Letters to Mom 020: Relationship Rambling

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I ran my race.

I didn’t run all of it. I didn’t really try to run all of it. There were two points where I met another runner and walked with them while we talked about life and our past race experiences. I could have run more, but I don’t have this pressure or feeling that I should have run more. I did what I wanted and I’m ok with that.

I’m surprised with how recovered I feel. I know I ran more this race than I did on any of my previous races. I still did all of the obstacles. I still crossed the finish line and had my victory beer.

I’m… happy… with my race and that makes me feel sad in a way. I wrote about it at least once that I can remember. I never thought success could be painful, but it is now. I did well and so I hurt because I did well when mom isn’t here. Maybe one day I’ll grow past this point in my life where everything comes back to her death, but right now I haven’t and so this is where I am.

I did well and I can’t show mom any of the pictures. It hurts even though at the same time I have all of these positive feelings. Ox went with me. He was there when I crossed the finish line. He even gave me a half-way hug while someone else took our picture for us. He drove me to and from the race. He went to dinner with me the night before where we got subs and had ice cream from a local deli near the race location.

We had a mostly serious conversation about our relationship, and though nothing was really solved or figured out, I feel like it was important that we talked.

It’s hard to want to go back to work. I want to see my patients but I really don’t want the stress that goes with my job. I don’t want the annoying hours. Maybe part of the discontent is from being tired. Maybe I’ll be more ok with the thought of work tomorrow, but for right now, I would be ok if I didn’t have to go back. I have too many tangled emotions right now to want to be around people.

I’m glad that almost all of the obstacles felt easy and that the hardest part about the run was running uphill. I’m glad my new Vibrams performed well. I’m glad I didn’t get super sunburnt. I’m glad I went to the race.

There’s so much I want to write about but I don’t know how right now. It’s why I didn’t write yesterday or before the race.

Mom, I miss you. I know you would be so proud right now. I know you would listen to every word if we were talking. I’ve already been cornered by Mama Ox and talked about all the different obstacles and how I felt I did and was the time with my trainer worth it and all of these other questions and side tangents…

But it wasn’t you. She wasn’t who I wanted to talk to and though I knew it was a conversation that I had to have, I didn’t want to. I wanted to talk to you. I still do. I still need it to be you that I gush and ramble to. I need this to be for you right now.

The “race day” adventure started Friday evening. Ox came home after getting off from work. We packed the car up and said goodbye to his parents so we could try to out drive a storm that had the potential to hail on us.

We stopped at a gas station before getting on the interstate to fill up the car and get snacks. He helped me scrub the windows clean of bug guts since that’s a thing I have to deal with here in Nebraska. We ate pretzels and beef jerky while listening to music as we traveled. We were able to beat the storm because we’re badasses like that.

We made it to the town of Blair, home of the bears, which is where I had been able to get a hotel room. We were still about 30 minutes from the race location, but that was the closest hotel I could find. Nebraska is so spread out and a lot of the towns are small. I was sort of surprised we ended up as close as we did.

Blair is quaint. It’s bigger than Hickman, but it has a lot of mom and pop type places. The deli we went for dinner is a good example. In a way, it reminded me of Ye Old Fashion in Summerville. The food wasn’t anything crazy or out of the ordinary. I had a roast beef sub. It wasn’t anything that I couldn’t have made myself at home, but it was still good and I enjoyed eating carbs at night guilt-free, knowing that I would run them off during the race. I even indulged and had a waffle cone with cookie dough ice cream.

It had been a choice between driving to the race location so we could see where it was at and getting food since we didn’t get to Blair until 8pm. Food won out and I’m glad it did. I enjoyed sharing a nice meal with Ox. It was datey feeling, getting ice cream with him.

This was our second road trip together since he flew down to Orlando to drive with me to Nebraska when I moved. It was nice to feel like we got away together.

I wish I could ask you about sex advice, mom. I know Ox says it isn’t me, but it’s hard to feel like it isn’t. We were finally alone. Away. I’m losing weight, again. I’m doing well at work. I cover my bills. I’m domestic with doing laundry and cooking and cleaning.

I don’t know what else to do to be a better, more attractive or enticing mate.

I have been told it’s not me. I’m doing everything right. But that doesn’t change the feelings of “It is me”. This issue has followed me through all of my relationships. I have a higher sex drive than my partner and I don’t know how to change that or to come to terms with the feelings of loneliness that go with it.

Did you ever experience relationships like this, mom? How did it make you feel if you did? What happened? How did you cope?

I’m told I am sexy. I am beautiful. But I don’t feel those things, mom, and I don’t know how to change that. When I say them, when I say, “I am beautiful” it feels like a lie. That combination of words isn’t one of MY truths. I know my truths shouldn’t be based on another person’s opinion or actions or feelings. It should be based on mine, but in my head when I hear “You’re beautiful” I think, “No. I’m not. I’m just me.”

