Musing Moments 111: Looking At The Future

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I don’t know why there’s such an outpouring of writing from me right now. I’ve already written twice in a roughly 12-hour span. Once to my mom, and once to recap a bit; picking up pieces from my shattered yesterday and putting them back in place.

Maybe that’s what all of the writing is for. Examining pieces.

Reflecting.

I guess that’s good. I know I need to sit and assess my mind and emotions. I need to clean house and organize the clutter I’ve let build up within myself.

Training went well. L and I actually had a pretty deep talk at the end. She’s started setting up obstacle courses for me. She makes me run them two or three times at the end of our sessions after I’ve strength trained and can feel my arms and legs doing their damnedest to fall off to avoid further abuse.

She always pushes me to beat my time, and so far I have.

Today, in between my second and third run, while I was sitting and trying to remember how to breathe, she said I was doing really well. With the Evil Voice in my head continuing its relentless harping of “what’s the point in all of this?” I asked her why, internally, felt like I wasn’t.

She asked what I meant and I explained how I don’t train how I used to or as often as I want so I feel like I’m failing there. I’m not where I want to be financially, so I’m failing there. Even in that moment, knowing that I had just beaten my time by twenty seconds, I didn’t feel like I did a good job so let’s add some sprinkled failure to all of the failure in my fail-tastic life.

I said I know logically I’m doing well but why do I not FEEL like I’m doing well?

She said sometimes we get like that. She mentioned that’s how she felt at her last job. How she hated it. How it kept her from everything she wanted. How she felt like all she was doing was spinning her wheels and going nowhere. She said I’m in the process of changing my situation and that I’m doing well and that I need to keep at it rather than getting frustrated or giving up.

I told her that lately on training days I’ve woken up and have thought about calling out; about  not showing and giving in to the sadness I constantly feel. She asked what I felt when I came in to train.

Me: Like I didn’t let it win.

I told her how our past sessions have felt more like physical therapy rather than training. I’ve felt injured and going to the gym forces my body to function in ways that it should but doesn’t want to. It hurts. It takes effort. It’s so much easier to stay at home in my pjs and do nothing. It’s easier to get sucked back into World of Warcraft and to medicate my life away with games.

But I don’t do that. I change into my compression gear. I make sure I have a full water bottle. I get in my car and I drive to the gym and even though I start out slower than normal, by the end I usually do feel better. Better enough to at least get through the things I need to get through for the day.

I told L how it always seems to be at the end of “the hard times” that I reach my limit and I find myself faltering. It’s now, at the end, just before things get better, where I feel I have no reserves; nothing left to give. Where I feel my will giving out and the darkness crushing down around me, trying one last time to force me down so far that I finally don’t stand back up; submitting to the oppressive weight I refused to bend to.

I have two weeks left. Less than that. A week and a half. I have six days of work. Only six. I can make it through that. I can hold on, by my fingertips if need be, for that long.

I WILL NOT BE BEATEN.

I don’t have to win. All I need to do is not lose. Six more days.

I have donating to do today and then studying. I have to rehang my new “business” corkboard since it fell down a few weeks ago. I have my “memory” corkboard in my room; the one with pictures, and letters, and Warrior Dash bibs, and hiking wristbands. It normally hangs above my computer, but since I can’t have that type of setup at the moment, I opted to keep my “memory” board in my room. I don’t want to share those moments with other people, so instead, I got a “business” board to hang above my computer in the dining room.

I bought it a few weeks ago. So far it has the class requirements for my RN degree so I can highlight the courses I’ve taken and visually see my progress. I have the transfer credits for English and Math, so I already have blue highlights over those classes. If I contest my psychology class I might be able to add another mark before I even get started.

This board is my reminder of what I’m working towards. Once RN is complete I can replace it with the physical therapist assistant sheet. Then BSN. Then MSN. Then my doctorate. Each time I reach a new milestone I can add a page on top of it, climbing my mountain one step, one course at a time.

