Daily Post 072: Midnight Tears

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It’s 11:15 pm. Everyone else is asleep and so I’m left on my own. It’s quiet. Ox is sleeping in bed, the sound of his breathing the only noise I could hear before I put on his headphones to play Opacus by Arkasia on repeat. I used to play it in the mornings while I strung the machines at work. I’ve listened to this song most likely more than what would be considered healthy, but it’s helped me through so many times where I wanted to give up but couldn’t.

I don’t know how I feel right now.

I know I feel good. Better than I have in a while, but I also know that I feel sad. I feel tired. I feel… I don’t know what.

When I’m asked if I’m ok I don’t know how to reply. I know I’m not “not ok” but I know that I’m not my total normal self either so I don’t know how to answer the question honestly.

Maybe writing will help figure it out, but I doubt it.

I miss Jon even though he and I talked on the phone just yesterday. Plans have changed a little in that regard. Instead of visiting Orlando in August during his school break I’m most likely going to be flying out to Vegas so my brothers and I can be together then. That means I won’t see my home clinic like I had thought. It means I’ll most likely have to tell Big Bad I won’t be visiting until December at the earliest and that brings up the question of do I want to travel to visit people during what seems to be the hardest time of the year for me.

It will be the third year without mom. My third Thanksgiving. My third birthday. My third Christmas.

I don’t want to travel and pretend that I’m not hurting. At the same time, I don’t know how I’ll be if I stay. I don’t want to bring Ox and his family down with my sadness. I don’t want to disrupt the time he has with his kids.

It’s such a long way off and already I’m worrying about it. There’s a large part of me who just wants to stay here where I can cry or go to the woods to be alone. I guess I’ll figure out that bridge when I get to it, but it’s already on my radar.

I start work Monday. I’m nervous about it. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m not keeping myself busy enough, which I know is a lie but I can’t really think of a logical reason for why I have anxiety over going back.

It will be my first week back at full-time hours. I’ll be in training, shadowing one of the techs. The person I’ll be with the first two days is super awesome. I think I’ll really get along with her. The person I’ll be with the second two days I think I’ll mesh well with once we both get more comfortable with each other. After this initial week of getting me checked off on some of the Nebraska specific policies, I’ll start training down at the Beatrice clinic since that will be my home clinic for the time being. I’m hoping for that to become permanent. I like that location and I would rather not have to learn how to mix bicarb.

I guess I’m nervous about fucking up; about not being good enough.

I had to go in for a few hours yesterday. I actually got paid for those hours so that’s nice. I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was I needed to be there around 8 am. I knew my FA was supposed to show up around 11 am, but that’s all I knew.

Well, luckily she was in the front office when I walked in. She had me complete some mind-numbing computer work so I could gain access to a skill checkoff list. After that, I spent a few hours on the floor. For the most part, I sat and watched. Two other people were in training so they were doing most everything to gain experience. One is a tech, the other is an RN who I think I’ll get along with. I mean… she was talking about MMA… finally, someone who I can gush over this stuff with.

Around 10 am I asked if I was allowed to do anything, to which the reply was yes. It took a bit to get me set up in the computer system so I could effectively document for people. I tried stringing a machine, but the lines this clinic uses are different from the ones I used in Orlando. I know with practice I’ll be fine, but right now I’m fumbling and slow. It’s hard to not feel incompetent. At least I was able to clean the machine and chair down without a problem. And once I was in the system I was able to document like the pro I am, so at least it ended on a fairly positive note.

I know I’ll be fine but there’s still the worry that I won’t be.

Worrying is a misuse of the imagination.

I’ve started cross-stitching again.

I don’t think I’ve written about that. I don’t think I wrote about what it was like to actually travel from Orlando to Nebraska, either.

There’s a lot I haven’t written about or processed through, and maybe that’s why it’s so hard to understand what I feel.

I no longer have Scarlet.

That’s how my journey started.

It’s been something I’ve feared for about a year now.

I worried I would come home one day and she would be dead, or that I would wake up at night to her in distress and have to helplessly watch her suffer through her death. I worried my roommates would be there, alone, while I was at work and they would have to call me to tell me she had died and there had been nothing they could do.

It’s sucked, watching her go from walking normally, to waddling because her hips bother her, to dragging her leg. To watch her not be able to jump onto the bed. I placed a pillow on the floor to help her step up, but at the end, even that wasn’t helping as much as it used to.

Roughly two weeks before my move I went to the veterinary clinic to talk with Scarlet’s vet. I knew that the trip would be hard for Scarlet. I knew the house I was moving into had three young male cats. I knew it wouldn’t be a good living environment for her. I knew her health was failing.

I wanted to talk to a professional.

I told her my story. I told her that I didn’t want to make this choice because there wasn’t a way I could talk to Scarlet and ask her, “Are you in pain? Are you suffering? Do you want to make this trip with all of its hardships?”

My vet said moving Scarlet would be very similar to moving a 90-year-old women. Keeping her in a cat carrier for 12 hours, at least, for two days. Taking her out of her home and relocating her to a foreign place where nothing would be familiar.

She said if Scarlet survived the stress of the trip that it would most likely mark a more significant decline.

She said, in her experience, what she has seen with pet owners who face this decision is that they wish they had done something sooner. They wish they had ended their pets suffering sooner. She said very rarely do pets pass peacefully in their sleep. Usually, it’s painful and sometimes can last for days.

Scarlet deserved better than to suffer.

For the 20ish years she has been my companion, for all the times she didn’t have a choice in moving with me, for all the times she didn’t have a choice in living with other animals, for all the times I stayed out late or didn’t come home because I slept somewhere else, for all the times she was alone, she deserved better.

