Daily Post 160: The Week of Vacation and the Week of Being Back

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Written Saturday March 30th


I suppose now is as good a time as any to try to catch up with my life…

I wrote about the week before my trip. The week where we had the kids when we weren’t expecting to. The week of finishing the Wall of Fame. The week of recertifying my BLS.

It was an alright week. I got a lot taken care of and off the to-do list. I found out a lot of information about school. That week turned into the week of March 17th to the 24th. The week of my vacation to Orlando.

It didn’t start well. It started Monday night. I came home from work and figured out the last of my social obligations. I got dates and times squared away. I got my boarding passes on my phone. I packed. I was ready for my trip and now came the part that sucked. The realization that I would be leaving and this was my last night with Ox for a while.

I crawled into bed with him. There was a little bit of petting. Mild sexiness with light hair pulling. I hadn’t been expecting anything like that but it was nice. What wasn’t nice was when he rolled over, said he would miss me, then instantly fell asleep.

My brain was sort of thrown off by that. No “goodnight”. No going further. No connection happened and in my head, the only thing I could think was even though I was leaving in the early evening the next day, I might as well have already been gone.

Ox had been tired. He had worked all day. And for my part, I had pretty much ignored him as I ironed out the last of my plans when I had gotten home. I felt horribly alone though as he slept peacefully next to me.

I spent most of the night coughing due to the cold I was still fighting off. I spent all of it unable to sleep and crying off and on from the frustration of being unable to sleep even though I had taken Nyquil and feeling like I should have left that night. It didn’t matter that I was still there. It felt like Ox had already said goodbye to me and I was gone.

Since I didn’t sleep those feelings bled over into the morning. They bled all over everything that day. When Ox got off work, we met in Lincoln. The original idea had been to get lunch together before I headed to the airport. I wasn’t hungry due to the emotional discord. Ox wasn’t hungry either. We ended up having what I termed “a driveby goodbye” in a parking lot near the edge of town.

It sucked. I didn’t feel like a wife or girlfriend. I felt like a roommate or a really good friend where it just happened to be convenient to meet up for a few minutes before going away.

I cried on the way to the airport. I listened to music. I thought through my emotions. When I called Ox after parking my car and getting to the terminal we had a pretty good conversation about what was bothering me and why.

He hadn’t realized he had fallen asleep without giving me a goodnight kiss. He hadn’t realized the distance of not being close and connective would affect me so much. He’s an INTJ. I’m an INFJ. While we are extremely similar, we are still different in significant ways and miscommunication still happens.

I’m glad we were able to talk about the situation and to share our different perspectives. It helped make the trip more doable. When I got on the plan I didn’t feel as alone as I had for the past 12 hours. It didn’t feel like my whole vacation was ruined before it started. I no longer had anxiety at the thought of coming home and still having this unresolved issue between us.

I stitched for a while listening to music while I waited for my flight to begin boarding. The flight itself was uneventful. Take off still sucked, but I made it to Dallas fine. I listened to my new leadership book for most of the trip. There was a Moe’s at the Dallas airport. I bought nachos and ate them while talking to Jon since I had time to kill before getting on my last flight of the day. I told Jon how it was silly things like that, missing mom and wishing she was with me and suddenly being at one of the places that was “our place”, that made it feel like she was and is still with me.

The last leg of the journey was, again, uneventful. I made it into Orlando. I figured out the hassle of getting a rental car. I had realized while I was in Dallas I had never received a confirmation email about my rental car… No beuno…

Once I landed I went to the rental car section in the air port. I ended up being able to get a car… minivan actually, and by minivan, I mean a battle tank of death. x.x

It was huge. So much bigger than my tiny little Mazda 2. It was the only thing that Alamo had for rent though, and all of the other places that were open at 1:30 am had crazy long lines. I didn’t want to “shop around” only to find out that their rates were higher, or they had no cars available. I wasn’t going to be charged mileage for the rental with Alamo and they threw in a tank of gas, so I didn’t have to worry about filling up the car before bringing it back. For thinking that I wasn’t going to have a car at all, I bit the bullet, signed the rental agreement, then continued on my way with the ability to actually get to the places I needed and wanted to go.

I made it to the Waffle House I used to go to and had a 2am breakfast with Warren #1. We chatted for a while. He’s still unemployed. He’s still with his girlfriend. He’s looking at going back to school. It was good to see him and to get a hug from him. I still won’t be seeing any money from him any time soon.

From there, I drove to Mother Earth’s house. We curled up in bed and talked for a while before falling asleep. I had a few coughing fits during the night but luckily was able to eventually sleep more than I had the night before.

Mother Earth got up and went to work. Sir came in and let me know he had ordered breakfast for me. I ate it when it arrived before finally getting the motivation to shower and start my day.

I went to my old dojo and hung out with my sensies for a while. It was during the middle of the day, but even still, it was weird having literally no one else in the dojo. Come to find out, it was spring break for Florida.

