Daily Post 033: To My Keyboard

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Hello, dearest Keyboard.

Yes, you, Keyboard. This is for you.

You who I have typed on through this whole year. You who randomly double spaces every so often which most of the time I can ignore and correct while other times it provokes a level of irritation that can only be matched by lag during an MMO PVP match.

I realized I’ve never acknowledged you nor your contribution to keeping me going through this past year.

Every time I think about writing it’s you I think about sitting in front of. You who allows my fingertips to dance, playing the music in my soul, sometimes smooth and lulling, other times chaotic with the anguish and rage of my grief.

It’s you who had been consistent for me through all of my ups and downs. You who I constantly turn to. You who lets me bleed away my pain onto blank, white digital sheets of paper scrawled with red squiggle lines of doom because the computer loves to tell me that I don’t know how to spell.

I’ve missed you, Keyboard. I’ve missed having someone to talk to.

I miss mom.

I had left a voice message for John the other day. There were four parts to the message, all pertaining to different things. When he called me back he said, “What’s up?”

Me: Did you get a chance to listen to my message?

John: Yeah, I listened to about half of it. I got the gist of what you were saying so I deleted the rest of it.

He deleted the part where I told him I was feeling better from going to the urgent care clinic. He deleted the part where I said I had my first 12-hour shift at work and that I felt like I would be ok with the workload and my new career.

He deleted the part of the message that was about me.

We finished the conversation about his resume. We made plans for the weekend. I didn’t mention anything about the deleted sections. He didn’t ask how I was doing.

When we got off the phone my first thought was, “Mom wouldn’t have deleted my message.”

My next thought was, “John’s not mom.”

I’ve hurt since then, Keyboard.

It’s true. Mom would have listened to any message I sent her no matter how long or unimportant. She would have listened to every word.

I feel unimportant to my brother. I feel like this happens a lot with him. I keep allowing his actions to cut me deeply. I keep thinking that we’ll be able to find mom in each other but we don’t. We can’t. Neither of us is mom, but we both miss her so much it’s almost unconscious on our parts.

Maybe the deletion of my message wouldn’t bother me so much if mom were still alive. I most likely wouldn’t have left him a message at all since I would have been calling mom to begin with.

I don’t know. It’s all “what ifs” and “maybe would have beens”.

This is the life I’m living, and in this life mom is dead and my younger brother is his own person. Maybe one day I’ll understand that wholly. Completely.

I’ve been sick for a while. Two weeks and counting, though I’m pretty much well at this point. I caught whatever my classmates were passing around. Last Sunday it got so bad that I was looking up the symptoms of pneumonia, vowing to myself that if I was still super sick in the morning that I would go to an urgent care clinic.

I was still sick Monday morning, but I was better than I had been the night before, so I didn’t go get looked at. It was only on Wednesday when I was leaving work that I changed my mind. My right ear started hurting as if a nail were trying to drive itself into my skull.

John came down and took me to a clinic to get looked at, which ended up being a good thing. I had ear infections in both ears and pink eye in my left eye. The doctor said most likely what happened was I got an extremely severe sinus infection which ended up spreading to everything else.

The terms “eww” and “gross” come to mind.

It was extremely not cool. I had eye drops for four days, and I’m still taking my 10 days worth of pills for the ear infections. I was given a doctor’s note excusing me from work for two days, which I was luckily able to make up on Saturday. That’s how I was able to get a 12-hour shift in even though I’m still technically in training for another four weeks.

For the most part, I’m better. My sinuses aren’t draining nearly as much. The pressure in my ears is mostly gone. The cough which hurt so bad I was in tears is gone.

I felt well enough, and non-contagious enough, to go to the dojo for personal training today. MG pushed me pretty hard, though not has hard as she said she wanted to. My lungs were burning nearly as much as my legs by the time we were done with the sled work. I know tomorrow will be a yoga day to stretch everything out and get rid of acid build up.

Aside from missing mom and being sick, I’ve had to contend with more emotional ickiness in regards to the apartment. Since I was sick nothing got cleaned, and of course, once I was done being sick Warren got sick, so even if he were the type of person to care about cleanliness it would have been dickish of me to rant and demand that he help out.

It still sucks, though.

In my self-absorbed moments of sadness, I think about how it’s not fair. I was sick and still had to do the dishes. Why does he get to not do them while he’s sick? Shouldn’t it be fair? Equal? Couldn’t I have been cared for, too?

It doesn’t help with the feelings of worthlessness and meaninglessness I’m already feeling due to the deleted message.

When will I matter to the people who are supposed to be closest to me?

I have new coworkers, online friends, distant family, and distant friends who all think I’m an amazing person. They think I should be treated well and loved and cared for the way I care for others.

And even the people who hurt me think these things. So why do I hurt? Why am I hurt?

