Letters to Mom 020: Relationship Rambling

Standard

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.

Advertisements

Daily Post 096: Bikes and Races

Standard

I slept like crap last night. I woke up with a headache and feeling like today would suck. Luckily things seem to have turned around. I took migraine pills, so the headache seems to have gone away and the tiredness has burned away the longer I’ve been awake and moving around.

I’ve already talked to Jon for about an hour where I got to bitch about some of the BS going on at work. That was nice. After I got off the phone I realized it was a pretty one-sided conversation, but as Ox pointed out when I started worrying about that fact, Jon calls me all the time to vent, sometimes multiple times a day, so I “shouldn’t” feel bad. I also fully believe that if Jon didn’t want to chat or listen to me, he would say something to that effect.

It was nice to get some of that stuff off my chest and to have someone listen. There isn’t really anything that needs to be fixed, I just want to know that I’m heard and that the mild frustration of day to day existence is understandable.

Yesterday was an extremely nice day even though in the beginning it wasn’t.

Ox and I had made plans Friday evening to work on the addition the following morning. Our plans ended up changing though due to his parents. They want to buy different insulation for the ceiling, so instead of working on the addition, we decided to work on the back porch. That was the game plan as of Friday night, after what felt like hours of back-and-forth. I’m not good with tentative, nebulous stuff. So when something was finally decided, that was sort of my stack in the ground.

Right Brain: Ok. It’s going to be different. But that’s ok. We have a game plan. We’ll be arlight as along as we stick to the game plan.

So Saturday morning, when his parents wanted to sit down again and talk more, I wasn’t ok.

Right Brain: Stop fucking with my game plan! /rage

I sat and brushed all three cats while things continued with the back-and-forth, eating away into the morning as it got hotter and hotter outside.

Inside my head, it turned to, “All of this talking is just that. Talk. Not action. Nothing is going to get decided or accomplished today. It’s just going to be more theory and things are going to stay as they are and no progress is going to be made and this is why projects never get finished because it’s all talk and no actual action to follow through.”

So by noon-ish, when still nothing had been accomplished I was more not ok than when we had first sat down to talk.

Ox and I had plans to go into town for lunch and to run errands, but I didn’t want to do any of the “fun” stuff when no work had been accomplished on the one of two days where things could actually get accomplished.

It’s hard to explain how the situation played out without being there to see all of the non-verbal aspects of the interactions, but essentially he knew I wasn’t ok. I knew he wasn’t ok. He went to the restroom. I went to the room and curled up in bed to sulk in my feelings of frustration and uselessness because none of the projects that need to be worked on are things I can do on my own. I stayed stuck inside of my head for a while, waiting for him to come back so we could go into town, which I didn’t want to do and was worried about because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of my funk to just enjoy our time out together.

When he eventually did come back into the room he was hot and sweaty, so I knew he had been working on something without me. We went outside to have a cigarette, which yes, I’m still smoking, and he asked what was wrong because something was very clearly still wrong with me.

He had been working on the back porch without me. Good to know because otherwise, it would have been concerning to have been in the restroom for that long. But still not ok because I had wanted to help. I don’t want it to be “Hey, go do all of this work. K. Thanks. Bye.”

I want it to be us working on something, spending time together. I want to be part of it. I don’t want it to be an obligation for him to work on one of his few days off while I relax and do nothing. I like working. I like being helpful. I like being a part of the process, the progress. It would be us making memories together so once it’s done we can remember something that we did together. Something we can look back on and smile about a silly joke that was made or the frustrations we overcame or any number of seemingly small things that you don’t realize are important until you reflect back on them and realize it really was actually worth it and made life a little more meaningful.

Sort of like those small moments where you have a cup of coffee with someone. You don’t realize how much it warmed your soul until you’re sitting one day, remembering that time and it makes you smile.

I want things like that with him. I want to feel like I’m part of the house and that I belong here, but it’s hard to feel like that when I’m kept in a box on the side, not allowed to do anything, or invest in anything, while everyone else goes around and gets stuff done. That’s not how I want it to be. I don’t want to be a nagging force harping about stuff and having other people do the work.

That’s how I felt while we sat outside. I nagged and sulked and so he went outside and did something without me just so I could be “happy” only it didn’t make me happy. It made me frustrated because I was denied my memories and warm moments.

He said I wouldn’t have liked helping with what he did. I guess there were a lot of bugs and spiders when he moved the stuff that was piled on the porch. I can’t deny that I would have been a total wuss when it comes to the spiders and I fully accept any shit anyone gives me for that. Spiders are gross and we’re all allowed to have our “one thing”. Spiders are mine, so suck it.

I still felt like crap for not having been there and we talked about it as we drove into town.

A lot of progress was made with the back porch and it’s pretty awesome to see that much space. It just would have been nice to feel like I had done something other than nothing. Maybe this could be a learning moment for me. Instead of getting caught up inside my head, maybe I should have communicated more. Maybe a lot of the icky feelings could have been avoided if I had expressed why it was important to me to work with him beforehand rather than afterward.

