Daily Post 145: An Uncomfortable Truth

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Written Tuesday. Posted today.

Today started out like most of my recent days off have; with no motivation, an overcast sky, cold weather, and the pervasive feelings of depression and pointlessness.

It stayed that way for most of the morning. I had a bowl of cereal knowing it was full of carbs and not caring because what’s the point in my hallow crusade to lose weight. It’s not that I’ve given up on being healthy, or that I feel the 60 pounds I’ve already lost is enough. It’s more that I keep losing touch with myself. The candle flame of drive that I find periodically keeps getting snuffed out when held up against the storm that’s still going within my inner world; a storm which I know is happening but have yet to understand why or how to whether it properly.

Do I bash myself about eating? Do I make myself feel like crap for putting in the effort to actually have something instead of staying in bed like most of me wanted to do? Do I say fuck it and have my single serving sized bowl of cereal with milk that reminds me of childhood and warmer, happier days and keep going or do I give up this early in the day and hope that tomorrow I do better since for whatever reason what I’m doing doesn’t feel good enough?

Most likely because it contained a curse word I went with the fuck it option.

Papa Ox wasn’t awake yet. Mama Ox had already left. It was the perfect time to finish up Jon’s cross stitch. I could have used the kitchen table to spread out my craft supplies and cut the fabric down to size. I could have used the Exacto-knife to carve out the piece of mounting board I need. But no. I went back to bed, the task of eating accomplished. A single task of necessity off my list with all other tasks lurking in my head gathering dust, waiting for a moment where they felt worthwhile.

When I woke up again Papa Ox was in the living room. The thought of walking past him to go outside for a cigarette was enough to keep me in the room. I knew I was getting worse. I could feel it and yet I didn’t know what “it” was. Just that it was building and eventually there would be a revelation where everything clicked into place and I finally gained clarity and understanding and I would know what to do to fix what I felt was internally broken.

Well… I guess that day was today.

Work went well yesterday; Monday. It was just me and my FA. We got everyone on the machines on time. I had to have my yearly TB test done, so that was one needle stick. I had to have lab work done as well. My FA tried to draw the labs on me but my veins didn’t want to play nice. After two attempts she said we would try again later. I said I would work on drinking my container of water since dehydration might have been part of the issue.

Fast forward to the end of the day where we to try to draw the labs again only for me to end up with a busted vein on my other arm and still no tubes of my blood to send to the lab. I have a pretty impressive bruise on my left forearm. She felt awful for not being able to get the labs and for having to stick me so many times. I felt ill for most of the drive home from work because of the swelling pressure under my skin. I was also covered in band-aids from all of my needle sticks. Once I got home and was able to ice my arm things got better. Eventually, I was able to take a shower since I could move my arm without feeling nauseous.

Workwise, It was a good day even with all of the evil spikes of death being shoved into my arms. That’s sort of where it ended, though.

The kids weren’t here and that’s always hard for Ox. He played on the computer for most of the night. When it was bedtime he fell asleep instantly like normal. I envy his ability to fall asleep. My brothers can do it, too. They just… sleep whereas my brain stays on. It can take me hours to fall asleep and all the while I’m ticking down the time.

Brain: If I fall asleep know I can get this many hours of sleep… If I fall asleep now, I can get this many hours… If I fall asleep now, I’ll get this many hours…

I felt alone Tuesday night. I don’t know why sometimes it bothers me and other times it doesn’t. I don’t know what I needed that I didn’t vocalize to feel so… unimportant, but listening to Ox’s steady even breathing made me want to cry.

Sometimes it feels like the game is more interesting than me. The game is better than reality and there’s nowhere for me to go to get away from it. No room where I can be by myself, away from the screen that is better than me.

I know all of that sounds horrible. It’s petty. It’s whinny. It’s needy and insecure and self-absorbed. It’s completely untrue that he likes the game more than me, and logically I know that, but when it’s dark inside of my head, those are the types of thoughts that my brain whispers to me and when I’m awake, alone after only a few cigarette breaks to facilitate interaction between Ox and me, it’s hard not to listen to it and think it’s right.

Ox has his own emotions he has to contend with. I should be understanding and supportive and strong enough to allow him to have what he needs to be ok and instead, here I am being emo. It only adds fuel to the self-destructive thoughts that I know I shouldn’t be having, but that doesn’t change that fact that I am having them and that I don’t know how to stop them or fight them.

The only thing I know how to do is to be alone to try to deal with my Evil Voice. Alone I can think through those whisperings. I can try to understand why those thoughts aren’t true. I can try to figure out where they’re stemming from. What’s the root cause? Listening to another person breathing a peaceful sleep while I mentally struggle isn’t being alone. It just emphasizes the feeling of, “I don’t have anyone to help me through this.” I ended up sleeping on the couch last night because being alone was easier than feeling lonely.

We still had our shared cigarette this morning, but the feelings of isolation and unimportance were still there. I hadn’t been victorious against my Evil Voice. I still knew what it was telling me wasn’t true, so I hadn’t lost ground, but I hadn’t gained any either. I was still where I had been and that was sort of a shitty feeling.

I was still in that place later when Ox called me and said he was off work. He had texted me earlier asking how I was. I had been honest and said that I was cold and sad and that I missed the sun and warmth. He said I had seemed sad this morning. I said I was sorry; that I didn’t mean to be sad. I didn’t mean to always be this way.

He asked if I wanted him to come home. He was supposed to stop and get more nails for the nail gun. We were supposed to work on the addition. There was a part of me who disliked myself for answering yes; I did want him to come home. I didn’t hate myself for it, but I should have been ok. I should have been fine and doing stuff and productive instead of on the verge of tears and wanting a hug more than wanting to make progress on a project that’s important to both of us. But, no, even if I didn’t like it I was honest both with Ox and myself.I wanted it to be warm outside and not winter and cloudy. I wanted to feel more important than a video game.
I wanted him home.

