MUSING MOMENT 129: LFTIO – STORY 3

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 6.3
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





For the 2-3 most impactful and formative experiences and / or relationships, tell the entire story here: 


Story 3 – The Middle of Nowhere

The first few years after my mom’s death were hard for me. I had lost my strongest support structure, I had lost the relationship I had been in, I had lost my home due to losing that relationship, and I had left my career.

Essentially, everything I had been using to identify who I was had been taken away from me. I was no longer a teacher. I was no longer a girlfriend. I was no longer anything, and so I found myself with a vast expanse of nothingness within myself. A never-ending plane of smooth unmarred whiteness where once there had been “me”, or what I had felt was me.

I found myself in a phase I had never been before. Building. Who did I want to be? What did I want to be? What did I stand for? Why was I alive? What was my purpose, my reason for waking up each day knowing that mom was dead?

It took a while, but eventually, slowly, one day at a time, one breath at a time, I found myself. I found the answers to my questions and with each answer, a brick was laid on the plane of whiteness. A foundation, solid and unshakeable. I was going to be me and I was going to live my life and Life couldn’t stop me from doing it. I wouldn’t let it stop me.

During the first year, I obtained an apartment. Though it never felt like home, it was mine and I no longer had to worry about where I would be sleeping at night. I began taking classes as a way to get my foot into the medical field. I took a nursing assistant class though I never became state certified. The thought of succeeding at something while mom wasn’t there to celebrate with me was still too much to face at the time. I took an EKG class as well as a phlebotomy class where I overcame my fear of blood and needles. Eventually, I interviewed with DaVita. When asked if I felt dialysis was something I could do, I replied with, “I honestly don’t know. But I can promise that I’ll try my best and in the end, that’s all I can do; my best.”

I made it through the Star Learning program; two months of training where I was taught about dialysis and the skills I would need as a patient care technician. Once I was through training I began working full time at the downtown Orlando clinic. As time went on I became a stronger member of my team.

On a personal level, I began going to fitness boxing classes as a way to deal with the strong emotions of my grief. That led to joining a dojo where I learned jiujitsu techniques along with Muay Thai. Martial arts gave me a way to connect with myself. It gave me a new circle of people to interact with and a common interest to bond over. I met several key people in my life during this time which helped build me up as a person. They helped me discover things about myself and the type of person I not only wanted to be, but continue being as well. More bricks to add to my foundation.

During this time of growth and discovery, there were also negatives. I began working 12 – 16 hour days since that’s how the clinic was run. My time at the dojo and the gym became less and less. My roommate was consistently unable to pay rent and I found myself donating plasma as a way to keep making ends meet. I had to drive past my old place of employment nearly every day, a reminder of the emotional pain I had experienced and was continuing to go through, along with previous apartments which had harbored abusive relationships.

While there were positive aspects of my life in Florida, there were also negatives and while I felt this need to “get away” and start over, I didn’t know how. Where would I go? What would I do? How would I move all of my stuff? How would I afford the move when I already struggled with rent and personal bills?

It was a situation where there was so much to figure out it was easier to just stay where I was and accept that life just sort of sucked and would suck for the next while.

During the second Christmas without mom, against all financial logic, I rented a room at an extended stay for a week, packed up my computer, took time off from work, and spent a week alone, away from all of the stressors in my life. I renewed my subscription to World of Warcraft and spent a majority of the week inside my room playing the game with my younger brother.

It was the week of my birthday and this was my birthday gift to myself; surviving and getting through one of the hardest times of the year without having to worry about my roommate’s dirty dishes being in the sink or the endless piles of dog fur floating around the apartment. No patients or teammates to explain my sadness to. Just me and an imaginary world where I could run around and blow up bunnies or pick flowers if I wanted to.

During this week there was a guildmate I began talking to. Through the course of our conversation my discontent for Florida came out and how I wanted to move but didn’t know where I would go and all of the other unknowns that went with the concept of moving.

“Well, Lincoln is pretty much the opposite of all of that,” was his reply to my story.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, a seed had been planted. The name of a town led to an InDeed search for job opportunities. Seeing opportunities led to looking for my own company in the area. That led to receiving the blessing from my former FA to reach out to the FA’s in Lincoln. That led to a trip to Nebraska and an interview, which led to moving halfway across the country to start my own life in the middle of nowhere.

There were people who thought moving was a bad idea. There were people who thought it was a good idea. And then there was me. Lost. Confused. Caught somewhere in the middle. Unhappy but not sure if moving was the right choice to make or not.

I would be leaving my brother. My clinic. My patients. My friends. My dojo. The last remnants of my old life. And I would be leaving for what? A possibility of things getting better? A “maybe life won’t suck as bad”? I didn’t even know if I would have a job when I got there. It was just a promising interview and knowing that medical areas usually had a need somewhere. Did I want to leave everything I knew and trade it all for some unknown leap of faith here I hoped I landed on my feet across this giant chasm?

Would I regret not moving and trying to make it work if I were to die tomorrow?

Maybe a little stark and morbid as far as a decision-making process goes, but one of the final things mom taught me was that life is short. I’m not ok with arriving at my death and regretting my choices, so if I were to die, would I regret moving or not moving more?

After sitting and thinking about my answer, I realized my answer. Yes. Yes, I would regret not moving. I would regret not trying. I would regret not knowing if it had been the best decision I could have made for myself, or the worst one where I would have to figure out, once again, how to recover from a mistake.

So I moved.

Because I moved I am in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in. Because I moved I now have a renewed sense of family and belonging and home. Because I moved I have grown as a PCT. I am now a CCHT and NFACT certified. I am a CNA on the Nebraska registry and about to begin LPN classes with plans to continue to on to RN. I have attended Academy and plans are being laid for me to become a preceptor for my clinic. Because I moved I have floated to six other clinics and met the patients and teammates of my region.

Because I moved I can hear coyotes at night and see the stars filling the sky. I have found a dojo where I feel I belong and can continue to train.

Because I moved I’ve actually have had the time and space to make real peace with my grief.

So many of the positive events which have happened in my life can be traced back to that one week in the extended stay. So much of my life can be attributed to my choice to venture into the scary unknown and I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world.

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.

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Daily Post 124: Officially Official

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I’m officially official.

Yesterday I went to the DMV and finally got my Nebraska plates. They’re not actually on my car yet since it’s been raining non-stop for the past FOREEEEVVVVVEEEERRRR. I’m not even exaggerating. Literally days of wet, cold, dreary rain. It sort of sucks.

Anyway. That was the last task on my “Move to Nebraska” to do list. Well… maybe “Put plates on car” is really the last task on the to-do list… but I digress…

It only cost me about $200 once everything was said and done. That doesn’t include the $75 for the citation I paid. Even with the citation included, registering my car in Nebraska cost way less than what I had to pay in Florida, and it was a way less painful process, too. I was only at the DMV for about 20 minutes; 30 tops.

That’s the biggest highlight of my life since I wrote last time. Other than emotional breakdowns from not getting enough introverted alone time and working another four days on top of going to my class and interacting with a whole new group of people, several of who are still in high school. I really hope I didn’t sound like them when I was their age. They have a rude awakening ahead of them if they think life is going to get any easier from where they’re at…

I don’t have a lot in common with many of my classmates, mostly because they are younger. Early 20s while I’m going on 30. A lot has happened to me in the past 10 years. Hell… most of what makes me, me, happened in the past three. There is a priority difference and a work ethic difference. There’s also the fact that I already know the procedures and that I currently work in the medical field and already interact with patients. I handle myself and the testing differently. I don’t worry about messing up. I try. I do my best. If I get corrected, ok. That will let me get better. I watch the videos before coming to class. I make flashcards. I actually write discussion posts that are worth discussing rather than two or three sentence comments.

I don’t know… In true INFJ fashion, I’m different.

Overall, I like the class and I think the instructor and I are getting along fairly well. I know of one day that I will miss due to a meeting at work, but I have already talked to her about it. The procedures being covered that day are stupid easy. Taking a pulse. Counting respirations. Taking blood pressure. Taking temperature… I couldn’t have lucked out better if I had tried.

I’ve been cross stitching a lot more recently. It doesn’t hurt as much to hold the fabric. It gives me quiet time each night I do it. I’ve taken two pictures in the past three weeks to mark my progress as I continue to work on it. I’ll hopefully add them to my Dragon’s Horde before too much longer. I haven’t added anything to that section of my blog in a really long time. Acknowledging that makes my heart ache. All I can do is keep taking small steps forward. I don’t cry every time I stitch now. That’s progress. I think mom would be happy that I’m still doing it even if it’s taken me a while to figure out how to and to work through the emotions.

The schedule for the coming month is out. I only work in Beatrice so far. Hooray. No overtime. No Saturdays. I started plucking away at the Vascular Access Manager information again today while I was at work. I finished one of the requirements and printed off a bunch of papers that I need to go through since you know… taking a CNA class while working full time isn’t enough to keep me busy or anything…

I haven’t been going to the gym or working out with my bag. I don’t have an excuse. I just haven’t felt like it. I’ve wanted to stay home the few times I’m able to have free time. I’ve finished watching all of Fate/Apocrypha. It wasn’t all that awesome though the fight scenes were pretty badass. Frankinstine was my favorite character. ❤

I’ve started watching Killer B. So far I’m captivated. Oh… I also watched all of the Castlevania series on Netflix. That was awesome. So wish there were more episodes.