Why do I still not have rent money? Why do I still have to be the only one figuring out how to make financial ends meet? Why do I not warrant the respect to be told that a payment won’t be made at all, not even the partial of the partial I was getting before?

It sucks. And for the last two days, I’ve come home and curled up in bed under my covers and have allowed that pain to be almost all consuming. I’ve tried to understand why, and today I’m no closer than I was yesterday to an answer.

I don’t know why.

Today was different, though. Today I went to my clinic and I worked. I worked hard. I focused on finding my routine and flow and needing less guidance than I have on previous days. I still made mistakes here and there, but I can tell I’m getting better and my trainer constantly praises me for how well I’m doing.

I saved three people today.

Maybe that makes it sound more glorious than it really is, but it’s true. I initiated three dialysis treatments today and terminated them once the treatment was over. That’s three people who can live slightly longer, slightly better because I was there to help them.

It’s a good feeling. It makes it feel worth it. And right now I need something to be worth it.

I can see myself getting wrapped up in work once I’m allowed to work overtime. Maybe that will be good. Maybe that will be my form of self-medication for when I hurt, which might be bad. I already have a preference for being at work rather than home because home is stressful and there’s nothing I can do to change it.

Warren has a new job which starts on the 11th, but that doesn’t fix anything right now. And even on the 11th, nothing is going to be fixed. We’ll have to wait two weeks at least for his first paycheck, maybe 4 if his new company holds the first paycheck.

Things are still going to be painful for a while. They’re still going to be hard and there’s nothing to do other than to breath and wait and not lash out in my pain and frustration and claustrophobic confinement of being trapped in an environment I can’t change.

I had a dream last night where I yelled at Warren. He was upset that I was yelling, but nothing else I had done worked. Being nice didn’t do anything so I was yelling because that’s my way of breaking down. That’s when the frustration wins and rational through dies and the only thing that matters is letting out all of the hurt and injustice that I diplomatically tried to convey.

That’s part of why I was so tired this morning. I was fighting all night in my dreams.

Work was good, though. And the dojo was good. I got to see James for a few minutes after my session with MG. He said he hasn’t been able to make it to the dojo much because of a new job, too. We chatted for a bit, but all too soon we both had to leave. I hope to see him more in the future. I miss having him as a sparring partner.

When I came home I decided to clean. Not just clean, but hardcore clean. And so far I have. My room and bathroom have been bleached and vacuumed. My sheets are being washed. The stairs and floors are swept and mopped. The living room is vacuumed. I have a shopping list that I will take care of shortly. All of the trash has been taken out, including the bag that sat by the trash can for three days.

Part of me, the small bit of sadness still in my chest, knows that this, my cleaning, won’t matter. Dog fur will pile up again, the trash will build up from someone other than myself, and I will still have to take care of dishes that are not my own.

The order I have returned to my world will be eroded away day by day, action by action, and the thought of that makes me want to cry. I’ll still come home and not have my solitude because Warren’s waking up earlier in the afternoon.

I don’t know what else to say or write about in that regard. It is pointless. Hopeless. Meaningless. But in this moment, in my small bubble of a room with my music playing as I type to you, I want to take comfort in giving myself the illusion of control.

I can’t fix anything, everything, but I can clean my notebooks. I can put my clothes away. I can sleep in clean sheets. I can bleach the hair dye off of my bathroom counters. And for a few hours, the kitchen can be spotless and the floors free of gross Godzilla bunnies of dog fur.

I still need to go through and pay my bills since that’s another thing I haven’t done.

I’m trying to catch up on life, Keyboard. I’m trying to be an adult and to keep going even though I really don’t want to. I feel alone right now.

I saw Big Bad the other night, but even that isn’t enough to make me ok. We spent three hours together. Three wonderful hours. He held me in his arms and I was able to sleep with my head against his chest for a little bit. But because I had to wake up so early for work we decided it would be best for me to sleep at my own home. We had a cup of tea together before I left. I couldn’t fall back asleep, though.

Having been surrounded by warmth only to return to emptiness added to the feelings I’ve been struggling with. Big Bad has his kids this weekend. I don’t think we’ll get to spend any sort of extended time with each other for a while. My blacksmith and I most likely won’t see each other for a while longer, either.

I’m having a hard time finding a purpose, a reason, to keep doing all of this other than because I promised mom I would. I hate that there’s a part of me who doesn’t want to keep my promise. I want to give up. I want to let everything fall down around me and to say it’s too hard that I quit. I have nothing left to give.

Promises are important to me, though. I want to keep the ones I make and I promised mom I would keep going, so I have to keep going.

I started listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck about a month ago. One of the things mentioned in the book is how blame and responsibility are two different things.