This morning I printed off another paper to add to it. It’s the 52-week money challenge. I want to start that in January. That would be $1378 dollars saved. I don’t know what I want to do with that money. I want it to be my “Me” fund, though, which may seem stupid with how much I bitch about my credit card and “not having money”.

I want to have something for myself other than food and training.

I want to save that money so next year when I take a week off for my birthday I can go somewhere, alone, by myself. I don’t have to spend all of the money I save, but I can if I want to. I can do whatever I want with it because it’s MINE. It’s not for bills, or debt, or obligations. It’s my reward for holding shit together and doing everything I have to do.

It could be my new gear fund. It could be a new gi or a new solid state drive for my computer or a new keyboard instead of keeping the refurbished one I have that randomly double spaces all the time. it could be any number of things that I haven’t gotten for myself.

Maybe I could make it a biannual thing and start off at week 27. Actually, I really like that idea. That way it’s not a full year that I have to wait. I’ll need to ponder over this for a bit, but I like the way it feels at the moment.

I need to see if I can open a second savings account so I can keep that money separate from my normal savings, which has done nothing but diminish.

Kyle said he applied for his old Domino’s position. There’s a part of me that aches at the thought of him going back to a job he hates. I know there is probably a feeling of defeat for him in reapplying. At the same time, I’m grateful. I feel like that means he is keeping his word to me. He said he would apply for “jobs”. He specifically stated it wouldn’t be only CG jobs.

Even if it doesn’t pan out, I’m grateful for his actions.

If it does pan out I know it will help me feel better about having helped him. It would mean I could actually start putting money towards the credit card again. It would mean that Life would be progressing rather than staying stagnate in the mire I feel like I’ve waded into.

It would mean he’s pulling more of his own weight which takes the burden away from me. It would give me the ability to breathe again.

My main source of stress is money at the moment. Work sucks, but I know that’s getting ready to change. I’m getting ready to make more. I’m getting ready to have my days set and spaced out. It will be annoying but not what I would consider stressful. It’s known rather than unknown. It can be worked with and compensated for.

If I can hold on long enough for things to financially right themselves then the tension and uncertainty “should” go away. Then it becomes a matter of focusing on school.

I am stable with work, which was a goal for this year. It wasn’t purely financial stability I was trying to reach, but rather total Life stability.

I needed to come to terms with entering back into the workforce. I dealt with making a career change and getting my foot in the door for a completely different industry. I’ve actually progressed to the point of having goals again and even a roadmap for how to get to where I want to go.

Career-wise, I have a job which will work with me in regards to school. I have a team who cares about me and who supports me. I have a boss who is exceedingly understanding and who actually listens to me when we have conversations. And it’s not that I dislike my work. I dislike how demanding and unthoughtful the system is; how it makes sleep seem like a luxury we indulge in rather than a basic life necessity. I feel that’s most healthcare positions in general, though.

One CNA CANNOT give adequate care to 20 patients who all need to be bathed and dressed. Companies are too focused on bottom line and Excel sheets and metrics. Too many people with a business degree are in charge rather than people who have actually worked on the floor and who understand what their choices actually do. I feel most workers are treated as cells rather than as humans. We are digital text on a screen, expendable, deletable, rather than people with families, lives, goals, hobbies, fears, and insecurities.

I love my patients, and I love my team. I love that I help people and that my patients are grateful that I do the things I do. On days where I’m not overwhelmed with burnout, it does make my job feel like I have a purpose. I matter. My time matters. My actions matter, because all of it goes into keeping someone else alive. It goes into letting them go home to their husband or wife. It lets them go on trips to Tampa to celebrate their 20th anniversary. It lets them see their great grandbaby. It lets them have Thanksgiving.

I WILL NOT stay with this company, but for now, with the changes I hope school forces to happen, I think I’ll be able to stick it out another couple of years. I like the experience I’m getting. I like how I don’t mentally freak out when someone starts bottoming out from hypotension. I know what to do. I’m confident in my choices. I can stabilize the situation and get the required help I need. I’ve seen patients have seizures. I’ve seen a lot of things in my roughly eight months of working.