But that gives you an idea of how much I’ve not been going out or doing anything; writing included. Nearly three freaking series… Could I do anything more useless with my time?

Even as I write that I know I’m being overly harsh with myself.

I needed that downtime. I needed that break from problem-solving and thinking and interacting. I needed to be alone. Ox has been amazingly supportive in allowing me to be my tired, overwhelmed, introverted self. I’ve been finicky with eating lately. Most likely because I’m so much less active than what I was a few weeks ago.

I’m trying to do the things I know I need to do to care for myself. After the past two weeks, I NEEDED the alone time more than I needed to go to the gym. I went yesterday. I rowed and biked for a bit, stretching after I was done. It felt good to workout even if it wasn’t as intense as what I “normally” would do.

Irrational Right Brain: Fuck you. I went. That’s a win, damnit!

Logical Left Brain: *looks around* … Um… I don’t think anyone was actually criticizing us…

Irrational Right Brain: I don’t care! It’s a win, damnit!

Logical Left Brain: *sigh* This is why I need an Excedrin…

I don’t know if I’ll do anything tomorrow. I would like to, but we’ll see how things play out.

I’ve emailed the owner of the dojo in Beatrice to see about going to the Hapkido class this Friday evening after work. I’m not sure how that will turn out, but I am aware that I need to find something. It’s still missing in my life; that energy and charge and fulfillment from pushing myself to be better than I was. Training at the gym isn’t the same. Working out with my bag isn’t the same. I don’t think anything can really compare to going up against a stronger, more trained opponent and getting your ass kicked, but knowing you got it kicked less than you did last time. Or being able to hold your own against them. There’s just something so… validating about that experience. I miss it. I want it back.

So, yeah… we’ll see if he emails me back. If he doesn’t I’ll still show up, I’ll just have less information when I do.

I guess that’s about it on my end. Saturday will be clothes shopping day since it’s getting to the point where I legitimately need long pants so I don’t freeze or get sick from exposure in shorts. Lame. So much lame. ;-;

Saturday will also be grocery shopping and such. Because I’ll have that day off instead of working and will be able to do shit like that. Hooray!

I’m going to go for now. I want to make my nest in the corner of the bed while Ox and I listen to our shows and spread out all of my cross stitching stuff so it gets lost in the blankets and I have to dig around to find my stupid highlighter whenever I need to mark off the progress I’ve made on my pattern. Being curled up and warm and near him sounds, I don’t know… perfect I guess. As close to perfect and human life can be at least. Imperfectly perfect.

Daily Post 073: Two Weeks Later

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Things are going well.

It’s been two weeks to the day since I’ve written. Time gets pushed ahead an hour which is sort of lame, but overall my body hasn’t noticed a difference.

I’ve been sleeping better the past few nights which is nice. For a while, I was having a hard time being able to sleep. The past five days or so have also been rough. Nothing bad has happened. I’ve just been sad.

I think there are a lot of factors that go into that.

The biggest is that it’s almost the two-year anniversary of mom’s death. I don’t like the word anniversary. I think I wrote about that last year; how anniversary makes it sound like something to celebrate. It’s another day where I have to go out and buy a flower for her. It’s the second time I will have to go and stand in front of the fake flower display at some store and figure out which one I want to get to signify this event in my life that I didn’t want to have happen.

It’s a heavy thought. This impending action I have to do. That I need to do. That I promised myself I would do because I have to do something to show that this day is significant. I don’t have a grave I can go to. All I can do is place my hands on her urn after adding another flower to the crystal vase I bought and make my promises all over again.

Not promises of being happy or not having breakdowns.

My promises to eat. To not stay in bed all day. To at least shower.

My promises of bare minimal survival because as long as I survive I can keep going which is what she wants for me.

I had a dream the other night while Ox was playing World of Warcraft next to me. I guess it was sort of a waking dream. I knew I was in bed with him. I knew it had been a while since I had talked to mom. I hadn’t seen her in a while and I knew she would be worrying about me. I had the thought that I should call her so she wouldn’t worry about me. So I could let her know I was going to be staying with Ox and that I wouldn’t be home for a while. I wanted to let her know I was ok.

It sucked when in the dream I remembered that’s now how this works anymore. I can’t call the same way I used to. But maybe that’s something I should be aware of. I haven’t written to her in a while. I’ve talked to her a few times. I’ve told her I miss her and that I wish things were different.

I like the way things are going in my life. I like where I am and I do look forward to my future most days. I know mom is happy for me. I just wish she were here to visit or to meet Ox or any number of the things that I feel like I can’t have or do because her presence isn’t physical.

I got my raise at work. 2%. So… like a quarter. I’m not complaining since most first-year techs get nothing. My boss and former teammates had nothing but positive things to say about my performance and character. Most of my ratings were 4 out of 5. They were actually really hard pressed to find anything constructive for me to work on since I’m pretty good about continuously improving. They mentioned that I was late for work a few times, but that was it. Other than that they all loved working with me and were confident that I would do well at my new clinics.

I am scheduled to take my national certification this Wednesday. I’m mildly nervous about it but I’ve started going through my flashcards again and I’ve been going through several lists on Quizlet and adding to my flash card collection when I run into things that I don’t know or feel I should add to my own cards.

I know I’ll continue to internally worry about the test until it’s over and I know mom will be standing behind me doing the “I told you so” dance when I pass the first time. If I didn’t worry I wouldn’t study or try so hard. I know in its own way my worry is a good thing. I just need to keep it in check and make sure it doesn’t change into anxiety.

I’m going to continue to be in training at work for the next two weeks which is mildly annoying, but I’ll finally be at the Beatrice clinic which I’m looking forward to. I’ll get a whole extra hour of sleep. 3 am wake-up calls instead of 2 am. Woo!

It’s sort of sad being an adult and being excited about shit like that.

I have slowly been working myself back into my routines. I meal prepped today which was extremely gratifying. I made chef salads along with a chicken alfredo dish. I made venison chili for dinner, too, which everyone seemed to like.

All of the laundry is done. The dishes are taken care of. My bag is packed for the gym tomorrow if I feel like going. All I need to do is fill my water bottles and I’ll be done with my “work prep” stuff. It’s a good feeling to feel like I’m on top of things in that regard.

I did go and talk to the YMCA guys earlier last week. Since I’ll be working in Beatrice it would be easier to go to the gym there rather than driving all the way back into Lincoln, but I wasn’t sure if my membership would work like that.

Well… it does. And if it ever becomes a problem with me going to the Beatrice gym more than the Lincoln one they said they would work it out. They’re more concerned with me going rather than where I go. It was actually a much less painful experience then what I was anticipating, so yeah. Depending on how work goes I might go and check out the gym before coming home. If not, there’s Tuesday which will be a shorter day and theoretically leave me with more time and energy for new things.

It all depends, and I’ve been doing pretty good about not giving myself shit for not being consistent with my gym going. It’s still very obviously winter here and the cold and cloudiness makes it hard to find the drive to go out or stay out. I’m still “new” at the gym and most days I don’t feel like dealing with more new since pretty much everything in my life is new.

New house. New town. New clinics. New state. New relationship. New bed. New elbows stabbing me at night. Yes… I know eventually you’ll read this, so I’m putting that part in there especially for you. Kisses :3

Sometimes making it through my obligations of work is enough for me. I got through all of that “new”. I don’t want to deal with more “new”. So I don’t. I know eventually, I’ll get there. Small steps. And I think that’s the biggest part I’m learning right now. Not everything has to happen right now, this second. I can take time to adjust and breath and get used to things before slowly adding onto the things I get established and stable.

I did go running the week before last. It was the first time I’ve run in a while. That sucked. Hardcore. My legs hurt, my breathing sucked, and I can tell that I’ve gained a little bit of weight back. When I bowed in on the mat at the gym to stretch after my shitty run I couldn’t bend as far or twist as much as I used to and almost every muscle complained at me, reminding me that I haven’t done anything remotely consistent since the beginning of December.

The yoga class I went to last Saturday was more about trying not to die while in downward dog than finding any sort of inner peace and I was sore for days afterward.

Overall my first gym experiences here were pretty demotivating and that’s something I’m having to align within myself.

That was my square one and that’s ok. Everything from those points forward will be a step forward from here. It doesn’t matter where I am or where I was at. What matters is what I DO.

So I went running again this week and I did better. My legs were less sore. My breathing was better. I was able to stretch deeper afterward. It was nice to see myself regain so much in such a short time. So I’m not as demotivated as I was and I think that’s helped make today better than what the past few days have been.

Financially things are tight. Warren is being himself. Mrs. Side Chick moved in but Warren is still trying to get his finances straight which means right now he has no money to give me.

