Daily Post 038: These Seem To Be Turning Into Weekly Posts…

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I guess now’s a good a time as any to write. It’s almost 10 pm. I “should” have been asleep a few hours ago since I wake up at 3 am for work, but eh… I’ll be ok. I would rather do this. It’s better to do it rather than toss and turn in bed all night thinking about writing.

I don’t remember the last thing I wrote about, to be honest. I suppose I could go back and read my last post. I’m pretty sure I mentioned the concert with Big Bad. I don’t think I talked much about it. That was the last time I’ve seen him. Conflicting schedules suck.

The concert was a lot of fun. I think we both needed the break from reality. I drove there, roughly two hours, through what seemed like never ending rain. Big Bad drove back which was unbelievably nice. I tend to get headaches when I have to drive at night. Instead, I got to rest and actually slept part of the way back.

So I’m going on two weeks of not seeing him. During those two weeks, his mom was hospitalized. I don’t know much as far as details go. I know she was discharged so everything must be relatively ok. I know Big Bad is worried about her living alone. I’m not sure if that’s going to change in the near future or not. I’m sure it’s something we’ll talk about when we see each other again, which thankfully should be soon.

I am scheduled off on Tuesday so we have plans to spend Monday evening together. Our schedules finally line up to have a weekend off together so we may try to make plans for Friday night / Saturday. I’m not sure yet, but it would be unbelievably nice to see him twice in one week again.

It’s something I talked about in therapy today. I finally scheduled another session. It’s been close to two months. I mentioned during the session how I probably should have scheduled one sooner with how I’ve been feeling lately. It was nice to have a session where I felt ok for once though, rather than an emotional ball of sadness and grief.

I mentioned my sickness and my trip to the ER and how it was hard being there. How it reminded me of the surgery floor and waiting with mom for her to be taken back. I talked about how I had to have a CT scan done and how I finally knew what it felt like for mom to be in the room by herself inside of the machine and to have to wait for test results. I know what it’s like to be a patient and to be pushed around in a bed and wheelchair.

It sucked having to go through those emotions, but in a way, I’m glad I did.

My therapist mentioned at the end that she can tell there’s been a lot of growth within me during these past two months of my training. She asked if I understood that my grief and the sadness will continue to come in waves. I said I did, but this was the first time where it seemed to stay. It wasn’t as fierce as before, but it seemed to last longer. Like a calm sea that stretched on for forever. Nothing was really wrong, but there wasn’t an end. No change. No reprieve. Just this constant sadness and apathy that made everything feel pointless.

I explained how it was comforting to be out of it because it showed me that even if that state, those feelings, last for a while, they will eventually change. I’ll go back to being ok even though I’m not really “un-ok” when I’m sad. It’s just a different state and I guess a natural one I’ll have to swing through from time to time now that mom’s gone.

I don’t really know what else to write about.

I’ve been feeling better recently. Monday was more mind-numbing power point slides. I survived. That was the last day as far as lecture material goes. Woohoo.

Tuesday was a fantastic day. I had three patients on my own. I initiated and terminated their treatments by myself AND handled all of the documentation within the timeframe I was given. Go me. Totally improved by leaps and bounds compared to last week where I was able to do the treatments but couldn’t keep up with the documentation.

Theoretically, if I had a fourth patient, like what I’ll have once I’m on my own, I would have been able to handle it with the time I had. That’s reassuring. It means even though I’m still a little nervous and could be doing better in the confidence department, that I really am doing well and that I really do “got this”.

I was supposed to work Wednesday but opted to trade days so I’ve had Wednesday and Thursday, today, off. It’s been a glorious two days. I think I needed these days. I needed the time to step back and breathe and exist without obligations for a little while.

I did absolutely nothing on Wednesday and yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. I woke up at six, didn’t get out of bed until 10. Had some coffee. Napped on the couch. Took a shower. Napped again. Ended up getting dinner with Nicole, Marc, and Des. Came back home. Went to sleep.

Absolutely perfect.

I most likely needed all of the sleep since I’m still pushing pretty hard in the gym department. Add to the fact that every day I work is now a cardio day with how much I move around. It was nice to have two days off in a row so I could take one day to be a complete and total “rest” day.

Today has been productive. I got all of my book work done. Once again it was off the clock, but I’m ok with it. I would rather be on the floor with patients while I’m at work rather than sitting in front of a computer. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Roughly two hours for the online training and book work. I went and got a pair of nursing shoes finally. It’s been on my to-do list for a while. I got a pair of scrubs while I was at the store since mine still haven’t come in yet. I’ve decided that these will be my Saturday scrubs.

I would say it’s a secret, but since I’m putting it out there for the whole of anyone to read I guess it’s not all that secret… There’s a pretty big push to wear the companies scrubs, but since no one from administration is around on the weekends I’m going to wear the scrubs I just dropped $60 on. They’re super amazingly comfortable. They’re essentially workout clothes. Stretchy, comfy, moves with you, breathable material. I love them and I haven’t even worked in them yet. Totally can’t wait for Saturday. I want to try them out so bad.

Same with the shoes. I haven’t worked in them yet, but from walking around the store I’m pretty sure I’ll like them more than my sneakers. I felt like my heels had more support. I also got better, more cushioned socks. We’ll see if there’s a marked difference tomorrow. I think there will be.

I’m also thinking about wearing my Fitbit to work so I can see just how intense my days are. Do I get to count how much I walk in a day as a workout? Is that cheating? I feel like it should count so I can’t be called a slacker when I’m tired and don’t want to go to the gym or train.

I’m supposed to have lunch with Jon on Sunday. Afterward we’re going to go kayaking again. I’m looking forward to it. I think getting some sun and having some family time will be a nice way to rest up from the next two work days and to destress before my test on Monday.

