Musing Moments 122: LFTIO – Conscious Wake-Up Call

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 1
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”.




What is really important to me?

Making a difference in people’s lives is important to me. I need there to be a reason for me to be alive. I need there to be a reason for me to wake up in the morning otherwise what’s the point in doing it? What’s the point of struggling to understand and breathe through my grief and the pain and loneliness of mom being dead if everything is meaningless? What’s the point in doing anything if what I do doesn’t matter?

I realize this might be a coping mechanism and a dependency, but this is where I am currently at in life and in my grieving process. I need my life, my energy, my effort to matter and to legitimately make a difference so I have legitimate, almost tangible reason to keep living.

Not regretting my choices and wasting life is also important to me. My decision-making process is very different than what it was three years ago. I do more for myself. I am less of a work-o-halic. I am less of a perfectionist. I evaluate my choices through a lens of “If I were to die tomorrow, would I regret doing or not doing this action. I would regret saying or not saying these words?”

I try to ensure I am living the life I want to be living. I try to ensure I have a clear understanding of my values and priorities. I try to ensure that the ripples I make within my sphere of influence are positive and that I make amends when feelings are hurt. I try to resolve conflict as quickly and as mutually beneficial as possible. No one knows when their time will come and I do not want to leave things unspoken or undone, so I suppose in that regard closure is important to me as well. It’s important to me to go to sleep at night with a sense that I lived life the fullest I was able to that day. It’s important to me that nothing in regards to my relationships or personal wants feels like it was withheld, ignored or avoided because I might not have the chance to change or fix things later.


Is this the life I want to live?

Yes… and as much as I wish I could say otherwise, at the same time, no.

I want my mom to be alive. I don’t think those feelings or thoughts will ever change or go away. If I’m completely honest with myself and the Universe, I’m still just a little girl from a divorced family on the inside who wants to make mommy proud and now that mom isn’t here I’m having to adjust to living for myself. I struggle with feelings of not having a safety net; of not having a home to go back to. I most likely struggle more often than I admit to myself, let alone the outside world and there is a strain and weariness that comes with the feeling of having to be strong all the time for everyone always.

I can say, that though life is different than what I had wanted or expected it to be, I am content with where I am. I’m glad I moved to Nebraska even though several important people in my life did not agree with my choice. I am proud of the person I am turning into and I believe my mom would be, and is proud, of me as well. I, for the first time in three years, actually feel excited about different future events in my life and I wake up looking forward to things and with a sense of purpose more often than not.

I cannot and will not deny that there is a part of me who will always wish that things were just a little bit different than what they are, however, I believe I am living life to the best of my ability in this moment. I recognize that I am still emotionally and spiritually injured. I am still in the process of healing and figuring myself out. I understand it may still be years before I fully reconcile all of these new emotions and insecurities within myself. Maybe my best will improve as time goes on. Maybe I’ll eventually stop looking at life with such an acute awareness of death. All I can do is continue living and see where my journey takes me. I have no ultimate destination in mind and I think for the moment that’s ok. I am learning to live again and right now it feels like I’m where I’m meant to be going in the direction I am meant to go.


What gives passion, meaning, and purpose to my life?

Helping others realize that even when it’s dark and scary and they don’t know how they’re going to make it to the other side or if there is even an “other side” to get to, that they’ll be ok and they’re not alone. I suppose that could be summed up as supporting others; connecting with others. Much like when I played World of Warcraft as a Discipline Priest. I wasn’t the main healer. I wasn’t the main DPS or the tank. I didn’t need the spotlight. More accurately, I didn’t want the spotlight. I wanted to work in the background, supporting the rest of the group and knowing that I helped all of us reach the goal we were working for. I was part of something rather than “being” something. Most of my previous projects in the Computer Animation field and as an instructor were completed in the same mindset. I was part of a group. I was part of an event. I was part of something, which meant I was connected to something larger than myself.


How can I better serve, to make even more of a difference?

I don’t know. I guess that begs the question of do I want to make more of a difference? Maybe I don’t like this question because it makes it feel like what I’m already doing isn’t enough. Or maybe it’s because this question disregards everything I am currently doing.

I know that I want to become a preceptor so I can help train new techs Through training new techs, I would be indirectly helping the patients they interact with, thus increasing my sphere of influence.

I want to be an LPN to broaden my scope within the clinic, allowing me to increase the portion of the workload I am able to take for my team. I want to become an RN for the same reason. I would be better able to “serve” if I were allowed to do more things within the clinic.

Much further into the future, there’s the possibility of becoming an RN instructor; teaching others how to care for and be empathetic to patients. This would be another instance of both directly and indirectly affecting others.

There are so many possibilities and ways that I could do more. Maybe if there had been a question before this one of “What do you currently do to make a difference?” or something along those lines I wouldn’t have such abrasive feelings towards this one.

I do a lot. I want to do more. That doesn’t mean what I do isn’t enough.


How can I live connected to these inner values?

Again, this question is mildly frustrating. It makes it feel as if I’m not currently living connected to these inner values, even though I feel I am. It makes me question if what I am doing is good enough which makes me feel defensive because internally I feel I am doing good enough and I don’t want that inner truth to be questioned or attacked.

In regards to the inner value of purpose: I changed career fields so that every morning I wake up and go to work, I directly affect peoples lives. Without the dialysis treatment I help provide, people’s health and quality of life would be directly impacted. My team will suffer if I don’t show up to work. My patients will suffer if I don’t show up to work. My existence matters. Though I know my existence mattered while I was an instructor, sitting in front of a computer feeling like I was for the most part babysitting, did not give my life the sense of meaning I needed to keep struggling through my own internal battle of “Why? Why wake up? Why show up? The lab could be covered if I wasn’t here.”

On a personal level, I needed things to change and be different because I had changed. I was different. Life was different and could never go back to being the same. I needed my career to reflect that internal change so I changed it. I feel as long as I wake up and continue doing the work I am doing that I am living life in alignment to my value of purpose. My life has meaning and value because I give life, meaning, and value to others.

I’m not sure how to live life more inline to my value of closure more than I already do. I tell the people I love that I love them. I say sorry when I feel I am wrong, or when it is brought to my attention that something I said or did had a negative impact. I try to express my feelings rather than letting things fester under the surface, hidden by my silence. This is something I still need to work on, especially in my personal relationships, but I have come a long way in that regard and I will not be dismissive of my improvement. I try to make sure that things are “right” between me and the people I interact with. I am getting better about asking people the question, “Are we ok?” because I want to take the time and energy to fix it if we’re not.

The last value I feel I wrote about was my sense of purpose in supporting and connecting with others. I feel I do that through my work. I feel I do that at the dojo when I train with the other members. I help them improve and through helping them I help myself. I teach them to try and that their effort is not unnoticed. I teach myself to be patient and to think of something other than myself or my personal gain. I teach myself to care and see the world, the whole world, not just my narrow perspective.

By helping this eight-year-old girl not be timid and shy, I am showing her that it’s ok to be self-confident, to trust herself and that if she does something wrong it’s ok. There is honor in learning. There is honor in trying. I am teaching her that swinging and missing is ok as long as you take the time to regain your stance and try again. I’m teaching her the things I wish I had learned when I was her age because where would I be now if I had? Where would I be, what conflicts could I have avoided or navigated better if I hadn’t struggled so much with self-worth and self-confidence or the fear of failure?

