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.

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Daily Post 015: Rambling Through Introspection

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I really need a different computer desk. In the beginning, when I thought I would have the office to myself, it was fine. I would have been able to have another table or a shelf or something to use as a work area alongside my computer. But now that the computer is in my room I don’t have space for that. All I have is a place for the keyboard and bearly any room for the mouse much less notebooks or papers or pencils.

It’s frustrating. It’s fucking up my system.

grove

We all know how that ended…

I’m waiting for my younger brother to bring me his extra kitchen table. I think that will help. I could take the Surface downstairs with me and work at the table instead of being cramped in my room. I think the separation of work and personal space is good for me as well. I function better with them separated. It’s why I went to my sports bar for lunch the past three weeks. After eating I would stay for a few hours and study. It was better than being at home.

Anywho. I wrote on Thursday. The day I got my first stripe for jiujitsu. That was a pretty intense moment for me. It still is. I feel like that writing, that letter to my mom is a fundamental moment for me. It’s one of those writings where anyone can read it, not knowing anything about who I am, and understand who I am as a person.

It is me. Unadulterated. Pure. Raw. It is everything I stand for, that I believe in. It is my core values. It’s my hurt, my pain, my life. It is my declaration of “I’m not giving up.”

I’m glad I wrote it. I feel that I found something within myself from writing it.

Friday I took my test to become a Certified EKG Technician.

I passed.

I am now qualified to interpret squiggle lines and to stick electrodes onto people’s chest like some mad evil scientist. Muahahahahahaha!

I honestly have no idea how I passed since over half the questions were things we never covered in class. They weren’t even things I saw online when I was studying on my own.

Things like the Holter setup and stress testing and lead colors and patient instructions. All sorts of “What the fuck?”

Seriously, by question 70 out of 120 I wanted to thunk my head down onto the desk I was sitting at so hard that it made an audible sound because there was no way I had gotten enough questions right to have a passing grade.

Apparently, I did really well at guessing, though. On a scaled grade where a 390 was required to pass out of 500 I got a 451.

I’ve already talked to the instructor and have plans to type up suggestions along with extra resources I found during the three weeks of the class. This was the first EKG course the school had offered in about a year, so essentially we were the guinea pigs.

Out of the three of use who took the test yesterday, all three of us passed. It was a good birthday present for my instructor. Her birthday was Saturday. I’m glad we all were able to figure it out enough to make it through it. I messaged one other girl who was in our class and let her know to research into the extra topics so hopefully, it wouldn’t be as overwhelming to her. She has a week before she’s going to take the board. Should be enough time to get some exposure to those topics at least.

So that was Friday. It was also my older brother’s birthday. I messaged him. I sent him a card on Thursday. I wrote a pretty personal message saying that I wanted to wish him “a day” because saying I hoped it was happy seemed wrong. I explained that on my birthday even though I had had a good day that I had cried myself to sleep that night because things were different. Mom wasn’t there. Even though it had been a “good” day, it wasn’t a “happy” day.

I told him that even though I knew it was going to be different for him that I was thankful that he was able to “have a day”. I said I was grateful to have him, Jon, Jace, and Lio in my life because I now fully understand just how much each of them means to me.

I know he’s a pretty private person and he wouldn’t really tell me if things were bothering him. I hope he’s ok, and I hope my letter helps him feel appreciated and valued. Yesterday probably wasn’t happy for him, but hopefully, there were some positive points in it and he was able to enjoy them despite the difference.

I didn’t do a whole lot after my test on Friday. My brain was pretty done. Like “melted puddle of goo inside my skull” done. I told one of my friends the hardest question I was going to ask myself the rest of the day was what type of pizza I wanted for dinner. And even then I didn’t actually get pizza because it was too much effort later in the evening. Absolutely no higher level thinking was allowed for the rest of Friday.

I had lunch at my sports bar with an angry orchard to drink. I came home and slept on and off for the rest of the night. I bought Chime Sharp from the Playstation Network for my PS4 since I liked Chime Deluxe so much. Don’t buy it. It sucks compared to the original game or Deluxe. I was very disappointed, even though it was nice to be able to play the game for a bit.

Big Bad and I actually spent the evening together on Thursday. We haven’t seen each other very much lately. I was enjoying our twice a week scheduled evenings. I don’t think that leaves him with much alone time, though.

It’s not the sex I miss even though it’s always amazing and fantastic. It’s the hug hello and the cuddles where we talk. It’s being able to share my day with someone. And of course our cup of coffee in the morning before our kiss goodbye and our, “I hope you have a good day.”

It seems silly to ache over not knowing when I’ll see him again when I leave. I mean… it would be what? At most two weeks? I’ve lived 27 and a half years without. I’m pretty sure I can survive two weeks.

I guess it’s the uncertainty that makes it feel like sandpaper against the inside of my skin. Right now our next meetings seem sort of ambiguous. I may or may not see him on that day. If I don’t then it may or may not be the next time. It’s like being told to wait without being told how long. If I knew how long to wait I would know how to manage my breath so I don’t suffocate before the next time I’m able to breathe. In this instance, it’s my energy instead of actual oxygen. No less vital, though.

Maybe that’s a bit dramatic and maybe that’s wrong of me. I recharge while I’m with him. After studying for 6 hours on Thursday my brain was so dead and overwhelmed silent tears wanted to run down my cheeks in frustration. He offered for me to come over for pizza. We played Mortal Kombat. There was amazing sexy time. There was no worrying about my test. There was wrestling where I got to show him how much I’ve improved.

