Daily Post 104: Last Day

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Fourth day in a row. It would be nice to think that I could keep this habit when I get home. Writing. Processing. Having time and space to do it. I wasn’t making it a priority while I was in Nebraska though and so I’m worried it will fall to the wayside again when I get back. I can’t deny the fact that I’ve felt better for all of the writing I’ve been able to do while I’m here.

It’s 7:30 am. I’ve been up for a while. Jace is about to leave for school. I’ll be gone before he gets back. I don’t know when I’ll be able to come visit again so it sort of sucks.

We played Geek Out last night. It’s an alright game. I think it would have been more fun to play while having a few drinks, but it wasn’t bad. Zombicide was definitely better.

I wrote out a do-to list for Thursday before I fell asleep. There’s a shopping list too but a lot of the stuff on it I need to check. I don’t know what has been used or gone bad while I’ve been gone.

Ideally, I’ll stay awake when Ox goes to work tomorrow. I’ll do the shopping early, before the gym, and the cooking after. I don’t want to do a weigh in at the gym for two weeks. One week to get back into my routine, and then one week to actually make progress, though I don’t think I’ve done all that horrible eating wise while I’ve been gone.

I might stop in at the clinic on my way home Thursday just to make sure things are set the way I want for Friday morning.

I’ve been thinking about the LPN thing. I might aim for next semester at the earliest, which will let me continue to pick up over time in the meantime, which will let me pay off the car faster. At the moment I’m on track to have it paid off early next year. Sooner would be nicer. It would make funding schooling easier. I still have to factor the dojo membership into my budget, so maybe that’s something else I can add to the to-do list… mess with numbers.

I don’t really have much of anything else to write about. No hiking adventures this visit. No trips to the gun range to see who’s better; Army or Air Force. Just a lot of staying at home and regrouping.

I’m going to miss being here, but I’m also ready to be back home. I want what has become my room. I want my car, my gym, my stores. I want my Ox to hug me and tell me that things are ok and that I’m doing well because hearing his voice matters.

We have the kids this coming weekend. It’s two weeks earlier than we thought we would. All I can think is that I’ll figure it out. I’ve survived all of the times they’ve been over so far. I can keep surviving I hope. The thought of an extended stay is unappealing, especially after being away from home for so long.

I don’t know. But yeah… I’ll figure it out.

For now, I’m going to go shower and pack and format my Surface. This is the last post I’ll be writing on it. This marks another moment of moving on and growing and evolving and changing and for whatever reason, it sucks.

I’ve already said goodbye to Jace while I was writing. I’ll be saying goodbye to my sister in law and my brothers in a few hours. I’m saying goodbye to this object and the moments I shared with it.

I’m going home. I guess it would be easier if it didn’t feel like I was losing everything all over again.

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Musing Moment 116: Nebraska Goals

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Twice in one day. Three days in a row… whaaaaaat?

Currently, we’re waiting for the lasagna to finish cooking. My nephew has a friend over and they’re in the living room playing Fortnight so I’m hiding in the guest room. I’ve been doing a bunch of nothing all day other than thinking and mindlessly playing Bejeweled. I’m still trying to get platinum on the Diamond Mine artifact badge. So much annoying. /sigh

Anyway. I’ve been thinking… I want to add talking to my therapist to my list of goals. I want to reach out to her by the end of the week. I think that would be something healthy for me to do.

Ox has suggested it a few times and each time I think about talking to her I’m nearly brought to tears at the feeling of safety and security I feel at the thought of hearing her voice again. At the same time, I feel like I don’t have anything to talk about and a conversation with her would be unproductive; a waste of her time.

What am I going to say? “I miss mom. I’m sad. I don’t get alone time. Work sort of sucks.” I don’t feel like I have anything constructive to say. I don’t have an issue that I can identify other than a lack of purpose to my life and the only one who can find purpose for me is me, so what good would a conversation do?

I’m not sure if that’s really changed, but I do want to tell her that I’m becoming more serious about my school goals. I want to talk to her after I start the research process so I have things to talk about on that front. I want to be able to say, “I’ve identified these obstacles,” or, “I’ve taken these steps and am waiting for this process to complete.”

I’ve also been reading more posts about grief and the importance of setting goals in the grieving process since goal setting is something I’ve been struggling with. I don’t think it’s because I’m stuck or not moving forward. I think everyone, everything, moves at its own pace and this is how long it’s taken me to get to where I’m at.

I’m not sure I ever clearly had a life purpose while mom was alive. I think I was just starting to figure that out for myself when life shattered and shifted and changed irrevocably.

 

I loved teaching. I loved making mom proud. I loved proving that I was worth all of the time and energy she put into raising me. I loved feeling like I brought her honor. And then suddenly she was gone so what was the point of doing anything? What IS the point? Why keep going when everything hurts so much emotionally?

I guess while I’m in the waves of grief it’s hard to remember that I can still do those things. I can still bring her honor. In fact, probably the biggest way I can honor her now that she’s dead is to keep living life in such a way that I DO honor her and her memory. Mom can keep living through me and through my actions.

Doing nothing is sort of a shitty legacy to leave behind. It’s not what I want to be remembered for. I want to keep touching lives because every life I touch is subsequently one that mom also touches. They may not know it or be aware of it, but because I was influenced by mom, they, in turn, are also influenced by her, and thus her ripples continue.

