Musing Moment 108: Throwing Down the Gauntlet

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while. For months. It’s been a thought that keeps popping up. It’s something I’ll ponder on and then let go back into the vast, endless sea of thoughts that fill my head, but it keeps coming back.

I want to be a fighter. Yeah, like an MMA fighter.

I don’t really know why. I keep asking myself that because I know other people will ask me the same question.

I know it’s not because I want to beat people up. I don’t have anger issues where I’m using this as my outlet. I’m actually a very anti-violent person.

So why this pull to something so… well… violent?

I want to prove to myself that I can. I want to prove that I’m better than I was the day before. I want to fight “for real” because every morning I wake up and it’s a fight inside my head.

Do I get up and go through another day without mom or do I give up?

I can’t put into words how much I wish I could give up sometimes. How I wish I could stop fighting, struggling, pushing. It would be so much less effort, less pain, less everything if I just stopped.

But I can’t. I promised mom I wouldn’t. So every day, I get up. I fight even if sometimes I struggle more than others.

That fight, the fight to keep going, is so much harder than going to the gym and busting out some burpees. It’s harder than the guys I go up against at the dojo. It’s harder than 16-hour shifts with dialysis patients. It’s harder than anything, everything else I have ever done. Just because after over a year I am more familiar with how the fight goes doesn’t make it less hard, less tiring, less demanding.

It’s the same fight, I’m just conditioned for it better than I was when mom first died.

I want to fight against other people to make my mental fight real. To make the fight of Life tangible. I know I’m going to lose some fights, or all of them because who knows, maybe I’ll super suck at this. I know I’m going to get knocked down, knocked out even. Maybe I’ll get injured. Broken bones, cuts, bruises to be sure.

And I know I’ll get back up. I want to fight and I want to lose and I want to keep going because that’s what I have to do. That’s Life. There’s giving in, giving up, and saying it’s too hard, and then there’s giving a giant middle finger to Life and saying “Fuck it. I’m going to do what I want to do and you can’t stop me.”

That’s why I want to do this. Because fuck you, Life.

I know I still need to condition. I know it will still be at least a year before I even want to start toeing the subject with my trainers. This is me throwing down the gauntlet, though. This is me declaring to myself that this is something I’m serious about and something I WILL do.

I will be a fighter.

There are very few people in my life who know I am interested in doing this, let alone the fact that I’m seriously going to do it, and even though I’m writing this for all of the Internet to read, I want to keep this information to a very select few.

I don’t want to explain it to Facebook. I don’t want to be discouraged any more than I already have been from something I want to do because “I’m a girl” or “too pretty to get punched” or any of the other things I’ve already heard when I’ve brought this up to people.

I’m going to do it and I don’t need permission to do it. I don’t need people to agree with it, or understand it. Not my brothers, not my lovers. No one. My body, my choices, my consequences.

I’m serious about this. I return to the dojo with a purpose.

Why do I train? Because mom died.

Why do I fight? Because I can.

Those are my answers, my reasons, my justifications and I am content with them. I don’t need other people to be content with them. Just myself.

Hopefully, I’m content enough to now go to sleep because tomorrow is going to suck if I don’t. At least it’s a short day… because you know… 12 hour shifts are short… ;-;

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Musing Moments 107: As Deeply As I Always Will

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I need to write this.

I don’t view today as special. I never have, and there is a small part of my brain which feels guilty for that though the guilt is not for what I feel, more so because I know other people will be angry from reading that and I do not wish to injure others.

That guilt does not change my feelings, though. I view this day as a joke, like most holidays.

I view Mother’s day as a commercial day harped on as a way to sell items. You only care if you buy something, give something, spend money you don’t have to spend. That’s the only way to show you care. If you are asked if you have plans for this day and you say no you’re suddenly a terrible child. Why wouldn’t you do something for your mother? She brought you into the world, didn’t she?

I always called my mom on this day because I knew it made her smile, but she always smiled when any of us called her. It didn’t matter the day. She always loved to hear from us, to chat, gossip, bitch, comfort, plan, reminisce. It didn’t matter. Knowing we took time out of our days to call her was enough for her to feel special, and so I like to think even though I didn’t value this day in particular above all others, that I still honored her and made her feel loved.

My older brother always had flowers delivered to her. I don’t know how he’s handling the change now that there’s no one to send flowers to anymore. I guess he’s handling it as well as Jon or myself. Coping. What else is there to do other than to keep going?

There are so many days which I miss her. Ache for her. Long for her to still be alive. Days that actually have significant meaning. Her birthday. My birthday. Her deathday. The birthdays of my brothers.

Those days matter to me. Those are significant in my life. Days that actually mark something worth remembering. Not a random day picked by society. She was my mother every day, not just on this day. This day, the 14th of May is meaningless to me, has always been meaningless to me, and will continue to be meaningless.

