Daily Post 107: Lazy Rainy Day

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I’m trying to eek writing in while Lil’ Ox is in the shower.

The day started around 6 am with breakfast and a Cotton Candy Bang. When the kids woke up we continued playing Stuffed Fables. By 9 am Mama, Papa, and Lil Ox headed out. I showered and got dressed so Ox, Oronry Ox, and I could head into town to run errands.

Of course, we forgot that today is Sunday and nearly everything has screwy hours. The game store we wanted to go back to didn’t open until noon. The place we wanted to eat at didn’t open until 10:30. It was a rainy, dreary type of day and even though it seemed like we were hitting brick walls anytime we tried to do something we eventually made it work.

We went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to look at pot sets. I was worried about buying one because I didn’t want Mama Ox to not like it or be angry or hurt because she wasn’t part of the picking process. There was a really good return policy with the store, though. If you didn’t like the set you have a year to return it as long as you keep your receipt. Well… it’s hard not to take something home with a return policy like that.

We ended up getting a set that happened to be on clearance. We got a roughly $200 set for $70. Can’t really beat that. And if Mama Ox totally was against it we could bring it back. I still had to fight off anxiety for most of the rest of our trip. I’m always worried about changing things or getting something new. It’s her space and her stuff and I’m the outsider messing things up. I didn’t want the new pot set to be another thing I’m doing wrong.

By the time we were done at Bed, Bath, and Beyond it was late enough for use to get lunch. We went to a burger place. At first, I was frustrated. Everything was on Texas Toast or fried or very much a “I shouldn’t be eating this if I’m trying to lose weight.” My options were pretty much five salads. Six if you included the side salad as an option.

It made me wonder if this is what people with food sensitives go through. It sucks feeling like I’m keeping people from having what they want or making things more complicated. It mildly sucks to feel like people won’t take a bullet for you and go to a “healthy” place instead of a fast food place. Not that Ox has ever done that. He’s amazingly supportive for the most part. Except for this morning where he tried to foist off a donut on me. >.>

I’m proud to report that I didn’t eat the donut and that it’s wrapped up and sitting on the counter still.

Anyway… yeah. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy lunch and that I was going to be spending money to make everyone else happy but that I would be getting shafted with a shitty salad. I ended up getting a cranberry and bacon blue salad. It turned out to be better than I had hoped for. I would be ok with going back there and getting that particular salad again. That helped.

By the end of lunch I was getting tired. All of the driving around and all of the social interaction from yesterday and this morning, combined with the worry about the pots and stress I put myself through with trying to figure out what to eat… I really just wanted to be done with figuring things out.

We decided for our final stop to be Walmart. Ox and I picked out blackout curtains for the room. I got another roast since I’m going to run out of my breakfasts before the week is done. I couldn’t find the stevia packets I wanted, but I remembered to get a replacement container of basil and dryer sheets for the house.

Ox and I got to have some alone time together since Ornery Ox went back to the computer room and no one else was home yet.

When Mama Ox got home we explained the deal with the new pots and went through the old pots and pans, getting rid of the ones that were peeling and icky. We still have to figure out how to arrange things in the kitchen, but I think the new pot set will work. I cooked my burgers in one of the skillets tonight. I like the weight and feel of it. It feels good. Balanced. I like how easy it was to clean up. The set had good reviews online and so far, through my single use of one of its skillets, I have to agree with everything I read.

While I was in the kitchen cleaning, Ox put up the curtain rod and curtains. I like them but we won’t know how effective they are until it’s a sunny day and I’m trying to fall asleep at 7.

We finished playing through the first story of Stuffed Fables. The kids really wanted to continue playing into the second story but Ox and I both agreed it would be better to wait until we have them again to start a new game since we wouldn’t have been able to get to the end before bedtime. I’m glad they’re both so captivated by something away from the computer. I feel like we’ve spent a lot of quality time together and though it still takes a bit of energy, I don’t resent it. It’s not like the times I tried to play Minecraft. I enjoyed spending my energy the way I did.

It makes me more ok with the thoughts of future weekends. I think we’re all finally figuring out how to coexist together. I was still able to get what I wanted and needed to done.

I got to write. I got to go to the gym. I even got to do a bit of my own gaming. My goldsmith is level 36 or 37. I did a few of the challenges in my challenge log. I earned more credits so I can get promoted within my grand company soon. I want to spend about 30 more minutes farming mithril since my character’s buff lasts that long, but it depends on how long it takes me to finish writing and doing my last few chores.

Oh. Another thing that happened while we were in Lincoln was stopping by Goodwill to donate the clothes I just replaced. It’s nice to have the bag out of the house and not taking up space.

It’s supposed to rain all of tomorrow so I’m not sure if SCA combat will happen on Tuesday. The ground might be too wet still.

I’m mostly prepped for tomorrow. I still need to make my protein shakes, but Ox’s lunch is already done.

I guess there really isn’t much else to report.

Ox and I have been more sexual since I’ve been back from my trip. I like it. I don’t know what else to say. I like the way it makes me feel physically and emotionally. I guess there really isn’t anything else to say on that topic. I’m aware of the change. I’m grateful for the change. It makes it feel more ok to be me.

I started looking into the LPN program this morning. I have until October to register for classes in January. There are some prerequisites that I’ll need to take before I can start the program. I’m hoping I can still worm my way out of English 101. I’ve already done did that class.

I want to get the application process started, so I’ll add that to the to-do list for Tuesday most likely. Since I don’t have to worry too much about meal prep or chores or errands, I should have most of the day to pluck away at the paperwork.

Yeah… not a terribly eventful day unless you count defeating evil nightmare minions eventful.

Seriously, Stuffed Fables is a super cute game and I encourage anyone remotely interested in DnD type tabletop games to give it a shot.

And I guess with that I’m going to go so I can finish up the last bit of my to-do list so I can go run around in circles beating up rocks.

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Daily Post 102: Day Two in Vegas

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Second day in a row. Go me.

I fell asleep pretty early last night. I fell asleep without saying goodnight to anyone, without taking my contacts out, which thankfully I’m far away in Vegas and cannot be represented by Ox for. At least not yet. Hugs and kisses, Ox. : D

I feel a little guilty for that; for falling asleep without saying goodnight, not for the contacts though I should because I know Ox dislikes it when I fall asleep with them in. Saying goodnight is important to me. What if you never wake up in the morning? What if you never get to say your last “I love you”?

There’s not a way to go back to last night and to make myself get up after my phone call with Ox, though. I can’t replace that missing “goodnight” to my brother and sister in law. All I can do is move forward with today and so far it’s been a nice day.

I wasn’t given shit for falling asleep. All of the guilt I have felt has been purely my own. So that has made the morning easier.

Jason and I went out for hibachi last night. It was a decent meal, though I don’t feel it was worth the expense. I’ve had better for cheaper so I feel bad that he spent that much money. But then I have an issue with people spending money on me regardless of how much it is. It was still nice to get out, just the two of us. There wasn’t super deep or heavy conversation. We haven’t talked about mom at all, not that I was expecting or hoping to. We’ve talked a lot of about Jace and how things have gone for the past year and a half. We talked a bit about Lio and her plans for the next little bit. We’ve talked about my move and how work has gone and what I’ve been up to / would like to do in the near-ish future.