One of the posts I read talks about three phases in the healing process.

Accepting the death of a loved one.

Finding purpose in life after their death.

Learning to continue your bond with your loved one.

I think that I’ve accepted mom’s death. I think being in the hospital with her, having her ashes with me, helps with that acceptance. I don’t deny that she’s dead. I hurt over it. I’m sad over it. I’m angry over it. But I never deny or hide from the fact that my mom is, in fact, dead. It just sucks when it feels like situations in life poke at that wound; the one I want left alone and not fucked with constantly. I’m glaring at you, Universe. >.>

So… phase one I think I can put a check mark by, since I’m a to-do list nut and I need a checklist so I can feel like I’ve done something with my life and time…

I’ve been in this issue with having a purpose, though, and so I think the second part is what I really need to figure out.

I switched over to the medical field to try to help with this issue. I save lives. If I’m not there then my patients suffer. I NEED to get up and go to work in the morning, even if I don’t want to, because my role in life IS important.

My life does have purpose even if I feel like it doesn’t and I’ve set myself up for that fact to be true. It’s not just pretty words. I’m not just some cog that can be replaced or gotten on without. I’m needed and on the hard days that fact gives me whatever it is that I need to get up and to actually take care of my work life rather than to allow myself to sink into the void that is within myself. I can’t call out. I can’t not show. I have to be there, which means I have to get up, which means it doesn’t matter how much I hurt. I’m important. I’m needed. I can’t allow myself to break down and not function.

While I do feel like my life has purpose when it comes to work, these feelings haven’t translated over very well into my personal life. It doesn’t help me feel motivated or determined or strong or needed on my days off.

So, I guess personal purpose is where I really need to focus my attention. And I guess for right now the best I can come up with is I live life to bring mom honor. That statement feels true to me.

My younger brother says he keeps going for me and Jason and Jace. I’m not sure why my other brother does, but I’m sure Jace and Lio are pretty up there on the list.

I keep going for mom.

I can’t bring her honor if I don’t keep going. If I end or give up or stop trying then this is the most I’ll ever be able to do for her and in my head, that’s not right. This isn’t where it’s supposed to end, so I won’t let it. I’m not ready to stop being her champion and singing her praises and telling her stories.

I don’t know how to continue my bond with mom. It’s something that I’m still trying to figure out. Writing I think is and will always be an important aspect of our relationship. I think writing to her is something that would benefit me to foster more. I think becoming a stronger caregiver would be another way to bond with her, which is why I still think the LPN / RN course is the one to take.

I still like the idea of holistic nursing as well as potentially being a nursing instructor. I think both of those avenues could bring me a level of contentment and peace that I would be ok with. I don’t like saying that I would be happy because I know I’ll always feel her absence and that her death has changed the way things feel. I think I could learn to enjoy living life, though. I think I could learn to accept that things are different but they can still be ok.

So as far as what I need to do when I get back to Nebraska…

Figure out the LPN program
Stop being emo and actually take care of myself
Talk with my therapist

I think I can manage those things. At least it feels like I can do them from where I’m sitting right now, on the bed, cross-legged, writing what will most likely be my last post on my Surface before going home tomorrow.

The real test and trial will come with being back in Nebraska. I know and understand what I’m going back to. This is my life. It’s my choice to make it what I want, or not. It’s my effort and time and energy and determination that is needed for things to change for me. It’s up to me to figure out my purpose and it’s up to me to remember it when things get dark and cold and lonely.

It’s up to me to remember that I’m not alone even though mom is dead. She still loves me and I still love her and we’ll figure out and get through this change together even if we’re not physically together.

So… with that inspiring note, I’m off to go do my last night of family time.

Daily Post 102: Day Two in Vegas

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Second day in a row. Go me.

I fell asleep pretty early last night. I fell asleep without saying goodnight to anyone, without taking my contacts out, which thankfully I’m far away in Vegas and cannot be represented by Ox for. At least not yet. Hugs and kisses, Ox. : D

I feel a little guilty for that; for falling asleep without saying goodnight, not for the contacts though I should because I know Ox dislikes it when I fall asleep with them in. Saying goodnight is important to me. What if you never wake up in the morning? What if you never get to say your last “I love you”?

There’s not a way to go back to last night and to make myself get up after my phone call with Ox, though. I can’t replace that missing “goodnight” to my brother and sister in law. All I can do is move forward with today and so far it’s been a nice day.

I wasn’t given shit for falling asleep. All of the guilt I have felt has been purely my own. So that has made the morning easier.

Jason and I went out for hibachi last night. It was a decent meal, though I don’t feel it was worth the expense. I’ve had better for cheaper so I feel bad that he spent that much money. But then I have an issue with people spending money on me regardless of how much it is. It was still nice to get out, just the two of us. There wasn’t super deep or heavy conversation. We haven’t talked about mom at all, not that I was expecting or hoping to. We’ve talked a lot of about Jace and how things have gone for the past year and a half. We talked a bit about Lio and her plans for the next little bit. We’ve talked about my move and how work has gone and what I’ve been up to / would like to do in the near-ish future.

It’s been… nice… though I’m not sure if that’s the right word. It hasn’t been negative. It’s made me realize how much has happened to me, for me, in such a short amount of time. It’s made me realize how well I have been doing on my own, which was part of the point of moving away from Orlando. To prove to myself that I could do it. That I could relocate and stand on my own and figure out the problems I was faced with and etch out a spot for myself in the world.