I feel I do a fairly good job of living in accordance to my values. There is always room for improvement, but the defensiveness I felt at the beginning of this question I think stems from being made to question if what I do isn’t enough which may be my own Shadow Beliefs coming to the surface.

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Daily Post 145: An Uncomfortable Truth

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Written Tuesday. Posted today.

Today started out like most of my recent days off have; with no motivation, an overcast sky, cold weather, and the pervasive feelings of depression and pointlessness.

It stayed that way for most of the morning. I had a bowl of cereal knowing it was full of carbs and not caring because what’s the point in my hallow crusade to lose weight. It’s not that I’ve given up on being healthy, or that I feel the 60 pounds I’ve already lost is enough. It’s more that I keep losing touch with myself. The candle flame of drive that I find periodically keeps getting snuffed out when held up against the storm that’s still going within my inner world; a storm which I know is happening but have yet to understand why or how to whether it properly.

Do I bash myself about eating? Do I make myself feel like crap for putting in the effort to actually have something instead of staying in bed like most of me wanted to do? Do I say fuck it and have my single serving sized bowl of cereal with milk that reminds me of childhood and warmer, happier days and keep going or do I give up this early in the day and hope that tomorrow I do better since for whatever reason what I’m doing doesn’t feel good enough?

Most likely because it contained a curse word I went with the fuck it option.

Papa Ox wasn’t awake yet. Mama Ox had already left. It was the perfect time to finish up Jon’s cross stitch. I could have used the kitchen table to spread out my craft supplies and cut the fabric down to size. I could have used the Exacto-knife to carve out the piece of mounting board I need. But no. I went back to bed, the task of eating accomplished. A single task of necessity off my list with all other tasks lurking in my head gathering dust, waiting for a moment where they felt worthwhile.

When I woke up again Papa Ox was in the living room. The thought of walking past him to go outside for a cigarette was enough to keep me in the room. I knew I was getting worse. I could feel it and yet I didn’t know what “it” was. Just that it was building and eventually there would be a revelation where everything clicked into place and I finally gained clarity and understanding and I would know what to do to fix what I felt was internally broken.

Well… I guess that day was today.

Work went well yesterday; Monday. It was just me and my FA. We got everyone on the machines on time. I had to have my yearly TB test done, so that was one needle stick. I had to have lab work done as well. My FA tried to draw the labs on me but my veins didn’t want to play nice. After two attempts she said we would try again later. I said I would work on drinking my container of water since dehydration might have been part of the issue.

Fast forward to the end of the day where we to try to draw the labs again only for me to end up with a busted vein on my other arm and still no tubes of my blood to send to the lab. I have a pretty impressive bruise on my left forearm. She felt awful for not being able to get the labs and for having to stick me so many times. I felt ill for most of the drive home from work because of the swelling pressure under my skin. I was also covered in band-aids from all of my needle sticks. Once I got home and was able to ice my arm things got better. Eventually, I was able to take a shower since I could move my arm without feeling nauseous.

Workwise, It was a good day even with all of the evil spikes of death being shoved into my arms. That’s sort of where it ended, though.

The kids weren’t here and that’s always hard for Ox. He played on the computer for most of the night. When it was bedtime he fell asleep instantly like normal. I envy his ability to fall asleep. My brothers can do it, too. They just… sleep whereas my brain stays on. It can take me hours to fall asleep and all the while I’m ticking down the time.

Brain: If I fall asleep know I can get this many hours of sleep… If I fall asleep now, I can get this many hours… If I fall asleep now, I’ll get this many hours…

I felt alone Tuesday night. I don’t know why sometimes it bothers me and other times it doesn’t. I don’t know what I needed that I didn’t vocalize to feel so… unimportant, but listening to Ox’s steady even breathing made me want to cry.

Sometimes it feels like the game is more interesting than me. The game is better than reality and there’s nowhere for me to go to get away from it. No room where I can be by myself, away from the screen that is better than me.

I know all of that sounds horrible. It’s petty. It’s whinny. It’s needy and insecure and self-absorbed. It’s completely untrue that he likes the game more than me, and logically I know that, but when it’s dark inside of my head, those are the types of thoughts that my brain whispers to me and when I’m awake, alone after only a few cigarette breaks to facilitate interaction between Ox and me, it’s hard not to listen to it and think it’s right.

Ox has his own emotions he has to contend with. I should be understanding and supportive and strong enough to allow him to have what he needs to be ok and instead, here I am being emo. It only adds fuel to the self-destructive thoughts that I know I shouldn’t be having, but that doesn’t change that fact that I am having them and that I don’t know how to stop them or fight them.

The only thing I know how to do is to be alone to try to deal with my Evil Voice. Alone I can think through those whisperings. I can try to understand why those thoughts aren’t true. I can try to figure out where they’re stemming from. What’s the root cause? Listening to another person breathing a peaceful sleep while I mentally struggle isn’t being alone. It just emphasizes the feeling of, “I don’t have anyone to help me through this.” I ended up sleeping on the couch last night because being alone was easier than feeling lonely.

We still had our shared cigarette this morning, but the feelings of isolation and unimportance were still there. I hadn’t been victorious against my Evil Voice. I still knew what it was telling me wasn’t true, so I hadn’t lost ground, but I hadn’t gained any either. I was still where I had been and that was sort of a shitty feeling.

I was still in that place later when Ox called me and said he was off work. He had texted me earlier asking how I was. I had been honest and said that I was cold and sad and that I missed the sun and warmth. He said I had seemed sad this morning. I said I was sorry; that I didn’t mean to be sad. I didn’t mean to always be this way.

He asked if I wanted him to come home. He was supposed to stop and get more nails for the nail gun. We were supposed to work on the addition. There was a part of me who disliked myself for answering yes; I did want him to come home. I didn’t hate myself for it, but I should have been ok. I should have been fine and doing stuff and productive instead of on the verge of tears and wanting a hug more than wanting to make progress on a project that’s important to both of us. But, no, even if I didn’t like it I was honest both with Ox and myself.I wanted it to be warm outside and not winter and cloudy. I wanted to feel more important than a video game.
I wanted him home.

Ox came home. We cuddled. We talked. There was sexy time and not good feelings afterward because sex wasn’t what I had wanted. I had wanted to feel connected and now it was over and we would go back to playing video games and cross stitching and ignoring each other and it would be like nothing had ever happened. The feelings of aloneness were more intense then they had been and yet I still didn’t know how to vocalize that or explain why they were worse or even why there were there in the first place.

It sucked.

I did realize one thing in that particular moment, though. The issue always seems to be the same. Feeling alone.

I’m surrounded by people at work. I get touchy about being home because there are always people around who want to talk to me. I have so many people in my life who love and care about me and yet I feel alone.

Score. One small step towards understanding. I now have a place where I can start on my quest to untangle all of this confusion. Why is there always this feeling of being alone?

Ox and I ended up having what I feel was our first true BDSM scene together. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t about cute fluffy handcuffs and roleplaying out some make-believe slutty scenario.

It was about having a safe environment and letting me cry. It was about trust and safety and brutal honesty with myself inside my head. And while he held me against his chest, my face buried in the darkness he had created for me I heard the words my inner self had been screaming at me for months now but that I’ve been too busy and occupied to listen to or hear. I heard why I always feel so alone.