Ox came home. We cuddled. We talked. There was sexy time and not good feelings afterward because sex wasn’t what I had wanted. I had wanted to feel connected and now it was over and we would go back to playing video games and cross stitching and ignoring each other and it would be like nothing had ever happened. The feelings of aloneness were more intense then they had been and yet I still didn’t know how to vocalize that or explain why they were worse or even why there were there in the first place.

It sucked.

I did realize one thing in that particular moment, though. The issue always seems to be the same. Feeling alone.

I’m surrounded by people at work. I get touchy about being home because there are always people around who want to talk to me. I have so many people in my life who love and care about me and yet I feel alone.

Score. One small step towards understanding. I now have a place where I can start on my quest to untangle all of this confusion. Why is there always this feeling of being alone?

Ox and I ended up having what I feel was our first true BDSM scene together. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t about cute fluffy handcuffs and roleplaying out some make-believe slutty scenario.

It was about having a safe environment and letting me cry. It was about trust and safety and brutal honesty with myself inside my head. And while he held me against his chest, my face buried in the darkness he had created for me I heard the words my inner self had been screaming at me for months now but that I’ve been too busy and occupied to listen to or hear. I heard why I always feel so alone.

Mom left me.

When mom died she left me alone without a safety net and I’ve faced all of these challenges and trials without her. She’s not here to help me or listen to me or encourage me. She’s not here to answer the phone or have lunch or visit. She can’t send or receive cards in the mail. She can’t tell me about her coupon stories.

I’m alone.

Realizing those words were inside my head… that was my revelation today.

I know my mom didn’t leave me. I know she tried as hard as she could to not die. I know her death wasn’t her fault. I know her death wasn’t my fault. It was no one’s fault. I also know she’s still with me as much as universal energy can be. She’s still here and a presence within my life. But inside, in my heart chakra where I still hurt and ache and constantly count how many days before or after the 4th of the month it is, I feel alone because she left. She died and she didn’t take me with her. She died and I couldn’t follow her. I know she couldn’t take me and I know couldn’t follow, but inside none of that logic matters. Knowing all of that information doesn’t change what the emotions feel like. It doesn’t change that those words have been what the storm within myself has been feeding off of and using to build and build in its intensity since before my move to Nebraska.

I haven’t cried as hard as I did on Tuesday in a very long time.

I’m not sure if I was really ignoring this part of my grief. I always feel like I have to choose between anger and sadness and I opt with sadness more often than not because there’s no one to be angry at. But there is anger and heartbreak and abandonment with the words, “She left me.” Whether I want anger to be there or not, it’s there and it’s something that I needed to realize and make peace with and it’s something that until Tuesday I hadn’t acknowledged or really even truly knew about or understood.

I think it was healthy that I had this realization; that I finally realized these words are within me. Knowing they’re there means they no longer have the power to eat away at me. I still feel tired and raw from the outpouring of earlier but I also feel cleaner. I know there is more there, on the inside. I know my grief is something that I haven’t been paying enough attention to and so there’s most likely emotional infection that I need to tend to. I’m sure this new phrase is only one of many that I need to sort out.

Mom didn’t leave me. Not by choice. And I’m not alone. She’s still here and I have my brothers and Ox and my friends who support me and keep me struggling forward even when it feels hopeless and pointless.

It’s not pointless. Winter has an end. This weekend it’s supposed to be warm; in the 50s. Grief doesn’t have an end, but it’s not all sadness and loneliness and hopelessness, either. My grief doesn’t define my life. It doesn’t define me. I still have good days. I still have good thoughts.

Sometimes my brain is a terrorist. And sometimes it shows me what I need to work on. Tuesday was a little bit of both.

I don’t know what else to really say or type. I haven’t had any other breakthroughs. All I know is my inner-eight year old thinks my mom left me and that I know she didn’t.

My name is Jennifer Conley and my mom didn’t leave me. That is one of my truths.

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Daily Post 144: A Weekend of Puzzle Pieces

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The past two days have been pretty good.

Friday the RN was late getting to work. She called me as I was driving to the clinic. Of course, that was the morning I decided to wear a jacket over my scrubs in addition to my winter coat. So when my phone started ringing I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find the pocket of my scrubs to get my phone out.

Right Brain: I know my phone is in there. I can feel it. Why I’m I struggling so hard to get my hand into my freaking pocket?!?! The pocket will not win! I will be victorious! Cower before my might pewny pocket!!!!….. Oh yeah… The jacket… Glad no one was here to see that…

It made for a cute story at work.

Work itself wasn’t bad. The nurse practitioner rounded. Change over didn’t go all that smooth and we ran behind. I would have hated to see what it would have been like with just me and the float RN. It was the last day of training for our new tech. Next week I have the clinic to myself. The week after, she’ll be back and on her own. We’ll see how it goes I suppose.

After work, I actually went to the dojo. Well… first I went to Arby’s and had their smokehouse brisket sandwich; just the sandwich. That’s part of my routine for the dojo. Eat something protein-heavy beforehand with enough time to digest what I ate and drink more water so it has time to get into my system. It seems to work well for me and it gives me a bit of time to let go of the stress from work.

It was… nice going back. And maybe nice isn’t the right word. Comforting. Like putting on a well-worn sweater that has a lot of memories associated with it. There was a feeling of comfort in taking in my gym bag and changing in the restroom. There was a feeling of comfort in walking through the door and bowing to my sensei as he finished teaching the kid’s class. There was comfort in sitting in the seat furthest in the back and wrapping my hands and taking my hair clip out so I could use my hair ties and taking mom’s ring and necklace off and putting my shin guards on. There was comfort in getting ready.

