Daily Post 080: Finishing the Recap

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So last week started with what will forever be known as the horrifically sockless Monday. I continued improving at work and doing more things on my own like spinning labs, packing labs, and switching the CWP over to disinfect and taking it back out of disinfecting for normal operation. It was also the first week of working on my own, out of training. I was able to get measurements for things like shelving units and plastic bins to eventually make different areas/processes at the clinic easier.

Work-wise it was a good week.

Emotionally, the week had its ups and downs. Monday was pretty bad. Unintentionally making a mom joke didn’t help anything in that regard. As far as my writing goes, I recapped all the way up to Saturday evening, which Saturday was an amazingly good day.

That brings us up to Sunday, so I’ll continue from there.


 

April 1st – Sunday

April. Mom’s death month. And it’s not even like it’s a week into the month. Only four days later… Maybe it’s because her death happened so close to the first that the changing of months feels significant.

I woke up to snow on the ground; about an inch of it. It was still coming down, too. We were projected to get roughly three inches, which we did.

We had a good breakfast that morning. Mama Ox made monkey bread, Ox made eggs, and I made bacon. Real bacon, not the microwavable things they typically buy.

I didn’t do much of anything for the rest of the morning.

I was sad and it was hard to fight through the apathy and sadness. The weather didn’t help since it was cold. Ox helped a bit. Laundry needed to get done so he carried the basket into the laundry room for me.

Eventually, somehow, we ended up going to the U-Stop in town to do minor grocery shopping. It’s really a gas station with a mini food mart built into it. It’s nice and clean inside and their prices aren’t bad.

I guess it helped that the snow did stop in the afternoon and the sun came out and the day did warm up nicely. It helped that Ox was there to make it feel less like I was fighting my battle on my own.

Did it still suck? Yes. But not all of it sucked and it was up to me to recognize that fact or not. he could have been a jerk and not helped at all with the laundry. He could have given me shit for feeling sad instead of being understanding. He could have been harsh or distant verses encouraging and warm.

The trip to the store helped. Being productive usually does, regardless of how hard it is to start that upward trend/turnaround. I was able to get chicken and instant potatoes to make decent lunches for my work week. That led to a conversation with Mama Ox when I got back to the house about what to do for dinner. I said that I could make Parmesan chicken with the leftover seasoning packet I had. That led to another trip to the store for more chicken and to me making dinner for everyone.

The meal didn’t turn out as good as I wanted. I should have used more sauce. The whole package of noodles ended up being too much so there was a ton leftover. The bag of frozen broccoli sucked and I really should have bought some fresh instead of being cheap frugal.

It wasn’t an awful meal, but it wasn’t one that left everyone saying, “That was good.” It was a meal and no one left the table hungry or puking and swearing off my cooking for the rest of forever. Small victories I suppose.

The day ended up being a good day even though it was rough in the morning. I was looking forward to going to work and being able to set up my shelving unit next to the bleach sink.

I’m pretty sure I played WoW for a bit. I don’t remember specifically when I did that, but it did happen over the weekend at some point. I basically screwed around in Outlands completing super low-level quests and one shotting elite mobs that use to kick my ass. It was a nostalgic feeling. And gratifying…

That fel reaver totally deserved getting destroyed. Just sayin’ >.>


 

April 2nd – Monday

I worked Monday. It was a smooth day. I liked how I knew how the clinic would be since I worked Saturday. No guesswork as to if the lab packs were made or if the correct supplies would be laid out.

Nope. Everything was exactly how I wanted it because I made it that way.

The first shift went well. After my break, I put the shelves together. I love them. ❤

The second shift went well until four out of six people wanted off their machine at the same time. Holy fuck was that a bunch of crazy. Me and the RN survived though and once everyone was taken care of I spent the remaining time cleaning stations and getting ready to close up for the day.

I would have left the clinic early but I ended up staying to talk to our AA, administrative assistant. I haven’t had a chance to really interact with her all that much, so I had a distant level of respect for her but no real opinion of her as a person. After talking with her though, my opinion has changed to one of “You’re one of the people I super like”.

She showed me where the extra highlighters were. If that’s not true love I don’t know what is.

All joking aside, though, she was amazingly complimentary about how I’m helping to improve the clinic and she’s glad to have me as one of the solid, stable members of the crew.

She was supportive of my suggestion to rearrange a few things in the stock room for ease of use. She said if there was anything that I wanted to be purchased for the clinic to let her know. We talked about the future prospect of getting a second shift on TTS and she told me a bit of her story and why she is only part-time for the company at the moment.

She even emailed me a few files so I can print things out when I need them, versus having to wait or ask for someone to do it for me. I know that may not seem like a big deal. I mean, it’s not like their top secret files or anything, but I do feel it shows a level of trust that didn’t have to be given. It helps make me more independent as a worker. I’m able to be helpful rather than a hindrance. It’s a good feeling.

That actually led to how we were able to share part of our stories with each other. She had been trying to find my email address in the company directory, but could only find a Jennifer Conley in Orlando, so she didn’t think that was me since I’m clearly not in Orlando. I said no, that was me, that I had been working at the downtown clinic in Orlando, Florida before moving to Nebraska. She had no idea I had moved or been part of the company beforehand. She said that made her even more comfortable with me working at the Beatrice clinic because I had previous experience.

Even though it would have been nice to leave work early rather than on time, I’m glad I stayed. Getting to know her better makes me more comfortable with having to interact with her in the future and I think our conversation gave each of us a better understanding and level of respect for each other as people as well as coworkers.

Because we had so many noodles left over from the failed mediocre parmesan dinner the night before, I stopped by the Walmart near my clinic to pick up a few ingredients to make a soy sauce noodle recipe I found online. I am not a fan of that Walmart, or any Walmart really, so I’ll most likely avoid having to go there in the future, but I was able to get the things I needed. Since my mission was successful I headed home.

Dinner was super quick to make. It turned out pretty awesome, too. Hopefully, that makes up for the not amazing-ness of Sunday.

I had messaged Warren super early Monday morning; before I left for work which would have been around 5 am his time. I asked him to please reply to my previous message. You know… the one I sent on Friday asking about my spare key, the internet account, and our financial situation. I had emailed my old landlord Friday and was told everything was square with the lease. Ms. Side Chick is on it. I’m off it. We’re done in that regard.

I had let Warren know what the landlord had said, but still wanted answers for everything else. I had my “not amused” face on as I sent him a text Monday morning.

Me: Dude… Seriously… I know your phone is an extension of your hand because I’ve lived with you for a year. I know you’ve seen my message. I know you’re choosing not to reply to me. This is why people think you’re a dick when I tell them about our situation and why it’s hard to defend you against their opinions. You’re not doing much to make yourself look “non-dickish”.

He did eventually reply that evening, but it was after I had gone to sleep so I didn’t get his reply until Tuesday morning; yesterday.

All in all, Monday was a good day. I don’t remember being sad. I knew I was worried about the next two days since they were/are my days off. I was glad I wasn’t going to have to go to work, but at the same time, not having anything requiring me to be busy left me worried since the sadness and grief of mom’s death would have a better chance of seeping in.

I curled up in bed with Ox and went to sleep, turning my alarm off before doing so since I didn’t want to wake up at 3 am on a day I didn’t have to.


 

April 3rd – Tuesday – Yesterday

Yesterday started ok. It was weird not having to be up before Ox. Normally I’m the one up and dressed, lunch packed, breakfast eaten, sometimes showered, other times not with a bandana strategically covering up my bedhead used to keep my hair out of the way while I’m working…

We still did our “goodbye cigarette” in the morning only it was reversed with me being the one to crawl back into bed and Ox being the one to leave for work, off to be the breadwinner for the day.

I think I didn’t make yesterday easy for myself. I was still fuzzy and sort of headachey from drinking the night before. I ended up oversleeping with left me feeling groggy when I did actually wake up. I didn’t have a reason to shower, so I didn’t. Instead, I had breakfast then decided that I was still tired and got back in bed, in the dark. I basically stewed in my own thoughts of “this is the eve of mom’s death” for most of the day.

Ox called me a few times. He’s been talking to one of his friends and he wants me to meet her. It worked out that yesterday would have been a good day to do it. The thought of having to go out into the world, to interact with anyone, anything, hurt. The thought of doing anything hurt, much like the way I imagine physical therapy to hurt.

You know you need to do it. You know it’s beneficial and that doing nothing is only going to make things worse in the long run, but the thought of having to stretch those muscles is agonizing because you know it’s going to suck. It’s going to take a lot of work. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort and determination and willpower and discipline, and sometimes you really just don’t want to do it. Sometimes it just sucks and you need to have those moments of self-pity where you allow yourself to feel that suckage in all its unadulterated realness.

