MUSING MOMENTS 134: LFTIO – Dealing With Change

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Side note: I find it amusing that in the time line of my posting, this is the post which happens right after writing about the unexpected change of keeping the kids for a week longer than expected.

DSS Leadership – Assignment 11
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Think about the times you faced major crises or challenges. What qualities or potentialities arose?
I feel like a broken record constantly going back to the situation of mom’s death. It has been one of the most recent events in my life and by far the most self-changing.

I think back to the beginning, the phone call and how I immediately began problem solving. How would I get out there? What did I NEED to pack? Who needed to know I would be leaving for an unknown period of time? Who didn’t know about the situation within our family/friend circle and how was I going to contact them so they knew? I wrote things down so I wouldn’t forget later. I continued to try to write as a way to manage my emotions. I didn’t give myself shit for not having answers. I didn’t berate myself for not going to the gym. I praised myself for showering and cooking breakfast and actually eating it. I reminded myself that I HAD to leave the hospital during the day, when I changed shifts with my brother’s because I needed sleep. I needed to keep taking care of myself so I could be there rather than getting sick myself.

Even in the events that followed her death, I ensured I had the papers to fly with the urn in my backpack. I made sure people knew about the service. I made sure to attend the service and be there as the representative of our family.

When I got back to Orlando I dealt with the break up with Zane. I found a new place to live. I removed my belongings from the apartment. I made sure Scarlet had a safe place so she wouldn’t be alone any longer than she already had been.

In relation to my career, I worked the last months to see my class through its transition. In regards to beginning this new career, I researched the different schools I could obtain my CNA from. I studied. I passed my tests. I applied for jobs. I kept pushing through the endless stream of “no”. I cried and acknowledged that it sucked but it wouldn’t get better if I didn’t keep trying.

I bitched about how tired I was and how it felt unfair and how I wanted to give up and yet I kept taking steps to try to change things because I didn’t know how not to and eventually things DID change.

I saught help in the form of counsling because I knew I did not have the skills to handle all of the change going on in my life without help; without guidance and support and resources both emotional and spirital.

I guess the quality that I think of is strength. I think back to the conversation I had with my mom on the couch in what had been my childhood home in South Carolina. The conversation where Law and Order reruns played in the back ground while she told me one day she wouldn’t be here and that she knew it would be hard for me. She knew it would suck but that she had raised me to be strong and to get through it. She had believed in me. She had faith that I could do it and I couldn’t let her be wrong. I had to prove to her that I could in fact be strong and get through it so I did.

Whenever I faltered I reached out. I called people I normally wouldn’t have and told them that I was struggling, that it sucked to live without her. I had text message coversations while the other person watched the same show as me on Netflix so I could feel less alone while I stayed in an extended stay, sneaking Scarlet in with me because animals weren’t allowed.

I rebuilt everything; every aspect of my life. I relentlessly worked on understanding my grief and my emotions and insecurities. I found purpose in life again. I lived until I began living again. I didn’t give up even though there were so many times I wished I had had it within me to do so and from where I’m sitting, today, nearly three years later, I’m glad I didn’t even though I still have hard days sometimes.


What qualities would you like to develop further during those times of crisis?
I would like to develop a kinder inner voice. I would like to be as considerate of my own emotions and complexities of life as I am with others. I feel I have come a long way in this regard and would like to continue to develop it.

I deserve the same unbiased, calm, level-headed reflection and perspective as I give others. I feel a lot of that comes after; after the emotions have their time, after I acknowledge and accept that yes, I do have these emotions and it’s ok, but what am I going to DO? What actions are avalible to me? Stepping back, what would logically be the best move for me to make, not the most emotionally fulled one. Not the knee-jerk insticually driven on.


What were the key things you learned during those times?
The key thing I learned from mom’s death is to value the time I have and to trust myself. I learned that I will make mistakes and that’s ok. I learned that I CAN learn and that I can do better for myself. I learned to be my own cheerleader. I learned to be my own protector. I learned to value my self. I learned to take risks and to try new things and that doing my best is all I can do. I learned that as long as you make it to the end of the day then that is success enough. The greatest success is survival. If you survive that means you have a tomorrow to try again.


When presented with a new experience, what is your first reaction?
I feel like this is pretty open-ended and I honestly don’t know how to answer. I suppose I freeze for a bit. I have to analyze. What are the pros of this situation? What are the cons? Do I gain anything? Do I lose anything? Is there a balance or am I the only one put out? Does it positively affect someone? Is there kindness involved? Is the experience in line with my values and priorities?

I need to figure out what the experience is to me and so I suppose there’s hesitation because I need more information before being ok with it. That also brings into question was the new experience something of my own doing or in the case of going to the pumpkin patch with the kids, an event wholly unexpected and created without my voice being involved? I remember the initial situation being “not ok” in my mind because it took away time from myself without my consent, but the trip itself was pleasant and I’m glad I went. I could have handled the initial change better than what I did because the change itself, with hindsight, was a good thing.

How do you react when you have invested significant work and effort into something and it doesn’t work out? What do you fear most?
Most of my projects with work have been successful. I remember how my first project when I was in finals had the issue with the facial deformation, causing me to receive a 70 as my grade rather than the 100 it would have been. I remember how I spent nearly two weeks contemplating dropping out because I was obviously a failure. Here I was about to graduate and I was making a barely passing grade. How was I going to get a job with barely passing work to show for myself.

With relationships, there’s usually a sense of “I have nothing left to give”. I try and try to make it work and it doesn’t. There can be frustration and anger. Injustice. Fury. Betrayal.

Closure in the form of the “INFJ door slam”. That moment where something snaps within myself. I’m done. Not just done, but DONE. There is no recovery. There is no talking or working it out. It’s over. It’s dead because I am killing it, here and now, without remorse. It deserves to die. Quickly. Cleanly. No suffering. It doesn’t deserve to suffer. It doesn’t deserve my time to suffer and when it is over I burning everything within my inner landscape to the ground and I stand within the flames letting them consume me so I can emerge clean from a situation I know I let myself stay in for much too long.

What I feared the most was my mom dying. I no longer fear that. It happened and yet, here I am, still alive. Still breathing. I fear losing Ox. I fear losing my brothers. I fear losing the people I care about, but I know it’s going to happen and so that fear, that anxiety, while it makes my chest tight and causes me to irrationally cry sometimes, is not something that I feel paralyzes me as often as it used to.

I don’t know what I fear most. I still fear disapproval. I still worry about hurting people’s feelings. But I don’t worry about finding a job. I don’t worry about finding a place to live. I don’t worry about money or making ends meet. And even with the disapproval of others, there’s a quiet calm within myself where I know I honestly don’t care. If they don’t approve, fuck them. I’ve lived through so much, fought through so much, survived so much. I’m not here to meet their approval. I’m here to live my life the way I feel I should be living it.

So I don’t know what I fear. Maybe I fear not living up to the expectations of mom now. Not making her proud. Doing something that would dishonor her memory or make her hang her head in shame.


The next time you face a potential loss, how will you address it?
I suppose the same as I have in the past. Analyzing my situation and figuring out where to go from wherever it is that I’m at. Potential loss is too broad of a term to really be able to say how I will react. There will be emotion involved, but after the emotion there will be reflection, and then action.

Reflect on how well you manage the following:

Focus on Opportunities vs. Problems
I think I do well with this one. I may focus on the problem for a bit, but generally, I’m able to shift my focus from one of dwelling to one of action. What can I do to change the situation? What options are there? Out of those options which is the best one for the moment with the information I have? What other obstacles could potentially arise? Should other people be involved or informed? Are there trusted mentors who could give me a clearer perspective or other avenues to pursue? I myself, being in involved or in the middle of the situation, may not be able to see the whole of the picture as someone uninvolved might be.

Focus on Long Term vs. Short Term
I feel I am, for the most part, balanced here. I am fairly good at identifying sort term goals as well as long term ones. What short term actions fit into my bigger overarching project? What can I do in the now to progress to where I want to be? What in the short term benefits the longer term?

Focus on Purpose vs. Circumstance
I feel I struggle here. I do tend to get caught up on circumstance. This situation, this issue is wreaking havoc on my life. This moment of struggle and challenge and despair and grief is the only moment in all of existence. I can lose sight of what I’m working towards or trying to achieve. Emotions become overwhelming and I falter. I lose sight. I cannot see past the enormity of what is before me, this mountain in the time of my life that has no end. It will go on for forever and I don’t know how I will move past it.

