Letters to Mom 020: Relationship Rambling

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I ran my race.

I didn’t run all of it. I didn’t really try to run all of it. There were two points where I met another runner and walked with them while we talked about life and our past race experiences. I could have run more, but I don’t have this pressure or feeling that I should have run more. I did what I wanted and I’m ok with that.

I’m surprised with how recovered I feel. I know I ran more this race than I did on any of my previous races. I still did all of the obstacles. I still crossed the finish line and had my victory beer.

I’m… happy… with my race and that makes me feel sad in a way. I wrote about it at least once that I can remember. I never thought success could be painful, but it is now. I did well and so I hurt because I did well when mom isn’t here. Maybe one day I’ll grow past this point in my life where everything comes back to her death, but right now I haven’t and so this is where I am.

I did well and I can’t show mom any of the pictures. It hurts even though at the same time I have all of these positive feelings. Ox went with me. He was there when I crossed the finish line. He even gave me a half-way hug while someone else took our picture for us. He drove me to and from the race. He went to dinner with me the night before where we got subs and had ice cream from a local deli near the race location.

We had a mostly serious conversation about our relationship, and though nothing was really solved or figured out, I feel like it was important that we talked.

It’s hard to want to go back to work. I want to see my patients but I really don’t want the stress that goes with my job. I don’t want the annoying hours. Maybe part of the discontent is from being tired. Maybe I’ll be more ok with the thought of work tomorrow, but for right now, I would be ok if I didn’t have to go back. I have too many tangled emotions right now to want to be around people.

I’m glad that almost all of the obstacles felt easy and that the hardest part about the run was running uphill. I’m glad my new Vibrams performed well. I’m glad I didn’t get super sunburnt. I’m glad I went to the race.

There’s so much I want to write about but I don’t know how right now. It’s why I didn’t write yesterday or before the race.

Mom, I miss you. I know you would be so proud right now. I know you would listen to every word if we were talking. I’ve already been cornered by Mama Ox and talked about all the different obstacles and how I felt I did and was the time with my trainer worth it and all of these other questions and side tangents…

But it wasn’t you. She wasn’t who I wanted to talk to and though I knew it was a conversation that I had to have, I didn’t want to. I wanted to talk to you. I still do. I still need it to be you that I gush and ramble to. I need this to be for you right now.

The “race day” adventure started Friday evening. Ox came home after getting off from work. We packed the car up and said goodbye to his parents so we could try to out drive a storm that had the potential to hail on us.

We stopped at a gas station before getting on the interstate to fill up the car and get snacks. He helped me scrub the windows clean of bug guts since that’s a thing I have to deal with here in Nebraska. We ate pretzels and beef jerky while listening to music as we traveled. We were able to beat the storm because we’re badasses like that.

We made it to the town of Blair, home of the bears, which is where I had been able to get a hotel room. We were still about 30 minutes from the race location, but that was the closest hotel I could find. Nebraska is so spread out and a lot of the towns are small. I was sort of surprised we ended up as close as we did.

Blair is quaint. It’s bigger than Hickman, but it has a lot of mom and pop type places. The deli we went for dinner is a good example. In a way, it reminded me of Ye Old Fashion in Summerville. The food wasn’t anything crazy or out of the ordinary. I had a roast beef sub. It wasn’t anything that I couldn’t have made myself at home, but it was still good and I enjoyed eating carbs at night guilt-free, knowing that I would run them off during the race. I even indulged and had a waffle cone with cookie dough ice cream.

It had been a choice between driving to the race location so we could see where it was at and getting food since we didn’t get to Blair until 8pm. Food won out and I’m glad it did. I enjoyed sharing a nice meal with Ox. It was datey feeling, getting ice cream with him.

This was our second road trip together since he flew down to Orlando to drive with me to Nebraska when I moved. It was nice to feel like we got away together.

I wish I could ask you about sex advice, mom. I know Ox says it isn’t me, but it’s hard to feel like it isn’t. We were finally alone. Away. I’m losing weight, again. I’m doing well at work. I cover my bills. I’m domestic with doing laundry and cooking and cleaning.

I don’t know what else to do to be a better, more attractive or enticing mate.

I have been told it’s not me. I’m doing everything right. But that doesn’t change the feelings of “It is me”. This issue has followed me through all of my relationships. I have a higher sex drive than my partner and I don’t know how to change that or to come to terms with the feelings of loneliness that go with it.

Did you ever experience relationships like this, mom? How did it make you feel if you did? What happened? How did you cope?

I’m told I am sexy. I am beautiful. But I don’t feel those things, mom, and I don’t know how to change that. When I say them, when I say, “I am beautiful” it feels like a lie. That combination of words isn’t one of MY truths. I know my truths shouldn’t be based on another person’s opinion or actions or feelings. It should be based on mine, but in my head when I hear “You’re beautiful” I think, “No. I’m not. I’m just me.”

Just me…

That’s a lot of things, though. I’m “just” amazing and fantastic and compassionate and empathic and logical and emotional and structured and spontaneous and fun and funny and outgoing and reserved. I’m an INFJ and there’s so much that goes into “just me”. I don’t know why having sex less often than what my nervous system wants causes so much strife within myself.

Why does it make me question my self-worth? What does it make me wonder if there’s something I should be doing, or doing differently, or not doing? Why does it make me feel like the problem is within myself?

I don’t know if you would have any insight, but I wish I could talk to you about it. I wish I could hear your voice assuring me that Ox and I will figure it out. He’s so many things that my past relationships haven’t been. Why can’t I let this one thing go?

It made Friday night hard. I had packed a piece of lingerie with me. We were alone. We didn’t have Life breathing down our necks with obligations or responsibilities. Sexy time wasn’t in our cards for that night, though. The lingerie went unworn.

It was hard to not feel unattractive.  While we were outside smoking before going to bed I asked if there was anything I could or should be doing differently.

In the end, I asked if it was like my grief and how it can’t really be explained. Was it similar to how I wish my grief could be something like the memory orbs from Inside Out where I could let someone else hold it and say, “This. This is what I feel.”

Ox said yeah. It was like that. He could try to explain as best he could, but there wasn’t really a way to explain to someone else what it feels like to want to please your partner and not be able to.

I know we’re more than roommates or good friends, but it’s hard to feel or support that fact inside my head. It feels like a big part of the relationship is missing or withering away. We both come home from work. I do chores. He plays video games. We go to sleep. We wake up and repeat.

We ended up sleeping cuddled close together which helped keep the lonely feelings from winning. I still didn’t feel sexy or beautiful, but I didn’t feel alone.