It’s been… nice… though I’m not sure if that’s the right word. It hasn’t been negative. It’s made me realize how much has happened to me, for me, in such a short amount of time. It’s made me realize how well I have been doing on my own, which was part of the point of moving away from Orlando. To prove to myself that I could do it. That I could relocate and stand on my own and figure out the problems I was faced with and etch out a spot for myself in the world.

At at the same time, I realize I didn’t do it on my own. Ox helped researching moving companies and prices. He drove with me to Nebraska so I wouldn’t have to make the trip alone. He and his parents have given me a place to stay and have let me have the freedom to make the choices I’ve wanted to in regards to my work, my hobbies, my time, my money. They’ve been supportive and accepting and helped make the move and transition to this new chapter, this new venture, possible.

Talking about my life with my sister in law and brother makes me realize I’m grateful and humbled and that no man is an island.

I read a bedtime story to Jace last night. He asked to me. I was prepared for my mother’s picture on his dresser this time. I read the whole book without having to fit back tears. I tucked him in and gave him a hug and kiss goodnight. We also played the Zombicide tutorial quest. It was fun and I think as we continue to play it more and get used to the game mechanics that we’ll have more fun with it.

Jon is having a hell of a time getting here. His flight out of Daytona was delayed so he wasn’t able to get to Charlette in time to make his connecting flight. He has had to hang out in the airport for nine hours since that would be the earliest flight for him to get to Vegas. It sucks that he wasn’t able to be here last night, at the same time, because he wasn’t supposed to get in until super late we’re really not missing much time as far as hanging out goes. We would have come home and gone to sleep. No games, no family dinner. The situation sucks, especially for him, but it could be a lot worse.

He should be here in a few hours. I’m going to the airport with Jason. Maybe we’ll get lunch after we pick Jon up.

The morning has been quiet so far. It was Jace’s first day of school. I was awake before anyone else. I started the morning with a can of Bang since Lio was kind enough to get some for me while she was at the store, along with eggs so I could make breakfast for myself. I had an egg sandwich, toasting bread to go with it and not really caring about the whole carb thing. It’s early enough in the day that I’m “allowed” to have them. And I’m aware that figuring out my health / food / training thing is something I should spend a bit of time thinking on, but right now I don’t feel like tackling those topics.

Jace work up shortly after I did. I made him breakfast and sat with him while we both ate. We talked for a little bit, as much as you can with a five and a half-year-old. I asked him if he was looking forward to going to school to which he fearlessly answered yes.

My sister in law woke up not long after. I guess today is sort of hard for her. The whole “first day of school” and “growing up so fast” thing. Those are things that I haven’t, and most likely won’t, experience. I don’t have a child of my own. At the moment I don’t think I ever will. Those emotions and experiences aren’t things I have gone through so I can’t really empathize. I don’t know what it’s like. I can suspect and guess at what the emotions would be like, but I don’t know.

Maybe it’s a little detached of me, but it’s interesting to be on the outside, watching. It makes me wonder what it’s like to be a parent, a mother. It makes me wonder what it was like for my mom. It makes me wonder if I would be good at parenthood. It just sucks that shortly after that thought is the thought that mom wouldn’t be here to help me learn to be a mother. It makes it hard to want to actually go through the experience myself. I have a hard enough time figuring out my own schedule and paying my own bills. These past six months are the first months where I’ve felt financially responsible and like I’m actually making progress on my goals. I’m almost 30. If it’s taken me this long to get my life halfway sort of figured out, am I really responsible enough to be entrusted with raising a child to be a decent, respectable member of society instead of a fuck-up?

It’s interesting, having the time and space to ponder through questions like that. It’s comforting being able to sit and write through the different pros and cons and to actually figure out my thoughts rather than pushing them back due to more pressing matters needing attention first.

Do I want kids? I don’t know. Not really. At least I don’t think so. I think there are things I would enjoy about it. I think on some levels I would be good at it. At the same time, I like my freedom. I like not having that burden and stress in addition to what I already contend with. I also recognize that there are experiences and emotions that I can’t identify with because I haven’t gone through those trials personally. There are things that I will never be able to relate because I’ve never experienced them firsthand.

Ox will always have a different perspective than me in certain areas because he is a parent. He has been married. He’s been divorced. Our lives have been different. I wonder if I ever seem petty to him; closed-minded or small in my views because his experiences give him a sense of a bigger picture that I can’t comprehend.

That came up a little during one of our conversations before I left for my vacation. I asked if he ever got tired of me complaining about work. He does construction outside in the heat all day while I stay inside. Is it ever annoying to hear me whine about my day when his can be so much more physically intense than anything I remotely do?

He said no. Our work is different. He deals with things and stuff. I deal with people and lives. They’re different types of hard, neither better or worse than the other.

Maybe I worry too much about silly things, but I don’t know how to worry. I don’t know if has anything to do with being an INFJ, but I don’t know how to not think about how my actions or choices make another person feel or how they might be perceiving me or how something might affect them. It’s draining. It takes energy. All that thought and awareness of others. It’s why I enjoy the quietness of solitude so much. There’s no worry about others. There’s not additional input to process.

There’s just me, and for the most part, I understand myself, so it’s easy.

I know what I want to eat. I know what I want to wear. I know, mostly, the things I want to do and the things I need to do. I know when things need to get done. I know the scents I like. I know where I want things placed and how I want them organized.

There isn’t the balancing act of accounting for others along with myself and finding compromise for everything.

I feel like I’m rambling with no real direction. It’s the first time I feel I’ve been able to pick a single thread of thought and to let it flow to its completion, untangling it from the rat’s nest of a ball that has become my core. Maybe there wasn’t a real point to the thread other than having a better understanding of why I have craved solitude so much recently. Why it’s important to my sense of stress relief.

I feel like something within myself has been organized and finally put away where it belongs. The inside landscape of my mind slightly less cluttered.

It’s a small step I think, but a step that I’m happy I took. There are other threads, longer threads, more tangled and complicated threads, but I took take of this one single one, so I can eventually, with time, take care of the others, too. I can still figure myself out, and that’s reassuring.

I suppose, for now, I should go. It’s about two hours until Jon lands. I’m showered and fed. There’s not much else to do other than wait but I think I’m done with writing. I’m ok with ending here.

Daily Post 0100: Healing / Recouping

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Not much to report. I made it through Saturday. Having to work helped. I gamed most of Sunday. My character is almost to the point of getting her mount so I won’t have to run around like a peasant for much longer. Woo. Too bad there’s like… a billion hours worth of cutscenes to get through first because it’s Final Fantasy and every Final Fantasy game has a billion hours of cutscenes. ;-;

Right Brain: I don’t care about your storyline. Give me my mount damnit!

I woke up feeling less heavy today. I showered and had an egg sandwich, not caring about eating bread and how carbs are bad and blah blah blah. I wanted an egg sandwich so I had one. I wanted to cook a warm breakfast instead of heating up premade stuff in the microwave so I did it. It didn’t feel like a horribly heavy undertaking to “do” something, so I did what I felt would make me… content? Happy isn’t the right word and I’m not sure content is either.

It helped warm a part of me that’s been hurting for the last week or so. I did something familiar. The routine of cracking the eggs, adding garlic, toasting the toast as the eggs cook so things progress smoothly and efficiently. Unfortantently there wasn’t coffee made yet and I don’t like messing with the coffee maker since it’s not mine, but even without a cup of warm coffee, it was still a nice breakfast which I enjoyed.

