Daily Post 093: Enjoying Summer

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This past week has been one of my rougher ones since moving to Nebraska. I worked five days this week. I survived until Thursday, my first day off, and since that was my main goal I feel like the week was a success.

On top of surviving, I got the news that I’m down a pound in body fat and up two in muscle. That’s validating and motivating.

I went to the Anytime Fitness for the first time to work out on Thursday. I like the gym. I like how it was mostly empty and I was able to do my own thing. I rowed and worked on my arms. What makes that workout even better is the fact that I did it after working with my trainer, so that’s two workouts in one day. I feel like I’m getting back to my “pre-work” level; back when I was able to spend three hours at the dojo pretty much every day sparing with people I now miss.

I feel like I’m back to making progress and that’s a good feeling.

I feel like this next week is going to go smoother in some ways and harder in others. I’m almost done with all of my cooking. I have the laundry to switch over to the dryer. I just got back home with Ox from running out to get new work shoes since my feet have started to hurt again. Since my days are shorter then what they were in Orlando and because I’ve had my shoes for over a year now, I’m pretty sure it’s an issue with the shoes themselves. We’ll see how tomorrow goes with the new ones I suppose.

Ox is going to have his kids for the next two weeks.

That’s where things are going to get harder. I’m prepped better for the coming week but we’ll have the kids…

That’s two weeks that I still have to work and wake up early while they’re on summer vacation. That’s two weeks of them being home on my days off and wanting to do things. Two weeks of “I don’t know how to be a parent what the fuck and I’m supposed to do I need an instruction guide someone please save me”.

I’m thinking about looking into getting an extended stay room close to my clinic for the coming weeks. That would give me a quiet place to retreat to when I need silence and space. That would give me a place to sleep without raining on everyone’s fun.

The downside is that it would be expensive and unlike the hotel rooms I’ve been booking for the nights before my shifts in Omaha, this wouldn’t be reimbursed. I also feel like it would be running away and hiding from something that I have to eventually face.

I haven’t made any decisions yet. But I’m going to have to figure something out soon. The kids will be here Thursday evening. I work both Friday and Saturday. Being tired and sleep deprived and mentally / emotionally tapped out from not having recovery time isn’t an option I really want to entertain. Arg >.<;

Saturday went well. And I guess I should back up to Friday. Friday went well, too. I worked with a new nurse that day since my FA had to go out of town. The nurse was familiar with the machines my clinic uses so that was a plus. The day went smoothly and I was grateful that it went better than I had thought it would.

I drove home and packed for my overnight stay in Omaha before driving into Lincoln to have dinner with Ox. He went with me across the street where I filled my car’s tank up and then wished me well. I’m glad to say that I was able to make the whole trip to the hotel without GPS. It helps that I’ve been staying at the same hotel each time. I’m getting familiar with the staff there. I like their facility. They have a pool that I haven’t been in yet. They also have a fitness room that’s 24 hours which I almost used this time.

Saturday started out nice even though it was a rainy and windy morning. I slept deeply and woke up feeling rested; at least rested enough to make it through the day. I didn’t need the GPS to get the clinic. Go me!

Even with the complications of a machine not working the day went well. I’m more familiar with how tasks are divided up and I have a better idea where things are located. I know how to be helpful past the point of setting up machines and taking care of patients. I can help prep the clinic for the next day. I can make needle packs and organize the morning shift setups.

I was able to close down the water room fine on my own. I was confident this time rather than holding my breath and hoping I did it right. I’ve gotten to the point where I know which steps take a while, so I don’t have to have everything on the floor done before beginning the water room. It doesn’t require my focused, undivided attention. I can get to this particular step then go back out and finish wiping down chairs. I can get to this step then go empty the bleach containers. Once I get to this step I can count the dialyzers.

I can be more efficient with my time, which means I can close the clinic faster than the hour or so it’s been taking me. That’s another good feeling. Efficiency is a big thing for me. I knew I would be slow at first. I knew it would take me a few times to get comfortable with the process. Now I’m getting to the point where I can improve my workflow. I’m no longer “learning”. Now I’m tweaking and figuring out what works for me.

I’m thinking about offering to work Saturdays for their clinic until they can get people through training. It would keep me making overtime while working a fairly chill shift with people I like. I don’t mind the thought of being there. I don’t feel a sand-pappery aversion to the thought. There’s not the crushing, draining weight of “I don’t want to do this,” that makes me cry silent tears on the way to do anyway.

There are grocery stores on the way home I can stop at after my Saturday shift. I can work that back into my weekend routine. Meal plan on Thursday’s most likely since Friday is a 12-hour shift. With meals planned out, I can make a grocery list. With a grocery list, I can do the shopping on Saturday like I used to, along with any prep work that needs to be done once I’m home. Put meats in marinades. Cut up veggies if I need to. Then Sundays can go back to simply being cooking days rather than everything all at once.  With a little bit of planning, a little bit of proactiveness, I think I can make this work for me.