When we woke up we checked out the breakfast bar at the hotel but decided to go to a local diner instead. It was another decent meal of nothing super facey. I had rye toast with a mushroom omelet. I even had some of the hashbrowns. We drove to the race site. Ox helped spray my back down. I wore the top he found for me. I had my new shoes. He was at the start line taking pictures and watching me raise my hand for Nebraska even though I had been giving him shit about still representing Florida.

He was there at the end, mom. He was there when I crossed the finish line covered in mud and he didn’t make me feel bad or weird for doing it. He held my bag and let me have my beer and… goddamnit, he’s awesome and I feel like shit for having such a shallow hang up.

He didn’t have to drive two hours to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes out in the sun surrounded by strangers while I ran a circle. He didn’t have to sit there and worry about me not finishing the race because I hurt myself on an obstacle he couldn’t see or twisted my ankle while running. He didn’t have to go. He didn’t have to give me a partial hug. Hell, a partial hug is more than what Zane would give me when I got home after biking to and from work so he could use my car and all that was was sweat.

Ox didn’t try to stop me from going or try to talk me out of it. He doesn’t make me feel bad for spending as much time at the gym as I do or the nights I’ve spent a majority of our “together” time at the dojo instead of being home. He goes to SCA combat practices with me even though he doesn’t fight. He wakes up at 3:45 on the mornings I work just so we can have a cigarette together before I leave even though it almost always fucks up his sleep. He lets me sleep on the couch when I feel the need to have space. He lets me write. He always says thank you when I do something. Making his lunch. Doing the laundry. The small, trivial, unnoticeable things of everyday life aren’t unnoticeable to him and he acknowledges those actions.

Through our conversations of Friday night, he told me he thinks it might be low testosterone. Having been in relationships where I’ve been told I need to be on medication to “fix” myself, I feel awful about the thought of Ox feeling like he needs to take or do something to “fix” himself.

He’s human, so I can’t say he’s perfect, but the thought that I might be making him feel pressured to do something like taking pills or medication sucks. It didn’t make me feel good when it was done to me, so I don’t want to do it to another person, intentionally or unintentionally.

He said taking supplements is something he wants to try; for me, but for him too. He said he’s noticed other things which could be related to low testosterone. I guess it’s something he’s thought about since before our conversation.

I guess there’s not much else to say in regards to this. I wish I knew your opinion, mom. I wish you could tell me if I’m making mountains out of molehills. I know sex is important, yet at the same time not, yet at the same time is… I wish it wasn’t such a big part of the race but since all of this talking happened the night before, it’s tied into it and so there’s no way I can talk about one without the other. It’s the part that’s unresolved in my head and so it’s the part I need to talk about first.

The conversations I have with Ox always bring us closer. In the end, we agreed that we’re ok. We cuddled close together, his arms wrapped around me, and slept through the night. I woke up rested even though I was in a foreign environment and usually have a hard time sleeping in a bed other than my own. I was with Ox and we were ok so it was ok.

We had a nice breakfast in a cute town. He let me have my day. We drove back to Lincoln and we went to our Mongolian Grill and he let me wear my fuzzy warrior hat inside the whole time along with my medal. He went out in public with me while I was still grimy from the race. He even looked up other events I could still sign up for this summer while we were eating.

He let me be grouchy and sad afterward when my headache from dehydration started setting in and I came down from the high of my race. He let me sleep for hours once we got home.

And today, he’s let me be whatever it is that I am. I’m not as sore as I expected to be. Physically I’m doing pretty well. Emotionally I felt frayed, though. I’ve wanted closeness and contact and I think a lot of that has more to do with the runner’s high than anything. It felt a lot like sub-drop after an intense BDSM scene.

We ended up going to the movies since they have the dream lounge chairs. I was able to sit cross-legged the whole time while we watched the new Jurassic World movie. We were close and touching the whole time. Being out of the house helped. Not being the “responsible one” was nice. I didn’t have to drive. I didn’t have to choose anything. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. All I had to do was be present and watch dinosaurs attack shit. I was able to be low energy and quiet and near him and it was nice.

We were able to stop at GNC before going home so I could have my energy drink in the morning since my stockpile was out. So not only did we get cuddle time with dinosaurs, we were also productive.

You would really like him, mom. He honestly does take really good care of me. We take good care of each other.

I want to run another race before summer ends. I want to meditate more on the sex issue because I do feel like I need to explore that more within myself. I need to figure out why it is such a big deal for me because as much as I don’t want it to be one, it is and I can’t expect others to understand it if I don’t understand it myself. I want to keep training and losing weight. I want to figure out why I have such an issue with the words sexy and beautiful. And I want to figure out what I want.

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I know on the emotional “figuring myself out” level it’s going to be a lot of work. I guess it’s a good place to start, though.

I don’t feel as frayed anymore. I feel more ok with the thought of going to work. I have a battle plan for figuring out some of the stuff that’s bothering me.

Thanks for listening, mom. Maybe next time I’ll be able to gush about the obstacles and which ones I liked and which ones were annoying and about the two runners I met and winning my free water bottle and all of the things that went into making my third Warrior Dash the warm memory that it is.

I love you, forever and for always.

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Musing Moment 114: Inching Closer

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I don’t do well on the days where I go back to sleep after I wake up, and though I know how to fix this, I sort of don’t.

Today is my first day off of four. I have my race on Saturday so I requested Friday off. Thursday, today, is a normal off say and so is Sunday. It’s like a mini-vacation.

Today is also a day where I am truly alone. Papa Ox has a field project he needed to go out for. Mama Ox and Ox are both at work. I don’t have training until 2:30 this afternoon. I have no other obligations unless I’m alive enough to go to the dojo after training for kickboxing, krav, and jitz, in that order.

When I go back to bed after Ox leaves on my days off it’s hard to not feel apathetic. It’s better on the days that I have training earlier in the day. I have a reason to get up. To shower. To eat. I have things I need to do and so there’s a level of motivation I guess that gets me up and moving.

Today I didn’t have that.

I went back to sleep. I woke up again. I had a cup of coffee for the first time in weeks. I had part of my breakfast but not all of it because I wasn’t super hungry.

I pretty much passed out right when I got home yesterday. I’m not nearly as sore, but I’ve also slept for somewhere in the ballpark of 16 hours. Small wonder I’m not really all that hungry. I haven’t done much.

I still really don’t have much motivation for anything. I “could” clean my computer desk, but I really don’t want to. There are clothes that “could” be put away, but again, I’m not really feeling it.

I made myself eat lunch since my trainer would give me shit later today for not eating. Saving myself from future heartache I guess; maybe that’s a mild form of self-preservation. I feel like he’s going to push me pretty hard today since I did so well on Tuesday. We did sled work at the end. My chest hasn’t been that sore in ages. I haven’t had to dig that deep on the emotional side in a while either.

