Musing Moments 111: Looking At The Future


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: Like I didn’t let it win.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six days.

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

I can do this.


Musing Moment 110: Trust Issues


I had thought to make flashcards today to study for my certification, but sitting here at my sports bar with most of everything else already done I feel the need to write instead.

I had therapy today and during it, I realized something I guess I’ve always known.

I have trust issues.

Only… it’s more than that.

I don’t trust my friends to be there for me when I need them. I don’t trust my brothers to help me when I fall down. I don’t trust anyone to be there the way mom was and because of that, I feel alone.

I knew I felt alone because mom died and I knew that I don’t think anyone else in my life is reliable. I guess finally realizing the real reason behind being lonely is what’s so sobering.

Out of everyone in my life, all the people who care about me, there isn’t anyone that I would want to do a trust fall with.

Everyone in my life has either let me down or proven themselves to be unreliable.

In a way this realization makes me feel more solid, more stable. At least I know the reason behind my feelings now. At least I know the logic behind not believing anyone when they say something to me. At least I know why I go through these seizing moments of isolating loneliness when things get hard and I feel like I can’t find a solution. At least I know why I don’t reach out to others when things get overwhelming.

No one else is handling their own shit, so what would make me think they can help me with mine?

I can’t talk to my older brother about my emotions. I can’t not clash with my younger brother. I can’t depend on Warren to pay rent. I can’t count on work not to fuck me over.

I trust my blacksmith, but our lives do not cross the way normal relationships do so he cannot be the type of safety net mom was. He can be there in as much capacity as he is able to be, but that’s all. I trust Big Bad as well but pride would prevent me from asking for help if I ever needed it.

Everyone else has a giant wall between me and them. Some I allow closer than others, but no one is on the inside anymore and it was interesting realizing that.

I don’t even know if it’s right for me to say I love people anymore because realizing that I don’t truly trust anyone makes me question how “true” the love I feel is. I feel if you don’t have trust you can’t have anything. Trust is the foundation for everything. So if I don’t trust the people in my life how can I say I love them?

Maybe there are different types, different degrees, of love? I do believe that to be true. I love my patients differently than I love my brothers. So maybe it’s more realizing that the love I feel only goes so far. It only covers so much. Most likely not as much as other people love me.

While people may trust me to be there and to come through, I do not trust others to do the same for me because history shows me they won’t.

I have stopped believing words. People can say anything they want to me. I will hear them and I will make a mental note of what was said, but I won’t truly believe what they say until I see actions which support it.

I’m evaluating my relationships again. I’m realizing how many of them are with people who are content to merely exist rather than to truly live. It’s easier to not do things. It’s easier to not come through. After all, we’re friends so I’ll understand right? It’s not personal. Things just “didn’t work out”.

I think I’m done with those mentalities. I think I’m done bleeding pain and energy into things that aren’t going to change. I think I’m ok with having the trust issues I do because those people have earned my lack of trust.

Maybe this is where quality over quantity comes into play.

I never thought of myself as having many friends. I thought the ones had were of quality, but if I don’t trust them then how healthy are those relationships? Is it worth continuing to maintain them when it feels one-sided and parasitic? Would I be better of being slightly more alone, have slightly fewer friends, but know the ones I do have are trust-worthy and really will be there when I need them?

Wouldn’t it be better to know the numbers in my phone are ones I can call and, no matter what, receive help?

Looking at it that way I wouldn’t have more than 10 numbers.

It’s something I need to meditate on further.

The past two weeks have been hard. I’ve worked 56 hours each week. I’ve had to give up the dojo because I can’t afford both it and rent. I’ve been looking into donating plasma to keep making ends meet. I’ve decided to go back to school for Nursing. I’ve talked to two advisors who want me to pursue becoming a professor and who have helped me map out how to get to that point in life.

I spent Saturday evening with my blacksmith. Monday evening I spent with Big Bad. Mother Earth and I have made plans to go to Daytona Saturday night to watch the sunrise Sunday morning.

There are certain facets of life that suck. I’ll never see Mr. W again. We had to call EMS for him. If he’s alive he’ll be going to a different clinic now, one closer to his facility. I never got to say goodbye to him. I never got to hold his hand and say, “I’m glad I met you.”

