We’re on Fire

(Survivors – The Afters)

I apologize in advance. This posted turned very negative…but even though I wear my happy carefree mask most of the time, I don’t believe in pretending pain doesn’t exist…

Sometimes it feels like everything is falling into place yet the entire world is spinning out of control…in so many ways…

 

I don’t know where to start, but I’m a healthcare professional so maybe it’d be best to start somewhere around there. I found out Saturday that my hemoglobin is 11.4g/dL. Hemoglobin is something in the blood that carries oxygen around the body. Normal is at least 12g/dL. Low levels are most often due to low iron. Low iron can cause tiredness – which is obviously also potentially related to stress and shift work, but let’s be honest. I’ve been on day shift for at least an entire week. Yes, there was the time change, but I’ve been in bad at least 9 hours every night (more than usual) and still exhausted by the end of the day. Even tired in the morning when I am usually doing awesome despite sleeplessness. I don’t wanna get up in the morning a lot of days. Sure, also a problem when I was so deeply grieving because getting up means facing another day, but this time it doesn’t seem like that should be the problem. But maybe it is just because my body is struggling to get enough oxygen…Low hemoglobin can cause shortness of breath. I thought I was just a little dehydrated and out of shape, but on Friday I had Gatorade in my lunch and after lunch just walking back up the stairs after lunch I was breathing hard and my heart was pumping. That shouldn’t happen. Headaches, check, heart going faster than usual, check, losing more hair than usual, check. Feeling squirmy and skin feeling uncomfortable – yes, I have for as long as I can remember had some sensory issues, but lately it has been different. All day I crave feeling pressure against my body and my skin just feels like it is crawling. Cold hands and feet – check. Difficulty concentrating – like always…And feelings of anxiety and depression. Those last two are what I am really thinking on. Yes, those symptoms could so easily be attributed to the residency search and stuff, but what if they aren’t? What if they are the results of low hemoglobin? What if a change is all it could take?

 

I looked at a list of foods that contain iron and how much iron…and realized I am not getting enough iron and it would take a big change to get enough through diet. I know getting it through diet is best, but I also know that there is enough going on in my life right now that making such a big change is probably too much. I realized I get a lot of my calories in a week from sugar. I don’t eat much in the way of fortified foods – most of my bread is homemade. I don’t eat much cereal instead eating oatmeal, but even then it is at least half flour. I kind of have regressed into my old self. Peas, apples, peanut butter, a little chicken, some canned beans…I’d rather have a bowl of berries than a hunk of meat. I’d rather have a bunch of candy and cookies and ice cream than most any other foods. I feel like that definitely is something that should change…but I also feel like this isn’t the right time. So I’m caught in the do I go buy some iron or do I just forget about it…and do I plan on long term treatment or trying to treat it fast then let it go…or just do nothing…I don’t even know…

 

So there is that.

 

And then there is work. To be honest, it is still going to be really hard to leave, but at the same time I can’t wait to get out. On Thursday I asked my manager to be one of my references. He did agree, but also said my shirt was inappropriate and I needed to do better. I was embarrassed and angry. My manager did admit that I was technically within the dress code…and that makes it more confusing. I am not someone who knows how to read between the lines. I don’t understand how I can follow all the rules and break them at the same time. And I don’t understand why I would be confronted when so many of my coworkers wear sweatshirts that are definitely against dress code and unprofessional. I don’t know what to do. I have no idea what was wrong with it. I have bought so many clothes recently, but now I feel like I have nothing to wear. I picked that shirt out with my parents. They are a little less conservative than me, but as ultra conservative as I am, even they are pretty conservative. I know they wouldn’t help pick out a shirt for me that was even questionably appropriate. I don’t know what to do. I have no idea what the complaint was. Tank top? Blue? Grey? Slightly form fitting? Soft fabric? The only thing I can think of is to not wear anything in any of those categories…all well and good until you realize that leaves me two three quarter length sleeve shirts, 1 dress, and maybe three other tops. If I even get a residency, I still have 7 and a half months left. 6 ways to cover my top for 7 and a half months is a lot of laundry and a lot of frustration. I know that it would look bad to have been here a year and a half and not have a reference from anyone who has even seen me since a month or so after graduation…but at the same time I just want to take it back somehow. As if not getting a reference would make the outfit conversation go away. I know cognitively it wouldn’t, but at the heart level the hot teras running down my cheeks right now say they happened in the same conversation so they are linked.

 

And what if the reason I only got one interview last year out of fur applications isn’t the whole non-traditional applicant thing, but actually because of that reference from my manager. If that why I keep getting assigned dead end projects where no one cares what my recommendation is?

 

I don’t know why my current institution wanted me when no one else did. Maybe they were just that desperate for a warm body. Clearly there was some disconnect since they didn’t want me for the residency position. What if Michelle was right and no one will ever want me as a pharmacist. Maybe I should give up. But by the time I hear about residency this year it will be too late. I won’t be able anymore to apply to schools to start over. Maybe it is time to let go of my childhood dream and realize I am not the little shy girl anymore. I don’t know how it would work, but I feel like maybe I need to find a way if I can’t get a residency to start working towards a degree in social work or counseling. I always have cared about people and even though I didn’t like that label, people always have said that listening was one of my strengths. Now that I write this, I feel like maybe this is the only little spark of hope I have left.

 

I don’t even have references yet for this year. I asked some people, but I only have two yeses. My manager and the person who describes herself as my neighbor who let me shadow her all those years ago as an elementary school kid. It is a requirement that I have at least one clinical preceptor as a reference…I’ve asked one and no response yet. And I feel like I need someone from school and I’ve asked and no response…I know people get busy or go on vacations and no response even in almost a week doesn’t really necessarily mean no…but after having so many doors slammed in my face, it is hard not to see it that way. It feels like abandonment…and I get it. I am kinda needy wanting a reference for the same position three years in a row. And would you really want to be connected to such a loser? And how long do I wait before I decide that no answer means no and start asking more people?