Mom left me.

When mom died she left me alone without a safety net and I’ve faced all of these challenges and trials without her. She’s not here to help me or listen to me or encourage me. She’s not here to answer the phone or have lunch or visit. She can’t send or receive cards in the mail. She can’t tell me about her coupon stories.

I’m alone.

Realizing those words were inside my head… that was my revelation today.

I know my mom didn’t leave me. I know she tried as hard as she could to not die. I know her death wasn’t her fault. I know her death wasn’t my fault. It was no one’s fault. I also know she’s still with me as much as universal energy can be. She’s still here and a presence within my life. But inside, in my heart chakra where I still hurt and ache and constantly count how many days before or after the 4th of the month it is, I feel alone because she left. She died and she didn’t take me with her. She died and I couldn’t follow her. I know she couldn’t take me and I know couldn’t follow, but inside none of that logic matters. Knowing all of that information doesn’t change what the emotions feel like. It doesn’t change that those words have been what the storm within myself has been feeding off of and using to build and build in its intensity since before my move to Nebraska.

I haven’t cried as hard as I did on Tuesday in a very long time.

I’m not sure if I was really ignoring this part of my grief. I always feel like I have to choose between anger and sadness and I opt with sadness more often than not because there’s no one to be angry at. But there is anger and heartbreak and abandonment with the words, “She left me.” Whether I want anger to be there or not, it’s there and it’s something that I needed to realize and make peace with and it’s something that until Tuesday I hadn’t acknowledged or really even truly knew about or understood.

I think it was healthy that I had this realization; that I finally realized these words are within me. Knowing they’re there means they no longer have the power to eat away at me. I still feel tired and raw from the outpouring of earlier but I also feel cleaner. I know there is more there, on the inside. I know my grief is something that I haven’t been paying enough attention to and so there’s most likely emotional infection that I need to tend to. I’m sure this new phrase is only one of many that I need to sort out.

Mom didn’t leave me. Not by choice. And I’m not alone. She’s still here and I have my brothers and Ox and my friends who support me and keep me struggling forward even when it feels hopeless and pointless.

It’s not pointless. Winter has an end. This weekend it’s supposed to be warm; in the 50s. Grief doesn’t have an end, but it’s not all sadness and loneliness and hopelessness, either. My grief doesn’t define my life. It doesn’t define me. I still have good days. I still have good thoughts.

Sometimes my brain is a terrorist. And sometimes it shows me what I need to work on. Tuesday was a little bit of both.

I don’t know what else to really say or type. I haven’t had any other breakthroughs. All I know is my inner-eight year old thinks my mom left me and that I know she didn’t.

My name is Jennifer Conley and my mom didn’t leave me. That is one of my truths.

Daily Post 144: A Weekend of Puzzle Pieces

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The past two days have been pretty good.

Friday the RN was late getting to work. She called me as I was driving to the clinic. Of course, that was the morning I decided to wear a jacket over my scrubs in addition to my winter coat. So when my phone started ringing I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find the pocket of my scrubs to get my phone out.

Right Brain: I know my phone is in there. I can feel it. Why I’m I struggling so hard to get my hand into my freaking pocket?!?! The pocket will not win! I will be victorious! Cower before my might pewny pocket!!!!….. Oh yeah… The jacket… Glad no one was here to see that…

It made for a cute story at work.

Work itself wasn’t bad. The nurse practitioner rounded. Change over didn’t go all that smooth and we ran behind. I would have hated to see what it would have been like with just me and the float RN. It was the last day of training for our new tech. Next week I have the clinic to myself. The week after, she’ll be back and on her own. We’ll see how it goes I suppose.

After work, I actually went to the dojo. Well… first I went to Arby’s and had their smokehouse brisket sandwich; just the sandwich. That’s part of my routine for the dojo. Eat something protein-heavy beforehand with enough time to digest what I ate and drink more water so it has time to get into my system. It seems to work well for me and it gives me a bit of time to let go of the stress from work.

It was… nice going back. And maybe nice isn’t the right word. Comforting. Like putting on a well-worn sweater that has a lot of memories associated with it. There was a feeling of comfort in taking in my gym bag and changing in the restroom. There was a feeling of comfort in walking through the door and bowing to my sensei as he finished teaching the kid’s class. There was comfort in sitting in the seat furthest in the back and wrapping my hands and taking my hair clip out so I could use my hair ties and taking mom’s ring and necklace off and putting my shin guards on. There was comfort in getting ready.

It was all familiar. It was all ritual and I know that word gives it a sort of “other-worldly” feel. But it’s how I think of all of the things I have to do before training. I’m about to honor myself; body, mind, and spirit. I’m about to have my me time. Performing all of the actions leading up to it is part of the process. It puts me in the mindset of, “I’m about to train. Work doesn’t matter. Relationships don’t matter. What other people are doing or how hard they are pushing themselves doesn’t matter. What matters is me. My inner voice. My feelings. My sensations. My internal struggles and battles and worries and concerns. What matters for the next hour is me.”

I didn’t push super hard on Friday. I did most of the warm-up. I did the drills on the bag and got to do some drills with the guys. I was ok with not pushing myself to the point of failure. The main goal on Friday was to simply go. I didn’t even promise myself to stay for a whole class. I hadn’t been in three months, the last of which I had been sick for most of. If the best I could do was 30 minutes then so be it. There would be other days, other classes, where I could and would do better. My accomplishment was showing up and walking through the door. Everything else was bonus points.

It felt good to have a full body sweat. It felt good to throw punches and kicks again. It felt good to do them right even if I wasn’t doing them as hard as I knew I had in the past.

As I bowed to my sensei while I was leaving I said I would see him tomorrow; Saturday.

Left Brain: There. Now I’m honor bound to show up. I have to be here. No chickening out or whining about it and making excuses when we wake up with a sore body in the morning.

I called Ox to let him know I was on my way home. The drive was nice. It gave me more time to myself and to listen to music. I cruised along about 5 miles under the speed limit and didn’t care. I wasn’t in a rush. I wanted to enjoy the drive instead.

The kids were home by the time I got here. I showered. I cooked a dinner of burger patties with onion and mushrooms. I actually drank all of my water and then some last night. Before much longer I went to sleep.

I woke up super sore Saturday morning. My shoulders felt like they wanted to fall off from their own weight let alone the effort it took to actually lift or move things like cooking pans. I knew that doing nothing would be the worst thing for me, but the thought of the dojo class was intimidating. If I’m already this sore, what am I possibly going to be able to do in the class? I had already obligated myself to go, though, and I needed to stop at work anyway, so it was going to happen regardless of how much my body protested.

I needed to type up some notes for my FA. I started to at home but with everyone being awake and what not, it was hard to focus on getting it done. I decided to finish typing the notes at my clinic since I had to be there anyway to sent the email. I had breakfast with everyone. I had a moment of overwhelm that Ox helped me through. I was tired and sore and everything felt so loud and there was nowhere to go to get away from it until I left… I felt, I don’t know, defeated I guess?

While we were cuddling in bed and talking about it he told me to close my eyes, which I did. He got up and rummaged around in one of his drawers. When he came back he slipped something over my wrist. When I looked at it I saw it was a bracelet with a Sagittarius bow and arrow. It’s purple and blue and all stary and nebulous looking. I like it. The band is two braided leather cords framing a solid leather band.