Even if I were to have a child of my own, it most likely won’t be May the 14th on which I give birth, and so this day will not mark the day I become a mother.

This day isn’t the spring equinox. It’s not a full moon or a new moon. This is nothing special about today other than the importance we are told to place on it.

I have so many days which ache and hurt without society telling me that I am less than because I cannot participate in this day any longer. All of the Facebook posts about remembering the mothers who are in heaven are like sandpaper as if today is the only day to remember them or as if heaven is the only place for them to be because all other religions are wrong. As if today is the only day to feel their absence, or that it should be felt more.

I am here to say, “No.”

No.

I refuse to ache more.

Today is just like yesterday. It’s another day where I cannot call my mom. Another day where I wake up and that fact is still real. She is still dead. Her body, as I knew it, will always remain dead, ashes upon my china hutch, her urn and my memories the only things to remind me that I’m not crazy. I didn’t imagine her. She was real and she was mine as much as I was hers.

She made me who I am. She helped me learn from my mistakes. She gave me hope and strength when I was lost and weak. She held my hand when I needed encouragement and she slapped me with the truth when I needed to be brought back down to Earth.

I refuse to feel emptiness and loss today. I refuse to cry. I refuse to feel shame for my feelings.

This day is meaningless because on all days she was my mother and I will feel her loss in equal measure every day I wake up. Every day I breathe. Every night I lay down and close my eyes.

Every day I am her daughter and I refuse to let society dictate when I should honor that fact.

And yet…

Despite my feelings, despite hating this day and the capitalism I feel it stands for, I still need to say this to you. I still need you to know…

Happy Mother’s day, mom. I miss you as deeply as ever, as deeply as I always will.

Musing Moments 106: A Letter to My Blacksmith

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I was supposed to see my blacksmith tonight.

That one sentence holds so much weight for me that I don’t even know how to being forming thoughts to express how I feel.

We haven’t seen each other since the beginning of December. He’s had to work double shifts due to a hiring freeze at his work. He’s been fighting through burn out. My schedule hasn’t helped matters. It’s a complex situation and so while we’ve wanted to spend time together we haven’t been able to.

Finally, though, tonight, we were supposed to.

And yet we didn’t.

I’ve been tapped out at the end of my days. They’re fun, long, intense. Training is going amazingly well. I’m doing outstanding. My brain is a puddle of goo by the time I get home. I haven’t been sleeping as much as I should, my body still adjusting to 4 am and 5 am mornings. I’m exhausted by 5 pm even though I rarely am able to sleep before 11 pm.

I feel like a slacker because I haven’t gone to the gym or dojo since Friday. Almost a week.

Add to that the therapy session I had this afternoon and all of the chores I still needed to get done before our evening together. The lack of time to decompress from any of it…

We decided to reschedule for another evening where I would be more able to fully enjoy our time together and even though I’m grateful for his understanding I hurt. I’m angry. At myself. Because after four months of waiting for everything to work out I cancel.

It’s confusing, the swirls of emotions. Different colors and sensations dancing around, never staying still.

I wish this didn’t feel like a failing on my part. I wish it wasn’t tainted with thoughts of, “If I was adulting better I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.”

Those thoughts don’t change the fact that I am, though.

I’m overwhelmed. Mostly with worries.

I’m worried about my training. I’m worried about not sleeping enough and being too tired during the day. I’m worried about falling behind. I’m worried about falling short of the expectations I have for myself, of the expectations my trainers have for me. I’m worried about not living up to the image my classmates and friends have of me.

I’m worried about the building anxiety of returning to the dojo. I’m worried about not being able to afford my membership because of finances. I’m worried about having to sacrifice my goals because I let myself get into the same situation I seem to always find myself in.

I’m worried about mistaking giving up with self-preservation. I’m worried that I need to hold on just a bit longer, believe and have faith for just a few more weeks and then things will be better. I’m worried that my past makes me jaded and that I’m not being fair to Warren.

At the same time, I’m worried he’s taking advantage of me or that our friendship doesn’t mean enough for him to not break it. I’m worried about being able to afford rent in October.

I’m worried about my dynamic with Big Bad overshadowing my dynamic with my blacksmith because I do think that is a very real concern.

I’m worried about a lot of things and I know that worry would have spilled over into tonight if my blacksmith and I had met.

I feel all of these worries, all of these wounds, so intensely right now. I’m grateful for the space and understanding to let me deal with them. I’m angry that I needed it. Disappointed even though I’m trying so hard not to be.

Maybe it’s all because I am tired. Maybe sleep will help. Maybe another weekend, one of solitude, will help. Time. Space. Decompression.

I have plans to fix the dojo/gym issue. I have options to explore with the financial issues. All I need is more time in regards to my training to allow my nerves to ease and settle.