 

I am afraid I am going to go to all this work and all this expense this year to try again for a residency and end up still stuck in the same place. I feel trapped.

 

Can I be really honest for a second without anyone freaking out? There is a song that has been playing in my head recently. “I don’t wanna be alive. I don’t wanna be alive. I just wanna die today. I don’t wanna be alive…I don’t wanna cry anymore. I just wanna feel alive and I don’t even wanna die anymore” This song plays a lot on the radio at work and I promise I am not considering ending my life, but I so agree right now that I don’t wanna be alive…I just wanna *feel* alive

 

Today should have been a great day…but I finally dragged myself out of bed and got to church running a little late but not like actually late, just not early like I usually am. I went to the nursery and this beautiful young girl who usually stays in service was in the nursery with some of the youth group kids…but as the service was starting one of her parents came and asked who the adult was in the nursery and one of the girls answered for me identifying me as the adult. Shortly after that one of the girls picked up the cutie and left to go to service and when another girl questioned why she wasn’t staying, the answer was that staying depended on who was in the nursery. I felt like I wasn’t being trusted and I don’t know why. The day was redeemed after that when I got to hold an infant only a few days old for a while. Infants as close to birth as possible are my very favorite. It felt really good until it was time to give the baby back so his parents could go home. Then I went home and the pancakes I was going to eat for lunch I left the box in the fridge instead of the freezer for too long and they started growing blue and white mold over the weekend while I went out of town…and my orange flavored toothpaste last night tasted like it had gone bad and it just feels like everything is falling apart. And on facebook someone announced their cancer is no longer in remission and is now worse than it even was following her initial diagnosis…and someone else is struggling trying to figure out why her body has been rejecting food for months…and someone I know in “real life” has a family member with cancer and another family member with an accident that has caused her to be the caregiver for both of them, people’s marriages have been dissolving…and I guess I feel also like my problems are so small compared to that yet I can’t seem to get a grip on myself. Like seriously girl? You cried yourself to sleep a few nights ago over a comment about your clothers? And you’re crying now over the residency you haven’t gotten when you do at least have some type of job and your health?

 

On the positive side, I think I have finally figured out how to get my transcript ordered both where to send a check to get an official transcript and the necessary PhORCAS form to be connected to my application and where to enter my credit card information to get an unofficial transcript sent to myself so I can find out what my GPA actually is. One step at a time.

 

I wish someone would just tell me why no one wants me. What is so bad about me that no one will even give me a chance? I know at this point the very biggest strike against me is that I am not coming straight from school…but even when I was, I got almost as many interviews as I put in applications and was told how awesome I was and was then rejected. I don’t get it. I’m tired of being brave every day while no one else is brave enough to give me any reason why no one wants me.

 

For a long time I’ve been playing with the idea of chopping my hair (not myself, ’cause I can’t see the back of my head and cutting as much hair off as I want will require seeing the back of my head). I don’t even know why. I mean, it would be kinda nice to not constantly get my hair tangled in my nametag or my jacket zipper, but that isn’t a good reason to cut it off. I’ve been growing my hair out since third grade because in I think it was second grade I got a short haircut and I think it made me look ugly…so I have no idea how the idea of short hair came into my mind…the only thing I can think of is that because I don’t like how my life is turning out maybe somehow subconsciously I thought if I cut the hair off I would be a totally different person…that sounds kinda dumb, but that’s all I’ve got. I know it isn’t smart to make a big decision like that when your emotions are high, but I also know it would be best if my hair was similar for midyear as it will hopefully be for interviews if anyone even wants to interview me to spark their memory that they have seen this person before at midyear…so I am running out of time…and I mean, it is only hair that will eventually grow back…and I am not a second grader anymore.

 

I feel a lot right now like I did in high school, like I am looking in on a world I want to be a part of, but am separated by a big glass wall keeping me just a spectator. Alone. My best friend is incredible and I am so honored she takes the time out of her busy life to spend time with me and make me feel valued, but she has her own life and I have mine so obviously I can’t just tag along and be with her 24/7 so eventually our time ends and I have to go home…and right now home is a long way away. I have connections at home too, but I haven’t known anyone here longer than a year and a half and it just isn’t the same…and I don’t really fit in anywhere. I am young but I am single, not married. I help with youth group, but I am not outgoing. I go to worship team practice but am not bold enough to actually ask to be on the list so I know when they meet so it is all a game of wandering around the mall every week hoping I’ve picked the right day and time…and I try to be involved with a small group and other things with church, but my work schedule has me missing so much that it is hard to really be involved anywhere…the last time I made it to small group was August…I feel like you can’t really know or be known by people when you go months without showing up. I feel like I am never going to have the connections it feels like everyone else has.

 

While I was copying this post from word into wordpress, Almost Seventeen by Stephanie Pauline came on spotify. Stephanie is incredible. Let’s be honest…she is one of the people I met one day and somehow eventually became facebook friends with in high school…and considering how much facebook was my sanctuary and only included la crème de la crème, you should understand how much of an honor it is for anyone to have been included…and how amazing Stephanie must be if she made the cut after only meeting in person once. Not only is she an incredible person, but she is also an incredible singer/songwriter. These words describe spring 2017 and kinda beyond “it looked just like any other day. The sky was blue and the clouds were gray…and I raged like a hurricane. I buckled like a house of cards. I crumbled like the tower of Babel. I couldn’t stop my bleeding heart. I tried so hard you know what I mean to make some sense of this crazy scene, but I was like an ocean abound. I was bound to break…maybe I’ve failed and let them all down, but I’d rather be real not another clown. Painting on a smile like it covers our need? No thank you, I’d rather bleed.”