Which, by the way, I have my certification test on Monday. The rest of next week is my final week of training, and then I’m off on my own, a certified PCT for DaVita.

The thought of my training ending doesn’t terrify me as much as it did three weeks ago. Especially after how well I handled Tuesday, I feel like over the next five-ish work days that I’ll get a good feel for my own flow. I know I won’t be the best PCT on the floor, but I’ll be competent enough to not drown, and I know my teammates will help me when I need it.

So yeah, one more week and then I get a dollar increase.

I talked about the schedule with my supervisor and asked how it would be handled. He couldn’t promise me a super consistent schedule but he did say if there was a particular day I wanted off that he could try to work with that. After talking to Big Bad we’re going to see if I can have Tuesdays off. That would allow us to have Monday evening together since I wouldn’t have to wake up at 2 or 3 am to get to work.

I was nervous about bringing the subject up with him. I didn’t want it to feel like I was forcing him to give up his Monday evening. I know it’s really sucked for both of us, though, not having a set day where we know we’ll be able to see each other. It was reassuring to hear his support for requesting Tuesday as my off day. I guess I’m still sort of insecure and vulnerable feeling when it comes to the emotional stuff. It’s nice to have the reassurance that it’s not all one-sided nonsense inside of my head.

I haven’t seen my blacksmith since the 8th but I know he and I are still ok. He had family matters which kept him from coming over last week, and this week I’ve needed the alone time to regroup.

I think that’s about it.

Been killing it at the gym even though it doesn’t feel like it. I did a spin class today which has my inner thighs hating on me. I did way more “climbing” than I’ve ever done though, even in the spin classes I was taking at the YMCA. These classes feel way more intense. The first one I went to was last Thursday. Totally kicked my ass and my feet, but that’s because I wore my Vibrams. Not the best shoes for those classes. The peddles on those bikes are sort of weird on top of that. Just not a good combination in my book.

I wore my sneakers this time ’round and it went way better. We’ll see how I keep doing I suppose. It’s hard to find consistent classes to go to with my wonderfully inconsistent schedule, which is why it feels like I’ve done “nothing”.

I’m glad I have my calendar to tell me that, no, actually, I really do need a rest day or I’ll regret it.

Tomorrow is kickboxing. Saturday is yoga. Sunday is kayaking. Monday is conditioning at the gym. Tuesday will most likely be a rest day with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Maybe laundry. Most likely sweeping because dog fur sucks. We can throw in vacuuming, too, because dog fur doesn’t stay on just the tile. Blarg.

It should be a pretty decent day, though. And it should start off fantastically. A nice warm cup of coffee with Big Bad.

I’m very much looking forward to it despite all of the adulting I’ll need to get done. It’s my light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe that’s helped with the sadness and apathy lifting. I know I’ve made it through the hardest part. A lot of the people in my life have made it through the hard parts. Warren started his new job this week. Big Bad applied for a new position and may be switching to something he’s more interested in. My blacksmith is no longer having to work doubles every day because his company was able to hire more people.

It’s a good feeling. A stable feeling. I’m glad I’m feeling it rather than the coldness, the aloneness, that I was.

I’ll try to be better about writing.

Thanks for being patient with me.

Daily Post 035: Kidney Stones VS Childbirth

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I’m not going to apologize for my life. I’m not going to apologize for not writing. I’m not going to apologize for spending money or for playing video games. I’m not going to apologize for being sick or frustrated or tired.

I still don’t feel much at the moment even though the depression and apathy I have been feeling for the past several weeks seem to be easing their grip.

Big Bad and I finally got to spend an evening together. I don’t know when we’ll be able to see each other again. Maybe not until the weekend after next. We enjoyed our time together we both slept well. In the morning, he went to the gym, letting me sleep in, though I did wake up when he text me to let me know he would be back. I replied with my own message to which he replied, “Go back to sleep :p ”

Our exchange made me smile as I snuggled deeper into the blankets and his scent. It made me feel like I belonged which was extremely nice after feeling so alone for so long. We finally were able to share coffee together again. We got to talk about the things going on in our lives which included my trip to the ER.

I had a kidney stone Friday morning. That sucked. Like, literally was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, level of suck which I feel is saying a lot for how hard I play with my partners as a masochist. I was in so much pain I threw up and couldn’t walk. Warren took me to the ER since of course this happened at 1 am and all of the urgent care clinics were closed. FML.

And to make it even better, on the way to the ER the pain faded. By the time we got checked in and I saw someone I was still dazed and fuzzy from the intensity of the pain, but I could walk again, and I could answer all of their questions though I was sort of slow on some of them.

They put an IV in my arm in case the pain came back I and needed medication. I had blood work drawn which included a pregnancy test. Good news. I’m not pregnant. Big Bad was also appreciative of that result. I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

Everything was inconclusive.

The doctor, an extremely nice lady, said given my symptoms and description they believed it was a kidney stone that was too small to show up on the scan.

While I was waiting in between all of my poking and prodding I consulted the wise and mighty Google, asking it what the causes of kidney stones could be.

Basically, it’s one of those, “if you breathe you might get one” sort of things… dehydration could cause it, too much protein in your diet can cause it, being sick can cause it, genetics can cause it. Most adults will experience at least one kidney stone in their life. I’m totally ok with having this off of my to-do list because when I say it sucked and was the worst pain I have ever experienced, it’s not a joke or exaggeration. According to the Internet, kidney stones are worse than childbirth. There’s some food for thought.

I think what happened is the stone formed due to my sinus infection or as a result of the antibiotic I took to fend off the ear infections because of the sinus infection.