I feel like the times where I have to fight against my grief and the darkness are the times that really matter. When I pushed the sled down the gym the first time I knew I was going to struggle more emotionally than physically. When my trainer turned the sled around and said I only had to do it three more times I wanted to cry.

My Brain: You say it’s “only” three more times. But that’s THREE MORE TIMES. THREE. I’m already fucking burnt. I can’t do three. No. It’s not that I can’t. It’s that I don’t want to do three. What’s the point? Why do three, or two, or even one? What’s the point in doing any of this when mom’s dead? You know, it’s so easy for you to say it’s “only” three. It’s “only” something. It’s so fucking easy for the rest of the world to just keep going like everything is easy and “only” three when just waking up is sometimes the hardest thing to do and then not only do I have to do that, but then I have to get out of bed. And then I have to shower. And then I have to do all of this other bullshit and interact with all these other people and pretend that living isn’t hard and doesn’t feel heavy and hollow and pointless. It’s already “only” fucking hard, ok? I don’t need to do your three. I don’t NEED to do anything because I’ve already done more than you can even imagine just by standing here. I don’t have to prove to you I’m strong. I’m already strong. Being here, standing here, makes me strong. So you know what? Fuck you, Life. No. Seriously. Fuck you and you know what? I’ll do three more just to prove to you that you can’t win. I won’t let you win. I WILL NEVER LET YOU WIN.

The last three pushes were some of the hardest pushes I’ve ever done, more because I was trying to breathe and control the urge to break down into rage-filled tears, though my body was totally ok with not having to push the sled anymore once I was done.

There’s a part of me who likes being pushed to that point. My mental and emotional breaking point I guess. It makes me confront my grief and the harder emotions that lurk in the dark, dusty corners of my mind that get ignored during everyday life.

I had a thought Tuesday as I sat outside recovering from my training.

I wonder if mom hurts, too.

I talk about my wound and what it feels like for her to be dead. I wonder if she hurts from us being apart, too. I wonder if being dead is hard for her because she can’t be here. I wonder if she has her own wound in her chest where she aches for one more phone call. One more hug. One more, “It’s ok”.

I wonder if I’ve been selfish and small and inconsiderate of the other side of the situation. Maybe it sucks just as bad for her as it does for me. Maybe worse since she lost so much more. She lost Jon and Jason and Jace and Lio and her coworkers and her brothers.

I only lost mom. Mom lost everything.

There’s a sick part of my brain that feels a little bit better thinking that mom and I are struggling together. I’m not alone in my hurt. I’m not alone. It sucks for both of us and we’re doing the best we can with what the Universe will let us have.

It sucks that I have to go for now so I can actually shower and get to the gym on time for training where I’ll have to push again when I don’t want to. I don’t know why I do this. I don’t know what I want. Or maybe it’s that I keep forgetting or losing sight of what I want and so it’s easier to say I don’t know what I want rather than to look for it or remember.

I miss you, mom. I miss you so much. I’m going to go to training and I’m going to run my race and I know I’m doing these things for me, but I’m also doing them for you. That’s why I’m able to do three more. Because I tell myself it’s for you. That’s why I get out of bed sometimes. That’s why I eat. Because I told you I would. Sometimes the only reason I’m able to do things is because I say they’re for you and I don’t want to let you down.

Today isn’t a hard day, but I guess with finding the dojo and everything else that I’ve been doing recently, I’m inching closer to… I don’t know what. Closer to something, though. The emotions are there, near the surface. They’re not the raging, chaotic, swirling beast they were in the beginning. They’re calmer now, more settled. They don’t overwhelm me in the same way anymore even though they’re no less powerful.

I don’t understand that foreign aspect of myself any more than I did before I started writing this, mom, but maybe I’m on the right path to understanding it.

I love you. Thanks for being there for me. We’ll get through it together.

Daily Post 097: My New Dojo

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I’m tired. I’m sore. I think I’m fighting off a dehydration headache.

And I’m completely ok with all of it because today was pretty awesome.

I woke up for work like normal. Each morning starts off with me groggily opening up a can of Cotten Candy Bang because that stuff is addictive and I neither need nor want intervention. I showered. I had breakfast, which I don’t know if breakfast is what you can call food at 3 am when you still eat at 7 am… but that’s a tangent for another time.

I got dressed. I had my morning cigarette with Ox. I drove to work. I started setting up the clinic a little early since I was there a little early.

I got a phone call from my boss saying she would be late.

And you know… I think I would have been more not ok with that fact if it hadn’t been for my bike ride on Sunday.

This morning though, I was fine with it. I told her it was cool. I was already setting up. I would see her when she got there. I knew the day might be a little rougher, but I was ok with it. She’s human. We all make mistakes. It wasn’t intentional and we would do our best and we would survive and everything would be ok in the end.

She got to work. We got everyone on the machines at their normal times. It was a smooth day; at least as smooth as it can be in dialysis.

I got to talk to several of my patients about my upcoming race. I got to tell them about my weekend ride. I got to explain that I was going to the dojo after work, which led to conversations about my previous experiences and my “history” as far as the evolution of my combat training, which I don’t know if that’s what it could or should be called but that’s what I’m going with.

It was a decent day. We closed the clinic down pretty quick. They have someone to cover for me on Friday so I don’t have to go in, and it’s a tech who’s worked in the clinic before so I don’t have to worry about the clinic burning down to ashes as much as I was. I’m still waiting for my Concur report to be approved. I still haven’t called to figure out what’s going on with my paycheck. I also still need to finish yet another training course before the end of the month.

Mr. Non-Compliance showed up today for the first time in about a month. It was good to see him again. I got to tell him I had been worried about him and that I was glad he was there. I got to cannulate his fistula for the first time. I might be able to get my NFACT training completed since it is a new fistula and then I’ll be an “expert cannulator” which doesn’t give me a pay increase, but it will look good on my yearly review. I’m accomplishing a lot of things, work-wise, and that’s a good feeling.

Another patient brought a gift bag full of goodies for me and my FA long with a remarkably touching card expressing how grateful she is for everything we do for her. There are a lot of moments that make my job worth it. The “Thank you, ladies,” as my patients leave for the day, able to enjoy whatever it is they’re about to do because they were able to get their treatment. The “Good mornings,” and the stories about how their weekends were. The smiles. The jokes and bantering.

This is the first time I have received a card from one of my patients. It makes all of the crazy days and the stress and the sweat and the walking six miles inside the same room worth it.

After work, I drove home and showered super fast since I only had about 20 minutes to get to the dojo for class. As I sort of mentioned before, I sweat when I’m at work and there’s no way to not do that. I didn’t want to change into my gear for the dojo while still having the grimy feeling from my workday covering me.