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I find peace makes me whole…if you want it come and get it for cryin’ out loud

(I love your presence – Bethel Music)

 

So someone with a lot more foresight than me would have saved a copy of their transcript…or at least their GPA after graduation prior to losing access to it. Yes, in my defense I was grieving and barely getting through life, but still, when I don’t even know what my GPA was and have one guess on my application and another guess on my CV, that is a problem…it is also a problem that I can’t figure out how to get a new PhorCAS transcript request form so that I can have a transcript that shows that I actually legitimately graduated…and obvi once I finally get that figured out I still have to figure out how to transport said form with a college transcript request to my school, or rather the third party they have decided to use now for transcripts…I am so overwhelmed…

 

I guess it kind of makes sense I wouldn’t remember my exact GPA…not because of how everyone said that in a few years it wouldn’t matter to me – it does – but because I do still think of a GPA as a dichotomous outcome. Either it is a 4.0 or it is not. Mine was not so I had no reason to care what the actual number was. I still feel frustrated about my GPA. I really feel that I could have had a 4.0 GPA under other circumstances. I know that number doesn’t define me, and I know that once I finish residencies and am back in a real job the chances of anyone caring what my GPA was are somewhat slim, but it still bugs me.

 

I guess maybe I should remember that a GPA is not an indicator of learning. I do not think it was really my knowledge or ability to learn that kept me from the grades I wanted. And that is okay…no one needs me to justify why my grades weren’t the best.

 

Another thing I am getting better at is letting people disagree with me, even disrespectfully, without continuing to argue my point, but also without just letting myself become everyone’s doormat. There was recently a Medscape article that I was bold enough to comment on and I was very confident in my opinion. My comment receives two sub-comments. The first was someone saying he wasn’t sure what his opinion was. His lawyer friends would love to use my words, but he isn’t sure he agrees. That I felt was a kind and respectful comment. The other comment was blasting me telling me how wrong and stupid I was and how I was probably corrupt and stuff and it really isn’t unsafe like I suggested it is to re-sell potentially adulterated drugs – that concept is just the lawmakers getting in the way. So yeah, I wanted to be like “you sir, are an idiot,” but in reality all I did was ignore it and move on with my day. By the way, be careful of any drug pricing offer that appears too good to be true…there is at least one state that is now allowing some sketchy stuff in the name of cost-saving. I don’t think cost-saving is appropriate when it comes at the expense of safety.

 

Another thing I learned recently I learned I think it was on youtube (so obvi like the most reliable source ever, right?). I learned that in adults, five years post-trauma, the amygdala (the brain structure responsible for emotions and the fight/flight/freeze response) remains over-reactive and it is unclear from studies that have been performed to date when if ever it goes back to baseline. I’m not sure whether the reactivity of the amygdala is similar in childhood and adolescence, but even if we say maybe since at that time the brain is growing so rapidly that it is capped at exactly 5 years, that means I have been in a state of consistent over-reactivity for a long time. I guess no kidding I have had some issues with anxiety. Right now it has been less than 5 years since I failed to match the first time. That was less than 5 years from the beginning of counseling relationship with my abuser (though arguably she had already started trying to hurt me before we were in an official counseling relationship). And that was about 5 years from the day my family went to the “new church” for the first time. I can’t pretend everything was daisies and roses prior to that point, but I have to admit that I became like a totally different person that day in 2008…

 

I feel like this year I really *need* to get a residency. At this point I am far enough out from school that it is already going to be hard to get anyone to seriously consider me, and that is one reason why I really need to get it. The other is that three years of experience is what qualifies you to skip PGY-1 and jump directly into PGY-2. Besides the not having been in school thing already a hurdle in my path, I don’t feel like I even want to skip PGY-1 and just go for a PGY-2. I honestly can’t put into words why, I just have this gut feeling that I don’t wanna. That three year thing is the other problem. I’ll be just shy of that three year mark next year. That means I don’t quite qualify for a PGY-2 but have (even more than this year) explaining to do about why in the world I am still trying to get a PGY-1. And, I mean, at what point does a girl just give up and recognize maybe she can’t have residency and needs to be satisfied in something else? So yeah, it feels like this is my last chance.

 

Oooh…I hate that phrase “last chance.” It is scary in and of itself, but it also somehow just now brought up the memory Summer/Fall 2014 when I got a page that said “last chance” near the top. That was the paper that limited my life…although I would later learn in law class that it was most likely not actually a valid contract, I guess even after learning that I instinctually knew that no matter how much it hurt me, it was going to hurt more to get caught in the middle of another battle of wills with M if I ever tried to just go about normal life…so yeah…that phrase last chance is a reminder of being left out. It is a reminder of being forbidden from seeking support…it is not really a good thing…it was a very disrespectful document as well. They couldn’t even be bothered to look up my graduation year…or to ask my preferred name. I do not go by my last name. Ever. (And I mean, when you have a somewhat common last name you probably shouldn’t go by your last name)…but you know what, dwelling on the past isn’t going to change it so I am going to just end the post here and move on with my life. I am sorry for little Wiggle Worm having to go through so much crap, but I can’t take it away.

Even when my enemies here

(All I Need – JJ Heller)

 

So this is going to basically be a random compilation of things because my brain is spinning with a million thought swimming around.

 

First, watch this video…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnzz-eFmKaw

 

OMG, this video (Rhett and Link’s OCD Song) is hilarious. I really needed something to make me smile today because today the application for PhorCAS opened and I got started and oh man is it an emotional rollercoaster doing that again…mostly just the downhill part…so yeah, this video made me laugh really hard, especially at the strawberry with the seeds removed and the “fixed” bubble tape roll, and that was such a needed escape.

 

Also, the sky this morning was really pretty on the left side of the sky.