Whatever the cause, I’m seriously done with this being sick thing.

On an unrelated note… Big Bad and I said the L word to each other. Actually, we typed it to each other since we were exchanging emails but as introverts, we both count it as “saying” it. Maybe “admitting” would be a better word to use.

I don’t think it will ever be commonplace for us to say it to each other. Not for a while at least. I think we’re both still skittish about things like that due to our past experiences, but we’re both happy we’ve addressed it. I know, at least for myself, when my friend asked me how I felt about telling him I love him I replied with “vulnerable”. I’m pretty sure he’s in a similar boat.

Yes. We love each other. That doesn’t change anything or require anything more or less from either of us. We like how things are. I’m glad that if anything were to happen to me, or to him, that we’ve had the exchange we did. Neither one of us will leave having doubt about the other person’s feelings. That means a lot to me.

I don’t like thinking that I might die and not get a chance to say the things I want to say to the people I care about. It makes me feel like I’m not living my life the way I should be living it. Fully, completely, every day. When I hold back from saying something I’m assuming I’ll have tomorrow, which isn’t true. Nothing guarantees me more time so I want to say and do the things I want to while I can rather than later because there might not be a later.

I finally said what I’ve been holding onto for months. It’s relieving. I’m glad I was able to say it and that we’re still ok.

Work is going well. I was going through overwhelmed feelings, but that’s eased up a little bit. Since I had to miss work Friday due to the kidney stone I’m going to be at my clinic all week next week. No mind numbing power point lecture for me. Woohoo.

Hey, Universe… just for the record… I would have rather sat through the power point than experience pain worse than childbirth… You know… in case you were wondering…

In other news, I have a new gym membership. I know… I seem to be going through them like candy. I feel a need to write this out so I can straighten it out in my own mind.

Because of the work schedule I have now, I can’t make it to classes at the boxing club like I was, so even though I enjoy my membership and I love the instructors, it’s not getting used and won’t be renewed. I’m actually going to talk to them about ending the contract, which that will require more writing about later.

I wasn’t using the YouFit, and the only reason I had that one was because it was $10 a month with no contract and let me run inside while it was cold due to winter. There really wasn’t much else going for it which is why I canceled it as soon as it started warming up.

I still have the dojo membership and I will be keeping this regardless of my schedule. It sort of sucks right now though. I can’t really make it to the classes, not without totally fucking over my sleep schedule, which is why I’ve switched over to doing private lessons twice a week. I’m mostly focusing on conditioning and technique, which I’ve already noticed some pretty serious results, so I’m not complaining too much about the switch. I do need to acknowledge my ache from not being able to spar with my dojo family at the moment. So while, yes, technically I am there, I’m still missing a large part of what it means to be at the dojo. At least for me. It’s a temporary change, but it still aches.

I do miss going to the YMCA like I was when I worked at Full Sail. I stopped attending that because I lost the benefit through work, but mostly because they tore the building down to rebuild it. I would possibly entertain the idea of going back except with my new schedule, even if the building was done, which it won’t be until next year, I would have the same issue as the boxing club. I work too early to workout before work and the classes in the evening are too late for me to do them after work.

So that brings in this gym. 24 Hour Fitness. Warren is actually the one who told me about it since he just got a membership there.

They’re open 24 hours, which is instantly a plus. They have saunas and showers. Already sold.

In addition to having those three of my requirements, they have a nifty system with their studio room. They offer classes during certain hours, but on “off” hours there’s a TV. You’re able to search for different types of classes, combat body, yoga, step class, strength building, whatever. You can select that class and do it on your own by following the instructor on the TV. They’re also working on getting punching bags because that’s a huge request from the gym members, including myself.

There’s a facility within biking distance of my apartment, and walking distance from work, though I would most likely drive, and you get access to all facilities with your membership; no having to pay an extra fee or more expensive membership to get that perk.

I’ve gone to the gym since Wednesday. Thursday I ran for the first time in what feels like forever. I’ve shaved two minutes off my run time. I didn’t hurt during or after my run. I was breathing extremely well through it, too. I’ve had a quiet empty space to do yoga every time I’ve gone, and once I’m done I get to sit in the sauna and relax, doing my dragon thing and basking and in general not giving a fuck about anything going on in Life because Life can’t touch me while I’m surrounded by the heat and warmth. For those 15 minutes, Life doesn’t matter. My run time doesn’t matter. Work doesn’t matter. Rent doesn’t matter.

It’s my 15 minutes of silence and I’m glad I have it back. I think it’s helped.

I still ache in my chest from my grief. I can still feel it. A heaviness. A tenderness that I don’t want to touch or deal with. Sort of like when a cut is infected. It hurts so you don’t want to do anything with it, but until you scrub out the infection and clean the wound it’s not going to get better. The pain has to get worse before it gets better.

I think that’s where I’m at right now. I think I need to do some meditation or further writing to figure out why I’ve hurt so much recently.

I think there’s a lot of factors for it. Not seeing my blacksmith or Big Bad for so long led me to feel disconnected. Being so severely sick didn’t help anything. There’s still stress regarding the apartment. There’s stress from work. Until recently there was also the reduction of workout time, which for me feels like a punishment; like I’m having to give up a part of myself.

I talked to my brother Thursday afternoon as I was leaving work. I needed to talk to someone. I needed someone who would understand why I was sad and crying and I needed to know that I could cry and still be loved I guess. That I wasn’t weak or broken.