I forget the purpose of what I am trying to do. The why behind my struggle. My reason becomes the struggle, not the goal at the end, the summit I wish to reach. The view which the thought of had captivated me so strongly. The rain and mud and rocks and scraped knees and bloodied hands are all I can focus on and see. My eyes are down rather than ahead.

Eventually, I come out of this state. Either I remind myself to look up, to focus on where I’m going, or something, someone sparks the perspective shift for me. If you look down while you’re crossing the thin line of wire of a tight rope you will only fill yourself with doubt and fear and worry. You won’t see where you’re going, your destination, your light at the end of the tunnel, the view of the summit you so convictedly wanted to climb in the beginning. We all get caught in “the long middle”. I don’t think it’s weakness or a fault to need help and support and reminders that there is, in fact, a bigger picture, a bigger purpose. I think it’s human. I think it’s something we all go through in varying degrees. The bigger the project the easier it is to get caught up in the “things”, the circumstance.

There is a driving factor behind everything. Sometimes we just need a reminder to look up and remember what that factor, that purpose is.

Focus on Adaptability vs. Control
I think I’m getting better about this. I think I do a fair job at flowing and blending with others. I can take control when I need to, I can also delegate and divert when needed. I am not concerned about having the main role or the credit or the control. I’m more concerned about achieving what we are striving for. If that means stepping back or doing what I’m told, ok. Things are going to change. New information will come into play. The battle plan that was created with such care will become obsolete and a new one will need to be constructed.

Mom’s death taught me that very little is actually within our control. It is better to alter your course to match life because life will not, cannot alter its course for you.

Focus on Service vs. Self
When I become overwhelmed I struggle in this area. The more burnt out, the more hurt, the more tired and battle weary I am, the more concerned about me I become. What do I get out of it? How does it affect me? Why should I care?

I feel that much of my life is service oriented. I should be mindful and more aware of when the “self” thoughts begin to creep in. Why are they there? Could I be handling things better or in a more constructive way? Am I truly living by my values or am I regressing back to coping rather than character?

Focus on Listening vs. Expertise
I am not sure what is meant here. I suppose it might mean listening as in being open to learning or other perspectives rather than falling back on what is known or understood to begin with. Preconceived notions or patterns from the past which may cloud our judgment of the present situation.

I feel I do a decent job at listening. There are still times where I find myself listening to respond rather than listening to understand, however. Such a case can be illustrated by a conversation with my younger brother where he was expressing his frustration over his living situation. I realized halfway through his explanation that I was waiting for him to finish talking so I could launch straight into what I wanted to say. That’s not listening. That’s not hearing or understanding. That’s not being open.

Being aware that this is still a habit within myself allows me the opportunity to catch myself, call myself out on it, and to do something to correct it. It is a behavior I do not agree with. It is not how I want to behave.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to learning from first-time situations?
Firstly, most likely allowing myself to have them. Secondly, being open enough to see the positive in them if they happen to be a negative situation. Accepting that I am still human and will make mistakes. Accepting negative emotions and allowing them to have their time so I can move past them is another challenge. I try so hard to pass that initial stage, the emotion stage. I glaze over it and rush past only for the emotions to come back later.

Emotions: Um, hi. I know we had a little bit of time together a few days ago, but I just wanted to let you know that it really wasn’t enough time and now we’re going to stick around for longer and be even more annoying and unruly to deal with and take even more time and energy from you. You really should have dealt with us in full in the beginning rather than brushing us off or pushing us down or to the side or into a box you knew we wouldn’t fit in.

I feel like if I could have a conversation with them, the emotions, that that’s how it would play out. Emotions are natural. You can’t hide from them. You can’t deny them their time and space. If something makes me feel bad, or wrong, or like a failure, I need to own that emotion. I need to embrace it, accepted as real, and then ask it why it’s there.

Me: Hello, my friend. It has been a while since I felt your presence. Anger, wrath, fury, despair, depression, apathy, insecurity, abandonment. Please sit and tell me what brings you back to me?

Maybe if I said that to my emotions rather than, “Not now, guys. I’m far to busy at the moment and tomorrow doesn’t look good either,” more constructive progress would be made in that beginning stage and prevent unnecessary hardship for myself later.

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MUSING MOMENTS 124: LFTIO – Character Vs. Coping

Standard
DSS Leadership – Assignment 3
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”






Coping



Particularly in times of stress, which of these qualities of Coping are more prevalent for you?

Fear: In extremely stressful situations there is usually an internal sense of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of not being good enough, fast enough, smart enough. Fear of people thinking less of me or my character. Fear of damaging my honor. Fear of the people I care about not being there for me. Fear of being alone. Fear of experiencing grief all over again. Fear of loss.

Control: Control is another quality I turn to in order to cope with stress. If I control things I have a better idea of what’s going to happen. I have a better idea of the outcome and the obstacles that will arise and how to handle them. With control, I don’t have to worry about something not getting done, or being done incorrectly, or to a subpar standard. With control, I take most of the unknown out of a situation which gives me a sense of security in an otherwise insecure time.

Safety/Security: Both safety and security become more important to me during stressful situations. I want to know I’ll be ok and I want to know how I’ll be ok. I don’t want just nebulous pretty words and phrases. “Oh, it will turn out fine. You’ll see.” No. No it won’t. How will it turn out fine? I want a solid, detailed to-do list with bullet points and cliff notes ensuring that there are no hidden potholes for me to stumble into on my path towards “ok-ness” or error recovery. I want to know exactly how things will be fine or better or ok.

I want to know I can contact the people I want to contact. I want to know everything will be where I left it. When situations begin to turn stressful or unfamiliar, unclear, unsure, there’s an increased want for things to be the same and familiar. No more unknowns. I’m already dealing with unknowns. I want to know I’ll make it home and everyone will be there and that I can have a hug and that even if it was a horrifically horrible day that everything is alright because I can count on something, anything, being normal and stable; like a light at the end of the tunnel. There needs to be some small measure of consistency that I can count on.

Winning at all costs: My drive to win can come to the surface sometimes. This can come out in the form of speeding if I’m running late which is essentially breaking the law when you get down to it. Staying up late to finish a project before a deadline at the expense of not getting enough sleep and suffering for it the next day. Clocking out at work yet staying to finish highlighting flowsheets because I refuse to let time win or prevent me from starting the morning the way I want to. A lot of the things I can think of for “winning at all costs” involve self-sacrifice. I would never be ok with “winning” by being underhanded to or with someone. That would make it a hollow victory and lower the standards I hold myself to. If you have to cheat someone else to win then it’s not winning. It’s dishonest and wrong.

Distraction: When my emotional pain and grief are particularly strong, distraction can become a coping mechanism. In those instances taking something like Benadryl or drinking alcohol so I can sleep have happened. Distracting myself, more accurately, removing myself, from the situation provoking my grief is my way of coping. It happens less than it did in the beginning, but that does not excuse the times it still occurs or when the thought to do so enters my mind. Distracting myself from the situation does not address the underlying emotional discord. It doesn’t fix anything, only prolongs the emotional anguish I am trying to avoid. Avoidance is not honorable. While for a majority of the past two years I have chosen to be brave rather than be a coward, I won’t deny the fact that being brave is hard and that sometimes I still feel like a small child on the inside that doesn’t want to face the monsters. Sometimes it feels easier to hide from them, the monsters, the problems, the emotions, and to pretend they aren’t there.

Overwhelmed by Circumstances: Being overwhelmed is something I contend with as an introvert. If change over at work is extremely rough I can feel myself fraying towards the end. Each additional request from a patient takes more and more from my already tapped out resources. I can become short. I can feel myself shutting down and grasping at the thought of “as soon as this person is on I can go to break and it will all be ok”. Or when I am at home and I cannot get the space and solitude I want, I can begin to feel trapped and confined. I need to work on not shutting down when I feel overwhelmed. If I shut down then communication breaks down and there is a greater chance of conflict or additional stressors being created.


What is going on during those times? Inside you? Outside you?

When situations are stressful externally, there is usually a lot of people involved or a lot of input I am having to process through. The trip to Devor for Academy was a stressful situation for me. I have PTSD with flights which I had to contend with. I had to share a room with someone I didn’t know. I had to participate in group activities with people I didn’t know. I had to be in a room with 600 other people I didn’t know for not one, but two days. Distraction was implemented in the form of smoking more than what I normally would have at home. It gave me a reason to go outside and be away from the majority of the people.