It was all familiar. It was all ritual and I know that word gives it a sort of “other-worldly” feel. But it’s how I think of all of the things I have to do before training. I’m about to honor myself; body, mind, and spirit. I’m about to have my me time. Performing all of the actions leading up to it is part of the process. It puts me in the mindset of, “I’m about to train. Work doesn’t matter. Relationships don’t matter. What other people are doing or how hard they are pushing themselves doesn’t matter. What matters is me. My inner voice. My feelings. My sensations. My internal struggles and battles and worries and concerns. What matters for the next hour is me.”

I didn’t push super hard on Friday. I did most of the warm-up. I did the drills on the bag and got to do some drills with the guys. I was ok with not pushing myself to the point of failure. The main goal on Friday was to simply go. I didn’t even promise myself to stay for a whole class. I hadn’t been in three months, the last of which I had been sick for most of. If the best I could do was 30 minutes then so be it. There would be other days, other classes, where I could and would do better. My accomplishment was showing up and walking through the door. Everything else was bonus points.

It felt good to have a full body sweat. It felt good to throw punches and kicks again. It felt good to do them right even if I wasn’t doing them as hard as I knew I had in the past.

As I bowed to my sensei while I was leaving I said I would see him tomorrow; Saturday.

Left Brain: There. Now I’m honor bound to show up. I have to be here. No chickening out or whining about it and making excuses when we wake up with a sore body in the morning.

I called Ox to let him know I was on my way home. The drive was nice. It gave me more time to myself and to listen to music. I cruised along about 5 miles under the speed limit and didn’t care. I wasn’t in a rush. I wanted to enjoy the drive instead.

The kids were home by the time I got here. I showered. I cooked a dinner of burger patties with onion and mushrooms. I actually drank all of my water and then some last night. Before much longer I went to sleep.

I woke up super sore Saturday morning. My shoulders felt like they wanted to fall off from their own weight let alone the effort it took to actually lift or move things like cooking pans. I knew that doing nothing would be the worst thing for me, but the thought of the dojo class was intimidating. If I’m already this sore, what am I possibly going to be able to do in the class? I had already obligated myself to go, though, and I needed to stop at work anyway, so it was going to happen regardless of how much my body protested.

I needed to type up some notes for my FA. I started to at home but with everyone being awake and what not, it was hard to focus on getting it done. I decided to finish typing the notes at my clinic since I had to be there anyway to sent the email. I had breakfast with everyone. I had a moment of overwhelm that Ox helped me through. I was tired and sore and everything felt so loud and there was nowhere to go to get away from it until I left… I felt, I don’t know, defeated I guess?

While we were cuddling in bed and talking about it he told me to close my eyes, which I did. He got up and rummaged around in one of his drawers. When he came back he slipped something over my wrist. When I looked at it I saw it was a bracelet with a Sagittarius bow and arrow. It’s purple and blue and all stary and nebulous looking. I like it. The band is two braided leather cords framing a solid leather band.

I like it but I don’t think it’s going to be something I can wear often. Not at work at least, and not while I’m at the dojo. I’m glad that it wasn’t an expensive gift because I would feel worse about not being able to wear it if it was. He said it was supposed to be my one-year anniversary gift from him but it seemed like I needed it that morning and more things were on the way so he wanted to give it to me.

I can’t lie. It did help me feel more grounded and connected. Maybe that’s the submissive side of me feeling owned since he put something on me. It’s pretty and I like it and I’m wearing it now.

I drove down to the dojo, stopping in Cortland for gas and cigarettes for the coming week. I still got to the dojo early. There were more people in Saturday’s class than the one Friday night. We started with running and jump rope. Since there were so many people, I didn’t get the rope that I like. I’m thinking about putting mine into my gym bag so I can use it while I’m there rather than struggling to get one I want. I stretched a lot during the warmup phase of the class. My goal, again, wasn’t to push myself. Two days in a row would be a lot; maybe boarder lining not smart, but I was going to do it.

I listened to my body. I got through the whole class. I didn’t spar; only conditioned and stretched. My shoulders felt better after the class. Looser. Less angry. I was super tired, though, and I knew not a lot of physical stuff wouldn’t be able to happen for the rest of the day.

I called Ox when I got out to my car and we talked about the rest of the plans I had. They changed slightly. The weather was actually pretty nice. The sun was out. It was around 40 degrees with a light wind that wasn’t too cold. It was a good day for a car wash. Instead of going to the clinic then to the Walmart in Beatrice, the game plan changed to going to the clinic then driving into Lincoln for my free car wash, then going to the Walmart closer to home.

It worked out well. I spent about an hour finishing up my note typing, then sent an email to my two FAs offering help with the new project requirements if they wanted it. From there I drove to the car wash and waited in line for a while.

When I had gotten my car repaired, one of the things they tossed into the deal was a free car wash code to the facility next to the dealership. I had to spend $4 to upgrade the car wash from uber basic to the “deluxe” where it would wash the underside of the car, but that’s better than spending $14 so I didn’t complain.

After the car wash, I stopped at the Target across the street since there was a Starbucks inside the store. I still had a little bit of money left on the gift card Ox had gotten from his work. I decided since I had been doing fairly well not only for that day but for the past week, that I would treat myself to a small drink.

They had a triple mocha chocolate frappuccino. OMG. It was amazing. I still have half of it to indulge in this morning. Totally looking forward to that part of breakfast.

After getting my coffee drink, I drove to the Walmart where I took care of the small amount of shopping Mama Ox wanted me to do and the few items I needed to replace in my stash. I had used the last of the 57 sauce and Worcestershire sauce the night before when I made the onion and mushroom mix for my burgers. I also wanted to get cauliflower potatoes for my lunches rather than using regular potatoes because carbs are a thing and healthy blah blah blah nonsense.