It sucked making the vet appointment. It’s hard to not hate myself. It’s hard to feel like I wasn’t being selfish.

Ox offered to be there for me so I wouldn’t be alone.

I made the appointment, trying not to cry on the phone as I did.

Ox flew into Orlando on Sunday after one hell of a fucked up flight. It was his first time flying. That alone is something I’ll never be able to repay. He flew down so I wouldn’t have to drive the 21 hours by myself. There was a change over on his flight. Originally he had 30 minutes to get to the second plane, but the first plane arrived late, which meant he missed his connecting flight, which resulted in a three-hour layover.

After all of that, he still helped me take apart my computer desk and pack my car. After all of that, he still hugged me as I tried not to break down in the lobby of the veterinary clinic.

They do the procedure in two steps.

The first step is a normal sedative which puts them to sleep. The vet waits a few minutes to give the sedative time to fully take effect. I knelt on the floor so I would be level with the table and wrapped my arms around Scarlet while the shot was administered, petting her the whole time, trying, and failing, to not cry.

Scarlet was my most faithful companion aside from my mom. She’s the reason I survived Warren #2. I couldn’t force her to go through a move that I knew would be awful for her and yet I didn’t want to let her go. I wanted to be selfish but I didn’t want to make her suffer and all of it sucked. Every part of every possible decision sucked.

She was in pain. She couldn’t use the litter box properly because she was almost to the point where she couldn’t walk. She was matted and ratty looking because she wouldn’t groom herself and wouldn’t let me brush her because it hurt her.

She was my little old lady and she was hurting and there was nothing I could do to change it because that’s part of life; growing older, being mortal. Aging. Dying.

It’s all part of this fucking circle that I’m so tired of having to accept over and over again.

I held her as she fell asleep; as she finally looked peaceful. I petted her and told her I loved her and that she would always be my baby cat.

A few minutes later the vet came back in and administered a second shot. I don’t remember the term they used for it, but essentially it over sedates them, causing their heart to stop.

They said there’s no pain. And I so desperately need that to be true and I wish there was a way to know for sure, but there isn’t. It’s just blind faith and that sucks because since I don’t know for sure that it doesn’t hurt I feel like a betrayer. What if it does hurt? What if she was in agony in her final moments but her body was so sedated that she couldn’t express it?

The vet listened to Scarlet’s heart and told Ox and I when she was gone; when Scarlet was dead. They said I could have as much time as I needed and quietly left the room.

I don’t remember how long I cried. I know eventually I stood up and I took out the brushes and lint roller I had brought with me.

I had planned to do this ever since I had made the appointment. I was going to brush all of the mats out of Scarlet’s fur. It was going to be my way of honoring her one last time much the way a warrior’s body is prepared before being taken to the funeral pyre. I was going to brush her and care for her before sending her back to the Universe.

It took forever. I swear I got another three cats worth of fur off of her. I was also covered in fur by the time it was done, which in an odd way was comforting because it wasn’t any different than when we were at home. Only this time she wasn’t in pain while I did it.

I arranged her head on her paws. I told her one last time that I loved her and then I left the room.

I arranged to have a private cremation so I could have her ashes.

I guess in a way mom prepared me for this. I know that the ashes are not Scarlet. They are the ashes of her vessel, not of her. The energy she was is returned into the vastness of the Universe and what I hold in the small, beautiful wooden box is merely a physical representation of what once was.

I have her ashes with me, sitting on the shelf where I have mom’s urn.

I did what I thought was kind. I don’t know if there’s right or wrong in this situation. Everything is always a shade of gray anyway. I still miss her. I don’t feel like the scum of the Earth. I don’t think I’m the worst person to ever walk the planet, but I’m still struggling with my choice.

Mom had to make this choice a few times with previous pets. I know she had a really hard time when she had to euthanize Cleo.

Cleo ended up having stomach cancer. She would eat, but no matter how much she ate she would lose weight because everything she consumed went into feeding the cancer rather than her body. She was suffering and so mom made the choice to end that suffering.

My situation isn’t so clear as that. Scarlet wasn’t necessarily sick, but I do believe she was in pain.

I will never know what choice she would have made for herself. All I can do to try to cope with my choice is to know that I was her caretaker and that I cared for her for over 20 years. If I could go back and do things differently I would. I would get less annoyed with her when she meowed about her water dish. I would buy more cat treats. I would cuddle with her more.

But I can’t do that. I can’t go back and change anything. I did what I thought was my best at the time. And I made what I thought was the kindest choice for her in the end.

None of us can live for forever. If given the option to continue living my remaining days in pain or to pass into stillness while in the arms of someone I love, I would want the latter.

I don’t know what else to say about this.

It was and still remains the hardest part of my move. There’s still a lot I haven’t written about that I don’t feel like getting into.

I miss my companion even though I know this chapter wasn’t meant for her. There is so little left of the time when mom was alive. It’s hard to not feel like a different person.

I need to go for now. I haven’t fully cried and mourned over Scarlet’s passing yet. Maybe I’ll be able to write about all of the good stuff that’s happened to me in my next post.

All of this needed to be written, though.

All of this needed it’s time.

 

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Daily Post 071: A “Fuck You” Post From Nebraska

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For all of my joking with Ox about this not being hard, about how writing for work is easy and most likely the best place to start, simply sitting here in front of my computer is hard.

I moved to Nebraska.

I’m here. It’s cold. There was ice on the ground yesterday.

I love it.

I shadowed at the clinic in Beatrice this morning. It’s everything I was hoping for it to be.