Just me…

That’s a lot of things, though. I’m “just” amazing and fantastic and compassionate and empathic and logical and emotional and structured and spontaneous and fun and funny and outgoing and reserved. I’m an INFJ and there’s so much that goes into “just me”. I don’t know why having sex less often than what my nervous system wants causes so much strife within myself.

Why does it make me question my self-worth? What does it make me wonder if there’s something I should be doing, or doing differently, or not doing? Why does it make me feel like the problem is within myself?

I don’t know if you would have any insight, but I wish I could talk to you about it. I wish I could hear your voice assuring me that Ox and I will figure it out. He’s so many things that my past relationships haven’t been. Why can’t I let this one thing go?

It made Friday night hard. I had packed a piece of lingerie with me. We were alone. We didn’t have Life breathing down our necks with obligations or responsibilities. Sexy time wasn’t in our cards for that night, though. The lingerie went unworn.

It was hard to not feel unattractive.  While we were outside smoking before going to bed I asked if there was anything I could or should be doing differently.

In the end, I asked if it was like my grief and how it can’t really be explained. Was it similar to how I wish my grief could be something like the memory orbs from Inside Out where I could let someone else hold it and say, “This. This is what I feel.”

Ox said yeah. It was like that. He could try to explain as best he could, but there wasn’t really a way to explain to someone else what it feels like to want to please your partner and not be able to.

I know we’re more than roommates or good friends, but it’s hard to feel or support that fact inside my head. It feels like a big part of the relationship is missing or withering away. We both come home from work. I do chores. He plays video games. We go to sleep. We wake up and repeat.

We ended up sleeping cuddled close together which helped keep the lonely feelings from winning. I still didn’t feel sexy or beautiful, but I didn’t feel alone.

When we woke up we checked out the breakfast bar at the hotel but decided to go to a local diner instead. It was another decent meal of nothing super facey. I had rye toast with a mushroom omelet. I even had some of the hashbrowns. We drove to the race site. Ox helped spray my back down. I wore the top he found for me. I had my new shoes. He was at the start line taking pictures and watching me raise my hand for Nebraska even though I had been giving him shit about still representing Florida.

He was there at the end, mom. He was there when I crossed the finish line covered in mud and he didn’t make me feel bad or weird for doing it. He held my bag and let me have my beer and… goddamnit, he’s awesome and I feel like shit for having such a shallow hang up.

He didn’t have to drive two hours to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes out in the sun surrounded by strangers while I ran a circle. He didn’t have to sit there and worry about me not finishing the race because I hurt myself on an obstacle he couldn’t see or twisted my ankle while running. He didn’t have to go. He didn’t have to give me a partial hug. Hell, a partial hug is more than what Zane would give me when I got home after biking to and from work so he could use my car and all that was was sweat.

Ox didn’t try to stop me from going or try to talk me out of it. He doesn’t make me feel bad for spending as much time at the gym as I do or the nights I’ve spent a majority of our “together” time at the dojo instead of being home. He goes to SCA combat practices with me even though he doesn’t fight. He wakes up at 3:45 on the mornings I work just so we can have a cigarette together before I leave even though it almost always fucks up his sleep. He lets me sleep on the couch when I feel the need to have space. He lets me write. He always says thank you when I do something. Making his lunch. Doing the laundry. The small, trivial, unnoticeable things of everyday life aren’t unnoticeable to him and he acknowledges those actions.

Through our conversations of Friday night, he told me he thinks it might be low testosterone. Having been in relationships where I’ve been told I need to be on medication to “fix” myself, I feel awful about the thought of Ox feeling like he needs to take or do something to “fix” himself.

He’s human, so I can’t say he’s perfect, but the thought that I might be making him feel pressured to do something like taking pills or medication sucks. It didn’t make me feel good when it was done to me, so I don’t want to do it to another person, intentionally or unintentionally.

He said taking supplements is something he wants to try; for me, but for him too. He said he’s noticed other things which could be related to low testosterone. I guess it’s something he’s thought about since before our conversation.

I guess there’s not much else to say in regards to this. I wish I knew your opinion, mom. I wish you could tell me if I’m making mountains out of molehills. I know sex is important, yet at the same time not, yet at the same time is… I wish it wasn’t such a big part of the race but since all of this talking happened the night before, it’s tied into it and so there’s no way I can talk about one without the other. It’s the part that’s unresolved in my head and so it’s the part I need to talk about first.

The conversations I have with Ox always bring us closer. In the end, we agreed that we’re ok. We cuddled close together, his arms wrapped around me, and slept through the night. I woke up rested even though I was in a foreign environment and usually have a hard time sleeping in a bed other than my own. I was with Ox and we were ok so it was ok.

We had a nice breakfast in a cute town. He let me have my day. We drove back to Lincoln and we went to our Mongolian Grill and he let me wear my fuzzy warrior hat inside the whole time along with my medal. He went out in public with me while I was still grimy from the race. He even looked up other events I could still sign up for this summer while we were eating.