We haven’t wrestled all that much in a while. I did really well. Totally didn’t get choked out with my own arm. Totally owning ALL of that accomplishment. /flex

He made Thursday night relaxing. Maybe “made” is the wrong word. We didn’t really do anything different. And maybe that’s why I like spending time with him so much. I was able to be me. He was him. We simply enjoyed our time together and the only thing that matter was our enjoyment. Outside influences like tests and work and interviews don’t really matter when we’re together. We talk about them. We acknowledge life. But when we’re together it feels like us.

It’s nice.

I enjoy being with him.

Maybe I enjoy it more than I should? Maybe that’s something I should evaluate and think about. He has his own life and own obligations on top of being an introvert. He also has his second partner.

Maybe once I have a job this issue will work itself out. Maybe I have too much free time. I do think a large part of it, though, is becoming emotionally attached because it’s not really the amount of time I miss. It’s the connection in my chakra that aches.

Yeah… definitely something to meditate on.

Fucking emotions… It’s like it’s never ending… /sigh

On a totally different topic…

I have an interview with the hospital on Monday after my phlebotomy class. It’s for a part-time patient transporter position. Totally hoping it works out. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. I’m going to push for at least $10 an hour. I have eight years of “distinguished” customer service experience since I’ve been awarded multiple times for my work ethic. I also have my EKG certification, along with my other three certifications, and I’m awaiting my test date (still…) to become a CNA.

I am a good prospect. I know what I’m worth and I’ve crunched some serious numbers. I know what I can do and for how long, and even with this job I’m still hoping the lab assistant for phlebotomy works out a bit more than the central services tech position. While I do eventually want to move into the Central Services area, the secretarial phlebotomy assistant position I applied for has better hours to work with this part time job.

Currently, I’m more focused on my financial goal of having the credit card paid off by October than getting into the exact area I want to be in. After the EKG class, I’m actually sort of interested in telemetry. The heart is fascinating.

Being honest with myself, I really don’t know what I want to do in the hospital. There’s still billions of things I don’t know about. There might be something better than Central Services. What I do know is I need to kill the remaining debt I have. Working a full time and part time job may be rough, but I want to do it. The patient transporter position is an entry position, yeah, but I get exposure to EVERYTHING. Every department. I get to see way more people and potentially have way more networking opportunities.

Goal-wise, I want a part-time position by the end of March, which at this point seems fairly promising. I want an additional full-time position by the end of May. Sooner would be better, but by April I’ll be done with phlebotomy, so that would give me a month to find something with my increased hours of availability. I think all of that is doable. I plan to start going through the 30-day challenge again now that I actually have goals and shit I’m trying to achieve. Before I didn’t, which is why it fell to the wayside.

Because of the pending interview, yesterday was an extremely productive day. It helped that there was a strong summer sun yesterday. A nice, warm summer sun.

I started the day by running to the grocery store to pick up a steak and frozen hash browns. I wanted to do something special for breakfast, something different than my egg sandwich. It was the weekend. I didn’t have time obligations. I could relax and enjoy my day, and that’s what I did.

I came home and cooked. I cut the steak up into quarters, I cooked the bag of hash browns and I fried up an egg while my coffee percolator did its thing. Once everything was ready, I sat downstairs using one of the side tables as a workstation. While I ate I made my to-do list and grocery list. I cleaned the kitchen a bit and started laundry. I showered and eventually, I went to the dojo for Muay Thai conditioning. It wasn’t a super crazy intense class, but it got me sweating and I got to focus on the mechanics of my movements which was nice. I guess this week is spring break so the dojo was pretty empty. I don’t mind smaller classes. More one on one time that way. It was the first time I had been back to the dojo since Thursday. It felt good.

After class I came home, showered, again, then headed back out into the world.

I stopped at Target first. I wanted to get a new top for my upcoming interview. I ended up getting three black tank tops. I’m in a size large now. I don’t remember ever fitting into a size large. The red tank top I got while I was in Vegas with mom is a 2x. It’s a good feeling to see that much progress within myself.

I was originally going to get a black workout tank top, but one of those was $15 versus the three cotton tanks for $25. I figured it was more bang for my buck, so that’s the option I went with. With the outfit I like to wear for interviews, I wear the tanks under a sort of jacket… thing…

I’m sure there’s some girly fashion term for it, but the main thing is you can’t tell I’m wearing a tank top. It looks like a nice pretty top that isn’t distracting. It’s clean, simple, and professional looking. At the same time, it’s something I’m comfortable in, which is the only thing I personally care about.

I want to feel normal and comfortable, not awkward and out of my element. The more natural my clothing feels, the more me I feel, the more relaxed I’ll be during the interview, the better I’ll do.

There’s the added benefit that I get to reaffirm to myself that I’m still losing weight by having nice, new clothing that’s smaller than anything I can remember ever owning. The pants I’m wearing to the interview I’ve had since I was in high school. They’re super nice, black, comfy dress pants. I wore them for almost every band performance I was in. I love them, which is why I’ve kept them. They’re almost too big… In another month I’ll have to donate them and find a new pair that I like, which is going to suck because I love those pants so much I don’t want to get rid of them. I might look at having them tailored if possible.

About a week ago I actually got four new pants for $40. They’re actually super cool. They’re called fisherman’s pants. They’re worth looking into. I figured that was a really good way of sticking to my overall style of comfort, but not having to buy new clothing every month and a half. It’s a “one size fits most” style. All you have to do to make the pants tighter is tie the string tighter. The tops I bought yesterday work well with them, too, so I should be set on clothing for a little while. I might get two more pairs of the pants just so I have black ones. Right now I have olive green and red. The black tops go well with them, but I would like to have a bit of color variation. I could get a few brighter colored tops to wear with the black pants and the shorts I have and be set for a while.

