I’m going to try and find as many things to bake as possible…my only real form of stress relief!

Cookies!

 

PS. Titular reference is Lorelai’s reaction to Emily wanting to date.

Why must you do this to me?


“It’s a matter of patience, perseverance and endurance.”

That’s what I’ve been telling myself these last few weeks. I feel as though I’ve been notably “absent” in every way possible…posting, writing, research and especially with my family and friends. I suppose the stresses I’ve been experiencing haven’t been very kind to the gentler side of me, and instead aggravate and demotivate me. I feel as if I have a million things to do, and no time for it, and as I try to remember one thing, I forget another.

It’s not unusual that everyday has started to merge into one very exhausting day on loop…it’s difficult to tell when one day starts and another day ends. I’ve been trying to balance my research priorities with working…but it’s not a very 50:50 arrangement right now. I suppose it’s because I feel like my attention can’t be divided very well right now, perhaps because I feel a little weakened? The damage usually comes from the source you least expect, and when you’re repeatedly suffering blows, it’s very difficult to find yourself being “everywhere”. Hence the absence. I know that things needs to change, but a lot of things aren’t in my control, and that means that I have to suffer at this cost. I’m struggling to make sense of my days, the only thing I have which is remotely soothing…is my time to reflect. Any form of prayer…I’ve always found that the busier I get, the more I find time to pray. I suppose with being busy, I can filter out all the unnecessary chaos and allocate due time to just reflect and gather myself…before I’m destroyed again. Perhaps this is a way to become stronger? As it’s said…what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (much like antimicrobial resistance).

I must say, that despite how very strange I feel right now, how very chaotic and hectic things seem, I don’t feel anxious. And that’s saying something…anxiety for me, is much like a shadow, it’s always there, but it’s magnitude is dependent on light. Perhaps, I need the anxiety? Or perhaps I’m so desensitised right now, that I’m unable to place emotion where it is due? I suppose the take home message is that…there’s a lot going on in my life and I need a moment to just be able to filter through what needs attention and what doesn’t. I know that my PhD certainly needs attention, and that I can’t possibly afford to lack in this area, because I’m so close to the finish line. But I also need to realise that being close, isn’t the same as crossing the finish line, and I can’t afford to be complacent. I need to maintain the acceleration and I need to channel the excess energy into finding a permanent job at the end of all of this.

That being said, I can’t quite focus on much more, the Glorious month is on the horizon, and I know that my inner peace will find it’s nexus soon. I’m working towards building that up, and ensuring that I can find the strength in me, to do what is right for myself and my family. That’s my priority…everything else will either need to change or wait for me.

 

NQ out.

Little Black Cloud


It’s rare that I feel like this, annoyed and distant. In fact, it’s almost the complete opposite to how I usually am, I’m involved, engaged and proactive, but not as of now. It’s like everything around me just frustrates me and is getting an exaggerated response as a result, I know that a lot of it probably doesn’t deserve the angst that I’m expelling…but I physically feel so angry and annoyed all the time. Perhaps I’m projecting the emotions of something else onto something else? Or perhaps I’m just so emotionally sensitive right now, that anything and everything will set me off…even a lab coat with pink patches! (So very, very annoyed)

This little black cloud I have suspended above my head is certainly not doing anyone any good, especially not me. Everyone else may see themselves as the recipients to my hotheadedness, but no one will see that it’s eating me up on the inside. I’m not quite sure as to what has triggered this state of mind, but all I know is that I walked into lab on a Monday morning (having overslept) and that was it…I was VERY annoyed. I suppose it must have been perpetuated from the fact that my usually bubbly self was gone unmissed, it was as if I was not present…that felt more a rejection of myself than anything else, certainly did not feel as though people just wanted to give me space (although a rational version of myself would certainly justify responsive quietness as people just letting me work out my angst). And it’s just escalated from there really, I’ve felt irritated and neglected and almost as if everyone around me is conspiratorial, even if they really aren’t.

The “odd” thing, is that I know the rationality of everything, and I can understand what is beyond the red mist, but for some reason, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. It’s almost as if the rational and logical part of me has given up, taken a holiday and told another more emotionally charged version of myself to come and take the reins. I don’t appreciate this version, it’s far too irrational for me, and I can observe myself almost as a third person so to speak (if that even makes any sense). It’s almost as if I can step in and out of myself…and I can see myself from the outside as well be this version of myself from the inside.