Everytime Ox called me yesterday I ended up crying. He mentioned that I sounded sad during our second call and I said I was. It was as if finally being able to admit to someone that today sucked made it more ok; less like an overwhelming weakness I was trying to hide from.

It was ok to be sad because being sad isn’t inherently a bad thing.

He ended up convincing me to shower and to drive into town. We could get dinner together, just us. We could drive up to his friend’s work and say hi, or not. Staying at home all day hadn’t helped anything though, so maybe trying being out of the house would.

I agreed that going out had a better shot than staying in since staying in had done nothing but make things worse.

So I showered. Getting up and doing it was hard at first, but I felt slightly better after doing it. I had done “something” so doing “something else” didn’t seem as bad; as hard.

I got dressed, putting on the overcoat/jacket thing I wore to my interview during my initial trip to Nebraska. I knew that I felt injured internally, emotionally. I don’t know why, but putting in that one small extra effort to make myself look a bit more presentable made me feel a bit better about myself. Yeah, I’m still sad, but you know what? I still did amazing enough in an interview to get a job that I’m doing well with. I can still look classy while being injured. I can feel broken and still function because I’m doing it, right here, right now.

I guess the jacket thing was more of a visual reminder to myself that have I done, and am doing, well regardless of what my emotions make me feel sometimes.

I picked up the Amazon package that had been sitting on the porch all morning. It had been there when had my first cigarette after waking up, but the thought of bringing it inside with me was too much at the time. It would get done eventually… by someone…

I’m glad that I’m the one who did it and that I didn’t let the apathy I had been struggling with all day make someone else’s day mildly inconvenient. I’m able-bodied enough to pick up a box and put it on the kitchen table, damnit.

Me: Fuck you, Brain. I KNOW I’m not that weak and feeble.

I cried almost the whole time on the drive into town and I really can’t explain why. The sun had finally come out and though it was still cold, there were puffs of warmth mixed in, like the Earth is struggling to wake up out of its winter sleep. Coughs of spring mixed into the fierceness of the wind.

It hurt to drive. It hurt to be outside, slightly dressed up, driving into town to do normal things on a day that isn’t normal.

It’s the “Eve”.

It’s the night code STEMI was called on mom. It’s the night she bled all over her hospital gown. It’s the night I didn’t sleep and I worried about her bleeding out while I held her hand because the heparin wouldn’t let her blood clot properly.

Today isn’t normal, but it’s sunny and I’m showered and I’m about to go do whatever it is I’m about to go do and it sucks and I cried because, for me, all of those facts suck. For me, the memory of April 3rd, 2016 will always suck, no matter how bright and sunny and warm the day may be.

Ox and I met at the parking lot of the PetCo in town since his snake needed more mice. I had a few minutes alone to compose myself and to come to terms with the fact that mom wanted me to get through yesterday. She wouldn’t have wanted me to stay home in the dark being sad. I know she would understand my sadness, but she would want me to find something about the day to enjoy, no matter how small so I was going to try to. For her. For me. For us.

One of the things Ox and I ended up doing was going to a HyVee and getting Bang energy drinks for me. There was a Super Saver in the plaza we met up at, but they don’t sell my drink and the thought of having one made me feel better in one of those silly, slightly childish “a piece of chocolate would give me warm fuzzy feelings” sort of way.

When I asked if we could go get one, Ox said sure. It nearly brought me to tears all over again because I know it was a silly request and yet he made it seem like it was no problem at all. He could have said no or asked why and forced me to explain all of the things I didn’t want to explain, but instead, he said yes with a smile and drove us in his car so we could be together, leaving mine in the parking lot until our impromptu adventure through the town was done for the evening.

He drove to a nearby HyVee where I got 12 cans of Bang because they were on sale. I don’t know why those drinks are so amazing, but having one of the Cotten Candy flavored cans makes me feel like I’m drinking liquid childhood or something. It was another small action that helped keep up the emotional improvement.

We drove to the Home Depot where his friend worked since she was getting off work soon. I was nervous. I mean, obviously… It’s a person I’ve never met before. Their sole purpose in life is to attack me on sight…

Me: You can chill the fuck out, Brain. I would be totally ok with that right now…

While Ox and I waited, we looked at paint and wood stain for the kitchen cabinets. We walked back and looked at the countertops since his mom wants new ones. We talked about color scheme and tile backsplashes for the kitchen walls and looked at different pantry cabinets since I want to get one for the kitchen. We talked about how we could move things in the house around and what type of flooring we want to put down in the addition once it’s done. We talked about how a lot of things in the house feel half down and how I’m not wrong in feeling that way; that’s an issue with his dad. Projects not getting finished.

It was a really awesome experience. I’m not sure if it was intentional on Ox’s part, but I’m grateful for the time we spent together in the store looking at home improvement stuff. It helped me remember there’s a lot of things in the future I want to be here for and that I’m looking forward to being a part of.

I was also able to get a white milk crate for work. I want one as a “shred” box for the treatment floor. It’s so annoying having to constantly walk back behind the nurse’s station to put documents into the bin there. Now I have a crate I can put on the main tech counter. I can put treatment sheets and lab forms and all sorts of paper in there and at the end of the day I can take my crate and empty it all at once. It’s a small, trivial thing, but it makes me happy knowing that my workflow will be improved.

I did get to meet Ox’s friend. She seems nice and I’m curious to get to know her better. I think we have had very different experiences, I also think we’re very different people. I don’t think we’ll be best buds or BFFs or hang out buddies, but it would be nice to know if we wanted to hang out with people other than ourselves that Ox and I have people we can call up and spend time with.

Once we left Home Depot we decided to try Buffalo Wings and Rings again, the wing place we had tried to go to Saturday evening. I can’t lie, part of the reason I’ve wanted to go there is simply because the name makes me smile because I think it’s cute. The other part is because I really like their color scheme. A very small, insignificant portion is because I want to find another wing place. I had already determined before moving that nothing would compare to my sports bar in Orlando.

BW&R was much quieter yesterday evening and though the food wasn’t as good as my sports bar in Orlando, it definitely is better than Buffalo Wild Wings in my book and overall I was satisfied with my meal. I would be ok with going back there. In fact, it might be where I go for lunch today since I’ll be in town.

Dinner was nice. Once we were done we drove back to my car and picked up snake food before coming home. I spent most of the evening writing which helped iron out details and timelines in my head. It helped shift things into a clearer, less sad perspective.

I’m glad to say that even though yesterday was hard that it turned out to be a pretty amazing day; one that I’m grateful for experiencing.


 

That brings us to today. April 4th, 2018. The two-year anniversary of my mom’s death. I… am ok so far. Better than I was yesterday. I’m already showered. I’ve written again and was able to remember all of the positive things of yesterday. I have therapy scheduled for 1 pm today and I’m actually looking forward to that phone call. I haven’t spoken with my therapist in almost two months now. There’s so much that has happened that I want to share with her. She’s been on this journey of recovery with me since the beginning. It was only about a month after mom’s death that I sought out counseling, and I do believe it’s one of the reasons I’m as stable and strong as I am today.

I need to buy a flower today. A second one to go into the vase I have by mom’s urn. I want to go to the gym today because I know mom wants me to keep living my life and to actually live it rather than exist through it. I want to cook dinner tonight since I didn’t last night and I already know the recipes I want to do. I’ll most likely need to stop by the store for a handful of things. Making sure laundry is squared away so I have scrubs and socks for the next three days would be a smart move, too.

Since I have a few hours before my phone call I think I’m going to try going through and organizing the piles on top of the freeze and cabinet in the laundry room. Maybe I’ll even poke around inside of the cabinet if I have time.

I don’t know. Today has possibilities and I can still enjoy them, experience them, while I miss my mom.

Today, two years ago, my mom died, and yet I am still her daughter. That is the fact I take comfort in right now. Life can’t change that fact. Death can’t change that fact. She and I are forever connected because I’m her daughter and she’s my mother.

Fuck you, Universe. You can’t take that away from us.

And with that, I’m going to go live my life today because I know that’s what my mom wants me to do.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

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Daily Post 057: Waiting

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I used to write for myself. I used to sit here and let my mind wander through itself, my fingers moving over the keyboard, typing out the melody in my head. The one that always seems so hard to put into words when talking with people. The one that not even I know the notes to half the time. It’s only after writing, after going back and really reading what I wrote than any sort of sense can be made from it. The logic, the pattern, emerging from the chaos of emotions. They, the emotions, exist for a reason, but without writing, that reason always seems elusive, nebulous, and half-formed.

