Daily Post 055: No Title

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I’m not going to bother going back and looking at my last post. I don’t remember when it was. I don’t remember what was going on in my life at the time. I’m also not going to name this post because I know it’s going to be all over the place.

This is me trying to untangle the giant ball of emotions that I’ve let form inside me. This post and all of the ups and downs I’ve had over the past few months I feel are a result of not taking proper emotional care of myself.

I am now officially a college student… again. I start classes January 9th. At the moment I will only be taking General Biology. My advisor wants me to contest one of the classes I didn’t receive transfer credit for since it’s a higher level psychology than the General Psychology I need for my program. It would save me about $500 if it gets accepted and push me further into the program than I currently am. I haven’t tackled the whole “contesting” issue yet, but it’s on the to-do list for the not so distant future. At the moment I’m a bit burnt out of troubleshooting through school issues.

Registering for classes was a bitch and a half. The whole “It’s a one-click step” turned into a message of “Oh, it looks like you didn’t sign up for you Student Success class. Go do that before you enroll in other classes.”

Irrational Right Brain: I’m about to fucking flip shit if I have to take a “This is how you succeed in college” class when I already have a bachelors degree. I don’t need to be taught how to succeed in college because I’ve already done it. /sets computer on fire

I took a screenshot of the message and sent it to my advisor saying “Please advise”.

It took about 19 other steps to actually get my submission through. A few days later I checked and found out that my request was accepted.

So yeah… I’m officially working towards my RN.

It’s a good feeling while at the same time it sucks. It makes me miss mom. It makes me hurt. It makes me feel a lot of things. For most of the month or however long it’s been since I’ve written a lot of my time has been spent trying to deal with emotions. Or at least tend to them enough to not drown in them.

I’ve had a lot of downs and hard days lately. I think part of that, a large part of it, has to do with how the seasons are changing to the cold months. The rest months. The months were everything slows down. I understand why we need these months and I respect them, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them or that they’re easy for me.

I wake up cold. There isn’t as much sunlight. It’s not my season and I can feel it like sandpaper under my skin.

I think not being able to workout as much as I want/am used to has a lot to do with it as well. I go to work before the sun is up. I leave after the sun has set. I stay in the same room all day. I’m constantly tending to the needs of others.

Days I work are days where I have almost no time to care for myself. I have no solitude time. I have no destress time. I wake up, work, come home, try to sleep. Those are my work days and so I don’t think they’re helping make this already hard time of the year any easier.

It’s also turning into the holiday season which feels like an added dose of alcohol to the salt already being scrubbed into an infected wound. I have to figure out what to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas and my birthday and New Years, all without mom.

Two Fridays ago I didn’t go to work. I woke up and knew for the first time since I started working at the clinic that I was going to call out and that it didn’t matter if they couldn’t replace me on the floor, I wasn’t going in.

I was sad. It was going to be a 16 hour day. I could either not go in and cover my shift on Saturday, or go in and quit halfway through my shift. And not an “I’m sick and going home” type of quit. It would have been an “I’m not giving two weeks notice. Fuck you guys. I’m not coming back,” type of quit.

I didn’t have it with me that day and I didn’t care. Life showed up to the battlefield ready to go and instead of putting on my armor and taking another beating I refused to show up. I didn’t run away. I didn’t cower in fear. I just gave zero fucks and didn’t show up to the fight because fuck you, Life.

It worked out that I was able to take the whole day to myself. I stayed at home and did literally nothing. I didn’t even change out of my pjs.

At the end of the night, as I was turning off the kitchen light to go back upstairs to my room, I paused and looked at mom’s urn. I thought about leaving but instead, I walked over to my china hutch, mom’s china hutch, and I put both of my hands on her urn.

Me: I promise I’ll do better tomorrow, mom.

From there I completely broke down into tears. I sank to my knees and wrapped my arms around the blue marble rectangle which holds the ashes of what used to be the most incredible person I have ever had the honor of meeting and sobbed until my chest ached from crying so hard.

I told her about work. I told her about loving my patients and hating my job. I told her about school. I told her about still not knowing what I want to do once I’m a nurse. I told her I’m sorry if I make her worry.

I didn’t really feel better after crying, but I felt a bit more stable. Sort of like I was on the path to feeling better.

I ended up researching different nursing positions later that night after I made it back to my room.

I’m looking further into holistic nursing. I think that’s the direction I want to go, though I still don’t know exactly how I would apply the things I want. I feel like I have most of the puzzle pieces and that now it’s a matter of putting them all together.

I did go to work the next day; Saturday. My teammates asked me if I was feeling better to which I replied no. No, I wasn’t, but I had promised I would make today better so I was at work and that in itself was an improvement.

They understood where I was emotionally and were extremely supportive of me.

I finally have taken the CVC class and am now officially a full member of the team. It’s nice knowing that I can be more helpful than not.

