Musing Moments 122: LFTIO – Conscious Wake-Up Call

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




What is really important to me?

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

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

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

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


Is this the life I want to live?

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How can I live connected to these inner values?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Post 145: An Uncomfortable Truth

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Written Tuesday. Posted today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well… I guess that day was today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It sucked.

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

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

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

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

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

Mom left me.

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

I’m alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Post 144: A Weekend of Puzzle Pieces

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The past two days have been pretty good.

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

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

It made for a cute story at work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Post 142: Tax Forms and Other Things

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Written yesterday. Posted today.

So… I feel like I have a lot to write about.

Yesterday ended up being a decent day even though it started with a rant about how horrible socializing is and how my day was falling apart around me. I felt mildly better after writing. Ox and I made plans to still go into town. I made my shopping list. Mama Ox spent a majority of the rest of the morning in her room so the immediate interaction I had with her when I woke up was pretty much the extent of it. Not having someone in the kitchen talking me to while I planned out the grocery trip helped ease the friction in my brain.

Ox came home to pick me up. As we drove into Lincoln it began snowing. We had a really nice lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. I haven’t been there in a while since I liked my sports bar in Orlando so much more, but it’s an ok substitute. I got to have wings and a side salad since we were there early enough for the lunch menu.

After we ate we went across the street to do the shopping at Walmart. I got a small stockpile of seasoning packets since I’ve gone through all of the ones I had. I’ve been enjoying the GrillMates marinate packets for when I cook chicken. I also picked up rice to go with the bourbon chicken recipe I’m going to be making tomorrow.

Originally, the game plan was to cook the bourbon chicken for dinner last night, but since it’s a slow cooker recipe and we didn’t get home until close to 3 pm, we opted to save that for Thursday instead of waiting to eat dinner until 7ish.

Ox and I moved the insulation out of my dragon’s den together. Though no other work got done I was ok with the small progress we made. We also discussed the setup of the room more. We talked about building a custom bed frame so we can have drawers for our clothes. We also discussed furniture and have a better idea for dimensions and the spacing of things. We talked more about what will be going in the dragon den, which included my own twin sized mattress. I’m very much looking forward to having my own little corner of solitude.

I ended up cooking a dinner of BBQ chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and a side salad. It wasn’t a very complex meal but it was satisfying and filling and it seemed to go over well with everyone but Ox who isn’t a huge fan of chicken. He had a bowl of cereal for dinner instead but was content with it. At least he said that he liked it.

I got to cross stitch a bit last night, too. That, too, wasn’t a lot of progress, but some progress is better than none. I feel like I’ll get more done tomorrow while I’m sitting around waiting to pick up my car.

Anywho, that was about the extent of yesterday. It was a cold, snowy day that didn’t start anything like I thought it should have, but overall it turned out to be an ok day. I even put my clothes away and got Ox’s at least dried.

Today didn’t have a super awesome start. The snow as still coming down at 8 pm when Ox and I went to sleep. When we woke up there were about three or four inches of snow over everything, including my car. I spent time scrapping my windows, letting my car defrost the rest of the way as Ox and I had our morning cigarette together.

The drive to work was far from relaxing, but having my trip back to Lincoln from Fremont two weeks ago as a reference point, I can honestly say I’ve driven through worse. I left an hour early for work and pulled into the parking lot of the clinic on time. I drove 35 mph most of the way down. The roads sucked. There were no track marks from other cars that early in the morning. Most of the time, at least on Hickman Road, I didn’t even know where the center of the road was. Everything was ice and snow and sometimes there were black patches that looked like asphalt. Luckily there wasn’t a lot of oncoming traffic for that road, but it still wasn’t a cool feeling not knowing if I was too far over or not.

Right Brain: Doesn’t matter. I stayed on the road. Go me!

Highway 77 was a little better, but not by much. I was glad to pull into the clinic parking lot at the same time as my FA. The float RN called out due to the roads. She lives significantly further away from the clinic, and further north so she got more snow. With how crappy the drive was for the brief time I was on the road I totally don’t blame her for not coming in.