Full Sail never got around to writing the check they owe me so that hasn’t shown up yet. Neither has my tax return. I got paid $4 this past paycheck because the only hours I got were the hours that I shadowed…

So yeah… I don’t have money to pay my car payment which is due tomorrow. It sucks, but there you go. I can’t magically poof money into my account. Payday isn’t until Friday. I’m going to call the bank tomorrow and let them know the situation. In the two or three years that I’ve had the car, I haven’t been late on my payments once. Maybe that will earn me a few brownie points or something. If not I guess I’m eating a late fee.

I’m hyper aware that I would be fucked right now if it wasn’t for the kindness of Ox’s parents. I stay here rent free. They pay for pretty much all the food. Today was the first time that I put any sort of “serious” money towards groceries and that was mainly because I was buying things for my lunches at work. I’ve bought things here and there, but this was the first major shopping trip that I’ve made for the house, and even then I only had to spend $50 since Ox’s mom gave me some money before I left for the store.

I feel awkward and… bad?… accepting her help like that, but I also know that I wouldn’t be able to do anything without it. I try to make up for it by cleaning and helping. Which that’s a story for another time.

I will say it’s nice not being the only person doing chores. Everyone does a little bit.

And yet as I write that I feel the need to say that the past few days I haven’t done as much as I was when I first moved here.

There was one day where I slept pretty much all day. Because of the sadness, I’ve been sleeping more. Ox and I talk about it sometimes. I ask his opinion. I know it would be better for me to sit and write more; to try to figure out my emotions for myself, but I like knowing what he observes in my behavior and his opinion of it.

The other night, the night where I slept most of the day, I came out for dinner, but shortly after eating I went back to the room, leaving my plate and cup on the table. Normally I would clear the dishes away and load the dishwasher, storing the leftovers into containers and making sure the kitchen is clean, but I didn’t have it in me to do it that night. Dinner was the most I could bring my self to do as far as human interaction. The sadness hurt and being around others made it that much more painful. I had made my appearance. I wanted to go back to the room where I could hide under the covers and continue to be sad because those emotions weren’t done yet.

I guess Ox’s mom was worried that I was silently protesting doing the dishes by leaving my stuff on the table, which made me feel awful because that’s not what it was at all. I hadn’t even realized I had left my stuff like I had. I was so wrapped up in getting away that I didn’t think about it. I didn’t think about how my actions might have been taken by others.

Ox said he explained the situation to her; how I’ve been having a hard time. Nothing further was mentioned about it so I guess things are ok. I’ve made a conscious effort to not let my sadness hinder others or create more work for those around me.

And I guess since I’m writing about everything I might as well throw in the fact that I’ve been on my period this whole time which totally doesn’t help anything.

Body: Hey. I know that you feel shitty right now. Here. Have this. It will help. : D

Me: … I really fucking hate you right now… Just so you know…

I’m glad that I can write that today feels more like a normal day. Everyone else is sick with head colds, but I’m finally breathing better. I’ve slept well the past few days. I’ve had two days off from work. I got my Ubox unpacked and into a storage unit which makes it feel more official. I got to touch all of my things again, and even though I don’t have them here at the house with me, I have them stored and permanently here.

Eventually, when I have money to spend, I plan to get another tattoo. This one will be on my right forearm and it will be for me. It will be the final mark of this transition. I’m looking forward to that day.

I know March is going to suck as far as finances go. Maybe I’ll get my new tattoo on April 4th. That gives me three weeks to create the design and find someone I like and schedule an appointment. I know I won’t get a tattoo every April 4th, but maybe this could be a way of marking my new year since that’s when it begins for me.

March is where I start getting full paychecks again. It’s when my schedule becomes stable. It’s where I get back on my feet. It’s where, hopefully, the weather starts to warm. It’s where I get back to the gym.

Surviving March is where things begin. I want that to mean something and I want something to mark this step forward for me. It’s something to meditate on further. I guess a lot of that depends on how this month actually goes. As irresponsible as it might be I could use the credit card to get the tattoo. It’s not like that debt is going to go anywhere anytime soon…

I think another part of the sadness I’ve felt recently is finally having the space to feel all the things I never let myself feel in Orlando. I have the space here to be sad. I have the time to come home and let the emotions have their time. I don’t have the constant drain of work. I have the time for self-care and maybe before I start really delving into that I have to go through the hurt and sadness first.

I don’t know. I haven’t really done a lot of soul-searching yet, but now with everything settling down maybe the sadness is my soul’s way of saying it’s time to look at those painful wounds that have been neglected for so long.

Writing helps. I’m glad that in addition to everything I have done today, that I have not only written but also made noticeable progress on the cross stitch I have been working on. Maybe I’ll start taking weekly pictures of it so I can track it.

Who knows. There are so many things I can do, or not do, and I have the space and time to do or not do them. It’s such a weird feeling and is another thing I’m having to adjust to.

My therapist actually reached out to me today. She said she had been thinking about me. I replied back explaining a bit of what has been going on in my life and asked if I could talk to her about some things that I would like her opinion on. She replied back saying of course. We can definitely talk. She wants me to let her know what my schedule is so we can work something out.

It’s nice to know I still have her support and connection.

When I first moved here I had anxiety any time Ox or I had to leave to go anywhere. I kept thinking about how one of us would get into a car wreck or die some horrible death and how we had both found happiness just for it to be stanched away from us.

I haven’t had those feelings for a few weeks now, but I still want to talk to my therapist about them. I also want to talk to her about the sadness I’ve felt this past week and mom’s upcoming death day.

At the moment I don’t really have much else to say.

I’m glad I wrote. I’m glad that even though everyone is sick that it’s been a pretty decent day. I’m glad dinner was a success. I’m glad I’m prepared for the coming week. I’m glad I’m finally going to be taking my test. I’m glad I’ll be at what will soon be my home clinic. I’m glad this Friday I get paid. I’m glad I have a car that works. I’m glad I have my computer set up and that I have clean clothes to wear. I’m glad I have a gym membership I can take advantage of. And I’m glad I have the time to do the things I want to do.

Things are going well. I’m doing well. And I guess that’s it for now.

Daily Post 071: A “Fuck You” Post From Nebraska

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For all of my joking with Ox about this not being hard, about how writing for work is easy and most likely the best place to start, simply sitting here in front of my computer is hard.

I moved to Nebraska.

I’m here. It’s cold. There was ice on the ground yesterday.

I love it.

I shadowed at the clinic in Beatrice this morning. It’s everything I was hoping for it to be.

I’m in the middle of doing my yearly review with my FA from Orlando so I should have my pay increase in before I become active at the clinics up here. I still have my voucher for my national certification test which is good until April. That leaves me all of March to find a test center and complete that for another dollar increase in my rate.

Everything is different and yet at the same time the same.

I’m still in front of the same computer with the same finicky keyboard. I’m still writing this post in Grammarly which constantly reminders me that I write more than 98% of users with a way higher vocabulary than normal which makes me wonder what everyone else is writing because I don’t think I write all that much.

I still talk to Jon on the phone about nothing important. I listen to him bitch about work and how his coworkers suck. How school is annoying and how his World Religion class is a joke full of busy work he doesn’t care about.

I still shower and brush my teeth. I still forget to take my contacts out until I’m about to crawl into bed which makes me groan as I unwillingly trudge back to the bathroom to take them out.

I still miss mom. I still wish she were here for me to tell her about all the of the changes I’ve experienced and made. I wish she where here to talk about my trip to the Great Unknown. I still have her urn with me even if I don’t have the chine hutch set up.

My computer is still in a closet but I’ve been allowed to paint it the way I want so it’s the Summer Dragonfly color that I painted the living room when I was in Orlando. The trim, shelving, and ceiling I painted white. Ox is going to help me put in more shelving on the sides so I have a place to put my notebooks and pens. It’s almost set up to how I want it and he’s been amazing about helping to make me feel welcomed and at home.

I’m living with him and his parents. I know by society standards that seems like a failure but I like it. In Asian cultures, it’s common for the extended family to live together. Grandparents, great grandparents… Everyone helps take care of everyone.

It feels good to joke with his mom. It feels good to cook dinner and clear the plates away. I don’t mind when she does the dishes. I think both her and I are so used to being the only people to do things as far as household upkeep goes that it’s weird allowing someone else to do things.

The voice in my head of “You are supposed to be doing that,” still makes my body tense. I’m staying here rent free. I should be doing everything. The laundry. The dishes. The cooking. The cleaning. If I don’t do it all then I’m a slacker. A mooch.

But… That’s the thing that’s different… I DON’T have to do it all. I don’t have to do it all right then, that second. There’s help. There’s Ox who takes out the trash. There’s his mom who doesn’t mind loading the dishwasher if she didn’t have to cook the meal. It doesn’t have to be all me all the time. There’s a give and take that I’m not used to anymore. I’m relearning that I don’t have to tense up or internally freak out and feel like a failure if someone else takes it upon themselves to do something that needs to be done.

It makes it easier to want to do things to help because it doesn’t feel like I’m being used or taken advantage of.

She bought me an ice scraper for my car windows yesterday and even though I know it wasn’t expensive, it’s important to me. She went out of her way to make sure I had something that I needed. It was kind and thoughtful.

There’s a feeling of home that I haven’t felt since sitting in the living room of mom’s house when I would go back to visit.