I like it but I don’t think it’s going to be something I can wear often. Not at work at least, and not while I’m at the dojo. I’m glad that it wasn’t an expensive gift because I would feel worse about not being able to wear it if it was. He said it was supposed to be my one-year anniversary gift from him but it seemed like I needed it that morning and more things were on the way so he wanted to give it to me.

I can’t lie. It did help me feel more grounded and connected. Maybe that’s the submissive side of me feeling owned since he put something on me. It’s pretty and I like it and I’m wearing it now.

I drove down to the dojo, stopping in Cortland for gas and cigarettes for the coming week. I still got to the dojo early. There were more people in Saturday’s class than the one Friday night. We started with running and jump rope. Since there were so many people, I didn’t get the rope that I like. I’m thinking about putting mine into my gym bag so I can use it while I’m there rather than struggling to get one I want. I stretched a lot during the warmup phase of the class. My goal, again, wasn’t to push myself. Two days in a row would be a lot; maybe boarder lining not smart, but I was going to do it.

I listened to my body. I got through the whole class. I didn’t spar; only conditioned and stretched. My shoulders felt better after the class. Looser. Less angry. I was super tired, though, and I knew not a lot of physical stuff wouldn’t be able to happen for the rest of the day.

I called Ox when I got out to my car and we talked about the rest of the plans I had. They changed slightly. The weather was actually pretty nice. The sun was out. It was around 40 degrees with a light wind that wasn’t too cold. It was a good day for a car wash. Instead of going to the clinic then to the Walmart in Beatrice, the game plan changed to going to the clinic then driving into Lincoln for my free car wash, then going to the Walmart closer to home.

It worked out well. I spent about an hour finishing up my note typing, then sent an email to my two FAs offering help with the new project requirements if they wanted it. From there I drove to the car wash and waited in line for a while.

When I had gotten my car repaired, one of the things they tossed into the deal was a free car wash code to the facility next to the dealership. I had to spend $4 to upgrade the car wash from uber basic to the “deluxe” where it would wash the underside of the car, but that’s better than spending $14 so I didn’t complain.

After the car wash, I stopped at the Target across the street since there was a Starbucks inside the store. I still had a little bit of money left on the gift card Ox had gotten from his work. I decided since I had been doing fairly well not only for that day but for the past week, that I would treat myself to a small drink.

They had a triple mocha chocolate frappuccino. OMG. It was amazing. I still have half of it to indulge in this morning. Totally looking forward to that part of breakfast.

After getting my coffee drink, I drove to the Walmart where I took care of the small amount of shopping Mama Ox wanted me to do and the few items I needed to replace in my stash. I had used the last of the 57 sauce and Worcestershire sauce the night before when I made the onion and mushroom mix for my burgers. I also wanted to get cauliflower potatoes for my lunches rather than using regular potatoes because carbs are a thing and healthy blah blah blah nonsense.

Once that was done I came home. I ended up talking to Jon for a while. He’s thinking about taking out a student loan since working full time and going to school full time is hard. He has a lot of feelings over that and there’s still some people he wants to talk to but I believe 100% that he’ll figure it out.

I cooked and ate burger patties again, resisting the pizza and pizza rolls everyone else was having. Go me!

I cooked my lunch meal while I was in the kitchen. Chicken with broccoli and no-tatoes. I washed my clothes and got them in the dryer. Again, I didn’t stitch. Instead, I worked on a puzzle with Mama Ox for most of the evening.

There were a lot of emotions associated with that. Puzzles were something my mom and I did. I enjoyed my time with Mama Ox but I felt guilty as I put the last piece into place.

Did this mean I was betraying mom? Were puzzles supposed to be a me and her thing that I didn’t do with anyone else? Was I now a horrible daughter? Would mom have been mad at me if I could have called her and told her about that part of my night?

I don’t think she would have. I think she would have understood that she wasn’t there and that she wasn’t being replaced. I hope she would know that no one could ever replace her. It didn’t stop the tears before bed where I told Ox how I felt. How I was tired of my only options in relation to my grief were anger, sadness, and acceptance. Why can’t being happy and having my mom alive be an option?

I don’t think I’ve made peace with the emotions of last nights puzzle pieces and I don’t think I will until I get some actual alone time to think through it, but at least I’m not in a rut of depression over it. Just sort of solemn and achy around my heart chakra. It was nice to spend time with Mama Ox where she wasn’t critiquing me on buying bananas that were too ripe or throwing away something that was expired but “still perfectly fine and usable”.

So far today hasn’t been bad. Most everyone has still been asleep though, so I don’t have a lot of info to base good or bad on. I woke up at 3:30 and had a piece of toast with almond butter, dark chocolate chips, and a banana sliced on top. I went back to sleep for a while. I woke up with Ox around 6:30. I’ve already cooked my venison roasts and had breakfast. And now I’ve written.

We’re supposed to play some tabletop games with the kids. I would like to stitch since I haven’t been able to much this week. I would like to get to sleep early as well since I want to get to the clinic around 4:15. And a bit of time at the gym rowing or lifting weights might be nice. I’m not nearly as sore as I thought I would be.

It’s been a good weekend so far. Puzzle pieces and tears included.

Daily Post 139: Just a Ramble

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I’m a giant ball of “I don’t know what”. It’s annoying and frustrating and I feel like my mood matches the weather.

It’s been cold. There’s still snow on the ground and though the roads are decent, there’s more snow in the forecast. It’s been cloudy and icky and I miss the sun. I miss the warmth of summer. I miss mom and my old home and my brothers and my things that are still in storage and I know part of my issue is homesickness.

I’m still, in general, sick from my head cold and that isn’t helping anything. I have spurts of “with-it-ness” followed by intense episodes of tiredness. I spent most of yesterday sleeping. I have had small bouts of productivity but I don’t feel like I’ve been productive at all.

I feel mostly like my inner self is a five-year-old at the moment having a tantrum.

Left Brain: Why don’t we cross stitch? Maybe that will help us feel better.


Right Brain: I don’t want to!


Left Brain: Ok… why don’t we try writing? That could help sort out our emotions.


Right Brain: I don’t want to!


Left Brain: Alright… Well, we’ve been sick so why don’t we try relaxing and doing nothing.


Right Brain: I don’t want to!

This is where I swear if I could throat punch myself I would. I don’t even want to deal with me so I have no idea how Ox hasn’t thrown up his hands yet and told me to go figure myself out. You know… way from him… in traffic or something. Instead, he’s beyond understanding and patient. I don’t get it.

I keep being asked to cover shifts at different clinics, but since I don’t even want to work the days I’m scheduled to, I highly doubt I’ll be picking up anything extra. At least, so far, I’ve done amazingly well at dodging those bullets.

Fuck your overtime.

I made it through phase three of the interview process for my leadership class. The phone interview portion was Monday. I felt like it went well. I’ll know before February if I’m accepted or not. So I suppose at some point next week. More waiting… woo… said no part of my brain ever.

The tech who has been training is doing alright. She called out on Friday due to being sick. That leaves three days before she’s scheduled to be on her own.

That meant Friday it was just me and our float RN since my FA has been gone all week on vacation. The clinic hasn’t burned down to a pile of ashes. Yay!