I told him that all of my coworkers constantly tell me that I’m doing well. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive. I told him that I appreciated their words and that they really do mean a lot to me, but that I still felt like a failure because I wanted to hear mom tell me those things. I wanted to know mom believed in me and supported me. I told him that I started trash talking myself in my head, saying that I would never get this and that I should quit, but that I stopped myself because I can’t do that to myself anymore. Mom isn’t here to counter the Evil Voice. I usually don’t let it get very far anyway, but I CAN’T let it erode my confidence away. Mom’s not here to clean up my scrapped knees anymore.

I remembered something on the way home after the conversation with my brother. It was a situation from a while ago. I had been packing up my stuff at the apartment I shared with Zane. At the moment I was working on taking down the cards my mom had sent me. I always kept them taped up around my corkboard so I was taking the tape off of them and putting them away in a box. These were my last words from my mom. I couldn’t get rid of them.

I wasn’t really reading them, but I was looking at them. There was one, a gray and white picture of a baby duck on a board looking down into a large bowl of water.

I picked up the card and pulled the tape off of it, just like I had all the others. When I set it down the card fell open and on the inside was the phrase, “I believe in you”.

I remember I bawled my eyes out as I sat on the floor. And I cried again in my car as I remembered that event because that day all I had wanted was to feel like my mom believed in me and that I was doing the right thing. She’s always believed in me. I have to remember that even though I can’t hear those words the same way anymore.

I know my mom is proud. I used to pass out at the sight of paper cuts and here I am doing dialysis. Go me. Fuck yeah, I’m a badass, and even though I know that about myself I still wish she were still physically here to see it and to say those things to me. And I guess that’s why everything hurts so much right now.

So many things have been happening and I still long for that physical connection. Her hug, her voice, her existence.

I’ve been doing well. This past month will be known as “The Dark Age of 2017” since I’ve survived the plague that’s tried to kill me eight million different ways.

Today is 14 months. One year and two months since her death.

Today has been a decent day. I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again with my younger brother. We spend most of the day running my character through dungeons. I cooked all of my food for the coming week. I even cleaned the apartment.

Internally I’m still heavy though. There wasn’t really happiness today. There hasn’t been for a while. There’s something more real and less fleeting than happiness instead. I don’t think it’s contentment or acceptance. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very flat, calm. It wasn’t a hard or heavy day and in my tired state of mind, I’m glad for that.

Tomorrow I wake up early to go to the gym before work. I work until 3 pm. Afterward, I have training at the dojo. Then I go home, shower, eat, and go to sleep. Maybe I’ll play on the computer for a little bit depending on how tired I am.

I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like doing much, but despite that, I’ve done a lot and I’ve been hanging in there. I may not be ok. I may not be doing ok. But I’m surviving, and I still want to survive. I want that to count towards something. Like a solid baseline maybe. It’s not positive or negative. Getting through everything I have been contending with goes into strengthing my foundation.

None of this has been as hard as the weeks leading up to or after mom’s death, but a lot of this shit HAS been hard and I still got it all taken care of.

That counts.

Daily Post 016: A Very Real Morning

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I want to write before I go to sleep.

Monday was good. Surprisingly good.

I had my first phlebotomy class. I love my instructor. She’s amazing.

We started going over information. There’s going to be a lot of it. A lot of abbreviations I’m going to have to memorize like SST, CMP, BMP, ANA, and at least two pages worth of others. All of them are different types of tests and I have to know not only what the abbreviation stands for, but what color tube is used, what’s the additive in the tube, what department usually wants that tube, and how many times I need to invert (shake) the tube before sending it off, along with knowing the steps to the procedure, what equipment is required for the procedure, what veins I’m allowed to use, what to do if those veins are off limits due to surgeries, what the standard needles are, their color association, and what I’m allowed to do if those needles aren’t viable options…

Yeah… that puddle of goo feeling inside of my skull isn’t going to go away anytime soon, but I love it. I think I’m going to really enjoy this class.

I got to watch the “older” students practice on each other. It was nifty.

After class, I came home and got ready for my interview. Sunday evening I actually drove out to the human resource center and figured out where I was supposed to park my car and what building I would be going to. It made the trip out there Monday less scary. I at least knew where I was going.

The HR secretary was super nice. We chatted for a bit while I waited to be called back. The HR lady who interviewed me was nice, though a bit distant. I think she warmed up to me a bit more towards the end. I’m sure she sees tons of people. Hopefully, I made a good impression.

At the end, she said that she would call over to the Transportation Department and see if anyone was available over there to interview me. She had me wait in the lobby again while she did that.

The subject of my purple hair came up. It would be against dress code policy since only normal hair colors are allowed. I explained my purpose for having purple hair and how it’s important to me. I said I would understand if I had to dye my hair back to a normal color, but that it would hurt on a spiritual level to have to do that. I asked if a compromise could be made, such as wearing a head covering.

She said she would look into it for me.

When she came back down to the lobby she said I would be able to continue my interview with the department supervisor. We walked over to the department and along the way she explained different things about the hospital, the cafeteria and such. It was pretty cool.

The hospital is huge, by the way. The Orlando campus, the one I would be at, is the “flagship” for Florida Hospital. It’s essentially three in one.

Anywho, the interview with the department supervisor went well I think. I feel like she was more personable than the HR lady. When I asked her how long she had been with the hospital she said four years. She started as a transporter, became a dispatcher, and is now a supervisor. In four years. That’s pretty awesome. She seemed young, too. I think younger than me.

I was honest about not knowing what I really wanted to do as far as the future goes, but that I was hoping to gain exposure through this position, that it worked amazingly well with my class schedule, and that I was hoping to stay for six months up to a year.

I asked if the department had a high turnover rate, which it does, pretty much for the same reason I’m hoping to get in. Med students use patient transporting as an entry level position to “get in” and as they progress in their studies they move to more relevant areas for their goals.