There is physical tension in my body. Mostly my shoulders and upper chest. I tend to be more guarded and less open to additional external stimulation. I strive to resolve situations so there’s less input to worry about. I can be controlling because if I’m in control I know what will or will not get done and when. I have an issue asking for help because I don’t want to be seen as weak or deal with others who may have a negative attitude in regards to being asked to do something. This can backfire however and lead to people feeling excluded or thought of as inadequate since I did not request their assistance. They could have made the situation easier but I denied them the chance to help and feel useful and needed.

When a situation is emotionally stressful there is usually pain and feelings of coldness. I feel small and alone even if I’m surrounded by people. Feeling safe and like I belong become extremely important to me. I need to know I matter and that I’ll be ok. Certain dates are stressful for me. Certain topics are stressful for me. Admitting or consciously accepting certain things can be stressful for me. Certain situations can bring emotions to the surface as well. All of these emotional triggers, both known and unknown, and invoke feelings of isolation which as paradoxical as it may sound, cause me to withdraw.

How do you feel? What do you notice in your body? What do you notice in your relationships?

I feel overwhelmed. I feel fear. I feel insecurity. I feel hopelessness. I feel determination and a burning drive to prove Life wrong and that I will win no matter what it throws at me because I refuse to be defeated. I feel injustice and frustration. I feel anger and exasperation and tiredness and burnout.

Physically, I feel muscle fatigue and headaches. I become lethargic and apathetic.

In my relationships, I notice I pull away and close myself off because I do not want my negativity to affect others. I feel I am seen as a person people can turn to. It can be off-putting for them to realize that I don’t always have my shit together. I have learned who to turn to during these stressful times and who not to. I am getting better about admitting when I need help and when something is stressful to me and understanding why it is stressful in the first place.

What fears, limitations, inadequacies, or beliefs arise when you are in a Coping pattern?

I am not good enough. Everything is pointless. It doesn’t matter. My feelings don’t matter. My struggle doesn’t matter. I should give up. I won’t be able to achieve what I’m trying to do. No one cares. I’m alone. I don’t make a difference. I can’t change things. Nothing will change.


Character

Which of these Character qualities are more prevalent for you?

Serving Others: This is important to me. It permeates through almost every aspect of my life.

At home, I actively do chores before being asked to do them because I know if I do something that needs to be done, someone else doesn’t have to do it or worry about it later.

At work, I take on every task I am able to as a PCT because I know there are things I am unable to do as a PCT. I can’t draw or give meds. I can’t assess patients. I can’t chart. I can’t put in new orders or change existing ones. I can, however, spin and pack labs. I can generate for the coming day. I can test machines and enter the values into the computer. I can clean stations and unpack shipments when they come in. All of these actions are able to be done by anyone, but since they are some of the few things which fall within the narrow scope of practice I am allowed to work in, I strive to make sure I am the one to do them, not others who have other tasks which need to be done which I cannot help with.

At the dojo, I help keep the younger members focused and on task. If sensei is busy training with other students and I am in the back doing bag work, I can help correct improper forms. I can remind students that while roundhouse kicks are fun and cool, sensei wanted them to practice their hooks and it’s disrespectful to stand around chatting or doing other things. We’re at the dojo to be focused and to learn. I am serving not only sensei by allowing him to be elsewhere within the dojo, but I am also serving the younger students by teaching them self-discipline, respect, focus, and accountability.

Purpose: I feel purpose can be synonymous with intention. Everything I do usually has a purpose. Even the act of doing “nothing” serves the purpose of allowing myself to relax and decompress and regroup so I am better able to handle future situations. Everything I do has an intention and I feel that’s important. Why do something, anything, if there is no reason to be doing it?

Inclusion: This is another driving factor for me. I want others to be and feel involved. I want them to feel like they matter, that their effort meant something and was not only noticed but appreciated.

Anything from putting the dishes away or baking muffins to surviving a hellish change over at work. Communication plays a huge roll in a task’s success and progress. Communication helps ensure everyone involved understands what the end goal is and how they make the end goal happen. Taking the time to communicate to my team members “If you are ok with taking care of these things, I can take care of these things,” allows us to have a solid understanding of how to handle individual and collective situations, which moves us closer to the end goal of ensuring we provided caring, safe, and timely treatments for all of our patients.

“If you help me unload the dishwasher and put the clothes away, we’ll be able to play games sooner,” lets the kids know that if they help with chores, there’s a positive outcome for their time and effort. They know what their part in the process will be, and they know what we’re working towards. I give them the option to be part of it and it is up to them to make the conscious decision to be part of that process or not. Inclusion to me, is an option, a compromise, not a demand.

Tolerance/Openness: Tolerance is something I try extremely hard to practice. I try to be understanding and tolerant of others because I know there’s a lot behind the scenes that I may not be aware of. Past experiences, discord in personal relationships, internal struggles with emotions or negative thoughts… We all have our own stories and baggage. Just because I get what I view as crummy service from a server at a restaurant, does not mean I should immediately pass judgment as “they’re a crummy server.” Just because a patient is snippy with me does not mean they are a jerk and intentionally trying to make my day harder. Events and situations merely are. They exist. It is our own perspectives and emotions which have us color these situations in hues of good or bad. Being tolerant, patient, and open to the fact that my perspective and hue may be different or even incorrect I feel is vital to finding harmony and understanding of true intentions.

Wisdom: There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is having facts or ideas through actions such as studying, researching, observing, or experiencing. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge to understand what is right or applicable to a situation.

Knowledge is passive. Wisdom is active. I try to be wise in my choices. I try to gather as much information about a situation before using my knowledge to make what I feel at the time is the best choice. I willing share that wisdom with others who seek it or who seem like they would benefit from understanding my perspective and experiences.

Humility: I try to remain humble through all of my successes. Firstly, I did not reach success by myself. Even if it is merely the emotionally supportive statement of “I believe in you,” that support played a role in my endeavor. Success does not make me better than any other human. We all struggle. We all strive. We all breathe, and in the end, we all die. Humility is my reminder that we are all mortal and therefore, all the same. I treat others how I want to be treated; with respect, honor, and dignity, regardless of what I have or have not done with my life.

Presence: I enjoy being present. I enjoy experiencing life, and maybe enjoy isn’t quite the right word. While I did and still do enjoy many aspects of my schooling, career and personal life, I did not “enjoy” the abusive relationships I was in. I did not “enjoy” my parents’ divorce. I did not “enjoy” my mother’s hospitalization or her resulting death.

I am, however, grateful for the lessons those situations taught me. By being present and confronting those situations, rather than shying away from and avoiding them, I was able to grow as a person. I was able to transcend the narrow-minded thoughts and perspectives that I had at the time and to truly empathize with what others go through during those situations.

By choosing to be present and to fully experience my own emotions and thoughts rather than distracting myself from the inner and outer work which needed to get done, I was able to find peace within myself, in my relationships, and with my place in the world.

I try to take that mentality into every situation I enter. If I am with another person, I will not actively play with my phone, texting other people. If I need to make a phone call or receive one during our time together, I ask if they would mind rather than off-handedly saying, “Give me a second. I need to take this.”

If I am taking care of a patient, I will not think of the 8 million chores I need to do once I am home. The chores will remain undone because I have yet to meet the elusive Chore Fairy that my mom constantly mentioned. While I am with my patients, the only thing that matters is making sure they are cared for; that I listen to them and legitimately hear what they are saying. What matters is that I am present with them because this is the only moment I will get with them. I can’t go back and redo the moment later.

The same is true for every interaction with every person in my life. Life isn’t a video game. There’s no saved file to reload. No checkpoint to return to. No undo option to set the situation back to the beginning. Life can’t be redone. There is only ever this moment and I want to experience it, understand it, and be part of it.

What is going on when these Character qualities are present?

When I am at my best self, things are usually going “right”. I typically feel like all areas of my life are figured out and fairly balanced. No one area is receiving more undue attention than the others. Everything is in accordance with how it feels it should be. I feel like my energy is going to the “right” places and that my causes and projects are honorable and worthwhile.

I have a clear understanding of what is supposed to happen in a given situation. I have minimal external and internal conflicts demanding my energy or focus to resolve. I’m not sick. I’m not tired. I’m not overly stressed or burnt-out. I don’t have an endless to-do list looming over me with the thoughts of “how in the world am I supposed to get all of this done?”, yet even if I do, the tasks seem manageable because I understand how it will all get taken care of. Not many things are nebulous. There are solid time frames and quantitative progress is made at a rate which feels fulfilling and rewarding.