But none of that could have happened tonight. Tonight I’m still a stressed mess and I ache because of it.

I’m not failing. I’m not disappointing anyone other than myself and I know that. It’s a sharp, cold pain, though. Icey. Isolating. An ache in my chest, a thin sliver through my heart chakra.

I know I already apologized and expressed my gratitude but I need to pour all of it out on this page, bleed all of it into my keyboard the way I couldn’t do through our text messages.

I’m sorry.

I know you don’t want me to be. I know you said you didn’t mind, but I’m sorry. This wasn’t how I wanted the night to go. I don’t mean to keep us apart for longer. I’m sorry my training started when it did and that the effort of keeping everything together feels like a lot.

I’m sorry I still miss my mom and that I hurt due to my grief.

I’m sorry that normal days still feel heavy and that some mornings I still wake up and wonder what the point of all of it is. I’m sorry that sometimes I’m tired from surviving.

I know you love me and I know I’ll find you through every life and I know this moment in time is temporary. I know it’s not my place to feel ashamed, and yet, the only thing I can feel is sorrow for having in some way failed you.

I will work through these feelings. I will address the worries I have and resolve them. I won’t let them stand in the way of our time together again.

I promise.

Musing Moment 105: Today’s Goal

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I’m awake but I don’t feel alive. I knew I wouldn’t. I went to sleep knowing this is how I would feel when I woke up and that this is something I would have to struggle through before I could do anything with the day.

Today is a day where I want to stay on the couch all day. Today is a day where I wonder if this is depression rather than sadness.

It’s been over a week since I’ve had a cigarette. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I wonder if through all this time of starting and stopping. Getting better and then getting stressed and buying a pack to get me through the hard times finally created an addiction and that part of the struggle I feel now is due to withdrawals.

It makes me think about how all emotional states are chemical changes inside the brain. I feel like I do right now because I don’t have enough dopamine. So I should do things that increase those levels. I can’t think of anything I want to do, though. A cigarette might help, but I don’t want one, which is why I haven’t smoked. I don’t want to drink either though I know that would make the pain less intense.

I want to sleep through this. I wouldn’t mind watching another show but I don’t want to put in the effort to find something else to let my mind be numbed.

It’s like I want to suffer through this, sort of like how I suffered through the cold I’m getting over. The only medications I took were cough drops and NyQuil. No decongestant. No fever reducer. Just good old fashion immune system suffering for four days.

I know this is a low and I know I’ll get through it and that once I do things will seem brighter, warmer. That is not where I am, though. Right now it feels like winter inside. It’s not the same as the darkness I felt before which is why I think it’s depression versus sadness. There’s a level of apathy. Coldness. Detachment. Logical isolation.

I keep thinking of my question from last night. “What’s the point?”

But honestly, what is the point? Why get a job to pay bills for things that we should have? I have to pay for water. Water. A basic need. I have to pay for it. I have to pay for the right to live.

I have to pay for food that’s processed and gives me cancer. I have to pay for food drenched in insecticides and poisons. It’s sad we even have to think about things like that. Our health is less important than a company making a profit.

It’s sick. Fucked up. It makes me wonder why bother? Why is it worth it? What’s the point?

And right now I still don’t have an answer. What’s the point in getting a job I most likely won’t like to buy things I don’t care about? What’s the point of being part of a system I don’t want to be a part of?

Maybe this is all because my grief is flaring again. Swelling. I think a lot of that has to do with the student loans. Thinking about them makes my eyes water. The silent tears. So maybe that is it. It hurts so much that I can’t suppress or alter the chemical reaction inside my brain. No matter how much I will them away, the tears are there, telling the truth even though I try so hard to deny it.

I want mom back. I want to keep my student loans because deep down I want the world to work like that. If I kept my debt I could keep my mom.

But that’s not how it works.

That’s not how any of this works.

I wish it were and wishing does nothing. Dreams do nothing. Dreams without action are meaningless.

Dreams are the start of a goal, though. From dreams, we can figure out action steps, to-do lists and one small action at a time we can reach milestones and eventually the pinnacle of what we had hoped to achieve.

So what is my dream? Or a dream? What’s something that I could turn into a goal?

And I think that’s the hang up in the whole process for me. In the vast emptiness, I feel right now I have no dreams. I have no goals. I have the phrase echoing, reverberating inside of my body like a heartless wind, “Mom is dead.”

Mom is dead. There is no point.

When I was at the seminar the other week, the one at the dojo for the belt testing, there was a question for the visiting sensei.

Student: “What advice would you give white belts to keep them from giving up?”

Sensei: “Suck it up and punch the clock. You’re going to have really shitty days. Suck it up.”

At the time I cringed. It felt callous. Rude. It made me mad.

Me: My mom died.

Sensei: Suck it up.

Me: Go fuck yourself.