 

Yesterday I determined that I am no good at flute. I took out the book that was my favorite in middle school and possibly the reason I wanted to play bass flute…and I wasn’t very good. On the fourth part of the book I gave up part way through and skipped to the next part because I got frustrated and it wasn’t fun anymore because I was doing so bad. I can only remember the fingerings up to like b and the song goes up to I think d…and there are parts of music theory I don’t remember so there were parts where I saw a bunch of symbols and was like nope. No idea what that means. I felt like maybe I should give up on making music…but then I realized that I’d probably played flute for cumulative like 1 hour over the past 7 years and even when I was in high school I really only played in band and in lessons…if I practiced at all, the majority of my practice I substituted bass flute or maybe piccolo and figured most of what people wanted from me was rhythm so it didn’t really matter what instrument I practiced on, and any musical fun time was most likely going to be bass flute…And bass flute I only played during the school year in high school until a few months ago when I bought one…and I still don’t even play every single week and mostly just play by ear…so I didn’t give up. I just decided that maybe as an adult I didn’t need to be as good as I used to be and even if I am not anywhere close to as good as I was in middle school as long as I am having fun. That is what really counts.

 

I realized recently that my email problem right now is really a remnant of everything that happened at the end of sixth year. I was struggling to get any food and water into my body and I was barely sleeping, so clearly checking (and responding and otherwise keeping up with) email was not a super high priority. And I mean, I didn’t even want to be alive, so I mean, why should email be a priority when maybe tomorrow I wouldn’t be there anymore and the emails wouldn’t matter one way or the other? I think part of my problem now is that I got so far behind that it seemed pretty hopeless, especially since it was months before I was anywhere close to doing anything more than just surviving. I don’t know if I am ever going to really catch up. It is frustrating because I used to be so on top of things. Grief changes life forever.

 

Sometimes it seems like I have made no progress ever, but then I realize that oh have I ever made progress. Yesterday I brought a bottle of hand sanitizer to church. I didn’t bring it as a safety plan or because I was anxious to not have it with me. I just felt like bringing it so I did. And I didn’t even actually use it even though I was eating while I was there. And today at work someone went home sick and I still only used 1 wipe to clean 1 of the computers I was using. I used to need at least 2 wipes for my computer and wanted to wipe every computer I used not just the one I was going to leave my stuff beside.

 

Even written words can escape me sometimes. There are still a lot of thoughts spinning in my head, but I don’t even have the words available to write about it. but I didn’t cry when I started my application and maybe it is just ’cause of how dehydrated I let myself get, but maybe it’s ’cause I am strong. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz95MznU_VU)

I Only Know it Hurts

(Here I Go Again – Casting Crowns)

 

I don’t know what sparked it…I mean, I kinda do…application season…but I don’t know what pushed it from tension in the background to overflow on the outside.

 

Maybe someone asking if I could fly which subconsciously reminded me of the “what if I fail, but what if you fly” rhetoric from Remember God by Annie Downs, Maybe it is what I heard somewhere recently about not wanting a new beginning because we are still so attached to wanting the old life back…I don’t know. I just know that I was sitting in church and suddenly I was holding back tears.

 

I think sometimes I don’t realize how much I bottle everything up and pretend everything is awesome like everyone expects until I get home and start crying. I don’t cry every day or even every week or every month anymore, but I guess times like today I wonder if that is really healing or just getting better at shoving everything back into a little box to rest on a shelf like it doesn’t even exist. I don’t understand why God would let me walk through such a dark place for so long. Sometimes I still just want out.

 

I realized that a big part of the reason why I am mostly interested in non-pediatric positions is yes, partly because logistically there are a lot more of them within a much shorter radius of home, and yes, also partly because of what people have said about some doors being closed if you don’t have the adult background, but primarily because going directly into what was supposed to happen I guess I just kind of sensed was too much. Maybe it would be better for me professionally, but emotionally it might not put me in the greatest place.

 

Just like getting a residency in phase 2 two years ago wouldn’t have erased the pain I had already experienced, getting one now won’t put me back on the same path I was on before.

 

Until everything happened, I guess I really thought that graduating and the freedom it brought with it would totally separate me from my past of abuse. Maybe if things had gone according to plan and I’d gotten the residency of my dreams it would have…but I guess more likely it would still have been there hidden away in the background corners of my life. It would have just come to the forefront at a different time. Abuse doesn’t just go away even if the abuse itself finally ends.

 

I guess that is the hard part. Getting a residency is supposed to be this thrilling thing that I’ve been working towards forever and stuff, but in reality it will be great, but it will also be really hard. The fact that I am a very non-traditional candidate at this point means that it will be painfully obvious that I am two years late to the party if anyone even is willing to take a risk on me. That difference will force into the forefront the pain that came before.

 

And I am afraid to even hope that I will get a position, because hoping just leads into vulnerability because if you hope, that hope can be stolen away and you can crash and burn. Not hoping isn’t awesome, but at least it is predictable.

 

I wish I could go back in time. I want to go back to second year and somehow find the bravery to call out M before she had a chance to wreak havoc in my life…maybe just what she did that first year may or may not have been enough to get rid of her, but if I’d been braver maybe the eyes of scrutiny could have been on her soon enough to better protect me and so many others from being hurt by her. Maybe someone could have more overtly let me know that what was going on was not okay. I know people tried to hint at it for me, but I am someone who needed the words to be unignorably clear to get it. I don’t want to blame Brittani, because she really did everything she could considering that the person she wanted to protect me from was technically her supervisor, but I wish she had found a way to get the information to me that this wasn’t just wanting to stretch me but that she was trying to protect me from M. I know she tried really hard to say it without really saying it, and I just didn’t get it…but oh how I wish I had been able to understand what she was hinting at enough to get out sooner. Oh how much different my life would have been.