I mentioned how much I liked my EKG class and how telemetry interested me. Now that I’m doing phlebotomy I may entertain that idea more seriously as well.

I got to see the system for how they handle transport requests. It was fascinating and I think she liked that I was genuinely interested in it. She also liked my resume layout so I got to talk about how while I was working at Full Sail I was in the Faculty Scholarship Program for Digital Arts and Design. I got to talk about how I’ve made custom D&D sheets and other forms. I got to talk about a lot of the projects I did at Full Sail including Project Breakroom and my 3D Blitz event.

At the end of the interview, she said I would know within the week if I got the job offer or not. Since I didn’t hear anything back today I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow. I’m trying to keep the mindset of, “I don’t have a job” rather than getting my hopes up. I would rather be pleasantly surprised versus soul-crushingly disappointed.

I was pretty brain dead after almost two hours worth of interviewing. I hadn’t expected it to be so much.

I’m glad I did it, though. If I got one interview I can get another.

I didn’t get a chance to study at all yesterday. By the time the interview was done I didn’t have it in me to push my brain further. I didn’t do any of the cooking I had wanted to do, and I didn’t go to the dojo.

Instead, I went to Big Bad’s. We talked and cuddled. I guess his arms are still sore from our wrestling on Saturday.

This morning was a bit different.

We were having our cup of coffee together. Somehow we got onto the subject of my EKG class and the board test. I told him how I feel when I look at EKG strips now. I said I can look at one and tell that the person is having a heart attack. I can look at it and say, “This person is dying,” or, “This person is most likely having chest pain and a hard time breathing,” or, “this heart is very weak so they most likely feel tired.”

I can look at what seems like a scribble on a piece of paper and in a way, know the person. That squiggle line is someone’s life. That knowledge, understanding and seeing what that squiggle line means, does something to my heart chakra. It aches when I can see that there’s a problem. This person is sick. This person, who most likely has a family and loved ones and hopes and dreams, in this moment, in this squiggle line, their heart is dying.

I told him that it did something to know the behind the scenes story of what was going on when the code STEMI was called on mom the night before she died. I said that I finally understood what STEMI meant. ST Elevated Myocardial Infraction. It’s a precursor to a heart attack. I know what an elevated ST segment looks like now. I know what it means. I know that there was a person in a room watching my mom’s heart monitor who saw that change and called the code to make sure mom didn’t die.

I understand what the EKG tech who came to her room was doing now. I understand why the cardio doctor was called to come look at the reading.

I ended up talking a lot about the night before mom died. I explained how I was alone at the hospital when the code was called and how the only thing I could think of was how the rapid response team was going to take mom back to ICU and that we were going to go back to wondering if she was going to die or not. I explained how later, after all of the chaos of the code call had settled down how the nurse had come in to check on mom. I explained how when we had pulled the sheet back how mom and been covered in blood because of the scab breaking on her incision and the heparin not allowing a clot to form properly.

I told him how I had felt, knowing I had been sitting there holding her hand and thinking that she could have bled out in front of me and I would have never known. I told him how when my brothers had gotten to the hospital how I didn’t tell them about the blood. I told them that mom had a rough night, that a code had been called but the doctor said she was fine. I told them she would most likely be tired and sleep most of the day since she hadn’t been able to sleep much during the night.

I told him how when I had hugged her goodbye I knew that would be the last hug. I knew. There was that feeling of, “This is final.” I told him how I had wanted so badly to turn around before I left the room, how I had wanted to go back for one more hug, but that I didn’t, I couldn’t, because if I had it would have been showing my brothers that it was over. It would have been admitting defeat and I couldn’t do that to them, to us.

I think mom knew, too. I think she had that feeling, too. We both always had “feelings”.

Tears were running down my cheeks by the time I stopped talking. They had been almost from the start. It was silent for a little bit. I finally said that I didn’t know what else to say.

Big Bad stood up and wrapped his arms around me and held me while I cried. Not just silent tears, or ignored tears while I kept talking. I held onto to him, my head against his shoulder and actually cried.

I could tell he was crying, too. I could hear it as he fought not to.

We stayed like that for a while.

I hadn’t meant to go back to that memory. I don’t know why or really how our morning evolved to me sharing that moment. I’ve written about it. I’ve “talked” about it, but the only time I’ve ever really “gone back”, fully gone back to it, was when I talked about it in therapy and that was months ago. Almost a year ago.

When we finally parted Big Bad said he was sorry I had to relive that moment. I said something along the lines of that I wasn’t. The more I go back the less power it has over me. The more I can accept that moment as reality. Those emotions, those events happened. They have a lot to do with who I am as a person.

They’re part of a very painful chapter for me, but they’re an important chapter to me. Maybe THE most important chapter for me at the moment. I cherish it. I hold it close to my chest because it’s one of the last things I have of my mom.

I said it was like my rape. The more I confront that situation, the less fear I have over it. The less weak I feel. The less overwhelming the emotions are because they’re not bottled up or festering. The more I go back the more I understand those situations are in my past and not in my present.

I said one of the things I had asked myself during my year of mourning was would I go back and love my mom less if it meant I would hurt less now? I got to explain how my answer was no. My pain lets me know that what I had with my mom, the love we had for each other, was real and significant. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. Not a single birthday, not one trip to the grocery store where I teasingly walked on the back of her heels just to be annoying.

I accept my pain even though sometimes I still don’t understand how to breathe around it, function with. In a way, I love my pain because it’s there because of the love I have for my mom.

It was a very real start to the day. Not that any of the other mornings we’ve had were fake…

I don’t know how to explain it or if it’s even possible to really put into words.