He let me be grouchy and sad afterward when my headache from dehydration started setting in and I came down from the high of my race. He let me sleep for hours once we got home.

And today, he’s let me be whatever it is that I am. I’m not as sore as I expected to be. Physically I’m doing pretty well. Emotionally I felt frayed, though. I’ve wanted closeness and contact and I think a lot of that has more to do with the runner’s high than anything. It felt a lot like sub-drop after an intense BDSM scene.

We ended up going to the movies since they have the dream lounge chairs. I was able to sit cross-legged the whole time while we watched the new Jurassic World movie. We were close and touching the whole time. Being out of the house helped. Not being the “responsible one” was nice. I didn’t have to drive. I didn’t have to choose anything. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. All I had to do was be present and watch dinosaurs attack shit. I was able to be low energy and quiet and near him and it was nice.

We were able to stop at GNC before going home so I could have my energy drink in the morning since my stockpile was out. So not only did we get cuddle time with dinosaurs, we were also productive.

You would really like him, mom. He honestly does take really good care of me. We take good care of each other.

I want to run another race before summer ends. I want to meditate more on the sex issue because I do feel like I need to explore that more within myself. I need to figure out why it is such a big deal for me because as much as I don’t want it to be one, it is and I can’t expect others to understand it if I don’t understand it myself. I want to keep training and losing weight. I want to figure out why I have such an issue with the words sexy and beautiful. And I want to figure out what I want.

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I know on the emotional “figuring myself out” level it’s going to be a lot of work. I guess it’s a good place to start, though.

I don’t feel as frayed anymore. I feel more ok with the thought of going to work. I have a battle plan for figuring out some of the stuff that’s bothering me.

Thanks for listening, mom. Maybe next time I’ll be able to gush about the obstacles and which ones I liked and which ones were annoying and about the two runners I met and winning my free water bottle and all of the things that went into making my third Warrior Dash the warm memory that it is.

I love you, forever and for always.

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Daily Post 086: There Was Progress

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I guess now is as good a time as any to write.

Today has already been ridiculously productive. I woke up around 5 am and stayed in bed until around 7 am. I finally got up and prepped my food for the coming week along with part of dinner for tonight.

I’ve unloaded and loaded the dishwasher along with handwashing the things that didn’t fit into the load. I’ve swept the kitchen, and before any of that happened I took a shower.

It’s not even noon yet and already I have breakfast for the rest of the week along with my salads for lunch.

I should feel content and yet my brain is wired and not at ease and I guess that’s because next week is a lot of unknown at the moment.

I met with my personal trainer again, which I didn’t realize who I was working with until I was talking to one of my coworkers, which led to an internet search. He’s a big name, and yet he’s now doing personal training in a “middle of nowhere” Nebraska YMCA where he gives all of the money he makes back to the gym. He’s a Ph.D. and founder of multiple companies. He has an interesting, complex story and it’s hard to not feel small when faced with all of the things he’s accomplished in life. It’s hard to, in some ways, not feel unworthy.

Who am I for him to spend his time on? Some lowly CCHT who still struggles with grief over losing her mother? Some nobody? Some chick who can’t even run a solid mile…

I know those are all internal conflicts and struggles within myself. I know I have left my mark on the world already; through the students I taught, the tutorials I made, the scripts I wrote…

I know I’m not unworthy, but still… when standing next to a person who has made literally millions… it’s hard not to feel… less than.

Regardless of those feelings, I’m looking forward to working with him. Our last meeting on Thursday was a lot of talking. He had a printout of the results from the tests he ran on me, which makes me sound like a lab rat, and in a way I guess I am. I like having the numbers. It takes the guesswork out of things. It makes it seem more real and solid. More doable. More quantifiable.

I know how much of what I should be eating and though I don’t like calorie counting, I know that by doing this it will be easier to track the other intakes I’m concerned with. Sodium, carbs, protein especially.

All of the things he told me were things I had already researched and found on my own, so it wasn’t anything new. It was reassuring, however, to hear it repeated from him. It means the stuff I was doing in Orlando, the things that were giving me results, were the right things to do and that I should go back to those habits. It means that our mentalities jive which means working with him, theoretically, will have less friction.

It means that the super hard part, the change to eating habits, really isn’t going to be that big of a deal because I’ve already changed that part. I already meal plan and food prep so I don’t have to learn new skills. It doesn’t mean I’ll be an “easier” client, but I do think it means I’ll be more of a “hands-off” sort of client in that area. I don’t need to be taught, I just need to be left to do my own thing.

In other news…

The clinic is about to do down to three days a week. And I don’t think I’ve written about that yet. I don’t think I’ve written since my meeting at work aside from my homesick letter to mom. And I guess here is a good point to actually go back and look at what I wrote last so I know where I’m at…

 



*Brief Pause In Writing*


 

Ok… so the last time I wrote about life was on April 17th. That was almost two weeks ago.