Surprisingly, Friday was an amazingly smooth day. I think our RN has improved a lot since she first started covering shifts at our clinic. Still not the strongest worker, but nowhere near as rough as when she first started. Her and I high fived each other at the end of the day. It was nice. We survived and it wasn’t a brutal, hellish day from hell.

I still don’t feel like going back to work at the moment though and I feel that has more to do with burn out and this cloudy, lack of sun, sickness depression thing more than anything. It’s been the first week in a while where I actually have two days off in a row. Too bad I’ve done pretty much jack shit with them. : /

I’m taking the car in Wednesday evening to have it worked on Thursday morning, so that means I won’t be doing to the dojo Wednesday night. That means I most likely won’t go the rest of the week either because what’s the point? And that’s a question that keeps bouncing around my head.

What’s the point? In anything?

I don’t know if this is seasonal depression or what, but whatever it is, it sucks. It doesn’t feel like me but I know on some level, it is. This is my reaction to my thoughts and situation, and right now it feels like I’m sitting in a hole letting myself wallow instead of trying to get myself out. It’s a yucky, icy, snowy mush type of a hole and there really doesn’t seem like a point in getting out of it when the rest of the ground above is just as miserable and crappy as it is inside. At least inside the hole I get to sit down while I’m pouting.

It feels like I’m having to wait and I’m not good at that. I’m having to wait for my body to finish fighting off being sick. I’m having to wait for winter to finish doing its thing before the sun comes back and warms stuff up. I’m having to wait and wait and wait and wait and fuck this shit I’m going to flip tables instead because RRRRAAAAWWWWWRRRRR. >.<

I went to the gym last weekend. I was sore for a few days after but that’s to be expected. I’ve lost stamina; also to be expected. I didn’t lose any height on my box jumps which was nice. I can tell my muscles are stiff from disuse and that it will take a week or so to get back to the flexibility I was at. Overall it was a good benchmark for where I’m at. It wasn’t a good workout, but it wasn’t an awful one either. It was. It happened. There weren’t really strong feelings one way or the other.

There’s nothing stopping me from going today other than my intense desire to not go anywhere or see anyone or do anything. I’m thinking it’s more something I need to push through rather than listen to but I don’t know. What music would I listen to? How long would I stay? What would I do? What if I cry because I miss mom and everything feels pointless? I need to stop at the gas station for gas and veggies for my lunches so there’s that motivating/demotivating factor to it as well. I need to go out anyway so it would be good to go to the gym. But that means people and doing stuff and that sounds pretty sucky. But it would mean my days at work suck less because I wouldn’t have to worry about gas during the week or lunches while I’m there. My future self would thank me for it. My present self is glaring daggers at me…

I don’t like feeling like this but I don’t have a clear indication of what would help to get over it or ease the sandpaper feeling inside my skin. Nothing I think of sparks feelings of contentment or resolve or anything other than frustration and “nope”.

So… since none of it matters and I’m sort of screwed either way, I guess I’m going to go shower and go to the gym. I’ll listen to something either upbeat or angry and I’ll row for 20 minutes. Once I’m done I’ll stop at the gas station and then come home where I have permission to do whatever the hell I want, including nothing.

I’ll most likely end up cross stitching and finishing my meal prep. I’m letting the venison steaks marinate at the moment since I still need the broccoli to go with it, but I did mix up the potatoes already. Yes. I’m eating carbs this week. This is me not caring. : D

I’ve already gone through my emails since I had a stack of those. I’ve paid bills. I’ve unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. My computer desk is pretty clear. I’ve finished cleaning Jon’s cross stitch so I can get that ironed and mounted. I’m still working on scrubbing the pencil lines out of the cross stitch I did for Ox. I don’t remember having to scrub my stitching when I lived in Orlando. It’s annoying that soaking them in Oxiclean isn’t getting the pencil out the same way it used to. Oh well. Just another thing added to the list of differences I suppose.

One upside to the whole “Oxiclean no longer works” thing… It gave me a reason to go out to the craft store. I bought a chalk pencil. I’m giving it a shot with the new project I’m working on. It’s another silhouette; this time of a mermaid. I’m using a pretty blue which I had to get more thread for, too, so the craft store was going to happen regardless. I’m also out of fabric, but sadly the store was out of the count size and brand I like so I guess that means at some point I have to go back… oh, shucky darn…

I’m almost done with the mermaid’s hair. From there I’m moving on to working on her head and arms. I’ll try to be better about taking progress pictures. I’ll also, at some point, remember to post the pictures of the fairy I stitched, and Jon’s since it’s done.

I feel a little better. Maybe showering and going to the gym will help keep that going.

Daily Post 136: Post-Test and the Other Three Weeks

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I passed my state tests. I passed with flying colors on the skills portion, including manual blood pressure, and with an 88 on the written portion. The 88 sort of eats away at me. I would have liked for it to be in the 90s. But when they ask things like, “Your resident wants to vote. What do you do?” it’s not really fair. The class taught me that residents had the right to vote, not what I am supposed to do as a CNA. Do I request the ballet myself on their behalf or inform the charge nurse? Nothing in the book told me what to do. Nothing in the class told me what to do. So now I have a 50/50 chance of getting the question right. Or wrong. There were several questions like. Nothing about proper temperature or blood pressure ranges. No “What does this abbreviation mean?” It’s frustrating, but for the time being, it’s over. No more classes to stay up late for. No more three hours naps before work the next day. No more discussion posts which aren’t worth the time to read or reply to. It’s done. It’s over. I don’t have to think about school until possibly October.

And no more six-day work weeks. I made it through that stint of the holiday season and all of the emotional roller coaster that goes with overworking myself during one of the hardest times of the year for me.

I made it through my birthday. Lil’ Ox baked a cake for me with Mama Ox. I blew out my candles after everyone sang happy birthday to me. I opened the presents I was given. I didn’t cry at work while people told me happy birthday. I saved it all for home where Ox held me while I cried on the front porch and admitted to being sad and missing mom.

I made it through Christmas and the week of having the kids here while working every day and having no true alone time. Lil’ Ox and I stitched a fair amount. Ornery Ox and I made a trip to the gas station, just the two of us. I stayed home alone while everyone else went into town to spend a few hours with the rest of the family. I talked to my brothers and my dad. I’ve even replied to all of the text messages and Facebook messages I’ve received over the past few weeks.

I passed my annual skills check at work yesterday. Actually, everyone at my clinic passed their skills check on the first try so we’re getting pizza tomorrow for lunch to celebrate.

I also cannulated our patient’s new fistula yesterday morning so I should be NFACT certified now as an expert cannulator.

Our new tech was there yesterday. She’s going to be in training with me for the next month. We get along extremely well together. She’s also super into organization and to-do lists so I think once the clinic opens up to six days a week again that we’ll be able to transition into it fairly well. We have similar mindsets and are both open to creating / editing systems and finding what works and changing what doesn’t. She’s open to trying the systems that I’ve developed over the past 10 or so months of working by myself and I’m open to changing my ways and trying new things. As long as we maintain communication I think we’ll be able to work through any friction or challenges that will pop up in the coming weeks and months.