It hurts in a healing way.

I’m happy in a way I didn’t think would be possible again.

I’m so much less stressed. Even with my former roommates still being dicks about rent and paying me back, I can’t put into words how much better I feel about my future and how I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out for me.

I have a future I want to see, that I want to be here for. A future I so desperately wish I could tell my mom about because I know she would be happy for me.

She is happy for me and writing that hurts the most so far.

I shadowed today, which that’s been a bit of a rollercoaster in itself.

I was supposed to shadow on the 23rd which is Friday. That changed to Tuesday, but then it got super cold and there was ice on the roads so it was changed to Thursday. Since my FA needed me to fill out paperwork that I could only access through the intranet at work I had to go into town to get on one of the clinic’s computers. While I was there it was decided that I should show up to the Beatrice clinic at 5 am this morning; Wednesday.

Shadowing went well. The RN is super nice though her last day is going to be Friday. The tech was a girl I met while I was at the clinic on Tuesday. She answered all of my questions and gave me her opinion about things; which clinics she preferred and why, the shortcomings to each location, what the patient population was like…

It was a really nice morning. The Beatrice clinic only has eight stations. It’s a third of the size of what I’m used to. It’s roughly a 30-minute drive from where I’m staying and the drive itself is nice. Ox took me there this morning and picked me up once I was done.

We had driven by the clinic shortly after our trip home from Orlando, and I’m glad that I can call this place home rather than “the place where I fall asleep at night.”

This IS my home and I like it here.

Before I left the clinic this morning one of the FAs I interviewed with showed up and we talked more about the logistical side of things. She added me to the time clocks for all three of the clinics I’ll be working at. We set up a time for me to come in tomorrow to do some Nebraska specific policy and procedure training after which we will be contacting my FA in Orlando to make my transition official, so while I still haven’t signed anything as of yet, I am set to begin working here in the next few weeks.

It’s a good feeling. Much less nebulous than what it was though I still don’t know what my rate will be. I’m assuming if they need to take me through training that my rate will be decreased slightly for that duration; a week, maybe two. After the initial training period to make sure I understand, and am comfortable, with the newer equipment I’ll be essentially on my own again, only this time it will legitimately be on my own. The clinics are so small that I would be the only tech with one RN.

I’m confident in my ability to hold my own. I’m confident that I can do this and that’s a good feeling. I’m not scared of my work future. I’m looking forward to it. And for the time being it is very likely that the Beatrice clinic will be my home clinic. The dedicated tech they had for that location recently resigned and so there’s a spot there and I’m the closest tech to that location.

I like it. It’s new. All of the machines are new. It’s spacious and quiet. There are 20 minutes between patients. I would most likely be working 12-hour shifts on MWF, but TTS is still only one shift so I would be out around noon on those days.

At no point at any clinic would I be working a 16 hour day.

I haven’t shadowed at any of the other locations, but the Captial City location reminds me of what Orlando was like. I think I would like that one the least simply because it’s so similar to what I’m trying to get away from.

It was sort of weird putting on scrubs again. I forgot my notebook this morning so Ox had to turn around so we could get it. I’m not used to wearing layers, thermals under my scrubs, and so there’s an odd feeling accompanying all of the familiar. It felt good, though; waking up, making breakfast. Hopefully, as I become more situated at work, with an actual schedule and routine, things will become a little less hectic in that regard. At least I remembered my wallet and cell phone. Two out of three things isn’t bad for a first day back after essentially a month off.

I have a membership to the YMCA again. The facilities here are super nice. Better than the ones I went to in Florida, which you would think it would be the opposite. I’m in the middle of nowhere and yet the Y offers classes in Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Women’s Self-Defense, and Hapkido. There are yoga and Zumba classes and all of the other things I’m interested in. Personal training is still pretty expensive, but it’s an option for later down the road.

I haven’t looked into dojos all that much. I know they’re around. I know eventually I’ll get back into jiujitsu and the MMA stuff because that’s something I want in my life, but for now, I’m ok with simply finding my routine again and getting back to the point I was. I’m ok with taking things slow for right now since everything has changed so much.

Ox and I have plans to go to the gym later today to soak in the hot tube. Relax. Decompress. Become a little more comfortable in yet another new environment.

So much new…

I’m getting more familiar with the roads here. Parts of my mental map are still cloudy, fuzzy, but I’m getting better at remembering where things are in relation to each other. The clinic is here, so that means the stitch shop is north. This is the grocery store so the gym is in a “that way” direction. I know it will still be a little bit before I’m uber confident but I’m content with the progress I’m making.

I haven’t looked into starting classes anywhere. I most likely won’t until the fall semester at the earliest. I might table that until next year. I know when I’m ready to explore those options that there’s a ton in the area to support whatever direction I choose to go with.

Ox’s mom said the house needs a breath of fresh air, which I think I’m providing. Things are getting cleaned and organized. Things are getting donated or thrown out. Projects will get completed as other things fall into place. The addition to the house, an extra three bedrooms, which were started years ago, has the very real potential to get done now.

I want to see the addition completed. I want to help complete it. I want Ox’s kids to have their own rooms when they come to visit. I want Ox to get custody of his children.

His daughter, the cutest seven-year old I have ever met, has already told me that her dad has married me and that I’m a mom, to which I responded, “Am I, now?” because yeah… that’s news to me.

I stayed at a hotel last weekend because Ox’s kids were at the house. It’s their home.They hadn’t met me yet. I didn’t want to stay there without meeting them first. Coming from a divorced family, I know what it’s like to feel threatened or replaced by a parental figure finding another person. My stepmom was a bitch while Jon and I were growing up and sadly she really hasn’t changed all that much. It’s more that Jon and I are no longer insecure preteens she can pick on. We’re adults and we’ll stand up for ourselves as such.

If his kids didn’t like me I didn’t want them to feel stuck or trapped with me being at the house. I want them to feel secure and thought of. Their opinion matters. They ARE important.

His son I think is a bit more reserved when it comes to me than his daughter. To be fair, he’s older, and he’s only ever had poor examples for mother figures. His biological mom, the parent he stays with the most, I don’t think does a good job. I mean… when the child openly says, “I don’t trust my mom,” and he’s only thirteen… I think there are deeper issues that need to be addressed.

We seem to be doing ok, though. We went to a hobby shop and spent a few hours digging through magic cards on Friday night. Saturday I came over to the house and played magic with him and Ox. I think it went well. He didn’t want to hug me goodbye when I left and I completely respected and understood that.

Ox’s daughter totally handed my ass to me in Minecraft. XD

We had more success with Little Big Planet. I got her to read to me Sunday night before I left. She says she’s “bad” at a lot of things.

“I’m bad a reading.” “I’m bad at that game.” “I’m bad… I’m bad…”

I want to know who tells this amazing child that she’s bad at anything. She’s not bad at all. She reads amazingly well. And even if she’s “bad” at something… she’s seven. It’s not “bad”, it’s something she can get better at if she’s given encouragement and support. Who the fuck gave this seven-year-old self-esteem issues?

I want to show both of Ox’s children that not all females are mean, or weak, or selfish, or whatever it was that the previous women in their lives have been. There are females out there who are stable, secure, confident, and who have their shit together.

I don’t think of myself as their mom, but I do want to be an example for them. I want them to be ok with me being with their dad and I don’t really know what else to write about that because I’ve only interacted with them for such a brief time.

I don’t know how to be a mom, but being cuddled up in bed with Ox’s daughter as we took turns reading pages to each other felt so right that I don’t know how I haven’t been doing it my whole life. It reminded me of when mom and I would read to each other. It reminded me of all of the stories and adventures we went on while sitting together in the easy chair passing books back and forth.

His kids are getting to the age where they could go before a judge and say they would rather live with their dad. That’s why getting the addition completed would be so… beneficial? I’m not sure what word to use to describe it. Everyone wants his kids here rather than with their mother, myself included.

And I pause here in my writing because I’m at the end of one thought and am scared to wander into others. Everything else would be from “The Before” as Ox and I call it. Before the move.

I guess that’s something to address.

Ox and I aren’t playing games. We’re seeing if we can coexist together as life partners. We’re both interested in each other. We both seem to want the same things. We both have similar enough interests to be compatible with enough differences to keep each other intriguing. There’s open enough communication that when more sensitive subjects need to be discussed there’s the trust to openly talk about the topic.

We both want to see where it goes, so we are. I’m not going to sit here and justify my actions or try to make it more ok to disapproving eyes. I’m making the choices I feel are right and all I can do, all anyone can do in their life, is see if the choices made pan out the way we hope or intend for them to.

So far the choices I have made have led me to feeling more secure, more stable, more at peace, more happy, then I have in the almost two years I’ve lived without mom.

In the process, I have lost Mother Earth, again. And there is what I am starting to recognize as the matriarch part of my self which stands stoically at this realization.

Everyone else I mentioned moving to wished me the best, encouraged me to make the choices which were best for me. She was the only person who sent a message reading as a farewell. The only person who made my moving seem as if it were a leaving that I could never come back from, where we could never visit, never call, never message.

