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.
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.
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.