I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been going to the gym or the dojo. I’ve been eeking by. And already I’m on the verge of tears, not so much because I’m depressed. I feel I’m actually recovering from the recent lull in my emotional state. But tears from acknowledging pain. From no longer forcing myself to keep limping forward. From finally sitting, resting, and assessing my wounds, the damage, the trail I’ve traveled and where I have yet to move to.

I know for a while I felt hopeless and pointless again. I felt my grief which so rarely is the crushing tidal wave it was in the beginning. I can see it coming, feel it welling up within myself. I can almost prepare for it. I know the days will be hard and the nights harder. I know waking up will be the most painful part of my day while the rest of it is idle survival of making sure I eat meals and shower and go to work and convince people that I’ll be ok even though I feel I’m bleeding out through a wound in my chest.

I’ve made it up to this point and even though I’ve been drinking and smoking, I feel it’s worth noting that I HAVE survived. I have coped. I have found ways of being self-reliant. I HAVE NOT collapsed or shrugged off my responsibilities. I have fought through most of this year and I have fought hard.

I had a realization last week and I think that’s the main reason I have been feeling slightly less lost.

I have decided that, for the moment, I will wait. I will rest, just like the Earth.

I will rest between now and January. I will make it through Thanksgiving, my second one without mom. I will make it through my birthday, a day I wish wouldn’t come. I’ll make it through Christmas and New Years.

I won’t worry about if I get to the dojo or not. If I’m able to train or how hard I train when I do. I won’t stress over my work schedule making things hard with how inconsistent it is. I won’t give myself shit for not doing much because it’s cold and cloudy and hard to find the will to do all of the things I love doing while it’s warm and sunny out.

It’s winter. It’s a period for rest. Instead of raging and struggling against it I decided at 4 am on a cold Monday morning while smoking a cigarette and drinking my coffee before work that I would try embracing that aspect of this season. I would stop struggling to do and allow myself to rest.

Making that decision let me feel free. It dissolved the feelings of failure for not making it to the gym after work to run when I had already walked eight miles in the clinic. It freed me of so many negative things that I felt tears forming in my eyes from relief.

It was finally ok to wait, to rest, to simply breathe rather than fighting against everything that seems so impossible to overcome.

Sometimes the best course of action is to wait. To allow your opponent to make the first move, opening themselves up so you can land a devastating blow.

In January I start a new path.

I begin the road to becoming an RN, something I never in my life thought I would be. My first class is already paid for. Everything is set, all I have to do is attend the class. The first day of a new direction.

I have a rough sketch of an outline for where I want to go. First, it will be my Associates of Nursing, followed by the Physical Therapist Assistant degree. From there I will transfer to UCF for their Bachelors of Nursing moving into the Masters. From there it will be the Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Along the way or maybe after all of the “official schooling” will be the fitness training program I found while researching into the degrees I wanted. I would like to become a yoga instructor with counseling credentials as well, though I haven’t looked very far into that aspect of my plan.

I want to be a holistic nurse. I want to be a nursing teacher. I want to show people there’s more to health than just the physical body. The mind and spirit are just as important.

I will not stay with DaVita. I have already come to the realization that though I love my patients and my coworkers, I do not love my job nor the company. After achieving my first degree, my RN, I will begin exploring other employment options, ideal in the vein of holistic nursing. For the next two-ish years, however, I think I can manage three days a week at my present location. If things line up the way I hope they do I might be able to go down to working part-time and doing school full time.

Warren and I have fought. I told him he was an ass as a roommate. I told him I could rely on him to be unreliable. That in 13 months he’s paid full rent three times and none of those times were consecutive. I told him I didn’t want to live with him anymore and if he didn’t leave willingly I would find whatever legal course of action I could to have him removed, even if that meant having both of us evicted.

All of that came from after finding out he ignored my messages for three days.

I suppose backstory is needed…

Last Friday rent was coming due. It was also my payday and there for a “bill” day. I go through and pay things in order of their importance. Since rent is most important, I paid it first, which meant I had no money left to pay any of the others bills since Warren hadn’t made his contribution towards rent yet.

I messaged him to let him know rent was taken care of, but without his help, I was unable to pay any other bills such as power, internet, or any of my personal expenses.

I received silence.

For three days.

Nothing.

Nothing about, “Yes, I’ll pay rent. Just give me a few days.” No, “Thank you. I appreciate it.” Nothing to let me know that I would be able to pay all of my other responsibilities. Just empty nothingness.

On Monday I sent a message asking for Warren to pay rent so I could put gas in my car. I was low and without some sort of payment, I wouldn’t have had enough gas to make it through the week.

No reply.

Monday afternoon, when I got out of work, I sent a message asking if he was receiving my texts.

Silence.

I went to Big Bad’s house. I spent the evening with him. One were I told him about the situation and how I was going to address it when I got home. It was a good evening and I feel my time with him is one of the reasons I’m remaining as ok as I am.

When I got home I still had no replies to my messages but there was a deposit to my bank account for partial rent. I was ok with that. I was able to pay the bills that were due. It was enough to stay afloat and buy groceries.

That evening, while I was meal prepping, Warren came into the kitchen. I asked if he had been receiving my messages. He did a “so-so” motion with his hand saying “Eh. The first message rubbed me the wrong way so I just didn’t reply.”

I don’t remember what I said, but he went on to explain to me something something something… I honestly can’t tell you anything about what he said because the only thing I heard was the tone of his voice.

I’m sure other people have experienced it. That “tone” where you’re talking to a four-year-old who’s being unreasonable and so you have to talk very slowly and punctuate every single word since it’s the fifth time you’ve had to explain yourself to them and you’re just so exasperated that they’re being difficult…

I am NOT a four year old and I do NOT deserve to be talked down to after covering $500 of someone else’s rent. I DO deserve an explanation as to when I can expect my payment and I WILL NOT stand for my messages to be ignored because another person wants to be childish.

Thus my bridge burning napalm response of, “Go fuck yourself. Get out.”

Warren: So that’s how it’s going to be.

Me: GET. OUT.

He left, going back upstairs to his room, leaving me alone and furious. So furious I couldn’t even think beyond wanting to bash the windows of his car in with my combat swords from SCA.

I started receiving text messages from him. Messages I honestly didn’t read. I stated my feelings of “You’re an ass,” “I can’t rely on you,” and “If you’re not going to help I need you to leave so I can find someone who can.”

He knows where we stand now. He knows I’m ok with burning everything to the ground, including our relationship, if he doesn’t get his shit together because I’m done dealing with the stress having him in my life causes me.

This is my final stand. He made his payment for this week. I am waiting for December since that is when he gets his additional raise for his recent promotion. Words don’t matter anymore. Only action.

If he won’t take action then I will and I don’t care who goes down in the process. I don’t have to win, but I REFUSE to lose.

Big Bad and I are… doing well? I hesitate to write about this because even in my chest, sitting alone, I feel scared and vulnerable. Like it’s a frail, soft thing which could be injured at the slightest harshness. Something which hasn’t had time to become strong and confident. Like a fledgling.

The subject of children has come up. Twice, actually. Both times he asked me if I ever thought about having kids.

I answered with I’ve never had a partner that was loyal or one that I would want to have children with. I mentioned financial stability and being potentially polycystic and infertile. I mentioned how I never saw myself having the house with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids.

He seemed saddened by that. His response of “Awww” to my not having the picket fence seemed one of sorrow. Like he was sorry I felt that dream was out of my reach, or not meant for me.

I used to think about it, what my future would be like. I liked cooking dinner for my partners. I liked falling asleep next to them or watching shows with them. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t finished watching Burn Notice. I can’t bring myself to do it. There are things that I miss about living with a significant other. Things I figured I wouldn’t have in my life again.

There’s a part of me who is captivated by the idea of the 1950s housewife. I actually do want to do the laundry and dishes. I want to greet my love at the door with a kiss hello, or a sticky note attached to a nerf gun saying that the house is a war zone, loser has to take out the trash… you know, stupid, nerdy, romantic things. I want to have a kitchen table covered in puzzle pieces that we work on together, or at least talk to each other while I pick away at it.

There’s a part of me who wants it; the house with a white picket fence. That ideal life of perfection. There’s a part of me who wants kids and to pack their lunches and write love notes on their napkins. I want to help them with school projects and the science fair. I want to be there for their field trips. I want to help them grow their interests and find themselves. I want to be what my mom was to me for someone else.

I just never thought I would be able to experience it.