A lot has happened since then.

I had the meeting at work that day, which is where I found out about the clinic changing its schedule. Because we’re going to be down two nurses for a while, and because there are open seats at our sister clinics, management felt it was better to go from six days a week to three for the next few months.

I agree with their choice. I know it makes things a little inconvenient for our patients, but we don’t have the staff to maintain six days a week anymore. I know there’s a tech going through training. I’m not sure about nurses. My FA will be working the floor with me on Fridays. Mrs. K will be working with me on Mondays and Wednesday until we get more people on the team. Right now the focus is to get the clinic stable with staff and I think that’s a good priority.

I was approved to begin training for NFACT and Vascular Access Manager. So those are things I will begin in the coming week.

I received the documents for the PCT Retention program. I found out that’s more of a bonus rather than a wage increase. I’m still ok with it. It’s more money then I would have gotten otherwise so I’m not going to look a gifted horse in the mouth.

I signed the eDocs and sent them on their way. A few days later I received an email saying I was denied. Queue lame feels…

I messaged my FA and let her know. She replied saying she would look into it for me since she had been told by our region manager that I was approved. At some point this week, I don’t remember the day, I got the paperwork to sign again. I signed it and haven’t heard anything back yet. I didn’t have an additional deposit in my account so I guess it’s still going through flaming hoops of logistics.

I was told my wage increases were approved. I’ve already adjusted my Excel sheet to account for the increase. I’ve also knocked my tax allowances back down to zero. So I’m a little confused as to why I’m short $100 for this paycheck. It’s something I won’t be able to figure out until I go to work tomorrow. It will be nice once all of my financial stuff figures itself out. >.<

I filled out my expense report but I don’t think it sent properly. That’s something I won’t be able to fix until I’m at work with one of my FAs. I want to show them what the system is doing. Hopefully, that can happen tomorrow. Small steps towards completion. It would be nice if it was already completed. /sigh

I don’t know how the new schedule will flow at work and I guess that’s why it’s such an open loop in my head. I know my FA still wants me to show up at 4:30, so I don’t have to wake up earlier which is nice. I’m worried the change over between first and second shift is going to be hard. I’m worried even though the days will still remain shorter than Orlando, that they will be just as stressful, trying to cram everyone into only two shifts.

I know the days will be a little longer. Our last patient will end his treatment around 16:10. That means I most likely won’t be leaving the clinic until around 17:00.

All I can do is wait and see what it’s like and voice my opinion. I don’t like not knowing, though.

I do like the idea of having set days off. I do like knowing I will always have Saturdays off, at least for a little while. It’s why I was able to set up training at the gym so easily. It’s why I’m ok taking on the workload of becoming a VAM. I have consistent times where I can plan to do things.

I finally got my stuff from Warren. That was something that happened last week. I got an email from my old internet providers saying the account was past due. I called and talked to a representative who said the account was still in my name so my credit was the one being affected.

Once I got off the phone with the representative I called Warren. Not surprisingly I got his voice mail. I told him the information I had received. I told him if he didn’t call me back that I was going to close the account. I said that I wasn’t mad or upset. I just wanted him to talk to me so we could figure something out that worked for both of us, but if he didn’t reach back out to me that he wasn’t leaving me a choice. I can’t leave an account open in my name for services I’m not using when the financial burden is falling on me and my credit.

I was furious and betrayed feeling. I had been at the gym when I got that email. I had been in the sauna while I talked to the representative. All of the zen I had built up was trashed, shredded nothingness inside my mind in the face of all of the feelings swarming around inside me.

How could he do this to me? How, after everything, could he still be fucking me over and not telling me?

I drove home trying not to cry in anger.

When I got home I wrote an email to Ms. Side Chick, his girlfriend, since I had her email address from when she was being signed onto the apartment lease. I told her I didn’t know the situation, but that I wanted her to know one of my near future decisions may affect her. I let her know what was going on. I apologized if she wasn’t living at the apartment anymore and if all of my information was unwanted, but I felt she had a right to know about the potential of interruption of internet service if she was still living there.

I was in the process of writing a rage-filled post of hurt about the event when Warren called me back. He was at work and didn’t have long to talk, but we hashed everything out during the time he had.

During the conversation, he said I had a piece of mail from Full Sail along with what looked like a certification. He still had my spare car key, too. He said if he couldn’t get it sent out to me the next day that he would get Ms. Side Chick to do it for him.

Financially he’s still getting back on his feet. Amber fucked him over with a bunch of accounts in South Carolina so he’s catching up on that and it’s taking longer than he thought it would. We’ve agreed to table the issue of him owing me money until next month. June. That’s when I’ll reach out to him again if he doesn’t reach out to me first.