I don’t know.

I do know that we’re still ok.

We went to a Greek restaurant for lunch. It was amazing. I had a gyro and totally didn’t feel guilty for eating the pita bread because it was fantastic. I also didn’t eat anything else the rest of the day until around 11 pm that night because there was sooooo much food. My trainer is going to be so frustrated with me for skipping my snacks. #worthIt

After lunch, we went to a bike shop where I finally, FINALLY, got my bike rack. Hooray. The sales associate was extremely helpful. He looked up the different types of racks that would work with my car, explaining the advantages and disadvantages to each along with the prices. Once I had settled on one, which they had in stock, he even helped Ox and I get it attached to my car so we didn’t have to worry about getting home and not being able to figure it out.

I was extremely pleased with the experience and will most likely continue to go to that store as I need work done on the bike, which will hopefully happen now that I can use the bike rather than letting it collect dust like it has been.

I also bought a tire patch kit and a portable tire pump while we were at the shop since Ox wanted me to. It’s sort of sweet how he doesn’t want me to get stranded on my bike in the middle of nowhere.

We stopped at a Sally’s as well so I could pick up hair dye. I like the purple in my hair but it’s not as dark as I would like for it to be. It’s more of a bright purple and I want something closer to a deep violet. So I picked up some blue dye to mix with the purple to hopefully give it a darker hue. It’s what I used to do with Manic Panic. We’ll see if the results turn out the same with this new brand.

From there we went to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I wanted to see about getting a new top for my race Saturday. Less than a week until that happens. Oh god. >.<;

It’s something I’ve thought about since signing up for the race. I want to be able to see my tattoos while I run. With the current compression gear that I have, I can’t. The shirts cover my biceps, which isn’t a bad thing when you’re rolling around on the mats during a no-gi practice. But they aren’t what I want when I’m on the bike or running. I know this is pretty much a trivial issue, but I also know I would mentally feel better if I could find something that fit what I wanted.

The compression gear I wear is stuff I find in the guy section, so that’s where I looked first. They had a sleeveless style, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. I can never find stuff in the girl section so I thought I would be doomed to dissatisfaction. When I stepped out of the changing room, rejected options in hand, Ox was there were two new choices that he had found while he waited.

I didn’t like one of them, but the second option actually turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. And I’m not just saying that because he picked it out. The only downside to the top is that it has a mesh back. I like being covered, so all of the tops I get are solid, but if that’s the only issue with the top then I think it’s as close to perfect as it can be.

I like the thought that even though I’ll be running the race alone, in a way Ox will still be with me. I’ll be wearing “his” shirt. Maybe that’s overly sentimental or INFJy of me, but I like it. It makes that soft, squishy, girly part of my brain happy.

We stopped at Best Buy so he could pick up a new game to play. From there we went grocery shopping before heading home. I stayed within my budget for food so that’s nice. I also found a glass bottle that I really like for mixing my protein shakes in. I haven’t tried it out yet, but in theory, it meets all of my requirements. Today will be the test day since I was still too full from lunch for a shake when we got home.

I spent the remainder of the evening in the kitchen prepping food and doing some of the cooking.

The cauliflower mash I’ve been making turned out pretty awesome this time ’round. I ended up with way more than I need for the week but according to the Internet, it can be frozen, so that’s what I did. I should have enough for my meals next week, which is a nice feeling.

I tried a homemade marinara sauce. That wasn’t exactly a failure, but I can see where I want to try to improve it for next time. The sauce I made last night is another thing which can be frozen, so I plan to use it next week, rather than this week, so attempt number 2 won’t happen for a little bit.

A while ago I found a dry rub mix for venison which is AMAZING. I’ve used it on chicken a few times since then and it goes great on steak, too. Since the venison roast was so good I wanted to see if a beef roast would be similar. So that’s currently what’s in the oven baking. I’ll know in a few hours how that experiment turned out.

So, lots of things are getting figured out food wise.

Oh. Saturday I also increased my run time. That was successful. I stretched pretty well after my run so I’m glad to report minimal soreness.

I got a call back from the dojo. The owner seems extremely nice. We had a fairly lengthy conversation about the different classes. He explained the Krav Maga class to me and their BJJ / MMA stuff. He won’t be at the dojo on Monday, but he said he would let his instructors know I would be coming in so they can get me set up with a free trial week. I’m completely, totally stoked.

There’s still an issue with my paycheck. Surprise surprise, right? I got all of my bills paid along with all of my extra “me” stuff, so I’ll figure that out on Monday. I also submitted the Concur report, so I should be getting that money back in the next few days. Jon will be buying his plane ticket for the trip either Tuesday or Wednesday, so while I have the funds to do that, I’m going to wait to see what he gets before making my own plans.

It’s only 10 am even though it feels later. That might be because I’ve already spent so long talking to Jon. I don’t think there’s much planned today, which I actually feel ok with.