I’ve been going to therapy a lot more recently. I think that’s helping work through some things, and maybe I’ve written more recently than I think because I know I wrote about my “trust issues” session. That was only about three weeks ago, right? Something along those lines…

Kyle has moved in. We actually had dinner together last night when I got back from the dojo. He asked how I was doing having him as a roommate. Overall things have been going well. He’s still unemployed but is looking for work. He’s had a few interviews already. The few things that I can see potentially leading to issues later down the line we talked about, like how my computer is now in the dining room because my room is too small to have both a bed and computer desk in it. That means it’s not a very good work environment when he’s in the living room watching movies or talking to his friends via the PlayStation.

It sucks. It’s hard to not feel like a failure when it feels like I have downgraded so far in life.

I’m having to donate plasma to get enough extra money to cover my bills. I could go with the option of working 4 days a week instead, but since doing that on the last schedule had me contemplating self-harm almost every time I clocked out of work I don’t think it would be emotionally or spiritually healthy for me to do entertain that option.

One of the side effects of having to donate plasma is I have to be on top of my water intake as well as my iron and protein levels. It’s making me be more conscious of what I eat and how I’m taking care of myself. It’s making me choose between having a cigarette and not healing well enough to donate a second time or making money so I can buy groceries.

No. I don’t like getting stabbed with needles, but I can’t skim over the fact that there are a few positives to this avenue I’m choosing to take.

I went to the dojo last night. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve gone. I had mild anxiety over going. I pushed through it though and had a pretty good night. Everyone was extremely welcoming. I got to see Jim and Tommy. Caroline and Paul were there, too. It felt like coming home.

This past week I haven’t done much in the way of exercise and I could feel it in my body as we warmed up. I could feel my muscles protesting as I pushed them but also rejoicing as they were finally used and stretched. It was the first fundamentals class I’ve gone to. I enjoyed it. We practiced some techniques from mount which is a position I can get to, but I never know what to do once I’m there, so it was nice.

I felt like it was all stuff that was on my level and doable. Just new. There were only two rounds of sparring instead of three or five, which I was also ok with. I pushed hard during them. I was tapped out once by an armbar but the guy was super complimentary about my defense.

By the end of the session, I was done. Physically and emotionally. On the drive home I cried and screamed for the first time in a really long time. It was the first time in a while that I felt angry and so my screams were not only those of pain but also rage at the injustice of mom being dead.

It felt good to scream. It felt good to cry. It felt good to give in to all of those emotions that I keep having to work through. It’s the holidays. It’s winter. It’s hard. And instead of sucking it up I let all of those emotions have their time as I drove from the dojo to the pizza place where I was supposed to meet Kyle.

While we were at dinner I talked about my cry session. Kyle lets me talk without giving advice which I appreciate. Most of the time I don’t want advice. I just want someone to listen. I don’t need to be told it will be ok. I don’t need someone to tell me “they know how I feel”. I want to be able to vocally admit that in some areas of my brain things suck. These emotions exist. They are facts. I feel this way. I want it to be known. That’s all.

I want it to be like any other part of the conversation.

Me: Traffic sucked. The chick at work wouldn’t shut up. I miss mom. By the way, I’m in college again. How was your day?

Big Bad and I had date night Saturday. It was the first time in a while where we went out instead of staying at his place. We saw the new Thor movie and had dinner together. There was a little bit of sexy time when we got home, but mostly we cuddled together and talked about really deep stuff before going to sleep.

Lately, when I’ve played, which is how I refer to my BDSM sessions, I’ve had a very low pain tolerance. We talked about that which was where I genuinely admitted to things being hard emotionally.

I know I’ve told other people that things have been hard, but I always skim over it. I say it in a “yeah things are hard, but I’ll figure it out” sort of way.

When I told Big Bad it was hard I left it at that. Things are hard and I hurt. I didn’t put on a strong face. I didn’t try to cover up any of the pain. I just left it as it is/was. I hurt already. I really don’t want to hurt more. I would rather be held and feel warm and safe because so much of my life feels cold and nebulous right now.

He offered to cuddle which I gladly accepted.

Once we were snuggled under the covers in his bed we started talking again. He told me a fair amount of what’s going on in his life. His ex-wife isn’t being very nice. I’m grateful he talked to me. I’m glad we were able to connect on something other than a sexual level because that’s what it’s felt like recently. Because we see each other so limitedly a lot of our interactions are sexual.

This felt more emotional and I appreciated the difference. I needed the difference.

Earlier in the evening, we had to wait a few hours for the movie to start so we walked around some of the shops before going into the theater. At one point during our meandering we found a bench, so we sat for a while. I told him about school and he congratulated me while hugging me to his chest. He said he was proud of me.

I know he’s not mom, nor do I want him to be my parental figure, but it does mean a lot to me to hear those words from him. It hurts, but it’s a good kind of hurt and I don’t know how else to explain it.

I know mom is proud of me. And as I write all of this I have those stupid, silent tears running down my cheeks making me more dehydrated.

I feel like I’ve been doing really well even though I don’t give myself a lot of credit. I feel like a slacker even though I know I’ve been taking care of Life. I’ve been problem-solving and trying to stay on top of my fitness and work and social life. I’ve been battling with the Evil Voice in my head that likes to whisper that I’m failing even when I know I’m not.