I want to see if I can.

I have already been approved for having July 13th and 14th off. That’s the Friday before my race and the day of my race. I’m actually looking forward to it a little bit. More than I was when I first signed up. I signed up because I knew I wanted to do a Warrior Dash this year. I missed doing the one in Florida. I wanted to see my patients one last time instead. I wanted to give them their thank you cards in person. I didn’t want my Warrior Dash to be the last time I was with Big Bad. I didn’t want the weight of knowing we were saying goodbye to hang over the entire event, which it would have for me. It would have hurt to run it that way. So I didn’t.

But it’s something I think of as “my” race. It’s where I started. That first one; that was my moment of taking me back for myself. That was me giving a giant “Fuck you” to the person so undermined so much of my self-confidence for so long. I could do it. I did do it. I can do it. And there was, is, still a part of me who wanted to run the race even though I didn’t in February.

That’s why I signed up for the one here, in Nebraska, in July. Because there’s a part of me who still needed to run it even though I was feeling bad at the time. I had regressed. I knew I needed to address that and I’m glad I did even though in the beginning it sucked. I’m glad I met with my trainer and I’m glad he’s working with me. I want to do better this race. I want to keep improving. So yeah. I’m a little more jazzed about it than I was when I first signed up. I’m looking forward to it even though it’s a small, soft, vulnerable thing at the moment.

I hope it continues to grow. I hope it becomes a confident and stable thing. A, “I know I’ll do well” feeling rather than a, “I hope I do well” feeling.

I finally was able to spend most of a day outside today. Ox worked a bit in the addition but we’ve run out of 2x4s so he can’t keep working on the walls. We were trying to get work done in the yard, but that required moving a piece of equipment which ended up taking most of the day. We didn’t get done with that until 2 pm. It would be easier to write about if I knew what half the stuff we used was called, but I don’t. All I can say is that my arms and core are sore from all of the work we ended up having to do manually, but it’s a good sore.

We got something done, something pretty major, and we got it done together. We sweated together. We got tired together. We accomplished something together and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel connected and like I’m part of something.

It was a fantastic day outside. Warm. Sunny. I wanted to get more done, so I did. I moved some piles of scrap wood and raked up last years dead leaves and sticks. I’m not through with the raking and there’s a part of me that feels bad for not getting it completed. There’s part of me who feels like I add to the mess and disorganization by leaving something half done, but I could tell my body was wearing down. I was sunburnt. I needed water. I needed food. I still needed to still finish my cooking. At some point, I needed to shower again…

I needed to do all of these things that take time and energy and I only have so much of each to spend and use each day. So as much as I wanted to get everything done, the yard was something left at a state of half complete; contained and better, but not finished.

I would like to finish the yard Tuesday after my shift at Cap City, but I’m not sure how that day is going to go, so… We’ll have to wait and see. I might not be able to really get back outside until Thursday. But yeah, even with that task incomplete I feel really good right now and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was finally outside doing something.

The day actually started later than I thought it would. I woke up at 2 am since I’m conditioned to wake up early. Thankfully I was able to get back to sleep. I slept until almost 9 am; way later than that I thought I would or could have. That’s an additional seven hours of sleep. As Ox said, though, I guess I needed it if my body let that happen. With how little sleep I got for the first part of the week maybe that’s more true than not. Maybe it’s not just pretty words to make me feel better, but a truth I should accept.

That’s harder to do when the Evil Voice nags about how much time was wasted doing nothing. Fucking Evil Voice… I will break out the Q-tips… >.>

I spent the first part of the morning cooking before going outside to help Ox. I think that helped since I had a break from cooking and didn’t have to spend four solid hours in the kitchen.

I used a spice mix last week for the deer roast I cooked which turned out amazing. So amazing I’m actually using it again. I’ve seasoned some steaks with it and chicken thighs as well. It really is that awesome. Since it helps to marinate the meat a bit first, I seasoned everything before Ox and I ran into town.

We went to the Skechers store where I got new work shoes. I was surprised to find out that I get a discount because of the company I work for. A 30% discount. Woo!

We stopped at Walmart after that so I could get another packet of a glaze I tried last week as well. Again, something that turned out to be pretty amazing.

So the cooking is almost done. Just have to bake some stuff now. The laundry is almost done. My hotel for Friday night is already reserved. My bills are already paid and though I’m lower on funds than what I would like, everything is overpaid as far as my debt is concerned and nothing is due until next paycheck which will have my billion hours of overtime on it with my double incentive shift.

I didn’t get my bike rack this weekend, but I’m ok with that because I got the window AC unit with Ox and new shoes and two cases of my Bang energy drink. I got new sunglasses that I actually like. The hotel had my laptop charger in their lost and found when I checked in Friday night since I couldn’t find it when I got back home last weekend.

