Musing Moment 116: Nebraska Goals


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


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


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 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.


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


Still directionless. Still sans purpose.


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.


Letters to Mom 011: A Conversation About Nothing


I need to talk to you mom. I so wish we could talk on the phone like we used to. I miss our hour long conversations about “nothing”. I miss being able to call you randomly when I happened to find free time in my day; time that I was more than willing to spend with you in the small ways we were able to after I moved away.

I really don’t have anything important to talk about, so I don’t know why I feel this pain right now. I don’t know why it keeps welling up like it has been the past week. It’s just random moments of sadness for no reason. At least that’s what it feels like. Maybe there is a reason and I don’t know it.

I keep having dreams. Weird dreams and when I look up the symbology it’s about betrayal. Like a dog biting a little girl and then decaying with maggots wriggling around in its chest, only to come back from the dead to attack other people because the dog didn’t belong in that universe and so by proxy couldn’t die…

Yeah… weird shit.

It sounds like a horrific dream, but when I woke up instead of being disgusted I felt solemn.

There are other dreams, too. None as morbid as that one, but they still leave me feeling weary, and all the psychology behind the representation points to “weariness” and “vigilance” as being the course of action to take. I wish I knew what I was supposed to be looking out for. If only my brain would tell me what it actually thought was wrong rather than possibly giving me “clues” to decipher and pick through.

I mean… maybe it’s all literally inside of my head and they’re just BS dreams that mean nothing.

I feel like if they were really nothing, then I wouldn’t have the feeling of significance when I wake up like I do.

I’ve been applying to more jobs. I might have a babysitting gig this Sunday. I was supposed to go swimming with manatees but it’s a two-hour drive there and I don’t feel up to the trip right now. Doesn’t help that it was supposed to be a fairly large group of people I mostly don’t know. Not really my ideal recovery time.

Big Bad and I had lunch today. He got out of work early since he had to work extra hours earlier in the week.

I went and applied for a job in person since that’s what the posting on said to do. It’s a housekeeping position at a nursing home. I know it’s simple. I know I’m over qualified for it. I wouldn’t mind doing it, though. It’s the perfect hours for still being able to spend all my time at the dojo. The more I think about what I want out of a job the more I want something along those lines. Something that doesn’t interfere with what I actually want to be doing, which is training.

So I guess I need to revise my job requirements.

Something reliably full-time in Orlando within roughly a ten-mile radius from the apartment, preferably using a skill set I already have with set hours that does not interfere with my dojo time.

The patient transport position is another really good job for that. I’m hoping to hear back from something soon.

There was a pretty big event at the dojo today. I almost didn’t go to it, but I had my “come to Freya” discussion with myself not long ago and one of the things was not skipping out of going to the dojo when I feel sad, so I went. I’m glad I went. I learned some really nifty things today. I’m less afraid to perform the moves that require me to put my weight on the other person. It means I’m performing the moves more correctly than what I was. I’m acting with intention and control. It’s a good feeling.

They gave out belts and stripes tonight after training. Jim got another stripe on his brown belt. That’s the rank before black belt. Tommy got his black belt tonight. Akib got his blue belt. That’s the one after white.

Part of me was hoping I would get my first stripe on my white belt, but I didn’t. I’ve only been attending since mid-November. I missed three solid weeks of practice because I traveled. Some days I didn’t go because I have no reason, I just didn’t go.

Part of me wanted to have something on my belt to show I’ve put in effort. Recognition. A pat on the back.

That’s not what jujitsu is about, though, and I know that.

Part of me feels like I’m not ready for the stripe yet. I still haven’t gotten a jujitsu belt. I still wear my aikido gi and I still wear my aikido belt with it. I wonder if that’s me holding onto the past, or if that’s at least part of it. Maybe it’s not all just for the sake of being frugal. I didn’t think about that until they were giving out stripes and belts and I realized if I was called up for a stripe that I didn’t have the proper belt for the stripe to go on.

I sat there wondering if I’m being disrespectful to the dojo and my instructors. If I’m training jujitsu, shouldn’t I have the attire for it? Shouldn’t I have at least gotten the proper belt to show that I respect the skill I’m training? In all of the months I’ve been going there I couldn’t have made “buy a jujitsu belt” a task on my to-do lists? I knew I needed one, so why did I never do it?

I don’t know what I would have done had Paul called my name for a stripe. I don’t know if I would have been able to bow after receiving it. I don’t think I would have felt like I deserved it. Part of it would be because I don’t want to have it, earn it, and not be able to send you pictures or have you there to see it.

I know you will be proud of me when I do get it eventually. I know you want me to keep going to the dojo and training because it fulfills something in me, and I know I’ll make it through the moment when I finally do earn my stripe, but right now I don’t know how.

How do I keep going with you not here? Physically here. How do I keep going when sometimes the only thing I can think about is the pain? Like right now. I hurt. My heart hurts. I ache for you to be here and I don’t know what to do other than embrace the pain.

This feeling, this sensation in my chest… it’s deeper than physical. Deeper than body. It’s in my core. My soul. My chakra.

It’s almost as if I can hold it. Like it’s physically something within me. Like I can cup it in my hands and have them be filled with this sensation and show people, “This is my pain.”

This is my love for you, mom. This is what I have to remind me that what we had, our time, our relationship, was real. That I loved, deeply, wholly, unconditionally the way I have never loved anyone else in my life. Not dad. Not Jon. Not Jason. Not any of my significant others.

I didn’t realize how much you meant to me until I held your hand alone in the hospital saying my final words to your spirit. Your body was already cold, your hand lifeless in mine, but I felt you behind me as I spoke my final words to you, as I promised I would be strong.