I’ve been hanging in there. Some days are a lot easier than others but so far I have woken up each day and made it to the end. I’ve survived every day and I’m not going to let the Evil Voice take away or diminish the level of accomplishment that is.

I didn’t get everything done on my to-do list today, but I did a lot and I’m happy with that. I go to work tomorrow, but I’ll be spending the evening with Big Bad so I have something to look forward to, and then Thursday and Friday are days off.

Working three days a week has been manageable. I’ve requested the week of my birthday off and was approved.

I know there’s a ton of other stuff I should write about, like how Mother Earth was hospitalized and was released only this evening, but I’m written out. I have no more tears for tonight. I’m back to being flatline rather than the chaotic mess I felt before.

I’m going to go see if Kyle will watch another episode of Stranger Things with me because that’s what we’ve been doing since he moved in. Until next time, thanks for listening.

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Letters to Mom 014: Our Last Night

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This was our last night together.

This was the code STEMI. ST Elevated Myocardial Infraction.

This was my final night with you.

This was the night your hospital gown was soaked in your blood.

This is my fear. This is my desperation. This night. This is when I feel I lost you.

I keep having dreams. They all involve water. Emotions.

The shower drain in my bathroom being clogged so that the floor of the shower is submerged in water. Inches of it. Water that won’t drain. Clear, pure water that refuses to leave. It’s only when I reach down, my pale hand pulling a dark matted wad of hair from the drain that the water finally flows and lowers so that damage is avoided.

Me, racing up a snow covered mountain to save Akib from a storm that’s threatening. Somehow we all make it to a boat that will take us away from the mountain. We’re almost to the dock of our destination. We’re almost to safety when the tempest unleashes. The waves are high, the rain comes down in sheets so that the long wooden dock is almost obscured, but I can still see it. I know we’ll make it and so even though the whole event is still an emergency, there’s the feeling of security. We’re so close. We’re there. Even if the boat sinks we can swim to shore. We’re ok.

When I look up the symbology it’s about acknowledging something. Accepting something. Allowing the emotions to exist.

I couldn’t figure it out at first.

You’re dead. I don’t hide from that fact. I don’t sugar coat it when I say it, when I explain it.

That’s not the matted tangle I needed to pull from the drain. Saying those words, thinking them, doesn’t cause an emotional reaction. It’s not something I deny. It’s a fact that I’ve accepted in my life.

So what are my dreams telling me to accept?

I think I found it this morning.

Even though you died, you’re still with me.

You’re still with me.

Those words.

That phrase.

That’s the one that hurts. That’s the one that I don’t fully believe. That’s the one I hide from. That’s the one I don’t tell people because I’m scared of it being wrong or untrue.

I’ve typed it before. I’ve said it to a few people. Trusted people. I know I feel you, as if you’re behind me, wrapping your arms around me so that your hands rest on my arms, my biceps. I can feel you there, of all places, in my arms.

I don’t know if it’s really pain I feel. Maybe it’s just intensity and my brain can’t figure the sensation out so it labels it as pain. It’s so much of something that it’s painful to feel so much so deeply.

I feel like that’s what I need to acknowledge, though.

It’s not the same. It’s not like it was. It’s different and I still don’t know how to deal with that difference because it’s not logical. It’s not mathematical or chemical or rational. It’s not observable.

It’s something I feel. Sometimes others can feel it, too. But how do I know I’m not just making it up as a coping mechanism? How do I know it’s real? How do I know I’m not partially broken and hiding behind some shattered illusion, limping by, rather than facing reality?

I wish you were here. And that phrase is most likely so disrespectful because if you are still with me then why am I wishing for you to be here? You’re already here, just in a different way.

Isn’t that enough?

I’ve written about that before. Near the beginning, I think. I would have to go back through my posts, through my Book of Survival. I remember saying it was enough. So why am I back here, in this spot, thinking that you’re not here when you are?

These days have been hard, mom. They’ve been so hard. So long. So sleepless. So empty.

I know what I want to do for you tomorrow. My ritual for every April 4th from now until the day I die.

I’m going to buy you a rose, mom. I’m going to get a crystal vase and a silken rose, and every year I will add another rose. And when they become too many for the single vase I will buy another. Eventually, there will be 27 roses. One day there will be 28. More roses than years that I knew you. That rose will be different.

For now, until that day, they will be red.

I will keep them next to your urn. It will be my way of acknowledging your deathday. It will be the day I renew my promises to you.

I don’t know what else to say right now. I want to hug you. I want to cry in your arms while you hug me and reassure me that it will be ok. I want the past year to be a dream and to wake up and have you smile at me. But at the same time I know that’s not true. I don’t want to give up all of the good to get rid of all of the bad.

I want the struggle to be over. I want the tears to stop. I want the pain to cease.

You’re with me and it will be ok. I’ll make it through our last night.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

Daily Post 013: Jobs, Dreams, and Hugs From Mom

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Today is a hard day. And even as I type that, even as I thought those words while I was in class earlier, I don’t feel like they fit anymore.

Early in my grief, they did. The days were hard. And in a way they still are. But it doesn’t feel right anymore. Just like calling the days “bad” in the beginning wasn’t right, “hard” isn’t right either. They’ve evolved into something else, something other, but I don’t know what that “other” should be called yet.