This marks the fourth time where I have felt wounded by her and so I said my own goodbye and have left it as such. The money given to help her and Josh will most likely never be returned to me. I don’t think our relationship will be mended this lifetime. I think I’m tired enough of being told to “never message me again” to the point that trying again isn’t worth it. My soul is too tired to try.

I still have to live without mom. Every day. After two years it’s still not easier and though I’m happy in ways I thought were gone from me forever, there’s still that heaviness everytime I breathe. That fact will never change. I don’t have it in me to carry that fact along with fighting to prove to someone I care who seems so set on believing that I don’t.

I didn’t get to see my blacksmith before I left, but he did take the time to call me the Saturday before my trip.

As always he built me up the most, bringing me to tears while we talked. He said he’s proud of me. That’s he’s proud to have watched me grow from who I was when we first met into the person I am now and that he’s looking forward to watching me continue to grow in the person I’m meant to be.

He pointed out that last year I would have never thought of moving away, much less actually doing it. I went through a complete career change and have become stronger for it. I’ve opened up after the hurt of Zane and allowed myself to have healthy and stable relationships. I’ve learned to trust again.

I’ve done a lot of amazing things, all of which are mostly intangible. I’ve worked through so many faults, and flaws, and insecurities, and the whole time, every time, it seemed too hard or too overwhelming or too impossible to do the phrase “Go fuck yourself,” screamed in my head as I refused to let Life beat me down.

I can remember the times I wrote about being tired of fighting, of trying but how I didn’t know how to give up, I only knew how to keep going even though I would give anything to stop.

Well, fuck you, Life. Even if it doesn’t last, this is the peace I’ve earned. This is my reward for overcoming every single thing you’ve thrown at me.

Fuck you for Saturday night, the night I was alone at the hotel after driving back there by myself, ridden with anxiety as the thought of, “this is it,” ricochet around in my head like a bullet.

This is where I die. This is where there’s some freak car accident where I get a life-threatening wound I have have to choose between letting myself die and being with my mom or fighting to finally live the life I’ve wanted to have. This is where everything gets snatched away from me like a cruel joke. This is where I get so close to the finish line, where I can see that checkered pattern that I’ve been striving so hard to cross only to fall and trip and to lose my race.

This is where it all ends. The final taste of happiness that I’ve been trying so hard to find again.

But I didn’t die on the way back to the hotel. I made it back there fine, in one piece, without incident. I don’t want to live my life in fear like that, but for right now it’s hard not to. Everything is so frail and new and precious to me and there’s a part of me who’s terrified that it’s going to be stolen away from me and I’ll never have it again.

I realized, curled up in the hotel bed that I might have forgotten something. My mom and I are still together. No matter what, I will always be her daughter, and no matter what, she will always be my mother. No matter where I go. No matter who I end up with. No matter what career I do or do not work. No matter if we’re alive or dead, I will always be her daughter and she will always be my mother.

Life cannot change that. Death cannot change that. Not even the Universe can change that fact.

So you know what? Fuck everyone who disapproves or thinks less of me, or berates me, or faults me, or who says anything about me behind my back or who doesn’t agree with how I’m living my life.

YOU’RE NOT MY MOM.

No one on this planet will ever be my mom so fuck what they think.

Yes. In two months I met a guy online and packed up my shitty excuse of a life, transferred my job and moved to a completely new state to be near him; to start over with him.

I didn’t need or want anyone’s permission to do it. My life was so broken where I was and for once it feels like I’m doing things right, so fuck you, Life, if you think I’m going to give this up without fighting you. I won’t let you take this back from me. I’ve earned everything fucking minute of my happiness for everything that you’ve ever taken away from me.

You took my dad away from me with I was eight. You took away my mom from me when I was twenty-seven. Fuck you. Fuck you for every struggle I’ve ever had to go through to become who I am sitting here today.

I’m angry that I had to go through all of it. And maybe that’s something I’m going to have to work through now that I have the time and space and peace to actually start dealing with everything.

Anger.

I didn’t mean for this writing to go that direction, though to be fair I didn’t know how to begin writing or what I would write about when I finally sat down, but anger never, ever, made it to the list in all of my imaginings, but there you go. I’m angry.

And admitting that I’m angry makes it less powerful than what it was. I’m hurt and still injured and recovering, but I’m so much better than what I was two years ago, and I know I’ll only improve from this point forward.

So yeah… Fuck you, Life. I’ll get through this part of it, too. The anger and injustice and the fear and insecurity of gaining it all just to lose it in the end. Fuck you if you think I’m going to break now. My work isn’t over, but I’m hanging up my armor for now because I’m done fighting you.

It’s winter. This is when I get to go sit in hot tubes and do yoga and be reflective and clean and organize so in the spring, when new things start and the earth begins to grow again there’s the space and opportunity for it to all begin. This is a quiet time and I’m going to enjoy it, revel in it, bask in the nothingness of not struggling.

This is a  new start, a new chapter, a new first post. This is my “Fuck you” to Life from my new home in Nebraska and I’m glad I took the time to write it.

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Daily Post 070: The Last Day

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There are so many areas of my life to work through at the moment. To clean up; much like the apartment. So many places to empty out, scrub down, sort through… maybe not in that order, but it’s all on the to-do list.

I’m going to start with work because work is easy. It always has been for me and continues to be the easiest area to analyze, figure out, and explain. The easiest section to set to rights and be done with.

I talked to the FA from Nebraska. Apparently, she replied to my email. I never received it and I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t, so I feel it’s more likely that she thought she replied rather than she actually did reply. Either way, we talked on Thursday. I am set up to shadow at one of the clinics on February 23rd, which is a Friday.

There’s not an official offer yet. They want to see how I fit with the team and all that jazz, and honestly, I’m ok with that. That gives me roughly two weeks to myself, though most of the first one will be taken up by traveling and getting situated. During the second week, if not towards the end of the first week, I plan to find a gym and to begin/continue conditioning since that is something I plan to start seriously going back to next week; the week before the move.

I’m thinking that finding a YMCA might be a better option at the moment. I liked the one I used to go to; the one I I would bike to until they closed it down to rebuild it. It won’t be done until the end of this year, but the few times I’ve driven past it have been nice. It’s going to be a gorgeous facility once it’s done. Too bad I won’t be here to enjoy it.

I liked the classes that were offered. It was homey and comfortable feeling for me. I know it’s not the kickboxing or jujitsu that I will eventually find, but for the time being, I want a gym and I want yoga in my life again. So yeah, that will be one of the first things I do outside of becoming comfortable in my new living situation.

So that’s the future of work. Shadowing. Playing the “Game”. Making sure I make good impressions so they like me and follow through with hiring me.

As far as work in Orlando…

I worked my last day today. I feel lighter. Knowing that I’m no longer obligated to the crushing weight of working at one of the most demanding clinics in the area is freeing. I no longer “have” to wake up at 2:20 am. I no longer “have” to work a sixteen-hour shift.

I know the next week is still going to be hard and full of tasks, just as demanding, if not more so in some ways, than what work was, but I’m mostly looking forward to all of those tasks. It’s conflicting because I did enjoy my clinic; my teammates, my patients. I’m also glad I’m not having to give up what feels like a huge part of myself. I don’t have to choose between going to work and self-care at the moment. I can do the things I want and need to do to be ok. It’s liberating at the moment.

I did pick up extra hours this week. I worked part of Monday, a day which I was supposed to have off. I also picked up a shift at a different clinic. It was my first time working outside of my normal environment.

My FA came to me Wednesday afternoon while I was working and mentioned the Airport clinic, the one I trained at, needed someone to cover for one of their technicians and wanted to know if I would be interested in the hours.

Since I’m about to move to a completely different state to work at, potentially, three different clinics, I figured it would be a good experience to have sooner rather than later.

I need to know what it feels like to walk into a facility and to have NO idea where anything is or who the patients are or what the team members are like. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. That I could work a day somewhere else and survive and not kill anyone.

I would have had to face that anxiety at some point so I decided to do it now, while I still had a relative idea of what the clinic looked like, while I still knew who the FA was, while I still knew how to drive to the clinic and where to park and what their breakroom looked like and the type of coffee they have for their fancy coffee machine.

Yeah, it was a fuck ton of “new”, but it was also a lot of familiar. I got to see Jonathan, one of the FA’s who interviewed me when I was first being considered by the company. I got to see Omar who was my trainer during my initial training. I got to tell both of them about my moving and how I was grateful for their support and encouragement. They got to wish me well and congratulate me on surviving and staying with the company.

I got to experience what it’s like to work with new patients who are familiar with their environment. They’re not the visitor. I am. All of them trusted me enough to do their cannulations. Even though I was slower than what I have come to feel is my norm, mostly because I had to keep asking where they kept things, I felt like I held my own and that I was actually helpful.

I proved to myself that I can be the new person and still get the job done and that’s what I needed to know. I can go to other clinics and survive. I can talk to and work with new technicians and RNs and be competent. I can interact with new patients and still be kind, caring, and attentive while dealing with the overwhelm of being in a new place.

I can do it, and that makes the choice to move feel that much more right.