I went through my closet last night and pulled out everything that’s once again too big. It’s a good feeling now that I am replacing the stuff that was too big with options that won’t need to be replaced due to weight loss. The pants really are freaking amazing… Seriously, check them out.

While I’m on the topic of being irresponsible and spending money… I also went ahead and purchased the shin guards I promised myself as a reward for passing my EKG board. I’m not going to back out of promises I make to myself anymore. Yeah, money is getting tight. I’ll figure it out. This was something I said I would do so I did it. No regrets. You can’t look at those and tell me they don’t look sexy as fuck. I cannot wait to kick the crap out of some punching bags with those things. Oh man. Legs of steel are coming.

I’m not sure what I want to do as a reward for phlebotomy yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

My next big goal as far as gear goes will be in August. If I get blue belt during belt testing in August then I’m going to get myself rash guard gear. It’s basically compression gear with a different name. I can’t even begin to think how much different my body will be if I keep training the way I am. It’s interesting and exciting to think about. At the same time, it makes me feel scared and vulnerable.

I’ll still be me, but with where I see myself being in August… I’ve never been that fit or healthy or athletic. It makes me wonder if I’ll be comfortable in my own skin. Will I recognize the person I see in the mirror? I already look at myself and can tell I’m thinner than I’ve ever been. It makes me feel shy. It makes part of me want to hide away.

All of the times I was picked on or ridiculed as a teen… Would those people be nice to me now? Would I suddenly be worthy of their kindness simply because I’m thinner?

It’s another thing to meditate on. It’s funny in a sort of sad, somber way. I’m becoming what society classifies as acceptable, desirable, wanted, and yet there is a frail part of my heart chakra that wants to cry at reaching even this point in my fitness journey, much less further, because for so long I felt unworthy even though I myself, as a person, as a soul, have remained the same.

What was it that made me so horrible that I wasn’t allowed to feel love and acceptance from people? What makes me worthy now?

It’s a tender scar, like so many others, which needs soothing.

Long, overly deep tangent…

After Target I went to the oriental market. This week I’m going to be making beef stir fry, stuffed heart, and spinach chicken couscous along with my breakfast sandwiches in the morning. I’m very much looking forward to trying the stuffed heart. The market has all sorts of interesting meat cuts. I’m looking forward to trying new recipes.

I came home, stashed the food away, ate, then ran up to Publix for a few remaining things. While I was out I got my hair cut and my brows waxed. Those two things were totally and completely a self-indulgence, but I think it’s worth it. I’ve wanted to get my hair trimmed for about two months now because the ends were getting icky, and while my brows weren’t Chewbacca bad, there was starting to be a little nagging voice in the back of my head.

I don’t want little nagging voices in my head during my interview. I want to feel confident and clean and at my best. So I invested in myself. That’s how I’m looking at it.

I came home, updated my resume, and printed out all of the information I needed, including my parking pass for tomorrow. I did go out and get Taco Bell for dinner which was extremely unsatisfying and a poor choice on my part. I had thought it would be a cheap option since through all of my productivity yesterday, including doing three loads of laundry, not just washing and drying, but actually putting away, too, I didn’t make food to have for dinner. I would have been better off going with a slightly more expensive option because then I would have at least felt like it was worth the money.

Oh well. Lesson learned I guess. Fast food really does suck and isn’t worth the money spent. I didn’t starve so at least one positive thing came out of it I suppose.

Today is going to be mostly a rest day. I need to run out to Publix for some fresh dill and butcher string. I want to vacuum. I need to dye my hair for tomorrow. I want to type up the questions to ask in the interview, and, if there’s time, type up my suggestions for the EKG class. I’m pretty low energy, though, and this writing has taken a fair amount of my morning, so the class critique is most likely not going to happen. I’m ok with that, though. I would rather have more time to work on it than cramming it all into one sitting.

Cooking at least two of my meals for the week would also be good that way I have food for tomorrow. None of that is going to get done with me sitting here, though, so I guess I should go shower and get a move on.

Musing Moment 095: My Place

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I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I spend a lot of time in bed, resting, which usually leads to sleeping.

 

I spend a lot of time thinking that I should be doing something meaningful with my life. I spend a lot of time not having the energy to do much of anything by the time I get home, like today…

 

I went to work. I’m giving myself points for that because I really didn’t want to. Next week is my last week. Friday I have my exit interview. I’m sad when I think about it. I’m sad thinking that I’m going to be leaving everyone soon. I’m sad that it feels like goodbye.

 

I spent most of the lab scrolling through Facebook. I did everything I needed to do beforehand. I emailed Jason to update him on life and to solidify dates with him. I replied to all of the emails I had. I did all of these “things” and then I had nothing else to occupy my time with. At least nothing that I really wanted to do. So instead I scrolled through Facefail, saving images with inspiration quotes on them until the day was over and I was allowed to leave.

 

I had no intention of going to the gym today, which ended up working in my favor because there was a torrential down pour going on as I was leaving work. I just wanted to come back “home” to my extended stay and not be outside or around people.

 

So that’s where I am. At home, in comfy clothes, not sure what to do about food, and in general sort of sad and introspective.

 

There is a realness to everything now. I have a UBox reserved for the 8th. That’s when I’ll be packing my things to have them shipped to Vegas. I have the going away event, laser tag awesomeness, set up for the 9th. On the 11th, Monday, the start of the week, I check out of my extended stay and begin my trip westward.

 

There are so many things I’m looking forward to. Attending the dojang. Having a full-sized kitchen to myself. Using my pots and knives and in general being able to cook again. Turning the garage into my own personal workout area. Starting a herb garden. Potentially looking into reiki. Maybe becoming a certified nursing assistant. Having dinners with Lio and Jason.

