Posts Tagged ‘temper’

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self-control.

September 7, 2009

The past couple of days, I have been in various situations which have prompted me to think about the values of restraint and self-control.  Most of the time they are positive: I have a spreadsheet on my computer to track my evening snacking, and in the last 6 months I have managed to reduce my evening snacking to only 29% of a month (this is more difficult and more impressive than it sounds, believe me).  Restraining from this has complemented my gym regime and I’ve lost weight and toned up as a result.  I’ve been restraining from spending too much and buying too many pretty things because it’s only now that I’ve got money coming in again, and despite enduring desperate cravings for certain items, I realised that these cravings pass and I don’t need the things I think I need as much as I do.  (I am still getting that Gucci bracelet in the next month or so, make no mistake.) After wrecking my Nintendo DS during a bout of throwing a Naomi I have been making a conscious effort not to get so annoyed at Street Fighter IV on my PS3, and just taking a breather when I get frustrated.  I have been cutting down on my cigarettes only to preserve my voice, and it seems to be helping (or at least not getting worse), and I don’t feel quite as guilty.

Today at work, I seemed to be having a good day, working for my two bosses Cass and Kerry.  I was mainly helping Kerry today with endless spreadsheets, and I’ll continue doing that tomorrow.  However, Cass popped his head around the door after lunch and asked me if I could help him move some boxes from one room back to another (where they originally were, and where I moved them from right at the beginning of my job about 6 weeks ago). I felt sorry for him when he found out they had to go back, and it turns out that when I agreed to “help” him, I would actually be doing it by myself.  Fine, I said, I would go and do it when I came to a break with Kerry’s stuff, which I did.  I was barely physically able to move one of the cages full of stock (there were 6, Cass had told me there were 5) – Cass envisioned the whole task would take an hour or so, and then I could reload the cages once I was finished.  After 2 cages, the second of which I had to get a policeman to help me with when it came to pushing it up the slope towards its destination, I was aching and drenched in sweat.  And quite pissed off!  I couldn’t do any more, Cass had gone for the day so I couldn’t explain that the cages were just too heavy for me to physically move (and I am no weakling), and there was no way it was possible for me to empty them all before the end of the day, let alone fill them up with more stock.  (I am also quite confident that Cass did not fill up the cages himself, otherwise he would not have asked me to transfer them all within one hour, because he would have realised that that was an unrealistic and fairly dangerous demand!) I felt that I might let him down in some way (though I hope he will understand, he is usually very reasonable) and I hope that he knows by now that I am the farthest thing from workshy.  It’s just not physically possible for me to do, especially not within tonight’s time constraints.  Tomorrow if I have half a day to do it, and the cages are split into (much) smaller loads, it might be possible.  We’ll see.

In addition to this considerable irritation, I was trying to call my mother at work to get a lift home on her way back, since I was staying at work later than usual; it took me over an hour to get through to her work on the phone, and even then when her colleague answered the phone, he asked me to call back again in 5 minutes (I said no, and told him that I would rather my mother called me back – I think I had been calling that shop enough for one day).  So I was quite annoyed about that, although in both cases I know that nobody was deliberately at fault, and that I should keep my rapidly rising anger in check.  Somehow, I managed to do this, and me and my mum exchanged stories about our frustrating days on the journey home.  I bought 2 dvds at Tesco (Bride Wars & Notorious) and plan to relax with some chocolate Mars drink and good pudding (tonight will be a night where I probably will snack – I plead extenuating circumstances!) watching one of them.

The final straw tonight was when I got home from work with my mother, only to have problems deleting a message from our answerphone (which hates me); apparently, it senses my finger on the delete button and refuses to work, though I have witnessed my mother deleting messages and she does nothing different from what I do.  My parents both made a comment and I exploded, prompting my father to mock my “grumpiness”.  I stormed off (I was definitely grumpy, but there was no need to point it out – what do you think you are going to achieve by highlighting my bad mood?  Certainly not make me feel better…) and sat in the small computer room on the floor, and my mum came in and said that just after I’d left, he had done the same thing to her (her day had not been great either).  I didn’t have a massive explosion of anger, but there just comes a point where you can hold things in and hold things in and be aware of not pushing your anger or frustration or emotions onto other people, but just holding your tongue and taking deep breaths and dealing with frustration calmly and rationally… and it all spills out anyway.  Some people just don’t seem to realise that they pile burden on top of burden on top of you, and I’m not superhuman – eventually, after enough pressure, I snap, just like anyone else.  Is that a fault of mine?  Should I have more self-control?  Or is it an issue where I restrain too much and let things build up? When is it right to not say anything and deal with your issues by yourself for fear of upsetting or alienating someone else, and when is the time to speak up and say “I can’t take anymore”, before you explode?  How do you know when the right time to do that is?  In short, how do you predict when enough is enough?