I mean… Big Bad has four daughters already. Why would he want more kids? And since I don’t want another partner, that means no kids for me by proxy, right?

I mentioned this to Kyle who’s response was, “He wants more kids. Why else would he ask you twice?”

My brain came up short on that one. Yeah, I thought it was odd that it seemed to come up often. But surely Big Bad didn’t want kids.

Kyle said to ask him.

So… I did…

We were texting each other good night and I asked if I could ask a personal question.

Big Bad said yes.

Me: Do you want more kids? I realized you’ve asked me that question but I never asked back.

Big Bad: Sometimes I do. They’re fun up to a certain age.

Since his oldest girls are teenagers I’m sure there is angst and tension at the moment.

Me: I think after a certain age they go back to being fun. It’s the middle years where they have to figure out themselves that sort of suck I think.

Of course, this is going solely on my own experience as a teenager and my relationship with my mom, so what do I know? But I do think things will ease over as his girls grow up and mature a bit.

Big Bad: Yeah. Maybe. Why? Are you ready to bear me the antichrist?

Me: I don’t know. I’ve never allowed myself to think of being a parent. I assumed you didn’t want more kids. I’m sorry for making assumptions rather than asking how you felt.

Big Bad: No need to apologize.

Me: Hypothetically, do you think I would be a good parent?

Big Bad: I think so. Certainly better than most.

Me: If I give birth to the antichrist for you I want 75% world domination for having to give up jiujitsu for 9 months. >.>

A girl has to have priorities…

Big Bad: Negative. I get 100% and you get to live in the post-apocalyptic future as my plaything.

Me: Do I get a slutty outfit?

Big Bad: Of course.

Me: And an army of penguins with lasers?

Big Bad: Several. Riding on sharks.

Me: … Then maybe…

So we haven’t agreed to have kids together or anything, but I do think our relationship has developed and deepened in ways I never thought it would. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, and I don’t know if it’s mutual or one-sided on my part because I haven’t voiced any of this to him.

It feels more committed. Nothing has changed, but in lew of the kid conversation, I feel like fidelity was reaffirmed on, and to, both sides. I feel like it’s another moment in time where we could have stood apart but instead, we stood together. We both admitted to things that we don’t share with others. We both allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. I’m not sure if we’re stronger for it, but I do think there is something positive about being vulnerable and realizing that it’s ok. You didn’t get hurt. In fact, you were safe the whole time. Not everyone is an asshole out to kick you while you’re down.

I spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning in Daytona with my younger brother. On the way back to Orlando I messaged Big Bad to let him know I made it back to town safely. I jokingly said I was about to pass his house.

Big Bad: Why don’t you stop by for a few. We’ll have coffee.

And so I spent nearly the entire day with Big Bad on Sunday. It was amazing. We started watching Stranger Things. Even though I just got done watching season two with Kyle I was completely content to curl up on the couch with Big Bad’s arms around me, the blanket covering us, and relax the day away.

It felt different than what it has been. For a little while, it had started to feel hollow. Even though we were together it didn’t feel like we were connected. It felt like it was just sex, which was still good, but I missed our times of wrestling, or working out, or cuddling, or our cups of coffee which seemed to have altered to me drinking by myself while he showered for work.

Recently, we had our date night to see Tho and all of our deep conversation and him saying he was proud of me. And then our Sunday afternoon of snuggles and shows. We still saw each other Monday evening which I am grateful for. Since I got out of work at 2 and he has taken this week off from work, I was able to go over to his house fairly early. We spent more time watching Stranger Things and talking.

I don’t know. It’s been feeling better and I do think the relationship is growing in ways that I didn’t expect it to. In ways, I hadn’t allowed myself to notice.

We both sleep well next to each other now. I remember in the beginning we didn’t. We were both worried about keeping the other awake by tossing and turning or snoring. But now, it’s different. I sleep deeper next to him. It’s like when I’m in my room alone I’m merely resting, while when I’m with him I actually sleep. I feel safe with him. Completely, physically and emotionally.

He said he knows he snores sometimes to which I replied yes, but that I liked it. It’s not loud or obnoxious. It’s just loud enough to be heard. Strong enough to be felt when my head is on his chest. I said it was reassuring. Comforting.

He said it seemed like I was having a bad dream last night and he woke me up. I don’t remember it. I remember feeling warm even though it’s winter and I normally always feel cold, no matter what I wear or how many blankets I have on my bed, or the fact that I live in Florida and most days still get into the 80s.

There’s a part of me, the soft, feminine part, that had given up on giggling, and being tickled, and goodbye kisses that make me smile. Of the warm fuzzy feelings that bubble up when you think of someone that spill into a silly uncontainable smile that makes you blush whenever someone points out that you’re smiling. Bastards. >.<;

And now, in the aftermath of basically two low key, relaxing days, I’m thinking that maybe it’s not all that impossible or crazy after all. Maybe all of this is ok and I should write off having a future with another person as “something not meant for me.”

I don’t think anything life changing will happen anytime soon. I want to become financially independent first. Or maybe stable would be a better word since I’m already independent and supporting two people, still. I’m sure being divorced and having four kids makes Big Bad hesitant to want to address the potential of living together or other batshit insane ideas like marriage.

Even just typing that on a blank page in a completely empty room makes my body tense with anxiety. So I know I definitely am not up to tackling those issues right now. I would much rather get out of the roommate situation I’m in first. I would like to make it through at least the RN associates. I want to feel like I am worthy as a partner and that I bring something to the table other than chaos because that’s what my life feels like right now. Chaos with brief moments of stability.

I think we’re both ok with not rushing things and I think maybe that’s why we’re as ok as we are. Regardless of what the future may or may not have in store for our relationship, I can say I am grateful he is in my life.

I like what we have. I feel he is honorable and I think I would actually be ok with eventually having his child.

There’s a lot on the horizon and not all of it in the distant future. Some of it is heavy and grief ladened. Some of it is good and potentially relieving. The main focus right now is breathing and surviving and resting.

For some reason it seems easier to that now; to survive. I’m looking forward to January. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the week of my birthday. Big Bad said he might take it off with me. I like the idea of us getting a pizza and watching stupid shows on my birthday. I like the idea of it not being special but of not being alone either.

I think there will be hard moments in the coming month but there will be good moments, too.

Daily Post 034: Promise Kept

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I cried today.

It was another day that I completed everything on my to-do list.

I’ve pushed really hard the past two days. I don’t know if I’m proud of that or not. I know normally I would be. I still hurt and so it’s hard to feel past, see past, the pain.

Work started off well. I’m getting faster at setting up the machines. A lot of the machines were failing their alarm tests this morning. Two of the machines in my section had to be taken off the floor because we couldn’t get them working properly. It made everything so much more chaotic and slightly overwhelming. Add to that the fact that today I cannulated two patients (stabbed them with needles so their dialysis treatment could be initiated).

Hopefully, my jokes about stabbing people with needles aren’t offensive. I don’t mean for them to be.

But yeah, two machines are gone, and I’m having to perform an invasive procedure on people who know I’m new, oh, and by the way, my clinic trainer AND my company trainer are both there watching me to make sure if I fuck up it will be wonderfully recorded.

It was a lot today. I held it together. I did really well. And after it was over and I had clocked out and I was driving home I completely broke down because I couldn’t call mom and tell her about my day.

I couldn’t talk about how it was overwhelming and I survived. I couldn’t tell her how I was able to cannulate Chef on my first try even though my trainer still has issues with his access sometimes. I couldn’t get a hug. I couldn’t go home. I couldn’t have any of the reassurance that I’ve been used to for 27 years of my life.

I talked to her again. I told her I was sorry for not listening to her couponing stories as often as I should have and how I miss them. Even now I’m crying.

Instead of going home and giving in to the sadness I kept taking care of the chores I wanted to do. I was mostly on auto-pilot. Detached from the world around me, floating in it but not really interacting or experiencing it. I was ok with that.

I found out about my contact with the boxing gym. Because I put a hold on my account for the first three months I was going to the dojo my contract has been extended until October. Lame. I was hoping to end that in July since I’m not going there much. I could have used that money to go towards my training with MG.

I did talk to her about finances, though. Since I’m not doing classes at the dojo due to my work schedule we’re going to use my membership payment to go towards the personal training sessions. So it all works out nicely.

Verizon finally figured out my phone discount. Tomorrow I’m going to call and finally cancel Zane’s line. That will save me about $50 a month on my phone bill.

Mom’s pension finally closed out. I sent Jason the money I owed him from that. One obligation taken care of. Three more to go at least as far as payback goes.

