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.

“Oh dear…not those chilli flakes again”


In The Middle.

The above is the title I was planning on using, but the events of this weekend have forced a change. As is so often the case with me, there so many trains of thought all of which enter that cerebral station…and so it would appear that the more obscure the title is, the more fitting. Not in the least to say the the intended was not obscure, but certainly not as obscure as what it is now.

So, enough of the waffle (although I do love waffling…and procrastinating, one would say that they both go hand in hand, I would agree), March is over and April has begun, which means my deadline is ever near. And strangely enough, despite realising that the mountain of work I have yet to get through is ever growing, I seem somewhat unfazed. Perhaps through naivety? Or perhaps the dawning realisation that my shackles will soon come loose have shed perspective on what really matters? I suppose I can only answer that when I am well and truly free.

Now it may seem as though, the sentiment I have expressed would have me rushing towards a secure job with no sight of the tedious and uncertain world of research; on the contrary, it’s quite the opposite. I’m well prepared and more than ready to take the plunge into unknown waters. With the hope that the hopelessness I’ve experienced will equip me with the best of buoys to keep me afloat. Yes, that’s right, I’ve applied for a research position AND also finally communicated with Rainbow (one-sidedly of course). It’s an entirely different matter as to whether or not there is gold to be found beyond the rainbow. If there isn’t, well it certainly isn’t for a lack of trying.

I’ve actually been procrastinating with this post a lot more than I would have thought…a lot more activation energy required…it has been far too easy to simply lie on my floor and mindlessly stare at the ceiling. Something which is often associated with the pursuit of a doctoral programme. In fact, the past few weeks have been very contrasting, going from very productive to not; not due to a lack of mental capacity, but due to a lack of physical capacity. Sometimes it all just adds up and hits you when you least expect it. In fact, it hits you more often than not. I think I’ve recovered, but either way I have no more time to lose. I need to finish everything I’ve got lined up by the end of the month, not just because I’m starting back at my summer job (I love it there!), but because there is going to be a massive upheaval of equipment and much of what I need will disappear in a matter of days!

So, as it’s always said…certainly in my own head…get a move on Nazra!

Toodles!

 

PS. Titular reference is what Nazra ends up screaming when she clearly pushes a limit, darn you hot sauce! And also, I’ve been seriously binge-watching The Middle…not much else you can do when you have a cold 🙂 And the more I watch, the more I relate.

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.

Let’s be Zen.


Sometimes it’s harder said than done, and sometimes it’s the easiest thing imaginable; to constantly be there for someone, who has no regard and no appreciation of you. It’s difficult, I won’t lie. It’s almost as though you are choosing who to be, the person who is a doormat, or the person who is giving and kind. The latter is certainly more flattering and often rewarding when recognised, but that’s hardly ever the case, is it? Well, anyway, despite feeling a little like a doormat, I’m choosing not to be disheartened. In fact, I’m choosing to adopt a ‘zen-like’ approach…to some things (wouldn’t be me, if I were zen in everything!), notably my PhD (my most stressful burden).

Although, I have to admit…perhaps I’m being too zen? I have a lot pending, and yet I seemed relatively unfazed, as though I have all the time in the world…not true, I really don’t. But then, why should I ruin this ‘calmish’ state of mind with anxiety? It’s not often, one studying a PhD can say that they aren’t very stressed, certainly not something you’d hear from a finalist.

So, what I’ll do is take this all in my stride. I won’t let anyone else take me for granted, I’m a valuable resource, but mistreat it and it’ll go…and that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Fend for yourselves, you dirty Feet (because I’m a doormat…get it?)! Nazra is no longer a doormat, I’m going to be a tapestry, pick me up and put me on a wall! Oh yeah! Also…I need to get stuck into doing research, and this time, instead of freaking out about why I’m not freaking out, I’m going to work with the ‘zen-like’ attitude and calmly and rationally approach everything with an open and clear mind. If something isn’t working, I’ll simply move on to the next thing. Baddabing baddaboom. Job done.

 

NQ out.

Shwing.


Right, let’s get back into it, shall we? Into the shwing of things (see what I did there?…yes, I know it’s not very funny, not when you say it with that face…frown).

It would appear as though the dysfunctional weather, together with ample unwanted mingling with students, has resulted in a spread of a bug. Yes, that’s right, it’s that time of year again…time to be mucusy. Mucus, migraines and mantle pieces (that’s the first most random thing to enter my mind to fill the ‘m’ void). Hmm, perhaps that should’ve been the title? Nah. Not changing it.

So, let me stop being so very vague (despite the fact that I very much enjoy it); it’s now the aftermath following the whirlwind storm of undergraduate projects, and it appears as though nothing was left unrooted. Pretty much everything that could’ve been broken was…well…broken(!) And the last 48 hours have been spent trying to normalise things as much as possible and just get things back to normal, into the ‘shwing’ of things (yep, the title is very much apt). My personal countdown hasn’t halted, I only have around 3 months to complete all of my lab work and with no running RO water (that’s right…the students actually managed to break off the tap…don’t ask how), therefore no running washer or filtered water system…it becomes increasingly difficult to prioritise lab work without any water. But we’ve found a route around it…certainly not the most compliant with our risk assessments, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And you know, it wouldn’t all be so bad, if the experiments ran perfectly smoothly and every supervisor was perfectly on board with us. Certainly never the case with us. And in actual fact, even that can be managed with a healthy immune system…but again, one is not so fortunate.

So, where am I, then? I am mid way through that chapter I finally got feedback for (although…does feedback for only 15/90 pages, actually count?), still yet to complete the repeats I should’ve really finished by now, and have barely collected data from the new techniques I’ve started. All of this in 3 months? Certainly possible…with a functioning lab, immune system and supervisory team. The operative word: functional.

 

NQ out.

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!