There’s a lot of warmth going on in my life right now. A lot of progress. A lot of security. I’m not worried about my job anymore which helps.

It’s summer. It’s my time. My season. I’m not sick or working so much that I can’t enjoy it. And though I grieve every day in my own way, I’m not the shattered version of myself I was when mom first died.

It feels like this is the first summer since mom died that I’ll be able to go out and do things and… live… I guess. It’s… it’s a good feeling even though it makes my eyes sting with tears. When I was raking earlier today I remembered how I would help her rake when we lived in South Carolina. I remember how she hated to do yard work and how I would help her because many hands make light work. She would always say it went by faster with help and so I wanted to help her.

I don’t know what else to write or where to go from that train of thought. I guess that’s it. I don’t really feel like writing anymore. My heart aches. It’s not good or bad. It’s just life…

Mom is dead and I can’t rake the yard with her anymore, but I can still enjoy my days and be outside in the sunlight and I can remember her and all of the things she taught me. I can remember all of the moments we had and what they meant to me; what they still mean to me.

Today was a good day. Saturday was a good day. Friday and Thursday were good days, too. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to going to work and telling my patients about my weekend and how I got new shoes.

I don’t dislike my life anymore, mom and I’m sorry that there’s still a part of me who feels guilty about that. I know this is what you want for me. To be happy. To live. To keep going. I’m sorry that it still hurts and sucks sometimes. I’m sorry there’s a part of me who feels like it’s a betrayal to you to be able to keep going. I promise I still love you. I promise it still hurts as much as it ever did; as much as it ever will.

I’m thankful at the same time. I’m here because of you. I know it. It’s one of my truths and I don’t care what other people think or feel about those words. You’ve done so much for me in life and in death. Thanks for helping get me to a point where I actually have the option to enjoy summer again.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

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Daily Post 086: There Was Progress

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I guess now is as good a time as any to write.

Today has already been ridiculously productive. I woke up around 5 am and stayed in bed until around 7 am. I finally got up and prepped my food for the coming week along with part of dinner for tonight.

I’ve unloaded and loaded the dishwasher along with handwashing the things that didn’t fit into the load. I’ve swept the kitchen, and before any of that happened I took a shower.

It’s not even noon yet and already I have breakfast for the rest of the week along with my salads for lunch.

I should feel content and yet my brain is wired and not at ease and I guess that’s because next week is a lot of unknown at the moment.

I met with my personal trainer again, which I didn’t realize who I was working with until I was talking to one of my coworkers, which led to an internet search. He’s a big name, and yet he’s now doing personal training in a “middle of nowhere” Nebraska YMCA where he gives all of the money he makes back to the gym. He’s a Ph.D. and founder of multiple companies. He has an interesting, complex story and it’s hard to not feel small when faced with all of the things he’s accomplished in life. It’s hard to, in some ways, not feel unworthy.

Who am I for him to spend his time on? Some lowly CCHT who still struggles with grief over losing her mother? Some nobody? Some chick who can’t even run a solid mile…

I know those are all internal conflicts and struggles within myself. I know I have left my mark on the world already; through the students I taught, the tutorials I made, the scripts I wrote…

I know I’m not unworthy, but still… when standing next to a person who has made literally millions… it’s hard not to feel… less than.

Regardless of those feelings, I’m looking forward to working with him. Our last meeting on Thursday was a lot of talking. He had a printout of the results from the tests he ran on me, which makes me sound like a lab rat, and in a way I guess I am. I like having the numbers. It takes the guesswork out of things. It makes it seem more real and solid. More doable. More quantifiable.

I know how much of what I should be eating and though I don’t like calorie counting, I know that by doing this it will be easier to track the other intakes I’m concerned with. Sodium, carbs, protein especially.

All of the things he told me were things I had already researched and found on my own, so it wasn’t anything new. It was reassuring, however, to hear it repeated from him. It means the stuff I was doing in Orlando, the things that were giving me results, were the right things to do and that I should go back to those habits. It means that our mentalities jive which means working with him, theoretically, will have less friction.

It means that the super hard part, the change to eating habits, really isn’t going to be that big of a deal because I’ve already changed that part. I already meal plan and food prep so I don’t have to learn new skills. It doesn’t mean I’ll be an “easier” client, but I do think it means I’ll be more of a “hands-off” sort of client in that area. I don’t need to be taught, I just need to be left to do my own thing.

In other news…

The clinic is about to do down to three days a week. And I don’t think I’ve written about that yet. I don’t think I’ve written since my meeting at work aside from my homesick letter to mom. And I guess here is a good point to actually go back and look at what I wrote last so I know where I’m at…

 



*Brief Pause In Writing*


 

Ok… so the last time I wrote about life was on April 17th. That was almost two weeks ago.

A lot has happened since then.

I had the meeting at work that day, which is where I found out about the clinic changing its schedule. Because we’re going to be down two nurses for a while, and because there are open seats at our sister clinics, management felt it was better to go from six days a week to three for the next few months.