I’m in the middle of doing my yearly review with my FA from Orlando so I should have my pay increase in before I become active at the clinics up here. I still have my voucher for my national certification test which is good until April. That leaves me all of March to find a test center and complete that for another dollar increase in my rate.

Everything is different and yet at the same time the same.

I’m still in front of the same computer with the same finicky keyboard. I’m still writing this post in Grammarly which constantly reminders me that I write more than 98% of users with a way higher vocabulary than normal which makes me wonder what everyone else is writing because I don’t think I write all that much.

I still talk to Jon on the phone about nothing important. I listen to him bitch about work and how his coworkers suck. How school is annoying and how his World Religion class is a joke full of busy work he doesn’t care about.

I still shower and brush my teeth. I still forget to take my contacts out until I’m about to crawl into bed which makes me groan as I unwillingly trudge back to the bathroom to take them out.

I still miss mom. I still wish she were here for me to tell her about all the of the changes I’ve experienced and made. I wish she where here to talk about my trip to the Great Unknown. I still have her urn with me even if I don’t have the chine hutch set up.

My computer is still in a closet but I’ve been allowed to paint it the way I want so it’s the Summer Dragonfly color that I painted the living room when I was in Orlando. The trim, shelving, and ceiling I painted white. Ox is going to help me put in more shelving on the sides so I have a place to put my notebooks and pens. It’s almost set up to how I want it and he’s been amazing about helping to make me feel welcomed and at home.

I’m living with him and his parents. I know by society standards that seems like a failure but I like it. In Asian cultures, it’s common for the extended family to live together. Grandparents, great grandparents… Everyone helps take care of everyone.

It feels good to joke with his mom. It feels good to cook dinner and clear the plates away. I don’t mind when she does the dishes. I think both her and I are so used to being the only people to do things as far as household upkeep goes that it’s weird allowing someone else to do things.

The voice in my head of “You are supposed to be doing that,” still makes my body tense. I’m staying here rent free. I should be doing everything. The laundry. The dishes. The cooking. The cleaning. If I don’t do it all then I’m a slacker. A mooch.

But… That’s the thing that’s different… I DON’T have to do it all. I don’t have to do it all right then, that second. There’s help. There’s Ox who takes out the trash. There’s his mom who doesn’t mind loading the dishwasher if she didn’t have to cook the meal. It doesn’t have to be all me all the time. There’s a give and take that I’m not used to anymore. I’m relearning that I don’t have to tense up or internally freak out and feel like a failure if someone else takes it upon themselves to do something that needs to be done.

It makes it easier to want to do things to help because it doesn’t feel like I’m being used or taken advantage of.

She bought me an ice scraper for my car windows yesterday and even though I know it wasn’t expensive, it’s important to me. She went out of her way to make sure I had something that I needed. It was kind and thoughtful.

There’s a feeling of home that I haven’t felt since sitting in the living room of mom’s house when I would go back to visit.

It hurts in a healing way.

I’m happy in a way I didn’t think would be possible again.

I’m so much less stressed. Even with my former roommates still being dicks about rent and paying me back, I can’t put into words how much better I feel about my future and how I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out for me.

I have a future I want to see, that I want to be here for. A future I so desperately wish I could tell my mom about because I know she would be happy for me.

She is happy for me and writing that hurts the most so far.

I shadowed today, which that’s been a bit of a rollercoaster in itself.

I was supposed to shadow on the 23rd which is Friday. That changed to Tuesday, but then it got super cold and there was ice on the roads so it was changed to Thursday. Since my FA needed me to fill out paperwork that I could only access through the intranet at work I had to go into town to get on one of the clinic’s computers. While I was there it was decided that I should show up to the Beatrice clinic at 5 am this morning; Wednesday.

Shadowing went well. The RN is super nice though her last day is going to be Friday. The tech was a girl I met while I was at the clinic on Tuesday. She answered all of my questions and gave me her opinion about things; which clinics she preferred and why, the shortcomings to each location, what the patient population was like…

It was a really nice morning. The Beatrice clinic only has eight stations. It’s a third of the size of what I’m used to. It’s roughly a 30-minute drive from where I’m staying and the drive itself is nice. Ox took me there this morning and picked me up once I was done.

We had driven by the clinic shortly after our trip home from Orlando, and I’m glad that I can call this place home rather than “the place where I fall asleep at night.”

This IS my home and I like it here.

Before I left the clinic this morning one of the FAs I interviewed with showed up and we talked more about the logistical side of things. She added me to the time clocks for all three of the clinics I’ll be working at. We set up a time for me to come in tomorrow to do some Nebraska specific policy and procedure training after which we will be contacting my FA in Orlando to make my transition official, so while I still haven’t signed anything as of yet, I am set to begin working here in the next few weeks.

It’s a good feeling. Much less nebulous than what it was though I still don’t know what my rate will be. I’m assuming if they need to take me through training that my rate will be decreased slightly for that duration; a week, maybe two. After the initial training period to make sure I understand, and am comfortable, with the newer equipment I’ll be essentially on my own again, only this time it will legitimately be on my own. The clinics are so small that I would be the only tech with one RN.

I’m confident in my ability to hold my own. I’m confident that I can do this and that’s a good feeling. I’m not scared of my work future. I’m looking forward to it. And for the time being it is very likely that the Beatrice clinic will be my home clinic. The dedicated tech they had for that location recently resigned and so there’s a spot there and I’m the closest tech to that location.

I like it. It’s new. All of the machines are new. It’s spacious and quiet. There are 20 minutes between patients. I would most likely be working 12-hour shifts on MWF, but TTS is still only one shift so I would be out around noon on those days.

At no point at any clinic would I be working a 16 hour day.