 

But the past is in the past and I have to move on. If rainbow twizzlers can help me twist my head back together enough to get through the day I’ll eat a pack of those…but ultimately I guess maybe this is another wake-up call that I still have a lot left to work on. I don’t want M to control the whole rest of my life. I can’t take away the fact that I have been abused, but I need to figure out how to re-learn that I do have worth and I am good enough. And no amount of candy is going to fix that. Only God can fix that. I don’t get why God let me become so broken, but I do get that he is my only chance to ever be put back together again.

“Hear me when I say you’re not the worthless they made you feel. There is a love they can never steal away. You don’t have to stay the broken girl. Those damaged goods you see in your reflection: love sees them differently, love sees perfection…so let your tears touch the ground. Lay all your shattered pieces down and be amazed by how grace can take a broken girl and put her back together again.” -Broken Girl – Matthew West

“I don’t wanna be buildin’ castles outta sand ’cause I know they won’t stand. And the wake of judgment gonna come from your hand…’Cause you said if I searched then it’s You that I would find. I fight the fight of faith, I run the race. Just give me the grace that I could seek your face…I lay it all down that I would be found.” Counted the Cost – Cory Asbury

 

That second set of lyrics…oh my, does God know what he is doing. I clicked on the wrong video on youtube and I’ve never heard this song before and I would have just clicked off of it as soon as it was obviously not the song I was expecting to hear, but I am so glad I didn’t, because I was listening to the words and really loved it.

I live to love you as well

(He Grants Sleep to Those He Loves – Michael Card)

Have you ever had a moment where you realized a song you adored as a child that has been stuck in your head recently might actually be about a dead child? Yeah, I had that moment while I was playing my bass flute with the song “He Grants Sleep to Those He Loves” by Michael Card. As a kid I loved the entire CD that song is on so much that my parents gave me the CD to keep at some point (and obvi I still have it, because I haven’t even gotten rid of the CD’s I don’t like). I still do love most of the songs on that CD.

 

Anyway, eternal sleep being a euphemism for death, I realized, as in the title, the song says God grants sleep to the ones that he loves…and it ends with “love takes us all of a lifetime to tell.” I was like, that sounds really pretty, but if loves takes a whole lifetime to be told then wouldn’t that mean that sleep wouldn’t come until the end of the lifetime? (Although yeah, the song also doesn’t say that God doesn’t grant sleep to the ones he doesn’t love). So yeah, my whole childhood felt like it was instantaneously re-arranged, like why would anyone let their kids listen to a song about death? But realizing what the actual lyrics are (not the ones I usually sing since I can’t usually remember them all) actually makes the song make a lot more sense, because I mean, the picture on the album is an infant which makes me think it is geared towards parents of infants…umm…infants are not exactly known for being awesome sleepers. It is a Christian album, so it sure doesn’t make sense to insinuate that the kid screaming in the middle of the night would be sleeping if God loved him or her…but it makes a lot more sense to suggest that God takes home the people he loves to sleep forever in paradise. That makes a lot more sense, because theology is kind of not always in agreement about whether a newborn who dies is headed to heaven or not, and whether true or not, it sure would be a lot more comforting as a parent to at least think that you’ll see your baby again someday in heaven and that it isn’t about God not caring, but just about how very much he loved that child.

 

Speaking about things that happen and completely change your life, I was listening to a book today, and it was kind of a boring book, so I am not going to bother remembering and typing the title and author, but the one point that I thought was kind of true was when the narrator said something like so many people seem to have an ‘until’ moment. They say I never knew how good life could be until I met my husband or I didn’t realize how much love I had until I saw my first child. For people who have experienced loss that until moment is so very different. The other side is not bright and exciting, but sorrowful and lonely. Their ‘until’ is more like I never knew how deep pain could be until this defining negative event happened. I was thinking about that and realized maybe that is part of why it can be hard for people who have never experienced a deep loss to relate to those who have, because in that moment, it is almost like everything changed in an instant and absolutely nothing will ever be the same, like you are living in some alternate universe parallel to but not completely coinciding with the old universe…Anyway, shortly after that in the book there was another thought that I guess I had never put together, but makes a lot of sense. The person was saying that it was hurtful when people said it was God’s will or God’s plan that her son died, because the only thing getting her through was clinging to her belief that God didn’t want her son to die and that his face was the first one with tears, grieving the loss before she even knew it had happened. It hurt that someone would tell her God wanted her son dead when she wished so deeply her son were alive. I mean, I know God knew everything that would happen in my life before I was even born, but I guess that is why at first I couldn’t believe that God was good or that God cared. Growing up in church culture, I’d heard the stupid platitudes so many times that everything happens for a reason and God is in control and everything that happens is God’s design, so add those truths up with my pain and clearly you come to a dangerous crossroads. How can God be good if he wanted me to experience so much pain? I mean, those Sunday school truths really only leave two options: either God is not in control and things happen that he didn’t plan, or God isn’t good because he wanted me to be hurt. Neither one sounds like the pretty little Christianity box we try to sell. And really, that is an area in which I would love to hear other opinions, because after thinking about what the book said and stuff it really left me with a lot more questions than answers…even going back to the Garden of Eden. God hates sin; it breaks his heart…but if he is all-powerful and in control, could he not have just not orchestrated Adam and Eve eating that apple? Like laying on my bed thinking right now, I’m not sure how I never asked this question before, and now I really want an answer…not trying to play devil’s advocate, just really trying to understand some big puzzle pieces that fell into my hands…