Today is a grief day. Today is a day where I woke up from a dream angry, sad, and hurt and still got up and made breakfast and went to class where we reviewed for our test tomorrow. Today is a day where I cried on the way to my sports bar. A day where I made a detour, bought a pack of cigarettes (another two weeks free down the drain) and sat at the park I normally go to and cried until I felt ok enough to force myself to eat something because no matter how much I don’t want to, I need to eat. I need to intake or I really will get sick with how active I’ve been.

I guess it started with Tuesday evening. Tuesday evening hurt.

I mentioned the central services technician position I think. It’s a position my contact at the hospital sent to me, encouraging me to look into it. I did. I liked what it was about. I liked the future growth potential it had. It seemed like a job created specifically with my INFJness in mind. I allowed myself to think about how great it would be to have that position.

Tuesday night, after pushing hard through jujitsu, after three rounds of live sparring in my new gi, which I did manage to get both blood and sweat on since a scab on my hand got rubbed off, I bowed off of the mat, went to my gym bag, looked at my phone. I saw an email from the hospital. I read it, this email informing me in detached auto-generated sentences that the position I had subconsciously already accepted had been filled.

For fuck’s sake, Universe. I can’t even go back out and train again because I’m so completely and utterly spent from the class I just did and you’re going to throw this at me now? At the end of my night? When there’s nothing left in my body to give into throwing a fist at the wall? When the only thing I can do is hold my sweat soaked gi to my chest and let the silent tears soak into it, too?

These weren’t the tears that were supposed to be in it, damn it. Tears of failure weren’t supposed to be the tears I cried. Feeling like something was taken away from me when I never had it to begin with wasn’t the feelings I was supposed to feel. This wasn’t the email I was supposed to get.

Why do you keep doing this to me? Why isn’t mom here for me to cry to? Why isn’t she here to help me keep going when I constantly hear no from the outside world?

Why? Why, damn it! If you can just tell me why and show me how it all works out in the end, I would be ok, but you’re not. I’m having to hope and pray and constantly keep a positive mindset when it feels like everything is personal and about me not being good enough in some way.

It took me longer than normal to pack up my stuff and leave the dojo. It was hard to keep all of those angry, bitter, defeated feelings from spilling over. I got to my car and sat for a minute, I gave in a fraction to the emotions. I let them have a little bit of time, just enough to try to get home.

On the way, I stopped at Dairy Queen. It seems stupid, irresponsible. I shouldn’t be spending money. I know I shouldn’t. I didn’t care. I had told Warren after our conversation on Monday that I would. I can’t remember why or how, but somehow we got onto the topic of ice cream, or chocolate… something like that. We both mentioned how having one of Dairy Queen’s Blizzards would be great. I had said I would pick two up for us the next day as a thank you for him not taking time off and for fighting through his depression for me and working full hours at his job again.

So fuck you, Universe. I went and I got ice cream like I said I would. I went inside and I made myself interact with people because I’m not going to sit in my car and cry over something I never had. I’m not going to cry over you taking away a chance I wanted.

I stood there in my gi pants, black shirt, pretty much dripping sweat and didn’t care that I was ordering ice cream and looking totally counter-productive to whatever workout I had just done.

Me: Fuck you, Judgemental Person Who Isn’t Really Judging Me. You have no idea what’s going on inside of my head right now.

It was an angry, swarming rat’s nest inside of my chest. I kept swinging from crushed, to angry, back to crushed. I couldn’t find anything in the middle. I couldn’t find balance or clear perspective. All I could feel were the extremes and in the center of it all was the fact that mom isn’t physically here anymore.

I eventually got the blizzards I ordered. I texted Warren to let him know I was on my way home with ice cream. I drove home and the whole time the only thing I could think of was, “How did mom do it?”

How was she a single working parent of two kids? How did she not break down after dad left? How did she hold everything together? How did she take us to band practice, and weekend competitions, and all of the other things she did and still have dinner ready for us? How did she not go insane from the stress of it all? Who did she talk to after my grandmother died? Who did she turn to for support when things didn’t work out? How did she keep going when all she heard was “No” or “You can’t”?

Did she ever doubt herself? Was it ever hard? Did she ever feel like giving up?

How did she do it?

I made it home. I parked my car. I made it inside without dropping either of the ice creams. And in my hurt, injured state those things, those small accomplishments meant a lot to me.

When Warren came downstairs he asked how I was.

I told him about the job being filled. He listened to me voice all of my frustration and confusion about my emotions and my almost desperate questions of how did mom do it?

I don’t remember a lot of our conversation. I guess that’s sort of rude of me. I know he was trying to be helpful and supportive but all I could feel was the swirling in my heart chakra as I tried to figure out where to go from where I was.

I had just been punched in the face, again, by Life. Was I going to let that stop me? Was I going to take my hit and sit down and say it was too hard, or was I going to fight back, hit back and show that I am good enough, that this wouldn’t stop me, can’t stop me?