At least I know where we stand and why we’re standing where we are. I feel like it always comes back to this. I’m not unreasonable or uncaring. All I want is to know what the fuck is going on. It’s hard to feel like I matter, that the quarter of my inheritance that went to supporting him meant anything when I hear absolutely nothing in regards to why I’m not seeing payments in my account. It’s just silence and I’m left to hope that I still matter. That it’s not like “all the other times” and that at some point, in the future, some distance far off undetermined time, things will fix themselves magically on their own.

No. Fuck that.

I want to know what’s going.

I deserve to know what’s going on.

I’m owed that.

At the very least, if you’re not going to pay me like you said you would tell me why so I can empathize and not be a raging ball of “Go fuck yourself.”

Last Saturday, while I was at work, I received a text message from Warren. It was a picture of a receipt from the post office saying my package was expected to be delivered on Monday. It was an amazing picture.

Of course, the package didn’t arrive until Tuesday this week, but it arrived. I have my certification for my CCHT. I have something tangible with pretty scripted lettering saying that I am enough. It says that I did something on March 14th that was that is worth recognition. It makes it feel like I actually did something. That I achieved something. That I’m better than I was when I started.

It’s a good feeling and I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me to open that particular envelope and hold that piece of paper in my hands.

I also, finally, got the check from Full Sail. I was able to deposit it through the mobile banking app. I was able to send an email to the representative I’ve been working with and inform her I received the check and that it was safely deposited into my account. She replied a few days later saying she was happy for me. I’m sure we’re both glad to finally be able to scratch this off of our lists of things to keep track of.

I also have my spare key finally, so I don’t have to worry as much about locking myself out of my car. I don’t have to spend money to get a new spare made, either.

So, as far as I can tell, Orlando is 100% done now. I’m completely transferred over to Nebraska as far as work is concerned and there’s nothing left for me to wait for from Warren, other than the money he owes me which is on hold for a little bit.

Looking at it that way, I guess I’m ok with where things are at in those regards. I’m done with Orlando.

A bit of work has been done in the addition at home. Last week we didn’t get to cleaning anything. I wasn’t upset or hurt over it. I can’t remember exactly why it never happened. All I know is that there weren’t feelings of betrayal or being let down. It didn’t happen and it was ok.

This past Tuesday Ox and I cleared out an entire room so there’s more space to move things around.

He’s sick again. I found out Thursday that he went to the ER from work because he was having such a hard time breathing. The doctor said he lungs sounded fine, so it’s not pneumonia or anything. The doctor said it was most likely a severe cold and gave Ox some prescriptions to help with his cough and congestion.

If I ever get done with writing, I plan to go clean a little bit on my own. Mostly vacuuming up sawdust so it’s not as icky out there. I’ve been told I can work on clearing out the basement as well since everything down there is trash.

I know there’s still a lot about my past days that I haven’t touched on. Two weeks of not writing will do that to you I guess. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think there’s a lot of other stuff that’s really important.

I can’t deposit cash at any of the ATMs here. I can only use my branches ATMs to do that and the closest one is in Omaha, about an hour away. So I guess I need to get comfortable spending the cash that Ox gives me. He’s still paying me back for the help I gave him to cover his car payments. I’m grateful for his understanding and support and effort. It makes me feel like things are different.

He’s showing me that things are different.

I signed up for another Warrior Dash. My race is July 14th. I’m realizing that 14 may be one of my numbers…

February 14th is when I arrived here, at home, in Nebraska. March 14th is when I became a PCT. And now, July 14th is when I will run my race.

It’s interesting.

My mind feels quieter. I don’t think I really figured anything out. Maybe reflecting on the progress my life has made helped. Things did get done. Things did move forward. Yes, some things got added, but that’s ok because some things DID get completed. It’s not the overwhelming crushing force it felt like before.

Things are about to change, and that’s ok, too. I think it will be for the best even if in the beginning they’re a little harder.

I’m set for the coming week and even if Monday is a horrific day of unorganized chaos, that’s ok. It lets us know where things can be improved or modified so the rest of the next two months don’t suck so bad. My FA will be there to witness it first hand and as a competent worker, I know my opinion will be heard if I say there’s an issue.

Things will be ok. Worrying is a misuse of the imagination. I would rather feed that energy into making progress here, at home, so that’s what I’m going to do.

 

Musing Moment 106: Post-Race

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I haven’t written in a while and a lot has happened since Saturday. That means I’m most likely going to meander and that there will actually be a few posts; one for my post-race thoughts, and one for the rest of life.

Without further ado,
here’s the outcome of my Warrior Dash 2017.

 


 

Saturday was amazing. Of course, I only got a few hours of sleep because I couldn’t get my brain to settle down. Despite all of that, I was in fairly good spirits when I actually got up, albeit a little slowly.

Big Bad picked up breakfast from Chick-Fil-A. He ate my hashbrowns and drank my coffee because I didn’t want either of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken biscuit he brought me. Since we had time, we ate in my living room, which I guess isn’t really all that special in most situations but since he very rarely comes over to my apartment it made the occasion feel special and reinstilled the notion that I really should get a kitchen table.