The kids weren’t here. Papa Ox was in the computer room and even though Mama Ox was home since she’s not feeling well, she was in her room watching TV so I got to sit by myself at the dining room table instead of standing in the kitchen like I normally do. It was quiet and I… enjoyed my morning. Yes… I think enjoyed is the right word and though it’s not the first morning I’ve enjoyed since Saturday and Sunday were also enjoyable, it was the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to enjoy it alone. I enjoyed the solitude of it as much as I enjoyed eating something relatively healthy and warm and familiar and comforting.

I went to training today which is the main reason I ate breakfast. It went well. The beginning was rough since my muscles were stiff from not doing a whole lot since Thursday. By the end of my session, I was warmed up and ready to go. I was sort of disappointed when it had to end. It felt like I had just hit my stride. I can still go to the gym near home and run or do weights or a workout through one of the apps I have, and I might, but I’m also aware that right now my energy levels are very tentative and fickle and I don’t want to give myself an obligation that could turn around and make me feel bad later for not getting done. I would rather leave it open-ended and see how things go.

I’ve already put the clothes away. That happened before leaving for the gym since I needed to find workout clothes. It’s a nice feeling to know I’ve already been slightly productive this morning. The only thing I have left which  “should” get done is cooking the roast that I cut up for my breakfasts. Currently, I’m waiting for the oven to preheat all the way. From there it’s simply a matter of putting the roast in the oven and waiting. Not much else is required on my end. So, in theory, today should be a low key day, which I’m perfectly ok with and I think would do a lot for me as far as continuing to recover from the most recent struggle with my grief.

The kids are back now, so a lot of the whole recharge thing sort of depends on how occupied they’re able to keep themselves. There’s a part of me who knows that when they leave again I’ll be hard on myself for not being more involved. For not handling my introvertedness better. For not being a better parent even though I’m not one. It’s confusing, but in this moment, I’m ok with them doing their own thing while I do mine.

One of my patients had a seizure yesterday. It was the first time I was on the front line for an emergency situation. In Orlando, there was the rest of my team who had way more experience than me. It was easier for me to tend to the other patients, respond to machine alarms, prep for the next shift, and so on. I was more helpful by not being in the way and making sure everything else didn’t fall apart while my team members were busy handling whatever situation was going on.

At my current clinic, it’s just me and the RN. There isn’t anyone else. I have to help. So yesterday was my first experience of being involved rather than watching from a distance.

At the time it wasn’t scary. I think I handled it well. I feel like I was helpful. Once the situation was stabilized I went back to making sure everything else was taken care of. Post weights were charted. Machines were wiped down with bleach rags and reset for the next patient. I had done the most I could do so I went back to taking care of what needed to get done. I did what was within my scope of practice.

It wasn’t until I had finally driven home and called Jon that I broke down into tears. This particular patient is one of my favorites. He’s so quiet, but every once in a while there will be a joke and he’ll smile or give a small laugh and you know it’s genuine. It warms something inside me. I know he doesn’t want to be at the clinic. I know being on dialysis is hard for him. I could see it in his eyes every time his needles would act up in the beginning when his fistula was still new. The look of hopelessness. Of borderline despair that you have to keep hidden because you’re not at home and you can’t break down in front of people. You have to be strong and hold it together but you’re so tired of being strong and why can’t it just work? Why did it have to be you?

Getting him to smile means that I made his day just a little brighter. I made the whole situation a little less shitty.

I felt him not be there. The absence of whatever energy it is that people have within them. Using words like “feel” and “soul” are very INFJy and make me feel vulnerable because I know that leaves me open for people to say things like it’s in my head or not real. At the same time, I know myself and I know what I felt and coming home to process through the situation was something I needed to do even though it sucked.

I called Jon because I needed to talk to someone who could understand. I don’t have nursing friends. Most of the people I talk to aren’t in the medical field, and so when I need to talk about work stuff I don’t have much of a support network aside from my brother. I never got a chance to talk to mom about things like this because when she was an RN I was teaching Computer Animation and still passed out at the sight of blood. In a way, it’s humbling to realize how far I’ve come, how much I’ve changed, in such a short amount of time.

While I was on the phone with Jon he mentioned that I most likely really wanted to talk to mom right now, to which I answered yes. I wanted to ask her how she did it. How many times did she come home and cry over a patient dying or having a shitty diagnosis? How many times did I not know she was having a hard day, a shit day that there was nothing anyone could do to make it better because sometimes that’s just life? As a healer, you can only do so much. Everyone is still mortal and to an extent, you have no control over anything. All you can do is your best and understand that even though it doesn’t feel like enough, it is.

I want to have her perspective and insight and I can’t. I can never have answers to those questions now and it sucks. At least, I can’t have her answers and those are the ones I truly want.

Jon said he was the second best I could get. He didn’t mean it in a bad way even though second best sounds bad. He was being honest and he’s a pretty damn good second best. We both understand no one will ever be able to beat mom. Ever. That’s just the way it works, and he gets it because I’m the same way. He calls me when he wants to talk to mom because I’m the closest he has just like he’s the closest I have.

He said he’s never been in a situation like what I was in, but having been a CNA on an oncology floor, he’s seen patients go from “good to dead” as he worded it, so while he doesn’t know the exact feelings of watching someone you care about experience a seizure, in a way he understands the feelings of “why this person?”

It helped to talk with him. It helped to hear him say that it sounded like I kept my cool and did what needed to be done and that in his opinion I handled the situation professionally. It helped to hear his voice and to move on to talking about normal life and what he’s been up to and our upcoming trip.

By the time I was off the phone I was more ok with going back inside and figuring out dinner and being around the family without having the weight of “no one knows about this thing I went through today”. Aside from Ox and Jon, no one here knows still and I don’t think it really matters. It’s not their job. It’s not their life or their burden. I was still able to sit down at the table and have dinner and smile and joke to the degrees I was able to without it feeling forced or soul-crushing. I was able to handle the situation at work, but also make peace with it in my personal life and I think that’s the biggest thing. I’m at peace with the situation and it’s not eating away at something inside me.

Ox and I are doing well I think. We’ve had some deep conversations since my race. I don’t know what else to say on that topic. He put the butcher block onto the rolling cabinet yesterday. The pull out drawers that I had bought won’t work the way we want them to, so at some point, I need to return them. I’ve kept the receipt just in case something like this happened, so hopefully, I’ll be able to get my $100 back. Now that we know how tall the cabinet is, we can make the counter to go above it. That will be the last stage of this particular project for the time being.

Ox has agreed to let me make an Excel sheet/budget thing for his monthly expenses, similar to what I have for mine. I’m not sure why, but there are warm feelings associated with that. Trust maybe. He trusts me enough to let me know about his finances rather than keeping that area of our lives hidden from one another. Less walls maybe. More openness and transparency.

One of our conversations over the weekend was how I am spending the money he’s paying me back with to buy food for the house. To him, it seems counter to his intentions. He says the money is supposed to be mine. It’s supposed to be used for my tattoos or things for me, not being invested back into providing for everyone.

In my head, it’s not fair of me to not spend the money in such a way when I’m staying aat the house rent free. What’s $50 or so in groceries when I’m not charged for the electricity to power my computer so I can sit and play video games instead of unloading the dishwasher?