For once, I don’t want to really “do” anything.

I want to go for my bike ride. I want to dye my hair. I want to finish cooking my meals because it makes me feel good about myself to take care of my self. I want to cross stitch more because I’ve actually stitched for the past two days and it hasn’t been painful to hold the fabric in my hands. I want to not worry about who’s covering my shift Friday because that’s not my problem.

Today, I simply want to just be. So that’s what I’m doing to do. I’m just going to be.

 

Daily Post 093: Enjoying Summer

Standard

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.

Daily Post 086: There Was Progress

Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other news…

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

 



*Brief Pause In Writing*


 

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

A lot has happened since then.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I drove home trying not to cry in anger.

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

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

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

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

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

No. Fuck that.

I want to know what’s going.

I deserve to know what’s going on.

I’m owed that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s showing me that things are different.

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

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

It’s interesting.

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

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

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

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

 

Daily Post 049: Learning to Care

Standard

I wrote on Tuesday. Tuesday evening, specifically.

Wednesday seemed like another awful day full of overwhelme. I went to the gym after work again. Well, actually… first I went to the dojo. I had kept that as my shining light at the end of the tunnel all day. I could make it through all of the hectic, crazy bullshit because at the end of it I could go to my dojo.

I didn’t get out of work early enough, though. I’m sure rain during rush hour traffic didn’t help with getting me there in record time. By the time I made it to the dojo there was only 30 minutes left of the Muay Thai class and I didn’t have my gi for the following jujitsu class. It sucked realizing my time was going to be so short; almost pointless. I did stay until the end of Muay Thai and it was a good workout, though light and short.

I did stay until the end of Muay Thai and it was a good workout. I bruised the crap out of the top of my foot. I wanted, needed, to get as much out of my body as I could for those few minutes so I pushed harder, kicked harder, and allowed the pain to start washing the day away.

It wasn’t enough to get rid of the angst and tension from work, though, and that was frustrating. It wasn’t enough to make me feel ok.

Sadly, frustratedly, I bowed out for Muay Thai then headed to the gym so I could try running the rest of everything off. The machine I picked to run on hadn’t been reset and I didn’t realize that until I had already been on the treadmill for a song or two. I didn’t care. I wasn’t on it for the numbers that night. I was on it so I could be ok. So I could go home. So I could not cry.

I ran well. I ran faster than I think I ever have, going past 7 mph. At least I think that’s what the number on the treadmill means. Who knows.

By the time RunKeeper told me my workout was done I knew that I needed to stop, otherwise my legs were going to regret it and I would be forced to take extra recovery days. I still wasn’t ok, though. Why couldn’t I shake these feelings, damnit?! What did I have to do?

I didn’t have an answer for myself so I went to the sauna and sat for a bit, trying to meditate my way to inner peace, but that too didn’t work. Nothing seemed to work.

I hurt and felt like a failure and nothing was soothing over the wounds of the day. I was still bleeding out emotionally.

I left the sauna and sat on the first steps of the pool in the gym, soaking my feet in the cold water as I sent a text to my younger brother. I couldn’t call mom. I’ll never be able to call mom. But I could still talk to Jon. I could still hear his voice and tell him that everything sucked.

Me: Busy?

After a few minutes, he replied with no, asking what was up.

I said nothing important. It had been a rough day at work and that I wanted to hear his voice.

He called and we talked for about an hour as I sat in the pool not caring about who heard my conversation.

I explained the past two work days. How I had to work with my head RN and how it always seemed like I did everything wrong in front of her. How days seemed bad now even though recently they had been good, amazing even. We talked about why my RN’s opinion means so much to me. How mom had been an RN and maybe this was my way of getting “mom’s approval” and praise.

It was a good conversation, one which I had silent tears for part of. We talked about his trip back home for the eclipse. We talked about his part time job at the school. We talked about his roommates and mine. By the end of the conversation, I was feeling better. I felt solidly grounded in reality and not falling through the chaos in my head.

I went home and slept deeply not caring about any chores that may have needed to be done. They could wait. Tomorrow would be another 24 hours.

Thursday I slept all day. Ok… not all day. I did get up and rewash the load of laundry that I never switched over to the dryer. But aside from that I really didn’t do much. Pretty sure I showered. I think I chatted with Warren briefly. But for the most part, it was me recovering from Monday and Wednesday.

Yesterday put things into perspective. I worked. It was another rough day. I was sitting in the breakroom during my lunch break when two of my coworkers also came in for lunch. One of them mentioned how I looked “perturbed”.

I said that it felt like the day had been a disaster so far and I could never figure out what happened on rough days to make it domino into such a crap-tastic time. I also acknowledged the fact that I really didn’t know how badly we had done with getting patients on the machines at their scheduled time and that it was entirely possible that things were fine and it was just my perspective on how things were going that was skewed.

They both gave me advice, mostly revolving around “don’t sweat it.”