It was a pretty smooth day today at work. The tech in training is getting better. I know her first few days on her own is going to be overwhelming for her, but the only way for her to find her own flow is for me to not be there. I plan to take a serious step back on Friday. Essentially I’ll be there as a cheerleader. It’s going to be hard to not jump in and help. I’m not good at watching other people work.

We got her checked off on the few skills she needed to be observed performing. So yeah… after this week she’ll be a full-fledged Patient Care Technician. I think if she can get through the overwhelm of the first few weeks on her own that she’ll be fine. She needs to prove to herself that she can do it.

I had a bunch of emails at work today. Tax forms got posted, so I printed those. There were new emails about my leadership course, so I printed that information out. I have dates for all of the class meetings along with what our reading content will be. I plan to see if Audible has the books so I can listen to them while stitching. That would be super cool. I’m really looking forward to Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I want to jump straight to reading that one. Too bad that’s not until May or something like that. It’s one of the last books we’ll be reading for the class. So not cool. ;-;

I got to talk to my FA about taking time off in March to actually travel to Orlando to see my dad and stepsisters and Jon. She’s ok with me going so now I need to iron out the dates that will work for seeing everyone. It would be nice to see Warren #2 while I’m there and my home clinic teammates and my former coworkers at Full Sail. There’s Sir and Big Bad and my Blacksmith. There’s the potential to go to my old dojo and roll with the guys for a night or two. There’s a part of me who wishes I could see Mother Earth but I don’t know how to approach that aspect of my life just yet. I want to see my therapist, too, even if it’s only to give her a hug and to show her how amazingly well I have done since moving.

I know I won’t be able to do everything and see everyone. But at least I know there’s a possibility of it actually happening. The subject wasn’t immediately shot down. In fact, my FA wrote my tentative dates down and said if they changed to let her know. I can’t put into words how grateful, honored, and appreciative I am of her support. I feel like I matter to her as a person. I’m not just an asset. What I want matters and she tries really hard to make sure I’m happy and content both at work and in my personal life.

The new schedule for work came out today as well. That’s a big deal because our clinic will now have two techs, but we’re still only open three days a week. That means there are not enough hours for both of us to meet full-time requirements without covering at other clinics. We were told we would trade off weeks with our sister clinic in Lincoln. One week I would be in Beatrice, covering our three days, and the new tech would be in Lincoln. The next week she would be in Beatrice and I would be in Lincoln.

Neither of us wants to cover anything in Lincoln. XD

Well… with the new schedule, the first week I’m in Beatrice. Score. The second week I cover four days in a row at the Lincoln clinic. Boooooo. But, bright side, I’m either Census 1 or Census 2, which means I don’t have to stay until 9 pm to close the clinic. I’ll be one of the first people, if not the first person, to leave. Not a perfect situation since I still have to go to that particular clinic, but I’ll take it as an acceptable compromise. If I have to be there at least I’ll be out as fast as possible.

My FA also mentioned that she wants me to come to one of the regional FA meets that are held monthly. Sort of like how I sat in on the FHM meeting back in November I think it was. I’m very interested in seeing what those meetings are like. I don’t expect that I’ll contribute a lot, or that anything will really be expected of me. But with the push to have me become a preceptor for our clinic and my participation in the leadership course, our Regional Operations Director wants me to participate in one of these meetings. Like… He specifically spoke to my FA about having me attend.

Right Brain: No pressure or anything… brb while I go hyperventilate by myself in a corner… x.x

Apparently, there was talk about me become a regional float tech for the company since I’m so highly requested whenever there is a staff shortage. My FA told me about that today, too, and how she had vetoed that idea. Part of me is honored that my region as a whole feels like I would do well in a position like that. The other part of me is glad my FA told them no. I like where I’m at. I like knowing my schedule and having a clinic that’s “mine”. I like having “my” patients. I don’t mind picking up overtime every once in a while. I’m getting better at saying no; or at least saying, “I would rather not be the first pick if possible. If I’m the last resort, ok, but I really would like to be able to not have to cover that shift.”