 

I want all of those things. The thought of them makes me happy.

 

I have to leave Orlando to do those things. The thought of leaving hurts. I don’t want to hurt.

 

It sucks. It’s confusing. I don’t want to process but I know I need to. And so that’s where I’m at.

 

I saw V again last night. There was one point where we were talking and I started to cry. And by cry I mean I had tears running down my cheeks. I wasn’t sobbing, but I was remembering painful memories and because of that there were tears that I couldn’t stop.

 

V saw them and asked what was wrong.

 

“Emotions,” was the only word I could say. He reached out and wiped away one of the tears with his thumb. I tried pulling away and saying sorry. I didn’t want to mess up the night with emo stuff. I didn’t want to feel disappointment or rejection. I didn’t want to feel vulnerable because being vulnerable always seems to mean I’m going to end up hurt.

 

He kept his hand on my face even though I tried to pull away. I wanted to hide. I wanted to not hurt. He told me to look at him, and after an internal struggle of fearing what I would see, I did look up at him.

 

“It is not your place to be ashamed. Don’t ever feel ashamed for what you feel. It is your place to be the confident woman you are.”

 

I keep thinking of that phrase.

 

It’s not my place to feel ashamed.

 

It makes me think of all of my past relationships. The ones I knew I should have left. The ones that made me question and doubt myself. The ones that made me feel unworthy. The ones where I was gross. Mentally unstable. Fucked up. A whore. A cheater. Cumrag…

 

I think of all of these emotionally horrific experiences where the person who claimed to love me degraded me and made me feel less than. Made me feel ashamed of myself because being me was the absolute worst, most awful thing I could have done.

 

It’s not my place to feel ashamed.

 

Then why I was in so many places that made me feel that way? I instinctually want to pull away from this kindness because it is so hard to trust it now. I trusted all of my previous partners. I don’t feel like a confident woman. And maybe that’s because right now I’m still figuring out how to stand on my own. It’s not just mom’s death. It’s the betrayal of Zane. It’s the ending of my job. It’s the loss of my sphere in Orlando.

 

I feel hurt. I feel lost sometimes. I feel like this is another transitional period and things are shifting and I’m losing touch with solid ground. It’s scary and I just want to know that what I’m doing is right.

 

And yet, feeling V’s hands hold my cheeks while we looked at each other, his thumbs rubbing the tears away… I felt no negativity from him. It was ok to feel everything I was feeling. It was ok to have tears because tears didn’t make me a bad person or less than. It didn’t feel like lip service even though the things he said where everything I’ve wanted to hear. It felt like he meant those words. It felt like he cared.

 

It’s not my place means that I shouldn’t be there. I shouldn’t be in places that make me feel unworthy, that make me feel less than. I’m not less than. I deserve respect. I deserve to feel wanted and loved and cared for. Not ashamed and like a beaten animal. I shouldn’t feel the need to cower away from someone when I cry. I shouldn’t feel sorry for feeling because feeling isn’t a bad thing. I’m allowed to feel. There is no shame in feeling, in expressing, in being human.

 

I wish I could say I was confident. But right now I’m not. Right now I feel the need to cry and purge the hurt of all of those memories. It’s not my place, but I felt all of those emotions. I felt shame and regret and guilt because so many people have told me that I should feel those things.

 

I don’t know what this is. Healing maybe? It’s confusing. It hurts. I need to let go of it, of them. These dark pieces of shattered memory. These shards that keep cutting me, causing my confidence to bleed out of me through the slashes. Like so many other aspects of myself, I need to look at these situations and evaluate them.

 

Do I accept these things
as truths about me?

 

Am I gross because I sweat when I bike 7 miles to work everyday?

 

Am I mentally unstable for being interested in BDSM?

 

Am I fucked up for preferring an atypical relationship dynamic?

 

Am I a whore, a cheater, for being involved with another person once a relationship is over?

NO.

No. My answer is no to all of those questions and so many more. No. I’m not gross. No. I’m not unstable. No. I’m not fucked up. No. I’m not a cheater or a whore.

 

I don’t want to feel shame for being who I am. I don’t want to give dishonorable people the power to make me feel shame. My place is not in my past. My place is not to feel ashamed anymore. It never was my place to feel ashamed about who I was.

 

My place is here. In the present. My place is figuring myself out, finding myself and my truths. My place is to be me. My place is to know myself. And knowing myself, believing in myself, is how I will return to being confident.

 

My place is not in my past. My place is here in my present.

 

 

 

Prompt Page 014: Different Strokes

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Prompt by The Learning Network to combat WordPress.


 

Today’s Topic:
What Can You Learn from Other Religions?

 


 

Would I ally myself with a particular religious tradition?

Like participating in Christmas? Or going to Sunday service? I’m honestly not really sure what this question is asking. I don’t like the word “ally” though. I don’t really ally myself with anything religious. I practice how I feel I should, not how I’m told. Because I’m a rebel! /flex

 

Could I get any more caught up on semantics? Most likely. That would require putting in more effort though, and I’m pretty content with the level I’m at.

 

I participate in the traditions my family acknowledges, like Christmas. It’s not a big deal for me personally. Neither is my birthday. Or Halloween. I’m sure some of the people who have read my past writings are thinking, “Wait… What?… Aren’t you like, part Pagan or something? Wouldn’t that be the one holiday that is important to you? Wouldn’t there be some weird tradition you participate in?”

 

Days are just days to me.