There’s only so much that my team can do, and the only thing we can consistently do is our best. I’m not going to stop caring because that’s the whole reason I changed careers, but I think I need to adjust what I care about. I can’t care about literally everything because if I do this job is going to kill me. I need to save it for the important things.

Turn over is always going to be organized chaos. There are too many variables for it not to be. One patient might become hypotensive while another takes a longer time clotting and bleeds through their gauze a few times while at the same time another patient wants to come off the machine 15 minutes early, adding to the chaos.

Other times it might run smoothly with no deviations from the expected or intended schedule.

Every day is different. I can’t hold onto the thoughts of, “This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen.”

I guess that’s a lot like having to let go of the life I thought I would have. I thought mom would still be alive. I thought I would have her for another 20 years with her and that she would live long enough to see Jace graduate and become a karate ninja samurai. I thought things would be different, but they’re not. Things are how they are.

I guess that’s the mentality I need with my work days. It doesn’t matter what I thought the day would be like. The day goes how it goes regardless of what I want or expect. “Go with the flow.” “Don’t sweat it.”

It’s not that I don’t care. It’s more like I won’t waste energy on trying to change the course of a river. I can’t change it, I can only go with it and let the current do all of the work. The destination is still the same. I’ll still reach the end of my day. I’ll most likely still be tired at the end of it, but I think one method will leave me with much less stress and inner tension than the other.

I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to implement this new mentality right away. I think it will take some time, but it’s something I’m going to try. Those moments where I feel overwhelmed and like chaos is raining down all around me I’m going to try to remember to step back and let go of trying to control it all. I can’t control it, I can only go with it.

The rest of the day went better after the conversation with my coworkers. All of the third shift patients got put on their machines. I was able to make needle packs for the following day as well as close down the machines we were no longer using. I was able to go to the stockroom and get the supplies we were out of or low on. I was able to update all of the documentation. I was able to finally breath is what it felt like.

I left work around 5 pm. I didn’t want to go to the gym. The dojo was doing randori which I don’t feel I’m ready for. Title Club was still closed as they transition to a new location, and to be honest I don’t think I would have wanted to do anything physical anyway.

Instead, I thought about what I wanted to do with my evening. I needed closure. Something to signify my night was done and that I was now able to relax.

I ended up getting dinner at a little place called Viet-Nomz. They have amazing food, and it’s an extremely small establishment near my apartment which encourages social dining. I’m not sure if that’s actually a thing but it reminds me of one of the customs in Germany where it’s socially acceptable to share tables with strangers as long as you ask if you may sit with them.

Since it was dinner time they were fairly crowded, but I was ok with that. I sort of wanted that feeling; being part of, lost in, the crowd. I sat across from two girls who were chatting together. I put my headphones in and ate my rice bowl. This was my reward for surviving; a bowl full of carbs and protein. Good music and a moment of not having to worry or care.

It was an extremely fulfilling meal. Once I was finished I headed home. I did make a detour to CVS for some Icy Hot patches for my back. It’s been bothering me lately and those have helped in the past.

When I got home I didn’t bother with the kitchen. I took my shoes off and headed straight upstairs to my room. I didn’t bother with anything other than showering and putting one of the patches across my lower back. I changed into comfy clothes and scrolled through Facebook for way longer than I care to admit until I finally crawled into bed. By that point, I didn’t even bother to take out my contacts I was so tired.

My alarm went off at 2 am since I forgot to turn it off. That’s when I figured taking out my contacts would be a smart move. I drank so water while I was up then when back to sleep until about 9 am.

I’m currently at Perkins. My breakfast has been eaten. I’m working on my second up of coffee. I have an appointment for a deep tissue massage at 6:30 this evening. I’m going to be going to kickboxing at 1pm since it’s the grand reopening for Title Club. I have a few odds and ends as far as doing chores goes, but overall it’s a pretty low energy / recovery day. Same with tomorrow I think.

I was supposed to have a sleep over with Mother Earth this evening, but she’s feeling under the weather so we’re going to reschedule our girl time. Big Bad and I have plans to see each other for our scheduled Monday evening. One of my coworkers wants to split my Monday shifts with me, so instead of 4 am I would go in at 10 am and still leave by 5 pm. That gives me time to go to the gym in the morning, shower, eat, and start my week off the way I would really like to. I think that will be a fantastic change for me. I won’t be getting as much overtime, but I also won’t be nearly as burnout as I’ve been fearing I would be. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this change works for both of us since she needs the hours.

I still have the blog award nomination I need to write for, but I think I will save that for either later today or tomorrow. I think I want to go back home for a little bit and rest before going to kickboxing.

I guess looking back at it, this week hasn’t been bad. It’s been long and it’s had a lot of stress, but it’s had a lot of positive moments, too, and for the next two days I’m off and I plan to fully, thoroughly, enjoy them.

Part of learning to care is learning to care for myself. I think a few days of introverted downtime is what I need and I’m not going to give myself shit for it.