How do you feel?

I usually feel good. Energized. Motivated. Upbeat. I want to do things. I want to make progress. I want to get out of bed. I very rarely have to convince myself to do things or that it’s worthwhile. The situation on its own feels worthwhile. I don’t have to use mind games or tricks or reward systems to get things done. The completion of something on its own is reward enough to give me the drive to see something to completion.

How can you continue to lead from Character in more situations?

I suppose now that I am more aware of why situations are stressful and how I tend to respond to that stress, I can try self-correcting more. When I begin to feel overwhelmed or when I begin withdrawing into myself, I can pause for a moment and breathe through the tension. I can make the conscious choice of how I want to continue forward in the situation. Do I want to merely cope through it, or do I want to actively practice what really matters to me?

What is more important, my sense of self-preservation and getting to my break as quickly as possible so I can have a few minutes alone, or being fully present and realizing that even though there might be a lot of stuff going on, there is still a moment to experience and if I shut down I might miss out on something I’ll never be able to get back?

Musing Moments 122: LFTIO – Conscious Wake-Up Call

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




What is really important to me?

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

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

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

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


Is this the life I want to live?

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How can I live connected to these inner values?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Musing Moment 116: Nebraska Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Accepting the death of a loved one.

Finding purpose in life after their death.

Learning to continue your bond with your loved one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I keep going for mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Post 047: Breakfast Reflection

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I wrote this earlier today but didn’t get a chance to proof it until now, not that I’m really too worried about typos. It’s already 9 pm and I have a 2 am wake up call to go running at the gym. I’m hoping I’m dedicated enough to actually pull it off.

 

Anywho… without further ado, I present the ramblings of my brain.

 


 

After a week I’m finally able to enjoy my Perkin’s breakfast. Though to be fair, it’s closer to noon so it most likely counts as lunch rather than breakfast, but it’s my first meal of the day even though I’ve been up since seven, so it’s still breakfast in my book.

There’s a kid in the booth next to me being slightly loud. I can hear him through my headphones, but even that isn’t really enough to detract from the peace I feel at finally being able to sit and complete this thing, this action I’ve been wanting to do, which is really nothing.

Literally, nothing.

I can sit and give that my full attention. Breathing. Being. Bask in the feeling of being alive and not having to go anywhere, do anything. Of not having to worry about fucking up at work. Not having to worry about chores or errands or obligations or time constraints.

I can finally take a moment to sit and acknowledge that I have survived up to this point.

The past few days have been rough emotionally. I’m slipping back to that place where most things, all things, feel pointless. Why do them? We all die. We all have hardships and struggles and they only ever end when we do. There’s always a new obstacle and so really what’s the point? Why try? Especially when mom’s not here to see any of it. Not the stress, the effort, the failures, the triumphs.

There’s only myself.

Logically, I know there are other people in my life but when my brain gravitates to this area, this saddened, wounded place within myself, I feel alone. I’m hyper aware of the fact that every person in my life is mortal. Everyone I love, at some point, will die, and so even though they are in my life eventually they won’t be, and so it’s hard to argue with the loneliness.

That’s one thing I learned from mom’s death and I’m not sure if my take on it is healthy or not.

Everyone dies.

Even the people closest to you. They’ll leave, or you will, eventually. It’s sad, morbid, maybe, but those qualities do not make it less of a fact. Less true. That’s part of life. It’s why I’ve changed the way I evaluate my relationships and the hurts I feel from those I care about.

Are they worth the pain? The miscommunications, the angry comments, the criticisms, regrets, guilt. Is the person I’m having these emotions over worth it? When they die will they be worth the pain I’ll feel?

The answer for most of the people in my life is yes. They are worth it.

I look at the people I love. I see their mortality and I accept that when they pass, if they pass before me, that I will hurt, ache, mourn, maybe even grieve, though not on the same scale as I grieve for mom. I accept that the pain I will feel is the balance. It will let me know that my love was, is, real. That our relationship existed in the infinite vastness of our universe and that, for me at least, it meant something deep.

The few people who are in my life who I don’t feel are “worth it” I find myself growing more and more distant with and I’m ok with that distance. With work taking so much more of my time I don’t regret not putting energy into something I don’t legitimately want.

But still, even valuing the relationships I have, cherishing them for the love and support I am freely given, they aren’t mom. They can never be mom.

I don’t seek their approval the way I did her’s. I don’t want their praise as much as I desperately wish I could hear her say she’s proud of me one last time. I can’t embrace them the same way I did her because they aren’t, can never be, her.

I’ll never forget those words, spoken through cracked lips while we talked in her hospital room.

I have always been proud of you.

I know she’s proud of me.

Sitting here, surrounded by other people going about their day; getting lunch with family members, having a business meeting,  or what appears to be an awkward first date, I’m sitting here allowing myself to realize that I’ve still survived and that even though I don’t understand it, it’s not pointless.

I save people every day I go to work. I know she would think that’s amazing.

The other day I had one of my patients thank me and tell me I did well. Very often my patients tell me they don’t feel any pain when I cannulate them. I finally earned the trust of one of our more finicky patients. She allowed me to cannulate her for the first time last week after which several of my coworkers came up to me and told me “good job!” and that they were pleased with how I handled myself.

I had another patient not want to come into the clinic one day. I went outside to talk with him. He sat in his wheelchair and wouldn’t look at me while he said he didn’t want to go to his treatment. When I asked why he said because he was tired. He was tired of going inside, of sitting in a chair for four hours every other day. He didn’t want to do it anymore.

My heart broke while I knelt in front of him holding his  hand and listening to him because I know those feelings. I know what it’s like to be tired of trying.

I’m tired of waking up. I’m tired of mom being dead. I’m tired of being tired.

I asked him if he knew what would happen if he didn’t get his treatment. He said yes. I told him I understood that he was tired, that he didn’t want to come inside. I told him he didn’t have to come in, but that I did have to tell the charge nurse that he wouldn’t be there. He said he knew I would.

Before I got up I asked him if I could give him a hug. He said yes, so I stood and wrapped my arms around him in empathy. I told him that I hoped he felt better as I squeezed just a little bit tighter even though I knew that I couldn’t take away any of the tiredness or pain. All I could do was let him know that I knew it sucked and that I cared.

He said thank you and we both had tears in our eyes as I walked back inside. I told the charge nurse about the patient not wanting to come in. She nodded her head and went outside herself shortly after. About 30 minutes later I saw the RN coming in, pushing the patient’s wheelchair. They got him set up and when I had a second I went over and spoke to him again.

Me: I’m glad you’re here.
Patient: I came in because of you.

I’m still moved by that comment. It’s hard not to have tears running down my cheeks while my coffee sits in front of me growing cold, while other people around me laugh, while the kid next to me bangs things on the table, I’m trying so hard not to break down as I think about this one patient and how I made a difference for him.

Every time I have seen this patient I make sure to say, “I’m glad you’re here,” because I am. I’m glad that he’s still fighting, that we both are. I’m glad we’re able to see each other even if it’s under the shitty circumstances of kidney failure.

I’m glad I wrote about that event finally. I’m glad I solidified it through text rather than letting it remain a memory inside of my skull. It’s on paper now. It’s real. It happened. I touched someone’s life and showed them it was worth the struggle and pain. And like wise they have touched my life even if I still stumble from time to time.

I’m glad I wrote about all of these moments because it’s allowing me to remember the good points. The moments where I don’t feel lonely and where I feel like life is worth living and that I really do have a purpose.

I’ve been sad. I’ve been lonely, and it’s not a loneliness that anyone can fix. This is grief. It will always be here within my chest, within my heart. The only thing I can think to do is to keep breathing. I’m not ready to give everything up and I don’t know why. There’s not a point to do anything, but there’s not a point to not do it either.

I guess it comes back to the beginning of my writing and the feeling of being alone.

I truly only have myself. I’m not ready to leave that. I still want to prove to myself that I can do the things I want. I still want to be a fighter. I still want to learn to dance. I still want to run my Warrior Dash. I still want to have my cups of coffee. I still want to play Witcher 3 and kill monsters in horrifically horrible ways. I still want to love the people I love.