I laid a very deep part of myself bare this morning and in the end, I was still given a hug and a kiss goodbye as if I were the same person I had been before my story and that meant a lot to me. I wasn’t suddenly different or broken or something to be kept at arm’s length. I showed this very real, very raw scar that will never go away, never heal, and I was given a hug and tears of compassion.

Co-suffering.

He held me while I cried and it didn’t damage us. At first, I was going to say “it didn’t change us” but I think it has changed us in one of those deep, subconscious sort of ways.

How many people in my life do I co-cry with? How many does he co-cry with?

I know for me, it’s not many. I can most likely count them on one hand. I’m sure for him it’s even fewer.

It means a lot that Big Bad is one of them for me. I hope this means that when things become overwhelming for him he knows that I’ll be there for him just as much as he’s been here for me.

The rest of the day has gone well. I’ve been low energy, but I think that has to do with waking up at 3 am along with the emotional release of telling my story.

Class was fun. I got to do all five of my capillary sticks today. I didn’t pass out from working with blood. In fact, it was fascinating. Tomorrow we start doing venipunctures on the mannequin arm.

The instructor said she specifically wants me to practice in the morning and then if I feel up to it, try doing a live stick in the afternoon. I can tell she’s pushing me more than the other “new” students. She knows I did well on the EKG test and she said she’s happy I’m in her class. She knows the bullet point story about mom; how she was in the hospital and died and how that is my motivating factor for entering the medical field.

My instructor was a Registered Nurse for 28 years. I feel like she sees something in me and wants to help it flourish. She offered to write a letter of recommendation if I needed it for my interview. My previous professor for my CNA class saw me during lunch today and offered to let me stick him if I needed a vein to meet my quota. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t just randomly offer his viens to every student. It makes me feel trusted and mildly intimidated since I haven’t done anything aside from capillary sticks and that’s only five of them, and all of those happened not even 24 hours ago…

I feel undeserving of that level of trust, but a part of me knows he wouldn’t have offered if he didn’t think I could do it.

I’m grateful for the support this school has given me.

I was a “victim” for one of the older students during the afternoon. That didn’t go so well. My median cubital veins are pretty deep so I’m an easier stick on the side of my arm in the cephalic vein. The girl tried on my right arm but wasn’t able to get it. When she tried on my left arm it super seriously hurt.

Not like, “ow, that’s a needle” type of hurt.

I mean, “holy shit, ow, that’s not normal pain, get that fucking metal spike of death out of my arm” type of pain.

It sucked. My arm still hurts. I can feel it down into my elbow. I’m not sure what happened since I know she didn’t stab straight down into my joint the way it feels, but fuck did it not feel good.

I almost passed out from it, but I didn’t. Go me. Totally going to keep being proud of myself every time I see blood or take a needle and stay conscious.

Because of the icky woozy feeling though the rest of my day has been sort of on the blah side.

I went to my sports bar and started making new flash cards. I ate, which was nice. That helped a bit with the icky feeling.

I came home and thought about the rest of my day and what I wanted to do with it. I thought about going to the dojo with how I felt. I decided I would take a nap. If I woke up with time to go then I would, otherwise I wouldn’t. I’ve done a lot in the past 5 days. I feel like I deserve to take it easy and to be kind to myself.

So when I woke up at 7 I decided that today would be another “off” day. That’s two days in a row of no dojo. I hope tomorrow I’m more rested, in every sense of the word, so I’m able to go.

I did finally do some of the cooking. I prepped the hearts for the recipe I want to try. That was pretty cool. I made my spinach and chicken couscous. I think next time I buy couscous I’m going to try to get pearl couscous since that’s the kind I’m used to.

I cleaned the kitchen then ate dinner. I brushed Scarlet and got a second cat off of her, and now I’m here writing.

I’m glad I wrote. It’s later than I had originally wanted, but I feel better for having written and processed through all of those events. I’m glad none of it is going to be lost or forgotten.

I’m glad I had the morning I did. I’m grateful for the support and love I have in my life.

Letters to Mom 013: Jiu Jitsu White Belt – First Stripe

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I received my first stripe in Jiu Jitsu tonight at my dojo.

This is the post I wrote on Facebook . 


This is me being an INFJ and writing an emotional post and giving absolutely zero fucks about writing it.

This is for you, mom.

This is my grief in its entirety.

This is my rage, my pain, and my weakness. This is my anguish, my fear, and my abandonment. This is my strength, my honor, and my pride. This is my humility, my gratitude, and my forgiveness.

And in the end, after everything else is spent and has had its time, pouring from my fingertips into the keyboard in front of me, this will be my acceptance and peace.

This is for the past year, mom. This is for everything that has happened since March 23rd, 2016.

This is for the first phone call with Jason where I heard him say the doctors didn’t think you would make it. This is for the four hours of sitting on the plane silently begging the Universe to let you still be there when I landed. This is for holding your hand for two weeks and being your “water fairy”. This is for every night I had the best worst sleep in my life while I stayed at the hospital with you.

This is for the last time I held your hand as I called the funeral home and told them I didn’t know what to do.

This is for flying back to South Carolina with your urn in my backpack. This is for the TSA guy who handed it back to me with his solum, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

This is for dad because he didn’t have to come to your service. He didn’t have to be there for me and Jon, but he was.

This is for dealing with Zane’s betrayal.

This is for telling Full Sail to go fuck itself and resigning.

This is to society’s oppressive mentality of thinking I wasn’t good enough whenever I said I was unemployed.

This is for the past year of learning how to live without you, mom.

This is for every phone conversation I haven’t been able to have with you. For every hug I wish I could give you. For every night I cried myself to sleep. For every morning I didn’t understand how to get out of bed.