That’s what it felt like inside my head. That was my internal reaction to his words.

Irrational Right Brain: Go fuck yourself. I’m not going to suck it up. I’m going to dig my heels in and battle you because every step forward is a step away from her. From that point in my life. From that moment where I hugged her the last time and said I love you for the last time and actually had those words said back to me through cracked lips.

Go fuck yourself if you think I’m going to just suck it up and deal with the fact that she died and that it’s not fair.

It’s true, though. Even then I knew that though I hated the delivery, that I hated him for saying those words, the message was true. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. We all have “hard” and the only way to get past it is to keep going. If you stay where you’re at nothing will change. You have to suck it up. You have to try. You have to put in effort. Blood, sweat, tears.

I’ve put in all of that. Especially tears. I’m so sick of crying right now. It doesn’t help my congestion at all. It’s annoying constantly trying to type through blurry water filled eyes, too.

I guess I need to put in more, though, since I’m not where I feel I should be.

I feel I should be home. Sitting here in front of my computer in the apartment I own until October, I don’t feel home. I’m back to feeling lost. I’m back to thinking that family is home, so why do I feel like I don’t have family.

There was one point in Ohio, we were playing Taboo. I can’t remember the word I was trying to get Jon to guess. The clue I gave was, “We don’t have this anymore,” and his answer was, “family.”

My heart broke. Sitting in my dad’s house surrounded by “family” and Jon’s answer was we don’t have a family anymore. Without mom, there is no family.

I can’t blame him for feeling or thinking that. I feel the same way. Even with him sitting across from me I understood the shattered broken feeling he felt. My own flesh and blood brother sitting three feet from me and we both feel like we don’t have family.

Empty. Lost. Alone.

I don’t think it ever goes away. I think I’m good, or at least getting better, at coping with it, ignoring it, smoothing it over with other things. But I don’t think it will ever go away. I don’t think it’s a weed, either. I don’t think it’s something I should remove. It’s part of who I am now.

This feeling is part of my grief. I feel like it needs acceptance and understanding. A gentle touch to help shape it into something positive or at least neutral, like a fern, rather than ripping it out of my chest, leaving another gaping hole, or allowing it to take over and devour the rest of the flora around it.

I don’t know why but I feel like it’s a plant. I don’t think it will ever have flowers. I don’t think it will ever be the typical “pretty” people think of, but it’s a part of who I am. It has every right to be there. It’s part of my story. You can’t rip out a chapter in a book just because you don’t like it. You can choose not to reread that chapter, but that’s not how my brain works.

This chapter hurts. I want to reread it until I understand it. Maybe it’s because I’m a masochist. Maybe it’s because I feel we find our true selves through pain, through struggle.

A tree can’t reach into heaven if its roots do not reach into hell.

Through all of this writing and meandering through my brain, I still haven’t found a dream, but I do think I have a goal. And it’s the same as it was when I went to sleep last night only now I feel like I have the conviction to actually do it.

I will do my chores.

I will sweep, then vacuum, then mop. I will do laundry, fully, which includes putting the clothes away. I will take out the trash because it will drive me insane for it not to be done. I will wash my sheets, too. I will clean my bathroom and straighten up all of the little things out of place in my space. Maybe I’ll even go through my emails and clean my inbox.

I will have lunch at my sports bar for doing these chores. I know it’s not a lot. I need it to mean something right now. I need it to be worth acknowledgment. I need a reason to go outside and get sunlight because I know that will help combat part of this feeling. I have been inside for four days. I need fresh air and sunlight. Need, not want.

After lunch, I will assess my energy. I want to paint the baseboards in the downstairs bathroom. I want to finish the painting in the apartment.

That will be my larger goal. Finish the painting.

I have a week to finish it. Starting today.

I am accountable. I am responsible. I am ok. Mom was/is proud of me. I will make it through this moment. I have purpose. I have meaning. I have value. It’s ok to feel hurt. It’s ok to grieve. I am not broken.

I don’t want to think of things in terms of productive and unproductive. I want to think in terms of surviving.

So that’s my goal for today. My goal is to survive and those chores are how I will survive. I will make it through today because I told mom I would. I told her I would be strong so I will be.

I cannot control my grief, but I can accept it and understand it, and sometimes surviving is the pinnacle. Really, I suppose it’s the only pinnacle. The only one that really matters. As long as we survive we can try again tomorrow for something more. But surviving in and of itself is the greatest accomplishment any of us can achieve.

I will survive today, and I will acknowledge my survival up to this point because it’s worth acknowledging.

Musing Moment 104: Another “Come to Freya” Meeting

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Alright. Enough is enough, Brain. We’re going to sit down and have another, “Come to Freya,” meeting.

Our resolution this year is to be happy. So let’s look at some things and see if they line up with that whole “happiness” thing.