I’m not ready for any of that to end.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this writing. To be honest, this wasn’t how I had intended it to go, but it has been soothing. I don’t hurt as much as I did before I sat down, yet in some ways I hurt more. Maybe that’s healing.

The new scheudle for work came out. I’m scheduled for four days every week for the next six weeks. In some ways I’m happy. That means I should get a handful of overtime hours every week. There’s only one week where I’m working three days in a row. The other weeks are pretty spread out so I shouldn’t be too burnt out from the schedule. If it becomes too much I can always trade / give away days to someone else.

On the other side, I’m worried about being too tired for the gym or training. I’m worried about feeling like all I do is work and being so exhausted on my days off that all I do is sleep.

My worry about the schedule factored into my mood last night. I sulked as I played my game, thinking about all the time I wasn’t going to have to do things because of work. It carried over into this morning, though I did recongize that I had more energy than previous days.

Eventually, I got up and showered. It took two hours for me to pull myself out of bed, longer than I feel it should have, but I did, eventually, do it and that action seemed to kickstart things. After I dressed I sat at my computer and made a small to-do list, refraining from adding too many tasks. I wanted to keep it short and sweet. I didn’t want to overwhelme my day off with a massive list that I wouldn’t be able to finish.

No. Just enough to get things done. Enough to feel accomplished. That’s what I needed. To feel like I did things and that I achieved something.

Updating my calendar was one of those things.

After putting the work dates into the computer along with my workout times I think I can find a balance. I also think I know what I need to start doing as far as caring for myself goes.

Sunday will ALWAYS be a rest day. I’ve staked that claim solidly into the ground. No obligations. Ever. That is MY day. If I choose to share it with someone, cool. If I want to do chorese, awesome. But it will never, EVER, be an obligation day.

It will be my “go out for breakfast” day. My “free time to write” day. My “video game” day. My introverted “I’ve trained and worked the past six days the rest of the world can catch on fire and burn, silently” day. My “zero fucks given” day.

Since Tuesday is my other guaranteed day off, that will by my main chore day. Laundry specifically since I need to have some sort of routine for that. I need to know when my work / workout clothes reset. I need to know I can pack my gym bag and have srubs ready to go. I need clothes to not be a stressor in my life, and knowing when they will get cleaned helps with that. It makes things reliable, structured.

So Tuesdays, always, without fail, first thing in the morning so it’s already halfway done, will be laundry day.

I think I’m going to have to change the way I meal prep slightly since I very rarely will get concecuative days off now. I think I’m going to try preping one or two meals at a time rather than having a week’s worth of food ready. That means I’ll be cooking more than once a week, but for smaller intervals. I can also work it to where one meal is a baked dish so I can use the oven while also cooking something on the stove.

Salads are another easy option to add into the mix. So maybe getting three meals prepped in a single day isn’t as hard as I’ve been making it. Maybe my system doesn’t need to change as much as I think it does. Maybe I just need to be more conscious of the cooking methods for the meals I choose.

I suppose we’ll see. Food isn’t a huge stressor for me. I know I can provide for myself, even if it means grabbing a handful of things from the gas station on the way to work because I ran out of pre-made stuff at home.

My biggest concerns are remaining active in my training and continuing to adjust to work. I still need to find that balance between the two and not lose myself in the process.

I feel like this has been a productive writing. It definitely let me reflect and consciously accept different aspects of my life.

It feels good to know I have a dedicated “off” day to reset myself and a dedicated “chore day” to reset for work.

I think with having those two I’ll be able to figure out how everything else fits in over the course of the next six weeks.

Well, my breakfast is most likely good and cold by now. I feel better. A lot better actually. Stable. Solid. Like I have an idea of how to live my life and still take care of things. I’m going to go so I can eat and finish off my to do list.

Thanks for being here for me, mom, even when I’m not always here for myself.

Daily Post 010: This Is A Long Post… You’ve Been Warned

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I like life. It’s fascinating. I also like that I’m older than I was. Being older has given me time to see some of the patterns that occur in my life. Some not so good. *cough relationships cough*

But some are. Namely, how the Universe usually has events play out for me.

My first conscious recognition of this pattern happened the week after I graduated high school. During high school, I was pretty much a slacker. I excelled in normal level course work because I wasn’t driven enough to take the higher level classes I should have been in. I let myself get absorbed in marching band as a way to not have to socialize with the normal school population. I mean really… I don’t care who is dating who and I actually couldn’t care less about your feeling of injustice that you’re parents “demand” that you do something. Seriously, grow the fuck up.

I also didn’t have much ambition as far as getting a job or having a car. My mom and boyfriend took me where I wanted/needed to go, and if they didn’t then I didn’t go. Band took up too much time after school to allow for anything outside of school, and I didn’t “need” money anyway so, meh. Why worry about a job?

Then graduation happened. My mom had a graduation party for me. I also had a party with my dad since he was living in South Carolina at the time. It was only a three-hour car ride to his place and I remember it was actually a pretty nice event. Warm fuzzy memories.

But then the dust settled and I was left outside of the bubble that had been high school, finally part of the “real world”. I had “accomplished” something in life and now it was time to be an adult. And I say “accomplished” because there was never a question about if I would graduate. I knew I would. There wasn’t a challenge to it. And if I hadn’t of graduated my mom would have killed me, brought me back from the dead, and made sure as hell that I didn’t fuck it up the second time. For all that she was an amazing, loving, and understanding parent, she knew how to make sure my brothers and I stayed in line and did what we were supposed to do.

So yeah, graduation itself didn’t feel special or really noteworthy in my head. It was just an event. Another day. One where I had to get up early, stand in line for an empty folder, and then stand in another line to actually get a stupid piece of paper that no one in my career so far has cared enough to ask about or see.

Right Brain: Fucking annoying piece of paper… So wasn’t worth the half a day I lost of my life having to suffer through the graduatuion ceremony…

I woke up one morning shortly after graduation and had the mental thought to myself, “Well, I guess I should get stuff done.”

Within the first week of being a high school graduate, I got my license, got my first car, and got my first job. I went from zero to gainfully employed member of society in a matter of days and still managed to play World of Warcraft way more than what was probably healthy.

Yeah, go me. I’m a badass who can get shit done.

Attending Full Sail was similar. I was working at the Citadel help desk. I wasn’t doing much with life. I wasn’t really liking it to be honest. And I was still playing World of Warcraft, not that it’s a bad game, just noting that instead of being “productive” I was self-medicating through gaming. In a way, I think it helped because doing something relatively mindless allowed my brain to relax and meander over the deeper subconscious thoughts in my head.

Within a week of finding out about Full Sail, I was enrolled and scheduled for a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the school. I also had apartment viewings lined up for while I was in Orlando so I could have a place to live while I attended school. I went from disenchanted to stoked about my change in direction in a matter of days.

I’m sure there are other, minor instances between the time I was a student to March 23, 2016 but they didn’t leave a lasting impression if they happened.

My next notable shift was when mom died. This shift, too, happened in a matter of days. I lost my mom, my relationship, and my career all at the same time, even though it took a while all of those events to fully resolve.

Mom’s viewing, in my mind, took over a week since we had to wait so long to get the urn back. Then I had to travel to South Carolina for the actual viewing, and then once it was done, I was supposed to spread her ashes over my grandparents grave, only to be told once I got there I wasn’t allowed to do that.

Right Brain: What the actual fuck, Universe? Can you just let me finish one god damn thing in my life right now?

Honestly, I think it was for the best. I’m glad I still have her ashes with me.

Zane and I broke up over the phone while I was in Vegas taking care of mom. It wasn’t until I got back to Orlando that I found out about his betrayal, and to this day that issue isn’t fully resolved. He’s still on my phone plan, and I’m not sure what’s going on with the apartment though I know the lease ends in May.

I spent and additional two months working at Full Sail after mom’s death. So leaving wasn’t as instant as I thought it would be. But all three of those events, mom’s death, the breakup itself, and the decision to leave the school, all happened within days of each other.

And then there’s the rollercoaster of what my life has been for the past 10 and a half months. The confusion about where I was going to end up living. The constant change of what I wanted to do about future employment. Working through not only my grief over mom’s death but the garbage of Zane and even issues with my younger brother.

There’s been a lot that’s happened. A lot that I’ve survived.

And so now here I am. $3000 left to my name. Being honest here. Realistic. I’m almost broke and bills aren’t going to care. They’re still going to want to be paid.