This. This night. This single stripe of tape wrapped around a sweat soaked piece of cloth. This is for you.

This is my proof to you that I’ve survived. This is my way to show that I have honored the promise I made to you while I held your cold hand that final time and told you I would be strong. That I would keep going even though I didn’t know how.

This is for every time I screamed in my car. This is for every time I questioned why or how or what’s the point. This is for every time I wanted to give up and didn’t.

It seems so silly to the logical side of my brain. It’s just a piece of tape. But it’s so much more than that, mom.

I know you’re proud of me. I know you would be overjoyed that I achieved this. I know there are two sides to everything. It’s so minor and yet it’s so major. Simple and yet complex. It’s seemingly nothing, and yet, at the same time, it’s everything.

It’s the blood, sweat, and tears. It’s the fractured rib I fought to breathe around. It’s the bruises and the mat burn. It’s me drop kicking that voice of Self Doubt that I still struggle with sometimes in the face.

This is for every person who has supported me, both knowing and unknowing, through the hardest year of my life.

This is for my pseudo-family at the dojo. This is for every single person on my Facebook. For every person on my blog.

This single white piece of tape is my symbol of survival through all of it. Through everything mentioned and unmentioned.

This is my way of telling Life it can go fuck itself if it thinks I’m going to go down without a fight.

I WILL keep going. This IS NOT my end.

This, all of this, is for you mom.

I’m me because you lived. I’m me because you died. I’m your daughter, now and forever, and I will ALWAYS do my best to bring you honor.

You were the best person in my life. My best friend, my confidant, my mentor, my supporter. You were my mother and your death taught me just how much that word meant to me. You ARE my mother and not even death can change that.

Your final words to me, “I’ll love you forever and for always.”

I love you too, mom. I will love you forever and for always, too.

This is for you. This is for everything you ever did for me, and for everything you continue to do.

Thank you for raising me. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself. Thank you for being you. But above all of that, beneath every action and goal and dream, at the foundation of who I am, thank you for being my mother.

This is for you, mom. This is for us.

Photo Mar 08, 9 51 25 PM

Musing Moment 106: Post-Race

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

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DO ET!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh… and pics… because it happened.

 

Letters to Mom 011: A Conversation About Nothing

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

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

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

Yeah… weird shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I guess I need to revise my job requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Everything was gone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I still don’t know.

My answer is still, “Because you died.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

Daily Post 004: Learning How to Girl and Deflecting with Humor

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Today has been a day. And it’s not over yet. It’s only 6 pm. There’s still tons of “day” left. Right now I’m tired, heavy, which is annoying for how well the rest of the day has gone.

I stayed with Big Bad last night. Trust me. It’s not as sexy as it sounds. Mostly due to my body hating me. I still feel awkward when I have to say things like, “By the way, we can’t have sexy time because I’m on my cycle.”

Maybe that’s because most guys seem to have issues with healthy, functioning females. I can’t really blame them, though. I mean… come on… from a survival standpoint, would you trust something that could bleed for seven days and not die?

All joking aside I didn’t want to send a text message admitting that yeah… I’m actually still a girl and even on birth control I still have that one week where I’m out of commission for fun time every so often. He’s been ok with me coming over in the past. Actually, Big Bad makes me feel normal and unjudged and accepted. Even without the sex we still hang out and have fun playing video games or cuddling, or whatever it is we do to enjoy our time together.

I don’t know why I still get nervous about it, but I do. I was less anxious last night than the first time I had to bring up the subject, so maybe I’ll eventually get to the point where it’s a non-issue, but last night was not that night.

Me: Can we still spend time together?
Big Bad: I suppose.

In my heart of hearts, I knew it was a joke. In my head I could hear the playful tone he would have used had we been talking face to face. I know in the eight-ish months we’ve been together he has yet to do anything to even hint at being mean, rude, or malicious towards me. I feel like he goes out of his way to make sure emotionally I feel cared for and safe.

Irrational Right Brain: He hates you. You’re an awful person for going through something you have legitimately no control over. Feel shameful and as if you are unworthy!

Fuck you, Brain. Like, for real, can you not for once just chill the fuck out?

I was silent for a while, though from a technical standpoint text messages are always silent… I didn’t know how to reply. I couldn’t think of something cute and witty. I was hurt even though I knew it was silly to feel that way. I knew my reaction was a result of past sensitivities, but knowing all of that didn’t make the emotions go away.

As I sat thinking about how to respond Big Bad sent another message.

Big Bad: I didn’t give you permission to have your period. I’m really going to have to beat your ass now.

And instantly things were ok again. It was a silly, playful, outrageous comment that had me laughing out loud because it was so ridiculous.

Me: If I could kick my own ass I would. Stupid body being a cock block.

So, I still went over to his house. We still wrestled. He still kicked my ass and choked me out with my own arm because he’s lame. We talked. We cuddled. It was actually the first time I’ve showered at his place.

When we woke up this morning we did a strength training workout video. Body Beast I think it what it was called. We both had a lot of fun with it. While we were having our coffee we actually talked about scheduling morning strength workouts. So Tuesday and Friday mornings are our strength days since he always has those mornings free.

We talked about how it would be nice to stretch afterward, which brought up my yogadownload.com membership. I’m supposed to look into flows I think would be good to do after our workout as a way to cool down and stretch out our muscles.

Overall it was awesome and a fantastic way to end the evening / start the morning.

When I got home I changed then hopped on my bike. I went to the gym and ran. Shaved a few more seconds off my time. Woohoo.

It was the first run in my new compression pants, which the shopping adventure of yesterday is a whole story in and of itself.