Maybe it’s a bit of a ritual in some regards or maybe I’m just really weird… but… I want to start off clean. The gym, the dojo, working on the addition… it doesn’t matter that I’m going to get gross and sweaty. I want to start fresh because it’s a start and in my head there’s some sort of honor tied into it. You don’t show up to important things icky. Training is important to me. I want to be clean when I walk through the doors. I want to be clean when I bow onto the mat for the beginning of class. It didn’t help that this would be my first impression for everyone I met. I wasn’t going to go looking raggedy from work.

Kickboxing was at 5:45. Jiujitsu was at 6:45. Krava Maga was at 7:45.

I only stayed for kickboxing and jiujitsu.

It was pretty awesome. The dojo is smaller, both space wise and population wise, then what I’m used to from Orlando. It still felt homey and welcoming. There was only one other guy with me for kickboxing so it was pretty personalized work.

The instructor is a chick who gave me pretty good advice for my kicks. She was complimentary on my work. It was a moderately intense class and I think most of my soreness comes from that first hour.

I didn’t know if I was going to stay for jiujitsu. I was already tired, but I was there, on the mat. I wasn’t exhausted or overly hungry so there was really no reason for me to not stay, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

The instructor for kickboxing introduced me to the instructor for jiujitsu. It seemed silly to go after that. Jiujitsu is the thing I’ve been missing most. This was my chance to see if the dojo would really be what I’m looking for. The instructors themselves even said that I could stay for as long as I wanted and if I needed to leave it was ok. They were glad to have me.

So I stayed.

We practiced getting out of standing headlocks.

It was pretty awesome. I was paired with two girls who were half of my weight which sort of sucked. I felt like I could break them if I hugged them too tight, let alone have them in a headlock bracing my weight on their back.

When the instructor worked with me one on one it was better because I was able to do the moves with more intention, more force, more strength. He was a better match for me, size-wise, as an opponent, and he didn’t treat me like a delicate flower. He pointed out where I was leaving myself open for counter moves. I think he was surprised at how quickly I picked things up and by the types of questions I asked.

It was a good practice even though we didn’t get to sparring. He said we would make up for it during Thursday’s class so, of course, I really want to make it to Thursday’s class. XD

I didn’t stay for Krav Maga, more because I was hungry and out of water than because I was too tired to, though with having training at 10 am tomorrow, I think leaving was the smart option.

I had already met a lot of new people in a new environment after working a full day at the clinic on very little sleep since sexy time happened last night. No regrets.

It was a good day and I’m glad for all of the moments that happened. I’m taking advantage of the dojo’s offer for a free week at the moment. I would like to check out the other location just to see what it’s like. The north location offers more classes but since it’s further away I don’t think it will be my main dojo.

I have information about the membership. It would be hard to swing it while still paying extra on all of my bills. I could volunteer to work on Saturdays to help maintain / cover the added expense… At least I would know what I’m working for so it would be worth it.

I haven’t gotten that far, but I’m fairly certain that I will be becoming a member of this dojo.

I drove home and showered after my classes, so yes, I’ve showered three times today. I ate. I’m still working on trying to drink more water to fend off the headache.

I’m looking forward to being able to tell my trainer that I got two runs in and a bike ride and two hours at the dojo. I think it will make him happy to hear that I’m going out and doing more on my own and that I’ve found something that I like and that I finally got my bike rack.

I know I’m pleased and content and I guess that’s really the important aspect of it.

I guess that means I have some soul searching to do and some decisions to make in the near future, but for now, I’m going to finish my water and go to bed. If I wake up overly sore tomorrow I plan to go to the gym here in Hickman to do some yoga to loosen up before my session in Beatrice. I also plan to explain if I’m in any sort of pain so my trainer can adjust our session as he sees fit.

I’m less worried about my weigh in on Thursday. I don’t care about the numbers anymore. I think I’ve found my new dojo. Numbers can’t take away the level of ok-ness that adds to my life.

I’m going to skip out on the SCA combat practice tomorrow to try to get to more of the classes at the dojo while they’re free. I want to feel like I belong there and the more I go the more I’ll feel that way.

I’m looking forward to all of it. I’m glad I have this in my life again.

Musing Moments 113: Reflecting On My Ride

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I thought I would be able to just log into Final Fantasy and play my character, but with not having logged in for so long I really should have expected to have to download content first… Lame. :/

So that’s what I’m currently doing while I take a moment to type and reflect on the day.

I was able to go for my bike ride. It was… awesome, yet at the same time not. I went at noon, which means it was super warm and sunny. I loved it, yet at the same time, I know it most likely wasn’t the smartest option for me with having not done a whole lot outside since I’ve moved here.

I biked just under 11 miles; from the trailhead at Saltillo to Hickman Road. I had been hoping to get all the way to Princeton, but I also knew shortly after Roca Road that I wouldn’t be making it that far. At least not there AND back and I most definitely had to be able to make it back because there was no way in hell I was going to call someone and admit defeat.

I was getting down on myself for not being able to make it to Princeton by the time I made it to the overpass. I took a break and a moment to reflect on how I felt I was doing. While I recovered I drank one of my bottles of water and had a Nature Valley bar.

Right Brain: I’ve earned these carbs! Omnomnomnom. :E

When I got back on the bike to head back the way I had come, I was pretty surprised by how much easier it felt. It couldn’t have all been mental. It had to have been more than the break I took and the realization that I was headed home. I seriously think for most of the section from Roca Road to Hickman Road that the trail is at a slight incline because going back was so much easier than going south.

As I was heading back I passed by a couple who were taking their wedding photos. The wife looked amazing in her dress and it made me smile to see their reaction when I said congratulations as I passed.

It was a good ride. I enjoyed being out in the warmth and I liked how away from society it felt. I loved being surrounded by the trees and crossing all of the bridges over the streams.

I’m proud of my ride. Yet at the same time… I don’t know. I didn’t make it to where I wanted to go. My legs were more sore than I had been hoping they would be. I had wanted to do a 20-mile ride, not just a “close to 11” mile ride. I had wanted to do more, but wouldn’t it be more positive to focus on the fact that I went at all, rather than bashing myself for having limits and airing on the side of caution rather than pushing myself too far too fast? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the positive rather than the self-imposed negative? Can we try to do that, Brain?

What were the positives?

Nature. Sun. Music. The kind stranger who stopped while I was taking a break to make sure I didn’t need help. The relative solitude of my ride. The strangers who waved as we passed each other; the unspoken comradery between humans as you acknowledge the other’s existence. The fact that I went. The fact that my bike didn’t fall off my car on the way to or from the trail because I might have been mildly freaking out over that happening. Seeing the happy couple.

See, Brain. Positive shit. More good things happened than not good things so chill with the “It wasn’t a good ride” thoughts.