That led to a conversation about him giving money to help with the groceries, which I was uncomfortable with. That led to introspection about why it made me uncomfortable which led to another conversation while he was on his lunch break today.

I’m glad that all of our conversations are that; conversations, discussions. Not fights or yelling or cursing. It makes it easier to have conversations about touchy topics. It makes it feel safer even though the fear and mild anxiety are still there. It’s easier to pacify the hurt aspect of myself, the part that’s been mistreated through so many relationships, when there’s so much data to support that this one is different from my past.

It’s been almost six months, and though there are things we’re still working through and figuring out, that’s six months of stability and acceptance and discussions and support and troubleshooting and problem-solving.

I think Ox and I are ok, and I think we’ll continue to be ok and that’s a nice feeling in a weird way that I’m not really used to anymore, but it’s one I want to continue to experience.

I’ve been eating more consistently. I’m still taking care of my chores and bills. I still need to drink more water, but I always need to drink more water so meh on that one.

Overall I think I’m healing and recovering the best I can from this latest wave of grief. I made it through it. I’m still here. I still don’t have answers and I still don’t have a goal I’m consciously working towards, but things are less heavy and pointless feeling which is sort of odd because I still don’t have a point for doing them so doesn’t that keep them in the pointless category?

Annoying brain is annoying. /sigh

I don’t want to say that I’m on the upswing, or that things or good or going better.

I feel less injured. I feel like I’m recovering. Those words have a different connotation than good or better. I’m healing. And right now, I’m ok with that.

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.

Daily Post 094: Cleaning Up

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Today is Saturday; the first day of two that I have off. After the few weeks of working overtime that I had, I have a new appreciation for having so much time off in a row.

The morning has been quiet so far. I’ve already loaded up the dishwasher. I’m waiting to run it until Ox is done installing the water filter for the sink.

We sat last night as a family and talked about one of the projects going on with the kitchen. I’m looking forward to starting it today. I’m looking forward to being another part in something that makes this place a little more my own.

Mama Ox even mentioned changing the way some of the things in the kitchen are organized so it’s easier for me to get to my containers. I like the change she recommended. I think it will make me feel like I have more of my own spot rather than eeking out space around everything else. I would have my own shelf with only my things on it rather than crowding in on the Raman noodles.

I’m hoping to get the interior of the kitchen drawers painted today since that’s been on the list of things to do since I moved up here, basically. Since the project for the rolling cabinet will have us going into Lincoln, I also want to be ahead of the ball and already have my grocery list mapped out so I can do the grocery shopping while we’re in town.

It would be nice to clean up a bit, too. The kids’ clothes need to be put away. Vacuuming the rug in the bedroom would be nice. Putting my own clothes away would mean there’s a place for the dirty clothes to go since the laundry basket would be empty.

There’s a lot of little, easy to accomplish things that I could do today that would help me feel better about my environment; not that I’m feeling bad about it. It’s weird… Cleaning makes me feel better. I like making things pretty and organized.

Ox and I are doing well. We talked about my last post since he reads them. I don’t know what else to say about that topic. I like that I’m able to write and that, for the most part, I still feel safe while I do it. The blank page is my canvas for figuring out myself. It sucks when it feels like I can’t do that; when it feels like it’s been taken away from me because of the fear of disapproval or future conflict.

That hasn’t been the case. though. My writing doesn’t break us or cause fights and I think that goes a long way into alleviating those fears. I still have this avenue. I still have this outlet. I still have this corner of the Internet and I’m grateful for being allowed to keep it.

Yesterday was a good day at work. I was tired, so the two incidents that happened hurt more than they should have. Like… contemplating quitting and giving up.

Rage-filled, self-righteous Right Brain: I’m sorry I did something wrong but why does that make it feel like I don’t do ANYTHING right? Do none of the other fifty tasks that I’ve already done, on my own, because you were late, matter at all? Do all of my “rights” count for nothing just because of this one wrong?

After stepping off the floor and having some food I was better able to deal with the emotional side of things. I had the time and space to recognize why I was reacting the way I was. Everything was fine I just needed to breathe and let it go rather than letting it loop inside of my head or eat away at me like acid.

Logical Left Brain: Ok… so you messed up. You know You messed up. Learn from it and move on. It was just a piece of paper. An important piece of paper, sure… but it’s not like you infiltrated your favorite patient. You already filled out a new sheet. The issue is taken care of. Try not to do it again. And try to have a better day. *hugs*

I stayed after work to finish my compliance training. I also called People Services and asked about my paycheck. They weren’t sure why I was given a retention bonus only to have it removed from my check. The assistant I spoke with put in a request to have my check looked at. She thinks maybe it was a mistaken entry but she wanted to get clarification because there weren’t notes anywhere about what had happened.

She did tell me that my backpay for March 14th hasn’t happened yet. That’s nice to know. I will be addressing that issue next week. That’s what I thought the bonus was for. I thought it was my backpay, which is why I was confused about it being removed and leaving me short $300.

I also plan to finish my Concur report so I can be reimbursed for all of the travel I had to do while I was working overtime during June. That will be close to another $500 back. Plus the 15 hours of overtime I was short…

Yeah… This paycheck was supposed to have been pretty freaking amazing, so I was pretty not ok when it wasn’t. I was still able to cover everything I needed / wanted to. But I wasn’t able to make the progress I was hoping to.

I got my hair dyed on Tuesday this week so I’m back to being purple. The roots had grown so far out that you couldn’t tell my hair was dyed anymore. I feel more like me. I also got about an inch cut off the tips so the ends aren’t icky anymore. : D

I also went ahead and ordered my new set of Vibrams for my race on the 14th. According to the tracking information they’re already in Omaha. The delivery date is set for Thursday, but I’m really hoping they come in sooner than that.

I’ve been wanting a bike rack, but alas, I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to get one. Or rather, I’ve been prioritizing other things ahead of it.

There’s a bike trail that goes all the way from Lincoln to Kansas. It’s something like 70 miles. I know I can’t do all of that in one go, but I’ve been wanting to go and bike for part of it. Maybe down to Cortland at first. Then working my way all the way down to Beatrice. That would be about 30 miles on its own. I haven’t felt like I’ve had the extra spending money to get the bike rack though, so I don’t have an easy way to get the bike to the trail. Maybe once everything gets figured out with my check I’ll be able to look into it.

I was pretty angry with my trainer on Thursday, but I think a lot of that had to do with me rather than him. I pushed really hard on Tuesday; harder than I thought I did maybe. All Tuesday night my IT bands hurt. Hurt to the point where I wanted to cry when I was getting out of my car when I got home. Wednesday wasn’t much better and I’m sure work didn’t do anything to help them relax and rest. Thursday still hurt but it got better as the day wore on and I moved around, loosening the muscles up.

When I got to the gym the first thing my trainer said was that I was over my calorie count.

I got on the scale. I’m down another two pounds. I’m officially the thinnest I can ever remember being.

But that doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that I survived the two weeks of the kids being here. It doesn’t matter that my mom’s birthday is coming up and I’m constantly having to work through the pain of her being dead. It doesn’t matter that I’m constantly having to teach new RNs how to work in my clinic because we’re short staffed. It doesn’t matter that I work 12 hours shifts where I walk six miles and that I’m dead at the end of my days but still push myself to go to the gym and run and extra mile. It doesn’t matter that I’m doing better than I was when I first moved to Nebraska. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t call out; that I showed up to training in the first place even though I didn’t want to.