You are the Truth Outscreaming These Lies

(Red Sam – Flyleaf)
Sometimes you just gotta stop and be like hey girl can we stop and do body check in…you’re not hungry and you’re not even having fun shoving the candy in your mouth. anymore…you’re just stressed out…
…and at this point most people would throw away the wrappers and find something to do…but I am not most people so I went through my pencil bag looking for more candy, because sometimes that is easier than trying to face the real problem.
Yeah…my stomach is full. As much as I LOVE eating candy, it just wasn’t fun anymore, not because of anhedonia or anything…just because I had reached the point where there was no longer an incremental reward from continuing to shove candy in my piehole. I am not someone who reaches that point very often…food is pretty much one of my love languages. Y’know there is an issue when I am annoyed to be putting more candy in my mouth. Lol.
So yeah…today I downloaded my flight information (which, yes, I should have done a long time ago) and discovered that I wasn’t booked on the direct flight home after midyear that I requested and instead was booked on a flight that includes a layover and plane change causing me to get back to the originating airport so many hours later at night that by the time the plane lands the last shuttle from the airport to my teeny tiny community an hour and a half to two hours away will have not only left the airport, but deposited its contents at the depot in town. Luckily my dad is coming to the rescue and will bring me to and from the airport. Yes, I know airport parking exists, but unfamiliar things are already hard for me and so just the airport is more than enough overwhelm for me without adding on trying to figure out what to do with airport parking.
And this whole discovery led me to realize that I kinda need to figure out how I am getting from the airport in California to my hotel and back. In Vegas I probably could have walked if I wanted to, but in Anaheim the airport is a LOT further away…so that ain’t happenin’
And I gotta start deciding and asking people to be my references…
And that leads to what is probably the biggest problem. I am terrified of applying again. I am afraid that M was right that no one would ever want me. I am afraid that I won’t get a position and I am afraid that I will get a position and have to uproot my entire life again just to end up in another dead end when no one wants me for PGY-2 or for a non-residency position afterwards. I know that is a sucky attitude to have…and I know that hey, but what if you fly thought…but it is where I am right now. I know the words are lies…but they feel so real. They became embedded in my identity and negative identities are really hard to change.
And so to deal with my stress I am shoving way too much food into my body and ignoring the STOP it cues my stomach is trying to send.
Lol…wanna know what happens when you are too stressed out? You almost actually send an email to all the pharmacy staff in your region that just says “seriously people, what is wrong with you?” Luckily I calmed down before I hit send and was a lot more polite. See, October 21-27 was pharmacy week and I put together gift bags for every employee and student. There should have been enough for everyone with a few extras for the admin department that helps out with so many pharmacy activities. Everyone knew they were only supposed to take one bag…and I came in this morning and based on what was left when I left yesterday and who already got a bag, I know some people took a second bag. And almost every single bag left had had the same item or two taken out. I get that most people had already taken their bag and maybe should have hurried up if they wanted to get an intact bag…but there were at least two employees who were off last week and are still off this week. I managed to find enough to get them bags, but I was angry that people took it upon themselves to just help themselves to more when other people hadn’t even had a first chance yet. So after getting those two people a bag there isn’t much besides a few pens and stress balls and maybe two applesauce cups left…so much for having anything left to offer to thank the people who help us make everything happen…so that wasn’t a great start to the morning. Especially since I told people that I would send an announcement Friday when I had read through the schedules and given everyone a last chance to get a bag…so yeah…I didn’t even read through the schedules because it wasn’t like there was anything I could do if there were anyone still left out. If I’d left the bags in the snack area where people leave stuff they are sharing that would be one thing, but they were clearly not supposed to be for people to take as many as they wanted…okay, rant over…

Got to Trust That I’m Safe and Sound

(You – Britt Nicole)

 

Today is Halloween…which isn’t so much of a holiday once you hit middle school and are no longer young enough to trick or treat, but are not bold enough to invite yourself to help your friends trick or treat with their littles and do not have your own littles yet.

 

But anyway, Happy Halloween…

 

So yeah, today being Halloween means that tomorrow is November. Tomorrow being November means that tomorrow the application opens for residencies…and it means that in one month for tomorrow I will need to be at the airport to go to midyear.

 

My brain is spinning.

 

I’m trying to pretend everything is fine and stuff…but it is kind of not.

 

I need to decide who to ask and then ask people to be my references. I don’t wanna. I mean, by this point would you want to write a letter for the third year in a row for this failure? Or alternatively would you be thrilled to write for the second year in a row in order to lose an employee?

 

And plus starting an application means facing again that I have continually failed. At this point people from my class should be done with both PGY-1 and PGY-2 and moving on to the job for which they have been preparing…and I am over here still trying to make it to step 1. I haven’t even started PGY-1. While my peers will have been pharmacists long enough to precept by this summer, I will maybe be being precepted as a brand new resident…or maybe I will be on the outside looking in yet again. I just want someone to accept me. Will anyone ever give me a chance?

 

And putting an application out there means holding on to at least a little bit of hope that can subsequently be taken away when I fail again.

 

I don’t even know how this is going to work if people do want to interview me. I asked off for every Monday and Friday during interview season and got rid of whatever weekends I could, but there aren’t any guarantees those’ll be the days people want to interview me and even if those are the days, there has to be some way for me to get there and get home without missing a second week day.

 

And I need to finalize my list of programs to which to apply.

 

And I need to edit my CV again.

 

And I gotta figure out how to get to the airport and back.

 

And I gotta find out when my flights are, because the travel agency had to change them and I haven’t printed the new information yet…and I gotta figure out how you get a bag checked if you don’t sign up for that in advance, because the travel agency people said the best way to do it on my travel card is at the airport and I’ve never done that before.

 

And I gotta figure out how to get from the airport to the hotel and back…

 

What if no one wants me again? Do I keep trying over and over? When do I give up and realize I’ll never be good enough? When do I accept that my dreams have completely died? When do I just pick a new career and start over? Or do I take a break and just see what happens? I have no idea what to do…this is not what I thought I was signing up for way back when. Inside my head the what if wasn’t going to ever happen. And then it did. Again and again.