I can’t help but think that this is the storm I have been anticipating. I knew everything was far too calm for it to be alright. I need a version of my maternal self to come and give me a hug…and shake away the negativity and distrust I have acquired all of a sudden. I don’t like how I feel. It’s as if I’m not myself, but a distorted version of myself…an alternate reality version almost. I hope I can get back to my usual happy-go-lucky self. It’s far more energising and less draining. This entire working week…I’ve been so exhausted from being so quiet and angry that I’ve gotten home from the lab and fallen asleep almost immediately. And then being home for the weekend hasn’t been great either…I constantly feel misunderstood and undermined, and I’ll admit, I’m certainly not behaving rationally…but it’s as if the entire world around me can see something is wrong with me, yet no one is willing to help me. I’m drowning in my own confusion.

Let’s hope those pink stains get out of my lab coat…it might help…just might.

How to keep going forward, when your path is going backwards.


Smile. Sorri. Mus’kurahat.

One very simple word, achieved through the art of muscle contraction and relaxation. Yet, a powerful and important tool in one’s arsenal. You may ask…how on earth can that make something go right? The answer is not as simple as the motion itself, think of the butterfly effect…a single movement results in an astronomical effect elsewhere. With that principle in mind, think of something which is deterring you, a hindrance, a thorn in your path, now think of one smile, a genuine one, it makes you smile as you think of it. And it’s as if the mere muscular motion is required to make negativity worth nothing, it’s as if the obstacles in your path can simply be blown away like a kite on a windy day. But the perk of smiling isn’t restricted to how it makes you feel,  smiling is contagious, smile at a stranger (not in weird creepy way) or anyone, and that smile will immediately result in a positive thought. That positive thought has a cascading effect, resulting in more positive thoughts, which results in more smiles. So, one smile can result in many people benefitting, many positive actions being taken…and all because of what, because one person chose to smile.

So when it seems as though despite everything, you can’t seem to do anything right, be brave and smile, it’ll be alright. If you had a terrible day in the lab, and none of your experiments yielded anything, just smile because tomorrow is another day and you’ll put in just as much effort and scientific expertise. And you will keep on trying and even if that means failing more than once, you will brush yourself off and carry on moving forward, because that’s the power of a smile.

Smile. Because it’s charity. Smile. Because the most perfect of examples, showed how to do it best. Smile. Because it shows that no matter what, humanity is strong. Smile. Because we all need it.

 

NQ out.

No one is stupid enough…


…no one is stupid enough to have a milkshake when they can’t tolerate milk. No one is stupid enough to get involved in trying to resolve conflict when they haven’t been asked to. No one, but me. Ah yes, the ever so silly trait I have…the trait which gets me emotionally invested in absolutely everything, and that inability to say the word ‘no’. Not to mention, the pathological condition of being unable to take professional rejection as anything but personal. There are a lot of things wrong with ye olde Nazra. Including lacking the impetus to send that oh-so important email to the ‘Rainbow’. It’s not that the email isn’t of significance, in fact it’s very much the opposite. And like many things we all put off in our lives, it’s the ones that are the most important and therefore the most frightening that we like to procrastinate on the most…but I really wanna be a ‘Cloud’! *pouty face* I suppose I should just ‘Science’ up and do it. Maybe later.

I appear to keep putting off this post and perhaps that’s simply a reflection of my current state of mind…the ‘hide under the covers’ sort of attitude, or maybe I’m just avoiding something bigger…either way, I seem to lack impetus and drive. And even when I try to be productive…like today, it seems as though I’m not destined to be successful in my ventures and instead I end up losing what I started with. But it’s alright, I’ll keep on moving forward in that not-so-productive manner which has often left me surprised, where my questions are always answered from the most unlikeliest sources…because I suppose no one but me can be stupid enough, but if that’s the case, I’ll gladly be the one to take on all of those hurdles if it means I can still get that moment of clarity which often leaves me on cloud nine. To me, there is certainly Someone helping me. Deal.

I. Am. Lorelai. *gasp*


 

Sometimes it’s just far too easy for reality to not feel real. To the extent where the only certainty is the very fact that everything around me doesn’t seem real. Losing a grasp on reality is the sign of an over-worked mind. A mind which much like the rest of your body requires rest, but it’s not as easy as resting your body. Sleep is wonderful and plentiful when it does what is needed of it…otherwise it is simply falling prey to your subconscious mind, unable to disengage and instead feeling as though you have been chased all throughout the night.