I want to keep working while going to school because I want the wisdom of experience as well as the knowledge of a degree. I do think if I’m able to find a balance with everything that I’ll be ok.

One of those things I’m considering is changing the time I attend my class in January. At the moment I have it set for 9:30 am. If I don’t get off work until roughly 9 pm it’s going to make training the in morning before school hard. I also do not want to be in the middle of Orlando rush hour traffic in the evening. It may be that training happens in the afternoon and plasma donation happens in the evening.

I could also look into going to a different donation center; one closer to school. Grocery shopping shouldn’t be too bad since there are several stores between here and school.

I guess this is a good sign. I’m acknowledging where there may be friction in the upcoming system and I’m brainstorming workarounds and alterations to relieve that friction. Like with laundry… Maybe it would be best to do it in the evenings when I get home from work. Shower first, toss everything into the wash then go about my evening for an hour, decompressing, eating dinner, prepping for the next day, before switching the wash to the dryer and going to sleep. That way it’s done and not an added item to my to-do list on school days. And even if I can’t tough it out for an hour, I can switch the wash to the dryer in the morning and still have it off of my to-do list before the day even starts.

I don’t know if this writing has really helped. I guess it has. I like how I acknowledged the actions I’m currently doing along with the actions of others. I like how I’ve reminded myself of what is in the very near future. And I like how I’ve changed work to a number of days rather than stretching it into the vast foreverness it felt like before.

Six days.

I have a countdown. I have an end before my restart.

I can do this.

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Daily Post 059: Tackling Today

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I’m back home. I have been for about an hour. I’ve scrolled through Facebook for most of that time. I don’t know if I really feel better so much as I feel stable. Shit is still as it was last night but I feel less overwhelmed by it. I know what my “next steps” are for today, they just seem less daunting then they did I guess.

My evening with Big Bad was nice. We watched two episodes of Stranger Things. Or maybe a better way of saying it is he watched them while I snuggled against his arm and stopped caring about my life for a few hours. I didn’t watch the show really. I listened to it halfway but really just let my mind dissolve into nothingness.

In between episodes we wrestled, which was a good release. We both went at it harder than we have in the past. He still got me into a few positions where he almost choked me out with my own arm, but I’m content with being able to say that I wormed my way out of all of those positions. I’m getting better and I can tell that I’m stronger.

We almost fell asleep on the couch but, eventually, we did move into the bedroom, crawling under the giant, heavy, fuzzy blanket that I love so much. We both slept well, and even though I had my cup of coffee alone this morning I still felt connected.

I haven’t broached the subject of how I work this coming Monday. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to go almost two weeks without seeing him. I suppose that will be something to address later tonight once he’s out of work. My blacksmith wants to try to meet Saturday evening. I have to figure that out as well since Warren works that day and Kyle is always home. It’s also after another 30 hours at work so I don’t know if I’ll look at it like a reprieve from my life or as another social obligation that I don’t know how to survive.

The DnD meet up this past Sunday went well enough. Only one other person showed up but my blacksmith said two of his coworkers are interested in gaming with us. Because the meet up was such short notice they weren’t able to attend, and December is sort of a crazy month for everyone so the game itself most likely won’t start until sometime in January.

I’m hoping that it can happen in the early evenings on Sunday. Maybe every other Sunday. It would be nice to be able to have a day to myself once in a while. I’m not going to get many of those with school starting. I’m always going to have requirements taking me out of the house.

Even when I’m here at the apartment I’m never really alone. Warren or Kyle are always here since neither of them has obligations taking them out of the house, and when there is it’s always while I’m at work. It’s almost to the point where I don’t remember what it’s like to have solitude; true aloneness where I can completely decompress and let go. There’s always some sound or energy to process through because there’s always someone here.