I want to say that you were everything to me, and maybe at the time that was true. With how hard it was during my time at the extended stay maybe you truly were everything, and during those six months I was learning how to adjust to that change.

My Everything was gone.

The flatlined stillness inside of my head. The emptiness. The silence I felt within myself. The lack of broken pieces to pick up. There was nothing because my Everything was gone.

I remember how I slowly started to find reasons to do things. I remember telling Warren that I didn’t know how to keep going because you were my blue crayon and without you I didn’t know how to color my skys anymore. I remember talking with Chrys on your birthday and how that night was so empty and cold and yet at the same time full of laughing at stupid werewolf drama shows.

I remember how I told Nicole that I’ve been grateful for every time I’ve made it through a hard time because there’s always something on the other side that makes me happy I’m still here to experience it. If it ends, there is no more. No more next time. No more new inside jokes. No more warm hug, or good training session, or caring smile.

I want all those things, and that’s how slowly the nothingness became something. I started seeing the good things still worth experiencing. I started enjoying things again. Simple things. Having coffee in my red coffee cup which I’ve had for I don’t remember how long. My cup, warm in my hands while sitting outside watching the day start. Most of the time I would go back to sleep shortly after because just the actions of getting up and making coffee took all of the energy I had, but for a brief moment, I enjoyed something.

I don’t know where I’m at with my grief. I know it’s not a linear process. I know there’s not a destination and that this is something I will experience for the rest of my life. I want to know that I’m ok. That I’m normal and that it’s still ok to be sad sometimes. That it’s still ok to miss you.

When you first died I researched how to grieve. I researched INFJs and what we do and how we deal with things, and everything I found said there’s no answer, so I gave up on it.

I don’t remember what I was doing the other day but I looked up stuff on grief for some reason and I found posts from other people explaining how they grieved. It was the first time that I really read into other people’s experiences. I read about a mother who lost her infant son in their home and how sometimes she lays on the floor where he died so she can feel closer to him. I read about how she never wanted to tell people that, but when she went to a support group she felt accepted because other people understood. I read another story about a mother and father who always bake a cake to celebrate their child’s birthday even though he died extremely young. I read how to them it is a way of honoring and acknowledging the life that existed even if it was brief.

It makes me feel more ok about wearing your ring and the urn pendant. It makes me more ok with my choice to write to you. I’m allowed to do things that other people may not agree with or think are “right” or seems silly because it doesn’t have to be right for them. It needs to be right for me. For us.

It’s my expression. Not theirs. And these are some of the ways I choose to express.

Sometimes I feel like you’re so terribly, horribly far away. Sometimes I feel like what I do isn’t enough. That it will never be enough. That’s how it feels right now.

But I know these feelings are temporary. I know tomorrow I’m going to wake up and go to the jujitsu class and the Muay Thai class. I know I’m going to keep waking up. I know I’m going to keep breathing. I know my heart is going to keep pumping and that as long as it does I have a purpose.

I know I have a purpose, mom. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so obsessed with it. I wish sometimes I wasn’t this fantastically rare personality type and that I could just be ok with existing and not need some deep, driving reason for things.

How much easier would life be if I could just simply be? If I could accept that I’m here and the reason didn’t really matter? How much calmer would my mind be if I could just accept that I’m here and the why didn’t factor into anything?

But that’s not my mind. I need to know why. Why am I here? Just like when Jim asked, “Why are you doing this?”

I still don’t know.

My answer is still, “Because you died.”

I’m here because you died and I told you I would be strong and keep living. I’m here because I said I would honor you by living a full life. That seems so fragile and hollow, though. I need to live my life for me, not for you. But right now I’m back to not knowing how to do that. I hurt and all I can think about, focus on, is the pain. I’m back to reminding myself that it’s worth enduring, that it’s ok for my accomplishment for the day to simply be making it until night. Surviving is an accomplishment.

I don’t know where I am with my grief, but right now it feels like a very low moment. A very sad and isolated valley where I can’t see anything except the forest that surrounds me. It’s dark, and the internal me, the me in the depths of this wood, is scared of what’s lurking in the darkness, but my higher self knows things will be ok.

My higher self is aware that, yes, it’s dark, but it’s not cold. It’s like a warm summer’s night. Yes, I’m alone, but it’s not the same alone as when my forest was held in the grips of my teenage depression, icy and covered in snow while I wrapped my arms around my knees and hid in my ice cave, unwilling to move because staying still hurt less.

It’s dark and scary, but I know daylight will come, I just have to breathe and wait for it. If I breathe my chest will hurt less. If I relax my muscles won’t ache as much. If I listen I’ll be able to hear the night life around me, the crickets, the owls, the rustling of raccoons and other nocturnal animals.

Darkness doesn’t have to be bad. It’s my yearning for daylight that makes me almost ungrateful and negligent of the moment I’m in.

Even in the moments where I hurt and I miss you there can still be good things. I still have my connection with you, mom. I still have my love for you. I still have everything you taught me. I still have the life you gave me that I can keep living. I have all of these wonderful, priceless things in this moment of darkness and so it’s not the horrible thing my brain keeps trying to convince me it is.

It’s still good in its own way, and I’m grateful that part of me can see that. I’m grateful that even through the tears I’ve been crying while I write this that I can say with confidence that I will wake up tomorrow and that I will train, and I will train hard, even if I don’t have an answer for why.

Or maybe I can accept the fact that my reason IS because you died and that’s not a bad thing. That’s not a fake reason or something to be ashamed of.

I don’t know. I feel I need to meditate more on that. It feels right, but now I need to figure out why it’s right.

I train because you died. I live because you died. I understand how deeply I loved you because you died.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.