I’m glad I went. I’m glad I know what the trail feels like going out and coming back. I’m glad that I did it rather than not. I feel like from this point forward I’ll be able to do better each time. Now that it’s not new, I’ll be more ok with pushing myself harder and further.

Currently, I’m not overly sore from the ride though I’m still waiting to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow. I’m still under my carb count even with going to SubWay for lunch after I got back.

The bike rack worked amazingly well and I’m looking forward to trying to make my bike ride a weekly event. I know during winter that most likely won’t be able to happen, so I want to do it as much as I can now. Not this weekend since I have my race and will most likely be dead on Sunday.

I’m nervous about my weigh in at the gym on Thursday. I feel like I am doing a lot more recently. I did my runs on Thursday and Saturday. I did the bike ride today. I’m going to the dojo on Monday…

I’m worried the numbers are still going to be lame. And there’s a part of me who doesn’t understand why that bothers me when I don’t really have a goal in mind to begin with. If I’m not actively striving for something that can be quantified then how can I feel frustrated or saddened when I don’t achieve that quantity?

I don’t have an answer for that and I don’t really think I want to delve too far into it at the moment, to be honest.

I’ve finished all of my cooking for today. I want to make Ox’s lunch before I go to sleep, and it would be nice to start my laundry so it can be dry for tomorrow. I want to pack my gym bag so I can drive straight to the dojo if need be. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to stop at home first, but just in case, I want to have it ready to go and with me.

I think the place I need to start in regards to myself is addressing my health goals. I think once I experience the dojo it will be easier to clarify those things to myself, so I don’t think a whole lot can or should be done right now.

I know one of my goals is to bike all the way to Beatrice. I want to set that goal for the end of summer but I don’t know how realistic that is since I’m not honestly sure how far that would be on the trail. I know by car it’s roughly 30 miles, so I would imagine it would be in that ballpark for the bike.

If I’m already biking close to 11 miles then I’m already 1/3 of the way there. I don’t think biking there and back is a good goal to set, but then I’m not sure. I think I would rather talk to my trainer about that and see what he feels would be realistic. 60 miles seems like a lot. At that point, I would be able to pretty much bike the whole trail all the way to Kansas, which that goal is on my radar. Along with eventually doing a century ride at least once, just to be able to say I can and that I did.

Achievement Unlocked: Spending way too much time on your bike.

That’s along the lines of being able to do 20 pullups… I’m still working on doing one, ok Brain? Can we not take things slow and just get to step one before you plan out the next four billion moves? No? Oh… well… You suck. Thanks.

Anywho. I’m pretty sure the patch is done.

Today was a good day. My ride was a good ride. I’m not as worried about work. I’m not as stressed as I was. And you know what? After writing… All of my ride was a good ride, so screw you, Brain. I did better than I did yesterday. I did better than I’ve done in five months.

I didn’t let the Universe, or you, stop me.

I made this happen. Finally. And I have the pics to prove it. So now I’m off to run around in circles mining lightening crystals so I can level my weaving rather than actually killing monsters or progressing through the game because who needs storyline when you can make things?

 



 

Daily Post 096: Bikes and Races

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I slept like crap last night. I woke up with a headache and feeling like today would suck. Luckily things seem to have turned around. I took migraine pills, so the headache seems to have gone away and the tiredness has burned away the longer I’ve been awake and moving around.

I’ve already talked to Jon for about an hour where I got to bitch about some of the BS going on at work. That was nice. After I got off the phone I realized it was a pretty one-sided conversation, but as Ox pointed out when I started worrying about that fact, Jon calls me all the time to vent, sometimes multiple times a day, so I “shouldn’t” feel bad. I also fully believe that if Jon didn’t want to chat or listen to me, he would say something to that effect.

It was nice to get some of that stuff off my chest and to have someone listen. There isn’t really anything that needs to be fixed, I just want to know that I’m heard and that the mild frustration of day to day existence is understandable.

Yesterday was an extremely nice day even though in the beginning it wasn’t.

Ox and I had made plans Friday evening to work on the addition the following morning. Our plans ended up changing though due to his parents. They want to buy different insulation for the ceiling, so instead of working on the addition, we decided to work on the back porch. That was the game plan as of Friday night, after what felt like hours of back-and-forth. I’m not good with tentative, nebulous stuff. So when something was finally decided, that was sort of my stack in the ground.

Right Brain: Ok. It’s going to be different. But that’s ok. We have a game plan. We’ll be arlight as along as we stick to the game plan.

So Saturday morning, when his parents wanted to sit down again and talk more, I wasn’t ok.

Right Brain: Stop fucking with my game plan! /rage

I sat and brushed all three cats while things continued with the back-and-forth, eating away into the morning as it got hotter and hotter outside.

Inside my head, it turned to, “All of this talking is just that. Talk. Not action. Nothing is going to get decided or accomplished today. It’s just going to be more theory and things are going to stay as they are and no progress is going to be made and this is why projects never get finished because it’s all talk and no actual action to follow through.”

So by noon-ish, when still nothing had been accomplished I was more not ok than when we had first sat down to talk.

Ox and I had plans to go into town for lunch and to run errands, but I didn’t want to do any of the “fun” stuff when no work had been accomplished on the one of two days where things could actually get accomplished.

It’s hard to explain how the situation played out without being there to see all of the non-verbal aspects of the interactions, but essentially he knew I wasn’t ok. I knew he wasn’t ok. He went to the restroom. I went to the room and curled up in bed to sulk in my feelings of frustration and uselessness because none of the projects that need to be worked on are things I can do on my own. I stayed stuck inside of my head for a while, waiting for him to come back so we could go into town, which I didn’t want to do and was worried about because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of my funk to just enjoy our time out together.

When he eventually did come back into the room he was hot and sweaty, so I knew he had been working on something without me. We went outside to have a cigarette, which yes, I’m still smoking, and he asked what was wrong because something was very clearly still wrong with me.

He had been working on the back porch without me. Good to know because otherwise, it would have been concerning to have been in the restroom for that long. But still not ok because I had wanted to help. I don’t want it to be “Hey, go do all of this work. K. Thanks. Bye.”

I want it to be us working on something, spending time together. I want to be part of it. I don’t want it to be an obligation for him to work on one of his few days off while I relax and do nothing. I like working. I like being helpful. I like being a part of the process, the progress. It would be us making memories together so once it’s done we can remember something that we did together. Something we can look back on and smile about a silly joke that was made or the frustrations we overcame or any number of seemingly small things that you don’t realize are important until you reflect back on them and realize it really was actually worth it and made life a little more meaningful.

Sort of like those small moments where you have a cup of coffee with someone. You don’t realize how much it warmed your soul until you’re sitting one day, remembering that time and it makes you smile.