I haven’t shadowed at any of the other locations, but the Captial City location reminds me of what Orlando was like. I think I would like that one the least simply because it’s so similar to what I’m trying to get away from.

It was sort of weird putting on scrubs again. I forgot my notebook this morning so Ox had to turn around so we could get it. I’m not used to wearing layers, thermals under my scrubs, and so there’s an odd feeling accompanying all of the familiar. It felt good, though; waking up, making breakfast. Hopefully, as I become more situated at work, with an actual schedule and routine, things will become a little less hectic in that regard. At least I remembered my wallet and cell phone. Two out of three things isn’t bad for a first day back after essentially a month off.

I have a membership to the YMCA again. The facilities here are super nice. Better than the ones I went to in Florida, which you would think it would be the opposite. I’m in the middle of nowhere and yet the Y offers classes in Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Women’s Self-Defense, and Hapkido. There are yoga and Zumba classes and all of the other things I’m interested in. Personal training is still pretty expensive, but it’s an option for later down the road.

I haven’t looked into dojos all that much. I know they’re around. I know eventually I’ll get back into jiujitsu and the MMA stuff because that’s something I want in my life, but for now, I’m ok with simply finding my routine again and getting back to the point I was. I’m ok with taking things slow for right now since everything has changed so much.

Ox and I have plans to go to the gym later today to soak in the hot tube. Relax. Decompress. Become a little more comfortable in yet another new environment.

So much new…

I’m getting more familiar with the roads here. Parts of my mental map are still cloudy, fuzzy, but I’m getting better at remembering where things are in relation to each other. The clinic is here, so that means the stitch shop is north. This is the grocery store so the gym is in a “that way” direction. I know it will still be a little bit before I’m uber confident but I’m content with the progress I’m making.

I haven’t looked into starting classes anywhere. I most likely won’t until the fall semester at the earliest. I might table that until next year. I know when I’m ready to explore those options that there’s a ton in the area to support whatever direction I choose to go with.

Ox’s mom said the house needs a breath of fresh air, which I think I’m providing. Things are getting cleaned and organized. Things are getting donated or thrown out. Projects will get completed as other things fall into place. The addition to the house, an extra three bedrooms, which were started years ago, has the very real potential to get done now.

I want to see the addition completed. I want to help complete it. I want Ox’s kids to have their own rooms when they come to visit. I want Ox to get custody of his children.

His daughter, the cutest seven-year old I have ever met, has already told me that her dad has married me and that I’m a mom, to which I responded, “Am I, now?” because yeah… that’s news to me.

I stayed at a hotel last weekend because Ox’s kids were at the house. It’s their home.They hadn’t met me yet. I didn’t want to stay there without meeting them first. Coming from a divorced family, I know what it’s like to feel threatened or replaced by a parental figure finding another person. My stepmom was a bitch while Jon and I were growing up and sadly she really hasn’t changed all that much. It’s more that Jon and I are no longer insecure preteens she can pick on. We’re adults and we’ll stand up for ourselves as such.

If his kids didn’t like me I didn’t want them to feel stuck or trapped with me being at the house. I want them to feel secure and thought of. Their opinion matters. They ARE important.

His son I think is a bit more reserved when it comes to me than his daughter. To be fair, he’s older, and he’s only ever had poor examples for mother figures. His biological mom, the parent he stays with the most, I don’t think does a good job. I mean… when the child openly says, “I don’t trust my mom,” and he’s only thirteen… I think there are deeper issues that need to be addressed.

We seem to be doing ok, though. We went to a hobby shop and spent a few hours digging through magic cards on Friday night. Saturday I came over to the house and played magic with him and Ox. I think it went well. He didn’t want to hug me goodbye when I left and I completely respected and understood that.

Ox’s daughter totally handed my ass to me in Minecraft. XD

We had more success with Little Big Planet. I got her to read to me Sunday night before I left. She says she’s “bad” at a lot of things.

“I’m bad a reading.” “I’m bad at that game.” “I’m bad… I’m bad…”

I want to know who tells this amazing child that she’s bad at anything. She’s not bad at all. She reads amazingly well. And even if she’s “bad” at something… she’s seven. It’s not “bad”, it’s something she can get better at if she’s given encouragement and support. Who the fuck gave this seven-year-old self-esteem issues?

I want to show both of Ox’s children that not all females are mean, or weak, or selfish, or whatever it was that the previous women in their lives have been. There are females out there who are stable, secure, confident, and who have their shit together.

I don’t think of myself as their mom, but I do want to be an example for them. I want them to be ok with me being with their dad and I don’t really know what else to write about that because I’ve only interacted with them for such a brief time.

I don’t know how to be a mom, but being cuddled up in bed with Ox’s daughter as we took turns reading pages to each other felt so right that I don’t know how I haven’t been doing it my whole life. It reminded me of when mom and I would read to each other. It reminded me of all of the stories and adventures we went on while sitting together in the easy chair passing books back and forth.

His kids are getting to the age where they could go before a judge and say they would rather live with their dad. That’s why getting the addition completed would be so… beneficial? I’m not sure what word to use to describe it. Everyone wants his kids here rather than with their mother, myself included.

And I pause here in my writing because I’m at the end of one thought and am scared to wander into others. Everything else would be from “The Before” as Ox and I call it. Before the move.

I guess that’s something to address.

Ox and I aren’t playing games. We’re seeing if we can coexist together as life partners. We’re both interested in each other. We both seem to want the same things. We both have similar enough interests to be compatible with enough differences to keep each other intriguing. There’s open enough communication that when more sensitive subjects need to be discussed there’s the trust to openly talk about the topic.