After the dojo, I drove up to Daytona to spend the evening with Jon. We went to a sushi buffet which was pretty awesome. Very good food and good company. After dinner, we went down to the beach. I got to take pictures of the ocean and a few of us together. I got to feel the cool breeze on my skin and smell the salt in the air. It was soothing to my soul. We saw Captain Marvel at a theater down there. Thankfully I had missed bike week the week before. Small mercies.

It was an extremely good movie and it was fantastic being able to spend time with my brother. We went back to his apartment where he let me sleep in his bed while he took the couch. He stayed in the room playing Starcraft for a bit, but I honestly don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember him leaving the room. I don’t remember anything until I was waking up at 8:30 in the moring; 30 minutes after the time we had agreed to wake up at.

I didn’t mind. It was the first night where I had gotten a full night of sleep and it had been amazing. There’s something to be said for falling alseep surrounded by scents that are familiar and register in your brain as “home” or “safe”. Maybe it’s weird, but being in my brother’s room was like being home; a slightly different home than the one associated with mom, but I spent 20 years growing up with my brother. All of the stress and worry about getting to Orlando and being to places on time… none of that really mattered while I was in his apartment. I could finally start letting things go and relaxing and trying to enjoy my vacation from work. I could feel the tension within my slowly melting away as I laid in his bed thinking back over my life and the most recent year of being in Nebraska.

Eventually, both he and I were awake. We drove down to the Waffle House where we had gotten breakfast for the last time before I left to move to Nebraska. We still missed the turn, just like last time, and had to do a u-turn to get into the parking lot. I guess somethings don’t change. XD

It was a good breakfast and I gave zero fucks about all of the carbs I was consuming or had consumed the night before. I wasn’t going to let food mess with my vacation. I was going to eat what I wanted with who I wanted when I wanted and I would deal with the consequences when I got back home and started working out again.

When we were done eating and had finished our coffee, Jon walked back out to the cars. He told me about an interview he was going to have. We chatted for a bit longer about the clinical he was about to go to. In the end, we hugged and parted ways with the promise to see each other again on Saturday.

It was Thursday already with my itinerary having me leave Saturday evening. I had an appointment at 3pm to see my therapist. It was only 10 or 11. I didn’t have anything planned for this gap of time that I found myself with. Thinking over all of my options, I decided to go to Travel Company to look at a new pair of Vibrams since I didn’t like the ones I had gotten last year. I had run the Warrior Dash in them, but compared to the other styles I had in the past, they didn’t live up to my expectations; the woes of ordering online.

Well, not this time. I got to walk around the store while talking to Ox and testing out a new pair. The sales representative was extremely kind and helpful. I walked out with the new pair along with a new Buff bandana. I found a 24-hour fitness center and went and worked out, testing the shoes and making sure they were a good fit. I even got to shower afterwards. Woo. It was an extremely nice facility and it was a nice workout. I felt good about myself for having done it.

I made it to my appointment on time and it was fantastic to see my therapist again. She’s retiring at the end of March, so I’m sure it’s happened by now. We got to talk about my leadership course and all sorts of things during the hour we had together. It was nice being able to tell her that I feel like things in my life are going well. I’ve been out of crisis mode for a while. I’ve adjusted fairly well to Nebraska. I’ve made it through winter. Even with the hiccups Ox and I still experience, we have open communication and we work through our issues. There were a lot of tears, but they were good tears an I’m glad I had them.

Once therapy was over, I met with Nicole for sushi. We talked for a while then walked over to the bar we frequented and had a drink. I got to see my favorite bartender who also happens to be named Jen. Another friend, a former student, met up with us eventually. It took her longer to get there than anticipated and that led to a bit of discord with Mother Earth, but we recovered from it.

Once social time was done, I headed back to Mother Earth’s home. I spent some time with Sir and her before going to sleep. The next day I had breakfast with Mrs. Gwen. She and I went through the Star Learning program together for DaVita together and we’ve stayed in touch since the completion of our training. We got to catch up on the changes in our lives. After about three hours with her, I came back to spend the rest of the day with Mother Earth and one of her close friends. We got lunch at a Mexican resturant. I had two amazing Long Island Ice Teas. From there we went drunk thrift shopping.

I eventually found a dress that I really liked. I tried it on. It fits well. I look nice in it. Queue emotional breakdown where I feel like it’s pointless to buy it or to look pretty because it doesn’t matter if I dress nice or girly or sexy or any of that. Being attractive doesn’t make me more attractive to my partner so why bother or put in the energy to do it.

Drunk me needed a moment I guess.

Mother Earth and I talked about it. Or rather, I cried about it in the changing room while she sat next to me and listened. I did end up buying the dress. I felt empty after crying. I knew all of it wasn’t out of my system yet and so I was sort of more flatlined than anything, waiting for the rest of it to feel like it was the right time to come to the surface. It didn’t seem to ruin the day, though.

We went to my sports bar for dinner even though I had plans to go there for lunch the next day. We were in the area and no one else had objections to going. We eventually ended up back home. More tears. More figuring things out. More letting go and admitting how I still feel alone a lot of the time because mom isn’t here.

I guess my brain thought crying about everything in my life seemed like a pretty good way to spend my vacation…

I felt extremely better after that cry though. Cleaner. Like everything I had been ignoring and bottling up and limping through my days with had finally gotten the time and attention that it needed. I slept well that night.