I went to the dojo and did yoga today. I saw another one of my dojo buddies while I was there.

Both him and James commented on how I’ve lost weight. I know I have. I can still see new lines and contours in my form. I’ve stopped thinking about it. Maybe it’s apathy due to my grief. The fact that I’m losing weight doesn’t do anything to my emotional state. It’s a neutral fact. It is. It exists. I don’t know what else to write about it.

I know the two tattoos I’m going to be getting. I need Photoshop to make the files. Well.. want. Not need, but still. It would be easier than doing it by hand.

I don’t know what else to write. I’m tired. I slept deeply last night though I didn’t sleep long enough. I think I’m going to have the same issue tonight. It’s already almost 10 pm and I wake up at 3 am.

I feel like this is another moment in my life where I’m transforming, changing, morphing into the person I’m supposed to become. I don’t know why I feel like that. I don’t know why it feels like I’m supposed to feel this pain.

I guess it’s because this is me moving forward. I know this is something I need to do. It hurts. It sucks. I don’t want to do it. Each step forward feels like I’m moving further away from that moment in time. That moment where I was a younger more naive version of myself, protected by the safety of mom when she was still alive. A different me. I don’t want to use the term weaker because I was strong even then. Less battle hardened maybe. Less tried.

I wish I could hug my younger self. I wish my now self could have a hug, too. I wish when I cried I wasn’t alone and yet, even as I type that I know I would try to pull myself together if someone were around me.

I wish I wasn’t so complicated.

Daily Post 020: The Beginning of the End

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Today is the start of “The Two Weeks”. The two weeks of mom being in the hospital.

Today was the day that I flew on a South West airplane for the low, competitive price of $700 one way to hopefully see my mother if she survived the surgery.

Capitalism at its finest…

Today was the day that I met Lio at the airport and held it together, somehow, when she hugged me and told me mom had made it through the surgery and was in ICU.

Today was the first day that I saw my mom, pale, asleep, wires and tubes everywhere as machines next to her bed beeped and blinked and displayed all sorts of information that I didn’t know how to process.

Today was the day that mom thought I was Lio when I asked her if she knew who I was.

Today was the first day that I felt that soul crushing weight of, “Mom is really sick. Mom needs me. She needs me to be strong.”

Tonight will mark the first night that I stayed with her at the hospital. It’s the first night we had one of our many deep conversations. Tonight’s conversation was the one where she thought she was stupid. How could she have let herself get so sick?

Tonight was the night where I felt shame and guilt and remorse. Mom could have died and here she is, feeble, frail, alive, so weak looking in her hospital bed, her voice so soft and tired sounding and she thinks she’s stupid.

She’s alive and she’s kicking herself mentally for being sick. How is that at all ok? How can she feel bad, awful, for being sick and living? She’s alive. She’s the most amazing person ever and yet she feels stupid.

It broke my heart to hear her say those words, and our conversation that night was explaining how she wasn’t stupid. She did everything right. She was feeling bad. She want to the doctor. He saw certain things and percribed medicaitons. She took them. She wasn’t feeling better. She went back to the doctor. He agreed she was getting worse. He sent her to another doctor. They found out what was really wrong and rushed her to surgery.

Everyone did everything “right”. No one was stupid or at fault. It was a shitty situatuion and we would get through it. Together. We would be ok because we weren’t going to give up. We, Jason, Jon, me, and Lio, would be there for her.

Tonight marks the first night that I fell asleep listening to a heart monitor, to her breathing. Tonight was the first night of a two-week stretch of sleeping for fifteen minutes at a time if I was lucky because everything was a bad sound, a life or death crisis that I had to be awake for.

Today marks the beginning of the end.

I hurt. But at the same time, I’m numb. It’s like I’m in a giant sea of despair but I’m on a raft made of apathy. If I dip my fingers into the water or submerge my hand I can feel all of the hurt seeping into my bones and blood. I can feel it traveling through my body if I think too long on something. I can feel my heart bleeding even though when I look down there is no wound.

It’s like a hole should be there. I should be able to reach into my chest, where my sternum should be, where my heart should be and touch nothing. Emptiness. A hallow void where once something had been.

The beginning of the end.

In my head, it seems fitting to think of it like that. My final two weeks with mom. Two weeks. Every day, every hour building up to that final morning. My last goodbye. My last, “I love you.”

I want to say that I hate this, but I don’t know if I truly do or not. I can’t make up my mind when I allow myself to feel. I can’t choose between being angry and being sad. There’s nothing to be angry at and I don’t want to be sad, so I don’t know what to do. It’s easier to not feel instead because feeling is so confusing.

It’s easier to go through the motions but they feel so empty, so disconnected from the world and pointless. I’m fighting between trying to connect to something excruciating and shutting everything out because it hurts too much.

I don’t know which I want more. I don’t know which one will be better.

I think feeling would be “better”. At least it would keep me in reality. In my reality, it hurts. By feeling, I wouldn’t be allowing the emotions to fester or mutate into things they aren’t. I would be lancing the wound I have. Purging the build up.

But to do that I have to admit to things all over again and I don’t want to. I don’t want to cry, or rather, I don’t want to cry more because I already have been. For days. Random silent tears constantly dehydrating me over random thoughts that I can’t stop my brain from thinking.

I don’t want to go through this. I wish there were a way to stop it. I wish it felt ok to hate. I want to hate this. I want to be angry because that’s easier than being sad, but it doesn’t do anything and so it’s wasted energy.

I wish mom were here. I wish she was still alive. I wish she hadn’t died. I wish I had been able to do more when I had been at the hospital. I wish I had been a CNA then. Or an EKG Tech. Maybe I would have been able to understand the heart monitor then. Maybe I would have been able to do something other than nothing. I would have been able to do something other than holding her hand and giving her sips of water when she asked for it.

I’ve almost made it a year.

I know that’s an accomplishment but it’s not one that I wanted to achieve. I didn’t want to have to live a year without my mom. I didn’t want this to be part of me, my story. I don’t want it to be “an accomplishment”. I don’t want it to be a positive thing.

I want it to be solemn and somber and heavy because it is.

It sucks and I don’t care if that’s me wallowing in self-pity or being a victim or whatever else it could maybe, possibly be. Today sucks. Yesterday sucked. All of this has sucked.

Even with all of the postive steps I have taken, I want to hate it because I would rather have my mom.

In all honestly, emotions being set aside, the past few days have been well enough. Nothing super bad has happened.

I talked to Warren. He knows I’m not ok with the apartment. He’s actually done his dishes the past few days. We got the storage unit emptied out. I’ve moved most of his boxes upstairs so the apartment isn’t completely trashed. I had two successful sticks today and I won one of the review games we played in class, so I get an extra five points on my test tomorrow.

I had an email from the hospital on Tuesday for an EKG Tech position I applied for. I had to fill out the stupid personality survey again.

Me: No. Seriously. I’m still the same person…

There was a 47 question test I had to do as well. It was all about identifying EKG rhythms and what you’re supposed to do with what you’ve identified.

Is it lethal? Should you call a code? Is it normal, abmormal? Should you let the nurse know something STAT or just mention it so she can keep an eye out if anything further develops?

I wasn’t all that confident in myself because we never talked about what you’re supposed to do after you’ve identified. I was content that I took the test rather than avoiding it and giving up on the position.

I woke up Wednesday morning to an email saying I had failed the test. I failed, but, they wanted me to take it again.

Ok… Either I bombed it so bad that they don’t believe I really am that stupid and want to give me another shot now that I’m not filled with anxiety over it, or I barely failed and they want me to try again because they’re interested in me.

Well, I mean… obviously they want me to try again. They’re letting me take it a second time. I don’t think that’s standard if you suck or they’re not interested in you.

So that’s what I did today. After class, I studied, and studied, and studied some more. I took the test and was more confident in myself while I did it. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow if I passed it or not. If not then I guess I need to study more if I want an EKG Tech position.

Tuesday, while I was in the middle of filling out the personality survey, I got a call from a dialysis clinic I applied at. They want me to shadow for a few hours on Friday. And by a few hours I mean from 5am until noon. If that goes well, they like me I like them sort of a thing, then I will have a face-to-face interview at 2 pm that afternoon.

So, yeah… A lot of stuff has been going on but it’s all be behind my wall of apathy. I’m not excited about either position because I don’t know if I passed the test so there’s nothing to get excited about as far as that goes. And with the dialysis position, it depends on how much they are willing to pay me. Once the paid eight weeks of training is over the schedule flexes, so if they don’t pay me enough I can’t accept the job because I won’t be able to get a second one with a schedule that changes every week.