 

Does going to the dojo make me happy?

For the most part, yes. Then, for the most part, I need to go to the classes. If I’m tired, I need to go. If I’m sad, I need to go. If I’m angry, I need to go.

The dojo helps move me towards my goals of being physical, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. It’s especially important to go during the moments I feel weak, vulnerable, and alone. It’s important to continue going even though my grief might have swelled up into another wave. The dojo helps me get through those waves. It helps keep me grounded and connected to the present rather than getting lost in the pain of not having mom.

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Mom is still here and I’m still in the process of living a life that brings her honor. Staying at home because I’m sad and missing her is devaluing the relationship I currently have with her and isn’t the type of action that I personally view as honorable or beneficial. Mom wouldn’t want me to stay home feeling depressed and sorry for myself. She would want me to be proactive and do something healing.

So, no more skipping out of the dojo. It’s good for me. It makes me happy. No excuses. I’m going from this point forward.

Does calling myself an “employed slacker” make me happy?

No.

Then don’t do. Ever. Not in a joking fashion. Not in a serious, self-deprecating fashion. It’s not funny. It pokes at sensitivities I know I have.

Stop being a douche to yourself.

Yes. I’m unemployed. Yes, some people look at that as a bad thing. It doesn’t mean I’m a slacker. It doesn’t make me a bad person. I resigned. I chose to back out of the workforce to heal and process after mom died. I’m getting to a point where I feel like I can go back. I’m actively looking for ways to go back.

I’m doing well.

I’m not a slacker. If it doesn’t make me feel good, then don’t say it.

Does the apartment make me happy?

Yes, sort of. I want to get the projects I have going on finished.

Then finish the projects.

Do the painting. Get the shoe rack so the shoes aren’t piled up by the door. Start the herb garden in the kitchen window. Fix the outside patio so in the summer there’s a place to sit and drink the morning cup of coffee. Set up a bike rack so the bike isn’t in the way all the time. Move the china hutch and get a small kitchen table so there’s a place to eat.

This is my home now. I committed myself to staying in Orlando. I will make this space my home. The home I want to have. It doesn’t have to be a nebulous dream. It doesn’t have to be far off in the future.

Do it now. Be happy now.

In fact, here’s a deadline. Since the week at Disney is going to eat into everything, I have until February 10th to finish the painting and get the china hutch moved. By February 17th I’ll have the bike rack, kitchen table, and shoe situation figured out. And the herb garden. By February 17th this will the best home I can make it without remodeling.

There’s no reason for my environment to add to my stress or to make me feel bad. This is completely within my control to fix. So I’ll fix it by the dates stated. No excuses.

Does cross stitching make me happy?

Yes.

Then I need to make time to actually do it. Same with listening to audio books. I’m letting things that give me fulfillment fall to the wayside. I need to find balance. I’m doing well in the physical health area, but that wellness is potentially coming at the expense of my emotional and spiritual health.

I still have hobbies I need to nurture and feed. I’m doing game nights with Jason and Jon and that’s great. I’m meal planning better, and starting to find new recipes again and that’s awesome.

I should not forget about the other things that make me happy. Cross stitch. Draw. Color. Read. Meditate. Do yoga. Stare off into space and daydream once in a while. Cuddle with Scarlet.

It’s ok to do those things. It’s ok to have slow moments where I simply breathe. I like those moments. I like quiet moments. I’m an introvert. I need to take care of my introverted nature just as much as my warrior nature.

Having lunch with someone every day like I’m scheduled to this week is not healthy for me, or my finances, and I know that on both counts. I have to say no sometimes and saying no doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me responsible.

I figured out my intrinsic priority yesterday, and that’s a good start. My intrinsic priority is myself. I don’t need accountability there anymore. When something isn’t good for me, normally I don’t do it. I recognize when something is harmful or detracts from my happiness. Sort of like what I’m doing know. I knew I needed to throw down the ban hammer on myself, my brain. I needed to reestablish lines that got kind of blurry. I’m doing good at looking out for myself now, and that’s awesome.

I’ve let other areas go in the process and now it’s time to pick those back up. Chiefly would be the purpose/career/finances areas.

Those are the key priorities for me at the moment because those are the areas I feel like I’m failing.

And while I’m on the topic… that word. The F word…

Does it make me happy?

No.

Then don’t use it. I’m not failing. It’s just another word like “slacker” that makes me feel bad and undermines everything that I’m actually doing. So no more F word.

I’m not doing as well in those areas as I would like.

If I look at this as a sequential problem to solve, I need to figure out my purpose before I can accurately focus on a career which will resolve the finance stress I’m feeling.

I know my purpose is to help people. There are more ways to help people than teaching. The two jobs I applied for last night are great starts. Patient transport and nutritional services at the hospital. Not only am I helping people, I’m not going back to Full Sail, I’m not going to California, I’m moving in the career change I wanted, and they’re both full-time positions within biking distance of the apartment.