It’s a weird feeling. I never thought I would be here when I started my own training as a dialysis technician. I didn’t even know if it was something I would be able to do. I knew for sure when I was in Orlando that I wouldn’t be able to maintain working 16 hour days. I admit to still having a hard time finding balance with the gym and dojo and school and life while working 12 hour days, but I think I’m more successful with it here in Nebraska then I ever could have hoped to have been in Florida.

I also have had so many more opportunities here to explore and branch out. Being the only tech in my clinic meant I had to step up and learn new things and cover more tasks. I don’t know… I just feel like I’m doing really well and that’s a weird feeling. I never thought about excelling or being a role model/trainer for other technicians. I just wanted to help people and to give my life some feeling of purpose because I didn’t have one when mom died.

I’ve come a long way and I feel good about that, but also sort of solemn and heavy because I wish I could share that with mom physically. I wish we could talk on the phone and I could hear her excitement and pride and happiness for me. Adult me knows she’s proud of me. Adult me knows she’s happy for me. But it would make my inner eight-year-old happy to the point of tears to actually hear it in her voice. To feel it in her hug. To see it in her smile.

Sometimes good things still suck and while I don’t think any of the positive stuff that’s happened for work really falls into the “sucks” category, it’s still tinged with this feeling of sadness because there’s still a part of me who wishes things were different.

So yeah, lots of stuff happened at work.

After work, I drove into Lincoln to drop my car off. Ox and I got dinner at Slim Chickens. They have pretty good salads. I was happy with a healthy dinner since I totally had a donut at work this morning. >.<;

We also stopped at GNC and got two more cases of Bang. Mornings can never be bad when I have that to wake up to. Maybe I should have focused on that yesterday morning rather than how I had to talk to people on my day off… something to keep in mind for next time.

Right Brain: Damnit! I have to talk to people… but at least I have a Cotten Candy Bang. All is still right in the world. : D

When we got home I printed out the other two tax forms I needed. One for the interest I’ve paid on my student loans along with one for my HSA account through work. I don’t know when I’ll actually file my taxes, but at least I have all the forms, that I know of, that I need.

And now I can feel accomplished because I’m at the end of writing. It’s pretty much bedtime, so I don’t think I’ll get to stitch at all, but I’m pretty sure I’m ok with that. I have all day tomorrow to be at home. I don’t have a whole lot of actual chores to do. I need to update my calendar with all of the new dates I have. I want to try to get in touch with my dad. I want to put the rest of the clothes away and cook dinner and other small things like that, but there’s not a whole lot in the way of obligations tomorrow. Really just dinner, which I did to myself, and picking up my car once it’s done.

I think tomorrow will be a good day. I’m looking forward to it.

Daily Post 139: Just a Ramble

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

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

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

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

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


Right Brain: I don’t want to!


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


Right Brain: I don’t want to!


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


Right Brain: I don’t want to!

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

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

Fuck your overtime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the point? In anything?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Post 138: Socks and Sickness

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So… I’m sick. That sucks but it could be worse. At the moment I’m pretty sure it’s just a head cold. I’m having a hard time keeping my body warm feeling. Being in sleep shorts and a thin t-shirt probably isn’t helping my cause. I’ve spent most of the morning in bed working on finishing Jon’s cross stitch. At the moment, sitting here in front of the computer, it’s hard to feel my fingertips. They’re cold so my typing is slower than my thoughts. Super annoying. It reminds me of the band competitions I used to be a part of, standing at the gates of the football field, about to perform struggling to keep my hands warm so I would be able to play good enough, fast enough. Mentally I’m there, physically my body is having a hard time and that disconnect is frustrating.

I didn’t have a lot of plans for today so at least I have that going for me.