As I said at the start of the post, although I recognise I have a temper (which developed due to Street Fighter and also due to various trying situations at the Perfume Shop), I am fairly good at controlling it, especially around other people.  But yesterday, discussing Jill’s death with my parents, I think I was the one who put my foot in my mouth.  I was asking about what kind of cancer she had died of – a reasonable question, I thought.  My mother didn’t know.  I found it odd that Jill’s husband, despite the fact he had spoken to my mother at least 3 times in the past couple of weeks and had asked her to pass on updates of Jill’s health to mutual friends of hers and my mother’s, had neglected to mention what type of cancer she was actually suffering from.  I understand people being private, especially in times of suffering and grief, but I thought that generally, people suffer from lung cancer or breast cancer or cancer of the womb or cancer of something.  If you say “She has cancer”, the automatic question is surely “cancer of what?” I found this weird that nobody seemed to know, and that Graham had not passed on this vital piece of information to my mother, especially if my mother was then supposed to inform other people herself.  And yet, my parents were both like “you don’t ask that kind of thing!” I understand not wanting to probe into someone’s grief, but I found it strange that the question had not been asked, and even stranger that my mother hadn’t been told in the first place!  Yet after our discussion, I felt like I was somehow unfeeling or tactless, and that I had said the wrong thing (my father’s sister also died of cancer – to this day, me and my mother know very little about it).  I guess that everyone deals with death in their own way, and I understand that grief is a private and individual process that not everyone wants to share or shout about.  But I don’t understand people not asking basic questions; I later spoke to my mum about it and she said that I hadn’t upset her at all, but that as you get older, you learn more and more as you get older not to disturb others’ fragile emotional states.  I understand this already, but I just don’t know the rules about what you talk about and what you don’t talk about in times like these.  If we don’t speak up and ask questions, even about fragile or poignant situations, how do we become better informed? Is it more respectful to be silent and remain in ignorance? Is restraint really the better option in this instance?  I don’t get why people don’t talk about these things.  If we did, then maybe it would clarify, if not ease the grieving process / understanding of exactly why Jill died.  So I don’t really know at all just how much restraint or self-control is a good thing after all.

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bits and pieces.

July 29, 2009

First things first: if you happened to read my previous post, you might think that I am a teensy bit crazy.  I want to promise you that while I can be less rational at some times than at others, the only reason why I sounded so unhinged was because my father was driving me insane.  He finally went to bed at 12:30, after I drank some of his cider behind his back to hurry up the process.  He slumped away from his laptop, defeated and worn down.  I think I made my point. 😉 But please excuse my temper (not physically violent Naomi-temper, but hot-blooded Italian super-stubborn arm-waving raised voice temper), I’ll try to keep it in check for y’all 🙂

I can’t get this new song by LeToya Luckett out of my head:

It’s called “Don’t Need You”, and it’s going to be on her new album Lady Love, which I am highly anticipating.  I relate to the song because as much as I should appreciate the freedom of single life and the fun of being able to appreciate who’s hot and who’s not, and being able to flirt when I want (something which I continued to do during my brief period dating L, which was an indication that it just wasn’t right), I still feel like I want to be with somebody, and I still feel lonely.  So this song reminds me that really, we don’t need anyone but ourselves, because 90% of the time people, especially boyfriends or potential boyfriends, only let you down in the end (or quite often, at the beginning).  But the reason why I have been listening to it is because of the very first lyric:

It’s Monday morning, checked my cell phone / but nobody’s calling me.
I try to ignore it but it’s sinking in / that I’m all alone with me.

