English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Why?

"Why can't you just be like your brother?"


Like a stinging slap to the face, the words hit me with a force so sudden and sharp. 

He looks at me with accusing eyes. I lowered my gaze to my hands, resting so peacefully, on the smooth, cool surface of the marble topped table, oblivious to the tension mounting in the room. I dare not speak, for fear of words that would never make sense. In fact it never really made sense to me.

Why couldn't I be like my brother? Successful, rich, respected. I had the same credentials as he, maybe even better! Not only did I slave through 3 years studying towards achieving an a bachelor's degree in Accounting, I was nuts enough to sit through several professional exams and spend another year doing a masters in the subject.

I should be rolling in dough by now. Living the dream, perhaps in the proverbial ivory tower with all the great comforts of the world. Riding high in top level management.

But I'm not. 

I have always maintained that I hated every single accounting job that I've ever held, because I didn't have the passion or the heart. It was something I firmly believed for a long time, the best "excuse" that fit into why I wasn't doing the best that I could be doing.

Not that I was really looking for an excuse. I wanted to understand what was happening to me. Why I couldn't do what so many people were doing - finding joy in the work. After all, wasn't this the very area of specialty that I had pursued with so much vigor just a few years back? 

I mean, a Masters? Who goes and does things like that for fun, like seriously. A potential employer poked fun at that during an interview.

A lot of days, I just feel like one big.... no, colossal failure.  That I couldn't carry through a secure job so that I could live comfortably. For me and my child, who needed me to be financially secure. I was ashamed, and bowed my head when people talk of their successes so far out of reach for me. I felt like I was stupid, regardless of the grades I received. 

I pondered about it, when it finally hit me one fine day, while I was rereading some of my blog posts from the past. 

A recurring pattern - I had often put a lot of blame on myself for never sticking to things long enough to see my efforts bear any fruit. But now, reading the heart and soul of someone I can now view as "someone else", I can see what happened.

I left my first job, because I wanted to get away and live the life that I always wanted. Ok fine, the official excuse was that I went back to study, but... I wanted to live the life of someone else. Someone I wasn't allowed to be.

Second job, I left because I wanted to disappear into the abyss. Again to break free from the chains that held me, so I could run wild and free, where a certain someone could never find me again.

Those two jobs formed the basis of the career path that I was supposed to be on. I realised now that I focused so much on what I was doing wrong at work, without thinking about those other times I wasn't at work. What was I doing?

For the most part, I was dealing with a lot of pressure from expectations as a wife and mother, even more so in an abusive relationship. I used to wake up in mornings, feeling trapped and hopeless. This is not something you can shake off during work hours. It didn't matter that he wasn't actually physically present. It mattered that he could affect my thoughts and my feelings through the people around me.

I didn't realise it then, but it was a huge challenge to be focused on a career when someone hated you so much for even having one. It was a challenge to be happy at work, when your mind could hardly focus on the required tasks, when constant worries take up much of your head space.

And to think of it, I even gave up a big break - an offer to work with a big 4 firm in cosmopolitan KL, because the threat that I might be harmed while I was there was too real.

I look at the big mess that is my CV today. People can ask me what is it that I really want, or question the reasons behind why I left this and that and so on. I couldn't always say.

People may never understand, looking at my life in a purely superficial sense. I could have had it all, but life chose that I am not to.


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