I agree with their choice. I know it makes things a little inconvenient for our patients, but we don’t have the staff to maintain six days a week anymore. I know there’s a tech going through training. I’m not sure about nurses. My FA will be working the floor with me on Fridays. Mrs. K will be working with me on Mondays and Wednesday until we get more people on the team. Right now the focus is to get the clinic stable with staff and I think that’s a good priority.

I was approved to begin training for NFACT and Vascular Access Manager. So those are things I will begin in the coming week.

I received the documents for the PCT Retention program. I found out that’s more of a bonus rather than a wage increase. I’m still ok with it. It’s more money then I would have gotten otherwise so I’m not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth.

I signed the eDocs and sent them on their way. A few days later I received an email saying I was denied. Queue lame feels…

I messaged my FA and let her know. She replied saying she would look into it for me since she had been told by our region manager that I was approved. At some point this week, I don’t remember the day, I got the paperwork to sign again. I signed it and haven’t heard anything back yet. I didn’t have an additional deposit in my account so I guess it’s still going through flaming hoops of logistics.

I was told my wage increases were approved. I’ve already adjusted my Excel sheet to account for the increase. I’ve also knocked my tax allowances back down to zero. So I’m a little confused as to why I’m short $100 for this paycheck. It’s something I won’t be able to figure out until I go to work tomorrow. It will be nice once all of my financial stuff figures itself out. >.<

I filled out my expense report but I don’t think it sent properly. That’s something I won’t be able to fix until I’m at work with one of my FAs. I want to show them what the system is doing. Hopefully, that can happen tomorrow. Small steps towards completion. It would be nice if it was already completed. /sigh

I don’t know how the new schedule will flow at work and I guess that’s why it’s such an open loop in my head. I know my FA still wants me to show up at 4:30, so I don’t have to wake up earlier which is nice. I’m worried the change over between first and second shift is going to be hard. I’m worried even though the days will still remain shorter than Orlando, that they will be just as stressful, trying to cram everyone into only two shifts.

I know the days will be a little longer. Our last patient will end his treatment around 16:10. That means I most likely won’t be leaving the clinic until around 17:00.

All I can do is wait and see what it’s like and voice my opinion. I don’t like not knowing, though.

I do like the idea of having set days off. I do like knowing I will always have Saturdays off, at least for a little while. It’s why I was able to set up training at the gym so easily. It’s why I’m ok taking on the workload of becoming a VAM. I have consistent times where I can plan to do things.

I finally got my stuff from Warren. That was something that happened last week. I got an email from my old internet providers saying the account was past due. I called and talked to a representative who said the account was still in my name so my credit was the one being affected.

Once I got off the phone with the representative I called Warren. Not surprisingly I got his voice mail. I told him the information I had received. I told him if he didn’t call me back that I was going to close the account. I said that I wasn’t mad or upset. I just wanted him to talk to me so we could figure something out that worked for both of us, but if he didn’t reach back out to me that he wasn’t leaving me a choice. I can’t leave an account open in my name for services I’m not using when the financial burden is falling on me and my credit.

I was furious and betrayed feeling. I had been at the gym when I got that email. I had been in the sauna while I talked to the representative. All of the zen I had built up was trashed, shredded nothingness inside my mind in the face of all of the feelings swarming around inside me.

How could he do this to me? How, after everything, could he still be fucking me over and not telling me?

I drove home trying not to cry in anger.

When I got home I wrote an email to Ms. Side Chick, his girlfriend, since I had her email address from when she was being signed onto the apartment lease. I told her I didn’t know the situation, but that I wanted her to know one of my near future decisions may affect her. I let her know what was going on. I apologized if she wasn’t living at the apartment anymore and if all of my information was unwanted, but I felt she had a right to know about the potential of interruption of internet service if she was still living there.

I was in the process of writing a rage-filled post of hurt about the event when Warren called me back. He was at work and didn’t have long to talk, but we hashed everything out during the time he had.

During the conversation, he said I had a piece of mail from Full Sail along with what looked like a certification. He still had my spare car key, too. He said if he couldn’t get it sent out to me the next day that he would get Ms. Side Chick to do it for him.

Financially he’s still getting back on his feet. Amber fucked him over with a bunch of accounts in South Carolina so he’s catching up on that and it’s taking longer than he thought it would. We’ve agreed to table the issue of him owing me money until next month. June. That’s when I’ll reach out to him again if he doesn’t reach out to me first.

At least I know where we stand and why we’re standing where we are. I feel like it always comes back to this. I’m not unreasonable or uncaring. All I want is to know what the fuck is going on. It’s hard to feel like I matter, that the quarter of my inheritance that went to supporting him meant anything when I hear absolutely nothing in regards to why I’m not seeing payments in my account. It’s just silence and I’m left to hope that I still matter. That it’s not like “all the other times” and that at some point, in the future, some distance far off undetermined time, things will fix themselves magically on their own.

