Know your limitations

Two weeks ago I handed in my notice………. ( I work at a bank – in Nigeria)
It’s taken me a while for me to get to this point but it’s something I had to do.  For most of us we usually have the following reasons why we move on from our jobs 
•    Lack of motivation or direction
•    Frustration
•    Career progression
•    That most sacred increase in pay
•    or simply put you just can’t stand your boss
I won’t lie and say that these weren’t some of the reasons why I decided to move on but the reason that tipped the scales was the conversation I had with my GP over the summer.  As I have mentioned in a previous post Finding that Balance, I had been struggling with the work, life, and Grinch balance.  That was over a year ago, and while I had successfully manoeuvred work, the Grinch was kicking my arse and fucking with my brain.  
Back to my sit-down with my GP.  I hadn’t met her before…… we’d moved house so we had changed our GP practice.  So it was an introductory conversation, so she looked at my blood work, asked her questions and looked at me dead in the eye and said
“Given your type of Sickle cell, you should not be having these many crisis”
“Really? Well I know I’ve been working hard lately and I’ve been able to figure out how to bounce back……..”
“Its not about bounce back, you shouldn’t be having this many episodes at all.  You may not feel the effects of it now but every time you have a crisis it affects your bone and internal organs……. many of which you might not see the effects till you are much older.  Maybe you should make some life changes?”
She did give me the a whole load of medical mumbo jumbo but at that point I had stopped listening.  I had started my own conversation inside my head…….
It’s hard when you know you are at disadvantage amongst your peers.  Given my experience one of two things usually to happens.
1.    You overcompensate. 
2.    You simply give up and use your disadvantage as the perfect excuse.
“As a woman working in a male dominated field, you need to make sure you are on top of your game to remain relevant” 
“We are sending you abroad to school, and we’re working really hard to pay your school fees – remember you are African and that you can not fail!!”
“Yes you fall ill from time to time, but you can’t use that as an excuse – your mates will leave you behind”  
 
These are typical scenarios where people feel the need to compensate.  The fear of failure is usually the driving force for why we push against the odds.  For me the fear of failure is raw and real this applies to both work and relationships – we’ll keep that for another post. 
Now before going into my appointment, I knew that work was the main reason for my more frequent crisis but like I had said before I had figured out a really good system for bouncing back.  I knew it wasn’t a solution to the problem but I was duking it out at work with the best of them and only a precious few at work knew what I was putting myself through to keep my head above water.  “Survival of the fittest…… never let them see you weak”  
Here is the kicker – I wasn’t happy.  Over the years I have become an expert when it comes to burying my feelings, always approachable, laughing and smiling.  The reality is this…… if you are breaking your back to sustain one aspect of your life, the other parts will suffer.  I was tired all the time, partly because of the mental exhaustion of me constantly pushing and partly because I was on pain medication…… constantly.  Inevitably anyone who made demands of me at work got a whole load of resentment their way – not always communicated but definitely their way.  It was becoming toxic.  So when my GP told me to make a change I thought – ‘Yup, its a wrap’.
Everyone at some point in their lives has had to deal with having to quit at something.  Some see it as failure, while some see it as change.  I choose to see this as a means of change, my evolution – me adapting to survive.  I tried at my ‘old’ job was actually quite successful at it, and it still didn’t work out.  I didn’t give up, I simply let go and now I’m open to a whole load of possibilities.  Being just open is not enough, no you need to evolve – learn what works best for, learn your limitations – accept your limitations but don’t let them limit you. 
 

To be fair, this doesn’t sole apply to sicklers.  It applies to anyone who faces some form of adversity in their lives.  One of my favourite poems by our dearly departed Maya Angelou does help to motivate and sustain me.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise, I rise………
I rise.