Daily Post 035: Kidney Stones VS Childbirth

Standard

I’m not going to apologize for my life. I’m not going to apologize for not writing. I’m not going to apologize for spending money or for playing video games. I’m not going to apologize for being sick or frustrated or tired.

I still don’t feel much at the moment even though the depression and apathy I have been feeling for the past several weeks seem to be easing their grip.

Big Bad and I finally got to spend an evening together. I don’t know when we’ll be able to see each other again. Maybe not until the weekend after next. We enjoyed our time together we both slept well. In the morning, he went to the gym, letting me sleep in, though I did wake up when he text me to let me know he would be back. I replied with my own message to which he replied, “Go back to sleep :p ”

Our exchange made me smile as I snuggled deeper into the blankets and his scent. It made me feel like I belonged which was extremely nice after feeling so alone for so long. We finally were able to share coffee together again. We got to talk about the things going on in our lives which included my trip to the ER.

I had a kidney stone Friday morning. That sucked. Like, literally was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, level of suck which I feel is saying a lot for how hard I play with my partners as a masochist. I was in so much pain I threw up and couldn’t walk. Warren took me to the ER since of course this happened at 1 am and all of the urgent care clinics were closed. FML.

And to make it even better, on the way to the ER the pain faded. By the time we got checked in and I saw someone I was still dazed and fuzzy from the intensity of the pain, but I could walk again, and I could answer all of their questions though I was sort of slow on some of them.

They put an IV in my arm in case the pain came back I and needed medication. I had blood work drawn which included a pregnancy test. Good news. I’m not pregnant. Big Bad was also appreciative of that result. I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

Everything was inconclusive.

The doctor, an extremely nice lady, said given my symptoms and description they believed it was a kidney stone that was too small to show up on the scan.

While I was waiting in between all of my poking and prodding I consulted the wise and mighty Google, asking it what the causes of kidney stones could be.

Basically, it’s one of those, “if you breathe you might get one” sort of things… dehydration could cause it, too much protein in your diet can cause it, being sick can cause it, genetics can cause it. Most adults will experience at least one kidney stone in their life. I’m totally ok with having this off of my to-do list because when I say it sucked and was the worst pain I have ever experienced, it’s not a joke or exaggeration. According to the Internet, kidney stones are worse than childbirth. There’s some food for thought.

I think what happened is the stone formed due to my sinus infection or as a result of the antibiotic I took to fend off the ear infections because of the sinus infection.

Whatever the cause, I’m seriously done with this being sick thing.

On an unrelated note… Big Bad and I said the L word to each other. Actually, we typed it to each other since we were exchanging emails but as introverts, we both count it as “saying” it. Maybe “admitting” would be a better word to use.

I don’t think it will ever be commonplace for us to say it to each other. Not for a while at least. I think we’re both still skittish about things like that due to our past experiences, but we’re both happy we’ve addressed it. I know, at least for myself, when my friend asked me how I felt about telling him I love him I replied with “vulnerable”. I’m pretty sure he’s in a similar boat.

Yes. We love each other. That doesn’t change anything or require anything more or less from either of us. We like how things are. I’m glad that if anything were to happen to me, or to him, that we’ve had the exchange we did. Neither one of us will leave having doubt about the other person’s feelings. That means a lot to me.

I don’t like thinking that I might die and not get a chance to say the things I want to say to the people I care about. It makes me feel like I’m not living my life the way I should be living it. Fully, completely, every day. When I hold back from saying something I’m assuming I’ll have tomorrow, which isn’t true. Nothing guarantees me more time so I want to say and do the things I want to while I can rather than later because there might not be a later.

I finally said what I’ve been holding onto for months. It’s relieving. I’m glad I was able to say it and that we’re still ok.

Work is going well. I was going through overwhelmed feelings, but that’s eased up a little bit. Since I had to miss work Friday due to the kidney stone I’m going to be at my clinic all week next week. No mind numbing power point lecture for me. Woohoo.

Hey, Universe… just for the record… I would have rather sat through the power point than experience pain worse than childbirth… You know… in case you were wondering…

In other news, I have a new gym membership. I know… I seem to be going through them like candy. I feel a need to write this out so I can straighten it out in my own mind.

Because of the work schedule I have now, I can’t make it to classes at the boxing club like I was, so even though I enjoy my membership and I love the instructors, it’s not getting used and won’t be renewed. I’m actually going to talk to them about ending the contract, which that will require more writing about later.

I wasn’t using the YouFit, and the only reason I had that one was because it was $10 a month with no contract and let me run inside while it was cold due to winter. There really wasn’t much else going for it which is why I canceled it as soon as it started warming up.

I still have the dojo membership and I will be keeping this regardless of my schedule. It sort of sucks right now though. I can’t really make it to the classes, not without totally fucking over my sleep schedule, which is why I’ve switched over to doing private lessons twice a week. I’m mostly focusing on conditioning and technique, which I’ve already noticed some pretty serious results, so I’m not complaining too much about the switch. I do need to acknowledge my ache from not being able to spar with my dojo family at the moment. So while, yes, technically I am there, I’m still missing a large part of what it means to be at the dojo. At least for me. It’s a temporary change, but it still aches.