At at the same time, I realize I didn’t do it on my own. Ox helped researching moving companies and prices. He drove with me to Nebraska so I wouldn’t have to make the trip alone. He and his parents have given me a place to stay and have let me have the freedom to make the choices I’ve wanted to in regards to my work, my hobbies, my time, my money. They’ve been supportive and accepting and helped make the move and transition to this new chapter, this new venture, possible.

Talking about my life with my sister in law and brother makes me realize I’m grateful and humbled and that no man is an island.

I read a bedtime story to Jace last night. He asked to me. I was prepared for my mother’s picture on his dresser this time. I read the whole book without having to fit back tears. I tucked him in and gave him a hug and kiss goodnight. We also played the Zombicide tutorial quest. It was fun and I think as we continue to play it more and get used to the game mechanics that we’ll have more fun with it.

Jon is having a hell of a time getting here. His flight out of Daytona was delayed so he wasn’t able to get to Charlette in time to make his connecting flight. He has had to hang out in the airport for nine hours since that would be the earliest flight for him to get to Vegas. It sucks that he wasn’t able to be here last night, at the same time, because he wasn’t supposed to get in until super late we’re really not missing much time as far as hanging out goes. We would have come home and gone to sleep. No games, no family dinner. The situation sucks, especially for him, but it could be a lot worse.

He should be here in a few hours. I’m going to the airport with Jason. Maybe we’ll get lunch after we pick Jon up.

The morning has been quiet so far. It was Jace’s first day of school. I was awake before anyone else. I started the morning with a can of Bang since Lio was kind enough to get some for me while she was at the store, along with eggs so I could make breakfast for myself. I had an egg sandwich, toasting bread to go with it and not really caring about the whole carb thing. It’s early enough in the day that I’m “allowed” to have them. And I’m aware that figuring out my health / food / training thing is something I should spend a bit of time thinking on, but right now I don’t feel like tackling those topics.

Jace work up shortly after I did. I made him breakfast and sat with him while we both ate. We talked for a little bit, as much as you can with a five and a half-year-old. I asked him if he was looking forward to going to school to which he fearlessly answered yes.

My sister in law woke up not long after. I guess today is sort of hard for her. The whole “first day of school” and “growing up so fast” thing. Those are things that I haven’t, and most likely won’t, experience. I don’t have a child of my own. At the moment I don’t think I ever will. Those emotions and experiences aren’t things I have gone through so I can’t really empathize. I don’t know what it’s like. I can suspect and guess at what the emotions would be like, but I don’t know.

Maybe it’s a little detached of me, but it’s interesting to be on the outside, watching. It makes me wonder what it’s like to be a parent, a mother. It makes me wonder what it was like for my mom. It makes me wonder if I would be good at parenthood. It just sucks that shortly after that thought is the thought that mom wouldn’t be here to help me learn to be a mother. It makes it hard to want to actually go through the experience myself. I have a hard enough time figuring out my own schedule and paying my own bills. These past six months are the first months where I’ve felt financially responsible and like I’m actually making progress on my goals. I’m almost 30. If it’s taken me this long to get my life halfway sort of figured out, am I really responsible enough to be entrusted with raising a child to be a decent, respectable member of society instead of a fuck-up?

It’s interesting, having the time and space to ponder through questions like that. It’s comforting being able to sit and write through the different pros and cons and to actually figure out my thoughts rather than pushing them back due to more pressing matters needing attention first.

Do I want kids? I don’t know. Not really. At least I don’t think so. I think there are things I would enjoy about it. I think on some levels I would be good at it. At the same time, I like my freedom. I like not having that burden and stress in addition to what I already contend with. I also recognize that there are experiences and emotions that I can’t identify with because I haven’t gone through those trials personally. There are things that I will never be able to relate because I’ve never experienced them firsthand.

Ox will always have a different perspective than me in certain areas because he is a parent. He has been married. He’s been divorced. Our lives have been different. I wonder if I ever seem petty to him; closed-minded or small in my views because his experiences give him a sense of a bigger picture that I can’t comprehend.

That came up a little during one of our conversations before I left for my vacation. I asked if he ever got tired of me complaining about work. He does construction outside in the heat all day while I stay inside. Is it ever annoying to hear me whine about my day when his can be so much more physically intense than anything I remotely do?

He said no. Our work is different. He deals with things and stuff. I deal with people and lives. They’re different types of hard, neither better or worse than the other.

Maybe I worry too much about silly things, but I don’t know how to worry. I don’t know if has anything to do with being an INFJ, but I don’t know how to not think about how my actions or choices make another person feel or how they might be perceiving me or how something might affect them. It’s draining. It takes energy. All that thought and awareness of others. It’s why I enjoy the quietness of solitude so much. There’s no worry about others. There’s not additional input to process.

There’s just me, and for the most part, I understand myself, so it’s easy.

I know what I want to eat. I know what I want to wear. I know, mostly, the things I want to do and the things I need to do. I know when things need to get done. I know the scents I like. I know where I want things placed and how I want them organized.

There isn’t the balancing act of accounting for others along with myself and finding compromise for everything.

I feel like I’m rambling with no real direction. It’s the first time I feel I’ve been able to pick a single thread of thought and to let it flow to its completion, untangling it from the rat’s nest of a ball that has become my core. Maybe there wasn’t a real point to the thread other than having a better understanding of why I have craved solitude so much recently. Why it’s important to my sense of stress relief.