I’m still applying and keeping my eyes open for opportunities. Right now I feel sort of like a raptor. Anything that seems like something I could potentially do I strike out and apply for. But at the moment it’s a cold, detached sort of strike. There’s no joy or excitement behind it.

I did boxing and submission grappling on Monday. I moved some boxes that day, too. Tuesday was the storage unit, so that was more of an active recovery day. No dojo. And today was Muay Thai conditioning at the dojo with more box moving afterwards. I didn’t feel like staying for jiujitsu or the second conditioning class. I didn’t want to be around people anymore.

I’m sort of done with today.

I’m done trying and doing and problem-solving.

I wish I could say that I’m done hurting, but I feel like it’s only just started.

This is the beginning of the end. I still have a long ways to go before this wave is over.

I have therapy tomorrow. Maybe that will help. With what I don’t know. It’s not like I can have help breathing. I have to do that on my own. I have to live my own life. No one can do that for me. No one can wake up for me, and I know I wouldn’t want someone to do it even if they could.

This is my life and I’m supposed to be the one living it.

Right now it sucks.

Daily Post 008: Still Lost But Not As Directionless

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Still directionless. Still sans purpose.

But…

I did make it through today. I can’t say that I enjoyed much of anything. It felt like I was an observer for most of the day. Auto piolet. I experienced most things as if there were a barrier between the world and myself. A wall which wouldn’t let much emotion in or out.

I enjoyed the brief interactions I had with Big Bad. He teased me about being sick and how we’ll have to walk the 5k on Saturday, hand in hand. He said if I’m feeling better maybe we can upgrade from walking to skipping.

We made plans to see the Batman Lego Movie after the race if we survive. I’m feeling significantly better health wise, but breathing is still a chore so I don’t know how I’ll be after. I remember last year I was fine the day of the race. It was the day after where I was super sore. We’ll see how I fair. Regardless, I am looking forward to Saturday. It doesn’t matter how I do run/obstacle wise.

So yeah, I enjoyed my text messages. They caused me to genuinely smile and feel warmth. That was  really the only time I felt connected to the world, though. The rest of it was distant and detached.

I got a lot more done today than I thought I would. I did a few chores after having coffee. I ended up going to lunch after an hour or so of work. I had been hoping to do all the chores before needing food but skipping breakfast wasn’t the best idea in that regard.

I listened to music for most of the morning, too. I think that helped. It kept my mind focused on something soothing.

While I was at my sports bar I did a little more introspective thinking/soul searching.

I label myself as a warrior, but lately, I haven’t felt like one. I haven’t felt like anything. A hot mess maybe. Nothing positive.

I made myself sit down and write out qualities I associate with my “ideal warrior self”. I wanted to reaffirm to myself the qualities I try to embody, the traits I want people to remember me for.

Honor. Strength. Perseverance. Courage. Enlightened.

I wrote more than those words, but those are my top five.

After spending some time brainstorming what qualities my “ideal warrior self” should have I asked myself if I felt like my “ideal warrior self”.

My answer was an unsurprising, “No.”

My reason was hard to write. It was hard not to give into the silent tears as I sat writing my reason into my notebook.

“No. And that hurts. I feel like I’m failing myself.”

It’s not the outside world telling me that I’m falling short. It’s me being harsh with myself. It’s me being the overbearing parent, looking down in disdain at the part of myself that’s trying. Maybe not trying my hardest, but trying and getting no recognition for any effort what so ever.

It’s disheartening. What’s the point of trying to be something when it doesn’t matter what I do? Nothing is ever good enough for myself.

Well, no shit I’m depressed. Anyone would be with that mentality as their cheerleader.

After writing my reason and accepting why I felt like I was failing myself I wrote an affirmation.

I am not failing myself. Acknowledging these feelings allows me to improve myself. I want to be a more enlightened and accepting person. Self-improvement is ALWAYS a worthwhile endeavor.

Self-acceptance is where I need to start.

I next asked what are three things I can do to work towards my warrior self.

  1. Go to the dojo and continue eating healthy
  2. Read spiritual/grief content and continue writing
  3. Complete my projects

I know all three of those seem pretty nebulous, but they are stakes within my mind, anchor points to which I can tie things down to.

After I identified three areas which would help boost my feelings of self-improvement I asked myself what I would do today to work towards my warrior self.

  1. Meal plan for the remaining days of the week
  2. Clean the apartment
  3. Cross stitch / enjoy my evening

And that’s what I did. I figured out what I needed from the grocery store before I left my sports bar, then did the shopping. I have to admit to feeling drained by the time I got back home. I enjoyed being in the sun and I’m grateful today wasn’t a cold day, not that we really have many of those in Orlando, but I was worried for a bit that I had overdone it.

I put the groceries away and did a few tasks in the kitchen before sitting on the couch for a while and cross stitching a few threads. I let music play and my mind relax. I didn’t think about my list or what it would mean if I didn’t get it all done. The list didn’t matter. I let myself stitch until the dryer was done running. After that, I felt better. Still in my flatlined state, but I had more energy to do the remaining things I wanted to do.

I’m pleased that not only did I do all the chores I originally gave myself, but I did more past that. I still managed to sit and enjoy my evening with a cup of warm tea. I made more progress on my cross-stitch and I watched an interesting movie called Harmony.

Do not let the name fool you. It’s a pretty twisted dystopian anime. It was recommended to watch if you liked Ergo Proxy. I enjoyed it though I felt the ending was weak.

I brushed Scarlet a bit. She was happy to have some quality time. Not like she hasn’t been trying to sleep on my face for the past week or anything. I swear I have given her permanent abandonment issues with how much I’ve been traveling the past few months. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of these days she latches on to my face and never lets me leave the apartment again.

And now I am here writing, something which normally lets me feel calm and collected. An action signaling closure to the day.

I haven’t been consistent with my writing. We’re already well into February but this is only the ninth “daily” post I’ve made. There’s not consistency with my writing anymore, which I understand and accept, but I wonder how much better I would feel if I were more diligent in this endeavor. Writing helps me process, and part of the reason the emotions well up the way they do is because I don’t process very often. At least I feel I don’t.

Instead of being proactive, I’m lapsing back to being reactive.

Brain: Oh shit! We’re having an emotional meltdown. I guess we should do something about this.

Today wasn’t a bad day. It was a flat day. A white day. I think tomorrow is going to be a lot like today. Flatlined. Quite. Still.

I think I’m ok with that. More than I was. I have identified what I want to do. I want to improve and I have things that will help me do that. I’m not as directionless as I felt last night and this morning.

It’s a nice feeling.

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Musing Moment 105: Today’s Goal

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I’m awake but I don’t feel alive. I knew I wouldn’t. I went to sleep knowing this is how I would feel when I woke up and that this is something I would have to struggle through before I could do anything with the day.

Today is a day where I want to stay on the couch all day. Today is a day where I wonder if this is depression rather than sadness.

It’s been over a week since I’ve had a cigarette. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I wonder if through all this time of starting and stopping. Getting better and then getting stressed and buying a pack to get me through the hard times finally created an addiction and that part of the struggle I feel now is due to withdrawals.

It makes me think about how all emotional states are chemical changes inside the brain. I feel like I do right now because I don’t have enough dopamine. So I should do things that increase those levels. I can’t think of anything I want to do, though. A cigarette might help, but I don’t want one, which is why I haven’t smoked. I don’t want to drink either though I know that would make the pain less intense.

I want to sleep through this. I wouldn’t mind watching another show but I don’t want to put in the effort to find something else to let my mind be numbed.

It’s like I want to suffer through this, sort of like how I suffered through the cold I’m getting over. The only medications I took were cough drops and NyQuil. No decongestant. No fever reducer. Just good old fashion immune system suffering for four days.

I know this is a low and I know I’ll get through it and that once I do things will seem brighter, warmer. That is not where I am, though. Right now it feels like winter inside. It’s not the same as the darkness I felt before which is why I think it’s depression versus sadness. There’s a level of apathy. Coldness. Detachment. Logical isolation.

I keep thinking of my question from last night. “What’s the point?”

But honestly, what is the point? Why get a job to pay bills for things that we should have? I have to pay for water. Water. A basic need. I have to pay for it. I have to pay for the right to live.

I have to pay for food that’s processed and gives me cancer. I have to pay for food drenched in insecticides and poisons. It’s sad we even have to think about things like that. Our health is less important than a company making a profit.

It’s sick. Fucked up. It makes me wonder why bother? Why is it worth it? What’s the point?