Last month was when I started looking for employment in the area. Money was dwindling down. I knew time was finite. I wanted to be proactive rather than reactive so I wanted to put in the effort to find work sooner rather than later.

I hadn’t heard anything back from the places I applied and the trip to Disney with Allison put a hold on most things in my life, so I didn’t sweat over it too much. Then I was sick for a week.

No One Ever: Fun times…

Then my Warrior Dash, something I was going to do regardless of how close to my death bed I was from the plague I had caught. It was an amazing experience and I’m glad I was able to share it with Big Bad. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s one of the biggest reasons it was such an amazing event for me.

And here we are at Thursday already and part of my brain is wondering how so many events could transpire between Monday and today.

It started by my return to feeling low. Saturday was awesome, and Sunday wasn’t bad, but I was still unemployed and needing to figure out what to do with my life. I wanted a job, but I was getting to the point where anything sounded better than nothing. I even picked up an Arby’s application because they had a “now hiring” sign even though I knew I would hate working there.

Left Brain: At least it wouldn’t be McDonald’s? Maybe we could hate it less than other places?

Right Brain: This is all your fault. I’m going to go play with crayons and magical unicorn dolls until you figure this shit out.

As an INFJ I would really rather not hate my job, but having food is nice. I would rather have food and hate my job then starve or become a mooching slacker.

For some reason, I ended up on LinkedIn. I think it was because of Warren. We were talking about employment and he mentioned contract houses. I was poking around online looking at places I could reach out to and end up on LinkedIn I think with the original intention of updating my profile. I’ve never looked at their job posting section so I thought, “What the heck? Might as well…”

I mean… it’s not like it’s a website dedicated to professional networking and job placement or anything…

Well, since I had really liked the idea of the patient transporter position I decided to look at what medical postings there were in my area. Wouldn’t you know it, the listing for the transporter position was still there. Not only was it still there, apparently I had a contact at the hospital.

Me: The fuck? Who do I know at the hospital?

My faculty advisor from Full Sail, the guy who helped set me up with my Digital Arts and Design degree while I was a Lab Specialist, the guy who knew everything about my 3D Blitz event and PCC Critiques, and all of the continuing education stuff I was doing/did do… the guy who knew EVERYTHING that happened in regards to my mom… Yeah… that guy… he’s now the recruitment sources supervisor for the hospital…

Yeah… Don’t worry… Me, too. My brain couldn’t even.

Seriously, I sat there rereading his title over and over because there was no way that name and that position were right. I mean, it couldn’t be…, right? Life does NOT work like that…

But… apparently, it does. I messaged him through LinkedIn saying I genuinely hoped he had been doing well. I explained since resigning from Full Sail that I had been looking to get into the medical field. My most notable step towards that goal was becoming a home health aid, and that I had applied for the transporter position a few weeks back. I asked if he had any advice or guidance for getting my resume to stand out.

Promptly after sending that message I went and gushed all of my anxiety to Warren. I didn’t want my contact to think I was using him solely for the prospect of getting a job. He really, truly was one of the best people I interacted with at Full Sail and I really did hope he was doing well. I also really wanted him to know that I had applied.

Right Brain: He’s going to think you’re a self-serving leech and that you’re using him purely for self-gain. Feel awful. Feel very, very awful and think about what you’ve done.

Warren reassured me that I had done exactly what I should have. I reached out to someone I know via a professional avenue in regards to a professional situation.

I felt better after the conversation but still had a hard time sleeping. Who wouldn’t, right?

So all of that was Sunday. Depressing battle with the directionless feeling of my life, more job searching, finding my contact and having my mind blown by the situation, reaching out to him, and then talking with Warren about my fears.

Pretty full day both event wise and emotion wise.

I woke up early Monday morning since I had arranged to have breakfast with Nicole. Breakfast was awesome. We got to catch up since it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen her.

While I had been driving to meet her I got a response from my contact. His message alleviated all of my fears and made me feel valued as well as humbled.

Contact: How do you make your resume stand out? Jennifer, you’re amazing.

He said to send him my resume directly and he would kick it over to the people at the location I wanted to be at. This could not be happening. Again, life DOES NOT work like this… at least my life doesn’t. It can’t. Things don’t just WORK… do they?

I told Nicole about the job situation and we talked for a while as we ate and enjoyed each others company. We ended up parting ways and I went home to email my contact and send him the information he requested.

He replied about two minutes later to my email saying he was sending it forward.

Thirty minutes later I got an auto-generated email saying the position had already been filled.

Right Brain: But… but…

I reread the message a few times. Nope. Says the position has been filled. Not my brain dicking around with me. Well… shit… That… that really sucks.

I emailed my contact back a few hours later after letting the information sink in. I thanked him for everything he had done to help me out. I said I was going to keep my eye on the website for other postings I might be qualified for and that I was going to try to look at this as taking the scenic route to my destination rather than as a roadblock.

I was still feeling bummed, though. My email might have sounded optimistic, but on the inside, I was fighting to not let depression swarm in and cover everything in a “Life is pointless. It never works out. Why are you trying so hard when you know you’re a fai….”

Me: Don’t even finish that word or so help me Freya I’ll stab you so hard with a fucking q-tip you won’t even know what to wish for.

So yeah, it was rough. I decided that the best thing to do was to call someone. I needed to talk out the emotions and really just have someone listen. You know, maybe give a little, “Yeah that sucks, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” type of support. I didn’t want or need answers or advice just an ice pack for my ego.

I decided to call my younger brother. I figured he would 1) be able to talk, and 2) could relate to the whole job thing not working out since not too long ago he was in the same boat as me. Looking for a job and hitting brick walls face first.

Well… in hindsight that was probably one of the stupidest decisions I’ve made in a while. Right next to deciding to have breakfast at 9 am so I had to drive through rush hour traffic while literally half of the length of the trip is under construction…

Looking at it that way, Monday was just not my day for smart choices…

Anyway, I called Jon. I prefixed the conversation with, “I really just need to talk and get it all out. Is that cool?”

He said yeah, I talked through all of the events of the past less than twenty-four hours and at the end I ended the epic story with, “And the position’s been filled already.”

Jon: You wouldn’t have liked the position anyway. That’s not what you should be doing.

Me: Oh… Well.. What would you recommend?

He then went on to say that I need to stop jumping back and forth on career choices. I really should be using the skill set I already have. I should take the job in California because it would be a good experience. I’m not going to get a medical job because I’m only a lowly health aid going up against CNAs, PCTs, and a whole slue of other letters formed into seemingly random patterns that somehow make them better employees than me.

It was a pretty shitty conversation. At least, at the time it was. It hurt. I had already just been kicked in the face by Life. I had been hoping for some reassurance that even though it sucked it would be ok, and instead I got uppercut by someone who is extremely close to me. At least that’s what it felt like.

At the end of the conversation, he had the grace to say, “And I just said all of that wrong, didn’t I?”

Me: You didn’t say anything that I didn’t already know.

I was crying not so silent tears by the time we got off the phone. I was feeling crushed. What am I really doing with life? I mean, not even my brother thinks that what I’m doing is right. I really am just a fuck up.

Yeah… that battle I had been fighting before the conversation with my brother… totally lost.

Jen – hardcore loss
Life – undisputed win

I ended up going to a gas station and getting a pack of cigarettes. I had been doing so well. Two weeks without. I went to one of the parks that I frequent when I need to be outside. I sat and smoked and felt miserable. Total pity party and I gave zero fucks about throwing it.

I reached out to Sir asking if he could talk because at the time I needed someone, anyone, to tell me that things would be ok. I needed those words. I needed to know I wasn’t a failure because that word was ricocheting inside my head again like a bullet.

It took him a while to respond, but he eventually did. He said he would call shortly, so I waited. While I was waiting I got a reply from my previous email with my contact.

He was sorry the position was filled already, but he would keep an eye out for me, and if I happened to see anything on the website to let him know. He said he “knows I’m a good one,” and he wants me at the hospital because, “the hospital needs more people like [me].”

He said “you” in the email, but that would make the sentence I just wrote sound weird, so I changed it to “me” because grammar.

My contact also gave me advice on getting hired. He said if I could become a PCT that more doors would be opened.

Knowing my contact was still on my side greatly changed my mood around. Not instantly, but in the course of about ten minutes worth of reflection. By the time I was able to talk to Sir I was feeling more stable. I had thought through some of the things Jon had said to me, too.

In a lot of ways, Jon was right. I needed to pick a direction and go with it. And he was also right in that I don’t stand out well against other applicants.