I do miss going to the YMCA like I was when I worked at Full Sail. I stopped attending that because I lost the benefit through work, but mostly because they tore the building down to rebuild it. I would possibly entertain the idea of going back except with my new schedule, even if the building was done, which it won’t be until next year, I would have the same issue as the boxing club. I work too early to workout before work and the classes in the evening are too late for me to do them after work.

So that brings in this gym. 24 Hour Fitness. Warren is actually the one who told me about it since he just got a membership there.

They’re open 24 hours, which is instantly a plus. They have saunas and showers. Already sold.

In addition to having those three of my requirements, they have a nifty system with their studio room. They offer classes during certain hours, but on “off” hours there’s a TV. You’re able to search for different types of classes, combat body, yoga, step class, strength building, whatever. You can select that class and do it on your own by following the instructor on the TV. They’re also working on getting punching bags because that’s a huge request from the gym members, including myself.

There’s a facility within biking distance of my apartment, and walking distance from work, though I would most likely drive, and you get access to all facilities with your membership; no having to pay an extra fee or more expensive membership to get that perk.

I’ve gone to the gym since Wednesday. Thursday I ran for the first time in what feels like forever. I’ve shaved two minutes off my run time. I didn’t hurt during or after my run. I was breathing extremely well through it, too. I’ve had a quiet empty space to do yoga every time I’ve gone, and once I’m done I get to sit in the sauna and relax, doing my dragon thing and basking and in general not giving a fuck about anything going on in Life because Life can’t touch me while I’m surrounded by the heat and warmth. For those 15 minutes, Life doesn’t matter. My run time doesn’t matter. Work doesn’t matter. Rent doesn’t matter.

It’s my 15 minutes of silence and I’m glad I have it back. I think it’s helped.

I still ache in my chest from my grief. I can still feel it. A heaviness. A tenderness that I don’t want to touch or deal with. Sort of like when a cut is infected. It hurts so you don’t want to do anything with it, but until you scrub out the infection and clean the wound it’s not going to get better. The pain has to get worse before it gets better.

I think that’s where I’m at right now. I think I need to do some meditation or further writing to figure out why I’ve hurt so much recently.

I think there’s a lot of factors for it. Not seeing my blacksmith or Big Bad for so long led me to feel disconnected. Being so severely sick didn’t help anything. There’s still stress regarding the apartment. There’s stress from work. Until recently there was also the reduction of workout time, which for me feels like a punishment; like I’m having to give up a part of myself.

I talked to my brother Thursday afternoon as I was leaving work. I needed to talk to someone. I needed someone who would understand why I was sad and crying and I needed to know that I could cry and still be loved I guess. That I wasn’t weak or broken.

I told him that all of my coworkers constantly tell me that I’m doing well. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive. I told him that I appreciated their words and that they really do mean a lot to me, but that I still felt like a failure because I wanted to hear mom tell me those things. I wanted to know mom believed in me and supported me. I told him that I started trash talking myself in my head, saying that I would never get this and that I should quit, but that I stopped myself because I can’t do that to myself anymore. Mom isn’t here to counter the Evil Voice. I usually don’t let it get very far anyway, but I CAN’T let it erode my confidence away. Mom’s not here to clean up my scrapped knees anymore.

I remembered something on the way home after the conversation with my brother. It was a situation from a while ago. I had been packing up my stuff at the apartment I shared with Zane. At the moment I was working on taking down the cards my mom had sent me. I always kept them taped up around my corkboard so I was taking the tape off of them and putting them away in a box. These were my last words from my mom. I couldn’t get rid of them.

I wasn’t really reading them, but I was looking at them. There was one, a gray and white picture of a baby duck on a board looking down into a large bowl of water.

I picked up the card and pulled the tape off of it, just like I had all the others. When I set it down the card fell open and on the inside was the phrase, “I believe in you”.

I remember I bawled my eyes out as I sat on the floor. And I cried again in my car as I remembered that event because that day all I had wanted was to feel like my mom believed in me and that I was doing the right thing. She’s always believed in me. I have to remember that even though I can’t hear those words the same way anymore.

I know my mom is proud. I used to pass out at the sight of paper cuts and here I am doing dialysis. Go me. Fuck yeah, I’m a badass, and even though I know that about myself I still wish she were still physically here to see it and to say those things to me. And I guess that’s why everything hurts so much right now.

So many things have been happening and I still long for that physical connection. Her hug, her voice, her existence.

I’ve been doing well. This past month will be known as “The Dark Age of 2017” since I’ve survived the plague that’s tried to kill me eight million different ways.

Today is 14 months. One year and two months since her death.

Today has been a decent day. I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again with my younger brother. We spend most of the day running my character through dungeons. I cooked all of my food for the coming week. I even cleaned the apartment.