And right now I still don’t have an answer. What’s the point in getting a job I most likely won’t like to buy things I don’t care about? What’s the point of being part of a system I don’t want to be a part of?

Maybe this is all because my grief is flaring again. Swelling. I think a lot of that has to do with the student loans. Thinking about them makes my eyes water. The silent tears. So maybe that is it. It hurts so much that I can’t suppress or alter the chemical reaction inside my brain. No matter how much I will them away, the tears are there, telling the truth even though I try so hard to deny it.

I want mom back. I want to keep my student loans because deep down I want the world to work like that. If I kept my debt I could keep my mom.

But that’s not how it works.

That’s not how any of this works.

I wish it were and wishing does nothing. Dreams do nothing. Dreams without action are meaningless.

Dreams are the start of a goal, though. From dreams, we can figure out action steps, to-do lists and one small action at a time we can reach milestones and eventually the pinnacle of what we had hoped to achieve.

So what is my dream? Or a dream? What’s something that I could turn into a goal?

And I think that’s the hang up in the whole process for me. In the vast emptiness, I feel right now I have no dreams. I have no goals. I have the phrase echoing, reverberating inside of my body like a heartless wind, “Mom is dead.”

Mom is dead. There is no point.

When I was at the seminar the other week, the one at the dojo for the belt testing, there was a question for the visiting sensei.

Student: “What advice would you give white belts to keep them from giving up?”

Sensei: “Suck it up and punch the clock. You’re going to have really shitty days. Suck it up.”

At the time I cringed. It felt callous. Rude. It made me mad.

Me: My mom died.

Sensei: Suck it up.

Me: Go fuck yourself.

That’s what it felt like inside my head. That was my internal reaction to his words.

Irrational Right Brain: Go fuck yourself. I’m not going to suck it up. I’m going to dig my heels in and battle you because every step forward is a step away from her. From that point in my life. From that moment where I hugged her the last time and said I love you for the last time and actually had those words said back to me through cracked lips.

Go fuck yourself if you think I’m going to just suck it up and deal with the fact that she died and that it’s not fair.

It’s true, though. Even then I knew that though I hated the delivery, that I hated him for saying those words, the message was true. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. We all have “hard” and the only way to get past it is to keep going. If you stay where you’re at nothing will change. You have to suck it up. You have to try. You have to put in effort. Blood, sweat, tears.

I’ve put in all of that. Especially tears. I’m so sick of crying right now. It doesn’t help my congestion at all. It’s annoying constantly trying to type through blurry water filled eyes, too.

I guess I need to put in more, though, since I’m not where I feel I should be.

I feel I should be home. Sitting here in front of my computer in the apartment I own until October, I don’t feel home. I’m back to feeling lost. I’m back to thinking that family is home, so why do I feel like I don’t have family.

There was one point in Ohio, we were playing Taboo. I can’t remember the word I was trying to get Jon to guess. The clue I gave was, “We don’t have this anymore,” and his answer was, “family.”

My heart broke. Sitting in my dad’s house surrounded by “family” and Jon’s answer was we don’t have a family anymore. Without mom, there is no family.

I can’t blame him for feeling or thinking that. I feel the same way. Even with him sitting across from me I understood the shattered broken feeling he felt. My own flesh and blood brother sitting three feet from me and we both feel like we don’t have family.

Empty. Lost. Alone.

I don’t think it ever goes away. I think I’m good, or at least getting better, at coping with it, ignoring it, smoothing it over with other things. But I don’t think it will ever go away. I don’t think it’s a weed, either. I don’t think it’s something I should remove. It’s part of who I am now.

This feeling is part of my grief. I feel like it needs acceptance and understanding. A gentle touch to help shape it into something positive or at least neutral, like a fern, rather than ripping it out of my chest, leaving another gaping hole, or allowing it to take over and devour the rest of the flora around it.

I don’t know why but I feel like it’s a plant. I don’t think it will ever have flowers. I don’t think it will ever be the typical “pretty” people think of, but it’s a part of who I am. It has every right to be there. It’s part of my story. You can’t rip out a chapter in a book just because you don’t like it. You can choose not to reread that chapter, but that’s not how my brain works.

This chapter hurts. I want to reread it until I understand it. Maybe it’s because I’m a masochist. Maybe it’s because I feel we find our true selves through pain, through struggle.

A tree can’t reach into heaven if its roots do not reach into hell.

Through all of this writing and meandering through my brain, I still haven’t found a dream, but I do think I have a goal. And it’s the same as it was when I went to sleep last night only now I feel like I have the conviction to actually do it.

I will do my chores.

I will sweep, then vacuum, then mop. I will do laundry, fully, which includes putting the clothes away. I will take out the trash because it will drive me insane for it not to be done. I will wash my sheets, too. I will clean my bathroom and straighten up all of the little things out of place in my space. Maybe I’ll even go through my emails and clean my inbox.

I will have lunch at my sports bar for doing these chores. I know it’s not a lot. I need it to mean something right now. I need it to be worth acknowledgment. I need a reason to go outside and get sunlight because I know that will help combat part of this feeling. I have been inside for four days. I need fresh air and sunlight. Need, not want.

After lunch, I will assess my energy. I want to paint the baseboards in the downstairs bathroom. I want to finish the painting in the apartment.

That will be my larger goal. Finish the painting.

I have a week to finish it. Starting today.

I am accountable. I am responsible. I am ok. Mom was/is proud of me. I will make it through this moment. I have purpose. I have meaning. I have value. It’s ok to feel hurt. It’s ok to grieve. I am not broken.

I don’t want to think of things in terms of productive and unproductive. I want to think in terms of surviving.

So that’s my goal for today. My goal is to survive and those chores are how I will survive. I will make it through today because I told mom I would. I told her I would be strong so I will be.

I cannot control my grief, but I can accept it and understand it, and sometimes surviving is the pinnacle. Really, I suppose it’s the only pinnacle. The only one that really matters. As long as we survive we can try again tomorrow for something more. But surviving in and of itself is the greatest accomplishment any of us can achieve.

I will survive today, and I will acknowledge my survival up to this point because it’s worth acknowledging.

Letters to Mom 011: A Conversation About Nothing

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I need to talk to you mom. I so wish we could talk on the phone like we used to. I miss our hour long conversations about “nothing”. I miss being able to call you randomly when I happened to find free time in my day; time that I was more than willing to spend with you in the small ways we were able to after I moved away.

I really don’t have anything important to talk about, so I don’t know why I feel this pain right now. I don’t know why it keeps welling up like it has been the past week. It’s just random moments of sadness for no reason. At least that’s what it feels like. Maybe there is a reason and I don’t know it.

I keep having dreams. Weird dreams and when I look up the symbology it’s about betrayal. Like a dog biting a little girl and then decaying with maggots wriggling around in its chest, only to come back from the dead to attack other people because the dog didn’t belong in that universe and so by proxy couldn’t die…

Yeah… weird shit.

It sounds like a horrific dream, but when I woke up instead of being disgusted I felt solemn.

There are other dreams, too. None as morbid as that one, but they still leave me feeling weary, and all the psychology behind the representation points to “weariness” and “vigilance” as being the course of action to take. I wish I knew what I was supposed to be looking out for. If only my brain would tell me what it actually thought was wrong rather than possibly giving me “clues” to decipher and pick through.

I mean… maybe it’s all literally inside of my head and they’re just BS dreams that mean nothing.

I feel like if they were really nothing, then I wouldn’t have the feeling of significance when I wake up like I do.

I’ve been applying to more jobs. I might have a babysitting gig this Sunday. I was supposed to go swimming with manatees but it’s a two-hour drive there and I don’t feel up to the trip right now. Doesn’t help that it was supposed to be a fairly large group of people I mostly don’t know. Not really my ideal recovery time.

Big Bad and I had lunch today. He got out of work early since he had to work extra hours earlier in the week.

I went and applied for a job in person since that’s what the posting on Indeed.com said to do. It’s a housekeeping position at a nursing home. I know it’s simple. I know I’m over qualified for it. I wouldn’t mind doing it, though. It’s the perfect hours for still being able to spend all my time at the dojo. The more I think about what I want out of a job the more I want something along those lines. Something that doesn’t interfere with what I actually want to be doing, which is training.

So I guess I need to revise my job requirements.

Something reliably full-time in Orlando within roughly a ten-mile radius from the apartment, preferably using a skill set I already have with set hours that does not interfere with my dojo time.

The patient transport position is another really good job for that. I’m hoping to hear back from something soon.