 

Traditions sort of suffer from the same mentality. Traditions are just things, actions. It is up to us as individuals to give them importance. If it is important to you, than practice it. If it’s not, then don’t. It is meant to solidify something about your faith to you, for you. If it doesn’t do that, then it’s just a hollow action taking away from finite time. I have better things to do then something I feel is pointless and empty.

 

My personal opinion, don’t ally yourself to anything but yourself. Be true to you and what you feel. Just because it doesn’t line up with what other people collectively think doesn’t mean it’s bad… And I say that from the Wiccan rede, “And if it harm none, do what ye will” mentality.

 

Do I know people from other traditions?

Yes.

 

What do I think I can learn from the faith and beliefs of others?

So many things. Mostly acceptance. The more I learn about other people, cultures, religions, customs, and traditions, the more I learn that my way is not the only way. My belief is not “right”. But neither is it “wrong”. It is merely a way. One single way of existing within a world, a single, tiny planet spinning through the vastness of space.

 

There are so many other things to get caught up over, so many actually worthwhile issues, other than, “The way I’m told not to kill people is better than the way you’re told not to kill people!”

 

I mean, essentially, in my limited experience, that’s what most of religion / faith boils down to. Don’t be a jerk. Treat people how you want to be treated. If we’re all following the same rules, they’re just written in a different book, isn’t it really still the same thing?

 

Can’t we look at how we’re similar rather than how we’re different? Couldn’t we be happy that someone has a connection to something that brings them happiness and inner peace rather than being pissed that it’s not the exact same thing that we choose to follow?

 

A good example of this the Day of Ashura. On this day of the Islamic calendar some people, not all, still practice the tradition of self-flagellation. For those who don’t know, that’s where you whip yourself. Participants will use chains with blades attached to them and whip themselves across the back to show their sorrow for not being at the Battle of Karbala to save their martyr, Imam Hussein.

 

We’re so quick to jump to saying how this practice is wrong. I know I was when I first started writing my paper on it during my Social and Cultural Anthropology class. How can causing yourself harm be an ok thing? We are only given one body. How could they defile the most precious gift we are given? It didn’t help that almost everything I found relating to the tradition used language such as “self-harm” to describe it, which self-harm is considered an extremely negative thing connected to depression and mental / emotional instability.

 

My teacher helped me see it in a different light, though. How is plastic surgery or tattooing or scarification ok, but self-flagellation is a huge, uber, unforgivable no-no?

 

Really, it’s all body modification. How is some of it ok, but others not, and who are we to say which is which?

 

With Day of Ashura at least there’s some spiritual significance for the pain rather than the shallowness of feeling like perkier breasts will improve your life, or that a drunken tribal tattoo on your bicep makes you more badass.

 

Those words may be harsh, and they may sting for some people, but how can you berate one person while not holding up a mirror to yourself? So you don’t agree with what they are doing. Does it affect you or your body? No. It doesn’t. Does it go against something you believe? Maybe. It’s not like they’re forcing you to participate.

 

What good does it do to be angry, disgusted, or to hold onto whatever other negative emotions within yourself over something that literally doesn’t affect you or your life?

 

Live and let live.

 

They’re not saying you can’t go get Botox shot into your face. Give them the same respect and freedom to do what they want with their bodies even if it’s not something you would do to yours.

 

Do I agree with the Dalai Lama that in our interconnected world understanding across different religions is essential?

Yes. I do. I feel like religion and culture are very closely connected. In a way it’s like another language. How can you interact properly with a person if you only understand half of their language?

 

Yeah, you might be able to communicate to some degree, maybe even have full conversations depending on the topic(s). But to truly understand another person you have to understand, in my opinion, their core values and where they stem from. For most of us that in some way incorporates religion.

 

The more involved you get with someone, the more likely you’re going to step on toes or cause some sort of offense by not understanding, or caring, about another person’s mentality. Again, you don’t have to agree with it, but when we are conscious of how another person is different we increase our chances of having a harmonious interaction with that person.

 

One the flip side, don’t be super sensitive if someone accidentally says something that goes against your beliefs. If you tell me Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays I’m not going to hunt you down and jump you in a dark ally.

 

Not everyone is out to cause offense. Sometimes we need to bite the bullet and accept that no everyone is as aware of other religions. They may not even know you belong to a different faith. How often to you walk up to someone and ask, “What religion are you a part of?” And what do you do when the person you asked is atheist and now feels alienated because they don’t actually belong to a religion?

 

Again, live and let live. Don’t intentionally give offense and don’t go out of your way to take offense.

Musing Moment 0053: Public Promise

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I had a realization yesterday when I sat down to do my “Challenge Homework”.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day that you make the push goal you have picked out a public promise. Basically you’re giving your word that you’ll achieve whatever goal it is that you set for yourself, no matter what.

My realization?

I really don’t care about my goal all that much. Not enough to promise I’ll achieve it.

Ok… back to square one I guess…?

I don’t think writing stories for commission money is going to make me feel like a better person. I don’t think it factors into personal or spiritual growth. It helps solve my financial issue, which is a big thing, but it doesn’t do anything for me specifically. And yeah, right now I want to be selfish. I want to do something for me, only me, and screw the rest of the world. So much of my focus and stress is caused by external sources right now. I don’t want to focus on the outside. I want, need, to shift my attention inside. I’m allowed to focus on myself.

I need to focus on myself.

So I really think that my push goal aught to be “work out consistently”. That’s something that I want to promise. That’s something that works on my physical health, my spiritual growth, my personal growth, and my emotional health. That’s something that’s actually important to me, and it’s something that is helping me deal with the financial stress of my current situation. It’s keeping me sane.