After we ate we grabbed our bags and headed out. I drove which I was fine with. I played music and we chatted pretty much the whole way there. The times we lapsed into silence were comfortable and I enjoyed them just as much as our conversation.

The day was bright and sunny and it warmed nicely as we drove to the race. We were there an hour earlier than I had been last year, so parking was better. We took out our bags, walked up to the race site and proceeded to do all of the check-in stuff; signed the waiver saying if we died we wouldn’t sue, got our IDs checked so we could get beer afterward, picked up our racing bibs, and stashed our bags so we could race.

It was actually a pretty painless process even though it was a little different than how I did things last year. I was a St. Jude Warrior last year so I was allowed in a special area. I’m glad we figured everything out without incident despite the small changes. I switched my shoes from sandals to my Vibrams, forgot to put sunscreen on so I’m  toasty burnt as I type this, and headed towards the start line.

Big Bad and I stood together. There was a family dressed up as the Incredibles. The announcer dude was playing pretty good music as we stood waiting for our wave to start. It was fun. I was a little nervous. This was going to be my first time running a race with someone else, it was going to be the first time I had run with another person in general in a while. I didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t let that eat away at me like I would have in my past. I acknowledged those feelings were there, respected them, and let them exist alongside my anticipation and excitement.

The countdown started, the flames when up, and then we were shuffling forward as we waited for space to form between people so we could actually run.

When we were able to start running it was nice. We had a slower pace than what I would normally do on my own, which was fantastic since I don’t pace myself well, which always leads me to burn out too soon. This year was also different in that it was sunny and dry. Last year it had rained the night before and started to rain again halfway through my race.

Because it was dry, the dirt was more like sand. It felt similar to running on the beach and my legs could tell the difference. The rain last year had packed the dirt down, making the run, overall, smoother.

It was interesting to note the difference. Even though I was running better, breathing better, and had way better endurance, the run itself was harder and pushed my limits. I wasn’t able to run the whole thing, but I did well and I know I did better than I did last year, and feeling that difference made it worth it.

I made it over every obstacle, even the new ones I hadn’t done before. Big Bad lost his glasses on Goliath, but took it in stride and didn’t let the mishap taint the experience.

When we crossed the finish line we were both given participation medals. We stood in line and got official Warrior Dash pictures taken together. We were hugging during it, which made me feel good. This was our first “real” outing, other than getting dinner together the few times we have, so the public displays of affection meant a lot to me.

After the pictures, we retrieved our bags and got in line to shower off. That, too, meant a lot to me. We held hands, we leaned against each other. When it was our turn he helped me rinse off and I returned the favor. Technically that was our first shower together. Covered in mud, using a garden hose surrounded by countless strangers, and yet it is one of the memories I think I’ll always cherish.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to admit that Big Bad is older than I am. Significantly. Part of me worries about people coming up and saying things like, “Isn’t he old enough to be your dad?” It’s that type of age difference. It’s why the public affection means a lot. Him reaching for my hand or wrapping his arm around me, his initiating the contact let me know that we’re ok. It doesn’t matter what other people think.

The shower was another instance of “it doesn’t matter what people think”. It was also non-sexual. It was a safe, controlled environment, sort of like a baby step for me, instead of diving headfirst into the deep end of all my insecurities and emotional baggage. The memory of hosing off makes me smile. A lot of my memories about the race make me smile.

Once we had washed as much of the mud off as we could we got our free beer and I went on the epic quest to find my food voucher for the meal I had prepaid for. That ended up being super annoying but being able to eat after the race was nice. We had a few beers together, got to watch a dance off competition to Micheal Jackson’s Thriller song, saw some tug of war matches, and were entertained for a while by some questionably drunk girls dancing.

It was fun but after a little bit, we were both ready to head home and shower for real. While we were driving out of the parking field Big Bad said he had “oodles of fun”. It warmed me to hear him go on about what a great time he had and how he wants to do it again. I  had been worried he wouldn’t  like the experience, but he had a blast and I’m so incredibly glad he did.

He’s actually already started looking into other tough mudder races. We have plans to run the Spartan in December but want to find something mid-year to run so we have a short term goal to keep us motivated.

I like thinking that he exposed me to jujitsu and I exposed him to tough mudders. It’s amazing having someone to share this interest with; someone who legitimately wants to have these experiences with me rather than feeling guilted into them, or doing them out of a sense of obligation. It feels bonding and I like being able to share this part of myself with someone.

The drive back was quieter. We were both tired, but still looking forward to the evening. We had made plans to see The Lego Batman movie if we survived our race. Well, we survived so movie time was happening.

I parked the car, we hugged and parted ways for a bit. After showering I put on my Warrior Dash 2017 shirt and headed over to Big Bad’s place. We cuddled for a short time since we didn’t want to be too early to the movie. Eventually, we dragged our tired bodies out of bed and headed to the theater.

