I like life. It’s fascinating. I also like that I’m older than I was. Being older has given me time to see some of the patterns that occur in my life. Some not so good. *cough relationships cough*
But some are. Namely, how the Universe usually has events play out for me.
My first conscious recognition of this pattern happened the week after I graduated high school. During high school, I was pretty much a slacker. I excelled in normal level course work because I wasn’t driven enough to take the higher level classes I should have been in. I let myself get absorbed in marching band as a way to not have to socialize with the normal school population. I mean really… I don’t care who is dating who and I actually couldn’t care less about your feeling of injustice that you’re parents “demand” that you do something. Seriously, grow the fuck up.
I also didn’t have much ambition as far as getting a job or having a car. My mom and boyfriend took me where I wanted/needed to go, and if they didn’t then I didn’t go. Band took up too much time after school to allow for anything outside of school, and I didn’t “need” money anyway so, meh. Why worry about a job?
Then graduation happened. My mom had a graduation party for me. I also had a party with my dad since he was living in South Carolina at the time. It was only a three-hour car ride to his place and I remember it was actually a pretty nice event. Warm fuzzy memories.
But then the dust settled and I was left outside of the bubble that had been high school, finally part of the “real world”. I had “accomplished” something in life and now it was time to be an adult. And I say “accomplished” because there was never a question about if I would graduate. I knew I would. There wasn’t a challenge to it. And if I hadn’t of graduated my mom would have killed me, brought me back from the dead, and made sure as hell that I didn’t fuck it up the second time. For all that she was an amazing, loving, and understanding parent, she knew how to make sure my brothers and I stayed in line and did what we were supposed to do.
So yeah, graduation itself didn’t feel special or really noteworthy in my head. It was just an event. Another day. One where I had to get up early, stand in line for an empty folder, and then stand in another line to actually get a stupid piece of paper that no one in my career so far has cared enough to ask about or see.
Right Brain: Fucking annoying piece of paper… So wasn’t worth the half a day I lost of my life having to suffer through the graduatuion ceremony…
I woke up one morning shortly after graduation and had the mental thought to myself, “Well, I guess I should get stuff done.”
Within the first week of being a high school graduate, I got my license, got my first car, and got my first job. I went from zero to gainfully employed member of society in a matter of days and still managed to play World of Warcraft way more than what was probably healthy.
Yeah, go me. I’m a badass who can get shit done.
Attending Full Sail was similar. I was working at the Citadel help desk. I wasn’t doing much with life. I wasn’t really liking it to be honest. And I was still playing World of Warcraft, not that it’s a bad game, just noting that instead of being “productive” I was self-medicating through gaming. In a way, I think it helped because doing something relatively mindless allowed my brain to relax and meander over the deeper subconscious thoughts in my head.
Within a week of finding out about Full Sail, I was enrolled and scheduled for a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the school. I also had apartment viewings lined up for while I was in Orlando so I could have a place to live while I attended school. I went from disenchanted to stoked about my change in direction in a matter of days.
I’m sure there are other, minor instances between the time I was a student to March 23, 2016 but they didn’t leave a lasting impression if they happened.
My next notable shift was when mom died. This shift, too, happened in a matter of days. I lost my mom, my relationship, and my career all at the same time, even though it took a while all of those events to fully resolve.
Mom’s viewing, in my mind, took over a week since we had to wait so long to get the urn back. Then I had to travel to South Carolina for the actual viewing, and then once it was done, I was supposed to spread her ashes over my grandparents grave, only to be told once I got there I wasn’t allowed to do that.
Right Brain: What the actual fuck, Universe? Can you just let me finish one god damn thing in my life right now?
Honestly, I think it was for the best. I’m glad I still have her ashes with me.
Zane and I broke up over the phone while I was in Vegas taking care of mom. It wasn’t until I got back to Orlando that I found out about his betrayal, and to this day that issue isn’t fully resolved. He’s still on my phone plan, and I’m not sure what’s going on with the apartment though I know the lease ends in May.
I spent and additional two months working at Full Sail after mom’s death. So leaving wasn’t as instant as I thought it would be. But all three of those events, mom’s death, the breakup itself, and the decision to leave the school, all happened within days of each other.