Another thing I realized was that I would have to make a promise to someone. But I really don’t want anyone involved. This is a very internal thing for me at the moment. I don’t want to be around anyone. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to be accountable to anyone. Again… going back to that whole screw the world thing.

I’m in hardcore introvert mode. If it’s not an obligation, it’s not happening. And even that’s dodgy. Right now I don’t care if I let anyone down. The only person I’m concerned with is myself. I need to make sure I’m ok, before I worry about if other people are ok.

The person my choices are going to impact the most is me. So, instead of promising a whole bunch of people that I’m going to do something, I’m going to promise myself, that vulnerable part of me that has over 9,000 feet worth of concrete wall around herself because right now she’s the only one I’m worried about.

Hey you,

Yeah you.

I promise that I’m going to take care of us. I promise that we’ll be ok. I’m going to start going to the gym everyday again. I promise that we’ll be able to run a 10 minute mile like we’ve always wanted. I promise that as soon as we can, we’ll get new running shoes because we deserve them.

I promise that I’ll make you proud. That I’ll be the super hero you think I am. I promise I won’t let you down. I promise that we’ll make it through this, and that even though it sucks, that I’ve got your back.

You can count on me. I’ll always be here for you, and I’ll always try to do the best thing for us.

I love you.

Sincerely,

Yourself

Daily Post 0164: Sometimes the Hardest Thing is Admitting That You’re Human

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Blank page, why do you torment me so? Why, oh thoughts, do you give me trepidation? Why does it feel like the process of writing is tearing something from my skin? My soul?

Maybe because it’s a purging? A cleansing? I can feel it in my chest. This need to write, to expel, to confess, yell, scream, cry, release.

And it’s so odd because this past week has been pretty great in relation to how the previous weeks have gone.

Maybe it is a build up? Maybe it is a result of having to contain everything, hold it together, and now that the storm seems to have passed I am able to relax, muscles shuddering from effort and strain of holding my world together. Atlas no longer.

I feel, I guess is the best way to describe it, and yet I know for most people that doesn’t describe it at all. It explains everything, and yet nothing.

I feel my happiness. I feel my love for those around me. I feel my hope for things getting better. I feel my energy and potential coming back as I recover. I feel my tiredness. I feel my sorrow. I feel my acceptance.

I feel.

All of it. All at once.

Sitting at work, writing this now, might not be the best time or place, but I need to do this. The feelings are like a wall inside. A wall swarming, shifting. A living, breathing thing tired of being ignored and in need of attention.

I suppose I should start with the worst and move forward from there.

I mentioned how Monday was rough, but I never went into detail about it. I don’t even know how to really explain it. I don’t remember a lot of the details, but I remember every emotion.

Zane and I fought. I had made a comment about how I wanted him to follow through on all of the things he kept saying he would do, and that had made him he feel invalided. How it made him feel like his efforts for find a job were pointless, and how all of the other things he has been doing around the apartment meant nothing.

Every time we tried to talk to reconcile our hurt feelings after that we came away worse than before, more emotionally wounded. The more we pulled away from each other, the more we lashed out due to hurt.

Every time he left the room I would cover myself with my sheet and cry in silence, alone, so he wouldn’t see or hear me. I couldn’t think past the hurt and loneliness. The desperation of finding a way to make everything ok. There had been so much fighting recently, and the day has started off so well. I wanted to make things right, and I couldn’t. It just kept getting worse. And every time Zane came back to the room he would make a comment about how I was in bed.

I was trying to think through the situation. I was trying to find something, anything that would fix it. But that’s not what he saw. He was frustrated that I wasn’t communicating with him and that I was shutting down and pulling away. He was frustrated that I had made a comment about him not ‘doing enough’ yet there I was doing nothing.

We needed different things from each other, and at the time I don’t think we were able to provide what the other needed.

I ended up taking a pair of scissors and scrapping five lines across the top of my left thigh. It is the first act of self-harm I have done since I lived with Warren #2. Roughly three years now? Maybe longer?

The scratches are more similar to shallow paper cuts to be honest. There was no blood, just the burning sting of scratched skin. I’ve had cat scratches that hurt more.

I am not justifying what I did. I am not asking for forgiveness or expressing guilt.

I am definitely not crying out for help, pity, or anything of the sort.

I guess I’m trying to explain that it wasn’t a need for death or an end. It wasn’t a suicide attempt, and that even though I did cause harm to myself, in reality it isn’t as bad as the initial knee jerk conclusion normally is.

I feel this is another instance where it’s like trying to explain color to a blind person. If someone has never felt those emotions before, if they have never felt the need for that sort of release, then there’s no way for them to truly empathize and understand when another person tries to express those emotions.

At the time it literally felt like the earth was falling beneath my feet. As if the only thing that existed was this horribleness and that there was no future past it. There was only the pain, there had only even been pain, there would only ever be pain. Blinding, consuming, burning and freezing at the same time, slashing at me from the inside, demanding expression, existence, in some way.

And so I gave it life. The red marks on white skin reminded me of animal claws. And a part of my mind found it fitting because that’s what it felt like inside. A wounded animal attacking me, lashing out even as hands reached out to sooth it, care for it, help it. Irrational pain driving it to self-protection.

I didn’t tell Zane anything about the feelings inside. Instead, I made the marks and than began putting the cloths away. When he came into the room next that’s what he saw. Me out of bed, doing a task I had said I would do.

I showered afterwards, the water stinging my thigh. I dried and dressed, the fabric rubbing against the abrasions. I went to work. I did my job, the whole while a calmness, a stillness, covered everything like a blanket. Safe. Distant. Detached.