We went to the cinema grill that’s nearby. Originally I had picked it because tickets are cheaper there. We ended up ordering burgers and drinks though, so they got their money out of us. I drove, Big Bad wanted to pay. I’m getting more comfortable with him spending money on me.

I still fully intend to pay for our next outing, but the thought of him covering our movie night doesn’t make my stomach tight is dread and anxiety. I don’t have this overwhelming feeling of a debt that needs to be paid or else it will be used against me. I mean… those feelings are still sort of there, lingering in the background, grumbling a little bit, but mostly I feel cared for and appreciated. It’s like when I take a friend out to lunch and I pay. I do it because I care about them and I want to do something nice.

I feel like that’s what it is for Big Bad. He’s not doing it to obligate me to things later. He’s doing it because he wants to. Because it makes him feel good to do something nice for me. At least I think that’s what it is. That’s what I want to believe it is rather than the icky feelings and fears of my past.

It’s weird being on the opposite side of the situation. I feel like this is growth on my part. It’s something I mentioned in therapy yesterday. I said it feels like I’m relearning how to have a healthy relationship. Emotionally I’m starting to feel more and more secure. I talk to him about the emotional events going on in my life, which, if you stay tuned for the next post will have all of the details illustrating that statement.

This, too, the security, is a weird feeling. But, I like it.

The movie was amazing because he’s Batman. Seriously, if you take nothing else away from this long, drawn out writing, at least remember that you have to go see that movie because it’s totally worth it and amazing.

DO ET!!!!!

We ate our burgers, which were actually pretty good. We headed back to his place afterward. There was sexy time which is always amazing, and then we curled up together and slept.

I slept well. It’s been getting easier to fall asleep next to him. A lot of the time it’s hard for me to. I enjoy being there. I enjoy hearing his heartbeat and feeling his breathing, but sleep itself can be elusive. I worry about tossing and turning and waking him up. I worry about getting congested because I’m somewhere other than my own bed and then snoring and being “unsexy”.

I know those are silly things to stay up all night fretting about, but it’s what I do. Lately, I’ve had an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. Saturday night was a night where I actually slept deeply. I woke up at one point and Big Bad wasn’t in bed. It didn’t bother me though because I knew I was safe. Either he needed to use the restroom or he couldn’t sleep. I snuggled deeper into the covers and the next thing I knew it was morning. I don’t remember him coming back to bed at all even though we woke up next to each other, which to me is big because that means I didn’t wake up when he came back into the room. My brain didn’t think it was threatening so it let me stay asleep.

The morning was slow and lazy and fantastic as we both took stock of where we were sore and how the next thing on the to-do list for the day was running another 5k. Of course, that was a joke as the thought of doing anything physical was so not even in the top 100 of the things that were going to happen that day. When I mentioned waking up and him not being in bed he said even though he had been exhausted he hadn’t been able to fall asleep right away.

Eventually, we parted ways. We hugged and kissed goodbye. I felt extremely connected and peaceful when I left.

Saturday was an amazing day. As I said in my pre-race post, this, this event, this day, is the start of MY year. It was a pretty fantastic start. And with the other events that have transpired since then, it seems like it’s going to be a pretty awesome year.

Oh… and pics… because it happened.

 

Daily Post 009: Pre-Race

Standard

This is going to have to be a relatively short post since I was supposed to be asleep forty minutes ago. And yes, the right side of my brain is snickering uncontrollably at the idea that I think I can write a short post…

/sigh

#infjProblems

Anywho, today has been a relatively good day. I’m in higher spirits than I was this morning. Definitely better than what I have been for the past few days. Physically I’m extremely well rested. No lingering aches from the cold I had, no congestion, and no muscle soreness from being a type-a personality and not taking rest days so hopefully I do well at the Warrior Dash tomorrow.

Spiritually / emotionally this morning started out the same as yesterday. Flatlined. White. Still.

I had my coffee on the couch again while I thought about what to do with the day. With the chores done there was nothing to use as an excuse to procrastinate on the painting. I decided I would stitch two threads, write a prompt page, then paint the baseboards in the downstairs bathroom.

The prompt page I think is what started the turn around for me. The prompt was about happiness. It had me remember a lot of really positive and interesting events in my life. It reminded me of the people I care about and about some of the other situations I’ve survived through. Things get hard sometimes, but I’ve made it through everything so far so I must be doing ok.

It took a while to complete the writing, but I’m glad I did it. I guess I think of it sort of as homework. That’s the reason I picked the personality section when I started going through the prompts again. As Mama Spike would say, “I need to learn how to me.”

So yeah, good post. Happy with the shift in my mindset for having done it. Labeling it as a worthwhile endeavor.

The baseboards are finally done. Now all I need to do is wash up the paint from the tile floor. That will most likely happen Monday.

I went to Pita Pit for lunch as a way to get out of the apartment for a bit. I sat outside listening to music through my headphones. It was nice. It was the Pita Pit near the extend stay I was at when I came back from Vegas. The same one my blacksmith and I went to. There was a twinge in my chest as I drove down the main street to get there.