I haven’t had a cigarette in over a week. I wanted one last night when I got off the phone with Jon. It felt like things were crumbling again, shattering around me. But I guess they aren’t. I can’t do anything differently. All I can do is keep trying to move forward.

Warren paid me rent. It’s short compared to what the payment should be, but it’s really close to the full amount. He paid in cash, tucking it under my mouse pad since the online system was still being screwy. I guess I need to add stopping by the bank to my to-do list so I can deposit that into my account.

I have training in an hour. The past few sessions haven’t felt all that awesome. I’ve done them, and I feel tired afterward and I feel like I push hard for where I’m at, but they feel… different. More like physical therapy rather than training I’m looking forward to.

When I get to the end it’s hard not to cry. The Evil Voice is there, louder than normal, asking me why I’m doing any of this? What’s the point?

I don’t have answers for it right now. None that I believe enough to stand behind. Nothing to shield myself from the pain those works drag to the surface.

All I can do in those moments is silently rage inside of my head, louder and louder until I’m screaming at that voice to shut up; to go fuck itself. And then I’m at the end of my set and I can put the weight down and somehow it doesn’t seem like the overwhelming burden it was during those 30 seconds because it’s over. My body is fine, revved up and ready for the day, but my soul is so close to crushed from having to scream loud and fight so hard against the ceaseless, oppressive waves of “why bother?” and “do you even really care?” that I just want to collapse to the floor in the middle of the gym and cry.

I don’t have answers right now. What’s the point in working a job that keeps me away from the things that give me fulfillment, when it doesn’t even make ends meet? What’s the point of going home and cleaning? What’s the point of eating and trying to be healthy?

In the middle of this sea of grief I find myself drifting in I don’t have answers. All I see is the apathy I’m surrounded by. I don’t see land anywhere in the distance. I don’t see an evening with Big Bad. I don’t see the sanctuary of the dojo. I don’t have a reason to keep going other than because I don’t know how to stop, but that’s not really an answer to the questions ricocheting around in my head like bullets.

All I have is doing because that’s all I’ve ever done. I don’t know how to not take a step forward. I don’t know how to not clean. I don’t know how to not make a to-do list and tackle it one line at a time. I don’t know how to give up. I don’t know how to say “it’s too hard” and to accept defeat.

Sometimes I wish I did. I wish I knew how other people are able to throw their hands up and have other people save them. I wish it felt right to not struggle. As much as I bitch about my battles and whine about it being hard, I would be pissed if someone solved my problems for me. Like, irrationally, “You’ve ruined our friendship for forever because you have tarnished my honor” level of pissed off from which there can be no retribution for.

Today shouldn’t be all that intense. Or rather, it should be over fairly quickly. I have training at 9:30. I donate plasma about 2 hours after that so I can cool down and try to replace the water I sweat out. I don’t think I’m as hydrated as I should be. I don’t think I’ll be able to fix that as much as I want before donating. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as “The Bad Donation”, because yeah… that sucked.

After donating I have lunch planned at my sports bar where I’m going to get through another twenty pages in my textbook. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is. Maybe if it goes by quickly I’ll finish off the last bit of the chapter and be ahead of my game plan. I’m not going to push my brain exceedingly hard, though. As long as I making through the next main section, the next twenty pages, then I will be content.

I guess after that I can stop by the bank. Then it’s coming home and throwing things into the slow cooker to finish off one of my meals for the week. I still need to put my clothes away, but that’s not a huge deal. I might do kickboxing but that depends on how training and donating go.

I am calm and empty today. I feel like I don’t have much energy for people. I can do the things I need to do as long as there isn’t a lot of interaction, and for the most part, there isn’t, which might be why my day doesn’t feel like an impossible weight that will destroy a part of me if I attempt it. It’s not like I’m having to spend 12 to 16 hours interacting with my patients and pretending that things aren’t hard.