At the time I knew that I would figure it out. I knew that I would find another way, another job, another something. I knew I still had classes to go to, certifications to earn. I still had other jobs I was waiting to hear back from, and I knew there was a second CST (central services tech) position that I could apply for. But in that moment it still sucked and I hadn’t gotten past the “this sucks” part.

After a bit I went up to my room where I applied for more positions at the hospital. I emailed my contact to inform him of my additional applications. I then decided that the day was done and went to sleep.

I took Wednesday as a rest day. No boxing, no dojo, no running, just class where my brain got beaten to death with EKG pathologies. After class, I went to my sports bar where I studied and made flash cards and found interesting sites online to help me study.

I eventually came home and studied more. Lots of studying.

I went to sleep. Woke up at 3 am, went back to sleep, and had my dream which is what made today what it’s been.

In the dream, I was with Corey. We were going to go to one of his friend’s houses, someone I didn’t know. I drove my mom’s old car, the one she had for forever, the one I learned how to drive in. I remember in the dream I was supposed to clean it out, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. It wasn’t super bad or gross, but it wasn’t clean either.

Corey and I went to his friend’s house and ended up sitting at a table. Corey’s friend asked him about the new position Corey had recently accepted. Corey talked about it. His friend was super interested and congratulatory.

He turned to me then and asked me what I did.

I told him I was in school for medical stuff since I was changing careers because my mom had died. He said something dismissive like, “Oh. That’s nice,” then went back to talking to Corey like nothing I had said mattered.

I was pissed. Seething. I stayed quiet while they talked like I wasn’t there.

Corey ended up saying something to me like would I mind cleaning the car before we left.

Me: Can you give me a fucking trash bag then?

I didn’t care that I was rude. I was pissed. You can’t be dismissive of me and then ask me to do something for you like I owe you.

Corey’s friend made some comment about wasn’t I over reacting a bit or being rude.

I totally blew up at the faceless stranger in my dream saying that it was rude to be dismissive and unsupportive of someone trying to better themselves and that if he thought my reason for changing careers was lame that he could go fuck himself. I then proceed to walk away.

That’s when I woke up.

I woke up angry and hurt.

I knew today was going to be rough. I still got up and made breakfast even though it took me longer to do than it should have. I took my time showering instead of rushing to make sure I got to class on time.

I didn’t care if I was late. Being late was better than not going at all and with how rough my grief was I wasn’t going to skimp on making sure I was ok. I would get through today, but I would do it at my own pace in my own way and if that meant I was late one time to my class when all we were doing was reviewing I was fine with that.

I actually ended up being on time. Not early like I have been, so I didn’t get time to cross stitch, but I was there five minutes before anything started and didn’t miss any of the review.

After class is when the emotions decided they had been patient enough and that they deserved their time, which is why I went to the park. I cried not so silently. I’m sure it looked like I was emotionally distressed but no one running or biking on the trail that runs along the park stopped or bothered me, which I was actually grateful for. I didn’t really want to explain what I was feeling mostly because I didn’t understand it myself. It was still just a blob of “stuff” in my chest.

I reached out to Chrys and we chatted for a bit. I told her about my dream. I told her about the jobs and how it was frustrating and discouraging to constantly hear no when I wanted things to work the first time.

She told me about her life. It was nice to connect with someone. It was nice to be reminded that life still goes on and four-year-olds still get sick and have to stay home and have endless energy that I’m totally not jealous about missing out on. I messaged my younger brother, too, and told him today was a hard day and that I missed mom and that I guess everyone is right about grief never fully going away. It just feels like it’s been so long since I’ve had a day like this that I had forgotten that I’ll have them.

March 4th is the 11-month mark. The closure it gets to that day the more raw and wounded I feel. March 23rd I scheduled a therapy appointment because that’s the day it all started. That’s the morning I woke up to, “Mom’s in the hospital. The doctor’s don’t think she’ll make it.”

March 23rd marks the two weeks of hell I crawled through, holding mom’s hand every night while I slept in the hospital chair listening to her breathing. And then, eventually, the days will progress to April 4th and I would have survived my first year without mom being here. Physically here.

I keep having to remind myself that it’s only physically that she’s not with me. I know she’s with me spiritually. I felt her Tuesday night while I cried in my car asking her how she did it. I asked her how she held it together all those years and even though I didn’t get an auditory answer I felt her presence around me as if I were being hugged, as if she knew that it was hard for me and that if she could make it better she would.

I don’t want March 4th to come. I don’t want time to keep progressing forward. I was so worried about the holiday season and surviving my birthday and Christmas and New Years. I forgot there were days after those days. Harder days. Days I haven’t let myself think about, but they’re almost here and they’re going to come regardless of if I want them to or not.

I feel like those days are going to be days where my spirit continues in its transformation. Painful, agonizing days where I adjust to reality again. Stark reminders that all those events I have memories of actually did happen. They are real. These dates are significant because they have had such an impact on who I have become since that time.

Jon and I may go to the beach. I know his birthday is going to be hard for him. March 28th. His first birthday without mom. I survived mine. Jason and Jon still have to survive theirs. It’s another first for them so close to the first year. I wonder if it will be harder for them. And I guess there really isn’t “harder”. It’s going to be different for them because they’re different people.