I want things like that with him. I want to feel like I’m part of the house and that I belong here, but it’s hard to feel like that when I’m kept in a box on the side, not allowed to do anything, or invest in anything, while everyone else goes around and gets stuff done. That’s not how I want it to be. I don’t want to be a nagging force harping about stuff and having other people do the work.

That’s how I felt while we sat outside. I nagged and sulked and so he went outside and did something without me just so I could be “happy” only it didn’t make me happy. It made me frustrated because I was denied my memories and warm moments.

He said I wouldn’t have liked helping with what he did. I guess there were a lot of bugs and spiders when he moved the stuff that was piled on the porch. I can’t deny that I would have been a total wuss when it comes to the spiders and I fully accept any shit anyone gives me for that. Spiders are gross and we’re all allowed to have our “one thing”. Spiders are mine, so suck it.

I still felt like crap for not having been there and we talked about it as we drove into town.

A lot of progress was made with the back porch and it’s pretty awesome to see that much space. It just would have been nice to feel like I had done something other than nothing. Maybe this could be a learning moment for me. Instead of getting caught up inside my head, maybe I should have communicated more. Maybe a lot of the icky feelings could have been avoided if I had expressed why it was important to me to work with him beforehand rather than afterward.

I don’t know.

I do know that we’re still ok.

We went to a Greek restaurant for lunch. It was amazing. I had a gyro and totally didn’t feel guilty for eating the pita bread because it was fantastic. I also didn’t eat anything else the rest of the day until around 11 pm that night because there was sooooo much food. My trainer is going to be so frustrated with me for skipping my snacks. #worthIt

After lunch, we went to a bike shop where I finally, FINALLY, got my bike rack. Hooray. The sales associate was extremely helpful. He looked up the different types of racks that would work with my car, explaining the advantages and disadvantages to each along with the prices. Once I had settled on one, which they had in stock, he even helped Ox and I get it attached to my car so we didn’t have to worry about getting home and not being able to figure it out.

I was extremely pleased with the experience and will most likely continue to go to that store as I need work done on the bike, which will hopefully happen now that I can use the bike rather than letting it collect dust like it has been.

I also bought a tire patch kit and a portable tire pump while we were at the shop since Ox wanted me to. It’s sort of sweet how he doesn’t want me to get stranded on my bike in the middle of nowhere.

We stopped at a Sally’s as well so I could pick up hair dye. I like the purple in my hair but it’s not as dark as I would like for it to be. It’s more of a bright purple and I want something closer to a deep violet. So I picked up some blue dye to mix with the purple to hopefully give it a darker hue. It’s what I used to do with Manic Panic. We’ll see if the results turn out the same with this new brand.

From there we went to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I wanted to see about getting a new top for my race Saturday. Less than a week until that happens. Oh god. >.<;

It’s something I’ve thought about since signing up for the race. I want to be able to see my tattoos while I run. With the current compression gear that I have, I can’t. The shirts cover my biceps, which isn’t a bad thing when you’re rolling around on the mats during a no-gi practice. But they aren’t what I want when I’m on the bike or running. I know this is pretty much a trivial issue, but I also know I would mentally feel better if I could find something that fit what I wanted.

The compression gear I wear is stuff I find in the guy section, so that’s where I looked first. They had a sleeveless style, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. I can never find stuff in the girl section so I thought I would be doomed to dissatisfaction. When I stepped out of the changing room, rejected options in hand, Ox was there were two new choices that he had found while he waited.

I didn’t like one of them, but the second option actually turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. And I’m not just saying that because he picked it out. The only downside to the top is that it has a mesh back. I like being covered, so all of the tops I get are solid, but if that’s the only issue with the top then I think it’s as close to perfect as it can be.

I like the thought that even though I’ll be running the race alone, in a way Ox will still be with me. I’ll be wearing “his” shirt. Maybe that’s overly sentimental or INFJy of me, but I like it. It makes that soft, squishy, girly part of my brain happy.

We stopped at Best Buy so he could pick up a new game to play. From there we went grocery shopping before heading home. I stayed within my budget for food so that’s nice. I also found a glass bottle that I really like for mixing my protein shakes in. I haven’t tried it out yet, but in theory, it meets all of my requirements. Today will be the test day since I was still too full from lunch for a shake when we got home.

I spent the remainder of the evening in the kitchen prepping food and doing some of the cooking.

The cauliflower mash I’ve been making turned out pretty awesome this time ’round. I ended up with way more than I need for the week but according to the Internet, it can be frozen, so that’s what I did. I should have enough for my meals next week, which is a nice feeling.

I tried a homemade marinara sauce. That wasn’t exactly a failure, but I can see where I want to try to improve it for next time. The sauce I made last night is another thing which can be frozen, so I plan to use it next week, rather than this week, so attempt number 2 won’t happen for a little bit.

A while ago I found a dry rub mix for venison which is AMAZING. I’ve used it on chicken a few times since then and it goes great on steak, too. Since the venison roast was so good I wanted to see if a beef roast would be similar. So that’s currently what’s in the oven baking. I’ll know in a few hours how that experiment turned out.

So, lots of things are getting figured out food wise.

Oh. Saturday I also increased my run time. That was successful. I stretched pretty well after my run so I’m glad to report minimal soreness.

I got a call back from the dojo. The owner seems extremely nice. We had a fairly lengthy conversation about the different classes. He explained the Krav Maga class to me and their BJJ / MMA stuff. He won’t be at the dojo on Monday, but he said he would let his instructors know I would be coming in so they can get me set up with a free trial week. I’m completely, totally stoked.

There’s still an issue with my paycheck. Surprise surprise, right? I got all of my bills paid along with all of my extra “me” stuff, so I’ll figure that out on Monday. I also submitted the Concur report, so I should be getting that money back in the next few days. Jon will be buying his plane ticket for the trip either Tuesday or Wednesday, so while I have the funds to do that, I’m going to wait to see what he gets before making my own plans.

It’s only 10 am even though it feels later. That might be because I’ve already spent so long talking to Jon. I don’t think there’s much planned today, which I actually feel ok with.

For once, I don’t want to really “do” anything.

I want to go for my bike ride. I want to dye my hair. I want to finish cooking my meals because it makes me feel good about myself to take care of my self. I want to cross stitch more because I’ve actually stitched for the past two days and it hasn’t been painful to hold the fabric in my hands. I want to not worry about who’s covering my shift Friday because that’s not my problem.

Today, I simply want to just be. So that’s what I’m doing to do. I’m just going to be.

 

Daily Post 095: New Dojo, New Shoes

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I’ve been doing better. Writing to mom helped.

I survived the rest of the 3rd. I went to training. I don’t feel I did as well as I could have, but with feeling as emotionally heavy as I did, I think I did alright. I didn’t call out of training so that alone means it’s a win, right? Going was better than not going at all.