Those moments are so fleeting. I’ll never be able to say those words to him and there’s a part of me who so desperately wishes I could. I let that moment go and I will never be able to get it back.

Every class I miss at the dojo is a moment that cannot be redone. Every time I work past when I’m supposed to and I give up something I wanted, it’s gone for forever. Every time I don’t say words I’m risking the chance to never say them again.

I told my blacksmith about losing my patient. He said the first step is realizing it’s not my fault.

I know it’s not my fault. I know mom’s death wasn’t my fault.

I don’t feel guilt.

I feel helpless. I feel like I do all these things and yet they still die.

He said the next step was to realize that as healers, at best, we are speed bumps in life. We cannot stop death. The best we can hope to do is prolong life for a fraction of a second more and to accept that we did our best and healed as fully as we could.

Maybe that’s where I’m at. I feel helpless because there is nothing I can do to stop death. I am powerless, weak, small, and mortal in the face of Death and I always will be. We all will be. We are but humans.

All I can do is live my life to the fullest I can in the moments I have.

I think I’m done with the relationships where I don’t feel there is trust.

I think this is another phase, another transformation in the journey of my grief. I know people will be hurt but I also know I deserve better than hollow promises and empty words.

I owe self-respect to myself.

I’m figuring things out. I’m taking steps forward. Some of those steps are going to take me away from people. I think that’s part of life, though. Part of the journey.

I know I’ll figure it out.

Those aren’t hollow words. That phrase is a fact.

Mom always had a way of convincing me to hold on even though I wanted to give up.

I’m holding on for you, mom. Some things super suck right now but I’m not going to let Life win. I’m going to figure it out and I’m not worried about all of the blood, sweat, and tears it’s going to take. Part of me wants it to be hard. I want to get to the end and have the ability to throw up my middle fingers and to scream in anguish, frustration, pride, and triumph until my lungs give out and my throat is raw.

Fuck you, Life. Fuck all of your complications. Go on and make it hard. I’ll still crush it because I refuse to accept defeat. I’m going to make this, all of this, work, and there’s nothing you can throw at me that will stop me. Not money problems. Not trust issues. Not fear or worry. Not sleepless nights or 16 hour days.

I will do more than exist. I will live my life and you can’t stop me.


Musing Moment 109: What I Am



That is Google’s definition of the word strong.

I fit this definition.

Because I fit this definition the next logical step is to accept the fact that I AM strong.

It IS ok for me to accept this aspect of myself. It is ok to be stronger than others. It is also ok to be weaker than others.

Accepting my strength does not make me better or worse than anyone else. It does not make me unfeminine.  It does not make me arrogant or conceded.

Being strong is simply a part of what makes me, me.

My goal is not to be strong. Being strong is a byproduct of being true to myself and that’s ok.

I am Jennifer Conley, daughter of Susan Conley, and I am spiritually, emotionally, and physically strong.




This is Google’s definition of the word fitness.

I fit this definition.

Because I fit this definition the next logical step is to accept the fact that I AM fit.

I get sick less often and I recover faster when I do. I am less tired and sore after physically demanding activities.

I am more fit than I was in my past. I am more fit than some people, less fit than others, but that does not mean I myself, in this moment, am not already fit.

This is another aspect of myself which is ok for me to acknowledge and accept. Recognizing this as a truth about myself does not make me egotistical or narcissistic.

I can let go of the nebulous goal I’ve had for years. I no longer want to “be” healthy. I AM healthy, and it’s ok for me to want to maintain and improve upon my level of fitness. Much like the term strength, wanting to improve something doesn’t mean I am not already that thing. I am fit and being fit is now a byproduct of being true to myself.

I am Jennifer Conley, daughter of Susan Conley, and I am fit. I am healthy; spiritually, emotionally, and physically.



Time for Some Goals



I have affirmed for myself that I am strong and fit, so now comes the part where I figure out what I want my foci to be and why I’m still dissatisfied with myself even though I consciously know I have drastically improved.

Firstly, I have determined there are things I do not want.