If my contact is going to help me, I need to help him.

It also helped that I had talked to Big Bad a bit. I told him about not getting the position and that I was bummed. I didn’t want him to know how “bummed” was more like “soul-crushingly depressed”. I didn’t want to mess up his day or make him feel bad because I wasn’t feeling well.

He asked what I was doing later in the evening. I said I had dance class or the dojo I could go to, but that I hadn’t committed to either one. Really I had no intention of going, but I didn’t want to admit to being depressed and that being the reason I wasn’t going to do anything.

Me: What are your plans?
Big Bad: My socks need rolling.
Me: Would it be ok if I rolled them for you?
Big Bad: Sure

That made me feel so much better. I didn’t care if he didn’t want me to stay the night. I was ok with going over there and doing one small task because it was one small thing that I knew I could do. I could roll socks for someone. I could still be helpful and useful. I can still do things right.

The conversation continued and it helped me so much. By the end of the conversation with both Big Bad and Sir, I was feeling so much more stable. Not just flatlined, square one feeling. I was a little in the positive again. I even stopped by Game Stop on my way home and picked up a copy of Mortal Combat for Big Bad and me to play. I have been meaning to get the game for a bit so I was also productive and accomplished something on my to-do list.

Right Brain: Eat a dick, Life. You CANNOT keep me down.

The evening was pretty fantastic. We didn’t do any of the chores listed out in our text messages. Socks didn’t get rolled. Pockets didn’t get sown. But… I did get to kick Big Bad’s ass in Mortal Combat. Thrashed really. Totally, completely owned. It was epic.

Ok… maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did do really well, and him not so much.

But that’s ok. We switched to Soul Caliber and everything became even. He won twice as much as I did. After a bit of that, we switched to Tekken, which we’re actually pretty evenly matched at. It was a great night.

We also cuddled for a while and I got to tell him about my day and the ups and downs of it. At the end, I had a pretty good game plan in my head for what I wanted to do the next day.

Sexy time didn’t happen and it wasn’t purely for the fact that I’m on my cycle. Maybe Big Bad knew, or there’s a pheromone thing that my body is doing, or whatever, but there wasn’t a push for things to be sexual. We played video games and cuddled and talked, and eventually, we both went to sleep and it was another night where I slept pretty well. I liked it. I liked that I was given companionship and a safe place to recover from the roughness of the day.

In the morning we woke up and had coffee. As I was sitting on the stool at his kitchen table Big Bad came up behind me, wrapping his arms around me the way he does, and said, “Happy Valintine’s Day.”

All of the warm fuzzy feelings.

There weren’t gifts, there weren’t flower petals strewn on the floor. There was a warm hug of genuine caring.

It was perfect.

We did our strength workout, back this time, though, my biceps were hating me be the end. Big Bad showered and got ready for work. I caught up on some of my emails. We parted ways in the driveway, kisses and hugs goodbye with wishes of having good days exchanged.

Tuesday wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t feeling well due to my body hating on me. I cooked and got some stuff done, but overall I took it easy. My body felt tired, which that’s a musing for a whole different post. The main thing to take away from Tuesday is that even though I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, it was a good day and I promised myself if I was feeling better Wednesday that I would move forward with my battle plan.

Well… Wednesday… all of the things, because I haven’t typed like twelve pages worth of stuff already…

It started with some research. I needed to find out more about PCTs, which, by the way, means patient care technician. So many abbreviations… >.<;

Well… on Glassdoor, the hospital is listed as paying $16 an hour for PCTs. Um… yes, please. I looked up the PCT courses on the FHCA website. It’s pretty expensive, but I’ve already done the HHA, home health aide, course, so it was possible, highly likely, that I would get a discount. There’s also the CNA test that I paid for and never received a test date for that I could look into.

So my main course of action was to figure out what I could and could not do in relation to becoming a PCT. I went to the school, asked a bunch of questions, got a bunch of information, and even got my certificates from the courses I completed back in August. Yeah… I never went and picked those up. But now I have them. Yay certificates with shiny stickers on them.

Basically, I found out that I don’t have enough money to pay for the certificate and maintain my expenses. Not without getting more money or having some sort of income myself. I decided that I needed to talk to my older brother first.

I had messaged him earlier in the morning asking if we could talk after he got home from work. Having the information from FHCA, oh, that one means Florida Health Care Academy…  meant the conversation with Jason would be more business and less theory, which would actually make it a more productive conversation. Didn’t really change the fact that I didn’t want to move forward until I had more data from him in regards to mom’s retirement fund.  The lady I spoke with said I had until Saturday to sign up for the classes that start this coming Monday, so I wasn’t worried about the time frame.

After figuring out all of that I went to my sports bar for lunch and proceeded to go through all of my emails since they were getting backed up again, and paid bills since it was the 15th. I updated Warren’s excel sheet with the new amounts he owes me and sent him a link to the Google Doc. I also sent a message saying I wasn’t demanding or expecting payment. This was me giving him data essentially since he’s getting back on his feet and I wanted him to have all of the information so he could make the best decisions.

I came back home, did a few chores, cross stitched for a bit while listening to Spotify on the Playstation. Pretty much chilled until I could talk to my brother.

The conversation was pretty good. We talked about movies for a bit because how can you not talk about the Batman movie? We talked about him being employed again since he just retired from the Air Force. Eventually, we made our way to the real reason for the call. I told him the whole story about what had happened, the direction I’m looking at going in now, and the issue with funding this endeavor.

We’re still owed a bit of money from mom’s retirement fund. That’s most likely not going to be here anytime soon, though, and I borrowed part of my money from that already, so when it comes in, part of is going to Jason. That’s how I was able to pay for the apartment in full for the year. So even when it comes in, for me, it’s not going to be as much as it will be for my brothers.

There’s also the deed to the timeshare mom owned a part of. But that’s also caught up in legal red tape and we don’t know how much our third of a third of the timeshare is going to be worth. So in regards to both of those things, I’m pretty much taking the mentality of, “Until I have the money, the money doesn’t exist.”

Well… damn. Ok… Regardless, I’m going to make this work.

I reached out to Sir in regards to the money he owes me. I was worried about the conversation. Like, almost sick from worrying about messing up our friendship. It was actually an extremely healthy and informative conversation and I’m glad we were able to have it.

He’s hoping to be able to pay me a large sum soon, but again, the date isn’t confirmed and so in my head, until I have it it doesn’t exist.

I still need to reach out to Mother Earth. She doesn’t owe a lot, but she did say she would pay me back, and even the little she does owe would help pay for food, or a bill, or something. Something is better than nothing.

I also want to reach out to Allison since she mentioned helping to cover the cost of the Disney trip since it was so expense. The first morning we were at the vacation house she mentioned about it being expensive and how if I wanted her to reimburse me for any of it to let her know. I mentioned how the bride wasn’t supposed to pay for her bachelorette party.

Allison: Yeah well, most brides don’t demand a week at Disney from their friends.

I can’t argue that…

During the conversation with Sir, I had been looking at jobs. Since I am a home health aide, there’s nothing saying I can’t get a job with that and work while I’m doing the PCT courses. While I was poking around on the Internet applying to things Jon called me and wanted to talk. I had been in the middle of typing something so I told him I would call him back in a few minutes. I wanted to finish the train of thought for the application first before switching gears.

Got that done and submitted, called him back, he told me about what was going on in his life, and I told him about my decision.

I also got to tell him that I appreciated our conversation on Monday. He and I communicate very differently, and though the conversation hadn’t been what I had been looking for, it wasn’t a “bad” conversation and some of the things he said helped me figure out what I wanted to do.

I told him about the financial situation I’m in. I asked if I could hold off on paying him back for the trips we took this holiday season so I could use that money for this endeavor. He said that was fine. He said he’s actually in a better position now that he has a job and is looking for a roommate, which is good. I’m glad things are working better for him and that, like myself, he’s moving in a positive direction in life. It’s nice that he can allow me the breathing room with the money and not be financially hurting himself.

I also asked the question, prefixing with, “You can say no and nothing will change. This is me seeing what options I have so I know what I can and can’t do or count on. If I end up needing help to do this, would you be willing to help me?”

He said yes. I would really rather not need help especially with how much I harp and complain and flat out bitch about people borrowing money. The only reason I owe him for the trip is because it was easier for one person to buy the tickets than trying to work everything out separately.