The next day was the day I left to go back to Nebraska. I spent the morning having breakfast with the house. Sir and I didn’t get much time together, but I enjoyed the little bit we did have. Mother Earth and I said goodbye, though, for me, it was “I’ll see you later”. It’s how I cope with goodbyes. It’s not the end. I can see these people again at some point even if it’s not physically in this world. That’s what I need to believe in order to be ok, so that’s what I believe.

I drove down to Kissimmee to pick up my dad. We had a really good conversation as we drove back to Orlando to meet up with Jon. Once we were all together we had a fantastic lunch after which we proceeded to stand outside and chat for about another hour. We said our fairwells and I headed down to the airport to return the rental car and to make my way through TSA.

The plane ride back home was long, but most of that might have been due to tiredness and wanting to be home. I survived TSA and the PTSD associated with the take-off experience. I made it off the plane and back to the long term parking lot where I found my car without issue. It even started up when I turned the key. Wooo!

The trip home sucked. It was dark outside. It was sort of rainy. There was a ton of traffic even though it was 11pm at night. It got better for a while once I made it out of the Omaha area, but then it started heavily raining.

Right Brain: Fuck my life… can I just please make it home…

I did, in fact, make it home. Ox was awake and let me cry in his arms as he hugged me on the front porch; reassuring me that I was safe and that I was home and that it was ok. I didn’t even bother bringing my bags in from the car.

I was supposed to have Monday off, but that changed. I only had Sunday to regroup and get ready for the coming week. Sunday, while the kids were here… While I’m burnt out from all of my traveling and socializing.

I brought my bags in. I unpacked. I got all of my clothes washed from the trip. I took care of my meal prep. I even finished the cross stitch I have been working on for a while now.

It was a good trip, but I was glad to be home and though Sunday was busy, it was a quiet busy and I got a decent amount of downtime in. At least enough to make Monday not feel like a disaster of an obligation. I think Sunday was the first day where I found a kickboxing app for my phone. I got to try that out. It was a decent workout. I’m also still really liking my new Vibrams.

Monday was busy. The nephrologist rounded, so my FA was with him most of the time. The workday finished up and I came home and did kickboxing again. I’m working through the “beginner” program. They’re only 10-minute workouts, so I do whatever day I’m on twice; once for each side. I also don’t rest very much during the rest intervals, so instead of 30-second rounds, I’m doing closer to 45 to 50-second rounds. It’s been working for me. I wish the app was better about tracking metrics, but for what it is, it’s nice.

I fought with the scanner for a while after working out, trying to get a picture scanned since I wanted to color one of the pages in a coloring book Ox got me a while ago. I didn’t have fabric to cross stitch so coloring seemed like the thing to do. That took WAAAAAYYY longer than it should have, but we got it figured out, largely in part thanks to Ox realizing that there are three networks in the house and my computer was on a different network form the printer/scanner. I think it would have been easier / less frustrating if Mama Ox hadn’t been standing behind me the whole time trying to tell me what to do to get things working.

Right Brain: Since you hardly know how to run your laptop, I’m pretty sure I’m more qualified to figure this out without your help than with it. >.<;

Sadly, getting the page scanned was only one issue of many I had to figure out. Once I had the page on my computer, I “found” software for Photoshop. That wasn’t all that hard actually but when you grew up in the era of Kazza and torrent downloading it’s not all that hard to find what you’re looking for.

Once I had software I then had to spend 30 minutes trying to find the cord for my tablet so I could use it for coloring. After finding a cord I to fight with my tablet to get the right drivers installed so it would function properly.

Once all of that was said and done I only got to color for about 30 minutes or so. It was fun though. I enjoyed the feeling of using my tablet again and filling in the lines with color. It was relaxing and a nice way to decompress from the day.

Tuesday was a productive day. I did a lot of mental work. I updated my calendar. I was able to worm my way out of the one day I was scheduled to work at the clinic I don’t like by conveniently having one of my leadership classes scheduled for the same day.

Right Brain: Oh darn. I can’t cover the shift…

I got through the “in” pile on my desk that has been building up. Ox and I met up in Lincoln. I tried going to a Target since I’ve wanted new panties for a while and they’re the only place that I can find that sells the ones I want. The store I went to didn’t have them in stock though. Lame.

From there I went to Micheal’s in the hopes of getting more cross stitch fabric. That was a no go… I wasn’t on a very good streak at that point for scratching stuff off the to-do list.

Ox and I went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. He’s been wanting to take me there for a while. It was a good lunch. I would go back. After eating we went across the lot to a Hobby Lobby. I bought a rose for mom while we were there. I also picked up some fabric even though it wasn’t the type I wanted. I also found supplies to make the needle kit I’ve been thinking about, so overall it was a good stop. I got a lot more accomplished there then I was expecting to.

We stopped at Walmart before heading home so I could get the items I needed to make the cheesy taco skillet everyone likes. That meant it was a fairly short trip. They happened to have a display of Bang in the center aisle, so we got that taken take of as well while we were out. When we got home we put the groceries away and I began assembling the items we had gotten at Hobby Lobby to make my new cross stitch needle kit.