Keep your chin up. There were several other job postings you could have applied for last night as well. All isn’t lost. It’s not a hopeless situation. There are options out there. Instead of focusing on the issue we need to identify potential solutions. State the problem, yes, but don’t obsess over it.

Write it down. Make it physical. Then brainstorm, sans emotion, on what you would do to fix it if it were someone else’s problem.

Use the advice you would give someone else because you always give really good advice.

You’re an INFJ. You observe the outside world and process it for patterns and consistencies. You’re fantastic and figuring out emotions when they’re observable.

That’s why writing helps you. That’s why it’s so confusing when the emotions are trapped inside. Your strength is seeing a giant mountain of “what the fuck is all this shit” and organizing and analyzing and figuring it out so it’s manageable.

That takes space. More space than what you have inside. Write it out. Talk it out. Get it out from your brain and into the physical world where you can handle it, manipulate it, move it, toss it out, categorize it, label it, repair it. Whatever it is you need to do to “it”.

Dump all of it out, somewhere, then treat it like you would someone else’s issues. You’re kind, caring, diplomatic, understanding, empathetic, respectful, all of these amazing wonderful things to other people.

Be those amazing wonderful things to yourself.

You’re doing well. Last night started rough. You started feeling sad and missing mom and that’s ok. You didn’t go to the dojo and that’s ok, too. We hadn’t had our conversation yet. Our “come to Freya” meeting.

You felt sad and you skipped the dojo, but instead of crawling into bed and letting the depression eat away at us, you applied for more jobs. you did something to help yourself feel better.

That’s awesome. You survived last night. You did well. We deserve and are allowed to feel proud of ourselves.

Keep up the hard work. The effort pays off. Hold your head high because you have nothing to be ashamed of. Remember, it’s not your place to feel ashamed. You’re moving forward. You’re doing what you think is right.

Is it your best?

It might not have been, but you know what? That’s what today is for. We can’t go back and change anything. We can only move forward.

So let’s move forward today. Let’s move forward to a happier us.

No matter what, remember I love you, Earth Dragon. Forever and for always I’ll have your back.

Musing Moment 103: Finding Color

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I need to do some processing.

I had a dream last night that I think correlates to an event that happened before I went to sleep.

In the dream, I was trying to dye my hair, but the color wouldn’t hold. No matter what I did the purple would bleed away leaving my bangs a faded icky blondish color.

I woke up feeling vaguely uncomfortable about the dream and like there was something important about it for me to ponder on. After looking into Dreammoods.com for “fade” I found out that dreaming about fading color usually means a lack of motivation or inspiration.

Well… damn… it’s like my brain knows what it’s doing because that’s exactly what I feel right now.

Last night it was recommended to me to check out tutoring online. And wouldn’t you know it the first site I looked into had a spot open specifically for Python programming.

*Queue excitement*

I went through the application process and then got to the test to see my proficiency with the language. I had time to do it before my dance class so I figured I would try it out.

Well…

*Queue battle against soul-crushing defeat*

I bombed the test. And I don’t mean, “I failed woe is me,” bombed. I mean royally, spectacularly, “went down in a blaze of glory” failed.

48% failed.

It was hard not to feel like a failure after the test because, well… I failed.

I still went to dance class which helped a bit. I put gas in the car so I felt like a responsible adult.

Big Bad had to work late and had to be into work early today so our evening got canceled. I was disheartened that I wouldn’t be able to get a hug, or have coffee with him in the morning, or do our strength workout. I really could have used some sort of physical human connection last night to validate my existence but that’s not what the Universe had in store for me.

Instead, I came home and ate dinner, which was something I needed to do. I ended up going to sleep early, which didn’t really help. I kept waking up. I had my unsettling dream. I was tired when my alarm went off at 6 am, and since I’m still an unemployed slacker, I turned it off and went back to sleep.

I know realistically I’m not a failure. The test incorporated things that I “know” about but have never had to personally use in any of my projects. There were some things on there that I had never heard of before. The way I used Python was in a very specialized way for a very specific application. It doesn’t mean I’m a failure, it means I have room for improvement.

I even found out that there is a certification for Python. How nifty is that?

Answer: Pretty freaking nifty if you’re a nerd and geek out over weird stuff like that like I do.

Right now it’s hard to feel like I’m doing anything meaningful or purposeful with my life because I guess it’s starting to feel like I’m not doing anything.

I mean, I am, sort of. I’m going to the dojo. I’m becoming healthier.

But that’s about all I’m doing.

I don’t have a project I’m working on. Not actively. I haven’t touched my rigging stuff since December. It’s already the 24th of January.

