Musing Moment 110: Trust Issues

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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.

 

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Musing Moment 109: What I Am

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strong

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.

 


 

fitness

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.

 

Agile

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.

 

Flexibility

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

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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.