I’m over my calorie count so I’m a failure.

I’m down two pounds of fat, but I’m a failure.

My workout sucked. I did it. I didn’t skimp out on any of the sets or running, but it sucked.

I cried on the way home because I was so frustrated with everything feeling like it didn’t matter.

I like that my trainer is number and data-oriented, but at the same time I’M A FUCKING HUMAN. I have emotions and shit that I’m having to deal with. I don’t really have a health goal that I’m working on. I don’t care about how many calories I take in. I’m doing awesome with carbs and protein. I’m doing awesome with not compromising or giving in and actually making it to my workouts and doing extra on my own.

Acknowledge some of that. Acknowledge that I do things right instead of making it feel like all I do is wrong.

Wrong this. Wrong that. Wrong everything.

Irrational Right Brain: Fuck you. Ok. Fuck you. And the horse you rode in on. And the one that sired it. Ok. Just… arg. Fuck everything. /flips shit.

So yeah. I cried frustrated, angry tears as I raged at the Universe for about 15 minutes during my 30-minute drive home and I felt better for it.

No, I don’t do everything wrong. No, that’s not what he meant or what he was trying to convey or make me feel. All of this anger and angst was all just internal bullshit within myself that I needed to address. All of this was MY reaction to impersonal information.

This reaction, these emotions were most likely the fallout from not taking care of my internal self. This was build up from not writing and not having alone time and not working through the ickiness of my daily life. This was finally having an external target to rain down the fireballs of death and destruction that had been building up inside me with no place to go.

I do enjoy working with my trainer. I do feel he is worth the money I spend. I do feel I am getting results and I’m grateful that he wants me to become a better me. I understand that he can only do so much while we’re at the gym together and that most of my progress has to come from me being diligent about what I eat and when. I understand that most of the work is out of his hands and the only thing he can do is hold me accountable, which he does.

If I’m making this much progress, then I’m sure it’s frustrating to know that I could be doing even better if only I would be a little more diligent. But it’s out of his control and all he can do is watch as I make choices that he would rather I not make.

And I guess that’s the biggest difference between him and me. He has a goal in mind for me and I don’t.

I’m training more to keep myself in a routine and to make forward progress even though at the moment I don’t know what I’m working towards.

In Orlando, my driving force was the potential of MMA fighting.

Here… I don’t know. I still haven’t found a dojo yet, though I do have a few I want to look into. None of the dojos I am interested in are very close to where I live so I feel like it would be the same issue I faced with the YMCA. I would have the best of intentions but I would end up not going because by the time I get to the end of the day I’m done. I want to go home. I don’t want to drive further into town or be out longer or around strangers who are “clearly doing better in life than me because look at Mrs. Gym Bunny over there prancing through her workout while I feel like I’m dying”.

Where are the q-tips when you need them? >.<;

But maybe I would be better about going to the dojo than the Y. I didn’t like the YMCAs because they were so busy. I couldn’t make it to the classes I wanted. I wouldn’t have really been doing something that I wanted to do. If I had gone to the gym it would have been more of a “well at least it’s better than nothing” sort of feeling. It would have been an investment of my limited energy into something that I really didn’t care about. It wouldn’t have been fulfilling and therefore closer to a waste than an investment.

Maybe the dojo wouldn’t be like that. One of the dojos offers Judo in addition to Jiujitsu and Aikido. I think Judo would be fun to learn. If it’s something I want to do then I’m more likely to push through the things, like tiredness, that were holding me back. I’m more likely to think it’s worth it to drive to be there.

I don’t know. I can see it going both ways.

I still want to fight. I still miss that aspect of Orlando. I miss the feeling of family and belonging that I had. I miss the guys who became my friends and mentors. I miss sparring and pushing myself and proving that I’m better than I think I am. I miss learning.

I’m “training” for my Warrior Dash but even that I haven’t really been focusing on. It wasn’t until last week that I started running and I don’t really think you can call one run “training”. My goal with my race is to simply do it. I’ve run that race for two years now. I don’t want to feel like I lost it, that I gave my race up, because of the move. I can still have it even though it’s a little different than what it used to be. Instead of being in February in Orlando, it’s in July in Nebraska, but it’s still my race and I want to prove to myself that I am still able to do it. I didn’t lose it. It’s not gone for forever.

I don’t care if I weigh a certain amount. I don’t care if I have a certain percentage of body fat. I don’t have an end goal. I wanted to get back to the point where I wouldn’t be dying at the end of the warm-up if I did go back to a dojo, and I think I’m there. I think I am to the point where I can say I’m at square one again. I’m back to where I was before I got my job in Orlando; before I started working 16-hour shifts and had to give up the dojo and training and the gym and everything that made it feel worth it to live the life I had.

So, if I’m back to the beginning, then I need to figure out where to go from here since every step I take now is a step forward. A new step. A step I’ve never taken before to a me I’ve never been before. A stronger, healthier me that I have to come to terms with and understand. A me I need to sit down and talk to and negotiate with.

I do want to keep losing weight and part of that means I need to be more mindful about calories. I’m doing well with what I’m eating. I’m not eating donuts or junk food, mostly… that giant tube of mint chocolate chip ice cream is still in the freeze… STILL… And I want to point out the amazing amount of restraint I have to NOT have any of that when every night I have to look at it as I pull my burger patties out for dinner.

Fucking bastards…. buying my favorite ice cream… It’s so not fair. ;-;

Anyway… Part of the issue is I get so hungry between 7 am and noon at work. I think I’ve figured that out though. I’ve been trying the Wheybolic shakes from GNC. And you can give me shit all you want for buying something from that store. Right now I don’t care. Once I have it figured out I can worry about “the most bang for my buck” or not supporting a giant corporation of inherent evil that feeds off the tears of orphans… Seriously, with some of the posts I’ve read from people, you would think this is the worst store on the face of the planet.

Regardless of the orphan tear issue, having half of the shake for my morning break and then the other half right before change over starts kept me from wanting to eat the countertops while I was working. It kept me full until I was able to actually eat again. So instead of doing the homemade almond bars, I think I’m going to be doing protein shakes during that part of my day. That will cut out a lot of calories while increasing my protein intake, and if it keeps me full, in theory, it will keep me from eating more during the day.

I’ve also poked around online and found some new recipes to try since I’ve been eating roughly the same things for about a month now and I’m getting disenchanted with them. It sucks to look in the fridge and to see the containers of premade meals and to not want any of them. That’s when it’s hard to say no to the evil voice whispering about the pop tarts on the counter.

Why is the house full of all of the things I like and can’t have? Oh… That’s right… because there was an eight-year-old and a thirteen-year-old here for two weeks… The struggle is beyond real sometimes.

I haven’t had anything Mexican in forever. Or Italian. So this week I’m fixing that. I’m still allowed to eat tasty food. It doesn’t have to just be burger patties and chicken breast.

So… while I still don’t have a goal in mind for really anything in my life, I think I’m doing a bit better than I was.

Writing definitely helps with that and I’m going to actually put in effort to try to write more often. Having time away from work helps. Having a small list of projects to improve my home environment helps. There’s just a lot of little things that add up to making today feel like a stronger more stable day.