I feel like something within myself has been organized and finally put away where it belongs. The inside landscape of my mind slightly less cluttered.

It’s a small step I think, but a step that I’m happy I took. There are other threads, longer threads, more tangled and complicated threads, but I took take of this one single one, so I can eventually, with time, take care of the others, too. I can still figure myself out, and that’s reassuring.

I suppose, for now, I should go. It’s about two hours until Jon lands. I’m showered and fed. There’s not much else to do other than wait but I think I’m done with writing. I’m ok with ending here.

Daily Post 101: Day One In Vegas

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It’s been a while since I’ve written. Surprise, surprise.

I’m in Vegas right now, visiting with my family. Jon will be here later tonight so at the moment it’s just me with Jason, Lio, and Jace.

The morning has been nice so far. I spent most of last night talking with my older brother. We stopped at a game store and rented a few games for us to play as a family once Jon gets here. Zombicide and Geek Out. They seem promising.

I slept fairly well last night. At least I slept deeply. It felt like much-needed sleep. The type of sleep where you don’t worry about having to get up to go to work where the RN will be the one to ask you if a code should be called or not because that totally happened on Friday, which is a story in itself.

It was the type of sleep where you realize you finally don’t have to hold up the rest of the world and you can put all of the burdens on your shoulders down and finally rest. The armor can come off. There aren’t battles for a few days. You can breathe and assess and take stock of where you are, how far you’ve come, and where you plan to go without life raining down bullets or fireballs of destruction on you while you try to do it.

I was worried about being here. I cried while Ox hugged me yesterday morning saying how there was part of me who didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to be here. Mom wouldn’t be here. With the constant demand of work and life, it’s I guess… easy… in a way to forget. You can glaze over the fact that things are different.

Here, there’s no way to hide or pretend. There’s an empty chair during dinner. There’s not the smell of cappuccino in the morning. There’s a voice missing. A hug that isn’t there.

My sister in law has already said how I look so much like mom. I’m worried about that. I’m worried it makes it harder for my brothers. It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been here. So much about the house has changed. The kitchen has been remodeled. The floors are hardwood. The garage floor has been redone. The outside has been repainted. But it still has the feel of “home”. It still has the feel that mom should be here, and she’s not. She’s missing. She will always be missing. Her absence will always be noticed and felt and known.

It will always be different and that made leaving hard. I don’t want it to be different. I don’t want to acknowledge the fact any more than I have to. Like with physical therapy, I know this trip was something I had to do, but there was such a part of me that didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to be here even though I wanted to see my brothers.

It does hurts but not as much as I thought it would. It’s not soul-crushing. It’s something I’m able to at least breathe through. I’m able to handle it even though there was part of me who thought I wouldn’t be able to.

My sister in law is doing a program with her gym so I’m eating decently. We’ve already shared a bunch of recipes with each other. I had thought my progress with my trainer would be completely blown for this week but it doesn’t seem like it will be that way. I might not do a bunch of working out, but since I wasn’t doing that anyway in Nebraska I don’t really think it will be that awful.

I didn’t go to training last Thursday. I didn’t want to.

I covered an extra shift at the Dodge County clinic in Fremont. I enjoyed it. I worked well with their team. They’ve asked me if I would be ok with coming back in the future to which I answered yes.

The schedule for next month came out before I left. I’m still in Beatrice three days a week. No Cap City swaps, at least not yet. I’m ok with that. I’m happy my schedule is still consistent and that I’m not going to be in a clinic that I don’t like. I’m glad I get to stay with my patients.

I’m working on Friday when I get back. Since all the clinics are so short staffed, they weren’t able to find a replacement for me. It was just going to be my FA and a float RN, the one who asked me if she should call a code for one of our patients.

While I was on my lunch break Friday, my FA came out and had a cigarette with me. I asked her if she wanted me to come in the Friday I get back. I told her I would be in town and I could come in if I was needed.

She said it wasn’t fair of her to ask me to give up more of my vacation when I already got screwed out of the first week I had wanted to take off. She said she believes vacations are important and she wanted me to have my time off.

I told her that I didn’t want to leave her screwed over. I didn’t want to leave my patients screwed. I didn’t want to come back Monday to ashes. I was going to be sitting at home Friday trying to play video games and stressing over the thought of shit hitting the fan by me not being there.

I said if she would prefer to have me at the clinic that I could be there.

She said she would definitely prefer to have me there rather than anyone else, so I’m going in, and honestly, I don’t feel bad or cheated out of anything by going in. They’re going to give me back the PTO I had already been approved for that day and let me work the floor instead.

I get back Wednesday night. I have Thursday to myself. I work one day before having a two-day break to meal prep and get my life back to normal and then I have a three day a week schedule with training on my off days.

I have my doctor’s appointment on the 30th for my insurance discount with work. I can potentially do the dojo membership now that I know what my schedule is. I can also talk to my FA about starting classes because the more I talk to people, the more I go to other clinics, the more I’m on my own at my own clinic, the more I feel like going further with school would be good for me.

I think I’ll want to start with the LPN program because that will give me more options in the beginning rather than having to wait two years to even begin the RN program. It’s something I would like to look into while I’m here on vacation and have the silence and space to research and think about it.