If you’ve been reading my blogs lately, you’ll have picked up on how important being able to communicate is with me.  I don’t expect a constant barrage of attention (that’s actually a big no-no, because you should have better things to do with your day 😉 ) but I do expect a little bit of consideration, and I expect any correspondence I make to be returned within a decent period of time (I think 24 hours is lenient and appropriate).  So I keep kicking myself when I find myself constantly checking my phone wondering why I seem to send people texts which don’t get returned, asking questions that get ignored and realising that the effort that I put into laying foundations for dates and maintaining friendships isn’t always reciprocated.  Why bother? Why keep trying?  Does that make me the fool?  I’m not exactly glued to my phone, but it is a mobile phone, the concept behind which is that I keep it on me so that I can contact and be contacted when I am not at home.  The mobile phone does not serve its purpose when its battery is depleted, when you cannot hear it or feel it, or when you leave it in your bag on silent for 3 days.  You might as well chuck it out of the car window and then reverse over it a few times.  What’s the point of having a cell phone if you’re not going to use it, and what’s the point of swapping numbers with me if you don’t want to talk?  That’s why the above lyrics speak to me – because obviously I’m the dumb one (and my friends are of the same philosophy, so we are all dumb together) expecting these things and checking my phone regardless.

Looking at my tag cloud, it strikes me that the 3 biggest things (at the moment) are “appreciating life”, “music” and “relationships”.  I guess I am glad that I am not a one-dimensional person, and I am able to write about lots of different facets of my life, because I suppose it means that I am not totally boring.  Today I went and had coffee with Hannah, saw a totally beautiful but too expensive Armani bag that I will not even consider buying before I have a paycheck again (or at least until my credit card ticks over to September 😉 ), got an interview for a call centre which I am going to do even though the hospital thing seems more or less certain (I take nothing for granted in the current job market!) and had some good news regarding university funding which I might well receive after all because I have XY chromosomes. But I was wondering, a couple of my friends say that my blog goes deeper than “today I did this and that” and say that I should be the male Carrie Bradshaw.  Apart from being a huge compliment, one reason why I don’t know if I am ready for that is because I don’t know if I could choose one niche to write about.  I suppose relationships is the most meaty topic, and there are plenty of music blogs that are much more devoted to the daily developments than I would be.  I wonder how you get to be a columnist?  In any case, I have noticed that (the Whitney Houston post aside!) I tend to get more views on writing about topics that are personal to me and yet relatable to everyone, like relationships and frustrations and life’s mysteries and conundrums.  I find that touching, and while I hope for my life to go smooth and to live happily ever after with a rich Brazilian model and a lucrative music and fashion career, that might never happen and it’s still a work in progress. 😉 So I hope to write more about my relationships and life’s trials and tribulations, and maybe someone will notice and want me to write a column for them.  Anything is possible!  And I am happy to do it, as long as you’re all right here with me. 🙂

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throwing naomis.

July 22, 2009

It’s interesting, but the people who know me seem to see different aspects of me.  My family tell me I should have more patience, whereas my friends say that I am a very patient person.  My family often tease me for always listening to my ipod, having my headphones in my ears and therefore never hearing half of what they say (although I hear a lot more than they give me credit for 😉 ), while most of my friends think that I am a good listener (something I pride myself upon, because it’s always important to have someone there who’s willing to hear you out and be your sounding board).  I inherit from my family the fact that it can sometimes take a lot to piss me off, but on the wrong day, I have an extremely short fuse.  My friends tend not to see that side of me, and are shocked that I have thrown things against walls and have a propensity to “throw a Naomi” (as it was yesterday christened).

The situation was at my nan’s where the mobile internet just stopped working for no apparent reason.  I grew more and more frustrated, and blamed my nan’s area (the signal is generally not great there, though it usually works) for my lack of internet.  We left the house, it came back briefly, I was vindicated (or so I thought).  We returned home, it was gone again.  Restraining my screams and stomping around in irritation, I had the irresistible urge to fling my Prada II phone which cost me nearly £400 and is utterly beautiful and does everything I want across the room in rage.  This is exactly what I did with my Nintendo DS Lite (breaking it and making me sell all the games, ultimately netting me £120.  I don’t miss it.), and as a result I realise my temper is alive and well.