And then there’s the rollercoaster of what my life has been for the past 10 and a half months. The confusion about where I was going to end up living. The constant change of what I wanted to do about future employment. Working through not only my grief over mom’s death but the garbage of Zane and even issues with my younger brother.
There’s been a lot that’s happened. A lot that I’ve survived.
And so now here I am. $3000 left to my name. Being honest here. Realistic. I’m almost broke and bills aren’t going to care. They’re still going to want to be paid.
Last month was when I started looking for employment in the area. Money was dwindling down. I knew time was finite. I wanted to be proactive rather than reactive so I wanted to put in the effort to find work sooner rather than later.
I hadn’t heard anything back from the places I applied and the trip to Disney with Allison put a hold on most things in my life, so I didn’t sweat over it too much. Then I was sick for a week.
No One Ever: Fun times…
Then my Warrior Dash, something I was going to do regardless of how close to my death bed I was from the plague I had caught. It was an amazing experience and I’m glad I was able to share it with Big Bad. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s one of the biggest reasons it was such an amazing event for me.
And here we are at Thursday already and part of my brain is wondering how so many events could transpire between Monday and today.
It started by my return to feeling low. Saturday was awesome, and Sunday wasn’t bad, but I was still unemployed and needing to figure out what to do with my life. I wanted a job, but I was getting to the point where anything sounded better than nothing. I even picked up an Arby’s application because they had a “now hiring” sign even though I knew I would hate working there.
Left Brain: At least it wouldn’t be McDonald’s? Maybe we could hate it less than other places?
Right Brain: This is all your fault. I’m going to go play with crayons and magical unicorn dolls until you figure this shit out.
As an INFJ I would really rather not hate my job, but having food is nice. I would rather have food and hate my job then starve or become a mooching slacker.
For some reason, I ended up on LinkedIn. I think it was because of Warren. We were talking about employment and he mentioned contract houses. I was poking around online looking at places I could reach out to and end up on LinkedIn I think with the original intention of updating my profile. I’ve never looked at their job posting section so I thought, “What the heck? Might as well…”
I mean… it’s not like it’s a website dedicated to professional networking and job placement or anything…
Well, since I had really liked the idea of the patient transporter position I decided to look at what medical postings there were in my area. Wouldn’t you know it, the listing for the transporter position was still there. Not only was it still there, apparently I had a contact at the hospital.
Me: The fuck? Who do I know at the hospital?
My faculty advisor from Full Sail, the guy who helped set me up with my Digital Arts and Design degree while I was a Lab Specialist, the guy who knew everything about my 3D Blitz event and PCC Critiques, and all of the continuing education stuff I was doing/did do… the guy who knew EVERYTHING that happened in regards to my mom… Yeah… that guy… he’s now the recruitment sources supervisor for the hospital…
Yeah… Don’t worry… Me, too. My brain couldn’t even.
Seriously, I sat there rereading his title over and over because there was no way that name and that position were right. I mean, it couldn’t be…, right? Life does NOT work like that…
But… apparently, it does. I messaged him through LinkedIn saying I genuinely hoped he had been doing well. I explained since resigning from Full Sail that I had been looking to get into the medical field. My most notable step towards that goal was becoming a home health aid, and that I had applied for the transporter position a few weeks back. I asked if he had any advice or guidance for getting my resume to stand out.
Promptly after sending that message I went and gushed all of my anxiety to Warren. I didn’t want my contact to think I was using him solely for the prospect of getting a job. He really, truly was one of the best people I interacted with at Full Sail and I really did hope he was doing well. I also really wanted him to know that I had applied.
Right Brain: He’s going to think you’re a self-serving leech and that you’re using him purely for self-gain. Feel awful. Feel very, very awful and think about what you’ve done.
Warren reassured me that I had done exactly what I should have. I reached out to someone I know via a professional avenue in regards to a professional situation.
I felt better after the conversation but still had a hard time sleeping. Who wouldn’t, right?
So all of that was Sunday. Depressing battle with the directionless feeling of my life, more job searching, finding my contact and having my mind blown by the situation, reaching out to him, and then talking with Warren about my fears.