Internally I’m still heavy though. There wasn’t really happiness today. There hasn’t been for a while. There’s something more real and less fleeting than happiness instead. I don’t think it’s contentment or acceptance. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very flat, calm. It wasn’t a hard or heavy day and in my tired state of mind, I’m glad for that.

Tomorrow I wake up early to go to the gym before work. I work until 3 pm. Afterward, I have training at the dojo. Then I go home, shower, eat, and go to sleep. Maybe I’ll play on the computer for a little bit depending on how tired I am.

I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like doing much, but despite that, I’ve done a lot and I’ve been hanging in there. I may not be ok. I may not be doing ok. But I’m surviving, and I still want to survive. I want that to count towards something. Like a solid baseline maybe. It’s not positive or negative. Getting through everything I have been contending with goes into strengthing my foundation.

None of this has been as hard as the weeks leading up to or after mom’s death, but a lot of this shit HAS been hard and I still got it all taken care of.

That counts.

Daily Post 004: Learning How to Girl and Deflecting with Humor

Standard

Today has been a day. And it’s not over yet. It’s only 6 pm. There’s still tons of “day” left. Right now I’m tired, heavy, which is annoying for how well the rest of the day has gone.

I stayed with Big Bad last night. Trust me. It’s not as sexy as it sounds. Mostly due to my body hating me. I still feel awkward when I have to say things like, “By the way, we can’t have sexy time because I’m on my cycle.”

Maybe that’s because most guys seem to have issues with healthy, functioning females. I can’t really blame them, though. I mean… come on… from a survival standpoint, would you trust something that could bleed for seven days and not die?

All joking aside I didn’t want to send a text message admitting that yeah… I’m actually still a girl and even on birth control I still have that one week where I’m out of commission for fun time every so often. He’s been ok with me coming over in the past. Actually, Big Bad makes me feel normal and unjudged and accepted. Even without the sex we still hang out and have fun playing video games or cuddling, or whatever it is we do to enjoy our time together.

I don’t know why I still get nervous about it, but I do. I was less anxious last night than the first time I had to bring up the subject, so maybe I’ll eventually get to the point where it’s a non-issue, but last night was not that night.

Me: Can we still spend time together?
Big Bad: I suppose.

In my heart of hearts, I knew it was a joke. In my head I could hear the playful tone he would have used had we been talking face to face. I know in the eight-ish months we’ve been together he has yet to do anything to even hint at being mean, rude, or malicious towards me. I feel like he goes out of his way to make sure emotionally I feel cared for and safe.

Irrational Right Brain: He hates you. You’re an awful person for going through something you have legitimately no control over. Feel shameful and as if you are unworthy!

Fuck you, Brain. Like, for real, can you not for once just chill the fuck out?

I was silent for a while, though from a technical standpoint text messages are always silent… I didn’t know how to reply. I couldn’t think of something cute and witty. I was hurt even though I knew it was silly to feel that way. I knew my reaction was a result of past sensitivities, but knowing all of that didn’t make the emotions go away.

As I sat thinking about how to respond Big Bad sent another message.

Big Bad: I didn’t give you permission to have your period. I’m really going to have to beat your ass now.

And instantly things were ok again. It was a silly, playful, outrageous comment that had me laughing out loud because it was so ridiculous.

Me: If I could kick my own ass I would. Stupid body being a cock block.

So, I still went over to his house. We still wrestled. He still kicked my ass and choked me out with my own arm because he’s lame. We talked. We cuddled. It was actually the first time I’ve showered at his place.

When we woke up this morning we did a strength training workout video. Body Beast I think it what it was called. We both had a lot of fun with it. While we were having our coffee we actually talked about scheduling morning strength workouts. So Tuesday and Friday mornings are our strength days since he always has those mornings free.

We talked about how it would be nice to stretch afterward, which brought up my yogadownload.com membership. I’m supposed to look into flows I think would be good to do after our workout as a way to cool down and stretch out our muscles.

Overall it was awesome and a fantastic way to end the evening / start the morning.

When I got home I changed then hopped on my bike. I went to the gym and ran. Shaved a few more seconds off my time. Woohoo.

It was the first run in my new compression pants, which the shopping adventure of yesterday is a whole story in and of itself.

I had originally gone to Target at the suggestion of the Internet, but I didn’t see anything I really liked. Not enough to spend money on anyway. I tried going to Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they’re crazy expensive and I didn’t feel like spending that much money on something when I wasn’t really supposed to be spending money in the first place.

I was on my way to test my luck at Walmart when I realized I was hungry, which sucked because I was out and about with no food on me. I stopped at Arby’s for lunch and while I was there I realized I was in front of a Ross.

What the heck? Might as well check it out, right? Since I’m here and everything.

Well… best idea ever. I found a style of compression pants that I super liked and instead of paying $48 for them I only had to pay $13.

Cue shopping adventure where I go to four different Ross stores trying to find more pairs. So now I have six in total. Enough to get me through the week with a rest day.