I worked today, my scheduled day, and it was actually a pretty good day. When some of my patients tried to say goodbye to me I said it wouldn’t be the last time they would see me.

I tried saying goodbyes on Wednesday and it made the day so much harder. All of the kind words and hugs and feelings… I didn’t want to go through that again today. I also didn’t want to have to rush through my goodbyes because another patient needed to be taken off the machine, or because I had to reset a station, or whatever other countless tasks need to be accomplished during change over.

I wanted to be able to have heartfelt moments with people who have impacted my life.

So, instead, I decided early this morning that one of the things I will do with my remaining week is to go to the clinic and to say farewell to my patients. I already have thank you cards which I need to fill out. One for each individual I have met while working there, including my teammates.

This is different than leaving Full Sail, and even then I wrote an email explaining the situation, and the people I worked with played a few rounds of laser tag with me as a way of saying goodbye.

I need to say “I’ll see you later” to these people. I can’t not do it and be ok with the move. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write my personalized, deep, emotional, teary-eyed messages in my thank you cards and give them to each patient I have had the honor of meeting, tucked safely into an unassuming envelope. I’ll shake hands, or hug. I’ll most likely tear up and feel loved and appreciated on levels that I didn’t know where possible, since that’s what most of Wednesday was, and even though I know it will be hard and it will hurt, I know I need to do it.

The wife of one of the patients went out Wednesday night and bought me cupcakes as a thank you for me taking care of her husband. Another patient who served in the Army shook my hand after I had finished taping him up and said, “It was a pleasure serving with you.”

Yeah… all of the feels. I DO make a difference, and that means the world to me because that was the whole point of my career change. I didn’t know how I could keep going without mom. I didn’t know if I had a reason to. I needed to do something that mattered, that was important, so there could be an anchor to hold me here. I needed a job where I HAD to keep going because what I did actually mattered.

Wednesday was, is, undeniable proof that the past nine-ish months of my life have impacted others on levels I never imagined I could.

There’s a “going away” party with my teammates tonight. Several of us are getting ready to leave the clinic so it’s not specifically for me, but I am part of it.

While the thought of not having to go back out into the world and staying at home in my pjs alone sounds amazing, I know if I don’t go I’ll regret it for forever. This is my last hoorah with them. I need to be there, even if it’s only for an hour.

That’s about it as far as work for what I will always think of as my home clinic.

It made me what I am. I’ve worked for nine months at what is considered one of the hardest clinics in our area and I have become a battle-hardened badass. My teammates helped pick me back up when I started questioning myself or feeling like a failure. They shared their knowledge and experiences with me. They were encouraging and supportive, as were my patients.

I am able to confidently move because of my time here and I will always remember that fact. I did not get here alone. And even though I know it will change, the Downtown clinic will always be special to me.

That’s about it for work I think… at least for the moment.

That means I can move on to the harder areas… hooray…. -_-;

Alright… A slightly less hard area… I’ve been closing out accounts and memberships for the things here in Orlando. I canceled my 24-hour fitness membership. That actually worked out extremely well because my personal trainer was there. We’re friends on Facebook, but it was nice to see her. It was nice having the opportunity to explain how everything had progressed to the point it had and to say goodbye in person. It was nice to thank her for everything she did for me because it wasn’t just about having me lift weights.

She was the first person I talked to about conditioning for MMA. She listened to me bitch about work and the apartment. She listened to me on the days that were hard because I was grieving and really didn’t want to workout but I knew that I didn’t want to let my grief win so I showed up. She helped get me to the point of flipping tires and jumping boxes. She was the one who made me realize that I am fit. I am strong. Just because I want to improve on something doesn’t mean I’m not already that thing.

She was another key person during this year of stability for me and even though I was there to cancel my membership, it was a positive moment because it marked a step forward in my life. Beginnings happen because something else ends and not all ends are bad.

I need to still cancel my Title Club Boxing membership, but that requires me to send an email with proof of blah blah blah blah… and I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. The staff knows I’m leaving and I’ll be refunded the personal training I bought but never had the time to use.

That leaves the dojo… which I went to on Wednesday.

I don’t know why, maybe it was because everything that day had been so emotional, but as I was driving back to my apartment, trying not to break down into tears as I drove, I had the sudden swelling urge to go to my dojo. I NEEDED to see my senseis. I NEEDED to be there, in the one area in all of Orlando that has felt like home for me since mom died.

So I did. I went there. I walked in during the Muay Thai class in my scrubs and work shoes. Both of my instructors were sitting in the back of the dojo with a handful of other people. Mongoose got up and gave me a hug and told me congratulations since she read a post I had made on Facebook. My sensei clasped my hand, a wide smile on his face of genuine pleasure from seeing back at the dojo.

I stayed there for a while, mostly talking with Mongoose. It helped me decompress. It helped me feel like things were ok. It helped me… I don’t know what, but I know it did help. I felt better as I walked out of the dojo barefoot. I felt more connected. I felt stronger.

I have to go through and do a formal cancelation thing, but that’s not what Wednesday night was about. Wednesday night was about going home for a little bit and seeing my pseudo-family. At some point in the coming week, I’ll go back and finish taking care of things.

The only other accounts to close out are the ones for the apartment. I need to switch the internet over to Warren and I need to set a closing date for the power.

Past that it’s getting Ms. Side Chick onto the lease and me off of it. I’ve already been in touch with my landlord so he knows about the situation. I’m waiting on him to send me an application to send to her so she can fill it out and more legal red tape bullshit so I can wash my hands of the apartment and be done with it.

I. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Oh my god. Like… for real, I can’t put into words how amazing it will be to drive away from here and to legitimately be able to give absolutely zero fucks about what happens once I’m gone.

I have still, STILL, had to do all of Warren’s dishes. And I get that I don’t “have” to, but when it’s freaking 3 am and the sink is full of his shit and I need to actually use the sink there really isn’t a way around taking care of it. I don’t have time to wait for him to wake up… I have to go to work. Talking to him about it for the past year and some change hasn’t done anything, so why throw a complete bitch fit over it now, the last week that I’m here and burn every possible chance of him actually paying me back?

Because I want to rain down death and destruction on his life for being a shitty roommate. God, the thought of flipping shit on him feels amazing inside of my head. There’s a part of me who wants to break every dish he owns just to prove the point of how sick I am of being his mother.

What’s sort of sad is how Ms. Side Chick is all on board with moving in and taking my spot because, according to Warren, she loves the idea of finally being able to be with him in all of that rose-tinted colored glory.

What’s going to happen is she’s going to move in and see the reality of the situation and get tired of his shit and want to leave.

I’m not saying Amber was an amazing partner to Warren. I’m sure a lot of the stuff Warren told me was truthful, but there was a reason she fell out of love with him and called off the engagement. From the five years I dated Warren to the now year and a half-ish that we’ve lived together… I am willing to bet realizing she had three kids instead of two was a contributing factor.

I’m not going to say jack shit to him about it because I’m fucking tired of trying to talk and being disregarded. I’m going to watch this situation play out and when/if he comes to me crying about how she left, I’m going to ask if he helped maintain the apartment or if she was the only one doing chores. I’m going to ask if he actually helped in any way and showed that he was an independent adult or if she had to manage not only her life but his. Was he an equal partner or a helpless dependent?

I realize this may be a darker side of my personality, but there is going to be a very sick and twist part of me who’s going to do the “I told you so” dance so hard when that conversation happens because it will validate every fucking conversation I had with him where I told him I was unhappy with the situation, offered compromises and alternative solutions, and he did nothing to fix it.

It will be that moment where I get to quietly point out that, oh yeah, I was right the whole time and you should have listened to me but instead you didn’t and here we are… Oh… Sorry. Totally not going to feel sorry for you. You should have done the fucking dishes since they were YOUR dishes. Or swept up the dog fur since it’s YOUR FUCKING DOG instead of having this delusional idea that the dish fairy actually exists.

No. I’m not a fucking dish fairy. I’m a dragon who’s about to rip your throat out because I’m tired of your shit.

No hostility or pent-up frustration over this issue… None what so ever…

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So I guess this is a good place to segway into all of the other hard topics… like relationships… because you know… writing 3000 words and counting isn’t enough…

/sigh

Jon and I are going to have breakfast tomorrow before he goes into work. It may be the last time I see him before I move. I’m sad at the thought, but there’s really not much else to say about that relationship.

We still chat for a few minutes roughly every other day. Mostly it’s him bitching about his new job and how he hates working at a nursing home. I don’t blame him.

I do feel like he and I will stay in relative contact. I do think the move will put some strain on our relationship since he doesn’t agree with my choice. He thinks I’m about to fuck everything and get pregnant and become addicted to heroin…

No. For real. He said all of that to me over the phone.

Like… thanks dude for having so much faith in my ability to make smart rational decisions on my own.

The only way I can prove to him that I’m doing the right thing is to do it and not fuck up. Since it seems to be the season for me to have these irresistible urges to prove people wrong… I’m going to do it. And I’m going to prove to him that moving was the best decision I ever made for myself, next to telling Zane to go fuck himself and Full Sail that it could burn in Hell.