Once that was done I came home. I ended up talking to Jon for a while. He’s thinking about taking out a student loan since working full time and going to school full time is hard. He has a lot of feelings over that and there’s still some people he wants to talk to but I believe 100% that he’ll figure it out.

I cooked and ate burger patties again, resisting the pizza and pizza rolls everyone else was having. Go me!

I cooked my lunch meal while I was in the kitchen. Chicken with broccoli and no-tatoes. I washed my clothes and got them in the dryer. Again, I didn’t stitch. Instead, I worked on a puzzle with Mama Ox for most of the evening.

There were a lot of emotions associated with that. Puzzles were something my mom and I did. I enjoyed my time with Mama Ox but I felt guilty as I put the last piece into place.

Did this mean I was betraying mom? Were puzzles supposed to be a me and her thing that I didn’t do with anyone else? Was I now a horrible daughter? Would mom have been mad at me if I could have called her and told her about that part of my night?

I don’t think she would have. I think she would have understood that she wasn’t there and that she wasn’t being replaced. I hope she would know that no one could ever replace her. It didn’t stop the tears before bed where I told Ox how I felt. How I was tired of my only options in relation to my grief were anger, sadness, and acceptance. Why can’t being happy and having my mom alive be an option?

I don’t think I’ve made peace with the emotions of last nights puzzle pieces and I don’t think I will until I get some actual alone time to think through it, but at least I’m not in a rut of depression over it. Just sort of solemn and achy around my heart chakra. It was nice to spend time with Mama Ox where she wasn’t critiquing me on buying bananas that were too ripe or throwing away something that was expired but “still perfectly fine and usable”.

So far today hasn’t been bad. Most everyone has still been asleep though, so I don’t have a lot of info to base good or bad on. I woke up at 3:30 and had a piece of toast with almond butter, dark chocolate chips, and a banana sliced on top. I went back to sleep for a while. I woke up with Ox around 6:30. I’ve already cooked my venison roasts and had breakfast. And now I’ve written.

We’re supposed to play some tabletop games with the kids. I would like to stitch since I haven’t been able to much this week. I would like to get to sleep early as well since I want to get to the clinic around 4:15. And a bit of time at the gym rowing or lifting weights might be nice. I’m not nearly as sore as I thought I would be.

It’s been a good weekend so far. Puzzle pieces and tears included.

Daily Post 143: Not A Productive Thursday

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Written Thursday.
Posted today because I’m a slacker and Life happens.

I wasn’t as productive as I had hoped to be today, so I don’t feel like there’s a lot to report.

I felt good last night; Wednesday night. I felt like I had found motivation and purpose and drive again. So it was pretty frustrating when I didn’t really wake up with those feelings. I slept really well. I felt rested. I had written a little to-do list last night. A small, manageable amount of things to work on while Ox was at work. There shouldn’t have been so much friction inside of my head towards actually getting any of it accomplished.

By the time Ox got home from work around 1, the only things I had managed to convince myself to do were having breakfast and lunch and taking a shower. I spent the rest of the time in bed.

We talked about it and for the moment I’ll leave it at that. We didn’t fight or anything. Just talked about personal stuff that I’m going to keep personal until I’m done thinking on it.

Eventually, I did sit down in front of my computer and update my calendar. I organized my tax papers and put them away where I could find them easily for when I get around to actually filing them. I bought and downloaded the first book for my leadership class since Audible had it on their site. They have all of the books I’ll need for my class so now my only worry is the narrator being crummy.

I went through the rest of my “in” pile, which included a piece of mail from the community college I took my CNA course at. I guess that’s tax deductible, too, or something tax-related. There was another tax form in the letter so I filed that with all of the other ones. We’ll see what becomes of it. I didn’t even know it was something I should have been expecting. Hooray for going through stuff I suppose.

I called the car dealership around 2 pm to see what the status of my car was. It still needed the alignment but all of the other work was done. It would be finished later in the afternoon and they would call to let me know when it was ready for pick up.

I started cooking the bourbon chicken so it would be ready at a decent hour, and from there I curled up in bed with Ox to stitch for a bit and start listening to my book.

Eventually, my car was ready so we drove into Lincoln to pick it up. I had set aside $1500 for the repairs. It came out to $1075. That means I have more than enough to still buy the headgear and new gloves I want for the dojo. It would be really nice to actually go to at least one class at the dojo tomorrow. I haven’t committed to it yet. I guess I could always toss my gym bag into my car and have it with me. I won’t know until the end of the day what my mental status is anyway. I guess it doesn’t do me any real good to make a decision now when I don’t know what the day will be like.

Oh, and the car drives way smoother now. I hadn’t realized how not smooth it was until I was driving back home 1k poorer. The car is much quieter. There’s definitely less road noise and it doesn’t pull to the right anymore now that the struts aren’t busted. I even have a code to get a free car wash. Too bad the temperatures aren’t going to be above freezing for a while.

The bourbon chicken didn’t turn out the way I wanted. Ox said dinner was good, but I had expectations on what it should have been like and it didn’t turn out tasting anything like what it “should” have so I’m thoroughly not impressed.

Positive note: the cauliflower rice I tried wasn’t bad. I plan to make green curry soon and use that instead of the black rice like normal. I haven’t made curry since before I moved to Nebraska.

I think that’s about it for today. There’s work tomorrow. Not sure how that will go. There’s the possibility of the dojo before coming home. The kids will be here this weekend. The dragon’s den is still pretty unusable so I don’t know how well I’ll fair.

At least I have a normal week to look forward to next week. No training another person. Just me on my own doing my own thing. That will be nice.

Daily Post 142: Tax Forms and Other Things

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Written yesterday. Posted today.