I had originally gone to Target at the suggestion of the Internet, but I didn’t see anything I really liked. Not enough to spend money on anyway. I tried going to Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they’re crazy expensive and I didn’t feel like spending that much money on something when I wasn’t really supposed to be spending money in the first place.

I was on my way to test my luck at Walmart when I realized I was hungry, which sucked because I was out and about with no food on me. I stopped at Arby’s for lunch and while I was there I realized I was in front of a Ross.

What the heck? Might as well check it out, right? Since I’m here and everything.

Well… best idea ever. I found a style of compression pants that I super liked and instead of paying $48 for them I only had to pay $13.

Cue shopping adventure where I go to four different Ross stores trying to find more pairs. So now I have six in total. Enough to get me through the week with a rest day.

I was super pleased that instead of the XL I thought I would need I was down to an L. That’s right, who’s a sexy badass? Me, while I’m standing alone in a changing room and not in front of a whole bunch of people because introverts would rather hide under rocks than be the center of attention. At least this introvert would rather hide under rocks. But yeah, sexy badass when alone or typing to the Internet. /flex

And thrifty.

Did I mention thrifty?

Sexy, thrifty badass.

I also happened to stop at a Lane Bryant yesterday. I wasn’t finding anything good in the way of sports bras. I figured I could get sized to see what I actually should be wearing and see if they had anything that would work since they have an athletic section.

That was an eye-opening experience. I guess I’ve lost two inches and have either gone up two cup sizes, or I’ve been in the wrong size for the past… four-ish years? Not sure. A long time, though.

I originally got two sports bras while I was at the store but later that night I was thinking about the size discrepancy of what I should be in versus what I’m currently wearing. I decided the workout tops I have are still fine so it would be a better investment to return the sports bras and get a set of regular everyday bras instead.

So, that’s what I did after biking back home from my run. I showered then headed out to return my purchase.

The sales associate I talked to today was super kind and actually explained all of the different styles and helped me expand on my girl knowledge. I really feel like all of the things she told me today were things I should have learned in high school or even middle shool as simply, “This is how you human,” information. I mean… maybe my mom “should” have told me. And maybe way back in the day she did and I just don’t remember it, but honestly, all of it was useful information that actually impacted my life in a positive way.

So currently I have what basically feels like heaven woven into fabric wrapped around my chest. Not even exaggerating.

With the shopping adventure finally at its two-day conclusion I decided to go to my sports bar for lunch. I had thought I would work while I was there, but that didn’t go according to plan. The inauguration speech was taking place. I sat and listened.

I didn’t like either candidate and I don’t have a problem admitting that. I do hope that Trump does well and that he makes smart choices because regardless of how I feel about him, he’s leading the country now. By wanting him to do poorly, or wishing him ill, I’m wishing the country ill and I don’t want that. I do want changes to be made. I’m just hoping they’re the “right” changes for the right reasons.

I was able to meal plan a bit, but the volume was so loud for the speech that I wasn’t really able to focus on anything else, like the design work I had been hoping to do. I was pretty tired anyway, so instead, I paid for my lunch then went home. I had scheduled a vet visit for Scarlet for 5 pm before I had gone out. With so much time before the appointment, I decided to nap.

I woke up feeling pretty good. I puttered around for a little bit then put Scarlet in her carrier and went to the vet.

It was hard being there. I didn’t want to be there. Scarlet didn’t want to be there. Being there is admitting there’s a problem and I don’t want there to be a problem. I want her to be healthy, and happy, and to always be there even though I know that’s now how life works.

I had the same vet I had the last time I took her to be seen. I’m glad I had her. We talked about how Scarlet’s walking as worsened. We talked about a few other behavioral things I’ve noticed.

We’re having lab work done. It won’t be in until tomorrow.

We talked about the quality of life and what the best option would be depending on what the labs show. I know one of the possible outcomes may be that she’s suffering and that ending her suffering would be humane and merciful rather than prolonging her pain simply because I’m too selfish to say goodbye.

I wish I could ask Scarlet what she wants. She’s essentially a 90-year-old human. She’s my little old lady. All I can do is observe how it seems like she can barely walk. How she doesn’t move unless she has to. How she seems to have issues with the litter box now.

It breaks my heart to see. It hurts to know that she’s aged and that even without human intervention, her time is limited. But, if she had the choice, what would she want?

I can’t ask that. I can’t know. And so I’m left waiting. I should know tomorrow, but tomorrow is so far away.

I know there’s not enough information to go on. I know that I should just breathe and wait and see what happens. It’s going to be a long night, though.

It’s going to be rough going to dance class tomorrow and then the dojo for Muay Thai and waiting, the whole time knowing that I’m supposed to be getting a phone call, and knowing that one of the outcomes could be that the “higher” road would be to be humane.

Big Bad and I have actually been talking a bit since I got back from the vet. I told him about the visit. He asked what my thoughts were and I deflected with humor. I know that’s what I do. I can have super deep conversations with people. In fact, I love having quality conversations. But when it’s about my emotions, when it’s about me hurting I try to deflect away from it.

Right Brain: So here’s this deep dark confession about fear and OH LOOK A DISTRACTION! : D

I still feel like I have to be ok for everyone else. I have to hold it together even though right now I want to be held and to cry even though I don’t even know if there’s a reason to cry. Everything might be fine and it’s just old age and arthritis.

I don’t want her to suffer. I don’t want to lose her. She’s been my companion for seventeen-ish years now. Over half my life. She’s been through so many of my life events with me.

It sucks. And until tomorrow I won’t know. So tonight I’m going to cuddle with her and enjoy the time I do have because just like with everything else, all we have is this moment.