We both want to see where it goes, so we are. I’m not going to sit here and justify my actions or try to make it more ok to disapproving eyes. I’m making the choices I feel are right and all I can do, all anyone can do in their life, is see if the choices made pan out the way we hope or intend for them to.

So far the choices I have made have led me to feeling more secure, more stable, more at peace, more happy, then I have in the almost two years I’ve lived without mom.

In the process, I have lost Mother Earth, again. And there is what I am starting to recognize as the matriarch part of my self which stands stoically at this realization.

Everyone else I mentioned moving to wished me the best, encouraged me to make the choices which were best for me. She was the only person who sent a message reading as a farewell. The only person who made my moving seem as if it were a leaving that I could never come back from, where we could never visit, never call, never message.

This marks the fourth time where I have felt wounded by her and so I said my own goodbye and have left it as such. The money given to help her and Josh will most likely never be returned to me. I don’t think our relationship will be mended this lifetime. I think I’m tired enough of being told to “never message me again” to the point that trying again isn’t worth it. My soul is too tired to try.

I still have to live without mom. Every day. After two years it’s still not easier and though I’m happy in ways I thought were gone from me forever, there’s still that heaviness everytime I breathe. That fact will never change. I don’t have it in me to carry that fact along with fighting to prove to someone I care who seems so set on believing that I don’t.

I didn’t get to see my blacksmith before I left, but he did take the time to call me the Saturday before my trip.

As always he built me up the most, bringing me to tears while we talked. He said he’s proud of me. That’s he’s proud to have watched me grow from who I was when we first met into the person I am now and that he’s looking forward to watching me continue to grow in the person I’m meant to be.

He pointed out that last year I would have never thought of moving away, much less actually doing it. I went through a complete career change and have become stronger for it. I’ve opened up after the hurt of Zane and allowed myself to have healthy and stable relationships. I’ve learned to trust again.

I’ve done a lot of amazing things, all of which are mostly intangible. I’ve worked through so many faults, and flaws, and insecurities, and the whole time, every time, it seemed too hard or too overwhelming or too impossible to do the phrase “Go fuck yourself,” screamed in my head as I refused to let Life beat me down.

I can remember the times I wrote about being tired of fighting, of trying but how I didn’t know how to give up, I only knew how to keep going even though I would give anything to stop.

Well, fuck you, Life. Even if it doesn’t last, this is the peace I’ve earned. This is my reward for overcoming every single thing you’ve thrown at me.

Fuck you for Saturday night, the night I was alone at the hotel after driving back there by myself, ridden with anxiety as the thought of, “this is it,” ricochet around in my head like a bullet.

This is where I die. This is where there’s some freak car accident where I get a life-threatening wound I have have to choose between letting myself die and being with my mom or fighting to finally live the life I’ve wanted to have. This is where everything gets snatched away from me like a cruel joke. This is where I get so close to the finish line, where I can see that checkered pattern that I’ve been striving so hard to cross only to fall and trip and to lose my race.

This is where it all ends. The final taste of happiness that I’ve been trying so hard to find again.

But I didn’t die on the way back to the hotel. I made it back there fine, in one piece, without incident. I don’t want to live my life in fear like that, but for right now it’s hard not to. Everything is so frail and new and precious to me and there’s a part of me who’s terrified that it’s going to be stolen away from me and I’ll never have it again.

I realized, curled up in the hotel bed that I might have forgotten something. My mom and I are still together. No matter what, I will always be her daughter, and no matter what, she will always be my mother. No matter where I go. No matter who I end up with. No matter what career I do or do not work. No matter if we’re alive or dead, I will always be her daughter and she will always be my mother.

Life cannot change that. Death cannot change that. Not even the Universe can change that fact.

So you know what? Fuck everyone who disapproves or thinks less of me, or berates me, or faults me, or who says anything about me behind my back or who doesn’t agree with how I’m living my life.

YOU’RE NOT MY MOM.

No one on this planet will ever be my mom so fuck what they think.

Yes. In two months I met a guy online and packed up my shitty excuse of a life, transferred my job and moved to a completely new state to be near him; to start over with him.

I didn’t need or want anyone’s permission to do it. My life was so broken where I was and for once it feels like I’m doing things right, so fuck you, Life, if you think I’m going to give this up without fighting you. I won’t let you take this back from me. I’ve earned everything fucking minute of my happiness for everything that you’ve ever taken away from me.

You took my dad away from me with I was eight. You took away my mom from me when I was twenty-seven. Fuck you. Fuck you for every struggle I’ve ever had to go through to become who I am sitting here today.

I’m angry that I had to go through all of it. And maybe that’s something I’m going to have to work through now that I have the time and space and peace to actually start dealing with everything.

Anger.

I didn’t mean for this writing to go that direction, though to be fair I didn’t know how to begin writing or what I would write about when I finally sat down, but anger never, ever, made it to the list in all of my imaginings, but there you go. I’m angry.

And admitting that I’m angry makes it less powerful than what it was. I’m hurt and still injured and recovering, but I’m so much better than what I was two years ago, and I know I’ll only improve from this point forward.

So yeah… Fuck you, Life. I’ll get through this part of it, too. The anger and injustice and the fear and insecurity of gaining it all just to lose it in the end. Fuck you if you think I’m going to break now. My work isn’t over, but I’m hanging up my armor for now because I’m done fighting you.

It’s winter. This is when I get to go sit in hot tubes and do yoga and be reflective and clean and organize so in the spring, when new things start and the earth begins to grow again there’s the space and opportunity for it to all begin. This is a quiet time and I’m going to enjoy it, revel in it, bask in the nothingness of not struggling.