I love it so far. I’ve been stitching a fair amount this week and have gotten used to the new, larger kit. I can keep my markers and scissors in it comfortably without feeling like I’m cramming things into it. The larger magnate I placed on the top lid has more than enough space for all of the needles I have. There are even leftover compartments to keep the tails of threads I cut off, so I don’t have to worry about keeping a separate baggie somewhere. It’s sturdy and stable and I’m really liking it. I think I can label that project as successful. : 3

So Tuesday ended with me starting a new cross stitch project. It’s another fairy. I’m using pinks this time. No real reason for it I don’t think. I’m liking the colors so far though. They make my brain happy.

Wednesday was an alright day at work. The nurse practitioner rounded along with the dietitian so it was another day of people being on the floor. We made it through it. Nothing super crazy happened. I found out from a patient that New Tech has been accepted to the LPN program. I mentioned that to my FA since that’s something she needs to know. If both of us techs are in school and unable to cover shifts on a specific day due to being at school… that’s sort of an issue with us opening back to six days a week again.

My FA reached out to Net Tech. I’m not sure what the result of that was or is. My FA said she wasn’t going to tell me to not go to school and that if need be they would have someone float in for whatever day couldn’t be covered. She said we would figure it out. I’m appreciative of her support.

I worked out when I got home, though I didn’t do it on Tuesday. Wednesday was the day of 100 modified push-ups… I was and still am proud of myself. Even if they were modified, I did 100 of them. After work even. Go me.

Thursday I started the day by talking to Jon. It was a good conversation. I showered. I battle planned out the day. I continued the quest to find panties. The first Target didn’t have the size I wanted. I drove over the location Ox and I agreed to meet up at. That Target didn’t have them either. Arg…

We drove up to my new sports bar here in Nebraska and had lunch. I enjoyed the wings. They made them more saucey for me. : 3

We went to the mall so I could find a bra to go with the dress I had bought in Orlando. It was the first time Ox had seen the dress. I had to go strapless for the bra style. Not my favorite or preferred style, but even with just a little bit of strap showing, it throws off the whole look of the dress.

That stop took the longest and I had figured it would. It’s one of the reasons I hate “shopping”; clothes shopping specifically. You have to try things on and compare and does it look right and blah blah blah. I really just want to be home curled up with the cats. >.<;

I’m glad I found something that works with the dress, though. Maybe one day soon I’ll actually wear it. XD

With the most nebulous part of the trip taken care of, we went down to a cookie store that was near where we had parked the car. My reward for doing something I didn’t want to do and Ox’s reward for being amazing and sitting on the bench waiting for me while I tried things one. We hopped across the street to send off a package for Papa Ox while we were in town. Ox drove me over to campus so I could pick up my textbooks for the class that starts on Monday. That was pretty expensive.

I had been talking to Finacial Aid a lot that morning. The end result; I found out that I’m most likely paying for this current class out of pocket since I’m technically not accepted into a program of study and therefore not eligible for aid. It’s too late for me to apply as an academic transfer student like they suggested I do. I was prepared to pay for this class on my own, so it’s not a huge huge deal. Just would have been nice to have gotten some sort of help with it.

The campus was the last stop on the list of chores. Ox and I headed home. I cooked the taco skillet for dinner. We tried going to sleep early. At 9:30 I gave up and took a Benadryl.

Work Friday was alright. There were four of us on the floor. Float RN had a two hour PDR after change over. I eventually got to have lunch at 12:30. The end of the day went fine so I don’t know why I felt so overwhelmed and frazzled once the day was done. I had planned to stop by the Beatrice campus to turn in the last bit of paperwork for my program; copies of my certifications and TB test results. I had planned to go to the dojo. None of that happened, though. I came home. Ox and I ate in the kitchen, away from his parents. I didn’t even cross stitch that night.

I took a Benadryl again to make sure I slept and even with that I kept waking up every few hours. I didn’t work out Friday night. I didn’t shower. I tried shutting out the world and was only mildly successful with it and I don’t even think it did much good.

Saturday morning started mildly rough. Maybe frustrating… I’m not sure. It’s been cloudy the past two days and I haven’t been taking my vitamin D like I was before my trip. I think I’m also more “peopled” out that I consciously realized. Add to that, the morning starting with Mama Ox changing how the day was supposed to go down in my head…

Right Brain: I give up. The day is a lost cause… I am defeated before I begin.

Ox was and is still being extremely supportive of me. He let me write this morning. He didn’t pressure me to have breakfast with the family. We took the cats to the vet and he touched me the whole time; softly, gently petting my ankles as I held one of the cats in my lap, my feet resting on top of the container we can carted all three of them to the vet in.

Ox is letting me continue to write and has already said the rest of the day can legitimately be a “rest” day. We don’t have to do anything. We both can stay in the room. I can stitch and watch my new show, cuddled up next to him while he games. We can finish everything tomorrow and just relax today.