My trainer said several times during that session that I was doing well. He isn’t one to compliment unless it’s genuine. He was having me do a lot of new stuff, including new box jump work which was actually pretty fun.

I kept all of my promises to mom that day. I showered. I had at least one meal. And I didn’t stay in bed all day. Each day I do those three things is… I don’t know if “good” is the right word, but they’re… something. I didn’t let her down. I didn’t let myself down. It was a shitty, heavy, hard day, but I did those three things so no matter what, I did alright.

The fourth wasn’t a bad day. I went to work. I got to see my patients. I got to explain that even though it was the fourth I was doing better than Monday. I told one of them about my letter to mom where I got to say good morning to her. She said she had been praying for me and though I’m not Christian, her words and kindness mean a lot to me.

I actually looked into more dojos in the area on Tuesday. I’ve been feeling… weird after work. I know weird isn’t really the word I want to use but I also don’t know how to explain the sensations. There doesn’t seem to be a word that really works or encompasses everything that I feel.

It’s a mix of angst and unsettledness. I want to DO something but I don’t know what to do. I feel frustrated because there’s this feeling of not being able to do anything which makes me feel trapped or confined within my skin. I don’t want to cross stitch. I don’t want to game. I don’t want to be inside curled up in bed though that’s what I usually end up doing.

I also don’t want to be very far away from Ox when I’m home. Being near him is comforting and helps the sandpapery, confined feelings.

I’ve really wanted to spar recently. In my head, that’s what feels like would help with whatever it is that I’m feeling. I want to fight and push against someone else. I want to struggle and expel all of this energy even though I know I’m already tired from work. I’m tired but not tired enough I guess.

I’ve found a dojo where they offer taekwondo, karate, jiujitsu, krav maga, MMA, kickboxing, and on certain Saturdays, yoga.

It seems like what I’m looking for. Their classes are late enough for me to get to even on the worst days I work. I’m extremely interested in attending a krav maga class.

I tried calling on Tuesday but I never got a call back. I figured I wouldn’t with it being so close to the holiday. Lincoln does a firework show on the third anyway. I didn’t get a call back on the fourth, which I expected as well.

That left me to deal with the sandpapery feelings with no release again on the fourth. I didn’t want to be outside because everyone was shooting off fireworks but I didn’t want to sit inside doing nothing either. So frustrating.

I tried working on stuff around the house but that didn’t help. I eventually gave up and crawled into bed next to Ox as he gamed and fell asleep.

I need a project. Something I’m in control of. Something that I can make progress on. Working on stuff is relaxing to me. Being constructive. Accomplishing things… It makes me feel good about myself.

I don’t think I really have anything like that at the moment which might be why I feel so tangled right now.

Anyway, I went to training today and I did much better than the last two times. I wasn’t overly sore like I was last Thursday and I wasn’t as emotionally raw as I was on Tuesday. I felt ready for today.

I did well. I’m doing more reps at a higher weight than when I started. Since Thursdays are my “test” days, I also weighed in. I’m down .3 in fat and up .3 in muscle.

I’ve been under 2000 calories for the past week. I can’t lie, I was disappointed in my numbers. I thought there would be more of a change than that. It bothered me to the point that I actually talked to my trainer about it before I left.

He said sometimes it takes the body a little bit to catch up with changes. He was pleased that my numbers are still moving in the right direction. He’s pleased with my calorie intake and the overall nutrition that I’m getting.

Me: So is this one of those moments where I should stay the course and not get discouraged?

He said yes, so that’s where I’m at with that. So far my Evil Voice hasn’t said much though I can feel it lurking at the edges of my mind, waiting for a chance to exploit a weakness like my tiredness or grief.

I drove home and plucked away at chores for a while. I unloaded, loaded, and ran the dishwasher. I put the clean clothes away while doing another two loads; one for Ox and another of my own stuff. I cleaned and organized some of the kitchen drawers since we finally got the insides of them painted with the polyurethane this past weekend.

I tried calling the dojo again to see about their classes and got a new message saying that they would be closed for the holiday week and would resume classes on Monday, the 9th.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

All I want to do is beat people up. Is that so much to ask of? ;-;

Ok. All joking aside. I don’t want to “beat people up”. I want to push myself. I want to learn new things. I want that level of peace again. I don’t know what it is about combat that does it for me. Maybe it’s because it tears down everything meanless and leaves you bear to yourself. You can’t hide when you’re on the mat. You can’t be lost in thought. You have to be fully present and in tune with yourself. You have to calculate your limits. You have to focus on your breathing. You have to be aware of when and how you shift your weight. You have to be aware of not only your force but the force and energy from your opponent.

I miss it. I want it back. And I guess I can’t have it until Monday.

That’s ok though. While I was on the phone bitching to Jon about how not fair it was, because yes, it’s totally unfair of the Universe to finally reveal what may very well become my new dojo to me, only to have me wait a week before actually being able to go… my new Vibrams where delivered.

Fine, Universe. If I can’t spar to the point of exhaustion and get arm-barred by black belts then I’ll go for a run instead.

┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ)

It was actually probably my best run so far. I ran at a faster pace for all of my run intervals and recovered completely during my rest intervals. I made it to the end of my run without feeling dead or without really any type of “I pushed too hard” type of pain. The new shoes felt a little odd at first, but I think they just need a few runs to get broken in. I like them better than the ones I currently have which is good since I plan to run in the new ones on the 14th.

After running I rowed for a bit to get some arm and back work in. This is after already doing personal training. Don’t mind me while I feel like a mild badass at the moment. I stretched pretty well afterward since that may be one of the reasons I was so sore last Tuesday.

Ox and I met in town for dinner. While I was waiting for him to get off work I canceled the YMCA membership. I’ll still be able to work with my trainer since that’s a different fee that’s already been paid, but now I can feel less lame for spending money on something I wasn’t really using.

We’re currently back home winding down for the evening. I might try to wake up early to run again. 2 am is pretty early though… so I don’t know. We’ll see how rested I feel. If I wake up before my alarm goes off like I have been doing lately, then maybe.

I guess that’s about it.

I still need to get in touch with myself, but I think reaching out to mom was a good step in that direction.

I want to get the bike rack this weekend along with my plane ticket to visit my brothers. I want to get a hotel room for the night before my race so I don’t have to drive two hours the day of to get there only to turn around and drive two hours back. I want to look into the dojo, too, because I really, truly believe I need something like that back in my life.

It feels like I’ve been crying a lot recently but maybe I needed that, too. I feel better for it. Cleaner. Clearer. I feel closer to Ox for the conversations we’ve had and the times he’s held me.