Fly to Jesus and LIVE

 

(Come to Jesus – Chris Rice)

 

This song came on the radio Friday evening and OMG…it is not the style of song that I usually connect with, but I was loving it…and then it clicked. This song is embedded with a lot of memories. On August 10, 2008 my family started going to a new church. I guess I kinda knew my parents were looking because sometimes on holidays we checked out a new church, but then the worship pastor at our church got quit and it wasn’t a holiday and we were at a new church. It was like a switch flipped and now we had a new church. And I was so not having it. I was angry and sad and hurt and lost and…well I guess probably grieving a loss that kind of involved my identity very similarly to what was going on a couple springs ago…the one place I really fit in was taken away. And I had just quit swimming less than a year before and now another piece of my identity was being taken away. And every plan I had for my life revolved around this one church. And everything changed. I was in denial at first. I think there was some part of me that thought if I complained and cried long enough it would all go away. But the longer we were there the more I knew there was no going back. And there was a day that fall I went back on my own, and as much as I wanted to think if I gave it a few weeks I would fit right back in, I also knew I was kind of out of place. Everyone had picked their Sunday school classes weeks before. I didn’t have a class to go to, and obviously coming in the middle I couldn’t really select a class with homework or a class that built on previous lessons because I’d be behind…not to mention that when something big happens it doesn’t happen in a bubble. A lot of people were missing…and there were also new people, because another local church was breaking up about the same time. I guess it was kind of like refugees finding sanctuary in each other’s homes.

 

All that to say, my family was at the new church. I think it must have been a few weeks in, because I seem to remember there being at least one person I recognized in the section to the left of the section my family was in. One of the worship songs while we were seated was “Come to Jesus” and the leader asked people to stand at the part they liked best. Umm, backing up a minute, I was (and still am) extremely shy. At that time I was more like socially anxious or maybe even selectively mute (but not that anyone would really label me that way since the classroom speaking with teachers in the actual class setting was where I felt safe enough to use my voice). The idea of choosing when to stand during the song was terrifying. My brother is great. I don’t know if he was intentionally doing it knowing my fear or if it was just one of those I am looking around glances that I just took as a form of communication, but we got to the “fly to Jesus” part and he looked at me as if to say “wouldn’t you like to fly” and we stood together. Because, I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to fly! So yeah, this paragraph is what that song reminds me of, but thinking about that is when I really realized the similarities between that situation and the one I am in now.

 

Both were situations of intense pain. Really that entire year I put on my church face every Sunday, but by Sunday afternoon I was in tears screaming and falling apart at home. I could pretend I was okay, but it was too much to carry. My emotional box was too full and after a morning of shoving everything inside the box, it was ready to explode with the slightest bump. It took years before I could think of that church without thinking immediately of the pain. Years of sometimes almost randomly crying out in emotional pain. Both were situations that threatened my identity and sense of self and all my plans for my future. Both were situations in which it quickly became obvious that even though I wanted the situation fixed that it was too late. Even with the situation objectively fixed, it was too broken to ever be like nothing ever happened. The story could never end right there and turn around. Even getting a residency in phase II in 2017 wouldn’t have erased the pain of not matching in phase I. It wouldn’t take away everything I’d been through. It wouldn’t remove the lies of the abuse that resurfaced as truth. To suggest that it could would be like suggesting after a best friend died a horribly tragic death that the pain would be erased once you found a new friend. I mean, there is that girl scout song about making new friends, but it would be absurd to imagine that having a new friend would take away the pain of losing an old one.

 

And that made me think. There are still many times when I wonder if I will ever get past this. Will it ever not be a painful open wound? Some days I am doing so much better, but other times I am still hurting so much. It may have taken probably a good half of the past 10 years, but that change of churches didn’t defeat me, and I can accept that where I am is not bad now. Sometimes I might even feel like where I am is good. Sure, it is nothing like what I had planned, but y’know, after the youth pastor left the old church to start a new one, there probably were enough changes that the old church wouldn’t have completely met my expectations either. Maybe the changes would have been good, but they may not have been. Either way, I think I have completely accepted where I am, and I don’t even know the last time I was actually upset about the change in churches in a *right now* kind of way. I mean, there are a lot of times I am sorry for what younger Wiggle Worm had to go through, and I am still not happy about some things that happened that really shouldn’t have at the new church, but people make mistakes, and looking back, I could have made at least a few of those same mistakes if I’d been in the other person’s position, so it isn’t really fair to judge the church based on the decisions of a few people who made mistakes…and some of the other issues really probably could have been actually solved if I’d actually had the ability to speak up and share enough details for anyone to know what I needed. If God could heal that situation, then maybe I just need to keep on holding on and believe that he can heal this one too.

 

I don’t know if healing will mean someday giving me a wonderful residency experience leading to a perfect job. I don’t know if it means someday I’ll give up on pharmacy and go back to school for social work or counseling…or get a job at Caribou…or just totally quit and become a stay at home family member. I have no idea. I really want it to mean everything working out beautifully and ending in me getting a great residency in phase I this year and then getting exactly what I want for PGY-2 the following year and the perfect job the year after that. Oh how I long for that, but I am terrified that I am going to put in all this time and money and effort just to fail again. No one has wanted me the past two years, so why would anyone want me now? And why would anyone want me now that I have been out of school for two years when they can have the pick of the litter of fresh new graduates? Like my facebook cover photo still says, hope is by far one of the most dangerous commitments we make in life. To hope is to acknowledge a possibility of things working out…which provides an opportunity for falling further into deeper disappointment when things don’t work out. I’ve experienced so much hurt that I still want to protect my heart from further harm…but I know that in so doing it would be easy to also wall off my heart so thoroughly that the sun can no longer shine through to keep it alive. I guess it is an instance where I should realize it is time to stop worrying what if I fail and instead wonder what if I fly?

 

And to be honest, succeeding is a little scary too. I would have to tell my job I was leaving. I would have to leave the community I’ve built and the apartment I’ve cleaned and move on to something new. And none of those things are easy things for me.

 

Sort of off topic, but there are two other songs that were playing on Friday that I really loved.