No. Fuck that.

I want to know what’s going.

I deserve to know what’s going on.

I’m owed that.

At the very least, if you’re not going to pay me like you said you would tell me why so I can empathize and not be a raging ball of “Go fuck yourself.”

Last Saturday, while I was at work, I received a text message from Warren. It was a picture of a receipt from the post office saying my package was expected to be delivered on Monday. It was an amazing picture.

Of course, the package didn’t arrive until Tuesday this week, but it arrived. I have my certification for my CCHT. I have something tangible with pretty scripted lettering saying that I am enough. It says that I did something on March 14th that was that is worth recognition. It makes it feel like I actually did something. That I achieved something. That I’m better than I was when I started.

It’s a good feeling and I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me to open that particular envelope and hold that piece of paper in my hands.

I also, finally, got the check from Full Sail. I was able to deposit it through the mobile banking app. I was able to send an email to the representative I’ve been working with and inform her I received the check and that it was safely deposited into my account. She replied a few days later saying she was happy for me. I’m sure we’re both glad to finally be able to scratch this off of our lists of things to keep track of.

I also have my spare key finally, so I don’t have to worry as much about locking myself out of my car. I don’t have to spend money to get a new spare made, either.

So, as far as I can tell, Orlando is 100% done now. I’m completely transferred over to Nebraska as far as work is concerned and there’s nothing left for me to wait for from Warren, other than the money he owes me which is on hold for a little bit.

Looking at it that way, I guess I’m ok with where things are at in those regards. I’m done with Orlando.

A bit of work has been done in the addition at home. Last week we didn’t get to cleaning anything. I wasn’t upset or hurt over it. I can’t remember exactly why it never happened. All I know is that there weren’t feelings of betrayal or being let down. It didn’t happen and it was ok.

This past Tuesday Ox and I cleared out an entire room so there’s more space to move things around.

He’s sick again. I found out Thursday that he went to the ER from work because he was having such a hard time breathing. The doctor said he lungs sounded fine, so it’s not pneumonia or anything. The doctor said it was most likely a severe cold and gave Ox some prescriptions to help with his cough and congestion.

If I ever get done with writing, I plan to go clean a little bit on my own. Mostly vacuuming up sawdust so it’s not as icky out there. I’ve been told I can work on clearing out the basement as well since everything down there is trash.

I know there’s still a lot about my past days that I haven’t touched on. Two weeks of not writing will do that to you I guess. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think there’s a lot of other stuff that’s really important.

I can’t deposit cash at any of the ATMs here. I can only use my branches ATMs to do that and the closest one is in Omaha, about an hour away. So I guess I need to get comfortable spending the cash that Ox gives me. He’s still paying me back for the help I gave him to cover his car payments. I’m grateful for his understanding and support and effort. It makes me feel like things are different.

He’s showing me that things are different.

I signed up for another Warrior Dash. My race is July 14th. I’m realizing that 14 may be one of my numbers…

February 14th is when I arrived here, at home, in Nebraska. March 14th is when I became a PCT. And now, July 14th is when I will run my race.

It’s interesting.

My mind feels quieter. I don’t think I really figured anything out. Maybe reflecting on the progress my life has made helped. Things did get done. Things did move forward. Yes, some things got added, but that’s ok because some things DID get completed. It’s not the overwhelming crushing force it felt like before.

Things are about to change, and that’s ok, too. I think it will be for the best even if in the beginning they’re a little harder.

I’m set for the coming week and even if Monday is a horrific day of unorganized chaos, that’s ok. It lets us know where things can be improved or modified so the rest of the next two months don’t suck so bad. My FA will be there to witness it first hand and as a competent worker, I know my opinion will be heard if I say there’s an issue.

Things will be ok. Worrying is a misuse of the imagination. I would rather feed that energy into making progress here, at home, so that’s what I’m going to do.

 

Musing Moment 106: Post-Race

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I haven’t written in a while and a lot has happened since Saturday. That means I’m most likely going to meander and that there will actually be a few posts; one for my post-race thoughts, and one for the rest of life.

Without further ado,
here’s the outcome of my Warrior Dash 2017.

 


 

Saturday was amazing. Of course, I only got a few hours of sleep because I couldn’t get my brain to settle down. Despite all of that, I was in fairly good spirits when I actually got up, albeit a little slowly.

Big Bad picked up breakfast from Chick-Fil-A. He ate my hashbrowns and drank my coffee because I didn’t want either of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken biscuit he brought me. Since we had time, we ate in my living room, which I guess isn’t really all that special in most situations but since he very rarely comes over to my apartment it made the occasion feel special and reinstilled the notion that I really should get a kitchen table.

After we ate we grabbed our bags and headed out. I drove which I was fine with. I played music and we chatted pretty much the whole way there. The times we lapsed into silence were comfortable and I enjoyed them just as much as our conversation.