There’s a new RN who started training this week as well. She’s been an ER nurse for the past however many years, so I think she’ll actually do fairly well. I haven’t interacted with her all that much but my impression is that she’s sharp. She’ll catch on quick and she’s used to a fast-paced, fluctuating environment. She’s used to having to react quickly to critical situations. I think once she becomes comfortable with the machines that she’ll be alright. It would be nicer if she were a little more open and friendly, but she’s not un-friendly so at least there’s that. I can work with distant and maybe as we interact more we’ll warm up to each other.

So, things at work are going well. I’m planning to take the second week of February off for vacation. I’ll be staying at home and not really do a whole lot other than not working. There currently aren’t plans for amazing productiveness or any trips to stress or plan over. Just a week of self-care essentially. Taking a step back and recharging my batteries. The new tech will, ideally, be through training and comfortable doing things on her own and if not I would only a 20-minute drive away to come help if needed.

This is the first week in a while where I’m only working three days and it’s only this morning where I’m beginning to feel more like myself and less on the verge of burnout. The thought of grocery shopping doesn’t feel like sandpaper under my skin. The thought of socializing still feels heavy, but not as much as it did.

I’m planning to take the last week of March off to visit Orlando, as well. It will be Jon’s birthday. My dad will actually be in Florida with my half-sisters visiting Disney. We’re thinking of trying to meet up, all of us, one evening for dinner.

And there’s a Warrior Dash in Kansas this summer. Originally I wanted to try to run the one in Florida scheduled for February, but I like the new plans more. I haven’t been going to the gym or the dojo. I know I won’t be where I want to be within a month. The new game plan gives me more time to ease back into my self and to continue at a pace I can be successful with.

In addition to all of the events I have been a part of and gone through, it’s also a new year. I don’t have resolutions. My goal was to survive and I did. I didn’t get Ox’s Christmas gift done like I wanted, so it’s turned into my “one-year” gift for him. That’s coming up. Hard to believe I’ve been here in Nebraska for as long as I have. Looking back at the past year makes me realize how much I have accomplished for work and my career, but also with my health, and with my relationships, specifically with Ox. I have been far from stagnant in any area of my life.

I also submitted my essay for the leadership course I applied for. I don’t think I’ll be heartbroken if I don’t get chosen. I’ll know tomorrow so we’ll see I suppose. I don’t think it will be as heavy of an obligation as what my CNA class was, but I’m also ok with not adding more to my plate. Whatever happens, happens and I’ll figure it out from there. I do think the essay came out better than I thought it would. It’s definitely better than the first draft I wrote.

Ox and I are doing well. He’s been amazingly supportive and encouraging during this roller coaster of a ride. He was there for me after my state test. He kept the kids entertained on the days I needed alone time. He’s cooked me eggs so I have breakfast while I’m at work. He’s helped with the laundry and making the bed. He’s listened to me talk and cry and helped me feel secure. I don’t think I would have done nearly as well these past weeks if it weren’t for his support and I’m grateful he’s in my life.

We had Tuesday off together since it was a holiday. The morning started with a lot of tears and crying, mostly because it was the first day off where I could begin emotionally processing through nearly a month worth of experiences. It left me feeling fragile and tired for most of the day but it was a very nice, quietly productive, and connecting day in spite of those feelings.

We cleaned the inside of our computers which was something we had talked about a few weeks ago. We ended up going into town for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It was crowded and busy but we had a pleasant server and though it was six degrees outside, it was nice to be spending time together out of the house. We went to Best Buy and Walmart. I got a peppermint mocha from Star Bucks with a gift card he got from his work. I now have a pair of warm gloves to keep my fingers from freezing; the last piece of winter gear I was missing. We were even able to get a case of Cotton Candy Bang from the gas station since GNC was sold out and not going to get a shipment in for a while. While I could have made do with the Sour Head flavor I still have a few cans of, knowing that I have my favorite flavor to look forward to gave me warm fuzzy feelings about waking up on my workdays.

Ox and I got a USB / outlet wall mount to go above our bedside table. That meant we could get rid of the alarm clock that was taking up space and never being used aside from charging the phones. Not that I have strong feelings about an unused alarm clock taking up my cross-stitching space or anything…

The wall mount also gave me warm fuzzy feelings and actually did a surprising amount of work in regards to battling back the grief/depression of the past few weeks. It gave me a small, little project to look forward to when we got home. It made me want to go home and to do something other than nothing. It was one, small change to make things in the room better. And I keep saying “me” and “our” though, in truth, Ox was the one to set everything up. I didn’t do anything other than spend money and carry a bag into the house. He ran the cord and attached the mount to the wall. He’s the one who got rid of the alarm clock and freed up more space for me and my things.

Still, I can’t deny that the changed helped me. One, small step forward that makes all of the other steps not seem so bad. One step got accomplished so other steps can be made. It doesn’t have to be giant leaps that require energy and motivation and a mass amount of effort that I don’t feel I have. Things can be small and manageable while still being fulfilling.

There was a lot of quietly productive things about Tuesday that helped warm me on the inside and fight back the sadness that I’ve been struggling with.

I know I’ve been… something recently. I don’t know if it’s depression or grief since they feel so similar to me. I know burnout was part of the mixture which always makes me more sensitive to events, but I think Tuesday things started turning around. Our small bedroom project helped. Passing my skills test yesterday marked the last major stressor I had to get through. I’m not going to say it’s smooth sailing from here because I work dialysis. There’s no such thing as “normal”. But things should settle down a bit and I’m grateful for that. I will have more time to focus on myself and my inner world and my homeworld; my relationship world.

I’ve already been fairly productive today, and that too makes me feel better. I’ve gone through my emails, replying to comments on my tutorials and such. I resubmitted the rebate for the contacts I bought with the proper receipts. I’ve already put dye in my hair so I can rinse it out before much longer. I made a to-do list for my car on Tuesday so I have a game plan for that. I’ve taken stock of the bathroom so far, writing down things I need to get while I’m at the store; things I normally forget until I’m taking a shower and remember, “Oh yeah, I’m running low on body wash. I should write that down once I dry off….”

I’ve gone through most of my “inbox” stack of papers. Most of the things that are left are recipes I need to make a decision about. Jon should be calling me before too long so we can chat for a bit and catch up with each other and our lives.

Overall I think I’m on the right track. I still have a long ways to go to get things cleaned up, situated, and back to how they were, but I’m taking the steps I need to and I think I’m being mindful while I do it. I’m going to continue to take this week easy. I may go to the dojo tomorrow night. I may go Saturday, but I’m not holding myself to an obligation of it. I would like to cook dinner for everyone since that’s something I haven’t been doing as much as I was when I first moved here.

This week is about breathing and letting go of all of the stress and anxiety I’ve had to contend with over the past three weeks while getting back in touch with myself and the things I want; the things that make me feel happy, or at least content with myself and connected with my true inner priorities.

And so, with that, I guess I’m going to go so I can keep plucking away at the small to-do list I wrote for myself today. Writing was one of the things on there and I’m glad I took the time to do it. I know there are a lot of details from the past three weeks that will be forgotten about and left unwritten but I feel like I got a majority of the events. I’m glad I wrote about Tuesday because that really was the first step, the first day towards getting back to myself. Maybe I’ll be able to write more regularly in the coming weeks.

Letters to Mom 021: Please Be There

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Hey mom,

It’s the 11th. Only nine days until my birthday. Only nine days until the day I became your daughter.

Only eight days until whatever birthday celebration happens at my clinic since my FA found out the 20th is my birthday and we’re closed that day.