This is a  new start, a new chapter, a new first post. This is my “Fuck you” to Life from my new home in Nebraska and I’m glad I took the time to write it.

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Daily Post 070: The Last Day

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There are so many areas of my life to work through at the moment. To clean up; much like the apartment. So many places to empty out, scrub down, sort through… maybe not in that order, but it’s all on the to-do list.

I’m going to start with work because work is easy. It always has been for me and continues to be the easiest area to analyze, figure out, and explain. The easiest section to set to rights and be done with.

I talked to the FA from Nebraska. Apparently, she replied to my email. I never received it and I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t, so I feel it’s more likely that she thought she replied rather than she actually did reply. Either way, we talked on Thursday. I am set up to shadow at one of the clinics on February 23rd, which is a Friday.

There’s not an official offer yet. They want to see how I fit with the team and all that jazz, and honestly, I’m ok with that. That gives me roughly two weeks to myself, though most of the first one will be taken up by traveling and getting situated. During the second week, if not towards the end of the first week, I plan to find a gym and to begin/continue conditioning since that is something I plan to start seriously going back to next week; the week before the move.

I’m thinking that finding a YMCA might be a better option at the moment. I liked the one I used to go to; the one I I would bike to until they closed it down to rebuild it. It won’t be done until the end of this year, but the few times I’ve driven past it have been nice. It’s going to be a gorgeous facility once it’s done. Too bad I won’t be here to enjoy it.

I liked the classes that were offered. It was homey and comfortable feeling for me. I know it’s not the kickboxing or jujitsu that I will eventually find, but for the time being, I want a gym and I want yoga in my life again. So yeah, that will be one of the first things I do outside of becoming comfortable in my new living situation.

So that’s the future of work. Shadowing. Playing the “Game”. Making sure I make good impressions so they like me and follow through with hiring me.

As far as work in Orlando…

I worked my last day today. I feel lighter. Knowing that I’m no longer obligated to the crushing weight of working at one of the most demanding clinics in the area is freeing. I no longer “have” to wake up at 2:20 am. I no longer “have” to work a sixteen-hour shift.

I know the next week is still going to be hard and full of tasks, just as demanding, if not more so in some ways, than what work was, but I’m mostly looking forward to all of those tasks. It’s conflicting because I did enjoy my clinic; my teammates, my patients. I’m also glad I’m not having to give up what feels like a huge part of myself. I don’t have to choose between going to work and self-care at the moment. I can do the things I want and need to do to be ok. It’s liberating at the moment.

I did pick up extra hours this week. I worked part of Monday, a day which I was supposed to have off. I also picked up a shift at a different clinic. It was my first time working outside of my normal environment.

My FA came to me Wednesday afternoon while I was working and mentioned the Airport clinic, the one I trained at, needed someone to cover for one of their technicians and wanted to know if I would be interested in the hours.

Since I’m about to move to a completely different state to work at, potentially, three different clinics, I figured it would be a good experience to have sooner rather than later.

I need to know what it feels like to walk into a facility and to have NO idea where anything is or who the patients are or what the team members are like. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. That I could work a day somewhere else and survive and not kill anyone.

I would have had to face that anxiety at some point so I decided to do it now, while I still had a relative idea of what the clinic looked like, while I still knew who the FA was, while I still knew how to drive to the clinic and where to park and what their breakroom looked like and the type of coffee they have for their fancy coffee machine.

Yeah, it was a fuck ton of “new”, but it was also a lot of familiar. I got to see Jonathan, one of the FA’s who interviewed me when I was first being considered by the company. I got to see Omar who was my trainer during my initial training. I got to tell both of them about my moving and how I was grateful for their support and encouragement. They got to wish me well and congratulate me on surviving and staying with the company.

I got to experience what it’s like to work with new patients who are familiar with their environment. They’re not the visitor. I am. All of them trusted me enough to do their cannulations. Even though I was slower than what I have come to feel is my norm, mostly because I had to keep asking where they kept things, I felt like I held my own and that I was actually helpful.

I proved to myself that I can be the new person and still get the job done and that’s what I needed to know. I can go to other clinics and survive. I can talk to and work with new technicians and RNs and be competent. I can interact with new patients and still be kind, caring, and attentive while dealing with the overwhelm of being in a new place.

I can do it, and that makes the choice to move feel that much more right.

I worked today, my scheduled day, and it was actually a pretty good day. When some of my patients tried to say goodbye to me I said it wouldn’t be the last time they would see me.

I tried saying goodbyes on Wednesday and it made the day so much harder. All of the kind words and hugs and feelings… I didn’t want to go through that again today. I also didn’t want to have to rush through my goodbyes because another patient needed to be taken off the machine, or because I had to reset a station, or whatever other countless tasks need to be accomplished during change over.

I wanted to be able to have heartfelt moments with people who have impacted my life.

So, instead, I decided early this morning that one of the things I will do with my remaining week is to go to the clinic and to say farewell to my patients. I already have thank you cards which I need to fill out. One for each individual I have met while working there, including my teammates.

This is different than leaving Full Sail, and even then I wrote an email explaining the situation, and the people I worked with played a few rounds of laser tag with me as a way of saying goodbye.

I need to say “I’ll see you later” to these people. I can’t not do it and be ok with the move. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write my personalized, deep, emotional, teary-eyed messages in my thank you cards and give them to each patient I have had the honor of meeting, tucked safely into an unassuming envelope. I’ll shake hands, or hug. I’ll most likely tear up and feel loved and appreciated on levels that I didn’t know where possible, since that’s what most of Wednesday was, and even though I know it will be hard and it will hurt, I know I need to do it.