Yeah… both of those decisions were pretty amazing and deliciously satisfying, too… Ah… memories…

So yeah, things with Jon will be whatever they will be and that’s pretty much how it has always been, so there’s nothing really overly new or exciting to write about it I guess.

It’s going to be hard leaving tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to cry. I’m going to miss him even though he’s not really gone… fucking emotions…

I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to see my blacksmith before I leave. I hope so. I have his things that I would like to return. I’m not sure what I will do if I can’t return them. I know I can’t get rid of them, but they’re not mine so I can’t really keep them either…

I don’t know. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, I guess. Currently, I’m waiting to see if he can get time off work for us to meet one last time. It’s another reminder that we would never have been able to have any sort of real happily ever after.

I went to therapy on Thursday, and I mention that in this relationship section because my relationship with my therapist is changing. It was a pretty intense session since we had to go all the way back to Thanksgiving. I opened the session by mentioning that I was moving. We had to backtrack that far to get to the beginning of the events that led to this moment in my life.

Because I will be moving we have decided that I will no longer be a client and can now move into the position of friend. I am honored and grateful that someone who has helped me survive and heal and grow so much asked if we could be friends on Facebook.

During our session, I was able to talk about Ox. While I do value everyone’s opinion, and I do weigh pros and cons within my head, this is a person who is paid to tell me when I’m being self-destructive and doing stupid shit. If anyone has a right to tell me something’s a bad idea, it’s her, since that’s what she’s literally paid to do.

After listening to me explain all of the events she said it seemed like a positive opportunity for me and that the Universe was doing a lot to allow for this to happen.

She said instead of over analyzing things like I always do I should let it be. I should let it exist for whatever reason that it is. I don’t have to know the why and how. I don’t have to listen to outside voices or wonder if they’re right.

I should listen to my voice. The one that whispers. The one that I always question if it’s real or not. That voice of Intuition that tells me when something’s good or bad even though I can’t really put my finger on why it is what it is.

I didn’t ask her for permission to do this. I didn’t ask if it was the right or wrong thing to do. I essentially asked if I was crazy for wanting to try, and explore, and to see. Just like how that was the main reason for my trip to Nebraska in the first place. I wanted to see if the things I felt were real, or if it was all just make-believe inside of my head.

It was real for the three days I was there. The feeling of absolute peace from walking in the woods even though there was snow on the ground… that was real. The feeling of home and acceptance… that was real.

If it was real for three days, I want to see if it can be real for longer.

She thinks it would be positive for me to try. I think it would have been too late to undo a lot of my choices if she had come back and said, “You realize all of this is batshit insane…”

Yeah… that would have sort of sucked and put a dampener on a lot of things. I wonder if you can undo letters of resignation…

I’m glad and relieved that she thinks I have researched and planned and gone about this in a relatively logical and thought out way. It may be sudden, but it doesn’t seem to be impulsive or causing harm to my self; emotionally, physically, spiritually, or financially.

At the moment, aside from the pain of endings, it has only had positive effects, but all change comes with its own level of hurts so the pain I am feeling in regards to the move is understandable and even expected.

So that’s that… and even though there’s STILL more to write… I’m pretty written out…

The rest can be saved for another day, and with work not demanding my time, I may actually be able to sit and write and process more often than the never it has been for so long now.

I’m looking forward to the coming week. I’m looking forward to a lot of things in the very near future. And in my own, weird, introverted way, I’m looking forward to this going away party tonight. Maybe there’s be a cat I can hang out with or something.

 

Daily Post 068: Moving On

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I’m back home. Or rather, I’m back at my apartment.

My evening was decent. Big Bad and I talked for a while at the kitchen table before going back to the bedroom to cuddle and sleep. I slept deeply up to a certain point then tossed and turned for a while. My back was bothering for no apparent reason which made it hard to fall back asleep. I eventually did, so I feel fairly rested, more so then I have since I’ve gotten back from my trip. It’s my second day off in a row, another day with few obligations and so I’m hoping for the trend to continue. The trend of recovering and feeling more myself energy wise. More able to do things and less like avoiding people.

Things between Big Bad and I seem fine. He was interested in hearing about my trip. He still seems supportive of my decision to move, and that support feels genuine. I think there are feelings on both of our parts of sadness that our time is finite. Realistically, if I leave when I’m hoping to, we may only see each other another three or four times. One of those times will be the Warrior Dash that neither of us has really prepared for. I know I will do fine on the obstacles but I haven’t run much at all this past year so I feel like most of the course is going to be walked again.

I’m not really sure how I feel about that.

It’s sobering to realize how much I haven’t progressed the way I wanted to physically. Ever since April I’ve done nothing but cut back my time for training. Ever since getting a job. Though I still eat fairly clean I can see a difference there, too. It’s harder to drink water because I’m less active, and I don’t think it has solely do with the fact that it’s winter, though I’m sure that’s not helping things.

I don’t think I’m disappointed in myself. I do think work kept me from doing as much as I wanted to in regards to working out. I think I made smart choices in most situations. At the same time, it would have been nice to progress more than I did. It’s more of a wistful longing rather than shame or disappointment. “It’s not bad, but it would have been nice…” sort of a feeling.

I’m worried that the Warrior Dash won’t be the uplifting event that it has been for me the past two years. I’m worried it’s going to be clouded by the fact that I’m leaving. I’m worried it will be cold and windy that day. I worried it won’t be fun. I’m worried that potentially my last time with Big Bad won’t be a warm, positive memory.

After having our evening together though I think even if it ends up being an icky day that we’ll be ok. We can still have good times together even though they’re numbered. It doesn’t change our friendship or the connection we have. He’s still one of my closest friends and it’s reassuring that even with the news of me leaving, we’re still able to be ourselves.

I haven’t spoken with my blacksmith much. He knows the interview went well, but since I still don’t have official news yet it’s hard to reach out to people. I don’t have answers to their questions.

After speaking with my boss Wednesday we agreed to wait until noon Friday. If the FA in Nebraska still has not contacted either of us by then, then I will call and see if she received my email. I know everyone gets busy and at the moment I may not be their utmost priority, but it’s hard to plan for things when I don’t know, officially, what is going on or in the works.

There’s still the chance for this to fall through, or for the time frame to be drastically different than what I’m expecting. Waiting a month seems doable. Two months would be harder. Three would downright suck. So, hopefully, after my phone call today I will have a better idea of what to plan for.

Since the move in a pending event and because I haven’t been using them the way I intended, I will be canceling my gym memberships today. Both the 24 Hour Fitness and the Title Club Boxing. That would give me roughly $100 of my paycheck. My heart aches from the thought of their cancelation. In a way, I feel like it’s a defeat.

For so long I said I wouldn’t give up the dojo or my training, and yet that’s the first thing that got sacrificed. Actually… my evenings with Big Bad were the first thing to suffer. Instead of my two nights a week it changed to only one. Then came the dojo, then Title Club, then my personal training since I didn’t have a way to pay for it anymore.

It’s frustrating, constantly having to give things up because of outside sources rather than because I want to. Work and shitty roommates not paying rent…

I woke up this morning, a Thursday, a day I had personal training for so long, and decided that instead of fighting and feeling bad for not being able to achieve what I want, I will cancel my memberships and continue to rest and focus my energy elsewhere.

I still need to become certified for work. I need to figure out logistics for the apartment and moving. I need to research cost and potential storage. I need to also ensure I don’t burn out with work, which means downtime away from people and a break from higher level thinking and planning.

Stepping back and being a bit reclusive for the next little bit might make things easier. It’s still winter. It’s still a time for reflection, something I really haven’t done much of, at least not in writing.

I’m still tethered to my roommates at the moment. I got paid this morning. Without their additional contributions rent still won’t be able to be paid. I’ve sent messages to both of them, letting them know the situation. Even once it’s paid I won’t have enough to pay my remaining bills until they finish making their full contribution.

It sucks knowing my bills are the ones in jeopardy. I’m the one having to hold my breath and hope that things work out. I’m the one still donating plasma to stay afloat.

Warren finished his leadership training yesterday. He’s applied for the second interview for the team lead position. I’m hoping that works out for him. It would mean a potential $2 increase.

In that regard, his side chick is interested in moving into the apartment if I leave. Essentially, I would be signed off the lease and she would take my spot. Warren has discussed the situation with her. Financially, this apartment is only slightly more expensive than the one she currently pays for on her own. She has agreed with Warren to continue paying that amount if she moves in, so he would only need to pay the difference. That means most of his extra income could go towards paying me back.

That would be amazing.

I’m not sure what Kyle intends to do, but he knows my leaving is a pending event. Once I know a specific date it will be easier for everyone to start moving forward. Side Chick would have to break her lease, which will be $1800. Between her, Warren, and myself, it shouldn’t be that terrible of an expense all things considered. It’s one of the reasons I plan to continue to donate plasma. Any extra money will help make this happen.

And writing about money makes old wounds ache because I’m still owed so much by so many people. If I had that back, if I hadn’t helped others, I would be better able to help myself right now. It’s fallen to the way of wishful thinking as well. It’s a golden, rose-colored imagining, one which has never held up with brought into the coldness of reality and facts.