So with that, I guess I’ll go so I can make my shopping list and shower since nothing can really happen before the shower because I’m weird awesome.

 

 

Musing Moments 112: My Favorite Color

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It’s the last day the kids are here.

I’ve survived the two weeks without getting a hotel room or an extended stay and with minimal freakouts over not having my own space. This morning has actually been pretty nice so far. Lil’ Ox and I played Little Big Planet 3 for a while. I made her waffles for breakfast and ate my own premade steak and egg breakfast container next to her.

It’s been a low key morning; one that makes me think maybe I’m not so bad at this parenting / mentoring thing. Maybe it’s not the horrific end of myself and my independence that I feel like it will be. I enjoyed this morning and a lot of the days they’ve been here so, theoretically, it’s possible to enjoy others.

I was still able to go to the gym and train. I was still able to work on my tattoo design and on the nights I was super tired I was left alone in the room to sleep.

Yes, there were hiccups and not everything went smoothly or flawlessly, but it went well enough that I’m still ok for the most part. Ok enough to not be terrified or completely against the future or the “next time”.

We made decorations with pearler beads and went swimming. We got work done out in the garage and in the addition. Work has been going alright even though I was shorted 15 hours on my last check.

I can’t really think of anything major to write about even though I haven’t written in most likely three weeks.

Jon is doing well. I’m looking forward to seeing him and Jason in August. I’m not going to be going to Orlando afterward and there’s a lot of factors that go into that choice. I’ll most likely use the leftover money in my “Me Fund” to switch over my car’s license plate.

My race is in roughly two weeks. I know I won’t be able to run all of it but I think I’ll be content with what I’m able to do. I’ll be running alone which is nice. Ox mentioned going with me and hanging out while I run so he can watch. Nothing has been decided, but I do like the idea of not having to worry about pacing myself to match someone else. I want to do this for me. I want to do this alone.

There’s a lot of things I want to do that I haven’t been doing. Alone time is one of those things.

I’ve been missing mom a lot. It will be her birthday soon.

I feel bad for Ox. When I lived alone I could seclude myself away in my room and hide until I was better. I would drink or cry or sleep or whatever it was I needed to do to survive the waves of grief. I didn’t have to worry about messing up anyone else’s day with my sadness.

I don’t have that option here. We share a room. He has to deal with all of it. There’s no real way for me to “get away”. It doesn’t help or make things easier. I haven’t learned how to cope as an introvert with no safe space. So on top of dealing with his own stuff, Ox is stuck with me on my “hard days”.

I don’t know what else to write about on that part.

I wish mom were here. I wish she was still alive. I wish things had been different and at the same time, I don’t because I wouldn’t be where I am if they had been different and I kind of like where I am.

I think I know why it’s hard to hear my name. Everyone calls me Jen. Ox is the only one who will say Jennifer sometimes. Every time I hear my full name I hurt. I think it’s because my mom was the only one who called me by my full name. I can remember the first night at the hospital when the painkillers finally started wearing off and I asked her if she knew who I was. I can remember how she rolled her eyes at me like it was the silliest question ever.

Mom: You’re Jennifer.

I am Jennifer but that seems like such a hard and impossible person to be. It’s easier to be Jen, the PCT or Kitten, the not girlfriend / not wife nebulous life partner.

It’s easy to get caught up in the trivial, surface level pettiness of Life and to forget that I’m injured, but hearing my full name reminds me. I can’t pretend when I hear it. I can’t fake my way through that pain. I have to face it and I don’t want to.

I guess there’s a large part of me who doesn’t want to be me. I don’t want to put in all of the work it will take to heal all of the injuries I have.

I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life at the moment. I go to work. I pay my bills. I try to eat healthy as I have a bowl of mint ice cream at night that I don’t log on My Fitness Pal.

I’m still doing well at work. I’m still losing weight and gaining muscle. I’m still making ends meet.

I don’t know what it feels like, this life I’ve been living for almost five months now. Maybe that’s because I’m not allowing myself to fully feel it. Sort of like how I ignore my injuries. Maybe I’m just existing through my life at the moment rather than fully immersing myself in it and experiencing it.

There’s a part of me who doesn’t trust it. I’m waiting for it to run out; to end. The good times can only last so long.

I say “I love you,” but I don’t feel it the way I used to. There’s a part of me who doesn’t want to. I love as much as I feel I can. I’m broken. You’ll die. There’s only so much I can give. It doesn’t feel like enough, though. It feels like you deserve more. It doesn’t feel like it used to before mom died and I don’t know if it ever can or will.

Ox: Are you happy?

He’s asked me that a few times and I don’t know how to answer. I’m not “not happy”. I would like my own room. I would like for things to stay organized. I would like for the dirty clothes to not be on the floor. I would like for there to not be pop tarts on the kitchen counter tempting me every morning. But in the scheme of things, I have a roof over my head. I am staying here rent free. I have food. I have a car. I have a job. I have a support structure and people who care about me.

There’s no reason for me to not be happy. But most of the time there’s this feeling of distance. Like I’m holding my breath. A tension.

I hate this part of myself, but I already know what I would try to do if the relationship failed. I already have a “backup plan”. I wouldn’t move back to Orlando. I would try to move to Beatrice so I would be closer to my clinic.

And maybe that’s something else that keeps me from giving fully into whatever this is.

A relationship is supposed to be a compromise. Give and take.

I moved away from my lovers and brother. It feels like I’ve given up my solitude. I have taken on the responsibility of helping to care for two children. I have changed work environments. I agreed to pursue another obligation which I’m going to leave vague because I don’t want to write further about it. Sorry if that’s frustrating.

I knowingly accepted a lot of things before moving.

I want it to feel fair. But when asked if I’m happy the most I can bring up is apathy. I don’t hate where I’m at, but no, I don’t really think I’m happy. I’ve lost too much too fast with very little to compensate that loss to feel happy right now.

I’m happier then I was in Orlando. I don’t hate Life. I think that’s an improvement.

I want to see my brothers. That’s about it. I want to see others but I can’t go to Orlando and see the people there because if I do I know I’ll fuck everything that I have up. Ox and I talked about that aspect about it so he knows.

And I guess that’s something I can admit to and acknowledge within myself. If I went to Orlando I would most likely have sex with Big Bad and my Blacksmith. I don’t know if that’s weakness. I don’t feel like it is. I still care about them. I cared about them before I moved. I still care about them after my move. I didn’t move because the relationships sucked or because they treated me poorly.

I know they had their own issues. Big Bad never said “I love you” back. He sent the drunk text message the day of the Warrior Dash lashing out in his hurt. My Blacksmith and I were never able to spend much time together and that dynamic had its own complications. Then there’s Sir who chose not to see me to say goodbye before I left and all of the history from when we dated.

Maybe this is another aspect of me that’s broken and needs to be worked on.

They still built me up the most during a time where I was at my lowest, though. They let me be myself and didn’t give me shit for it. I still care for them and I still have the mentality that you can love more than one person without it affecting the love you feel for another.

Ox and I agreed to be monogamous so it’s better to not go. I feel like if I went to Orlando I would be choosing myself over the relationship and that the relationship would die because of my selfishness. There’s still a part of me who feels like I’m losing something else, something more, because I am making the choice to not go. I’m giving up more on top of what I have already agreed to let go.