This is going to be the second week I’ve been home. I’m just starting to get back into my routines. Next week I have the week trip to Disney for Allison, which I’m trying hard to look forward to, but it’s not what I want to do. I’m not interested in amusement parks. I’m interested in being home and figuring out my life.

Every time I think I know the direction I want to go it changes. I change it. I don’t think it’s a lack of commitment. It’s not that I’m scared about the California job. I don’t want to be in California. I’m not scared of going back to Full Sail. I don’t want to be there, not if I’m going to be covering classes other than rigging, which is what it sounds like the job would be. A float position. I don’t want to float. I don’t want to learn to composite because I’m not a compositor and the job posting was specifically for rigging.

I want the part time tutoring position at the community college, but that would be tutoring languages I need to brush up on. Doing the online tutoring could be interesting, but I obviously need to brush up on Python, and I don’t know how much it pays.

Taking a step back from that for a moment… Do I really want to do an online job?

I don’t think so. I think I would like having something that gets me out of the house. I like having a place that’s specifically for work. I wouldn’t be able to get that at the apartment since Warren is already using the spare room as his office. I would be in my room, all day, while I’m working.

I feel like I’m being overly picky. Nothing is right. Everything has a reason for me not to actively go for it.

Is that me making excuses not to do something?

The brief text exchange I just had with Big Bad doesn’t really help with those feelings of guilt and “what am I doing with my life?”

Big Bad: What’s for lunch?
Me: Chinese with Nicole. Yay girl time.
Big Bad: I’m jealous.
Me: Of girl time or the food? : p
Big Bad: Being free.

*Queue cold sinking feeling…*

I don’t feel free. I feel mildly lost and like I’m wasting life because I’m not moving in a direction. I’m not moving towards something. Sleeping in this morning doesn’t help with that feeling. Who else gets to sleep in? No one. That’s who. Everyone is working because they’re diligent adults.

I still haven’t finished painting the apartment. Seriously? Is there really a reason for that? No. I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I could have gotten it done by now had I actually applied myself to the task.

I feel stagnant and when I ask myself, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” my answer is, “I don’t know.”

Not really an answer that inspires confidence or conviction. It’s deflecting really. It means I haven’t looked deep enough to figure it out.

I was feeling really good about myself and my endeavors. What happened to change that? Was it my trip to Ohio? Is it solely this test that in the grand scheme of things really doesn’t matter? Is it a combination of things? Is it because it’s winter and I normally struggle during this time? Do I need to have patience with myself or tough love? Should I get a job that I think I’ll hate just for the sake of having a job?

I think I need more structure in my life than what I currently have. Yeah, I make to-do lists and I get stuff taken care of, but I don’t have a Push Goal at the moment, and so even though I’m doing things it doesn’t feel like I’m moving towards accomplishing anything. Even with the working out and such that I’m doing, it’s a nebulous goal of “get healthier”.

How do you measure that? How do you know what “healthier” is?

“Get healthier” isn’t quantifiable. Lose x% of body fat, is. Reach size x is. Those are numbers that can be answered with a yes or no. You know, for certain, when you accomplish them.

I feel like I need to clean house inside of my brain. I need to dump everything out. All of the boxes. All of the emotions. No hiding things. No sweeping stuff under the carpet.

A total cleaning rampage with bleach and trash bags and new containers so I can figure out what I’m really working with. What’s still healing? What do I really, really want? I think that’s where the tough love will come in. Sometimes being honest is brutal, painful, but a little pain now could save so much more heartache in the future. Transformation is painful, uncomfortable. Being honest can be uncomfortable because we don’t like our own truths sometimes.

Just because we’re uncomfortable with them or ignore them doesn’t make those facts less true.

I think I’m going to go through the 30-Day Challenge again. I think that might help me figure out what I want, or at least give me things to work on. I need to feel like I’m being constructive. I need to feel like I’m “doing” something.

I need to find my color.

Musing Moment 102: The First Dream Back

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I had a dream last night. It was the first night being home from my trip to Ohio. The first night where I can start processing through everything that happened while I was there.

I woke up after it happened. Groggy. Fuzzy. I should have gotten up and written then, but I didn’t. Instead, I went back to sleep. I should have written as soon as I woke up again instead of showering or having coffee. But I didn’t.

I’m ok with that because I still remember the feelings at the end and the conclusions I have come to.

In the dream, my dad and I were in school together. I think it was high school. I don’t remember all of the details anymore but there was a group project going on. I think there were a lot of people in our group. I think it was more than just me and dad, but that detail I’m honestly not sure on, either.

I remember just like most of the projects I’ve ever had to work on, school or otherwise, I was the one doing most of the work. I was making sure things were done properly and that nothing slipped through the cracks. I remember feeling frustrated and used and continuing to work despite the tears running down my face. It felt like no one cared about what I was doing.