I’m not to blame for Warren not paying rent. I’m not to blame for my brother deleting my message. And I’m not to blame for my mom’s death.

I am responsible for how I choose to act in regards to all of those situations, though.

Right now I would rather not feel. I would rather tackle Life like I did the last few reps of sled work that I did at the dojo today. I don’t want to think. I want to go on auto-pilot and push through this section because this section sucks. It’s hard. It hurts. I want to quit, but I’m not going to because I can’t quit.

I want to survive. I want to make it to the end. I don’t want to give up. I don’t want Life to win and break me because fuck you, Life. You don’t deserve to win. I won’t let you win.

I want to hold on because the end is worth it. When I’m finally able to rest even if my legs and arms and lungs are at the point of failure, it’s worth it. Maybe it’s more worth it because I push to my breaking point and then past it because, fuck you, Breaking Point. You’re not the boss of me.

In the end, the blessed end, the relief is so much more intense, so much sweeter, so much more gratifying, when you’re clinging desperately, reaching into the very core of yourself to make it the last 10 feet.

I just wish the people making this so much harder weren’t people I’m supposed to love and care about. I wish it wasn’t my heart chakra I’m having to close off and ignore. I wish it didn’t feel like bleeding out.

Thank you for being here for me, Keyboard. Thank you for not being upset for all the times I thought about replacing you because of your finicky spacebar tendencies. Thank you for letting write and complain and whine and bitch and cry. Thank you for not judging me or telling me to grow up and to stop being petty. Thank you for helping me figure out my life.

Thank you for being the best replacement for my mom that I didn’t know I had.

I know it’s so stupid. I know you’re just a keyboard, but I want to make you a promise. I want to promise that I’ll finish my chores today because I need to promise someone, something, so I actually do it. I want to make this promise to you because you’ve been here for me. Because you matter.

I promise I’ll be ok. I promise that I’ll make it through this. I promise that I’ll write tomorrow. I promise I won’t think about replacing you because of your annoying spacebar anymore.

Thank you for being here for me.

Daily Post 014: 11 Months and Rent

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I’ve been scrolling through Facefail for the last thirty minutes. The original goal was to send Corey some information, but then I was able to scroll through stuff, and then there were cat pictures, and new memes, and inspirational stuff, and oh look… I totally didn’t mean to waste that much of my life sitting in front of my computer doing nothing…

Well, I was able to drag myself away from the never ending black hole of the Internet so maybe I’ll still be able to salvage some of the day.

Warren paid rent yesterday. Woohoo. I was able to pay bills like an adult. Huzzah.

I sort of want to go back to Thursday, though. I wrote before going to the dojo. It was a rough post. Thursday was a rough day. A painful day.

I trained hard that evening. It was submission grappling so I didn’t wear my gi. I got to spar a round with Paul, the owner. I know he was going easy on me since I wasn’t tapped out in the first thirty seconds, but it was cool because I was able to go through some of the moves I’ve learned. He would counter, I would counter his counter. It’s one of the reasons I like sparring with the higher level belts. It’s not a crazy free for all. They’re calm and collected and know what they’re doing.

It’s encouraging to hear them go, “Yes!” or “Right on,” when we spar. I do something they weren’t expecting or I do something well and they let me know.

When we were done Paul said that I was further along than he thought I was. I like that. It made me feel good about myself.

Friday I woke up and went to class. I aced the test. Missed one question because I didn’t think it through fully. I had lunch with Ari afterward. She gushed about the new Zelda game. It sounds really cool, but not cool enough to want a new gaming console.

I went to kickboxing before going to lunch. That was awesome. I really like the trainer at the gym. I actually had a short conversation with him and another guy. It was nice nerding out about Zoids and Thundercats. We were shown some pretty sweet new kicks. My legs were definitely shot afterward. I was sort of worried I wouldn’t be recovered enough for the dojo today, but I was.

I found out after I got out of the shower at the gym that I had packed everything to change into… except for a bra… Mother F*****, Are you for serious?…

I ended up putting on my sweat drench compression top back on and going to lunch anyway. It was a nice social event.  I’m  glad I went.

I had ideas of being super productive after lunch but I really wasn’t. After sitting and eating my body didn’t have any problems telling me that it was done doing things for the time being and that my brain could either accept that or get pissy because I wasn’t doing stuff. Accepting seemed like the easier route so instead I came home and napped with Scarlet for a bit.

Eventually, I woke up and convinced myself to go downstairs for food. While I was in the kitchen Warren came home from his grocery trip. I guess he had gone out while I was asleep. He gave me half of this month’s rent with the promise to give the other half on his next paycheck. He also said that he will be making rent payments from this point forward.

That helped me feel better. That makes me less bitchy about dirty dishes being in the sink. And less stressed about, “Holy crap, how am I going to make this work?”