I remembered driving down that road when my grief was raw. New. Foreign and unknown. It reminded me of the times I would scream in my car because I didn’t know what else to do with the emotions. It reminded me of what those months were like. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but I don’t think it was bad either. I think it was healing.

Sort of like the first time I drove to Daytona to see Jon and I cried almost the whole way there. The only time I had driven that route was when I went home to see mom. I can drive to Jon now no problem. Just like I can take her ring off, or my pendant even though the first time I did those actions at the dojo I cried. The emotions hurt. They’re intense, but the more I face them, accept them, the less power they have, the more I understand why they’re there and how to coexist with them.

Just like with writing the post, I think it was good to go to the area where I was during the beginning of my grief. As I sat I was able to acknowledge the changes in myself since that time.

I’m a survivor, and those aren’t just hollow words. I AM a survivor because I HAVE survived so far. Going to a place where I remember questioning how I was supposed to keep going was reassuring. At the time I had no idea how I could or would make it through everything that was going on. Mom’s death. The break up with Zane. Resigning from my job…

But look at me and my bad self, still here. Still ok. Still figuring things out. It makes the future seem less intimidating. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I didn’t know what I was doing back then either and I’m still around. Go me.

Since I was near a Publix I did some grocery shopping. I used a bunch of Warren’s crackers in my soups while I was sick so I got him another box. We needed trash bags and lame apartment stuff like that. I also ran out of dark chocolate almond milk. Coffee tomorrow morning would be woefully incomplete without it.

Honestly, the almond milk is the only reason the other stuff got bought. If I hadn’t of needed it I wouldn’t have gone to the store. I mean… we didn’t “need” trashbags. I could have survived about five more days.

When I was done at the store I circled around the parking lot and went through the Starbucks drive-thru. No real reason for it other than I wanted a mocha frapafjakdjfalkjfa or whatever they’re called. You can tell how Starbucks savvy I am.

Cashier: What size would you like?

Me: Small, please.

Yeah… I’m that kind of customer.

Came home. Did a few other chores, stitched a bit more, then started painting the kitchen. There’s about half a wall left to paint but I need to move the fridge to do it, so that’s being saved until Monday as well. After that, the only thing left to paint is the hallway and stairs. I’m thinking about asking Warren if we can rearrange the living room.

I started watching Deadman Wonderland tonight. That show is seriously fucked up. Like, Attack on Titan level fucked up.

It’s sooooo good.

I messaged Sir to let him know I was watching it. I knew he was someone who would 1) understand, and 2) appreciate my messages of “OMG!!! Like, seriously, what the fuck!” because he could picture me saying those exact words in the high pitched voice I use sometimes as I squirm into the furthest corner of the couch trying to get away from the scene on the TV that I can’t seem to stop watching.

Hopefully, it made him think of when we watched Future Diary together with Em because there were a lot of instances in that anime where the phrase “What the actual fuck?!” got thrown around, too.

Big Bad and I solidified our plans for tomorrow morning. He’s coming over here and then we’ll both drive to the race location. I’m not sure if he’s driving or if I am, but I figured either way is fine. As long as we both get there in one piece.

I’m excited. I don’t know why. I’ve run it once already. Wouldn’t that mean it’s nothing special? I guess I’m curious to see if I do better this time. Some of the obstacles are new.

There’s a part of me who wonders what will happen if I don’t do better. Will I be a jerk to myself or will I be understanding and approving of my effort? Is Big Bad going to think I’m weak or a slacker because I still can’t run a solid mile? Will he get frustrated with me if I can’t keep up with him?

There’s a lot of unknowns and I think a lot of them are irrational worries rather than actual legitimate concerns. Right now it feels more like white noise in my head. I know those thoughts are there but I’m not really listening to them. Worrying won’t change anything so why give it power?

February 6th marked a year since my first race. February 6th, 2016 was the day I crawled through the last mud puddle and stepped over the finish line and stood tired, but tall, head high as my mentality shifted.

I finally, fully, accepted myself. Me. As I am. Strengths, weaknesses, quirks and all. That day marked the day I defeated the cancerous self-doubt that was eating away at me from my relationship with Warren #2.

Maybe that’s why this race means so much to me and why I smile when I think about being there tomorrow. So much has happened during this past year, and so much of it has made me stronger. The first major event of 2016 for me was this race. My first ever 5k. And a mud obstacle to boot. Did I mention the type-a personality?

The first major event of 2017 was my trip to Ohio and meeting my half sisters. Then there was Allion’s trip to Disney. For me, though, my first “real” event is this race.

This is the start of MY year.

I never got a chance to say this to him in person. It’s been over four years now since I’ve had any sort of interaction with him. I’m ok with that. I can say this to his memory and still feel just as fulfilled by it.

 

Dear Warren #2,

Go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,

The Earth Dragon Who Did