Only eight days until the bombardment of “happy birthday!” starts.

I’m sorry, but I still don’t want it to be my birthday. I don’t want to go to class tonight and take my test and pass. I don’t want to not be able to call you. I don’t want to go through another birthday where I don’t hear your voice. And I’m sorry that these wants infect the rest of my day.

I’m sorry I came home last night after a mildly good day at work and wanted to give up. A patient infiltrated his arm trying to cover his cough. The acid I was mixing for the clinic was testing really low for its temperature so I had to call Biomed. When I was leaving the clinic I couldn’t get the front door to lock properly and had to call my boss.

None of those things were earthshattering. None of them really affected the day. All of them got figured out. But after coming home and cooking dinner, I was done. I didn’t want to do anything else. I wanted to give up on the day and have it be over, so that’s what I did. I went to bed. I didn’t wake up any better and I don’t have a legitimate reason for feeling this way, at least it doesn’t feel like it.

There wasn’t some recent awful event to justify what I guess is depression.

I’ve been back home for over a week so I can’t say that it’s stress from the trip anymore. At least I don’t think I can. I made it through Thanksgiving, so I can’t say it’s that…

There’s not something I can point to and say, “This. This right here. This is why I’m sad and depressed and apathetic. This is why nothing matters right now. This is why I hurt. This is why I’m tired.” I don’t have a reason and so I’m struggling right now, mom.

I’m sad and I don’t have a reason for it. I hurt. I’m tired, of everything and nothing is really making me feel better or helping me cope.

I guess I need to let you know that I miss you. Still. Always. I guess I need to let you know that I haven’t cried in a while because I don’t give myself a chance to. I instead pick up over time and take classes and go on work trips. I keep myself busy to the point where I get to here and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I liked my trip. I wanted to take this class. I’m happy to help the other clinics out.

I still miss you and underneath all of my busy-ness, I’m still hurting. I’m still wounded and not really all that ok. More ok than I was but not ok enough to not dread the 19th or the 20th. I’m going to have to force smiles onto my face over and over again as my heart contracts, knowing that I can’t explain why those words hurt so deeply because it’s no one’s intention to hurt me but that doesn’t change the fact that they will, that they do.

I wish I could hear you wish me luck on my test. I wish it was you telling me that I will do fine instead of Jon. I wish it was you I was brainstorming ideas with for my leadership essay.

I wish so many things and it all just sort of sucks today, for no reason other than I had today off and finally had a chance to realize that some things still just suck because they suck. It’s no one’s fault. Some facts are just sort of lame like that.

I wish we could talk. I wish I could know how you’re doing. I wish you could tell me about your day. I wish I knew you were ok and that death isn’t all that bad. That once you’re dead there’s this other side, whatever it is, and that it’s different but there are positive things about it. Sort of like taking a new job. “I miss my old team and there’s this one annoying chick in human resources, but everyone is super nice and friendly, and the company has a good benefits package. The commute to work is pretty nice and I’m working on this nifty project,” type of a thing.

I wish I knew if you missed being alive. I wish I had known to ask more questions. I wished I had known to listen to your stories more.

I wish I was better at grieving and being depressed rather than letting it eat away at my days like it does. I wish I had had it in me to make myself go to the gym today. I wish I had it in me to care about how many carbs I eat. I wish I had it in me to actually stop smoking like I keep thinking about. But I don’t think I can right now, mom, and I don’t think I need to be sorry over that. I don’t feel sorry and part of me wonders if that’s from the grief/depression/whateverthisis. Being sorry means you feel something, and right now I mostly don’t.

I feel mostly frustration with myself for feeling this way, but that’s about it. The only emotion I really feel is in response to my lack of feeling anything… Oh, and more frustration because it’s frustrating to feel frustrated. Gah. Talk about a vicious cycle of lameness. : /

I feel bad for not having more to talk about but I can’t really think much past the words, “I miss you.” My mind just kind of gets stuck there. I miss you. I wish you were here. I wish we could talk. I wish I could give you a hug. I feel like it’s the same things I always write when I write to you. It’s like maybe I’m stuck or stagnating in my grief. I’ll be fine until I’m not and then all of a sudden I feel like I’m regressing or not doing well enough. Things I’m normally fine with will bother me or be amplified.

I’m going to go to class today, mom. Mostly because I have to, but I wanted you to know that even though today sort of sucks for no reason that I’m still going to go. I’m not going to fail my class even though I can’t call you and tell you I passed. I’m not going to not take my state skills test just because we can’t celebrate together. I’m sorry all of these stupid, small, silly things are so hard sometimes, mom. I’m sorry. I know you don’t want me to be but I have to say those stupid words so they can hopefully stop eating away at the inside of my brain. I’m sorry and I’m sorry I’m sorry.

Please help me get through this. Please tell me that you’re still here and that everything will be ok. Please tell me I’ll do fine on my test and that I worry too much. Please tell me tomorrow will be better and worth it. I know most of those are unfair of me to ask, but right now I really just want to be an eight-year-old kid and cry and have you tell me that everything will be ok. The monsters aren’t really real. The bad things will go away and can’t hurt me.

But these monsters are real and no matter how much I wish them away the 20th will still come without your voice. Another year will pass. Another scar to mark my survival. I’m just so… tired, mom. I’m tired. I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of being sad.

I wouldn’t change anything, though. I don’t want to miss you less. I’m not tired of missing you, of loving you, of caring that you died and that you meant something to me; that you still mean something to me. So I guess I really don’t know what I’m tired of because I feel like saying I’m tired of hurting means I’m tired of loving you and that’s not true. It will never be true. I will always love you and it will always be worth the pain I feel.

I don’t know, mom. I really don’t know right now but I’m sort of glad I wrote. I’m glad I had that realization; that if given the choice I wouldn’t want to hurt less because that would compromise or diminish my love for you and the Universe can go fuck itself if it thinks I’m going to let that happen. I would fight to keep my pain. To the bitter end.

I really wish I wasn’t so confusing sometimes. I wish things were easy and straightforward. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t an INFJ full of contradictions but then I wouldn’t be me and I sort of like me most of the time.

Thanks for listening to me ramble, mom. I think it helped a little. I need to shower for class. Please wish me luck. Please be there when I pass. Please let me feel you so I don’t feel alone. I know that’s not fair to ask but please don’t let me feel alone tonight. I really don’t want to be alone right now, mom. I really just want to feel like you’re still with me and that even though it’s different now that it’s still ok. That we’re still ok. That we still love each other and that we’ll figure it out somehow.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always I will love you.

Daily Post 131: A Thankful Test Drive

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It’s Thanksgiving.

Today has been a decent day. I’m currently typing on a new keyboard. Yep. That’s right. I finally replaced the refurbished keyboard with its finicky spacebar key that I’ve had since I got this desktop computer. My companion of so long. Part of me feels… something. Not really regret or a sense of “badness”. There wasn’t truly anything wrong with the keyboard but I’ve wanted a new one and now that I have it I guess I feel a little like I’m being less than responsible.

This new keyboard is still too new to know if I like it or not. The keys feel different. It feels as if it’s at a slightly different elevation angle with the footrests out. It’s not my old keyboard that I’ve had for almost 10 years and my fingers can feel the difference. The spacing is just ever so different. The clicking and crispness of the sound is foreign.