So… I feel like I have a lot to write about.

Yesterday ended up being a decent day even though it started with a rant about how horrible socializing is and how my day was falling apart around me. I felt mildly better after writing. Ox and I made plans to still go into town. I made my shopping list. Mama Ox spent a majority of the rest of the morning in her room so the immediate interaction I had with her when I woke up was pretty much the extent of it. Not having someone in the kitchen talking me to while I planned out the grocery trip helped ease the friction in my brain.

Ox came home to pick me up. As we drove into Lincoln it began snowing. We had a really nice lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. I haven’t been there in a while since I liked my sports bar in Orlando so much more, but it’s an ok substitute. I got to have wings and a side salad since we were there early enough for the lunch menu.

After we ate we went across the street to do the shopping at Walmart. I got a small stockpile of seasoning packets since I’ve gone through all of the ones I had. I’ve been enjoying the GrillMates marinate packets for when I cook chicken. I also picked up rice to go with the bourbon chicken recipe I’m going to be making tomorrow.

Originally, the game plan was to cook the bourbon chicken for dinner last night, but since it’s a slow cooker recipe and we didn’t get home until close to 3 pm, we opted to save that for Thursday instead of waiting to eat dinner until 7ish.

Ox and I moved the insulation out of my dragon’s den together. Though no other work got done I was ok with the small progress we made. We also discussed the setup of the room more. We talked about building a custom bed frame so we can have drawers for our clothes. We also discussed furniture and have a better idea for dimensions and the spacing of things. We talked more about what will be going in the dragon den, which included my own twin sized mattress. I’m very much looking forward to having my own little corner of solitude.

I ended up cooking a dinner of BBQ chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and a side salad. It wasn’t a very complex meal but it was satisfying and filling and it seemed to go over well with everyone but Ox who isn’t a huge fan of chicken. He had a bowl of cereal for dinner instead but was content with it. At least he said that he liked it.

I got to cross stitch a bit last night, too. That, too, wasn’t a lot of progress, but some progress is better than none. I feel like I’ll get more done tomorrow while I’m sitting around waiting to pick up my car.

Anywho, that was about the extent of yesterday. It was a cold, snowy day that didn’t start anything like I thought it should have, but overall it turned out to be an ok day. I even put my clothes away and got Ox’s at least dried.

Today didn’t have a super awesome start. The snow as still coming down at 8 pm when Ox and I went to sleep. When we woke up there were about three or four inches of snow over everything, including my car. I spent time scrapping my windows, letting my car defrost the rest of the way as Ox and I had our morning cigarette together.

The drive to work was far from relaxing, but having my trip back to Lincoln from Fremont two weeks ago as a reference point, I can honestly say I’ve driven through worse. I left an hour early for work and pulled into the parking lot of the clinic on time. I drove 35 mph most of the way down. The roads sucked. There were no track marks from other cars that early in the morning. Most of the time, at least on Hickman Road, I didn’t even know where the center of the road was. Everything was ice and snow and sometimes there were black patches that looked like asphalt. Luckily there wasn’t a lot of oncoming traffic for that road, but it still wasn’t a cool feeling not knowing if I was too far over or not.

Right Brain: Doesn’t matter. I stayed on the road. Go me!

Highway 77 was a little better, but not by much. I was glad to pull into the clinic parking lot at the same time as my FA. The float RN called out due to the roads. She lives significantly further away from the clinic, and further north so she got more snow. With how crappy the drive was for the brief time I was on the road I totally don’t blame her for not coming in.

It was a pretty smooth day today at work. The tech in training is getting better. I know her first few days on her own is going to be overwhelming for her, but the only way for her to find her own flow is for me to not be there. I plan to take a serious step back on Friday. Essentially I’ll be there as a cheerleader. It’s going to be hard to not jump in and help. I’m not good at watching other people work.

We got her checked off on the few skills she needed to be observed performing. So yeah… after this week she’ll be a full-fledged Patient Care Technician. I think if she can get through the overwhelm of the first few weeks on her own that she’ll be fine. She needs to prove to herself that she can do it.

I had a bunch of emails at work today. Tax forms got posted, so I printed those. There were new emails about my leadership course, so I printed that information out. I have dates for all of the class meetings along with what our reading content will be. I plan to see if Audible has the books so I can listen to them while stitching. That would be super cool. I’m really looking forward to Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I want to jump straight to reading that one. Too bad that’s not until May or something like that. It’s one of the last books we’ll be reading for the class. So not cool. ;-;

I got to talk to my FA about taking time off in March to actually travel to Orlando to see my dad and stepsisters and Jon. She’s ok with me going so now I need to iron out the dates that will work for seeing everyone. It would be nice to see Warren #2 while I’m there and my home clinic teammates and my former coworkers at Full Sail. There’s Sir and Big Bad and my Blacksmith. There’s the potential to go to my old dojo and roll with the guys for a night or two. There’s a part of me who wishes I could see Mother Earth but I don’t know how to approach that aspect of my life just yet. I want to see my therapist, too, even if it’s only to give her a hug and to show her how amazingly well I have done since moving.

I know I won’t be able to do everything and see everyone. But at least I know there’s a possibility of it actually happening. The subject wasn’t immediately shot down. In fact, my FA wrote my tentative dates down and said if they changed to let her know. I can’t put into words how grateful, honored, and appreciative I am of her support. I feel like I matter to her as a person. I’m not just an asset. What I want matters and she tries really hard to make sure I’m happy and content both at work and in my personal life.

The new schedule for work came out today as well. That’s a big deal because our clinic will now have two techs, but we’re still only open three days a week. That means there are not enough hours for both of us to meet full-time requirements without covering at other clinics. We were told we would trade off weeks with our sister clinic in Lincoln. One week I would be in Beatrice, covering our three days, and the new tech would be in Lincoln. The next week she would be in Beatrice and I would be in Lincoln.