I feel like I would be a hypocrite if I asked for money. I also feel like if I do end up needing help that this is a situation where I am being taught to stay humble and not judge others so harshly.

I know people will be more willing to help me if it looks like I’m trying to help myself, so after the phone call with my younger brother I went back and applied for three more positions as well as RSVPed for a career fair this coming Thursday.

At the end of our conversation, Jon mentioned that it would be nice if, once I’m employed, we could figure out a way to meet up weekly for coffee or something along those lines.

Before Jon joined the Army, he worked at the same hospital mom did. They actually worked on the same floor in the wards across from one another. Mom worked days, Jon worked nights, but every Monday morning they would meet and have breakfast together and talk about their shifts. I know it’s something that Jon enjoyed and it’s something he misses. It’s one of those things that made mom home rather than a house or location. When mom died, Jon lost his “Monday morning breakfasts”, just like I lost my “conversations about nothing”.

I can’t put into words how deeply moved I am that he wants to have something like that with me. We know we can’t replace mom. It’s something I said early in the conversation last night. How I had called Monday because I had wanted to hear mom, but Jon isn’t mom and it wasn’t fair to him. I can’t replace mom but I can still meet up with my brother and we can figure out a new way to continue on with our lives. Together.

Another thing he said towards the end of our conversation last night was how he did think I would be successful if I became a caregiver.

That.

That right there.

That sentence meant so much to me. More than anything else, knowing that he believes in me, that he thinks I can do it, made all of my choices up to this point feel even more right.

Just like I can’t replace mom, Jon can’t replace mom, either, but we can both be supportive of each other, and I think that’s something we’re both learning how to do not only as siblings but as adults.

So…

I have the support of both my brothers and I have the will to figure this out. I WILL make this work, and every obstacle Life puts in my way is only going to solidify my resolve to accomplish my goal.

I WILL get a job. I WILL sign up for the PCT courses. And I WILL do amazing in my new career choice.

So, here we are at Thursday. I get to see Big Bad tonight. Tomorrow morning is leg day as far as our workout goes. I bought a black gi last week which should come in tomorrow. I plan to start back at the dojo hardcore Monday with my new gi and my new direction in life. Today I’m looking into the apartment situation with Zane and making sure the complex knows I will not be renewing the lease. I need to figure out if there’s anything I have to do past that so I’m not adversely affected by anything in the future. There’s a CPR certification class at FHCA tomorrow I want to take, so I need to get money to pay for that.

I got more information about the phones yesterday because I called Verizon. That’s more information that I’ll most likely write about in another post.

The big takeaway is, I’m no longer stagnate, and just like all the other times in my life when change occurs, it’s everything all at once. I was directionless, still, building up frustration with myself for not having or taking action steps. Well now I know what to do with everything, or at least I know where I need and want to start.

I’m also looking into my CNA test today. So, lots of things to do before having a wonder night.

Today is going to get so owned.

Right Brain: Come on, Life. Come at me, bro.

 

Daily Post 008: Still Lost But Not As Directionless

Standard

Still directionless. Still sans purpose.

But…

I did make it through today. I can’t say that I enjoyed much of anything. It felt like I was an observer for most of the day. Auto piolet. I experienced most things as if there were a barrier between the world and myself. A wall which wouldn’t let much emotion in or out.

I enjoyed the brief interactions I had with Big Bad. He teased me about being sick and how we’ll have to walk the 5k on Saturday, hand in hand. He said if I’m feeling better maybe we can upgrade from walking to skipping.

We made plans to see the Batman Lego Movie after the race if we survive. I’m feeling significantly better health wise, but breathing is still a chore so I don’t know how I’ll be after. I remember last year I was fine the day of the race. It was the day after where I was super sore. We’ll see how I fair. Regardless, I am looking forward to Saturday. It doesn’t matter how I do run/obstacle wise.

So yeah, I enjoyed my text messages. They caused me to genuinely smile and feel warmth. That was  really the only time I felt connected to the world, though. The rest of it was distant and detached.

I got a lot more done today than I thought I would. I did a few chores after having coffee. I ended up going to lunch after an hour or so of work. I had been hoping to do all the chores before needing food but skipping breakfast wasn’t the best idea in that regard.

I listened to music for most of the morning, too. I think that helped. It kept my mind focused on something soothing.

While I was at my sports bar I did a little more introspective thinking/soul searching.

I label myself as a warrior, but lately, I haven’t felt like one. I haven’t felt like anything. A hot mess maybe. Nothing positive.

I made myself sit down and write out qualities I associate with my “ideal warrior self”. I wanted to reaffirm to myself the qualities I try to embody, the traits I want people to remember me for.

Honor. Strength. Perseverance. Courage. Enlightened.

I wrote more than those words, but those are my top five.

After spending some time brainstorming what qualities my “ideal warrior self” should have I asked myself if I felt like my “ideal warrior self”.

My answer was an unsurprising, “No.”

My reason was hard to write. It was hard not to give into the silent tears as I sat writing my reason into my notebook.

“No. And that hurts. I feel like I’m failing myself.”

It’s not the outside world telling me that I’m falling short. It’s me being harsh with myself. It’s me being the overbearing parent, looking down in disdain at the part of myself that’s trying. Maybe not trying my hardest, but trying and getting no recognition for any effort what so ever.

It’s disheartening. What’s the point of trying to be something when it doesn’t matter what I do? Nothing is ever good enough for myself.

Well, no shit I’m depressed. Anyone would be with that mentality as their cheerleader.

After writing my reason and accepting why I felt like I was failing myself I wrote an affirmation.

I am not failing myself. Acknowledging these feelings allows me to improve myself. I want to be a more enlightened and accepting person. Self-improvement is ALWAYS a worthwhile endeavor.

Self-acceptance is where I need to start.

I next asked what are three things I can do to work towards my warrior self.

  1. Go to the dojo and continue eating healthy
  2. Read spiritual/grief content and continue writing
  3. Complete my projects

I know all three of those seem pretty nebulous, but they are stakes within my mind, anchor points to which I can tie things down to.

After I identified three areas which would help boost my feelings of self-improvement I asked myself what I would do today to work towards my warrior self.

  1. Meal plan for the remaining days of the week
  2. Clean the apartment
  3. Cross stitch / enjoy my evening

And that’s what I did. I figured out what I needed from the grocery store before I left my sports bar, then did the shopping. I have to admit to feeling drained by the time I got back home. I enjoyed being in the sun and I’m grateful today wasn’t a cold day, not that we really have many of those in Orlando, but I was worried for a bit that I had overdone it.

I put the groceries away and did a few tasks in the kitchen before sitting on the couch for a while and cross stitching a few threads. I let music play and my mind relax. I didn’t think about my list or what it would mean if I didn’t get it all done. The list didn’t matter. I let myself stitch until the dryer was done running. After that, I felt better. Still in my flatlined state, but I had more energy to do the remaining things I wanted to do.

I’m pleased that not only did I do all the chores I originally gave myself, but I did more past that. I still managed to sit and enjoy my evening with a cup of warm tea. I made more progress on my cross-stitch and I watched an interesting movie called Harmony.

Do not let the name fool you. It’s a pretty twisted dystopian anime. It was recommended to watch if you liked Ergo Proxy. I enjoyed it though I felt the ending was weak.

I brushed Scarlet a bit. She was happy to have some quality time. Not like she hasn’t been trying to sleep on my face for the past week or anything. I swear I have given her permanent abandonment issues with how much I’ve been traveling the past few months. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of these days she latches on to my face and never lets me leave the apartment again.

And now I am here writing, something which normally lets me feel calm and collected. An action signaling closure to the day.

I haven’t been consistent with my writing. We’re already well into February but this is only the ninth “daily” post I’ve made. There’s not consistency with my writing anymore, which I understand and accept, but I wonder how much better I would feel if I were more diligent in this endeavor. Writing helps me process, and part of the reason the emotions well up the way they do is because I don’t process very often. At least I feel I don’t.

Instead of being proactive, I’m lapsing back to being reactive.

Brain: Oh shit! We’re having an emotional meltdown. I guess we should do something about this.

Today wasn’t a bad day. It was a flat day. A white day. I think tomorrow is going to be a lot like today. Flatlined. Quite. Still.

I think I’m ok with that. More than I was. I have identified what I want to do. I want to improve and I have things that will help me do that. I’m not as directionless as I felt last night and this morning.

It’s a nice feeling.

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