The day was bright and sunny and it warmed nicely as we drove to the race. We were there an hour earlier than I had been last year, so parking was better. We took out our bags, walked up to the race site and proceeded to do all of the check-in stuff; signed the waiver saying if we died we wouldn’t sue, got our IDs checked so we could get beer afterward, picked up our racing bibs, and stashed our bags so we could race.

It was actually a pretty painless process even though it was a little different than how I did things last year. I was a St. Jude Warrior last year so I was allowed in a special area. I’m glad we figured everything out without incident despite the small changes. I switched my shoes from sandals to my Vibrams, forgot to put sunscreen on so I’m  toasty burnt as I type this, and headed towards the start line.

Big Bad and I stood together. There was a family dressed up as the Incredibles. The announcer dude was playing pretty good music as we stood waiting for our wave to start. It was fun. I was a little nervous. This was going to be my first time running a race with someone else, it was going to be the first time I had run with another person in general in a while. I didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t let that eat away at me like I would have in my past. I acknowledged those feelings were there, respected them, and let them exist alongside my anticipation and excitement.

The countdown started, the flames when up, and then we were shuffling forward as we waited for space to form between people so we could actually run.

When we were able to start running it was nice. We had a slower pace than what I would normally do on my own, which was fantastic since I don’t pace myself well, which always leads me to burn out too soon. This year was also different in that it was sunny and dry. Last year it had rained the night before and started to rain again halfway through my race.

Because it was dry, the dirt was more like sand. It felt similar to running on the beach and my legs could tell the difference. The rain last year had packed the dirt down, making the run, overall, smoother.

It was interesting to note the difference. Even though I was running better, breathing better, and had way better endurance, the run itself was harder and pushed my limits. I wasn’t able to run the whole thing, but I did well and I know I did better than I did last year, and feeling that difference made it worth it.

I made it over every obstacle, even the new ones I hadn’t done before. Big Bad lost his glasses on Goliath, but took it in stride and didn’t let the mishap taint the experience.

When we crossed the finish line we were both given participation medals. We stood in line and got official Warrior Dash pictures taken together. We were hugging during it, which made me feel good. This was our first “real” outing, other than getting dinner together the few times we have, so the public displays of affection meant a lot to me.

After the pictures, we retrieved our bags and got in line to shower off. That, too, meant a lot to me. We held hands, we leaned against each other. When it was our turn he helped me rinse off and I returned the favor. Technically that was our first shower together. Covered in mud, using a garden hose surrounded by countless strangers, and yet it is one of the memories I think I’ll always cherish.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to admit that Big Bad is older than I am. Significantly. Part of me worries about people coming up and saying things like, “Isn’t he old enough to be your dad?” It’s that type of age difference. It’s why the public affection means a lot. Him reaching for my hand or wrapping his arm around me, his initiating the contact let me know that we’re ok. It doesn’t matter what other people think.

The shower was another instance of “it doesn’t matter what people think”. It was also non-sexual. It was a safe, controlled environment, sort of like a baby step for me, instead of diving headfirst into the deep end of all my insecurities and emotional baggage. The memory of hosing off makes me smile. A lot of my memories about the race make me smile.

Once we had washed as much of the mud off as we could we got our free beer and I went on the epic quest to find my food voucher for the meal I had prepaid for. That ended up being super annoying but being able to eat after the race was nice. We had a few beers together, got to watch a dance off competition to Micheal Jackson’s Thriller song, saw some tug of war matches, and were entertained for a while by some questionably drunk girls dancing.

It was fun but after a little bit, we were both ready to head home and shower for real. While we were driving out of the parking field Big Bad said he had “oodles of fun”. It warmed me to hear him go on about what a great time he had and how he wants to do it again. I  had been worried he wouldn’t  like the experience, but he had a blast and I’m so incredibly glad he did.

He’s actually already started looking into other tough mudder races. We have plans to run the Spartan in December but want to find something mid-year to run so we have a short term goal to keep us motivated.

I like thinking that he exposed me to jujitsu and I exposed him to tough mudders. It’s amazing having someone to share this interest with; someone who legitimately wants to have these experiences with me rather than feeling guilted into them, or doing them out of a sense of obligation. It feels bonding and I like being able to share this part of myself with someone.

The drive back was quieter. We were both tired, but still looking forward to the evening. We had made plans to see The Lego Batman movie if we survived our race. Well, we survived so movie time was happening.

I parked the car, we hugged and parted ways for a bit. After showering I put on my Warrior Dash 2017 shirt and headed over to Big Bad’s place. We cuddled for a short time since we didn’t want to be too early to the movie. Eventually, we dragged our tired bodies out of bed and headed to the theater.

We went to the cinema grill that’s nearby. Originally I had picked it because tickets are cheaper there. We ended up ordering burgers and drinks though, so they got their money out of us. I drove, Big Bad wanted to pay. I’m getting more comfortable with him spending money on me.