Neither of us wants to cover anything in Lincoln. XD

Well… with the new schedule, the first week I’m in Beatrice. Score. The second week I cover four days in a row at the Lincoln clinic. Boooooo. But, bright side, I’m either Census 1 or Census 2, which means I don’t have to stay until 9 pm to close the clinic. I’ll be one of the first people, if not the first person, to leave. Not a perfect situation since I still have to go to that particular clinic, but I’ll take it as an acceptable compromise. If I have to be there at least I’ll be out as fast as possible.

My FA also mentioned that she wants me to come to one of the regional FA meets that are held monthly. Sort of like how I sat in on the FHM meeting back in November I think it was. I’m very interested in seeing what those meetings are like. I don’t expect that I’ll contribute a lot, or that anything will really be expected of me. But with the push to have me become a preceptor for our clinic and my participation in the leadership course, our Regional Operations Director wants me to participate in one of these meetings. Like… He specifically spoke to my FA about having me attend.

Right Brain: No pressure or anything… brb while I go hyperventilate by myself in a corner… x.x

Apparently, there was talk about me become a regional float tech for the company since I’m so highly requested whenever there is a staff shortage. My FA told me about that today, too, and how she had vetoed that idea. Part of me is honored that my region as a whole feels like I would do well in a position like that. The other part of me is glad my FA told them no. I like where I’m at. I like knowing my schedule and having a clinic that’s “mine”. I like having “my” patients. I don’t mind picking up overtime every once in a while. I’m getting better at saying no; or at least saying, “I would rather not be the first pick if possible. If I’m the last resort, ok, but I really would like to be able to not have to cover that shift.”

It’s a weird feeling. I never thought I would be here when I started my own training as a dialysis technician. I didn’t even know if it was something I would be able to do. I knew for sure when I was in Orlando that I wouldn’t be able to maintain working 16 hour days. I admit to still having a hard time finding balance with the gym and dojo and school and life while working 12 hour days, but I think I’m more successful with it here in Nebraska then I ever could have hoped to have been in Florida.

I also have had so many more opportunities here to explore and branch out. Being the only tech in my clinic meant I had to step up and learn new things and cover more tasks. I don’t know… I just feel like I’m doing really well and that’s a weird feeling. I never thought about excelling or being a role model/trainer for other technicians. I just wanted to help people and to give my life some feeling of purpose because I didn’t have one when mom died.

I’ve come a long way and I feel good about that, but also sort of solemn and heavy because I wish I could share that with mom physically. I wish we could talk on the phone and I could hear her excitement and pride and happiness for me. Adult me knows she’s proud of me. Adult me knows she’s happy for me. But it would make my inner eight-year-old happy to the point of tears to actually hear it in her voice. To feel it in her hug. To see it in her smile.

Sometimes good things still suck and while I don’t think any of the positive stuff that’s happened for work really falls into the “sucks” category, it’s still tinged with this feeling of sadness because there’s still a part of me who wishes things were different.

So yeah, lots of stuff happened at work.

After work, I drove into Lincoln to drop my car off. Ox and I got dinner at Slim Chickens. They have pretty good salads. I was happy with a healthy dinner since I totally had a donut at work this morning. >.<;

We also stopped at GNC and got two more cases of Bang. Mornings can never be bad when I have that to wake up to. Maybe I should have focused on that yesterday morning rather than how I had to talk to people on my day off… something to keep in mind for next time.

Right Brain: Damnit! I have to talk to people… but at least I have a Cotten Candy Bang. All is still right in the world. : D

When we got home I printed out the other two tax forms I needed. One for the interest I’ve paid on my student loans along with one for my HSA account through work. I don’t know when I’ll actually file my taxes, but at least I have all the forms, that I know of, that I need.

And now I can feel accomplished because I’m at the end of writing. It’s pretty much bedtime, so I don’t think I’ll get to stitch at all, but I’m pretty sure I’m ok with that. I have all day tomorrow to be at home. I don’t have a whole lot of actual chores to do. I need to update my calendar with all of the new dates I have. I want to try to get in touch with my dad. I want to put the rest of the clothes away and cook dinner and other small things like that, but there’s not a whole lot in the way of obligations tomorrow. Really just dinner, which I did to myself, and picking up my car once it’s done.

I think tomorrow will be a good day. I’m looking forward to it.

Dragon’s Horde 056: Woodland Fairy

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Mostly finished WIP

This is the second cross stitch I have completed since mom died. I cried a lot throughout its progress, but most especially in the beginning. Holding the fabric was heaving. Pulling the thread was a monumental task that I couldn’t do for very long.

I was always emotionally and physically exhausted after the brief time I spent working on it and Ox was always there to hold me while I cried after what felt like an insignificant, laughable amount of time.

Unfeeling Logical Lef Brain: It’s fabric. It’s a needle. How are those things, which weigh less than a pound combined, heavy? How can you be physically exhausted when you go to the gym and lift weights and run and row and do jiujitsu and spare with black belts? How is this task in any way hard? Why are you being such a baby about this?

And yet, those objects were heavy and no amount of bashing myself changed the fact that stitching still made me cry and miss mom.

Like my last project, I thought about giving up on this one more than once and even though it’s a fairly easy project, it took me almost a year to complete.

I started this project shortly after my move to Nebraska. Ox went with me to a local stitching store and I found the pattern in the clearance section. It was a simple pattern. A single color. A happy little woodland fairy with a pretty little butterfly. I could do this project…

No…

I WOULD do this project.

I would do this project and I would figure out my emotions and grief associated with stitching while I did it.

I WOULD NOT give up my craft. I WOULD NOT let the universe take away a skill my mom had taught me no matter how much I had to cry and sob and scream and rage and cry again to figure it out and get it back.