The emotions were muted. I don’t think they were gone. But they were satisfied, and so logic was able to come back. I was able to think again. To understand and formulate.

That was when I made the post on Reddit. That was when I found the article about INFJ shadow traits. It was comforting to read that the overwhelming feelings weren’t an inability to cope on my part. That it was normal for others of my personality type to feel the same way.

After reading several articles I felt that I had a better understanding of my own actions and thoughts. I felt like a lot of my past actions were explained, and why sometimes I am self-destructive.

I felt acceptance rather than guilt and remorse. I had done this action. It was harmful, and it needed to be addressed. I needed to talk about it, and I would so it could not happen again.

It’s frustrating how I seem to understand others so well, and yet when it comes to myself and my own feelings I am always at a loss and confused. Baffled by my own actions. I can never seem to understand anything about myself unless it is explained to me by someone on the outside. Unless it is in an article with cited sources. Unless it is something that I spend hours, days, meditating on.

Because of my research Monday night I felt like I understood myself better and I would be able to have a conversation about what had happened to prevent it from occurring again. I wasn’t proud of my actions, but I would stand behind them because I had made my choice and the fall out would be my consequences.

I accepted what ever was going to happen, and so there was still only a calmness as I left work.

When I got home everyone was still playing Diplomacy. Bobby stayed for a little bit longer after the game, smoking hookah with Zane. I had tried to stay in the room because I hadn’t wanted to be around anyone. And for a while I was alone. Eventually Zane came back into the room to get me, though, because he didn’t want me to be by myself. I couldn’t stop a few tears from falling, the thought of being in the living room was overwhelming, but I couldn’t say no.

I didn’t want to be around anyone. I didn’t want the lights to be on. I didn’t want to watch anime. I didn’t want sound, or conversation. I didn’t want to pretend to be ok because I wasn’t. I honestly truly wasn’t ok, and I knew there was no way to cover that up.

And so I didn’t try. I sat on the couch. I said nothing. I stared blankly at the TV and I really didn’t pay attention to anything. I might as well have been miles away, but neither Zane nor Bobby said anything about it.

They let me sit undisturbed, traveling through my own thoughts, and as the minutes passed I actually started to feel better. I didn’t really want to be alone. I wanted to be there, but not engaged, and they let me have that.

Zane and I went to sleep after Bobby left. We didn’t talk. I fell asleep next to his warmth, listening to his breathing, still detached, still distant, but present. Which I guess is a bit of an oxymoron. I’m not sure how to really clarify it any better than that. Detached presence. Observant maybe?

When I woke up on Tuesday I took my laptop into the living room while Zane continued to sleep. I had my coffee and began to write, which is when I remembered the Reddit post I had made the night before.

The comments were amazing and so helpful. Since Tuesday morning I feel like I have direction again. Zane and I have new avenues to look into for help. We’ve found several promising opportunities for him, which he is actively pursuing.

We talked about the post Tuesday morning when he woke up. And Tuesday in general was a positive day.

It wasn’t until Wednesday that I mentioned the scratches. We were cuddling in bed and things were becoming more intimate. We were on our sides, facing each other, my left palm against his right, our fingertips touching, pressing against one another before our fingers slide in-between the others, clasping gently down so that we were holding hands.

I gave a painful smile. It was now or never.

Now or never.

Deep breathe. It would be now. It would be now.

Trust. Faith. Strength.

It would be now.

I bit my lip. “You’re going to be mad at me.” I said. My voice was soft. I knew this needed to happen, but the past day and a half had been so much better than before. He was motivated, he wasn’t as depressed, and here I was going to ruin all of that.

But this wasn’t something that could be hidden. And I didn’t want to hide it. I didn’t want to lie. And omitting the truth is lying.

He said he had known. That he didn’t know how I had done it, when, or where. But it was a feeling, and he knew. He asked me where and I told him. The whole time our hands stayed together. I didn’t meet his eyes as I focused on breathing past the anxiety, the tightness.

This was when he would get angry. This was when we were going to fight, and the downward spiral would start again. This is where it was going to end. Because of me.

He was calm. He didn’t yell or get upset. He didn’t make me feel bad. We talked. Discussed. He let me stumble through the feelings and helped me when I couldn’t figure out how to express what I wanted to.

“That is a bit of a mood killer.” He teased. I laughed, in a pained, relieved sort of way as I put my head on his chest. More tears, but of relief this time. I squeezed his hand harder, and he squeezed mine back.

I absently mentioned out loud that I wondered if the self-harm was a nature verses nurture thing. If it had some connection to primal instincts because it was such an overwhelming compulsion. A need. At the time there was literally nothing else that existed for me.

Zane said that it very well could be something primal, and cited that several animals such as cats and dogs, which bite themselves, or pull their fur out when they are in stressful environments. I never made that connection before. I wonder if there is any research on the subject.

I feel I should state that I do not feel guilt.

I am sorry because I know writing about this will cause people to worry for me. I know some people will think I should leave the situation, that I should leave Zane. And I know I’m not going to, which will cause unsettled feelings for them. Disappointment maybe.

I’m sorry because I know it will change some people’s opinion of me. I will have not lived up to expectations, and that realization will not be ok for some. I would have fallen in their eyes.

While I can say I will not actively seek out this outlet again, I am not sorry. And while I know there are some people who will not understand my lack or remorse and guilt, and will feel my stance is inappropriate, I know there are people who do and will understand it.

I understand it.

Despite the absolute hopelessness I felt at the beginning of the week I have completed most of my homework for my class. The final assignment is all that is left. I got a 100 on the quiz again.

I sat down and refigured my budget with the added expenses for Zane. I did that yesterday, which put a quantitative spin on our situation. That was added motivation for him. Seeing numbers, rather than just my emotional stress over the situation, was good for both of us.