I don’t feel whole. I feel like I function “good enough” and that’s the best I can do. The jagged, broken pieces of myself grind against one another rather than being well oiled and cared for. You can tune out the sound of friction if you try hard enough. I feel like that’s what I do most of the time.

I ignore. I pretend. I go day by day and it’s “good enough” so I should accept it. I’m never going to have mom back so I should learn to be ok with what I have.

I think there’s still a lot of stuff for me to work through and like so many of my other writings I don’t feel like I’ve figured anything out. I still feel like it’s all pointless and a waste of time because I never seem to figure any of it out.

I just keep finding more and more things to try to fix with no solution for fixing them. They’re just problems within myself that keep me from fitting in properly with the world I find myself in now. The world I’ve placed myself in.

I still love people, but I’m not allowed to express that love so I’m wrong. I’m an introvert living in an environment where I can’t be alone so I’m wrong. I don’t want to be a parent but I’m in a relationship with two children so I’m wrong to try to not be a parental figure.

I guess that’s the core of it all. I feel wrong. I feel like I’m the problem. I’m the only one with issues so it’s me that needs to change. Everyone else is fine. I’m the one who’s not.

What do I want?

I want to be ok. I want my mom back. I want to be able to cry and curl up with her urn alone without the fear of someone coming into the room or hearing the TV playing Modern Family.

I want things I can’t have and so I feel defeated. I can’t win so what’s the point of feeling anything?

Am I happy?

No. But I can’t have what will make me happy so I’m “good enough” and right now that’s the best I can do. I’m sorry I can’t do better. I’m sorry I feel this way. I’m sorry I can’t be normal like the rest of the world. I’m sorry I’m myself and I’m sorry for being sorry about that. I’m sorry I make things harder and more complicated than they should be. I’m sorry I don’t game as much as I did in Orlando. I’m sorry for wanting sex more than you. I’m sorry I’m always trying to complete a project or organize something. I’m sorry I don’t know how to relax more. I’m sorry I’m not more social and that I don’t want to find a dead bird for us to play with and hopefully writing that makes you smile knowing that the rest of the Internet is going “What the actual fuck?” right now. I’m sorry everything seems to come back to my mom being dead. I’m sorry I can’t seem to get past that. I’m sorry that you’ll read this and feel some sort of failing on your part. I’m sorry for messing up your day. I’m sorry if now we’re not ok.

I love you and I’m sorry if that’s not enough. I’m sorry if my love is broken and not the same as yours.

Thank you for everything you do and have done for me these past almost five months. Thank you for the nights you let me sleep on the couch without making me feel bad. Thank you for trying so hard to make safe spaces for me. Thank you for your patience and the times you’ve held me while I’ve cried. Thank you for not giving up on me. I promise I’m trying to get better. I promise I’ll try to be ok today.

It’s one of the few things I look forward to; seeing you at the end of my days. No matter how shitty they are, no matter how much work sucks, or how much I feel like I didn’t push hard enough at the gym, or whatever other nonsense my brain plays inside of my head, I always look forward to seeing you. I always think about you, about how I’m almost home, when I see the cell phone tower you pointed out to me because that’s how I know where to turn. I look forward to your hugs. I look forward to your voice. I look forward to you because you’re my favorite color.

I will see you tonight. I love you.

Daily Post 093: Enjoying Summer

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This past week has been one of my rougher ones since moving to Nebraska. I worked five days this week. I survived until Thursday, my first day off, and since that was my main goal I feel like the week was a success.

On top of surviving, I got the news that I’m down a pound in body fat and up two in muscle. That’s validating and motivating.

I went to the Anytime Fitness for the first time to work out on Thursday. I like the gym. I like how it was mostly empty and I was able to do my own thing. I rowed and worked on my arms. What makes that workout even better is the fact that I did it after working with my trainer, so that’s two workouts in one day. I feel like I’m getting back to my “pre-work” level; back when I was able to spend three hours at the dojo pretty much every day sparing with people I now miss.

I feel like I’m back to making progress and that’s a good feeling.

I feel like this next week is going to go smoother in some ways and harder in others. I’m almost done with all of my cooking. I have the laundry to switch over to the dryer. I just got back home with Ox from running out to get new work shoes since my feet have started to hurt again. Since my days are shorter then what they were in Orlando and because I’ve had my shoes for over a year now, I’m pretty sure it’s an issue with the shoes themselves. We’ll see how tomorrow goes with the new ones I suppose.

Ox is going to have his kids for the next two weeks.

That’s where things are going to get harder. I’m prepped better for the coming week but we’ll have the kids…

That’s two weeks that I still have to work and wake up early while they’re on summer vacation. That’s two weeks of them being home on my days off and wanting to do things. Two weeks of “I don’t know how to be a parent what the fuck and I’m supposed to do I need an instruction guide someone please save me”.

I’m thinking about looking into getting an extended stay room close to my clinic for the coming weeks. That would give me a quiet place to retreat to when I need silence and space. That would give me a place to sleep without raining on everyone’s fun.

The downside is that it would be expensive and unlike the hotel rooms I’ve been booking for the nights before my shifts in Omaha, this wouldn’t be reimbursed. I also feel like it would be running away and hiding from something that I have to eventually face.

I haven’t made any decisions yet. But I’m going to have to figure something out soon. The kids will be here Thursday evening. I work both Friday and Saturday. Being tired and sleep deprived and mentally / emotionally tapped out from not having recovery time isn’t an option I really want to entertain. Arg >.<;

Saturday went well. And I guess I should back up to Friday. Friday went well, too. I worked with a new nurse that day since my FA had to go out of town. The nurse was familiar with the machines my clinic uses so that was a plus. The day went smoothly and I was grateful that it went better than I had thought it would.

I drove home and packed for my overnight stay in Omaha before driving into Lincoln to have dinner with Ox. He went with me across the street where I filled my car’s tank up and then wished me well. I’m glad to say that I was able to make the whole trip to the hotel without GPS. It helps that I’ve been staying at the same hotel each time. I’m getting familiar with the staff there. I like their facility. They have a pool that I haven’t been in yet. They also have a fitness room that’s 24 hours which I almost used this time.

Saturday started out nice even though it was a rainy and windy morning. I slept deeply and woke up feeling rested; at least rested enough to make it through the day. I didn’t need the GPS to get the clinic. Go me!

Even with the complications of a machine not working the day went well. I’m more familiar with how tasks are divided up and I have a better idea where things are located. I know how to be helpful past the point of setting up machines and taking care of patients. I can help prep the clinic for the next day. I can make needle packs and organize the morning shift setups.

I was able to close down the water room fine on my own. I was confident this time rather than holding my breath and hoping I did it right. I’ve gotten to the point where I know which steps take a while, so I don’t have to have everything on the floor done before beginning the water room. It doesn’t require my focused, undivided attention. I can get to this particular step then go back out and finish wiping down chairs. I can get to this step then go empty the bleach containers. Once I get to this step I can count the dialyzers.

I can be more efficient with my time, which means I can close the clinic faster than the hour or so it’s been taking me. That’s another good feeling. Efficiency is a big thing for me. I knew I would be slow at first. I knew it would take me a few times to get comfortable with the process. Now I’m getting to the point where I can improve my workflow. I’m no longer “learning”. Now I’m tweaking and figuring out what works for me.