I still fully intend to pay for our next outing, but the thought of him covering our movie night doesn’t make my stomach tight is dread and anxiety. I don’t have this overwhelming feeling of a debt that needs to be paid or else it will be used against me. I mean… those feelings are still sort of there, lingering in the background, grumbling a little bit, but mostly I feel cared for and appreciated. It’s like when I take a friend out to lunch and I pay. I do it because I care about them and I want to do something nice.

I feel like that’s what it is for Big Bad. He’s not doing it to obligate me to things later. He’s doing it because he wants to. Because it makes him feel good to do something nice for me. At least I think that’s what it is. That’s what I want to believe it is rather than the icky feelings and fears of my past.

It’s weird being on the opposite side of the situation. I feel like this is growth on my part. It’s something I mentioned in therapy yesterday. I said it feels like I’m relearning how to have a healthy relationship. Emotionally I’m starting to feel more and more secure. I talk to him about the emotional events going on in my life, which, if you stay tuned for the next post will have all of the details illustrating that statement.

This, too, the security, is a weird feeling. But, I like it.

The movie was amazing because he’s Batman. Seriously, if you take nothing else away from this long, drawn out writing, at least remember that you have to go see that movie because it’s totally worth it and amazing.

DO ET!!!!!

We ate our burgers, which were actually pretty good. We headed back to his place afterward. There was sexy time which is always amazing, and then we curled up together and slept.

I slept well. It’s been getting easier to fall asleep next to him. A lot of the time it’s hard for me to. I enjoy being there. I enjoy hearing his heartbeat and feeling his breathing, but sleep itself can be elusive. I worry about tossing and turning and waking him up. I worry about getting congested because I’m somewhere other than my own bed and then snoring and being “unsexy”.

I know those are silly things to stay up all night fretting about, but it’s what I do. Lately, I’ve had an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. Saturday night was a night where I actually slept deeply. I woke up at one point and Big Bad wasn’t in bed. It didn’t bother me though because I knew I was safe. Either he needed to use the restroom or he couldn’t sleep. I snuggled deeper into the covers and the next thing I knew it was morning. I don’t remember him coming back to bed at all even though we woke up next to each other, which to me is big because that means I didn’t wake up when he came back into the room. My brain didn’t think it was threatening so it let me stay asleep.

The morning was slow and lazy and fantastic as we both took stock of where we were sore and how the next thing on the to-do list for the day was running another 5k. Of course, that was a joke as the thought of doing anything physical was so not even in the top 100 of the things that were going to happen that day. When I mentioned waking up and him not being in bed he said even though he had been exhausted he hadn’t been able to fall asleep right away.

Eventually, we parted ways. We hugged and kissed goodbye. I felt extremely connected and peaceful when I left.

Saturday was an amazing day. As I said in my pre-race post, this, this event, this day, is the start of MY year. It was a pretty fantastic start. And with the other events that have transpired since then, it seems like it’s going to be a pretty awesome year.

Oh… and pics… because it happened.

 

Daily Post 009: Pre-Race

Standard

This is going to have to be a relatively short post since I was supposed to be asleep forty minutes ago. And yes, the right side of my brain is snickering uncontrollably at the idea that I think I can write a short post…

/sigh

#infjProblems

Anywho, today has been a relatively good day. I’m in higher spirits than I was this morning. Definitely better than what I have been for the past few days. Physically I’m extremely well rested. No lingering aches from the cold I had, no congestion, and no muscle soreness from being a type-a personality and not taking rest days so hopefully I do well at the Warrior Dash tomorrow.

Spiritually / emotionally this morning started out the same as yesterday. Flatlined. White. Still.

I had my coffee on the couch again while I thought about what to do with the day. With the chores done there was nothing to use as an excuse to procrastinate on the painting. I decided I would stitch two threads, write a prompt page, then paint the baseboards in the downstairs bathroom.

The prompt page I think is what started the turn around for me. The prompt was about happiness. It had me remember a lot of really positive and interesting events in my life. It reminded me of the people I care about and about some of the other situations I’ve survived through. Things get hard sometimes, but I’ve made it through everything so far so I must be doing ok.

It took a while to complete the writing, but I’m glad I did it. I guess I think of it sort of as homework. That’s the reason I picked the personality section when I started going through the prompts again. As Mama Spike would say, “I need to learn how to me.”

So yeah, good post. Happy with the shift in my mindset for having done it. Labeling it as a worthwhile endeavor.

The baseboards are finally done. Now all I need to do is wash up the paint from the tile floor. That will most likely happen Monday.

I went to Pita Pit for lunch as a way to get out of the apartment for a bit. I sat outside listening to music through my headphones. It was nice. It was the Pita Pit near the extend stay I was at when I came back from Vegas. The same one my blacksmith and I went to. There was a twinge in my chest as I drove down the main street to get there.