I don’t really know what else to say. I know it’s been so long since I wrote, but honestly, not a lot has happened. I’ve worked. I’ve eaten carbs that I shouldn’t have. I’ve not worked out like I’ve “wanted” to. I’ve been sad a lot for no real reason. I haven’t had alone time to figure out the emotions. I’ve been escaping into Final Fantasy a lot because it’s easier to play a game than to figure out life. Almost all of my professions are level 30. I didn’t put my clothes away until yesterday morning because it hasn’t felt worth it to actually do much of anything. My clothes weren’t killing anything by being in a basket for weeks and no one else cared so what was the point?

I don’t like feeling that way. I don’t like thinking those thoughts. I don’t like having tons of projects around me that are unfinished or un-worked on. Boxes are pilling up again. The kid’s shelves are a mess from when they were here for two weeks. They left without cleaning them up; all of my previous hard work undone. It’s hard to keep doing when it feels like the effort doesn’t matter or that it doesn’t make a difference.

Maybe part of the emotions is being burnt out.

I don’t know.

This may be one of the last times that I write on my Windows Surface. Jon might be buying it from me. I can’t say that I was ever in love with it, but I do have memories of writing on it while at Friendly Confines. It was the keyboard I typed on when I wrote for my first birthday without mom. The first Christmas without her.

It was with me for significant moments and so I do feel like there will be a sense of loss when I give it to my brother. It will be another moment of moving on, moving forward. It’s hard to not feel like forward is “away”. Logically, I know I’m not moving further away from mom, but that’s not what the emotions feel like sometimes.

I am still trying to figure out the “loving through separation” thing. I’ve never been good at long distance relationships. I’m too much of a touch-based person. I want my hugs, damnit. I want to feel the people I love. Which… now that I think about it, isn’t all that true.

I still love my brothers when we’re apart. I still have feelings for Big Bad and my blacksmith. I still love Sir, and Mother Earth even though that’s complicated and confusing. I still love my patients in Orlando and my friends in California.

I love so many people even though they’re not in my daily life. I love them regardless of distance and the time in-between when we talk or see each other.

So why is it so hard for me to grasp the concept that even though mom isn’t physically here, that we can still love each other across the distance that separates us and the time between we see each other?

Mom and I still love each other and Death can’t change that. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to remember that, or feel that during the hard days. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to believe it and for it to not feel like a lie and like I’m all alone sometimes.

I think overall that I’m doing well. I think the sadness and the hurt are things that I’m surviving and working through. I think this trip is what I needed and I’m glad I’m here even though there’s still a part of me who wants to hide in the guest room and cry. It would be a healing cry I think. An accepting cry.

I’m supposed to have a phone call with a former coworker from Orlando. I want to call Chrys and chat with her while I have time to as well. Other than that, there aren’t really plans for the day. Jason and I are thinking about going out to dinner before picking Jon up from the airport.

Aside from that, it’s a chillax day. A quiet day. A good day.

Daily Post 0100: Healing / Recouping

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Not much to report. I made it through Saturday. Having to work helped. I gamed most of Sunday. My character is almost to the point of getting her mount so I won’t have to run around like a peasant for much longer. Woo. Too bad there’s like… a billion hours worth of cutscenes to get through first because it’s Final Fantasy and every Final Fantasy game has a billion hours of cutscenes. ;-;

Right Brain: I don’t care about your storyline. Give me my mount damnit!

I woke up feeling less heavy today. I showered and had an egg sandwich, not caring about eating bread and how carbs are bad and blah blah blah. I wanted an egg sandwich so I had one. I wanted to cook a warm breakfast instead of heating up premade stuff in the microwave so I did it. It didn’t feel like a horribly heavy undertaking to “do” something, so I did what I felt would make me… content? Happy isn’t the right word and I’m not sure content is either.

It helped warm a part of me that’s been hurting for the last week or so. I did something familiar. The routine of cracking the eggs, adding garlic, toasting the toast as the eggs cook so things progress smoothly and efficiently. Unfortantently there wasn’t coffee made yet and I don’t like messing with the coffee maker since it’s not mine, but even without a cup of warm coffee, it was still a nice breakfast which I enjoyed.

The kids weren’t here. Papa Ox was in the computer room and even though Mama Ox was home since she’s not feeling well, she was in her room watching TV so I got to sit by myself at the dining room table instead of standing in the kitchen like I normally do. It was quiet and I… enjoyed my morning. Yes… I think enjoyed is the right word and though it’s not the first morning I’ve enjoyed since Saturday and Sunday were also enjoyable, it was the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to enjoy it alone. I enjoyed the solitude of it as much as I enjoyed eating something relatively healthy and warm and familiar and comforting.

I went to training today which is the main reason I ate breakfast. It went well. The beginning was rough since my muscles were stiff from not doing a whole lot since Thursday. By the end of my session, I was warmed up and ready to go. I was sort of disappointed when it had to end. It felt like I had just hit my stride. I can still go to the gym near home and run or do weights or a workout through one of the apps I have, and I might, but I’m also aware that right now my energy levels are very tentative and fickle and I don’t want to give myself an obligation that could turn around and make me feel bad later for not getting done. I would rather leave it open-ended and see how things go.