I’m thinking about offering to work Saturdays for their clinic until they can get people through training. It would keep me making overtime while working a fairly chill shift with people I like. I don’t mind the thought of being there. I don’t feel a sand-pappery aversion to the thought. There’s not the crushing, draining weight of “I don’t want to do this,” that makes me cry silent tears on the way to do anyway.

There are grocery stores on the way home I can stop at after my Saturday shift. I can work that back into my weekend routine. Meal plan on Thursday’s most likely since Friday is a 12-hour shift. With meals planned out, I can make a grocery list. With a grocery list, I can do the shopping on Saturday like I used to, along with any prep work that needs to be done once I’m home. Put meats in marinades. Cut up veggies if I need to. Then Sundays can go back to simply being cooking days rather than everything all at once.  With a little bit of planning, a little bit of proactiveness, I think I can make this work for me.

I want to see if I can.

I have already been approved for having July 13th and 14th off. That’s the Friday before my race and the day of my race. I’m actually looking forward to it a little bit. More than I was when I first signed up. I signed up because I knew I wanted to do a Warrior Dash this year. I missed doing the one in Florida. I wanted to see my patients one last time instead. I wanted to give them their thank you cards in person. I didn’t want my Warrior Dash to be the last time I was with Big Bad. I didn’t want the weight of knowing we were saying goodbye to hang over the entire event, which it would have for me. It would have hurt to run it that way. So I didn’t.

But it’s something I think of as “my” race. It’s where I started. That first one; that was my moment of taking me back for myself. That was me giving a giant “Fuck you” to the person so undermined so much of my self-confidence for so long. I could do it. I did do it. I can do it. And there was, is, still a part of me who wanted to run the race even though I didn’t in February.

That’s why I signed up for the one here, in Nebraska, in July. Because there’s a part of me who still needed to run it even though I was feeling bad at the time. I had regressed. I knew I needed to address that and I’m glad I did even though in the beginning it sucked. I’m glad I met with my trainer and I’m glad he’s working with me. I want to do better this race. I want to keep improving. So yeah. I’m a little more jazzed about it than I was when I first signed up. I’m looking forward to it even though it’s a small, soft, vulnerable thing at the moment.

I hope it continues to grow. I hope it becomes a confident and stable thing. A, “I know I’ll do well” feeling rather than a, “I hope I do well” feeling.

I finally was able to spend most of a day outside today. Ox worked a bit in the addition but we’ve run out of 2x4s so he can’t keep working on the walls. We were trying to get work done in the yard, but that required moving a piece of equipment which ended up taking most of the day. We didn’t get done with that until 2 pm. It would be easier to write about if I knew what half the stuff we used was called, but I don’t. All I can say is that my arms and core are sore from all of the work we ended up having to do manually, but it’s a good sore.

We got something done, something pretty major, and we got it done together. We sweated together. We got tired together. We accomplished something together and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel connected and like I’m part of something.

It was a fantastic day outside. Warm. Sunny. I wanted to get more done, so I did. I moved some piles of scrap wood and raked up last years dead leaves and sticks. I’m not through with the raking and there’s a part of me that feels bad for not getting it completed. There’s part of me who feels like I add to the mess and disorganization by leaving something half done, but I could tell my body was wearing down. I was sunburnt. I needed water. I needed food. I still needed to still finish my cooking. At some point, I needed to shower again…

I needed to do all of these things that take time and energy and I only have so much of each to spend and use each day. So as much as I wanted to get everything done, the yard was something left at a state of half complete; contained and better, but not finished.

I would like to finish the yard Tuesday after my shift at Cap City, but I’m not sure how that day is going to go, so… We’ll have to wait and see. I might not be able to really get back outside until Thursday. But yeah, even with that task incomplete I feel really good right now and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was finally outside doing something.

The day actually started later than I thought it would. I woke up at 2 am since I’m conditioned to wake up early. Thankfully I was able to get back to sleep. I slept until almost 9 am; way later than that I thought I would or could have. That’s an additional seven hours of sleep. As Ox said, though, I guess I needed it if my body let that happen. With how little sleep I got for the first part of the week maybe that’s more true than not. Maybe it’s not just pretty words to make me feel better, but a truth I should accept.

That’s harder to do when the Evil Voice nags about how much time was wasted doing nothing. Fucking Evil Voice… I will break out the Q-tips… >.>

I spent the first part of the morning cooking before going outside to help Ox. I think that helped since I had a break from cooking and didn’t have to spend four solid hours in the kitchen.

I used a spice mix last week for the deer roast I cooked which turned out amazing. So amazing I’m actually using it again. I’ve seasoned some steaks with it and chicken thighs as well. It really is that awesome. Since it helps to marinate the meat a bit first, I seasoned everything before Ox and I ran into town.

We went to the Skechers store where I got new work shoes. I was surprised to find out that I get a discount because of the company I work for. A 30% discount. Woo!

We stopped at Walmart after that so I could get another packet of a glaze I tried last week as well. Again, something that turned out to be pretty amazing.

So the cooking is almost done. Just have to bake some stuff now. The laundry is almost done. My hotel for Friday night is already reserved. My bills are already paid and though I’m lower on funds than what I would like, everything is overpaid as far as my debt is concerned and nothing is due until next paycheck which will have my billion hours of overtime on it with my double incentive shift.

I didn’t get my bike rack this weekend, but I’m ok with that because I got the window AC unit with Ox and new shoes and two cases of my Bang energy drink. I got new sunglasses that I actually like. The hotel had my laptop charger in their lost and found when I checked in Friday night since I couldn’t find it when I got back home last weekend.

There’s a lot of warmth going on in my life right now. A lot of progress. A lot of security. I’m not worried about my job anymore which helps.

It’s summer. It’s my time. My season. I’m not sick or working so much that I can’t enjoy it. And though I grieve every day in my own way, I’m not the shattered version of myself I was when mom first died.

It feels like this is the first summer since mom died that I’ll be able to go out and do things and… live… I guess. It’s… it’s a good feeling even though it makes my eyes sting with tears. When I was raking earlier today I remembered how I would help her rake when we lived in South Carolina. I remember how she hated to do yard work and how I would help her because many hands make light work. She would always say it went by faster with help and so I wanted to help her.

I don’t know what else to write or where to go from that train of thought. I guess that’s it. I don’t really feel like writing anymore. My heart aches. It’s not good or bad. It’s just life…

Mom is dead and I can’t rake the yard with her anymore, but I can still enjoy my days and be outside in the sunlight and I can remember her and all of the things she taught me. I can remember all of the moments we had and what they meant to me; what they still mean to me.

Today was a good day. Saturday was a good day. Friday and Thursday were good days, too. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to going to work and telling my patients about my weekend and how I got new shoes.

I don’t dislike my life anymore, mom and I’m sorry that there’s still a part of me who feels guilty about that. I know this is what you want for me. To be happy. To live. To keep going. I’m sorry that it still hurts and sucks sometimes. I’m sorry there’s a part of me who feels like it’s a betrayal to you to be able to keep going. I promise I still love you. I promise it still hurts as much as it ever did; as much as it ever will.

I’m thankful at the same time. I’m here because of you. I know it. It’s one of my truths and I don’t care what other people think or feel about those words. You’ve done so much for me in life and in death. Thanks for helping get me to a point where I actually have the option to enjoy summer again.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.