The wife of one of the patients went out Wednesday night and bought me cupcakes as a thank you for me taking care of her husband. Another patient who served in the Army shook my hand after I had finished taping him up and said, “It was a pleasure serving with you.”

Yeah… all of the feels. I DO make a difference, and that means the world to me because that was the whole point of my career change. I didn’t know how I could keep going without mom. I didn’t know if I had a reason to. I needed to do something that mattered, that was important, so there could be an anchor to hold me here. I needed a job where I HAD to keep going because what I did actually mattered.

Wednesday was, is, undeniable proof that the past nine-ish months of my life have impacted others on levels I never imagined I could.

There’s a “going away” party with my teammates tonight. Several of us are getting ready to leave the clinic so it’s not specifically for me, but I am part of it.

While the thought of not having to go back out into the world and staying at home in my pjs alone sounds amazing, I know if I don’t go I’ll regret it for forever. This is my last hoorah with them. I need to be there, even if it’s only for an hour.

That’s about it as far as work for what I will always think of as my home clinic.

It made me what I am. I’ve worked for nine months at what is considered one of the hardest clinics in our area and I have become a battle-hardened badass. My teammates helped pick me back up when I started questioning myself or feeling like a failure. They shared their knowledge and experiences with me. They were encouraging and supportive, as were my patients.

I am able to confidently move because of my time here and I will always remember that fact. I did not get here alone. And even though I know it will change, the Downtown clinic will always be special to me.

That’s about it for work I think… at least for the moment.

That means I can move on to the harder areas… hooray…. -_-;

Alright… A slightly less hard area… I’ve been closing out accounts and memberships for the things here in Orlando. I canceled my 24-hour fitness membership. That actually worked out extremely well because my personal trainer was there. We’re friends on Facebook, but it was nice to see her. It was nice having the opportunity to explain how everything had progressed to the point it had and to say goodbye in person. It was nice to thank her for everything she did for me because it wasn’t just about having me lift weights.

She was the first person I talked to about conditioning for MMA. She listened to me bitch about work and the apartment. She listened to me on the days that were hard because I was grieving and really didn’t want to workout but I knew that I didn’t want to let my grief win so I showed up. She helped get me to the point of flipping tires and jumping boxes. She was the one who made me realize that I am fit. I am strong. Just because I want to improve on something doesn’t mean I’m not already that thing.

She was another key person during this year of stability for me and even though I was there to cancel my membership, it was a positive moment because it marked a step forward in my life. Beginnings happen because something else ends and not all ends are bad.

I need to still cancel my Title Club Boxing membership, but that requires me to send an email with proof of blah blah blah blah… and I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. The staff knows I’m leaving and I’ll be refunded the personal training I bought but never had the time to use.

That leaves the dojo… which I went to on Wednesday.

I don’t know why, maybe it was because everything that day had been so emotional, but as I was driving back to my apartment, trying not to break down into tears as I drove, I had the sudden swelling urge to go to my dojo. I NEEDED to see my senseis. I NEEDED to be there, in the one area in all of Orlando that has felt like home for me since mom died.

So I did. I went there. I walked in during the Muay Thai class in my scrubs and work shoes. Both of my instructors were sitting in the back of the dojo with a handful of other people. Mongoose got up and gave me a hug and told me congratulations since she read a post I had made on Facebook. My sensei clasped my hand, a wide smile on his face of genuine pleasure from seeing back at the dojo.

I stayed there for a while, mostly talking with Mongoose. It helped me decompress. It helped me feel like things were ok. It helped me… I don’t know what, but I know it did help. I felt better as I walked out of the dojo barefoot. I felt more connected. I felt stronger.

I have to go through and do a formal cancelation thing, but that’s not what Wednesday night was about. Wednesday night was about going home for a little bit and seeing my pseudo-family. At some point in the coming week, I’ll go back and finish taking care of things.

The only other accounts to close out are the ones for the apartment. I need to switch the internet over to Warren and I need to set a closing date for the power.

Past that it’s getting Ms. Side Chick onto the lease and me off of it. I’ve already been in touch with my landlord so he knows about the situation. I’m waiting on him to send me an application to send to her so she can fill it out and more legal red tape bullshit so I can wash my hands of the apartment and be done with it.

I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Oh my god. Like… for real, I can’t put into words how amazing it will be to drive away from here and to legitimately be able to give absolutely zero fucks about what happens once I’m gone.

I have still, STILL, had to do all of Warren’s dishes. And I get that I don’t “have” to, but when it’s freaking 3 am and the sink is full of his shit and I need to actually use the sink there really isn’t a way around taking care of it. I don’t have time to wait for him to wake up… I have to go to work. Talking to him about it for the past year and some change hasn’t done anything, so why throw a complete bitch fit over it now, the last week that I’m here and burn every possible chance of him actually paying me back?

Because I want to rain down death and destruction on his life for being a shitty roommate. God, the thought of flipping shit on him feels amazing inside of my head. There’s a part of me who wants to break every dish he owns just to prove the point of how sick I am of being his mother.

What’s sort of sad is how Ms. Side Chick is all on board with moving in and taking my spot because, according to Warren, she loves the idea of finally being able to be with him in all of that rose-tinted colored glory.

What’s going to happen is she’s going to move in and see the reality of the situation and get tired of his shit and want to leave.

I’m not saying Amber was an amazing partner to Warren. I’m sure a lot of the stuff Warren told me was truthful, but there was a reason she fell out of love with him and called off the engagement. From the five years I dated Warren to the now year and a half-ish that we’ve lived together… I am willing to bet realizing she had three kids instead of two was a contributing factor.