Pretty full day both event wise and emotion wise.
I woke up early Monday morning since I had arranged to have breakfast with Nicole. Breakfast was awesome. We got to catch up since it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen her.
While I had been driving to meet her I got a response from my contact. His message alleviated all of my fears and made me feel valued as well as humbled.
Contact: How do you make your resume stand out? Jennifer, you’re amazing.
He said to send him my resume directly and he would kick it over to the people at the location I wanted to be at. This could not be happening. Again, life DOES NOT work like this… at least my life doesn’t. It can’t. Things don’t just WORK… do they?
I told Nicole about the job situation and we talked for a while as we ate and enjoyed each others company. We ended up parting ways and I went home to email my contact and send him the information he requested.
He replied about two minutes later to my email saying he was sending it forward.
Thirty minutes later I got an auto-generated email saying the position had already been filled.
Right Brain: But… but…
I reread the message a few times. Nope. Says the position has been filled. Not my brain dicking around with me. Well… shit… That… that really sucks.
I emailed my contact back a few hours later after letting the information sink in. I thanked him for everything he had done to help me out. I said I was going to keep my eye on the website for other postings I might be qualified for and that I was going to try to look at this as taking the scenic route to my destination rather than as a roadblock.
I was still feeling bummed, though. My email might have sounded optimistic, but on the inside, I was fighting to not let depression swarm in and cover everything in a “Life is pointless. It never works out. Why are you trying so hard when you know you’re a fai….”
Me: Don’t even finish that word or so help me Freya I’ll stab you so hard with a fucking q-tip you won’t even know what to wish for.
So yeah, it was rough. I decided that the best thing to do was to call someone. I needed to talk out the emotions and really just have someone listen. You know, maybe give a little, “Yeah that sucks, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” type of support. I didn’t want or need answers or advice just an ice pack for my ego.
I decided to call my younger brother. I figured he would 1) be able to talk, and 2) could relate to the whole job thing not working out since not too long ago he was in the same boat as me. Looking for a job and hitting brick walls face first.
Well… in hindsight that was probably one of the stupidest decisions I’ve made in a while. Right next to deciding to have breakfast at 9 am so I had to drive through rush hour traffic while literally half of the length of the trip is under construction…
Looking at it that way, Monday was just not my day for smart choices…
Anyway, I called Jon. I prefixed the conversation with, “I really just need to talk and get it all out. Is that cool?”
He said yeah, I talked through all of the events of the past less than twenty-four hours and at the end I ended the epic story with, “And the position’s been filled already.”
Jon: You wouldn’t have liked the position anyway. That’s not what you should be doing.
Me: Oh… Well.. What would you recommend?
He then went on to say that I need to stop jumping back and forth on career choices. I really should be using the skill set I already have. I should take the job in California because it would be a good experience. I’m not going to get a medical job because I’m only a lowly health aid going up against CNAs, PCTs, and a whole slue of other letters formed into seemingly random patterns that somehow make them better employees than me.
It was a pretty shitty conversation. At least, at the time it was. It hurt. I had already just been kicked in the face by Life. I had been hoping for some reassurance that even though it sucked it would be ok, and instead I got uppercut by someone who is extremely close to me. At least that’s what it felt like.
At the end of the conversation, he had the grace to say, “And I just said all of that wrong, didn’t I?”
Me: You didn’t say anything that I didn’t already know.
I was crying not so silent tears by the time we got off the phone. I was feeling crushed. What am I really doing with life? I mean, not even my brother thinks that what I’m doing is right. I really am just a fuck up.
Yeah… that battle I had been fighting before the conversation with my brother… totally lost.
Jen – hardcore loss
Life – undisputed win
I ended up going to a gas station and getting a pack of cigarettes. I had been doing so well. Two weeks without. I went to one of the parks that I frequent when I need to be outside. I sat and smoked and felt miserable. Total pity party and I gave zero fucks about throwing it.
I reached out to Sir asking if he could talk because at the time I needed someone, anyone, to tell me that things would be ok. I needed those words. I needed to know I wasn’t a failure because that word was ricocheting inside my head again like a bullet.