No one cared that I was tired or that I wanted a break. No one cared that I wanted, needed, help to get it all done in time. No one was there to make me feel like what I was doing was worth it.

I wasn’t doing the work because I wanted to. I was doing it because I cared, about them, about their grades, but no one cared back.

I was just a background drone, working away while everyone else did whatever they wanted to do, whatever they felt was more important and offering me help.

It sucked. I remember feeling like that a lot in high school, in my relationships, in college. I’ve felt that feeling a lot in life and in the past I would silently accept it like I had in the dream. I would keep doing what I was doing hoping one day someone would care enough to see me. To see my effort and to let me know it meant something to them.

I’m not sure what happened in the dream. I don’t know if there was an event I can’t recall but somehow dad noticed I was doing all the work. He looked at me from where he was across the room and saw I was alone and he wasn’t ok with that.

I think he came over and started helping but that detail I’m fuzzy on, too. I do remember his acknowledgment of the situation, his dislike for it, and his resolve to change it so it became fairer.

I remember there was another scene. Maybe another dream since there’s really no connection to the first one. I was in a hallway. It felt like I was younger. Teenage maybe.

My dad was at the end of the hallway in a large room. I was huddled against the wall because I was scared. I was next to a picture frame though I don’t remember what was in the frame. I don’t think I ever looked at it. I was too worried about leaving the hall. It was dark, sort of shadowed. Dad was in the lit room. He wanted me to come to him but I was scared.

I don’t know if I understood the fear in the dream, but being awake and conscious I can say it was probably fear of rejection. What if I left the hall and he didn’t want me there? What if he didn’t hug me or he told me to go away. It was safer in the dark hall, alone. It was safer to not put myself in that situation. It was safer to not know.

I looked at him. I looked down as I searched within myself, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I bit my lip as I thought because I have a habit of doing that. I looked back at him as I pushed myself closer against the wall. The wall was solid, real, safe. I wanted to be part of the wall and not have to make this decision.

I knew deep down, really deep down, wanted to be with my dad, though. I didn’t want to be alone with the cold wall that wouldn’t hug me back. I wanted to be with my Superman who always hugged me, who carried me home when I fell off my bike and scraped both of my knees so bad I couldn’t walk, who used to braid my hair, who taught me how to put puzzles together, who taught me how to color inside the lines.

I wanted to be with my dad even if it was scary. I wanted to be with him even if it meant I had to leave the safety of the dark hall and the solid wall.

So I pushed away from the wall. I walked past the picture with my arms wrapped around myself. I walked each painful step while looking at the ground because I was terrified of what I would see if I looked at my dad. I didn’t know how I would survive if I saw anger or disappointment or rejection.

It was already hard enough to breathe through the emotions I was feeling. I already had those infamous silent tears on my cheeks. I was already terrified what I was doing was wrong. How would I be able to keep going if I had confirmation, if I knew, that I was wrong? That I had always been wrong? That I would ALWAYS be wrong?

I stopped when I saw his shoes in front of mine. I stood in front of him, still holding myself, still too terrified to look up. I just wanted all of it to go away. All the thoughts. All the fear. Everything. I just wanted him to hug me and for things to be ok.

And he did. He wrapped his arms around me and I hugged him back as I cried into his shoulder. I cried as I felt love and forgiveness and acceptance and sorrow for all of the past hurts that we had caused each other.

That’s when I woke up. I woke up feeling love and acceptance and I really don’t care what happens in the future. I’m grateful I had my dream. I’m grateful for the time I spent alone with him this trip in the basement where we played darts and talked. I’m grateful for the conversations he had with Jon and me while we drank Not Your Father’s Rootbeer while everyone else was asleep.

I’m grateful that he hugged me goodbye at the airport and that he said he loved me.

I think the picture in the dream represents the past. That’s what pictures are. Past moments. Things we look back on. Moments that have happened and can’t be changed.

I feel like the picture reaffirms my realization from last week. The one about mom’s death and that it’s ok to not want to trade the life I have now to have her back.

We can’t go backward. Life doesn’t work like that.

We can only forward.

I have to leave the past where it is. The hurt, the pain, the fear and uncertainty of my teenage and young adult years… I have to walk through and away from all of it if I’m going to move forward and have any sort of relationship with my dad and half sisters.

This trip made me realize I want to be there for them. I want to be the mentor and role model I wish I had had while trying to navigate life. I want them to be able to talk to me when things are scary and uncertain, or when they need advice but don’t want to talk to their parents about it. I want to be a safe person for them.

And I want my dad and me to move forward from where we are. We can’t go back and change events. We can’t undo the divorce. We can’t undo the hurt. But we can understand this is where we’re at and that we still love each other and that I’m still his daughter and he’s still my dad.

I’m happy I had my dream. It makes me feel like I did the right thing. It makes me feel like I’m headed in the right direction.