It’s the stress, the anxiety and the uncertainty of your daily decisions that morph into those angry bird which wreak havoc in dreamland. The way to escape, you ask?  Escape, is not a physical thing in this case, it’s a matter of releasing your burdens slowly, of knowing what deserves some of the stress and anxiety, and what is futile. It’s not always easy to distinguish which is which, sometimes it’s far too complex, and it’s at these stages that you actually ask yourself…what can put on the back burner? What can wait a few weeks for me to deal with…rather than have an avalanche of worries and doubts.

So if it were not all too obvious, let me explain. I’ve been incredibly stressed the last few weeks and all of a sudden it simply became so overwhelming that I ended up having a panic attack. I should’ve seen it coming, I’ve been describing everything as though it doesn’t exist…as though I’m not sure as to whether what is happening is reality…or not. But I know why it happened, and I know what I can put on the back burner for now. I don’t need to deal with all my stresses in one go, I can wait a bit and I can break things down and work through them gently. I agree that I need to take things slower, that this quest to finish in the time I’ve allotted myself may be a bit of a stretch. But I can hope. That’s something I won’t let go of. I have faith in myself and the people I love and my Faith itself. My faith has always been the light amongst the darkness and even now, when I feel afraid and overwhelmed…it is the enveloping blanket to protect me. The Protector protects.

 

PS. Titular reference: It’s something I’ve always known…but when the events in my life played out like an episode of the Gilmore Girls…I can’t help but gasp!

A gassy deposition


I figured I’d squeeze in a final word before the end of the year. An ominous thought almost, that an entire year has passed and yet I struggle to recall it…as if I were to have fallen asleep in a lecture and suddenly have been presented with a test on the everything I’d slept over. In one sense, that’s exactly how I feel, like I’ve slept through the year, unable to distinguish January from December; but on the other hand, I feel as though this year has been agonisingly long, where I feel as though my journey has been stretched and then shrunk back…antagonising my forever confused brain.

Taking a break now from catching up with the book I had started in April, just makes me realise how quickly everything has become a cloudy blur. Now that probably sounds odd, a blur is already cloudy…but I don’t mean a blur of clouded objects…I mean cloud coloured, murky, dull and often depressing. It’s been an odd year on an international scale, a lot has happened over the past 12 months and dare I say, a lot more is left to happen. In the name of what we’ve called ‘taking a stand’ a lot of stupid decisions have been made by people motivated by nothing more than scare tactics and tempered fears. Played on emotional insecurities and disillusioned that the state we are in can be changed by the political ideologies of those who run our respective countries. Leaving a continental union, building a wall, destroying currency.

But I’m not going to talk about those things, they affect us all and I’m pretty certain that several other voices can do a lot more justice than I can. I simply want to talk about the journey that I’ve made this year, from the little steps to the bigger leaps (although not that much bigger, since as a short person my stride is tiny!). I’ve transitioned into the ‘final’ year of my PhD, and it’s been a rocky ride, emotionally and physically unsettling and that hasn’t quite stopped. Whilst the torrents may have eased, the stormy waters haven’t passed and the fear that the worst is yet to come…still hangs in the air. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt this year especially, is that I’m not alone in this, even if sometimes I’ve felt more alienated than accepted, I know I’m not alone, and the stormy waters aren’t isolated. We all want to leave the waters, move forward and venture into a new territory…where even the worst may seem like clear skies. I feel more optimistic, and that may just be because I’m generally an optimist when my realist abilities have fallen asleep, but I’m hopeful that I can do this. I CAN do this. I can finish. And that’s the only motivation I need, just four words.

It’s scarier to think of what next, but again, I’m not alone. And suddenly, realising that you aren’t alone makes even the darkest alley less frightening. There are so many things that need to be aligned this coming year, my thesis, a job, a house…and something to go along with it. Lots to do and somehow I’m not as afraid as I might once have been. I’m not scared or put off by making those decisions, I’m not confined to my comfort zone. And that’s probably because a lot of firsts happened this year too. I went abroad alone for the first time in my life, had a downpour which became endless sunshine. Dublin, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, London. And nothing can compare with Makkah and Madinah. Every journey builds you, shapes you. Every obstacle exposes one more fact about you. Every struggle increases a strength.

I feel equipped to tackle the year to come…a year of fruits, well laboured for (iA).

 

PS. Titular reference: a lot of political decisions made from the rear…don’t you think?