This was the project that brought Lil’ Ox and me together. She saw me stitching one night and thought it was pretty and wanted to try stitching something herself. We went online and found patterns she wanted to do. I showed her how to pick out the threads she needs for her projects. I showed her how to cut her threads and thread her needles. I showed her how to count stitches and mark her pattern to keep track of her progress.

So far she has stitched a cat and a heart and is in the process of stitching a rainbow unicorn while we’ve sat next to each other listening to music or talking. She gave the heart she made to Papa Ox as a Christmas present. It was amazing to see his face light up when he opened his gift and how big Lil’ Ox smiled and to sit knowing I played a role in making that interaction happen.

This fairy will eventually be Lil’ Ox’s birthday gift. I want her to have it since she admired it so much and because I think of it as ours; her’s and mine. I still need to wash out the pencil lines and stitch her name, but overall the project is done and I’m content with it.

I wasn’t as good as I meant to be about taking progress pictures, and with how much space lapsed between the start and the end of the project I’m sort of surprised I have as many pictures as I do.

I’m glad I did this one. I’m glad I have a lot of positive memories associated with it. I’m glad I worked through as much as I did emotionally with it. I no longer cry every time I stitch. In fact, I haven’t cried while stitching or after stitching in months now. I’ve completed two other projects since this one and am already in the process of working on another.

I’m glad my fairy will eventually have a home where she will be cherished and loved and valued. I’m glad that holding this project actually makes me feel warmth and love and… happiness? I think maybe that’s the right word. I’m happy I have someone to give it to. I’m happy someone will be able to enjoy it.

I’m sorry this piece took me so long to do, mom, but I didn’t quit or give up on it. I didn’t throw it away. Every time I stitch I still think of you teaching me on my first project and all of the projects I made for you after it. I still think of you and miss you and I don’t mean for those thoughts to be as painful as they are, but I’m adjusting to them and because I worked through them I’m able to pass on your teachings to others. You’re still alive and affecting and influencing the world because you influenced me and I haven’t given up.

I love you, mom, for ever and for always.

Daily Post 141: Introverted Woes

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Today is not off to a good start; at least not from an introverted “today’s my day off of no people” perspective.

Some backstory: The weather is pretty icky. The forecast keeps flipping back and forth between rain and three inches of snow. The news people this morning reported a lot of the main roads are bad with black ice.

Enter me, waking up around 9ish to the sound of people talking in the living room. No bueno. Voices in the living room should NOT be a thing today. It’s Tuesday. Mama Ox should be at work. Ox is still at work until 11ish. Papa Ox, while he has been hanging out in the living room recently during the mornings, is usually working on his laptop, not conversing with people. Nothing good can come of voices at home this early in the morning.

I stayed in bed for as long as I could, avoiding the social onslaught I knew would happen by my emerging from the sacred darkness of the bedroom. Unfortunately, my bladder could only hold out for so long, which wasn’t nearly long enough by my standards. The Universe took pity on me, allowing me to venture forth during a period of quietness. Mama Ox had stepped outside, leaving only Papa Ox in the living room. He’s gruff “morning” wasn’t overly abrasive to my introverted senses. It’s normally the extent of our conversations when I first wake up.

Mama Ox was still MIA when I was done with the restroom so I took the opportunity to switch the wash really quick and to heat up my breakfast.
I went outside to my car to get my pack of cigarettes and I realize as I type that how many people are most likely glaring daggers at their computer screen.

Unfortunately, this is where my luck ended. Mama Ox was outside raking up the gravel in the driveway, trying to break up the thin layer of ice over everything. Begin long conversation from hell that I’m not ready for. I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet. She explained how she called into work today since the weather was bad. I totally get it. If I ever had the option to do that without screwing over the clinic and my team, I totally would be all over calling in. But dudebro, can I at least have five minutes to myself before you launch me face first into a concrete wall of social?

It’s like she’s grown a sixth sense for when I don’t want to talk and specifically hunts me down during those exact moments to have long, drawn out, pointless conversations that make me want to stab my eyes out.

What did I do to deserve having to socialize before my brain has made peace with the fact that I have to deal with people literally all day now rather than having a small, handful of measly hours of silence to myself before going back to work and dealing with people all over again?

I’ve already sent a text message to Ox bemoaning my woefully social morning. Our day wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be productive.

I was supposed to move a bunch of the insulation upstairs so we could finish my little dragon den area so I have a place to call my own this weekend while the kids are here. It was supposed to be a small task I could do on my own to prep the area so when Ox got home we could get straight to work.

I haven’t gone up to do that yet, but I think it’s not going to be as easy getting the insulation moved out of the room as it was getting it in there. The stairs leading up to my dragon den aren’t completed. It’s just the frame for the stairs. The boards for the steps having been cut yet. Going up wasn’t a big issue because I could just lift the insulation and slide it back on the floor. Going down, I’m worried about tearing the plastic wrapping the insulation, and I’ll have to do it one at a time since I can’t slide the ones I place down out of the way. It’s a relatively small piece of friction to the day, but with the sandpaper of this morning still grating against my skin, it makes it feel like the day is falling to ruin since nothing will get accomplished like it was supposed to.

If I buckle down and deal with people being home, I could still go out to the kitchen and make the shopping list like I wanted to. I could still write down all the spices I need for my seasoning mixes along with what I need for the bourbon chicken recipe I found. I could at least try to move the insulation and if it proves to be too much for a single person, Ox and I could still get it done together. We could still go into town and have lunch and spend some time together, just the two of us, away from home and the rest of the family like we had planned. It just won’t be as efficient gas wise since he would have to come home to get me first, rather than me meeting up in town. He’s already offered to do that for me; for us, so we can still have our day.