I remembered driving down that road when my grief was raw. New. Foreign and unknown. It reminded me of the times I would scream in my car because I didn’t know what else to do with the emotions. It reminded me of what those months were like. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but I don’t think it was bad either. I think it was healing.

Sort of like the first time I drove to Daytona to see Jon and I cried almost the whole way there. The only time I had driven that route was when I went home to see mom. I can drive to Jon now no problem. Just like I can take her ring off, or my pendant even though the first time I did those actions at the dojo I cried. The emotions hurt. They’re intense, but the more I face them, accept them, the less power they have, the more I understand why they’re there and how to coexist with them.

Just like with writing the post, I think it was good to go to the area where I was during the beginning of my grief. As I sat I was able to acknowledge the changes in myself since that time.

I’m a survivor, and those aren’t just hollow words. I AM a survivor because I HAVE survived so far. Going to a place where I remember questioning how I was supposed to keep going was reassuring. At the time I had no idea how I could or would make it through everything that was going on. Mom’s death. The break up with Zane. Resigning from my job…

But look at me and my bad self, still here. Still ok. Still figuring things out. It makes the future seem less intimidating. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I didn’t know what I was doing back then either and I’m still around. Go me.

Since I was near a Publix I did some grocery shopping. I used a bunch of Warren’s crackers in my soups while I was sick so I got him another box. We needed trash bags and lame apartment stuff like that. I also ran out of dark chocolate almond milk. Coffee tomorrow morning would be woefully incomplete without it.

Honestly, the almond milk is the only reason the other stuff got bought. If I hadn’t of needed it I wouldn’t have gone to the store. I mean… we didn’t “need” trashbags. I could have survived about five more days.

When I was done at the store I circled around the parking lot and went through the Starbucks drive-thru. No real reason for it other than I wanted a mocha frapafjakdjfalkjfa or whatever they’re called. You can tell how Starbucks savvy I am.

Cashier: What size would you like?

Me: Small, please.

Yeah… I’m that kind of customer.

Came home. Did a few other chores, stitched a bit more, then started painting the kitchen. There’s about half a wall left to paint but I need to move the fridge to do it, so that’s being saved until Monday as well. After that, the only thing left to paint is the hallway and stairs. I’m thinking about asking Warren if we can rearrange the living room.

I started watching Deadman Wonderland tonight. That show is seriously fucked up. Like, Attack on Titan level fucked up.

It’s sooooo good.

I messaged Sir to let him know I was watching it. I knew he was someone who would 1) understand, and 2) appreciate my messages of “OMG!!! Like, seriously, what the fuck!” because he could picture me saying those exact words in the high pitched voice I use sometimes as I squirm into the furthest corner of the couch trying to get away from the scene on the TV that I can’t seem to stop watching.

Hopefully, it made him think of when we watched Future Diary together with Em because there were a lot of instances in that anime where the phrase “What the actual fuck?!” got thrown around, too.

Big Bad and I solidified our plans for tomorrow morning. He’s coming over here and then we’ll both drive to the race location. I’m not sure if he’s driving or if I am, but I figured either way is fine. As long as we both get there in one piece.

I’m excited. I don’t know why. I’ve run it once already. Wouldn’t that mean it’s nothing special? I guess I’m curious to see if I do better this time. Some of the obstacles are new.

There’s a part of me who wonders what will happen if I don’t do better. Will I be a jerk to myself or will I be understanding and approving of my effort? Is Big Bad going to think I’m weak or a slacker because I still can’t run a solid mile? Will he get frustrated with me if I can’t keep up with him?

There’s a lot of unknowns and I think a lot of them are irrational worries rather than actual legitimate concerns. Right now it feels more like white noise in my head. I know those thoughts are there but I’m not really listening to them. Worrying won’t change anything so why give it power?

February 6th marked a year since my first race. February 6th, 2016 was the day I crawled through the last mud puddle and stepped over the finish line and stood tired, but tall, head high as my mentality shifted.

I finally, fully, accepted myself. Me. As I am. Strengths, weaknesses, quirks and all. That day marked the day I defeated the cancerous self-doubt that was eating away at me from my relationship with Warren #2.

Maybe that’s why this race means so much to me and why I smile when I think about being there tomorrow. So much has happened during this past year, and so much of it has made me stronger. The first major event of 2016 for me was this race. My first ever 5k. And a mud obstacle to boot. Did I mention the type-a personality?

The first major event of 2017 was my trip to Ohio and meeting my half sisters. Then there was Allion’s trip to Disney. For me, though, my first “real” event is this race.

This is the start of MY year.

I never got a chance to say this to him in person. It’s been over four years now since I’ve had any sort of interaction with him. I’m ok with that. I can say this to his memory and still feel just as fulfilled by it.

 

Dear Warren #2,

Go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,

The Earth Dragon Who Did