Working on the task was actually really relaxing and gave me peace of mind. It allowed me to complete a task, a project, which gave me a small boost. I need to continue working on small things, taking small steps, to help build myself back up emotionally.

I’ve been playing Witcher 3 for the past two nights. Having a few hours of down time has been really nice. Zane does his own thing on his laptop while I let myself get caught up in the story. It’s much like reading a book. A bit of an escape where I can let go of the worries of the day, decompress, and in a way cease to exist as myself.

I’ve also run twice; Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday I actually ran outside. I forgot how awesome it was to go as fast as I can without the treadmill holding me back. I can go with what the music makes me feel rather than being forced into a certain speed. I can fluctuate as I need to.

I had the warmth of Florida’s evening air around me. The setting sun coloring the world around me in pinks, reds, and oranges, which slowly faded to blues and purples.

Running outside gave me the benefit of being away from the apartment, away from people, away from everything. I was out and part of the world. I was running on a sidewalk, so there wasn’t as much nature as I would have liked. Maybe I will run one of the bike trails today, and find a tree to meditate under. I’m not sure yet. But regardless, I wasn’t inside an air conditioned box.

Zane and I have also created a new character for Trevor’s Pathfinder game. We are going to be playing a goblin with a dissociative personality disorder. I will be the goblin’s original, more feral personality, while Zane will play the currently dominant, more civilized personality. Basically I’m going to be a voice whispering inside of his head the whole game, nagging at him to do different things.

I got to brainstorm her backstory with Zane and really flesh out her overall character. We were able to make a lot of progress with my elf character as well last Sunday. Pretty sure I didn’t write anything about that.

We got her enhancements and armor figured out. Actually I think I did mention that because I talked about wanting to write out her story. Still haven’t done any of that writing, but it’s something I keep coming back to. Much like writing my blog.

I might not be writing as consistently as I have in the past, but I keep thinking about it, so eventually it happens. Just like running.

I think the storm is over. I think things are getting better. I feel positive energy. I don’t feel lost and hopeless because I know there are other options out there now. Things we haven’t tried yet, things that can work out for us. The fight isn’t lost.

I know there’s more to write. But I feel done for now. I wrote about the hardest thing. The biggest thing. I admitted to it so it can’t fester in the darkness. I was honest with myself, with the world, and I’m content with that.

I’m not perfect. I still mess up. And I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m human and I still love myself.

Milc (Original Mix) – Cillo

Musing Moments 0041: TWPS – Intro

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So I’ve mentioned a few times that I recently read a book titled The Warrior Princess Submissive. This book was recommended to me by Zane’s love, Nic.

I know for most of society this may seem odd. A relationship ‘should’ be monogamous. A ‘typical’ relationship is between two people dedicating their lives to one another for the rest of eternity, til’ death do they part.

My current relationship is very much not the norm. Zane loves someone else. So… why is he with me? Because we both care for each other, too. Because all three of us, Zane, Nic, and myself believe you can love more than one person, and that there is nothing wrong with showing and expressing that love. We believe love can be non-sexual. We believe a lot of things. And really, what it ultimately comes down to, is that it works for us. End of story.

Our relationship doesn’t have to work or make sense to society. As long as we are safe, sane, and consenting adults, there’s nothing wrong.

The norms for relationships are being redefined even as I type this, what with gay marriage being approved and what not, which I think is totally awesome by the way.

LetsJustCallItMarriage

I’m glad that things seem to be moving forward and that most of society is becoming more open minded about things. Seriously, I saw more posts from my ‘straight’ friends about the marriage approval than from any of my LGBTQIA-can-we-please-save-letters-and-just-abbreviate-it-with-‘human’? friends. I really am ecstatic for this step forward, especially since it affects my family directly with my younger brother being all fabulous and everything.

That being said, I feel like we still have a very long way to go in the ‘acceptance’ department in general as a society as a whole. My relationship dynamic is just one example of that. But there are other areas where I feel we, as a whole, would benefit from being more open minded.

This next ‘series’, not that I really do series or anything, but the next handful of posts are going to be related… so by definition that make them a series… so I guess I do write series… I wonder how many more times I can write the word series… go go left brain logic, series…

Ok, I promise I’m done with that. Back on track… My next musings are going to be based on a topic that is widely misunderstood and more often than not looked down on.

BSDM.

Specifically I will be writing about how I identify myself within the culture.

I’m writing this intro as a fair warning for those who currently read my blog. None of my comments and inner musings are meant to offend anyone. These posts are simply going to be my own introspective conclusions on the different chapters of the Warrior Princess Submissive and how I feel they apply to myself.

During this introspective journey I most likely will be touching on subjects involving sexuality. While I do not mind sharing this information about myself (if I did I wouldn’t be posting to this blog) I understand for some people it might be TMI.

You’ve been warned. And I’ll leave it at that.

I’m not going to edit my thoughts for these posts. I’m going to write what I feel, I’m going to follow those tangents until I feel they have run their course, and I’ll see where I end up. If the content seems un-tasteful, please feel free to stop reading. There is no obligation, and I promise, no feelings will be hurt.

Because most of these topics are going to be personal I want to take another second to encourage comments, questions, and feedback. I do not mind answering questions, explaining my thoughts further, or in general participating in a discussion.

All I ask is that you are respectful in the way you broach a question.

onemorething

Last thing I promise.

I want to take one more second to thank everyone who has followed my blog, or shown support in some way, no matter how big or small. You are all amazing and I am exceedingly grateful for the time you take out of your days to share in this experience known as life.