There are ways for today to not be bad. Different doesn’t mean bad, but right now my introverted brain is having a hard time not viewing everything as shattered, broken glass fragments with no point of trying to piece it back together. All I wanted was a few hours of solitude. Why is it so hard to get that? Why does it feel like that’s asking for too much; to be left alone?

And why is it so hard for Mama Ox to NOT buy six things of cookies and donuts and all of this other stuff that is clearly unhealthy and not helping anyone? Both her and Papa Ox have health issues. Eating potato chips and cookies totally doesn’t help either of them. It doesn’t help me lose weight because I’m not going to lie, I like cookies. I like dark chocolate and mint and caramel, so it’s easier to either not buy them, or to have them in small amounts than to have the kitchen filled with stuff like that and pray that I have the resolve to leave them alone when I’m starving after working for 12 hours.

Detached, unbiased fact: I don’t have the resolve to not have a cookie when it’s sitting there on the counter next to my water filter.

Arg. I’m just frustrated and I know I am. The day isn’t that bad. I haven’t been awake long enough for it to be that bad but god does it feel like sandpaper against my skin to not have my day go the way I wanted it to.

Right Brain: This wasn’t the deal, Universe! How dare you fuck up my to-do list after I’ve already written it in my notebook.

I feel like I do an amazing job of dealing with and putting up with and compromising with all of these factors in my life; all of these people and their habits and wants and needs and expectations. Why the fuck couldn’t I have had a single cigarette alone, outside, in the freeze single digit weather by myself for ten minutes out of the entirety of today? Why was that, is that, too much to get or expect or have? Why is it so hard for people to understand that being alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely or sad or need intervention? Why does it feel like it’s too much to ask to just let me be me? Like being me and doing the things that make me content and whatever makeshift, brittle, fragile semblance of happiness I’ve learned to experience since mom died is crossing some line and is unacceptable and something that needs to be corrected.

God. Some days I just want to scream at people to get the fuck out of my hamster ball. >.<;

Daily Post 140: All the Things

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Today went well enough. Our new tech was sent home since she had a fever. Before she left I was able to get a bunch of CVC packs made. I also started mixing a batch of acid for the clinic. No smoke poured out of the machine when I turned it on so we were off to a great start. My FA showed up for a little bit. She had a good vacation.

For dialysis, the day was pretty much as smooth as it could be.

Before I clocked out I decided to check my email one more time just for shiggles. I had a new email about the DSS Leadership course. I’m accepted for being “recognized as a teammate who exemplifies the companies mission and values”.

I no longer have to spend the rest of the week wondering if I made it or not. I’m still not really sure how I feel about it. I mean… good, I guess. I’m honored that I was chosen but I don’t think happy is really the word I would use to describe my feelings even though that’s how most people would expect me to describe it.

I’m glad I know. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about and interacting with the other applicants who were chosen. I’ll know more in the coming weeks as far as when the first session will be held and what will be expected of me.

Yesterday wasn’t an awful day. It actually turned out pretty decently. I made it to the gym like I said I would. I rowed for 20 minutes. I listened to music. I felt better about going. It was a better workout then what last weekend was for sure. More positive feelings; like I actually accomplished something. I stopped at the gas station like I said I would, too. Go me. Screw you, Depression. You can’t hold me down for forever.

I cross stitched for a while after that. I’ve made a fair amount of progress on my new project. I’m going to be taking a picture of it before I begin working on it tonight so I can try to have weekly images.

I thought about going to the gym tonight, but I’ve opted not to. Instead, I have laundry started since there are about three loads that need to get done. I’ve eaten since I was super hungry when I got home. I still am so I might cook a burger patty here shortly since filling myself with water isn’t doing the trick.

I’ve spent the past “way longer than I meant to” looking at a couple of recipes. I’ve wanted a good homemade spaghetti sauce recipe for a while along with a bourbon chicken recipe. That led to looking at breakfast recipes for whatever reason. It’s like a black hole once you get started. >.<;

I talked to Jon on my drive home and told him the news about being accepted to my course. He got to tell me about his weekend and the good time he had in Ft. Lauderdale with friends.

Ox and I have plans for working on the addition tomorrow and I actually feel like we’re going to do the stuff we talked about. We’re both feeling relatively good-ish. Today is the second day in a row where I haven’t taken cold meds and I’m still alive and breathing on my own. Woooooo!

I think I’m a little more tired than I should be, but realistically I did a fair amount of lifting at work on top of my regular six-mile day of walking back and forth in the clinic.

Oh! Speaking of… I’ve noticed my feet don’t hurt nearly as bad when I get out of bed in the morning since wearing my compression socks. I used to have pin and needle sensations whenever my feet would touch the ground when I woke up. Sort of like they weren’t ready for more sensory input. It would fade within the first minutes of being awake, but it still sort of sucked to start the day with that feeling. It also wasn’t normal for me. It’s not something I grew up with or have had all my life. It’s been something new since working dialysis; specifically since being here in Nebraska.

Well, those sensations were still sort of there this morning, but they were greatly diminished from what it has been. Like, noticeably different. Different enough that I am now consciously aware that “oh yeah, I’m not in pain. Best morning ever!”

I’m hoping it’s a trend that continues until one day it’s no longer there at all.

So yeah… I’m feeling a bit better. Less sick and less sad / depressed and a lot of that started with talking to Ox and saying that Depression could go fuck itself. Why is it that curse words always seems to make things better?

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow which sort of sucks, but hopefully it’s not a lot and even more hopefully, maybe the sun will come out at some point this week and the wind won’t be awful and I’ll get to spend some time outside. Wishful thinking, mayhaps, but it can’t stay cold forever. One day it will be spring and shortly after that it will be summer again and it will be amazing.