I’ve already put the clothes away. That happened before leaving for the gym since I needed to find workout clothes. It’s a nice feeling to know I’ve already been slightly productive this morning. The only thing I have left which¬† “should” get done is cooking the roast that I cut up for my breakfasts. Currently, I’m waiting for the oven to preheat all the way. From there it’s simply a matter of putting the roast in the oven and waiting. Not much else is required on my end. So, in theory, today should be a low key day, which I’m perfectly ok with and I think would do a lot for me as far as continuing to recover from the most recent struggle with my grief.

The kids are back now, so a lot of the whole recharge thing sort of depends on how occupied they’re able to keep themselves. There’s a part of me who knows that when they leave again I’ll be hard on myself for not being more involved. For not handling my introvertedness better. For not being a better parent even though I’m not one. It’s confusing, but in this moment, I’m ok with them doing their own thing while I do mine.

One of my patients had a seizure yesterday. It was the first time I was on the front line for an emergency situation. In Orlando, there was the rest of my team who had way more experience than me. It was easier for me to tend to the other patients, respond to machine alarms, prep for the next shift, and so on. I was more helpful by not being in the way and making sure everything else didn’t fall apart while my team members were busy handling whatever situation was going on.

At my current clinic, it’s just me and the RN. There isn’t anyone else. I have to help. So yesterday was my first experience of being involved rather than watching from a distance.

At the time it wasn’t scary. I think I handled it well. I feel like I was helpful. Once the situation was stabilized I went back to making sure everything else was taken care of. Post weights were charted. Machines were wiped down with bleach rags and reset for the next patient. I had done the most I could do so I went back to taking care of what needed to get done. I did what was within my scope of practice.

It wasn’t until I had finally driven home and called Jon that I broke down into tears. This particular patient is one of my favorites. He’s so quiet, but every once in a while there will be a joke and he’ll smile or give a small laugh and you know it’s genuine. It warms something inside me. I know he doesn’t want to be at the clinic. I know being on dialysis is hard for him. I could see it in his eyes every time his needles would act up in the beginning when his fistula was still new. The look of hopelessness. Of borderline despair that you have to keep hidden because you’re not at home and you can’t break down in front of people. You have to be strong and hold it together but you’re so tired of being strong and why can’t it just work? Why did it have to be you?

Getting him to smile means that I made his day just a little brighter. I made the whole situation a little less shitty.

I felt him not be there. The absence of whatever energy it is that people have within them. Using words like “feel” and “soul” are very INFJy and make me feel vulnerable because I know that leaves me open for people to say things like it’s in my head or not real. At the same time, I know myself and I know what I felt and coming home to process through the situation was something I needed to do even though it sucked.

I called Jon because I needed to talk to someone who could understand. I don’t have nursing friends. Most of the people I talk to aren’t in the medical field, and so when I need to talk about work stuff I don’t have much of a support network aside from my brother. I never got a chance to talk to mom about things like this because when she was an RN I was teaching Computer Animation and still passed out at the sight of blood. In a way, it’s humbling to realize how far I’ve come, how much I’ve changed, in such a short amount of time.

While I was on the phone with Jon he mentioned that I most likely really wanted to talk to mom right now, to which I answered yes. I wanted to ask her how she did it. How many times did she come home and cry over a patient dying or having a shitty diagnosis? How many times did I not know she was having a hard day, a shit day that there was nothing anyone could do to make it better because sometimes that’s just life? As a healer, you can only do so much. Everyone is still mortal and to an extent, you have no control over anything. All you can do is your best and understand that even though it doesn’t feel like enough, it is.

I want to have her perspective and insight and I can’t. I can never have answers to those questions now and it sucks. At least, I can’t have her answers and those are the ones I truly want.

Jon said he was the second best I could get. He didn’t mean it in a bad way even though second best sounds bad. He was being honest and he’s a pretty damn good second best. We both understand no one will ever be able to beat mom. Ever. That’s just the way it works, and he gets it because I’m the same way. He calls me when he wants to talk to mom because I’m the closest he has just like he’s the closest I have.

He said he’s never been in a situation like what I was in, but having been a CNA on an oncology floor, he’s seen patients go from “good to dead” as he worded it, so while he doesn’t know the exact feelings of watching someone you care about experience a seizure, in a way he understands the feelings of “why this person?”

It helped to talk with him. It helped to hear him say that it sounded like I kept my cool and did what needed to be done and that in his opinion I handled the situation professionally. It helped to hear his voice and to move on to talking about normal life and what he’s been up to and our upcoming trip.

By the time I was off the phone I was more ok with going back inside and figuring out dinner and being around the family without having the weight of “no one knows about this thing I went through today”. Aside from Ox and Jon, no one here knows still and I don’t think it really matters. It’s not their job. It’s not their life or their burden. I was still able to sit down at the table and have dinner and smile and joke to the degrees I was able to without it feeling forced or soul-crushing. I was able to handle the situation at work, but also make peace with it in my personal life and I think that’s the biggest thing. I’m at peace with the situation and it’s not eating away at something inside me.

Ox and I are doing well I think. We’ve had some deep conversations since my race. I don’t know what else to say on that topic. He put the butcher block onto the rolling cabinet yesterday. The pull out drawers that I had bought won’t work the way we want them to, so at some point, I need to return them. I’ve kept the receipt just in case something like this happened, so hopefully, I’ll be able to get my $100 back. Now that we know how tall the cabinet is, we can make the counter to go above it. That will be the last stage of this particular project for the time being.