My socks came in and they’re amazing. I love them. I wish they had made yesterday a better day, but with the sickness creeping in and getting worse as the day progressed the warm glow I was hoping to have with wearing something new didn’t really permeate my day the way I was hoping. I made it through Wednesday but didn’t go to the dojo. The sinus pressure in my skull gave me a headache and the drive home was enough to make me want to quit let alone going and doing three minutes of jump rope as a warmup where I would have been dying after the first thirty seconds. I was pretty pissed at my body but I think I made the right call.

Ox took out my frozen container of chicken taco soup before I got home. Having it soak in hot water meant it was defrosted enough by the time I got home that I could slide the giant ice chunk out into a pot to boil and melt. After about 10 minutes I had a warm, hearty meal that I could eat sans carbs which is something I’m trying to get back into. I’ve been doing way better than the past two months. Not perfect, but significantly better. It might be one of the reasons this head cold was able to take root; the whole keto flu and all that fun stuff.

I have a phone call with my therapist from Orlando today. I don’t feel like I have much to talk to her about. No problem to solve or focus on. I feel like it will be more chatting with a good friend; keeping her posted on all of the developments with work and my life. She may have questions which spark deeper conversation but it’s not like the sessions we first had when mom died where I didn’t know my direction or how to process through all of the events going on. While I know I hadn’t lost everything during that time of my life, I had lost a large amount of what I had been using to define myself. My job. My home. My relationship. My family. I was left feeling like the vast expanse within myself was a white nothingness. No ruble or broken pieces to pick up and put back together. No wreckage to salvage. Just blank empty nothingness. Where do you start when there’s nothing to build with? No tools to use? What do you create? How do you create it? What’s the point in putting in the effort in the first place when there’s no one at your side to enjoy the accomplishment with you?

That’s not where I am anymore. I’ve come a really long way since then in such a short amount of time. In a little over two and a half years, I am now firmly established as an expert cannulator in my own clinic, training a new tech and working towards a leadership position, though I may not have a clear idea of what that position is. I am still making progress on being healthier even if there has been a bit of a speed bump in that regard with the past two months. The CNA class and holiday season made it hard to have time for myself in addition to getting enough sleep and making sure I had clean clothes and food for my work days. Finding balance was hard but I made it through that stint and I’m not blind to all of the help I received in my endeavor to survive. Ox and his parents and the conversations I had with family and friends factored into my accomplishment of surviving mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I got the car looked at on Tuesday. It needs a handful of repairs, not all of which are going to be cheap. The front struts need to be replaced. That’s 850 alone in parts and labor. The overtime money that I saved will mostly be going towards that project. The parts won’t be in until around Tuesday this coming week. All of the work should be completed within a day, so I’ll most likely arrange to drop the car off to be worked on next Thursday or Saturday.

While I would prefer to put all of that money towards the car loan or credit card, I need the car to be in working condition otherwise I’m screwed. Nebraska is too spread out to not be able to drive myself to my clinic or the other clinics where I cover shifts. The repair work is a good and worthwhile investment. I’ve had to do very little in the way of maintaining my car. Aside from oil changes and getting new tires once, I really haven’t had to spend much money on it. It’s been a solid and reliable vehicle. I want it to continue being one and so here I am, being a responsible adult and taking care of issues before they become bigger, less manageable problems.

Jon and I have talked a bit over the past few days. He’s about to begin his first day of nursing school. That’s this coming Monday. There are all sorts of emotions he’s having to work through on that front, but I’m happy for him. I think he’s going to do amazingly well and his not shrinking away from the challenges before him. I’m proud of him and it’s warming to realize how much he has grown and matured since we were kids living at home with mom. He truly has become his own person.

I guess there really isn’t much else to talk about. I feel like I’m rambling but that’s just the type of day it is. Soft, introspective reflection with a cup of coffee and a couple of cats on a cold winter day.

Letters to Mom 021: Please Be There

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Hey mom,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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