Friday and Saturday are going to suck since I close both days. I won’t get home until around 9 pm while having to turn around and wake up at 3:30 am. It’s going to be rough. Only a week and a half left until I’m able to take my week off. Then only one more week before classes start and my work schedule becomes consistent.

I want to finish printing out my “Book of Survival”. I got partway through that but never finished. I haven’t set a day for when I want to complete that task. I need more printer ink before I do it. But acknowledging that this is left undone makes me feel better. It means I’m one step closer to completing it.

I realized my letter last night to mom was the first time I’ve written to her since April 3rd. I’ve talked to her a few times since then, but last night was the first record I have, the first tangible thing, to show that interaction. That hurts. It makes me realize how much I don’t turn to my mom when things are hard.

I realized how little I have written this year. This was supposed to be my “Year of Stability” and though I’m not financially where I want to be I don’t feel like as much of a failure as I thought I would.

I’m stable in my confidence in myself. I’m stable in my ability to say no when I feel like something isn’t good for me. I’m stable in recognizing bullshit and not putting up with it. I’m stable in doing what needs to be done.

Since my year resets in April rather than January I still have a few months to figure out what I want the upcoming year to be. Maybe it would be good to focus on routine; consistency. Maybe it can be a continuation of stability since that’s what routine ties into for me.

I don’t know. I do know that I need to go for now otherwise I’ll be late for training and I would rather not be.

Here’s to today.

Letters to Mom 015: I Need You Right Now

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Mom. I really need to talk to you.

When I got off the phone with Jon I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to call. I knew I needed to talk to someone but you’re the person I wanted to call and you’re the one person I can’t.

I know I won’t be able to hear your voice and I’m sorry that still hurts. I’m sorry this wasn’t the first thing I thought of after getting off the phone with him. I’m sorry this still doesn’t feel like enough sometimes and that I still wish you were here.

Jon can’t pay rent next month. His roommates are screwing him over just like mine are doing to me.

I know you would be frustrated with both of us. I know if you were still here you would be helping us as much as you could. I know Jon and I would both feel like failures if we actually asked you for help.

I get angry at people like Warren. He came downstairs shortly after I got off the phone with Jon. He saw I was upset and trying not to cry and he asked what was wrong.

I told him Jon wasn’t able to pay rent.

Warren said something along the lines of that’s the plight of our generation and how Jon could ask Jason for help. I told him, no, he couldn’t. Jason loves us and is our brother, but he’s not going to help, and Jon isn’t going to ask.

Jon and I don’t have that luxury anymore; that safety net. Not like Warren does. We can’t go to our parents and say, “Oh no. We messed up. Please help us undo this terrible decision.”

I had 9 dollars to my name this morning. I told Warren that last night. He said the online banking system was having issues but that he was trying to get his payment to me. I told him it would be appreciated because I had 9 dollars and was unable to buy groceries.

There wasn’t a deposit in my account this morning when I woke up. Warren sleeps until noon since he works the late shift. I couldn’t spend the day waiting to get money to do the things I needed to do. I don’t have time to wait on other people like that. I can’t “Life” things like cook or grocery shop on days where I work 16 hours. I have to do everything on my days off or it has to go undone.

Because of that I had to use my credit card to get food, which isn’t all that bad. I mean, hey, I was able to get food, and pay for my new car tags, but it sucks. I have to pay interest on that money. I shouldn’t have to use my card because someone doesn’t pay me on time. I shouldn’t have to pay interest as a punishment for other people slacking off because it’s not there account that has 9 dollars in it.

It’s so ungodly frustrating, mom. I want to be able to help Jon. I want to be able to tell him that it’s ok. That we’ll figure it out together. But I can barely keep myself afloat. I can’t take care of three people. I can’t save anyone else, and it sucks because he’s my brother. He’s the one I should be there for and he’s the one who’s having to suffer because one of my roommates is still unemployed and the other can’t get his shit together financially even though he worked a fuck ton of overtime with the iPhone release AND got a dollar raise.

How? HOW are you STILL having financial issues? What the actual fuck?