When I was about 8 years old, I had Street Fighter II for the Amiga.  I got a bit obsessed with it, and I would judge myself quite harshly if I didn’t win, even though I was playing on the hardest difficulty setting.  I remember thinking of myself as a failure, and one day I was crying and crying and I just dug my nails into my cheeks and scratched my face.  I must have done this so hard that it left marks, and when my mother saw it, she went APESHIT.  She said she was going to take me to the ‘nut hospital’ (“Mummy, what’s a nut hospital?” “YOU’LL FIND OUT IF YOU DON’T CUT IT OUT!” I realised I probably didn’t want to go there.) and I had to wear foundation and concealer on my face for a day because I went round to a friend’s house either that afternoon or the following day.  The game was confiscated for a while, and I remember creeping around the house early on weekend mornings trying to find where my mother had hidden it… she kept having to switch hiding places because I would find it and then she’d wake up to me playing it.  Eventually I proved to have my temper under control and I was allowed the game back, and I generally behaved better.

So my temper is back! After breaking my DS, playing Street Fighter IV on PS3 has required me to get my moods under control (so I just swear to my friends on msn and occasionally growl / curse / shout).  And I made sure to throw my phone against something soft yesterday (the bed, the sofa) so nothing broke or was damaged.  Of course, I got home and found out that two of my friends had had similar issues with O2 mobile internet and it was nothing to do with my phone, my nan or the area.  I felt a little silly.  But I remember reading an interview with Christina Aguilera during the Stripped era and she was saying how therapeutic it is to throw champagne glasses against a wall when you’re angry.  I can only agree… there’s something about destroying something pretty / complex / delicate in a fit of rage that just does the trick and calms you down (when a cigarette won’t hit the spot).  When I have my beautiful big mansion house I will make sure there is a room with a punching bag in it, and a wall where I can throw my supply of champagne glasses when I get pissed off at the computer or technology or whatever it is.  After all, I find I never tend to break too much because you have to clear it up afterwards once you’ve calmed down! 😉

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vulnerability.

July 19, 2009

Yesterday I wrote about façades and what people see on the surface, how we portray ourselves and what that says about who we are as a product for public consumption.  Today I want to explore underneath that surface, and let you in on what the façade of fashionable confidence that I try to display is hiding.  So I guess this entry is a little more personal, but I’ll still try to keep it light and brief (as much as I can, y’all know me by now!!!).

It’s my dad’s birthday on Monday, and I have bought him just a couple of small gifts that he asked for (swimming goggles and a blues CD he saw advertised on tv), along with a juvenile pop up card “For my Daddy” that I appreciate more than he probably will.  But anyways, normally on a Monday at the moment (i.e. when I’m not working) I go to the gym before going to my nan’s for lunch.  Tomorrow however will be different: my mother has the week off work, my father has the week off work, it’s his birthday.  Not only will I not get a lift to the gym, but I’m probably going to stay home just in case we end up doing something “as a family”.  These “family outings” invariably involve my father driving us to a pub, where we have a quick drink, make awkward conversation with his friends at the pub (while I go on twitter / msn / text on my phone) and wait to go back home all while promoting our “happy family” façade.  It’s not particularly enjoyable, and it’s a bit fake because we rarely spend time together as a family, apart from at the dinner table, and only 50% of that is in conversation if none of the three of us happen to be annoyed with anyone else.  So I am unsure whether to stay home tomorrow because of my father’s birthday (which I know is what I really should do) or just do what I would normally do, i.e. go to the gym and then visit my nan.  And here is the crux of the matter, and the first example of the titular vulnerability:

I’ve always known that my father never really loved me.  He paid for me to go to a private school and he’s supported me financially on the rare occasions that I’ve had to swallow my pride and ask for money (3 times that I can remember).  But the early part of my childhood, up until maybe 16 years old, I spent quietly hating him for his absence, for the way he would boss me around and try to make me cry in order to make himself feel more powerful in the face of the close bond between me and my mother, for the pain he put my mother through, for the rows he would instigate because he would come home drunk every night, for the nights I spent in tears in my bed or on the stairs or crouched behind the door listening to them arguing and throwing things and praying it would stop (another reason why I stopped believing in God).  This is perhaps more than you want to know.