But in this instance, different doesn’t mean better. It doesn’t mean worse, but it doesn’t mean easier, and there’s a part of me who desperately wishes I could take away the pain for them. I wish I could protect them and not have them hurt from the loss of mom.

But I can’t. And not being able to makes me feel helpless. Powerless. I love my brothers and there’s nothing I can do.

It sucks.

A lot of this sucks.

Today isn’t a bad day. There have been positive moments. I’m going to go to the dojo and train. I’m going to study so I can pass my board test next Friday. I’m going to keep moving forward, but right now today is painful.

Right now today is a grieving day where I hurt and no one can take away that wound. No one can heal it or make it not be there. This is a scar, new, red, sensitive, and at the moment it aches as my soul continues to adjust.

I don’t have a name for these days anymore. They’re different than what they used to be, and I think that’s progress. I think this is a positive change. Not necessarily “good”, but healthy and worthy of being acknowledged. It’s frustrating though because I don’t know how to describe it.

Painful feels better than hard. So maybe I’ll go with that until something else presents itself. Something more “right”.

Today is a painful day, and I’m still getting through it.

Musing Moment 106: Post-Race

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

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DO ET!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh… and pics… because it happened.

 

Daily Post 009: Pre-Race

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

/sigh

#infjProblems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cashier: What size would you like?

Me: Small, please.

Yeah… I’m that kind of customer.

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

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

It’s sooooo good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the start of MY year.

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

 

Dear Warren #2,

Go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,

The Earth Dragon Who Did

 

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.

Daily Post 006: Doing Better

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Written yesterday, posted today. : D


 

Things have been going better.

I went to sleep fairly early last night, but again, I had a hard time falling asleep, so when my alarm went off this morning at 6 am I already knew I was going to sleep for another hour or so.

Before I did I messaged Big Bad. After our brief exchange, I was able to doze for a bit. I had a dream about going to the beach. It wasn’t a beach I’ve been to before. There was a big hill we had to drive down to get to the water. And I say we because I know I wasn’t alone, but I  don’t remember who I was with and the other people weren’t really important. The road down the hill was lined with cars, parked vehicles that belonged to the other beach goers. It was hard to find a parking spot, but I guess that really didn’t matter either because we were walking down the ramp. We had parked along the road at the top of the hill. It was just something I happened to notice, how there seemed to be no space.

There were a few houses lining the hill going down to the beach as well. They were farther off in the distance and I really couldn’t see much of them. Just enough to know they were two or three stories tall and that they seemed “small”. They weren’t sprawling mansions. They were tall but narrow and it gave the impression that there wasn’t really much living space.

When we got fairly close to the edge of the surf I noticed there was a truck in the water, floating as if it were a boat or a jet-ski. It was a white pickup truck and it didn’t seem odd in the dream for it to be out floating in the waves.

As I watched I heard other people talking about how the tide was coming in. I watched the truck bob up and down, riding the surf. The next wave that came in hit me around hip level. One moment I dry, the next I was wet. I remember walking back up the hill wondering what was going to happen to all the cars parked so close to the rising water.

I wasn’t worried about the water. It was natural. This swelling up, the rising. It was supposed to happen. The cars, the houses, they shouldn’t have been there because the tide doesn’t change. It always rises and it was foolish for people to think the tide would stop or alter itself simply because humans had built something or felt that nothing would happen to them.

I know water represents emotions. I’ve had several dreams in the past in regards to oceans and my subconscious. The truck was new, so I looked that up. Pickup trucks are supposed to represent hard work.

Since I woke up feeling relatively secure and stable I’m taking it to mean that I have been doing well with my emotions. I have been working hard to understand them and to exist harmoniously with them even though emotions are just as uncontrollable as the ocean. You have to work with them, rather than against them or trying to force them to take an alternative route.

And just like the tide, sometimes they swell up. They rise and can cause havoc if the surrounding land isn’t prepared for what is ultimately a natural event.

Maybe it’s a reminder to me. I remember in the dream someone saying that the tide was coming in early, and so most people were surprised.

I find it reassuring from a conscious standpoint that even though the tide came in early, and even though there was some concern from others, that I, personally, was ok. My car wasn’t going to be messed up or swept away because I had left it on higher ground. My house wasn’t going to be damaged because I didn’t think it was a good idea to get a house so close to the water. I also didn’t think I would like a house where I didn’t have the space I felt I needed. And even though I got wet, I wasn’t submerged. I could still stand and even though it was a bit harder, I could still walk. I wasn’t panicked. I accepted that the ocean has its own rhythm and that I needed to back up some until the tide had moved back out.

Overall, I am reassured by my dream.

I think a lot of that has to do with the past few days. I have been doing better in the days since Friday and the belt testing at the dojo. Since Saturday and my mostly impromptu evening with Big Bad.

After writing to mom Friday night I felt better, more at peace with myself but still unable to fall asleep. I ended up taking NyQuil at 4 am since I was determined to go to the dojo in the morning, but knew I wouldn’t be able to if I didn’t get at least some sleep.