I’m totally ok with that thought right now. I’m going to go heat up leftovers for lunch and then sit in my corner with my new fairy cross stitch and my new needle kit. I’m going to chill for today. I might workout. I might do other things, but for the rest of the day there are no obligations and that feels nice.

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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.

Daily Post 141: Introverted Woes

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Today is not off to a good start; at least not from an introverted “today’s my day off of no people” perspective.

Some backstory: The weather is pretty icky. The forecast keeps flipping back and forth between rain and three inches of snow. The news people this morning reported a lot of the main roads are bad with black ice.

Enter me, waking up around 9ish to the sound of people talking in the living room. No bueno. Voices in the living room should NOT be a thing today. It’s Tuesday. Mama Ox should be at work. Ox is still at work until 11ish. Papa Ox, while he has been hanging out in the living room recently during the mornings, is usually working on his laptop, not conversing with people. Nothing good can come of voices at home this early in the morning.

I stayed in bed for as long as I could, avoiding the social onslaught I knew would happen by my emerging from the sacred darkness of the bedroom. Unfortunately, my bladder could only hold out for so long, which wasn’t nearly long enough by my standards. The Universe took pity on me, allowing me to venture forth during a period of quietness. Mama Ox had stepped outside, leaving only Papa Ox in the living room. He’s gruff “morning” wasn’t overly abrasive to my introverted senses. It’s normally the extent of our conversations when I first wake up.

Mama Ox was still MIA when I was done with the restroom so I took the opportunity to switch the wash really quick and to heat up my breakfast.
I went outside to my car to get my pack of cigarettes and I realize as I type that how many people are most likely glaring daggers at their computer screen.

Unfortunately, this is where my luck ended. Mama Ox was outside raking up the gravel in the driveway, trying to break up the thin layer of ice over everything. Begin long conversation from hell that I’m not ready for. I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet. She explained how she called into work today since the weather was bad. I totally get it. If I ever had the option to do that without screwing over the clinic and my team, I totally would be all over calling in. But dudebro, can I at least have five minutes to myself before you launch me face first into a concrete wall of social?

It’s like she’s grown a sixth sense for when I don’t want to talk and specifically hunts me down during those exact moments to have long, drawn out, pointless conversations that make me want to stab my eyes out.

What did I do to deserve having to socialize before my brain has made peace with the fact that I have to deal with people literally all day now rather than having a small, handful of measly hours of silence to myself before going back to work and dealing with people all over again?

I’ve already sent a text message to Ox bemoaning my woefully social morning. Our day wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be productive.

I was supposed to move a bunch of the insulation upstairs so we could finish my little dragon den area so I have a place to call my own this weekend while the kids are here. It was supposed to be a small task I could do on my own to prep the area so when Ox got home we could get straight to work.

I haven’t gone up to do that yet, but I think it’s not going to be as easy getting the insulation moved out of the room as it was getting it in there. The stairs leading up to my dragon den aren’t completed. It’s just the frame for the stairs. The boards for the steps having been cut yet. Going up wasn’t a big issue because I could just lift the insulation and slide it back on the floor. Going down, I’m worried about tearing the plastic wrapping the insulation, and I’ll have to do it one at a time since I can’t slide the ones I place down out of the way. It’s a relatively small piece of friction to the day, but with the sandpaper of this morning still grating against my skin, it makes it feel like the day is falling to ruin since nothing will get accomplished like it was supposed to.

If I buckle down and deal with people being home, I could still go out to the kitchen and make the shopping list like I wanted to. I could still write down all the spices I need for my seasoning mixes along with what I need for the bourbon chicken recipe I found. I could at least try to move the insulation and if it proves to be too much for a single person, Ox and I could still get it done together. We could still go into town and have lunch and spend some time together, just the two of us, away from home and the rest of the family like we had planned. It just won’t be as efficient gas wise since he would have to come home to get me first, rather than me meeting up in town. He’s already offered to do that for me; for us, so we can still have our day.

There are ways for today to not be bad. Different doesn’t mean bad, but right now my introverted brain is having a hard time not viewing everything as shattered, broken glass fragments with no point of trying to piece it back together. All I wanted was a few hours of solitude. Why is it so hard to get that? Why does it feel like that’s asking for too much; to be left alone?

And why is it so hard for Mama Ox to NOT buy six things of cookies and donuts and all of this other stuff that is clearly unhealthy and not helping anyone? Both her and Papa Ox have health issues. Eating potato chips and cookies totally doesn’t help either of them. It doesn’t help me lose weight because I’m not going to lie, I like cookies. I like dark chocolate and mint and caramel, so it’s easier to either not buy them, or to have them in small amounts than to have the kitchen filled with stuff like that and pray that I have the resolve to leave them alone when I’m starving after working for 12 hours.

Detached, unbiased fact: I don’t have the resolve to not have a cookie when it’s sitting there on the counter next to my water filter.

Arg. I’m just frustrated and I know I am. The day isn’t that bad. I haven’t been awake long enough for it to be that bad but god does it feel like sandpaper against my skin to not have my day go the way I wanted it to.

Right Brain: This wasn’t the deal, Universe! How dare you fuck up my to-do list after I’ve already written it in my notebook.