Later in the evening, I ended up going out and depositing the money into my checking account. I then came home and paid bills. As incentive to go out into the world I stopped at Arby’s and got a roast beef sandwich with one of their mint shakes.

I’ve applied for more jobs at the hospital. Housekeeping and patient transport positions mostly, though there was one phlebotomy position that seemed more like a secretary position. It didn’t require a certification so I don’t imagine they expect me to stick people. If I’m not qualified they won’t hire me is pretty much my mentality. I met all of the requirements for the job posting so I applied. Ball’s in their court now.

I figured out how to track my application status on the hospital’s website. One of my applications is in “initial review”. The second Central Service Tech position I applied to is listed as “Application Received” so at least that isn’t closed out yet.

I’ve taken to looking at the hospital postings every day and applying for what I can. Eventually, they’ll get tired of me and give me a job out of pity. I’m ok with that. All I need is a chance.

I tried calling the facilities where my application was sent to from the job fair. I wasn’t able to get an actual person, but I went to their website and applied for at least another five positions.

I guess we’ll see where all of this leads.

So, yeah. That was pretty much the end of Thursday and all of Friday.

Today I woke up tired. It’s been cold the past two days. I had breakfast around 7 am but ended up back in bed until around 10:30. I didn’t sleep, but I didn’t do much of anything either. Pretty much just tried to get warm again. Once it was closer to 11 I Got up and got ready for the dojo. Today was the second time I wore my gi. I’m getting more comfortable with it. I think I’m going to like it.

I had some good rounds today. I’m sore from them and am glad tomorrow is a rest day. I really ought to push myself to do yoga at least. I can tell my hamstrings aren’t all that happy with me. I’m sure tomorrow they’ll be worse.

Currently, I need to get a shopping list together and venture out into the world so I have stuff to cook with tomorrow. I swept the downstairs area. I need to sweep the stairs still, mop, and vacuum my room and the living room. There’s laundry to do as well. I think I’ll be able to handle all of that, though. If not I can finish it tomorrow.

Tonight I have a social event with Frank and that circle of friends. The ones I normally play Cards Against Humanity with. They’re doing a firepit get together. Nothing fancy, just an excuse to hang out and have s’mores I think. I know there’s going to be drinks but after my night with Big Bad last week I don’t think I’ll drink at all, or if I do it will only be lightly.

I’m sort of looking forward to it. I don’t want to back out of it. At least not at the moment. Hopefully, it’s not too much. Today is a bit of a low day energy wise, which is why I won’t give myself crap if some of the chores don’t get done.

Today is the 11th-month mark. It’s a day, just like any of the others I’ve lived through, but at the same time, it’s not. It’s another tick. Another significance. Another fact that goes into making me who I am.

I am the matriarch of my family. I am “The Earth Dragon Who Could”. I am the warrior who wouldn’t give up. I am me and I have survived 11 months without my mom.

That fact is heavy. It hurts, like an ache, rather than sharp and agonizing like it did at the two-month mark. I remember that pain. It’s not easier or really “different”. It’s the same thing, the same grief, but I think it’s calmer now. It’s still itself, just not as volatile and explosive. It’s a fact. I accept it. It’s here, in my chest, and it’s never going to go away. It’s part of me.

I am Jennifer and my mom has been dead for 11 months.

I still got up this morning. I still had coffee. I still trained. I’ll still buy food so I can eat. I’ll still apply for jobs, and I’ll most likely still see my friends tonight. But over all of that, under each task, in the foundation of who I am, is this new fact. Permeating into every action I do today is this new bit of information.

I’ve meditated a bit on one of the comments from my last post. The comment where I asked myself if I was going to sit down and take the hit that life gave me and give up or was I going to hit back, fight back?

Sitting here today, my answer is I’m going to fight. I’m going to win. I’m going to survive. I’m not going to give up, and I’m not going to accept anything less than what I want.

So I guess that’s where I’m at today. Internally I feel like I am resting, regrouping, thinking over my past actions, the information I have, and where I want to go from here. I’m sitting with my arms wrapped around my knees, alone, quiet, thinking. Sad, yes. Alone but not lonely. I think this is processing. There’s hurt mixed in with all of it. Hurt from not being able to talk to mom the way we used to. I always go back to that. Our phone calls. Our hugs. Her presence.

I can feel her with me right now. Not even death can keep us apart. Her last words, “I’ll love you forever and for always.” I know she’s proud of me. I know she’s supportive of me and the direction I’m going. I know I’ll get through today. I know I may smile and laugh, but I know today is another painful day and that “enjoy” is most likely not the right word to use.

I don’t think I’ll “enjoy” today, but I will accept it and hopefully that level of understanding and acceptance will allow me to have some measure of contentment.

I am Jennifer and I accept today.