I’m terrified that Jon’s going to have to drop out of school to get a job that he hates just to make ends meet. I’m terrified that he’s going to become another statistic in dissatisfied America who got screwed over and gave up.

I hate where I’m at, mom.

I hate how I worked 30 hours in two days and was so tired on Sunday that I slept for 14 hours. I hate how next Monday I work and I’m going to have to miss my night with Big Bad. I hate how I wasn’t supposed to close the clinic on Saturday, but I ended up doing it which screwed over my whole night. Louis and I had made plans to see each other. I was supposed to leave at five. We were looking forward to our evening; to seeing each other more than once.

It was my light at the end of the tunnel. I got up even though I didn’t want to. I fucking killed it at work. I was a total bawce and several of my coworkers mentioned it. But I still had to give up my night. I had to give up my plans.

Nothing I did or have done was good enough to mean anything. Just like how my awesome credit score and pristine renters history didn’t matter when I needed an apartment when I was unemployed. It didn’t matter that I could pay all of the rent up front. None of my past, none of my actions, mattered.

That’s what Saturday felt like. Nothing mattered.

Life: Fuck you, Jen. And the horse you rode in on. And the one that sired it, just for safe measure.

You know what? No. Fuck you, Life. I’m so sick of your bullshit.

I’ve given up the dojo. I’m giving up my plasma. I’ve given up my room and having my computer with me.

When is it enough? When am I allowed to feel secure? When am I allowed to have things for me and to not be injured by other people?

I’m so angry and frustrated right now, mom. I’m tired of this constant fucking struggle to make things work, only for them not to, so I have to find a different way and that way works for a while but then there’s another roadblock that I have to figure out. It’s always an uphill battle and the few things that make it feel worth it always feel like their taken away from me.

It’s not fair. And I feel like a four-year-old for saying that, but it’s true. It’s so fucking unfair right now. Why, if I do everything right, if I’m such an amazing, kind, caring, compassionate person like people say, do I not deserve to feel like life is worth living?

Why can’t I have my hour at the dojo? Why can’t I have my three hours a week with my significant other while everyone else gets to go home to theirs?

Why can’t Jon go to school and not worry about keeping a roof over his head while maintaining his 4.0 gpa? He’s doing so well. I’m so insanely proud of him, and yet I can’t help him not stress. I can’t stretch myself any more than I already am.

I don’t know what to do, mom.

I studied for my certification today. I’m trying to get that out of the way. School starts for me in January. I’m trying to stick with my training as much as I can.

It feels like I’m trying so hard, so why does it feel like I’m not making any progress? Why does it still feel like I’m not doing it good enough, right enough?

I wish I could hear you right now. I wish, out of everyone in the Universe, that you could be the one to tell me things will be ok because you’re the only person I ever believed when you told me those words.

I know things will be ok. I know both Jon and I will make it through this. I just so desperately wish that I knew how. I wish things were already better. I wish all of the struggles and battles I’ve already fought felt worth it, but in this moment they don’t.

I feel tired and drained. I feel alone in my battles and I’m tired of showing up to them. I can’t fight Jon’s battle for him when I’m barely keeping up with fighting my own.

I’m tired of feeling angry. I’m tired of feeling sad. I don’t have tears left to cry for either emotion. I’m going to finish doing my chores and then go spend my one evening with Big Bad. I can’t even drink because tomorrow I have to donate plasma and I’m still behind on my water intake.

I miss you, mom. I promise… I don’t know what I promise. I’m not going to promise to hold it together because I can feel that at some point this season I’m going to break again. I just know it’s going to happen. With my birthday coming up, and Christmas… I just know that I’m going to end up screaming in my car and I don’t care.

I guess I promise to keep my promises I made to you that first day without you; the last day at the hospital.

I promise I’ll get out of bed every day. I promise I’ll eat at least one meal every day. And I promise I’ll at least shower.

I love you, mom. Thanks for listening even if I didn’t figure anything out.