I feel like I do an amazing job of dealing with and putting up with and compromising with all of these factors in my life; all of these people and their habits and wants and needs and expectations. Why the fuck couldn’t I have had a single cigarette alone, outside, in the freeze single digit weather by myself for ten minutes out of the entirety of today? Why was that, is that, too much to get or expect or have? Why is it so hard for people to understand that being alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely or sad or need intervention? Why does it feel like it’s too much to ask to just let me be me? Like being me and doing the things that make me content and whatever makeshift, brittle, fragile semblance of happiness I’ve learned to experience since mom died is crossing some line and is unacceptable and something that needs to be corrected.

God. Some days I just want to scream at people to get the fuck out of my hamster ball. >.<;

Daily Post 140: All the Things

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Today went well enough. Our new tech was sent home since she had a fever. Before she left I was able to get a bunch of CVC packs made. I also started mixing a batch of acid for the clinic. No smoke poured out of the machine when I turned it on so we were off to a great start. My FA showed up for a little bit. She had a good vacation.

For dialysis, the day was pretty much as smooth as it could be.

Before I clocked out I decided to check my email one more time just for shiggles. I had a new email about the DSS Leadership course. I’m accepted for being “recognized as a teammate who exemplifies the companies mission and values”.

I no longer have to spend the rest of the week wondering if I made it or not. I’m still not really sure how I feel about it. I mean… good, I guess. I’m honored that I was chosen but I don’t think happy is really the word I would use to describe my feelings even though that’s how most people would expect me to describe it.

I’m glad I know. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about and interacting with the other applicants who were chosen. I’ll know more in the coming weeks as far as when the first session will be held and what will be expected of me.

Yesterday wasn’t an awful day. It actually turned out pretty decently. I made it to the gym like I said I would. I rowed for 20 minutes. I listened to music. I felt better about going. It was a better workout then what last weekend was for sure. More positive feelings; like I actually accomplished something. I stopped at the gas station like I said I would, too. Go me. Screw you, Depression. You can’t hold me down for forever.

I cross stitched for a while after that. I’ve made a fair amount of progress on my new project. I’m going to be taking a picture of it before I begin working on it tonight so I can try to have weekly images.

I thought about going to the gym tonight, but I’ve opted not to. Instead, I have laundry started since there are about three loads that need to get done. I’ve eaten since I was super hungry when I got home. I still am so I might cook a burger patty here shortly since filling myself with water isn’t doing the trick.

I’ve spent the past “way longer than I meant to” looking at a couple of recipes. I’ve wanted a good homemade spaghetti sauce recipe for a while along with a bourbon chicken recipe. That led to looking at breakfast recipes for whatever reason. It’s like a black hole once you get started. >.<;

I talked to Jon on my drive home and told him the news about being accepted to my course. He got to tell me about his weekend and the good time he had in Ft. Lauderdale with friends.

Ox and I have plans for working on the addition tomorrow and I actually feel like we’re going to do the stuff we talked about. We’re both feeling relatively good-ish. Today is the second day in a row where I haven’t taken cold meds and I’m still alive and breathing on my own. Woooooo!

I think I’m a little more tired than I should be, but realistically I did a fair amount of lifting at work on top of my regular six-mile day of walking back and forth in the clinic.

Oh! Speaking of… I’ve noticed my feet don’t hurt nearly as bad when I get out of bed in the morning since wearing my compression socks. I used to have pin and needle sensations whenever my feet would touch the ground when I woke up. Sort of like they weren’t ready for more sensory input. It would fade within the first minutes of being awake, but it still sort of sucked to start the day with that feeling. It also wasn’t normal for me. It’s not something I grew up with or have had all my life. It’s been something new since working dialysis; specifically since being here in Nebraska.

Well, those sensations were still sort of there this morning, but they were greatly diminished from what it has been. Like, noticeably different. Different enough that I am now consciously aware that “oh yeah, I’m not in pain. Best morning ever!”

I’m hoping it’s a trend that continues until one day it’s no longer there at all.

So yeah… I’m feeling a bit better. Less sick and less sad / depressed and a lot of that started with talking to Ox and saying that Depression could go fuck itself. Why is it that curse words always seems to make things better?

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow which sort of sucks, but hopefully it’s not a lot and even more hopefully, maybe the sun will come out at some point this week and the wind won’t be awful and I’ll get to spend some time outside. Wishful thinking, mayhaps, but it can’t stay cold forever. One day it will be spring and shortly after that it will be summer again and it will be amazing.

Daily Post 125: Snowy Nebraska

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I went to the dojo on Friday. I worked Saturday. It snowed today. I work tomorrow. I bought a winter jacket that was supposed to be $100 for only $50. Totally feeling like a badass over that still.

I don’t really know where to start or what to write about.

I guess I should mention that I cut my middle finger knuckle on my left hand Friday while I was opening boxes at work. That sort of sucks. You don’t realize how much you use something until it hurts you to put pressure on it. It’s a pretty clean slice and it doesn’t look infected. Just in a crummy spot for healing since fingers bend so much.

