2016 December was the worst month of my life. I had a break-up, had physically assaulted by my father for being a transgender woman and lost my job. All of them happened in the same two month period. I had the deepest kind of depression I’ve ever had. Also, psychosomatic pain accompanied all of this.
For the first two weeks after the attack, I did not escape from my bed. As a depressed person, I was used to suicidal thoughts in my mind, but I don’t remember a time when I was closer than this. Being a woman is hard, being a transgender woman is too, and being all of these and having dreams is more difficult.
Many of you maybe know me from the accepted RFC which I proposed or my PHP book published in Turkish or designing of the new CakePHP bake interface in version 3.1. Sometimes I am very proud of things I made but other times I can find myself sunk in the impostor syndrome.
I applied circa 120 jobs since I quit my job in September 2016, and in this period none of them returned except some invitations to job interviews. One day I was invited to a two-day job trial in Berlin, an all male department and witnessed that they were checking Facebook profiles of woman candidates and making fun of their profile pictures. I was used to the gender bias in office, being yelled for things that male employees were welcomed with compassion, but that was the most extreme case. My father invited me to work with him in the family business, but take heart from my unemployment, for harassing and humiliating and at the end physically attacking.
I was miserable at all, procrastinating, checking only the Facebook and doing nothing. I lost keeping track of hours and days. I lost my appetite; I felt useless and worthless.
I was doing nothing. Some days I was drinking alcohol and getting drunk and feel embarrassed. I was writing whining posts to Facebook and felt the pity in the people’s responses. Worse than that I was wallowing in self-pity. But one day I found out something different. I could continue to live like this and stay ruined every day. Nothing was changing. So, I thought, if nothing changes, and my negative inner voice tells me that nothing is going change with no matter I do, I can do something different without expecting anything. That day, I washed dishes, took an appointment with my therapist, and accepted some guests from the CouchSurfing to force myself to clean the whole house. I was still procrastinating and feeling embarrassed because of procrastination in the Facebook. When I talked about this with my therapist, she told me that it was completely normal.
I asked, “How?”
She said that the procrastination was our brain’s coping mechanism to deal with hard to cope situations. So I understand that I was expecting many things from myself, be perfect, don’t be emotional, be social, fulfil your life, etc. And I decided to take it easy on myself. This video also helped a lot to understand it.
I deleted my facebook account. Not deactivated, but deleted. I was uncomfortable with the idea of myself as a sellable data mining asset. I didn’t like to be alone at home crying, without any message or phone call, but my friend list bloated with 250 people. If someone cares about me, can quickly send me a “How are you?” message. But you cannot expect that effort from the most of your Facebook friends. I was also uncomfortable with all that stupid news, lies, scandals, Donald Trump, Brexit, bombings in Europe, immigration crisis and all of the nonsense fanaticism. Sharing something about some topic you care is doing nothing and deluding yourself that you are doing something tactile, but instead of this, you are just making yourself feel comfortable. One paragraph or 140 character limit of digestible bites and trying to be satisfied with those facebook or twitter posts without any well-thought-out idea or research aiming to create the most impact concludes to extreme trolling. So I was tired of it. Only one week passed, but I feel much better.
In some job interviews, they ask me what I expect from their company. I tell them that I expect politeness, people talking and helping each other and say hello and good-bye during the day. Why do you rent this office and hiring all of the employees to work together in same space instead of outsourcing all of your IT department with different freelancers based in various countries all around the world? I don’t think most of the HR or IT professionals thought on it.
While I was researching about object oriented programming, I wanted to dig deeper from programming to maths and from there philosophy. What was an object? What was a thing? Dictionaries tell that everything other than our thinking mind is an object, an input for our thought mechanism. What is thinking? How do we think? My head was full of those kind questions. How we distinguish objects? What separates objects or things (“the thing” is an unnamed object) from the world that surrounds them? In that rabbit hole, I found out that the reality is not perfect. In a perfect world 1/n never becomes 0, when n goes to infinity. In real life it does. The perfection deludes us that we are never going to achieve our goals or things we want to obtain and there always be a gap. Remember the Xenon’s paradox? He proved that the arrow never reaches the target, dividing the distance in two to infinity. However, in real life, we arrive a point that can’t be divisible anymore. So there is no dividing to infinity. The infinity tells us that there is an infinitesimal thing somewhere, but we don’t know where. Infinite is nothing, other than our uncertainty and inner insecurities. So the objects and the space around them is finite and exist. No matter how much we try to measure, we cannot know exactly its position with a zero error rate, but we can know the range of its boundaries. If this sounds incomprehensible, think that you can never touch something with your finger. The atoms around the ends of your finger and the object you touch will repel each other. There always be some space between your fingers and the object.
I know I rambled a lot in this article, but I think becoming aware of the imperfect word was the biggest gift of December 2016. There are bad things and there always going to be, instead of being depressed and losing my faith to everything, I embrace them, try to understand the imperfection, giving up trying to be perfect and do whatever I can, without expecting anything more than enjoying the exact moment.
And yes, this is the 25th article.