It took him a while to respond, but he eventually did. He said he would call shortly, so I waited. While I was waiting I got a reply from my previous email with my contact.
He was sorry the position was filled already, but he would keep an eye out for me, and if I happened to see anything on the website to let him know. He said he “knows I’m a good one,” and he wants me at the hospital because, “the hospital needs more people like [me].”
He said “you” in the email, but that would make the sentence I just wrote sound weird, so I changed it to “me” because grammar.
My contact also gave me advice on getting hired. He said if I could become a PCT that more doors would be opened.
Knowing my contact was still on my side greatly changed my mood around. Not instantly, but in the course of about ten minutes worth of reflection. By the time I was able to talk to Sir I was feeling more stable. I had thought through some of the things Jon had said to me, too.
In a lot of ways, Jon was right. I needed to pick a direction and go with it. And he was also right in that I don’t stand out well against other applicants.
If my contact is going to help me, I need to help him.
It also helped that I had talked to Big Bad a bit. I told him about not getting the position and that I was bummed. I didn’t want him to know how “bummed” was more like “soul-crushingly depressed”. I didn’t want to mess up his day or make him feel bad because I wasn’t feeling well.
He asked what I was doing later in the evening. I said I had dance class or the dojo I could go to, but that I hadn’t committed to either one. Really I had no intention of going, but I didn’t want to admit to being depressed and that being the reason I wasn’t going to do anything.
Me: What are your plans?
Big Bad: My socks need rolling.
Me: Would it be ok if I rolled them for you?
Big Bad: Sure
That made me feel so much better. I didn’t care if he didn’t want me to stay the night. I was ok with going over there and doing one small task because it was one small thing that I knew I could do. I could roll socks for someone. I could still be helpful and useful. I can still do things right.
The conversation continued and it helped me so much. By the end of the conversation with both Big Bad and Sir, I was feeling so much more stable. Not just flatlined, square one feeling. I was a little in the positive again. I even stopped by Game Stop on my way home and picked up a copy of Mortal Combat for Big Bad and me to play. I have been meaning to get the game for a bit so I was also productive and accomplished something on my to-do list.
Right Brain: Eat a dick, Life. You CANNOT keep me down.
The evening was pretty fantastic. We didn’t do any of the chores listed out in our text messages. Socks didn’t get rolled. Pockets didn’t get sown. But… I did get to kick Big Bad’s ass in Mortal Combat. Thrashed really. Totally, completely owned. It was epic.
Ok… maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did do really well, and him not so much.
But that’s ok. We switched to Soul Caliber and everything became even. He won twice as much as I did. After a bit of that, we switched to Tekken, which we’re actually pretty evenly matched at. It was a great night.
We also cuddled for a while and I got to tell him about my day and the ups and downs of it. At the end, I had a pretty good game plan in my head for what I wanted to do the next day.
Sexy time didn’t happen and it wasn’t purely for the fact that I’m on my cycle. Maybe Big Bad knew, or there’s a pheromone thing that my body is doing, or whatever, but there wasn’t a push for things to be sexual. We played video games and cuddled and talked, and eventually, we both went to sleep and it was another night where I slept pretty well. I liked it. I liked that I was given companionship and a safe place to recover from the roughness of the day.
In the morning we woke up and had coffee. As I was sitting on the stool at his kitchen table Big Bad came up behind me, wrapping his arms around me the way he does, and said, “Happy Valintine’s Day.”
All of the warm fuzzy feelings.
There weren’t gifts, there weren’t flower petals strewn on the floor. There was a warm hug of genuine caring.
It was perfect.
We did our strength workout, back this time, though, my biceps were hating me be the end. Big Bad showered and got ready for work. I caught up on some of my emails. We parted ways in the driveway, kisses and hugs goodbye with wishes of having good days exchanged.
Tuesday wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t feeling well due to my body hating on me. I cooked and got some stuff done, but overall I took it easy. My body felt tired, which that’s a musing for a whole different post. The main thing to take away from Tuesday is that even though I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, it was a good day and I promised myself if I was feeling better Wednesday that I would move forward with my battle plan.