I got invited to go to the FHM meeting for my clinic this coming Tuesday. Facility Health Management. It’s basically a meeting with all of the higher ups who evaluate our clinic based on metrics. I’m essentially going to be a fly on the wall. My FA extended the invitation to me since she thought I would be interested in seeing the other side of the clinic. The business side. The only perspective I have is that of being on the floor interacting with our patients. I don’t know what happens with all of the data we record and keep track of. I’ve never met our medical director.

Even though I won’t be paid or in any way compensated for going to the meeting, I want to be there. I want the experience. I want to know the other side, the one my FA has to contend with in addition to working the floor three days a week.

The dojo was a good experience. It’s small. No one showed up to the Hapkido class at 6 this Friday so the instructor and I got to spend an hour working together. He showed me a very broad overview of the style. We even got into weapons. Switchblade and gun. I stayed for the cardio Muay Thai class. It’s more of a conditioning class rather than focusing on techniques, but I still enjoyed it. He helped me a lot with my footwork and I could feel a massive difference in the power of my kicks.

I want to keep going. I could make Wednesday and Friday classes. If I drove into Beatrice on Saturdays I could do the classes on those days as well. Since I ended up working this Saturday I didn’t, but it’s an option. It would be $65 for unlimited everything. $65 a month with no contract. That’s actually a pretty awesome deal.

It felt good to sweat that much again even though I know I’ve worked out harder in the past. I haven’t gone to the gym since Friday’s classes at the dojo. I did find a new app thanks to my brother. JeFit. It’s pretty nifty. Maybe it will help give me more focus when I work on my own.

I tried a new recipe this week. Chicken Taco Soup. It came out alright. Nothing amazing. The roast for my breakfasts should be fine since I didn’t overcook it this time. I’m doing chili again as well. Just sort of that type of weather. Since it’s cold outside I want things that are warm. Coffee included. I found a new coffee creamer. Dark chocolate peppermint. It warms a part of my soul. ❤

There’s a part of me who likes the cold weather and that there’s snow on the ground. It feels right. With it being so cold there should be some visible sign and here in Nebraska, there is. It reminds me of when I took my trip up here and had my interview back in January. It reminds me of when I first got “home” that night in February. I guess I’ll always have a special spot in my mind for snow now. So many of my recent changes happened while it was covering everything. While the world was white and sleeping my path changed and so far I have no regrets over seeing where it would lead.

Ox and I just ran up to the gas station to see how the roads were. There are some dry spots so hopefully, it won’t be too awful when I have to drive to work tomorrow morning. I’m still leaving about 15 minutes early and my FA has already messaged me saying to take my time. She would rather I arrive late than to get hurt driving too fast.

The South Lincoln clinic ended up having issues Friday and wasn’t able to run their first shift patients. Their FA called me specifically asking if I would be willing to help them Saturday morning. I told her that I didn’t have anything going on and would be willing to help but that I wasn’t cleared to mix bicarb and that I didn’t know any of their door codes. We got that worked out and it was a fairly smooth day. I didn’t mind going in. I’ve wanted to see their clinic for a while now. I got to meet their RN who was extremely kind and friendly to me. Their patients were also kind and welcoming. They appreciated my willingness to come in so they could have their treatments. It was a good experience and it gave me a few hours of over time.

This is the week where I got paid for my 5 and 4 day work weeks on top of getting the second installment of my retention bonus. It was a nice paycheck, which is greatly appreciated and needed.

Ox and I went with his kids to play mini golf yesterday as a belated birthday celebration for both of them after I got home from work. The weather was nice and it was a quaint, pleasant outing. I ended up winning and there’s a childish, silly part inside me who feels accomplished about that. My dad used to golf. When we lived in South Carolina he would take me behind the fence of our backyard. There was a pretty big field out there and he would let me hit balls with him. I didn’t realize that I still enjoyed the challenge. I didn’t realize how much going out and doing something so mundane and family oriented would please something inside of me. I’m glad I went. I’m glad I was a part of it.

After golfing, Mama Ox picked up the kids. Ox and I went to a Goodwill to try to find me some winter clothing. That was a bust, but I did find a decent pair of white shoes for cheap to wear when I begin the clinical portion of my class. One thing off the “to-buy” list. Woo.

We tried going to a few stores to find a winter jacket. Dick’s Sporting goods wanted $230 for theirs so we noped our way out over to Sear’s. All of their girl coats had fur-lined hoods or gold flashing clasps. I didn’t really like any of them. The guy selection was extremely limited. I didn’t see anything that I liked enough to spend money on.

We were about to call it quits when Ox suggested going over to JC Penny. I could tell my energy was fading pretty fast. He offered to drive us over to the entrance even though it wouldn’t have taken much for us to walk there. I’m glad we went. I found the perfect coat in the Men’s section. It’s a 2XL so it’s big and long. It goes almost down to my knees. It’s nice and roomy on the inside and soft and fluffy and it’s black with no fur lining or gold flashy stuff anywhere. Just a nice, big, black coat. And it has a billion pockets! So much love. And it was a super awesome price. I’m happy with it. I like wearing it.