Soon I will be able to make the phone call. Soon I should know a better, more solid time frame. Soon I’ll be able to start planning and letting people know logistics. Soon I’ll start being able to set goodbye outings and establishing closure.

Soon I’ll be able to move on.

Daily Post 067: Home

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This isn’t the first time I have sat in front of my computer since I have been back from Nebraska. There’s actually a writing that I never posted before my trip which I doubt I will at this point. Really, most of that lost writing was me being definite. This is the first time that I’m taking the time to try to figure it all out, though.

I don’t know where to start with everything. It’s another massive tangled thing within my chest. I don’t think it’s really discord, but the fact is, there’s a lot.

There’s the apartment. There’s my job. There’s the trip itself. There’s everything with Ox. There are my relationships here. There are my brothers. There’s my grief. There’s just… everything.

There’s my life.

That’s basically what it feels like. It’s so much stuff it might as well be everything all at once and I don’t know where to start with that. There’s the mountain in front of me that I don’t know how to climb. This feeling of never being able to get to the top so taking the first steps are pointless. I’m striving for an unattainable goal so it’s easier to just not try.

But I can’t not try. I don’t know how to do that. To sit and accept nothingness, so here I am. Once again in front of my computer with a blank page in front of me, my words slowly filling it with black marks as Arrival At Sydney Harbour plays on repeat, instilling the sense of calm it always does for me. Safety, security. It makes the tension of standing in front of the mountain more ok. More bearable. More do-able.

I made my trip. I guess that’s a good place to start.

I worked three days in a row. That was brutal. I took an Uber to the airport. I made it through TSA without SWAT repelling down from the ceiling to confiscate my contact solution and deodorant stick.

I made it onto the plane. I survived the take off even though I still cried through it. There’s still the feelings of… I don’t know what. The thoughts of, “Mom is dead,” fill my head as the plane rumbles down the runway. Once I’m in the air it’s fine, but the takeoff… those few seconds are so much of everything…

I want her to still be here. I want her to be alive still and take off reminds me that she’s not, she never will be. Not how she was.

I survived both take-offs since there was a layover in Chicago.

I made it off the plan in Omaha.

I met Ox in person. I don’t know what else to say about our meeting. There aren’t words which could hope to explain those feelings. I’m glad it happened. I’m glad he hugged me. I’m glad we stood there for as long as we did holding each other. I’m glad I had the time I did to relearn how to breathe.

I’m glad we touched as much as we did through the time I was there. The random touches as we passed by each other in the hotel room. The holding hands. I’m glad we talked as much as we did. I’m glad the first place we went to was a forest so I could be away from literally everything. No cars. No people. Just emptiness and space and silence and all of these things I didn’t realize I was suffocating without.

In fact, every time I became overwhelmed, or borderline overwhelmed, he let me sit outside in the fifteen-degree weather with his jacket around me. He let me cry when I needed to, like after my interview.

Which I guess that’s another thing to write about. It wasn’t just a meeting. I showed up to the clinic and was welcomed inside of an office where I sat in front of an FA and an FA assistant while conference calling another FA. It was most definitely an interview and it went amazingly well. They’re interested in having me in the area and as far as I know are still working the logistics out.

After the interview, we drove to another park. It wasn’t an empty forest, but it was still nice. We sat outside for a bit at a picnic table before driving to another area, one of Ox’s favorite spots when he needs to get away. I was allowed to explain why every accomplishment I achieve sucks now. Why it’s painful. Why it hurts and feels pointless.

I can’t tell mom. I can’t tell her I did this amazing thing. Not how I’m used to, and I guess a big thing in that regard is that I don’t reach out to her spiritually much. I still question if it’s real. It’s something I need to work out but now, today, is not that time.

There was a lot of open communication with Ox. This is week four of knowing him actually, to the day.

One of the nights we were together we drank and instead of drinking and doing stupid shit or just having sex we looked up our personality types and read them to each other and then had super deep conversations about it. It’s things like that, moments like that which make us both feel connected to each other in ways that make me want to explore this.

The internet calls our pairing “the golden couple” and I can honestly say that even if it doesn’t work between us I’m glad I have met him. I’m glad I have someone who seems to so intuitively understand… me. All of me.

I met his parents while I was there and for the first time since last Christmas I sat down at a kitchen table and had dinner with a family. I felt part of the family. I felt… home… in the middle of a place I have never been surrounded by people I honestly don’t really know… I felt like I belonged. I felt warm and cared for and accepted for me.

I answered all of the questions I was asked as honestly as I knew how.

When Ox’s mom made the comment that she didn’t know how I could explain and be open about half the things I did I replied with it’s easier to be honest than to lie and I don’t know how to explain certain things without explaining all of it. All of the parts are important. The whole story is important and needed.

I didn’t go to dojos. I did walk through a grocery store. I didn’t drive around in the snow. I didn’t look at apartments.

I had my interview. I had lunch with Ox’s mom, and then the following day I spent the day at his house. In between those events Ox and I spent our time together learning each other in person and I wouldn’t trade a minute of my time in Nebraska for anything in the world.

I didn’t realize how claustrophobic Orlando was until I was sitting in the passenger seat of Ari’s car as she picked me up from the airport. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be here anymore until the plane touched down and I had silent tears from wishing I was anywhere but here. It was the first time where I didn’t cry during the takeoffs. It was the landings which hurt. It was only during the last landing that I wished I hadn’t had to leave a place that felt so right.

There was a moment when Ox and I were together, at yet another park after having met his family, where I cried and admitted that I was terrified of all of this not being real. It was too perfect to truly exist that it had to be something I would wake up from. I would wake and the soul-crushing reality of it being a dream would be too much.

I know I will move. I know that Orlando isn’t where I want to be and that if things work the way I want for them to, that I will be leaving mid-February and beginning work in Nebraska the 5th of March.

I know a lot with the apartment is falling into place though my first night back felt like a disaster waiting to undermine everything I was striving for.

Right now I’m having to breathe and be patient while the ball gets tossed around the court from one person to another, rarely ever landing in my own where I can do something with it.

The two shirts Ox let me take back with me remind me that the experience, the trip, was real. That there is a home for me there, one I am waiting to go back to. They’re reminders that it was “I’ll see you later,” and not “Goodbye”.

I have my evening with Big Bad tonight and though I want to see him I don’t want to have to drive or deal with people or leave the sanctuary of my room. I do feel the need to acknowledge I am feeling better for having written even if I don’t feel I haven’t figured much out from it.

Maybe it’s solidifying that I do have a home now and not just a place where I sleep. Even if I’m far away from it, I have a home and that makes me feel more ok. More like there’s a point to everything. I’ve had more energy when interacting with my patients the two days I’ve worked then I have for all of December. I no longer dread the hours as they tick by, waiting to finally go home so I can be alone.

I’m fully present. Several of my patients knew about my trip and asked about it once I was back. They all wish the best for me and commented on how I will be missed and how I’m a kind, caring soul that made the clinic a better place. With almost everyone I have talked to I have nearly been brought to tears from their words. I didn’t realize I made such a difference for them.

It’s nice to know that I mattered and that I helped.

It’s nice to feel like I’m being an adult. That was something I mentioned to Ox yesterday while I was on one of my breaks. I feel like I’m figuring things out. I’m taking care of my life. And, for once, I feel like I’m living it for myself.

I don’t feel broken. I don’t feel injured. I feel like I’ve gone through that process of healing wounds. I’ve been the invalid, bedridden and feeble. I’ve progressed to a wheelchair and then crutches. And now, even though my body and soul still ache, I’m beginning to walk my path again. And this time I’m walking it for myself.

My path so closely followed my mom’s for so long, and now my path continues on and I must walk it by myself, for myself. I know she’s still with me, but she’s not here to hold my hand through it. She taught me to be strong, to stand tall, and to walk with confidence, and so for the first time, I’m doing that.

At least it feels like the first time.

I’m holding my head high and making the choices I want to make.

I know there were several times in her life that mom faced opposition to her choices. No one agreed and yet she lived her life how she felt it should be lived.

I only have one life. I only have these moments. I want to search and explore and experience and question. I want… to be happy. Content. I want to be away, where it’s quiet and open and spacious and… just away.

I know with this change, this chapter, there will be an end. And end to Orlando. And end to paths. I think I’m ready for that, though. I’m ready to move away from the past and to shed it much like a snake sheds it’s skin so that it may continue to grow.

There’s still a lot to figure out. There’s still information to gather, but I support myself, and I think that’s the biggest hurdle any of us face while trying to figure out our lives.

I support what I am doing. I think it’s the right thing, and so I’m ok with other people not agreeing with it. I am the only one who knows the full story, the full history of what got me to this point, to the point of sitting here in front of my computer on this day, January 18th of 2018.

This is my year of standing up, of standing tall, and even though I’m still drained from my trip and the days I’ve worked this week, I feel like it’s a confident and stable start.

I will not fall, and I will not break. And for now, that’s as far as I feel like climbing today. Maybe that’s all that needed to be climbed.

I am moving. That’s what all of these past weeks and days and events lead up to in the end. I have found home and I will move to be there and that alone, that statement, makes me feel ok.

I’ve found home.