I ended up sleeping through my alarm and didn’t wake up until 11 am. It was hard at first not to feel awful about sleeping “so long”. It felt like I had wasted the day away. I had already missed attending the jujitsu class. Later during the day, I realized I got a full seven hours of uninterrupted deep sleep. It was actually some of the best sleep I’ve gotten in about a week, so the initial icky feelings were eventually quelled.

The first thing I did when I woke up other than checking my phone and freaking out about missing one of my classes was continue to freak out because I was supposed to buy tickets to a concert Big Bad and I want to go to and I was worried I had missed being able to get the seats we wanted.

We plan to go see Ghost BC when they perform in Tampa with Iron Maiden. Neither of us are really interested in Iron Maiden, but Ghost is a pretty cool band and while we were having lunch Friday afternoon we agreed to go together. He even gave me money for the tickets with the explicit understanding that he at least let me drive, which will include paying for the gas, which is still woefully under the money he gave me for the tickets. I’m going to see if I can worm my way into paying for food, too. I need to do something to make it fairer.

Anyway, I was able to get the floor tickets we wanted, which started easing over what at the time felt like my “morning fuck up”.

Left Brain: Nothing is horribly messed up. You got the tickets. If you skip coffee you can make it to Muay Thai. Chop chop.

So with the tickets taken care of, I dressed and dashed off to the dojo, letting Big Bad know that I would talk to him in a bit.

The class was good. Intesnse, but good. Before we started training I sat with Paul, Akib, and another guy I later learned is named AJ. He actually became my training partner during the class, so it was nice to talk to him a bit beforehand.

While we were all sitting on the mat waiting for the class to begin Paul told me that during the after party for the seminar Friday night they had been talking about me and one of the sparring matches I had on Thursday.

It was my last match of the class. I was put against a guy I’ve seen before but have never sparred with. Honestly, I don’t care for his personality. He’s cocky. He talks loudly though what he says isn’t all that meaningful. It’s like a frail layer of arrogance that he’s using to cover up insecurity. At least that’s what it feels like to me.

We were matched together. It didn’t feel the same even from the start as what my other matches have been. This felt more personal. He wanted to take “me” down rather than taking an “opponent” down. I’m not sure if that really describes it well enough, but feelings are hard to put into words sometimes.

I feel like for him it was a mark of honor. He was going up against a girl. He couldn’t lose against me, against a girl.

Well… sorry dude but if I’m going down your going down with me. That’s the mentality I have with my training. I know I’m not the best, but that doesn’t mean I’m bad or that I have to lose. I’m definitely not going to lose just to preserve someone else’s ego and / or masculinity.

There was one point during our match where he went to do a one-legged takedown. His arms were wrapped around my thigh and he was trying to get me off balance. I was doing alright, but I couldn’t figure out what I was really supposed to be doing to change my position to one of advantage. I haven’t learned counters or techniques for the position I was in.

From the sideline, Paul called out, “Sprawl, Jen! Sprawl!”

So that’s what I did. I stepped my free leg back as far as I could and I basically crashed my chest into my opponents back, forcing him to go face first into the mat. My arms wrapped around his midsection while his hands were forced to the floor to keep him from falling down. He was basically in a downward dog type position with most of my body weight on his upper back.

Sprawling like that keeps my opponent from being able to force me backward or really pushing any sort of advantage. They have to go through all of my body weight to do it. If you’re paired up against someone who’s pure muscle then yeah, it can be done, but that’s not what jujitsu is about. It’s about technique. So yes, while powering through my weight is doable, it isn’t really the best thing to do. And my opponent wasn’t able to do it regardless, so we were locked in that position for a while.

I don’t remember exactly what happened but we eventually broke away and came to standing positions again. He looked at me, hands raised in a guarded stance and said, “You know I’m toying with you, right?”

I said, “Yeah. I know,” but in my head, I was thinking, “It really doesn’t feel like you’re toying…” It felt like he was going at it pretty hard, and I was going at it in equal measure.

Well, Paul was saying how during the party they were standing around with a bunch of people and Peter, I think that’s the name of my opponent, said something trying to be big and macho, and Paul brought up that match and how I basically turned him into PacMan with how I made him eat the floor. So for the rest of the night, everyone made PacMan wacka wacka sounds at Peter.

I told Paul about the brief exchange that had occurred during the match, about how Peter said he was toying with me, and Paul said that made the story even better. Paul said he could tell Peter was frustrated at the end of the match. He said Peter hadn’t been toying, that he had wanted to win.

The story made me laugh and feel good. It made me feel wonderful to know that even though I had skipped out of the party that I was still “part of it”. It makes me feel like I’m part of the dojo because there are stories that I’m part of. Good stories worth sharing with others.

It made me feel praised because Paul said it had been awesome to see me pull the move off and hold my own. I guess it was an exciting match to watch, at least if you’re into stuff like this. So even though I don’t have a stripe yet, I’m doing well. It’s something that I know on a conscious level. I’m getting better with the techniques. I have better stamina. It still meant a lot to hear direct praise from Paul. Validation and all that jazz.