I’m glad tomorrow is Friday and that I have another two days off in a row after it. I’m glad that the days at work have been going smoothly for the most part. Each day still has its own thing which “doesn’t go right” but overall they have been alright days.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes. For now, I think I’m actually going to go cross stitch because I do have a new pattern I want to work on, but I can’t start it until I finish my current one. Lame. >.<;

Letters to Mom 019: Good Morning

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Hey mom,

I don’t have a lot of time and I’m sorry for that. I went back to sleep after Ox left for work and have stayed in bed for longer than I should have if I wanted to have more time to write.

I talked to Jon for a little bit just now. I know it would make you happy to know we’re getting along better than we ever did while you were alive. I know it would make you feel like you had done something right to know that we love each other as much as we do and that we support each other as much as we are. We’re there for each other and I think, in the end, that’s all you ever wanted for us to learn.

The past few days have been hard. I’ve been missing you a lot and I don’t know why. I know it’s almost the fourth and so that means it will be two years and three months since you died. I know that a lot of people think it’s unhealthy to count that way and to be so aware of the numbers like that. But when I have to write the date, everyday, on everything I open at work, when I write the date at the top of my to-do list everyday, when I’m so hyper-aware of what date it actually is in relation to when you died… it’s hard to not be conscious of it; to not know. At the moment my brain processes the information in that way and I don’t know how to make it not do that, just like I don’t know how to not breathe or blink or how to make my heart stop beating on its own, firing off electrical impulses to move my blood through my body. I don’t know how to make my muscles not use energy.

I don’t know how to make my body not do all of these automatic functions, and knowing how many days it’s been since I last held your hand is one of those automatic functions now. Maybe that will change with time, but so far it hasn’t and it’s one of the things I live with; this constant knowing, constant counting, constant ticking further and further away from that day.

I miss you a lot. It hurts and I don’t know how to explain to anyone what it feels like. I know it’s pain. I know it’s in my chest. I know I can feel the edges of this wound. It feels circular. I know it doesn’t pierce all the way through to my back but I don’t know how far in it goes. It feels deep. It feels like it reaches into something past my self, into something that is no longer physical; a part of myself that can’t be seen or touched. I know it feels like it’s on the inside and that it’s under the surface of my skin; beneath the bones of my rib cage. It’s higher up in my chest, sort of below my collar bones. I know it feels like the edges are trying to close rather than growing bigger. I know it feels like spasms when I do feel the pain of missing you, like the muscles around this invisible, untouchable wound are twitching, contracting. It makes my shoulders hunch inward. It makes it hard to breathe. It makes silent tears run down my face and I have no control over them. I can’t hide them or stop them any more than I can stop anything else. They’re an automatic response to the pain just like the short shallow breathes I have to force myself to take to get through the aching twitching spasms in my chest where something used to be.

The pain makes everything feel heavy. The pain makes me feel injured because even though I can’t see it or show it to anyone, even though it seems like it’s not there, there is a wound and I am injured and when I hurt the most I wonder if I’ll ever heal at all.

Ox tried to hug me after one particular episode of Violet Evergarden and I pulled away because I knew his hug would be too much. It would hurt too much because I felt my wound more than ever and accepting the hug would acknowledge it; would acknowledge the pain that has no cure. It would admit that I’m lonely and that I miss you and that I hurt in ways that I try so hard to hide and work through on my own.

That hug would have meant it’s all real. Your death. My pain. The invisible wound that connects us… It’s all real and I can’t hide it.

I love you, mom. I never knew or understood how much until you died and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for all the times I was selfish and didn’t do the things you asked me to. For not taking care of the dishes or cleaning the litter boxes. I’m sorry for all the times you asked for my help and I didn’t only to turn around and ask something of you and for you to selflessly give your time and energy.

I know I wasn’t an awful child. I know that you’re proud of me and that you feel you raised me right. I feel like you did, too. I feel like I’m the person I am because you were, because you are, my mother. I’m grateful for having had as much time with you as I did.

The past few days have been hard and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that with the kids being gone and me not working overtime as much as I was, I finally have the time and space to address the wound that I haven’t given much time to.

I think there’s still a lot I need to address in regards to your death. I don’t really agree with the stages of grief but I also don’t have anything else to express what I’m going through. I feel like, on the inside, there is more anger now than in the previous years. I know that I do feel regret now even though I try not to.

I regret that Ox will never be able to meet you. I regret that you’ll never be able to play Cards Against Humanity with him. I regret that you won’t be able to banter with him because his sense of humor totally fits our family. I regret that I am with someone I know you would be proud of and that he’s the one person you’ll never be able to meet face to face.

It sucks and I’m angry about it even though I don’t want to be angry. I fight and try so hard not to be and that most likely makes it all that much harder.

I’ve fought for so long, mom. Ever since you died. And now I don’t have to. I don’t have to fight to pay rent. I don’t have to fight to get to the gym. I don’t have to fight through the exhaustion of work.

I don’t know how to not fight. I don’t know how to not have things be a struggle and I guess that’s part of learning how to live this new life that I’ve moved to. I guess it makes it harder, feeling like I can’t call or ask for advice on how to do this.

How do I be a parent, mom? How do I be happy? How do I love someone after everything I’ve been through? How do I stop fighting and let people get close again?

Did I make life easier or harder for you when dad left? Did I give you purpose, a reason, to get out of bed on the mornings you didn’t want to? Did I make life feel heavy and like an overwhelming burden on the days that were hard? Did I help you after Mawmaw died? How did you get through those days? When did you cry? Did you every scream because it hurt so much to not have her anymore?

Did you ever feel like giving up?

Why can’t you be here to answer all of these questions? Why can’t you come back? Why did you have to leave? Why? Was it a choice? Did you know how everything would turn out? Is there some major thing in the distant future where it will all make sense and I’ll understand why and that the pain was worth it and things really are and were ok?

I wish I could hear you say those words one more time. I wish you could tell me “It’s ok,” just once more. I promise I would believe them. I promise I would cherish them.

Hate that I need to go for now. I hate that I have training at the gym at 10. I hope I do better than Thursday. I hope I don’t break down during my training and yell about how it sucks and it’s unfair and what’s the point and how no one understands because how can they? They weren’t, aren’t, your daughter. No one but me will know what it feels like to be me in the wake of your death. And in a way, I think I’m ok with that. It makes me feel privileged. It makes me feel honored.

I’m ok with being your only daughter. I’m ok because I’m YOUR daughter. Even if you had had another one she still wouldn’t have been me.

I don’t know. I didn’t know what I wanted to write when I started this.

I guess… I guess I just wanted to say good morning, mom, and that I love you and that I miss you and that I’m going to try to make today a day. I hope you’re doing ok. I hope that you don’t worry too much about me. I hope that I’m making smart choices and that even if I am giving you more gray hair that it makes you smile because at least it’s me doing it.

I love you. Forever and for always.