I’m not expecting this post to feel the same because of it. It’s essentially a test drive. The keyboard is wireless which is nice. It came with a new mouse which I’m also trying out. It slides differently than my old one. There will need to be a trial period were I adjust to the changes.

I also got a laptop. A 15-inch Chromebook. It was $200. For all that I complain about the credit card and how I can’t make progress on it, I realize these purchases may seem counterproductive and not in line with my goals or true wants.

I’m glad I have the laptop though. It’s currently charging and my next post will most likely be written on it.

Yesterday was a decent day at work. There’s not much to report on that front. I’m still waiting to get the itinerary for my trip. I still need to fill out the application for the leadership course. I still need to write the thank you letter to my FA for my raise. Our new patient will most likely start on Monday. Tomorrow is still most likely going to be a disaster. My goal in that regard is survival. I’m not planning to go to the dojo afterward. I’m planning to come home once I’m able to and be done with it all for the weekend.

I was supposed to go to the dojo yesterday but didn’t. I came home instead because the thought of being home felt better then being around people or waiting for two hours for my class to start with literally nothing to do. I couldn’t write since I didn’t have a laptop. I couldn’t do school work for the same reason. I didn’t have my cross-stitch with me which isn’t something I’ve thought about having with me since I never have free time. I don’t know why, but yesterday I didn’t want to be around anyone; not even at the dojo. I didn’t get as much of a sense of fulfillment about going and sweating and pushing myself to be a better me as I did at the thought of being home with Ox and spending the evening together with him gaming and me stitching while I watched Netflix.

So I came home instead. We ended up going to the gas station and getting a bottle of Jack Daniels and ingredients to make chip dip. We drank together. Sexy time happened. I spent a fair amount of time afterward crying and talking about mom.

I told him how it felt like every step I take forward, every success and accomplishment feels like a step away from her. It’s a step away from the hospital room where I held her hand. It’s like I’m leaving her there to die by her self and even though I know that’s not what’s happening I can’t make the feelings stop or change and I struggle with that so much. I know she’s already dead. How can I leave her somewhere to die? I’m living life and doing the thing she would want me to do so how am I betraying her?

I talked about some of the stories I have of her. It felt good to be drunk and to cry and to voice all of these things that are mostly thoughts inside of my head that eat away at me. I’m not the only one who knows about them anymore. Someone else knows and that makes it seem more bearable.

I know mom wants me to strive to be happy with the life that I have, but there’s always the grief side of the equation now that I have to figure out and make peace with. Getting my raise at work and getting back to my starting square income-wise is not a betrayal to her, but there is a very real part of me that thinks that way and I have to figure it out.

It was a good night, tears included.

I’ve felt more on top of my life since Monday. More secure. More capable. More like effort does pay off and is worth it. Throwing down the burden of responsibility for a night helped too I think. Having today off where I’ve literally had no obligations to anyone or anything has been nice and today I got some things for myself that I’ve wanted for a while. Since I’ve been writing so infrequently it feels like I’ve done that a lot recently but I think on a logical, timeline level, I really haven’t.

I got the punching bag and the bike rack. I have the dojo membership and the gym membership. I got new clothes and additional scrubs. I paid for my new license plate and the CNA class. I got new work shoes and the new Vibrams for my race. There was also the new pillows and sheets for the bed. The cooking set… Soon there will be the expense of additional contacts, but I have the HSA account with work for that so I’m not sure if it really counts…

I’ve done things for myself here and there in small doses, making sure it didn’t interfere with my monthly expenses and that everything still got paid. I might not have made the progress in certain financial areas like how I wanted, but I’ve taken care of things that needed to be done along with getting things that made my life feel better.

I’m thankful that I am at a point in my life where I can buy things and not have to hold my breath while I put gas into my car or alter my grocery list because what I originally wanted might have been too expensive and put me over budget.

I haven’t used the laptop yet so I don’t know for sure if it will be what I’m hoping it will be, but I’m content in knowing that I own it. I’m content that I’m the one who picked it out and that I’m the one who paid for it. It’s mine. 100% and I like that. I like the thought of the freedom it will give me. Saturdays after the dojo I could go to my new sports bar and write and pay bills and make my shopping list before going to Walmart and then heading home.

I’ve talked to my older brother today. It’s been the first time in a while. I got to tell him about all the developments with work. I got to tell him about the dojo. I finally told him about living with Ox and his family and how his kids seem to like me. I told him about minigolf and Stuffed Fables and the pumpkin patch. I told him about the heart attacks I’ve had about not knowing how to be a parent and the fulfillment of watching the kids share in my hobbies and learning new things.

He’s happy for me and I’m surprisingly relieved that he finally knows my whole situation. With my history of relationships, I’ve been hesitant to share that side of my life with anyone. My blog is my safe space. A phone or in person conversation where I could be judged or may have to defend myself is a different situation. I can’t blame people for worrying about me or wondering if I’m messing up again. This is the healthiest and most supportive relationship I have ever been in though, and I want people to trust me and hear me when I say those words.

I talked to Allison today as well. She had tried calling last night. We talked until my phone died. We have plans to try to talk later tonight since she had to get going for her Thanksgiving plans anyway, but if we can’t talk later we have backup plans to continue talking on Sunday. Jon and I chatted for a bit, and now here I am, charging my laptop and typing away about nothing all that important on a keyboard that I’m starting to get a feel for.

It’s been a nice day. The only things that I might still try to get accomplished are calling my dad and Chrys so I can be caught up with most of the people in my life.

I’ve put the clothes away, finally.

Ox brought a keyboard home for me on Tuesday which I never wrote about. Like, an actual musical keyboard. He found it while he was at work and remembered me talking about wanting one. He brought it home to see if it worked and it did, so I now also own a four and a half octave keyboard which currently has no designated home, but I own it. I can play music again for the first time in ten years. I honestly don’t remember how to place my fingers properly since I switched to percussion during middle and high school, but I still remember how to read music and I remember all of my scales and parts of the pieces I played during marching band. I can pick away at the keys and it pulls at something within myself to do it; something long dormant and that I’ve missed. I’m looking forward to going into town at some point to get a keyboard stand and a few books. I want a beginner book for sure so Lil’ Ox and I can play music together and maybe an intermediate book. I could buy the sheet music for Two Trees like I’ve wanted to since I first heard that song.

I don’t think there are words to express how much it meant to receive a gift like that. I haven’t talked about wanting to play music in so long, and even when I did I’m pretty sure it was more of an in passing comment. “It would be nice if one day…” sort of a thing. But he remembered that conversation and went out of his way when the opportunity presented itself. Even if the keyboard hadn’t ended up working it wouldn’t have mattered. Knowing that he thought of me, that he went out of his way to do something like that for me, still fills me with warmth. That soft warm feeling of being snuggled up in your favorite blanket. It could have been the crappiest day ever but in that moment everything is ok because you have that warm feeling protecting you and the familiar scents surrounding you.

It’s that type of feeling.

Things really are ok. I’m actually able to take care of myself and all areas of my life are fairly figured out and my living situation is a positive and supportive one and I really don’t know what to do with my life not being a complete and total clusterfuck of what the hell.

Thank you, Universe. Thank you for letting me be here. And thank you, mom. Thank you for raising me the way you did. Thank you for everything you did that went into me being the me I am.