With one of the most important things off of the list, we headed towards the Walmart near home. We stopped at Slim Chickens for dinner. It’s becoming my go-to choice for when we go out. They have good salads that are in line with the health goals I haven’t been working towards. You can get chicken tenders grilled rather than fried, so if I ever wanted something other than a salad I have options. It’s not as awesome as my sports bar from Orlando, but I like it. I already have a “my spot” at the one we seem to be frequenting. It makes me happy that I am finding spots since that was something I knew I was missing. It’s a place I could see myself going to and studying before going to class. It’s a place I could see myself writing at if I ever happen to get a laptop again.

I felt a bit better after Ox and I ate but it didn’t last very long. While we were at Walmart I started getting a headache. My hamstrings, which had already started the day off sore, were reaching the point of pain. I was pushing too far on too little sleep and my body was informing me, none too gently, that I wasn’t being kind to it. Ox agreed to save most of the clothes shopping for a different day and so we switched our focus to the foodstuff we needed to pick up.

We did get two new pillows for the bed. With him being on his computer and me making my nest of blankets and pillows while I cross stitch, we’ve noticed a shortage in the pillow department, even though Ox says we have too many when we go to sleep at night, which is total blasphemy because you can never have too many pillows.

I really like my new pillow. Like my jacket, it’s nice and soft and fluffy. I think it was a good investment. I got a husband pillow while we were there as well and I’ve enjoyed stitching with it behind my back today. It feels like I have a proper cross stitching nest now. I can sit cross-legged in my corner of the bed with my threads and highlighter and pattern papers and clipboard, all tucked in and covered with the blankets that smell like Ox and me and home.

Since we bought pillows that meant we needed to buy new pillowcases, too. I got a new brush as well since the one I’ve been using has started losing its bristles. I’ve had it for years. I don’t know how many. Five or more. I guess it was time to replace it. I’ve only used the new one once so far so I don’t know if I like it or not. We haven’t grown accustomed to each other I guess. Sort of like when I first got my car. We had to get to know each other, which might make me sound crazy since I’m talking about inanimate objects, but there you go. I bond with everything, hair brushes included.

I ended up spending close to $200 at Walmart with roughly half of that being on “frivolous” things like the pillows. I was sort of kicking myself about that on the drive home. I still need to buy thermals and wool socks and a good pair of snow boots. I shouldn’t have spent $100 on “nothing”.

The more I thought about it the more I felt like I was thinking about it wrong. I’ve wanted more pillows for a few months now. I’ve wanted the husband pillow. I worked a crazy amount of overtime. I’m allowed to buy things with my money. I paid all of my bills before we went out earlier in the day. I have everything covered. So I might end up spending $300 extra this week instead of the original $200 that I had set aside from my winter gear budget. I don’t think spending an extra $100 is all that bad. I’m still going to be putting a huge chunk towards the credit card and paying off my CNA class.

I’m allowed to buy a few things for myself every once in a while. I don’t know why there’s a part of my brain that has such a hard time understanding that. I don’t know why I feel like I have to justify it to myself. I bought those things because I wanted to and they made my day and evening nice.

I did most of my cooking today. The clothes are washed and dried though they most likely won’t get put away until Tuesday; maybe Monday evening if I’m feeling up to it.

Tuesday, after the meeting, I plan to try to do the last bit of winter shopping since I’ll be in town.

I’ve still been stitching. I’m on the last page of the pattern. It’s the page with the most work on it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if my progress seems to slow down, but I’m content with the progress I’ve made. There’s still a bit of work I want to get done before going to bed or taking my picture of it for this week. Since I still need to shower as well I guess I’ll go for now.

I feel like this post rambled sort of all over the place, but it was nice to write while my second cup of coffee sits in front of me getting cold. It feels normal. It feels nice. It feels like I don’t hate life and that I’m not as angry that I’m still living and mom isn’t. I know there’s still a lot of emotions for me to figure out and I know that it’s drawing closer to the season and days that hurt the most, but right now, I’m… happy? I don’t know. It feels more than content, though.

I like my stitching nest. I like my jacket. I like my coffee creamer. I look forward to those things. I liked my day of mini golf. I want it to not be wrong to like those things. I want it to not be wrong to want more memories like that and I know the only person struggling with the feeling of wrongness is me. The only one struggling with the feeling of happiness and belonging and home is me. It’s me, inside my head, that rages and screams and cries that it’s wrong. How can I be happy? How can I enjoy things? How can I look forward to things? How can I breathe and not feel anguish?

I still miss you, mom. I will always miss you. I miss you every day, every morning. Every time something happens and I can’t call you and have hour-long conversations about nothing. I’m finally to a point where I can go out and buy pillows and a hairbrush and not worry about skimming from my food budget to do it. I’m going back to school. I’m being invited to facility meetings. I’m doing good, mom. I miss you but I’m doing ok and I really, really hope all of this would make you happy. I really hope deep down that you would be proud of me for all the things I’m doing. I miss you mom, but I didn’t give up and this is where I am. In snowy Nebraska learning how to keep living life. I love you. Forever and for always.

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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 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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