There was a pretty big event at the dojo today. I almost didn’t go to it, but I had my “come to Freya” discussion with myself not long ago and one of the things was not skipping out of going to the dojo when I feel sad, so I went. I’m glad I went. I learned some really nifty things today. I’m less afraid to perform the moves that require me to put my weight on the other person. It means I’m performing the moves more correctly than what I was. I’m acting with intention and control. It’s a good feeling.

They gave out belts and stripes tonight after training. Jim got another stripe on his brown belt. That’s the rank before black belt. Tommy got his black belt tonight. Akib got his blue belt. That’s the one after white.

Part of me was hoping I would get my first stripe on my white belt, but I didn’t. I’ve only been attending since mid-November. I missed three solid weeks of practice because I traveled. Some days I didn’t go because I have no reason, I just didn’t go.

Part of me wanted to have something on my belt to show I’ve put in effort. Recognition. A pat on the back.

That’s not what jujitsu is about, though, and I know that.

Part of me feels like I’m not ready for the stripe yet. I still haven’t gotten a jujitsu belt. I still wear my aikido gi and I still wear my aikido belt with it. I wonder if that’s me holding onto the past, or if that’s at least part of it. Maybe it’s not all just for the sake of being frugal. I didn’t think about that until they were giving out stripes and belts and I realized if I was called up for a stripe that I didn’t have the proper belt for the stripe to go on.

I sat there wondering if I’m being disrespectful to the dojo and my instructors. If I’m training jujitsu, shouldn’t I have the attire for it? Shouldn’t I have at least gotten the proper belt to show that I respect the skill I’m training? In all of the months I’ve been going there I couldn’t have made “buy a jujitsu belt” a task on my to-do lists? I knew I needed one, so why did I never do it?

I don’t know what I would have done had Paul called my name for a stripe. I don’t know if I would have been able to bow after receiving it. I don’t think I would have felt like I deserved it. Part of it would be because I don’t want to have it, earn it, and not be able to send you pictures or have you there to see it.

I know you will be proud of me when I do get it eventually. I know you want me to keep going to the dojo and training because it fulfills something in me, and I know I’ll make it through the moment when I finally do earn my stripe, but right now I don’t know how.

How do I keep going with you not here? Physically here. How do I keep going when sometimes the only thing I can think about is the pain? Like right now. I hurt. My heart hurts. I ache for you to be here and I don’t know what to do other than embrace the pain.

This feeling, this sensation in my chest… it’s deeper than physical. Deeper than body. It’s in my core. My soul. My chakra.

It’s almost as if I can hold it. Like it’s physically something within me. Like I can cup it in my hands and have them be filled with this sensation and show people, “This is my pain.”

This is my love for you, mom. This is what I have to remind me that what we had, our time, our relationship, was real. That I loved, deeply, wholly, unconditionally the way I have never loved anyone else in my life. Not dad. Not Jon. Not Jason. Not any of my significant others.

I didn’t realize how much you meant to me until I held your hand alone in the hospital saying my final words to your spirit. Your body was already cold, your hand lifeless in mine, but I felt you behind me as I spoke my final words to you, as I promised I would be strong.

I want to say that you were everything to me, and maybe at the time that was true. With how hard it was during my time at the extended stay maybe you truly were everything, and during those six months I was learning how to adjust to that change.

My Everything was gone.

The flatlined stillness inside of my head. The emptiness. The silence I felt within myself. The lack of broken pieces to pick up. There was nothing because my Everything was gone.

I remember how I slowly started to find reasons to do things. I remember telling Warren that I didn’t know how to keep going because you were my blue crayon and without you I didn’t know how to color my skys anymore. I remember talking with Chrys on your birthday and how that night was so empty and cold and yet at the same time full of laughing at stupid werewolf drama shows.

I remember how I told Nicole that I’ve been grateful for every time I’ve made it through a hard time because there’s always something on the other side that makes me happy I’m still here to experience it. If it ends, there is no more. No more next time. No more new inside jokes. No more warm hug, or good training session, or caring smile.

I want all those things, and that’s how slowly the nothingness became something. I started seeing the good things still worth experiencing. I started enjoying things again. Simple things. Having coffee in my red coffee cup which I’ve had for I don’t remember how long. My cup, warm in my hands while sitting outside watching the day start. Most of the time I would go back to sleep shortly after because just the actions of getting up and making coffee took all of the energy I had, but for a brief moment, I enjoyed something.

I don’t know where I’m at with my grief. I know it’s not a linear process. I know there’s not a destination and that this is something I will experience for the rest of my life. I want to know that I’m ok. That I’m normal and that it’s still ok to be sad sometimes. That it’s still ok to miss you.

When you first died I researched how to grieve. I researched INFJs and what we do and how we deal with things, and everything I found said there’s no answer, so I gave up on it.

I don’t remember what I was doing the other day but I looked up stuff on grief for some reason and I found posts from other people explaining how they grieved. It was the first time that I really read into other people’s experiences. I read about a mother who lost her infant son in their home and how sometimes she lays on the floor where he died so she can feel closer to him. I read about how she never wanted to tell people that, but when she went to a support group she felt accepted because other people understood. I read another story about a mother and father who always bake a cake to celebrate their child’s birthday even though he died extremely young. I read how to them it is a way of honoring and acknowledging the life that existed even if it was brief.

It makes me feel more ok about wearing your ring and the urn pendant. It makes me more ok with my choice to write to you. I’m allowed to do things that other people may not agree with or think are “right” or seems silly because it doesn’t have to be right for them. It needs to be right for me. For us.

It’s my expression. Not theirs. And these are some of the ways I choose to express.

Sometimes I feel like you’re so terribly, horribly far away. Sometimes I feel like what I do isn’t enough. That it will never be enough. That’s how it feels right now.

But I know these feelings are temporary. I know tomorrow I’m going to wake up and go to the jujitsu class and the Muay Thai class. I know I’m going to keep waking up. I know I’m going to keep breathing. I know my heart is going to keep pumping and that as long as it does I have a purpose.

I know I have a purpose, mom. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so obsessed with it. I wish sometimes I wasn’t this fantastically rare personality type and that I could just be ok with existing and not need some deep, driving reason for things.

How much easier would life be if I could just simply be? If I could accept that I’m here and the reason didn’t really matter? How much calmer would my mind be if I could just accept that I’m here and the why didn’t factor into anything?

But that’s not my mind. I need to know why. Why am I here? Just like when Jim asked, “Why are you doing this?”

I still don’t know.

My answer is still, “Because you died.”

I’m here because you died and I told you I would be strong and keep living. I’m here because I said I would honor you by living a full life. That seems so fragile and hollow, though. I need to live my life for me, not for you. But right now I’m back to not knowing how to do that. I hurt and all I can think about, focus on, is the pain. I’m back to reminding myself that it’s worth enduring, that it’s ok for my accomplishment for the day to simply be making it until night. Surviving is an accomplishment.

I don’t know where I am with my grief, but right now it feels like a very low moment. A very sad and isolated valley where I can’t see anything except the forest that surrounds me. It’s dark, and the internal me, the me in the depths of this wood, is scared of what’s lurking in the darkness, but my higher self knows things will be ok.

My higher self is aware that, yes, it’s dark, but it’s not cold. It’s like a warm summer’s night. Yes, I’m alone, but it’s not the same alone as when my forest was held in the grips of my teenage depression, icy and covered in snow while I wrapped my arms around my knees and hid in my ice cave, unwilling to move because staying still hurt less.

It’s dark and scary, but I know daylight will come, I just have to breathe and wait for it. If I breathe my chest will hurt less. If I relax my muscles won’t ache as much. If I listen I’ll be able to hear the night life around me, the crickets, the owls, the rustling of raccoons and other nocturnal animals.

Darkness doesn’t have to be bad. It’s my yearning for daylight that makes me almost ungrateful and negligent of the moment I’m in.

Even in the moments where I hurt and I miss you there can still be good things. I still have my connection with you, mom. I still have my love for you. I still have everything you taught me. I still have the life you gave me that I can keep living. I have all of these wonderful, priceless things in this moment of darkness and so it’s not the horrible thing my brain keeps trying to convince me it is.

It’s still good in its own way, and I’m grateful that part of me can see that. I’m grateful that even through the tears I’ve been crying while I write this that I can say with confidence that I will wake up tomorrow and that I will train, and I will train hard, even if I don’t have an answer for why.

Or maybe I can accept the fact that my reason IS because you died and that’s not a bad thing. That’s not a fake reason or something to be ashamed of.

I don’t know. I feel I need to meditate more on that. It feels right, but now I need to figure out why it’s right.

I train because you died. I live because you died. I understand how deeply I loved you because you died.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.