Well… Wednesday… all of the things, because I haven’t typed like twelve pages worth of stuff already…
It started with some research. I needed to find out more about PCTs, which, by the way, means patient care technician. So many abbreviations… >.<;
Well… on Glassdoor, the hospital is listed as paying $16 an hour for PCTs. Um… yes, please. I looked up the PCT courses on the FHCA website. It’s pretty expensive, but I’ve already done the HHA, home health aide, course, so it was possible, highly likely, that I would get a discount. There’s also the CNA test that I paid for and never received a test date for that I could look into.
So my main course of action was to figure out what I could and could not do in relation to becoming a PCT. I went to the school, asked a bunch of questions, got a bunch of information, and even got my certificates from the courses I completed back in August. Yeah… I never went and picked those up. But now I have them. Yay certificates with shiny stickers on them.
Basically, I found out that I don’t have enough money to pay for the certificate and maintain my expenses. Not without getting more money or having some sort of income myself. I decided that I needed to talk to my older brother first.
I had messaged him earlier in the morning asking if we could talk after he got home from work. Having the information from FHCA, oh, that one means Florida Health Care Academy… meant the conversation with Jason would be more business and less theory, which would actually make it a more productive conversation. Didn’t really change the fact that I didn’t want to move forward until I had more data from him in regards to mom’s retirement fund. The lady I spoke with said I had until Saturday to sign up for the classes that start this coming Monday, so I wasn’t worried about the time frame.
After figuring out all of that I went to my sports bar for lunch and proceeded to go through all of my emails since they were getting backed up again, and paid bills since it was the 15th. I updated Warren’s excel sheet with the new amounts he owes me and sent him a link to the Google Doc. I also sent a message saying I wasn’t demanding or expecting payment. This was me giving him data essentially since he’s getting back on his feet and I wanted him to have all of the information so he could make the best decisions.
I came back home, did a few chores, cross stitched for a bit while listening to Spotify on the Playstation. Pretty much chilled until I could talk to my brother.
The conversation was pretty good. We talked about movies for a bit because how can you not talk about the Batman movie? We talked about him being employed again since he just retired from the Air Force. Eventually, we made our way to the real reason for the call. I told him the whole story about what had happened, the direction I’m looking at going in now, and the issue with funding this endeavor.
We’re still owed a bit of money from mom’s retirement fund. That’s most likely not going to be here anytime soon, though, and I borrowed part of my money from that already, so when it comes in, part of is going to Jason. That’s how I was able to pay for the apartment in full for the year. So even when it comes in, for me, it’s not going to be as much as it will be for my brothers.
There’s also the deed to the timeshare mom owned a part of. But that’s also caught up in legal red tape and we don’t know how much our third of a third of the timeshare is going to be worth. So in regards to both of those things, I’m pretty much taking the mentality of, “Until I have the money, the money doesn’t exist.”
Well… damn. Ok… Regardless, I’m going to make this work.
I reached out to Sir in regards to the money he owes me. I was worried about the conversation. Like, almost sick from worrying about messing up our friendship. It was actually an extremely healthy and informative conversation and I’m glad we were able to have it.
He’s hoping to be able to pay me a large sum soon, but again, the date isn’t confirmed and so in my head, until I have it it doesn’t exist.
I still need to reach out to Mother Earth. She doesn’t owe a lot, but she did say she would pay me back, and even the little she does owe would help pay for food, or a bill, or something. Something is better than nothing.
I also want to reach out to Allison since she mentioned helping to cover the cost of the Disney trip since it was so expense. The first morning we were at the vacation house she mentioned about it being expensive and how if I wanted her to reimburse me for any of it to let her know. I mentioned how the bride wasn’t supposed to pay for her bachelorette party.
Allison: Yeah well, most brides don’t demand a week at Disney from their friends.
I can’t argue that…
During the conversation with Sir, I had been looking at jobs. Since I am a home health aide, there’s nothing saying I can’t get a job with that and work while I’m doing the PCT courses. While I was poking around on the Internet applying to things Jon called me and wanted to talk. I had been in the middle of typing something so I told him I would call him back in a few minutes. I wanted to finish the train of thought for the application first before switching gears.