Ox has agreed to let me make an Excel sheet/budget thing for his monthly expenses, similar to what I have for mine. I’m not sure why, but there are warm feelings associated with that. Trust maybe. He trusts me enough to let me know about his finances rather than keeping that area of our lives hidden from one another. Less walls maybe. More openness and transparency.

One of our conversations over the weekend was how I am spending the money he’s paying me back with to buy food for the house. To him, it seems counter to his intentions. He says the money is supposed to be mine. It’s supposed to be used for my tattoos or things for me, not being invested back into providing for everyone.

In my head, it’s not fair of me to not spend the money in such a way when I’m staying aat the house rent free. What’s $50 or so in groceries when I’m not charged for the electricity to power my computer so I can sit and play video games instead of unloading the dishwasher?

That led to a conversation about him giving money to help with the groceries, which I was uncomfortable with. That led to introspection about why it made me uncomfortable which led to another conversation while he was on his lunch break today.

I’m glad that all of our conversations are that; conversations, discussions. Not fights or yelling or cursing. It makes it easier to have conversations about touchy topics. It makes it feel safer even though the fear and mild anxiety are still there. It’s easier to pacify the hurt aspect of myself, the part that’s been mistreated through so many relationships, when there’s so much data to support that this one is different from my past.

It’s been almost six months, and though there are things we’re still working through and figuring out, that’s six months of stability and acceptance and discussions and support and troubleshooting and problem-solving.

I think Ox and I are ok, and I think we’ll continue to be ok and that’s a nice feeling in a weird way that I’m not really used to anymore, but it’s one I want to continue to experience.

I’ve been eating more consistently. I’m still taking care of my chores and bills. I still need to drink more water, but I always need to drink more water so meh on that one.

Overall I think I’m healing and recovering the best I can from this latest wave of grief. I made it through it. I’m still here. I still don’t have answers and I still don’t have a goal I’m consciously working towards, but things are less heavy and pointless feeling which is sort of odd because I still don’t have a point for doing them so doesn’t that keep them in the pointless category?

Annoying brain is annoying. /sigh

I don’t want to say that I’m on the upswing, or that things or good or going better.

I feel less injured. I feel like I’m recovering. Those words have a different connotation than good or better. I’m healing. And right now, I’m ok with that.

Letters To Mom 021: Goddamnit

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Goddamnit, mom.

That was the thought I had ricocheting over and over again in my head as I left the gym today.

I know you’re still here. I know you know all of this. I know you see everything, but goddamnit. This is the only way I can talk to you, other than talking to myself and wondering if I’m crazy. This is one of the few physical things I feel I have to represent our connection. It’s not just words in the air, carried away by the wind, never to be heard again.

This is lasting. This can be printed out and held and hugged and cried on, and so I need to write it even though you know it. I need to make it physical.

It’s worse this year. And maybe worse isn’t the right word. I didn’t understand it as I left the gym. I haven’t understood it every time it feels like I backtrack to square one. What’s different this time is I’ve had time to talk to Jon and Ox and I’ve had time to be home and to read posts online and to try to figure it out because in my head there’s a problem and so I need to find a solution to fix it, only there isn’t a problem according to the internet. It’s normal. Worse is normal even though it’s not actually worse.

The first year you died sucked. It sucked so much mom. Every fucking day. Yet at the same time, it didn’t. I didn’t feel much of anything for the longest time. There wasn’t a point in feeling anything. I was on auto piolet a lot of those days. The only thing I had to do was survive.

I had to eat. I had to drink. I had to care for my body enough for it to not break down. And when I started taking CNA classes I had to study and learn and make good grades. Things I have always been decent at. It didn’t take effort. More auto piolet. Just do what needs to be done. No thinking. No emotion. Just do.

In a way, it was simpler than it is now. I cared about things less. I didn’t worry about a lot of things because I didn’t have the energy to care.

I’m past the survival stage. I’m past learning how to meet my basic needs without you being here. I’ve learned how to wake up with the pain. I’ve learned how to cope with the hard days where I want to break down and cry. I’ve learned how to breathe while I tend to an invisible wound I can’t touch or show anyone.

I’ve done all of that, and so now we’re going into year three. I made it through Mother’s Day. But Saturday is your birthday and goddamnit, I’m back to crying and feeling directionless and hopeless and alone and angry and sad and it sucks.

It sucks worse then it did the first time because the first time was about surviving. It sucks worse than the second year because I was in the middle of training for work and worrying about paying my bills and having a roof over my head and enough gas in the car and food in the kitchen since Warren was a dick and not paying rent. So, really, the second year was still the survival phase for me, maybe moreso than the first because at least in the first year I had the money you left me to cover my needs. It was more about figuring out how to drive to the store without screaming in emotional agony over doing it while knowing that you were dead.

The second year I had to donate plasma just to keep making ends meet. While I still had hard days, I was still more focused on becoming stable. I had to figure out all of my shit for work and not quit because there were a lot of days that I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I had to worry about becoming a stronger member of my team so no one dreaded working with me. I had to figure out how to support two adults on a single paycheck because Warren wasn’t holding up his end of the deal. It wasn’t emotional survival the second year; it was actual survival and I did it.

I moved to Nebraska because I was done figuring out everyone else’s crap. I moved here to take care of me, and I guess this is part of that process. I’ve been stuck in the first year of grieving for two years because for two years I’ve had to worry about survival.