I’m not going to say jack shit to him about it because I’m fucking tired of trying to talk and being disregarded. I’m going to watch this situation play out and when/if he comes to me crying about how she left, I’m going to ask if he helped maintain the apartment or if she was the only one doing chores. I’m going to ask if he actually helped in any way and showed that he was an independent adult or if she had to manage not only her life but his. Was he an equal partner or a helpless dependent?

I realize this may be a darker side of my personality, but there is going to be a very sick and twist part of me who’s going to do the “I told you so” dance so hard when that conversation happens because it will validate every fucking conversation I had with him where I told him I was unhappy with the situation, offered compromises and alternative solutions, and he did nothing to fix it.

It will be that moment where I get to quietly point out that, oh yeah, I was right the whole time and you should have listened to me but instead you didn’t and here we are… Oh… Sorry. Totally not going to feel sorry for you. You should have done the fucking dishes since they were YOUR dishes. Or swept up the dog fur since it’s YOUR FUCKING DOG instead of having this delusional idea that the dish fairy actually exists.

No. I’m not a fucking dish fairy. I’m a dragon who’s about to rip your throat out because I’m tired of your shit.

No hostility or pent-up frustration over this issue… None what so ever…

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So I guess this is a good place to segway into all of the other hard topics… like relationships… because you know… writing 3000 words and counting isn’t enough…

/sigh

Jon and I are going to have breakfast tomorrow before he goes into work. It may be the last time I see him before I move. I’m sad at the thought, but there’s really not much else to say about that relationship.

We still chat for a few minutes roughly every other day. Mostly it’s him bitching about his new job and how he hates working at a nursing home. I don’t blame him.

I do feel like he and I will stay in relative contact. I do think the move will put some strain on our relationship since he doesn’t agree with my choice. He thinks I’m about to fuck everything and get pregnant and become addicted to heroin…

No. For real. He said all of that to me over the phone.

Like… thanks dude for having so much faith in my ability to make smart rational decisions on my own.

The only way I can prove to him that I’m doing the right thing is to do it and not fuck up. Since it seems to be the season for me to have these irresistible urges to prove people wrong… I’m going to do it. And I’m going to prove to him that moving was the best decision I ever made for myself, next to telling Zane to go fuck himself and Full Sail that it could burn in Hell.

Yeah… both of those decisions were pretty amazing and deliciously satisfying, too… Ah… memories…

So yeah, things with Jon will be whatever they will be and that’s pretty much how it has always been, so there’s nothing really overly new or exciting to write about it I guess.

It’s going to be hard leaving tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to cry. I’m going to miss him even though he’s not really gone… fucking emotions…

I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to see my blacksmith before I leave. I hope so. I have his things that I would like to return. I’m not sure what I will do if I can’t return them. I know I can’t get rid of them, but they’re not mine so I can’t really keep them either…

I don’t know. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, I guess. Currently, I’m waiting to see if he can get time off work for us to meet one last time. It’s another reminder that we would never have been able to have any sort of real happily ever after.

I went to therapy on Thursday, and I mention that in this relationship section because my relationship with my therapist is changing. It was a pretty intense session since we had to go all the way back to Thanksgiving. I opened the session by mentioning that I was moving. We had to backtrack that far to get to the beginning of the events that led to this moment in my life.

Because I will be moving we have decided that I will no longer be a client and can now move into the position of friend. I am honored and grateful that someone who has helped me survive and heal and grow so much asked if we could be friends on Facebook.

During our session, I was able to talk about Ox. While I do value everyone’s opinion, and I do weigh pros and cons within my head, this is a person who is paid to tell me when I’m being self-destructive and doing stupid shit. If anyone has a right to tell me something’s a bad idea, it’s her, since that’s what she’s literally paid to do.

After listening to me explain all of the events she said it seemed like a positive opportunity for me and that the Universe was doing a lot to allow for this to happen.

She said instead of over analyzing things like I always do I should let it be. I should let it exist for whatever reason that it is. I don’t have to know the why and how. I don’t have to listen to outside voices or wonder if they’re right.

I should listen to my voice. The one that whispers. The one that I always question if it’s real or not. That voice of Intuition that tells me when something’s good or bad even though I can’t really put my finger on why it is what it is.

I didn’t ask her for permission to do this. I didn’t ask if it was the right or wrong thing to do. I essentially asked if I was crazy for wanting to try, and explore, and to see. Just like how that was the main reason for my trip to Nebraska in the first place. I wanted to see if the things I felt were real, or if it was all just make-believe inside of my head.

It was real for the three days I was there. The feeling of absolute peace from walking in the woods even though there was snow on the ground… that was real. The feeling of home and acceptance… that was real.

If it was real for three days, I want to see if it can be real for longer.

She thinks it would be positive for me to try. I think it would have been too late to undo a lot of my choices if she had come back and said, “You realize all of this is batshit insane…”

Yeah… that would have sort of sucked and put a dampener on a lot of things. I wonder if you can undo letters of resignation…

I’m glad and relieved that she thinks I have researched and planned and gone about this in a relatively logical and thought out way. It may be sudden, but it doesn’t seem to be impulsive or causing harm to my self; emotionally, physically, spiritually, or financially.

At the moment, aside from the pain of endings, it has only had positive effects, but all change comes with its own level of hurts so the pain I am feeling in regards to the move is understandable and even expected.

So that’s that… and even though there’s STILL more to write… I’m pretty written out…

The rest can be saved for another day, and with work not demanding my time, I may actually be able to sit and write and process more often than the never it has been for so long now.

I’m looking forward to the coming week. I’m looking forward to a lot of things in the very near future. And in my own, weird, introverted way, I’m looking forward to this going away party tonight. Maybe there’s be a cat I can hang out with or something.