Got that done and submitted, called him back, he told me about what was going on in his life, and I told him about my decision.
I also got to tell him that I appreciated our conversation on Monday. He and I communicate very differently, and though the conversation hadn’t been what I had been looking for, it wasn’t a “bad” conversation and some of the things he said helped me figure out what I wanted to do.
I told him about the financial situation I’m in. I asked if I could hold off on paying him back for the trips we took this holiday season so I could use that money for this endeavor. He said that was fine. He said he’s actually in a better position now that he has a job and is looking for a roommate, which is good. I’m glad things are working better for him and that, like myself, he’s moving in a positive direction in life. It’s nice that he can allow me the breathing room with the money and not be financially hurting himself.
I also asked the question, prefixing with, “You can say no and nothing will change. This is me seeing what options I have so I know what I can and can’t do or count on. If I end up needing help to do this, would you be willing to help me?”
He said yes. I would really rather not need help especially with how much I harp and complain and flat out bitch about people borrowing money. The only reason I owe him for the trip is because it was easier for one person to buy the tickets than trying to work everything out separately.
I feel like I would be a hypocrite if I asked for money. I also feel like if I do end up needing help that this is a situation where I am being taught to stay humble and not judge others so harshly.
I know people will be more willing to help me if it looks like I’m trying to help myself, so after the phone call with my younger brother I went back and applied for three more positions as well as RSVPed for a career fair this coming Thursday.
At the end of our conversation, Jon mentioned that it would be nice if, once I’m employed, we could figure out a way to meet up weekly for coffee or something along those lines.
Before Jon joined the Army, he worked at the same hospital mom did. They actually worked on the same floor in the wards across from one another. Mom worked days, Jon worked nights, but every Monday morning they would meet and have breakfast together and talk about their shifts. I know it’s something that Jon enjoyed and it’s something he misses. It’s one of those things that made mom home rather than a house or location. When mom died, Jon lost his “Monday morning breakfasts”, just like I lost my “conversations about nothing”.
I can’t put into words how deeply moved I am that he wants to have something like that with me. We know we can’t replace mom. It’s something I said early in the conversation last night. How I had called Monday because I had wanted to hear mom, but Jon isn’t mom and it wasn’t fair to him. I can’t replace mom but I can still meet up with my brother and we can figure out a new way to continue on with our lives. Together.
Another thing he said towards the end of our conversation last night was how he did think I would be successful if I became a caregiver.
That right there.
That sentence meant so much to me. More than anything else, knowing that he believes in me, that he thinks I can do it, made all of my choices up to this point feel even more right.
Just like I can’t replace mom, Jon can’t replace mom, either, but we can both be supportive of each other, and I think that’s something we’re both learning how to do not only as siblings but as adults.
I have the support of both my brothers and I have the will to figure this out. I WILL make this work, and every obstacle Life puts in my way is only going to solidify my resolve to accomplish my goal.
I WILL get a job. I WILL sign up for the PCT courses. And I WILL do amazing in my new career choice.
So, here we are at Thursday. I get to see Big Bad tonight. Tomorrow morning is leg day as far as our workout goes. I bought a black gi last week which should come in tomorrow. I plan to start back at the dojo hardcore Monday with my new gi and my new direction in life. Today I’m looking into the apartment situation with Zane and making sure the complex knows I will not be renewing the lease. I need to figure out if there’s anything I have to do past that so I’m not adversely affected by anything in the future. There’s a CPR certification class at FHCA tomorrow I want to take, so I need to get money to pay for that.
I got more information about the phones yesterday because I called Verizon. That’s more information that I’ll most likely write about in another post.
The big takeaway is, I’m no longer stagnate, and just like all the other times in my life when change occurs, it’s everything all at once. I was directionless, still, building up frustration with myself for not having or taking action steps. Well now I know what to do with everything, or at least I know where I need and want to start.
I’m also looking into my CNA test today. So, lots of things to do before having a wonder night.
Today is going to get so owned.
Right Brain: Come on, Life. Come at me, bro.