I’m past that now, though, and so now I get to move on to phase two, which are the emotions.

I actually feel the pain this time and so now I have to cope with a whole new aspect of my grief and I guess a lot of people go through this.

There’s the expectation that surviving the first year means it will make coping with the countless additional years easier or more manageable or doable or something. It will be more “something” but painful was never on my list. That’s the reality of my grief over your death, though. I feel the pain more now because I don’t have to put all of my time and effort and energy into merely surviving. I have the energy to deal with the emotional aspect of it all and I almost wish I didn’t because I’m supposed to be doing better. I’m supposed to not cry as much. I’m supposed to be more ok and not have people worry about me or darken their days with my sadness and that’s not what’s happening.

I’ve gained two pounds of muscle and two pounds of fat since my last weigh in two weeks ago.

When my trainer asked how my eating has been going I said I’ve been inconsistent. On my days off I have the tendency to skip breakfast. If I eat breakfast I normally forgo lunch. I don’t eat my snacks like I know I should. Dinner usually happens, but it’s a crapshoot as to when. The days I work are a bit better, but not by much. I’m still not really drinking enough water, though I am doing better than I was last week.

So it’s not that I’m eating poorly, it’s that my body is freaking out and thinking that it’s never going to be fed so it’s holding onto what I do give it. Which, to be fair to my body, it’s not wrong at the moment.

When my trainer asked if I’ve gone to the dojo I said no because I haven’t. When he asked if I’ve gone to the gym near home I said no because I haven’t. Since my race two weeks ago, I haven’t done anything extra. I go to my training and that’s it and even then, I missed one of my sessions because I didn’t want to go.

I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to pretend to be ok when I’m not. I don’t want to explain why I’m not ok because it’s no one’s fucking business and even if I did, a vast majority of people wouldn’t understand and just feel awkward so it would be a waste of time and energy.

I mean, really, when someone asks you, “What’s wrong?” What are you supposed to say? “Oh, nothing. It’s just that my mom died. It’s cool though. Don’t worry about me. I’ll get over it.” No one is prepared for a super heavy answer like, “My mom died.” That’s not the answer they want. It’s supposed to be something small and manageable like a breakup or a bad day at work. They don’t want a real answer so why give one?

It’s like when people ask, “How are you?” “Fine” or “Ok” or “Good” feel like the only ok answers because 99.9999999999999999% of people are only asking out of social obligation, not because they actually want to legitimately know how you are doing emotionally.

I want to be left alone. I want to be alone. I want to make it through this hard time and I don’t want outside input on how I should or should not be getting through it.

My trainer has goals for me, but I don’t care. My work has expectations of me, but I don’t care. I don’t have goals for me. I don’t have expectations of me.

It’s almost your birthday. Nothing else matters right now. Everything else is insignificant and trivial and meaningless when held against the fact that you’re dead.

I woke up today. I showed up to training instead of canceling again. I need that to count towards something. I need it to matter that I’m trying as much as I am when I don’t have an answer for “What’s the point?”

If none of it matters, if waking up doesn’t count, then why even do it? I showered. I had breakfast. I got dressed and drove like a diligent, responsible adult. I parked within the lines in the parking lot instead of like a douchebag who doesn’t care. I need all of those stupid, small, little things to matter because if they don’t then why bother?

I want to know why there’s more anger now. What is there to be angry at? There wasn’t a drunk driver. There wasn’t malpractice. It was a shitty situation and we’re both doing the best we can now. What good does anger do? Why is it here, within myself? What am I supposed to learn or gain from it? Where is it supposed to go?

All of the posts I’ve read have helped. There was one about loving through separation. All of the posts were things I can relate to. They’re things that I feel now. It helps, knowing that it’s worse in future years for others, too.

It’s not regression. It’s not abnormal. It’s not a fuck up on my part.

The first year is about survival. The other years is about figuring out why you survived in the first place. What was the point of that horrific struggle? You’re still not here. You didn’t magically come back. You’re still gone and I have to go through all of these days all over again, without you, still, and they’re not magically easier because fairy dust doesn’t fix anything, so why? Why go through it all again, and again, and again, and again, and for forever again?

Goddamnit, mom, I wish I had an answer, for you, for me, but I don’t, and that makes me angry and frustrated.

I don’t want it to be your birthday again. I don’t want to not be able to call. I want an address where I can send a card and know that it will reach you and make you smile and feel loved because I still love you so goddamn much it hurts.

I want to be better even though I never will be and I really don’t want to be because that would mean whatever it is we still have will be gone. In a way, I love my grief because it’s you. It’s the result of our connection being changed by your death. If my grief wasn’t there or if it changed or didn’t hurt as much it would mean our connection when you were alive had been different and I would never want to change what we had. I’m ok with my grief because it means I had you in my life for as long as I did the ways that I did.

I’m in another wave, mom. I’m getting through it. At least I think I am. And I think it’s ok that I’m here. I have more hope that I’ll get through it than I did when I left the gym.

I don’t really know what else to say right now. I don’t have answers for you or myself. I guess I just wanted to let you know that what I’m feeling is ok and that I’m angry but I’m not angry at you. I’m sorry that I’m angry. I’m sorry I’m having a harder time than I think I should be. And I’m sorry I put that expectation on myself.

I’m trying to be understanding with myself and after reading the things I have, I think it’s easier for me to do that.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

With love ~ Your Angry Dragon

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.