I do not want to be a certain size. I do not want to be a certain weight. I do not want to be “buff” or “one of the guys”.

I want to be myself and I want to be human.

Cool. Those seem easy enough to fulfill, right? Go me for setting the bar super high. : D

All joking aside, I have determined there are three things, in particular, I would like to focus on.

I want to improve my cardiac endurance, I want to be more agile, and I want to be more flexible.



Cardiac Endurance

I will complete the Spartan race in December.

This is now my immediate goal.

I want to prove to myself that I’m able to do it, regardless of if I run the whole course or not. I want to show myself that I’ve improved and that I can keep reaching higher and higher. All it takes is time and determination; dedication.

My reward for completing the Spartan course will be new compression gear. New shirts and shorts; my birthday gifts to myself.

I will begin running twice a week to improve my cardiac endurance.

My next goal will be running the Warrior Dash in February. I will run the whole course. My reward for the Warrior Dash will be new Vibrams and flipflops.

In April, April 4th specifically, I will go to my sensei and express my interest in being a fighter. This will give me two months to reflect on my journey and solidify my next courses of action.

This admission to my sensei will begin the next phase of whatever I decide my life to be.



Agility is the speed and strength at which a motion can be performed.

Being agile will help make me a better fighter and give me an edge against bigger, more muscle-bound opponents. I can improve my agility by incorporating plyometrics into my workouts. I can quantifiably measure my agility by tracking how high I can jump, how quickly I am able to complete sets along with how many repetitions I complete during a set.

My current goal for measuring my agility is jumping the red box at the gym. I am already at blue, a step above both gray and green.

My reward for jumping the red box will be new boxing gloves.



While being agile is more connected to speed, flexibility is more concerned with the range of motion one can attain during an action.

This is something I feel I have largely neglected since mom’s death. I can feel how my hamstrings and hip flexors are tight, how sometimes it’s hard to keep my knees from bending while I stretch. My range of motion is not what it used to be and I can feel that difference within myself; that limitation.

I will incorporate yoga back into my routines. I will attend a yoga class once a week.

My goal for measuring my flexibility in my hips, hamstrings, back, and shoulders is to hold a complete and properly executed “Standing Bow Pose” for 10 seconds.

At this moment I do not have a reward for this goal.



So, why so dissatisfied?



I’m not really unhappy with myself. I don’t look in the mirror and berate myself and say unnice adjectives inside of my head like I’m my own bully. But there is a level of “not quite there yet” within myself that I don’t like.

I don’t have the body I “want” to have and so I haven’t really accepted the improvements I’ve made even though I appreciate them and consciously recognize that they are there.

Like, dude, seriously, I have guns now. And not just nerf guns. Actual bicep definition and yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds.

So what gives? If I like the changes I see then why am I “not ok”?

After researching and looking up the definition to different terms like I was back in middle school or something, I think I’ve figured it out.

I want to be leaner than I currently am. I want to have a different body composition.

The good news?

Becoming leaner is something that is inevitable for me. Like strength and fitness, becoming lean is and will continue to be a byproduct of being true to myself. Nothing needs to be changed or added for me to reach this next “nebulous goal”.

I am leaner than I was six months ago. I am leaner than I was when mom died a year and a half ago. I am leaner than I was four years ago. The dissatisfaction I feel with my body is largely due to the pressers of society and my own mental image of what I “should” look like.

The best thing to do is to not become discouraged that I am not “there” yet. I need to be patient with myself. I need to keep in mind that rest days are important and that there is such a thing as pushing too hard. I need to stay the course and not get frustrated. I want to get “there”, but I want to get “there” in a healthy and safe way. Becoming leaner will come in time. It’s already drastically improved and will continue to do so all on its own.

I’m not sure if becoming leaner counts as a goal. I don’t think it does and I’m ok with that. This isn’t meant to be a goal, more a realization of why I feel dissatisfied with myself. That dissatisfaction is uncalled for on my part. I should remember how far I have come rather than focusing on what society thinks I should be.

I am doing well and this aspect of myself, my body composition, will continue to improve and change as I keep myself focused on my goals and commitments.

Musing Moment 108: Throwing Down the Gauntlet


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


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.”


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


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


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.