Jim was complementary after training as well. He said he wants to start showing me how to do triangles, which is where I use my legs to choke people out or do arm bars and stuff. Pretty sick and brutal stuff that looks amazing when I see other people pull them off. Since I have long legs and good hip flexibility he said he’s pretty sure I would do well with them. I’m always down for learning new things.

Right Brain: Thunder thighs!

After the dojo, I went to my car. The day was going better. I had lunch I needed to get to since I had told David we could meet to talk about his logo design and website. I had another message from Big Bad that I needed to reply to, as well.

He was concerned with me not being able to sleep and asked if I wasn’t feeling well. He jokingly asked if I needed an intense beating that night.

I replied saying I was feeling better. Emotionally Friday night had been rough, but I had written and that helped. Getting a full night sleep had helped as well. I also teased that getting a beating at Soul Calibur could be nice.

Big Bad: Can you talk to me later about what has been bothering you?

I’ve wanted to. I want to voice my feelings to someone, but the person I would always call is mom. She was my confidant. I talk to a few people every once in a while but for the most part, I kept my emotions to myself and her, and I suppose I also kept them to my writings. I don’t like reaching out to other people when the emotions are painful, sad, angry, overly intense, pretty much anything other than happy “positive” emotions because I know most people don’t know what to do or say and so then they just feel bad that there’s nothing they can do when all I want is for someone to understand.

Empathy. Connection.

There isn’t a problem. I don’t want solutions or advice, I want to be heard and to be told that I was heard. That my emotions aren’t crazy. I want to know that someone understands why I’m feeling the way I feel and that it’s ok because I second guess and question my emotions all the time. I guess I’m looking for reassurance when I talk to someone because I know I’ll figure it out on my own.

Mom always got it. Maybe that’s because she raised me for 27 years. I haven’t been able to really open up to anyone else. Like I said, there are some people I’ll talk to here and there, but no one consistent and that might be part of the issue of the sadness swelling up recently. No outlet.

Big Bad’s offer to talk warmed me yet at the same time it made me slam all of my walls up the nanosecond I read his message.

Right Brain: Talking to a significant other about emotions…? Let me Nope my way right into Nope Town.

I knew the wall reaction was because of my past, and I knew deep down I really did want to talk to him and explain what was bothering me. I want to open up to him and work through the borderline phobia I feel I’ve developed in regards to being emotionally open with the people in my life. I don’t feel it’s fair to cast all people in the same light simply because I’ve had negative experiences in the past.

At the same time, wanting to be open doesn’t make the self-preservation instincts of, “This didn’t end well last time. Don’t do it,” magically go away.

Big Bad and I agreed to meet later in the evening, and I agreed to talk about my emotions with the warning that I might cry. He said if I did it would be ok, which induced warm fuzzy feelings of reassurance.

Lunch with David was good. I think we made headway in the design department. He didn’t really have anything for me to do by the end of our meeting so I told him to let me know if / when he required me and left it at that.

I ran home to switch the wash and give Scarlet her meds then went over to see Big Bad.

We talked for a while. I told him about the seminar at the dojo. I told him about the story. I told him about missing mom, and he held my hand while I talked and told him that I still miss her. I told him that I feel bad talking about it because I don’t want to make other people feel sad. I said how I know being around sad people is hard and I didn’t want to bring anyone down with what I feel.

He squeezed my hand and said it was ok to be sad.

That one line, that one action, made me feel accepted and like it was ok to be me. It was ok to feel. I didn’t have to pretend or hide. I didn’t have to fake anything.

We played Soul Calibur and I still got thrashed at it. We switched to Tekken which was really cool. Devil Jin is my man in that game. Total ownage. We quit when it was 17 to 15.

That’s right. I’m the master. Totally won that round of gaming. /flex

Big Bad and I got pizza again for dinner and he watched me play a bit of the new Tomb Raider game. He said he had gotten it for his daughters but they never got through the first section of the game. I haven’t played much of it, but I got further and he said he enjoyed watching me play. I think we’re both similar in that regard. We don’t mind watching games be played. We like seeing the story unfold regardless of if we’re controlling the character or not.

I slept extremely well that evening. We both slept until 7:30 which is late for us. It was nice, though, being lazy, being sated physically but also emotional and spiritually. I like that about our dynamic. We both feel something deeper than skin level.

We had our cups of coffee. We talked more. We had a slow, relaxing morning. We made plans for, at the time, Monday night, which is now tonight. We agreed, reluctantly on my part, that Tuesday morning would be arm day for strength training. When I left we kissed goodbye and wished each other good days.

Sunday was completely and totally lazy. The most I did was load and run the dishwasher. I cleaned out the fridge, too, but I didn’t sweep or vacuum or any of my normal chores. I cuddled with Scarlet most of the day.

I feel solid today. I’m about to head to the dojo for jujitsu. I have dance class later tonight. And then I have another evening where I get to fall asleep with my head against the chest of someone I care about, listening to their heartbeat.

After the dojo I plan to come home and attack my chore list and be productive. I think I’m handling things well. I think this recharge is the result of surviving the tide. I’ve made it through the night in my internal forest where I felt lost and alone. Daylight came back. I know there will be other nights, other tides.

I’m doing well, and I like how I can say that, type that, and believe it.