I was super pleased that instead of the XL I thought I would need I was down to an L. That’s right, who’s a sexy badass? Me, while I’m standing alone in a changing room and not in front of a whole bunch of people because introverts would rather hide under rocks than be the center of attention. At least this introvert would rather hide under rocks. But yeah, sexy badass when alone or typing to the Internet. /flex

And thrifty.

Did I mention thrifty?

Sexy, thrifty badass.

I also happened to stop at a Lane Bryant yesterday. I wasn’t finding anything good in the way of sports bras. I figured I could get sized to see what I actually should be wearing and see if they had anything that would work since they have an athletic section.

That was an eye-opening experience. I guess I’ve lost two inches and have either gone up two cup sizes, or I’ve been in the wrong size for the past… four-ish years? Not sure. A long time, though.

I originally got two sports bras while I was at the store but later that night I was thinking about the size discrepancy of what I should be in versus what I’m currently wearing. I decided the workout tops I have are still fine so it would be a better investment to return the sports bras and get a set of regular everyday bras instead.

So, that’s what I did after biking back home from my run. I showered then headed out to return my purchase.

The sales associate I talked to today was super kind and actually explained all of the different styles and helped me expand on my girl knowledge. I really feel like all of the things she told me today were things I should have learned in high school or even middle shool as simply, “This is how you human,” information. I mean… maybe my mom “should” have told me. And maybe way back in the day she did and I just don’t remember it, but honestly, all of it was useful information that actually impacted my life in a positive way.

So currently I have what basically feels like heaven woven into fabric wrapped around my chest. Not even exaggerating.

With the shopping adventure finally at its two-day conclusion I decided to go to my sports bar for lunch. I had thought I would work while I was there, but that didn’t go according to plan. The inauguration speech was taking place. I sat and listened.

I didn’t like either candidate and I don’t have a problem admitting that. I do hope that Trump does well and that he makes smart choices because regardless of how I feel about him, he’s leading the country now. By wanting him to do poorly, or wishing him ill, I’m wishing the country ill and I don’t want that. I do want changes to be made. I’m just hoping they’re the “right” changes for the right reasons.

I was able to meal plan a bit, but the volume was so loud for the speech that I wasn’t really able to focus on anything else, like the design work I had been hoping to do. I was pretty tired anyway, so instead, I paid for my lunch then went home. I had scheduled a vet visit for Scarlet for 5 pm before I had gone out. With so much time before the appointment, I decided to nap.

I woke up feeling pretty good. I puttered around for a little bit then put Scarlet in her carrier and went to the vet.

It was hard being there. I didn’t want to be there. Scarlet didn’t want to be there. Being there is admitting there’s a problem and I don’t want there to be a problem. I want her to be healthy, and happy, and to always be there even though I know that’s now how life works.

I had the same vet I had the last time I took her to be seen. I’m glad I had her. We talked about how Scarlet’s walking as worsened. We talked about a few other behavioral things I’ve noticed.

We’re having lab work done. It won’t be in until tomorrow.

We talked about the quality of life and what the best option would be depending on what the labs show. I know one of the possible outcomes may be that she’s suffering and that ending her suffering would be humane and merciful rather than prolonging her pain simply because I’m too selfish to say goodbye.

I wish I could ask Scarlet what she wants. She’s essentially a 90-year-old human. She’s my little old lady. All I can do is observe how it seems like she can barely walk. How she doesn’t move unless she has to. How she seems to have issues with the litter box now.

It breaks my heart to see. It hurts to know that she’s aged and that even without human intervention, her time is limited. But, if she had the choice, what would she want?

I can’t ask that. I can’t know. And so I’m left waiting. I should know tomorrow, but tomorrow is so far away.

I know there’s not enough information to go on. I know that I should just breathe and wait and see what happens. It’s going to be a long night, though.

It’s going to be rough going to dance class tomorrow and then the dojo for Muay Thai and waiting, the whole time knowing that I’m supposed to be getting a phone call, and knowing that one of the outcomes could be that the “higher” road would be to be humane.

Big Bad and I have actually been talking a bit since I got back from the vet. I told him about the visit. He asked what my thoughts were and I deflected with humor. I know that’s what I do. I can have super deep conversations with people. In fact, I love having quality conversations. But when it’s about my emotions, when it’s about me hurting I try to deflect away from it.

Right Brain: So here’s this deep dark confession about fear and OH LOOK A DISTRACTION! : D

I still feel like I have to be ok for everyone else. I have to hold it together even though right now I want to be held and to cry even though I don’t even know if there’s a reason to cry. Everything might be fine and it’s just old age and arthritis.

I don’t want her to suffer. I don’t want to lose her. She’s been my companion for seventeen-ish years now. Over half my life. She’s been through so many of my life events with me.

It sucks. And until tomorrow I won’t know. So tonight I’m going to cuddle with her and enjoy the time I do have because just like with everything else, all we have is this moment.