Nowadays, he has improved a lot and I am glad my parents stuck it out, but if it were anyone else in that situation, I would have told them to split up because to stay together through what my parents did took incredible strength and also perhaps a lack of sanity.  It’s hard to ever move past that, because that was my life for the first 16 years, and as much as I have tried to forgive my father and appreciate the changes he has made, something like that never leaves.  Truthfully, I think about it most days.  A couple of people tried to psychoanalyse my “daddy issues” and explain my sexuality thus, but I don’t really know if that’s connected (IMO, possibly but probably not).  But these days he acts as if I don’t exist half the time, which gives me the freedom that I cherish but also makes me feel semi-left out because as much as my mother feels hard done by because my dad is now always picking fights with her (or occasionally vice versa! nobody is completely innocent… I have inherited a little bit of a temper from them both too, I must confess), I see it from the other side because at least that’s where his attention is focused.  If he is always trying to upset one person, if he always looks for one person when he comes home, then as much as he causes that person pain, at least that person exists to him.  Sometimes I wonder if I am a ghost in my own home, only visible when the telephone rings or my dad needs me to do him a favour or he needs to pride himself on my Oxford degree.

Honestly, I don’t hate my father.  I love him and I appreciate how much he has tried to change and improve.  But I can’t forget what he put us through, and I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that if he’s not trying to compliment me nor enrage me the way he does my mother, it’s got to be because I am just less important to him.  I don’t really see any other explanation.  And I guess it does hurt to know that you are second best, that you’re not who he perhaps hoped you would be (I’m not a usual drinking buddy, which is what my mother told me was his primary excitement about having a child at 30, because when he was 48 I’d be 18 and we could go drinking together – I can count on one hand the number of times that has happened) but I am lucky that me and mother are extremely close (when we argue, it’s blazing but usually short lived, and usually because we are so similar that we know exactly what ticks each other off), me and my nan are really close, and I have some really wonderful friends.  I don’t lack for love, and I feel that I give love in return.

Talking of love, I finally met Brett (guy I’ve been chatting to who is referenced in this post) last night at a club, and we spent hours together. It was really fun, his friends were open and welcoming to me, and I had a good time. We flirted a lot, got on really well (as far as I could tell) and were quite touchy-feely.  No kisses until the very end when we said goodbye (and that was only v brief), but then it was the first time we’d met in person and it would be too much too soon.  I want to have fun and to keep things light, because the last relationship I had was far too much too fast (despite my attempts to put on the brakes) and ended in disaster (and I must admit, relief for me).  But at the same time, I can’t help but hope that it will work, because I’m tired of dusting myself off and trying again.

Life being single is certainly fun, and as I said above, I don’t lack for love and I don’t lack for friends, but there’s a little part of me which hopes for something more, and needs to prove to myself that I’m not some kind of unlovable leper.  That the longest relationship I’ve had thus far has been 5 weeks is depressing to me, at 23 years old.  I don’t think I am unlovable, and it scares me that perhaps I am not aware of how repulsive I might be to potential dates and mates… in other words, I can’t fathom what is wrong with me to not have had a more successful love life.  My sex life has been average I guess, but it’s holding someone’s interest as more than a friend that I seem to have trouble with.  Maybe it’s not my fault, but if I’m the common factor in all these cases then I’ve got to shoulder some of the blame.  So right now, I am feeling vulnerable because I am scared Brett will lose interest just like all these other guys have, that he will suddenly stop texting me (the balance of power so far is pretty equal, I believe, and I’m not keen to tip it in his favour) and not want to take things further.  The last thing I want to do is jump into a relationship again, but I want one to slowly blossom in a fun, healthy way, and I can’t help thinking that this is a chance for that to happen, and I am scared that it might slip away.  I got home at 5:30 this morning, so I am waiting until tonight to text him and say hi (he will be awake, sober and hopefully by himself and in a space to talk) and quietly hoping he will beat me to it (it has happened!).  Because at the heart of it all, I’m feeling vulnerable because I guess that I like him and I don’t want to feel a fool one more time.  These are things that Prada and Armani don’t tell you.