 

Zach Williams – Survivor

“and pulled me out of the fire, I’m a survivor. Oh I’m a survivor…you made me a survivor”

 

Stand in your Love – Josh Baldwin

“When brokenness and pain is all I know…my fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in your love…shame no longer has a place to hide. I am not a captive to the light…shame doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in your love.”

 

And just a side note. If you are kind of directionally challenged like I am, don’t try to take a short cut. Let’s just say when neither you nor the maps app on your phone have any idea how to get you where you are going anymore it is super frustrating, especially when you are kind of half asleep and have a pizza in your car that doesn’t belong to you. So yeah. Around 11pm I was wandering (in my car) around downtown-ish [my city] for probably about 10 miles for what could have been a 2-ish mile drive…but I have very little directional sense, and add that to the fact that the roads around here do not tend to go in straight lines but instead curve around each other, and it is easy to get hopelessly lost even in an area in which you are probably never more than a block or two from an area you know well…hashtag day in my life…lol

Doesn’t matter who you are, this world will leave some battle scars

(Scars – Toby Mac)

 

There are some quotes saved to my computer from a few different places, and I found the theme that ties these together is that there are a lot of people in this world with, as Toby Mac put it, battle scars. People are wounded and hurt, searching for their true identity, but getting caught in their insecurities and pain. It is like that age old quote reminding you that under the surface people might have a lot more going on than it appears at first glance.

 

This first one came from an episode of SVU:

 

  1. You are enough; You’re a cop and a mom – you’re more than most.

 

  1. But I got winded. I’m not a good cop anymore, so what, that makes me half the person I was?

 

  1. You’re still more than most.

 

  1. I couldn’t run fast enough so he got away and that woman is in a cast because of me.

 

  1. Liv, no one expects you to be super woman.

 

  1. I do.

In this scene, Liv is really getting down on herself because she was chasing a suspect and before she caught up to him, he ran into someone riding a bike and the bike rider fell and broke a bone. Fynn tries to encourage her that no one expects her to be perfect and she already is doing so much more than most people could manage and doing an awesome job at it all…but I see so much of myself in her. The stubborn-ness…refusing to acknowledge any of the positive and declaring myself a complete failure over a small mistake or a small imperfection, only believing the bare minimum in your face truth that can’t be denied. Intense self-blame over things that maybe were hardly my fault at all in the first place. The self-expectations that are so firmly held, yet, so far above what anyone else expects. I think that is why in high school for a long time I had a doodle hanging up in my room that said “perfection is my enemy.” It was a quote from the song Free to be Me by Francesca Battistelli…and at first I probably doodled it because my friend said I would like it and so if she said I was going to like then by golly this girl who struggled with friendship was going to over-achieve and love it!! But then I realized I really did like it and was kinda defensive when my parents saw it and kind of disapproved of it…it got to stay because I was like hey, it’s just a lyric of a popular song that I like and means nothing…but actually it kinda meant a lot to me. Y’all, perfectionism is something that I don’t *really* wish on anyone (although there are some people I wish were maybe a little more perfectionistic…), because it is emotionally exhausting…and sometimes physically exhausting. For example, I took a pre-test a few weeks ago for the PALS class I am going to on Monday…a pre-test, people, you know, something to help you assess BEFORE class what you already know…I got 51 out of 52. I was angry with myself. It isn’t just the school-ism that every wrong question regardless of relevance is equivalent to a dead patient…even if your only mistake was something stupid and pointless like typo-ing and mis-spelling your name at the top of your assignment…I mean, I use that phrasing sometimes because it kinda normalizes the way I already thing, but it isn’t how I really feel. For me, that missed point isn’t about the question, it is about my identity, my worth as a person. Which, I mean, as I type it even I can admit is stupid, but in all honesty, I am embarrassed to turn in that paper tomorrow and totally considering trying to get on the website from home to take the quiz again to fix it…wanna know why else this is such a dumb thing to be hard on myself for? The quiz is open book and open note and you have unlimited time. I hadn’t yet read the book, didn’t allow myself use of resources, and gave myself less than 6 seconds per question. More like the real world, yes, but unnecessarily difficult, umm yeah, probably. Not to change the topic too much, but I am super excited to take PALS!! This is something I have wanted since high school, but in high school it didn’t work in my schedule, then in college I asked my manager if I could have a couple days off to take it but we were so short staffed that she really couldn’t spare me, and then on one of my IPPE rotations they were going to let me sit in on a PALS re-cert class on my ambulance ride along day because the paramedic found out I was interested in peds and knew the instructor of the class that day who said it was fine as long as I understood since it was a re-cert class I wouldn’t be getting certified at the end since I didn’t have the initial certification. I loved every minute of it that I was there. I loved that being a pharmacy student I knew a ton of things everyone else in the class was struggling with…and I was amazed when we did rhythm recognition how much faster than me everyone else was. I was not that great at reading EKG strips at that time and while everyone else was screaming out the rhythm almost as soon as the monitor was turned on, it took me like 6 to 12 seconds for a lot of the rhythms to get it…I mean, not the end of the world considering that if the pharmacist in a code situation is the one reading the EKG there are probably bigger problems in the room than identifying the exact rhythm…but I never even finished that class, because about the time it was my turn to learn how to insert multiple kinds of advanced airways, the pager went off and it was time to run…it was kind of disappointing, because the call was a potential stroke, but by the time we had the patient loaded in the ambulance it was pretty clear that it wasn’t a stroke, so we really were just going for a long ride from a rural hospital to the cities at that point. And by the time we drove to the cities and back my day was over…so I feel like I never really got the full EMS experience, because I still don’t know what it is like to do anything other than an ED to ED transfer with a patient who was completely alert and with it and talking with us the whole time. I did learn some about IV tubing and stuff though, so it wasn’t a totally wasted effort. In my experienced it had been stressed that all the air in an IV bag or syringe had to be removed because air is bad because it could occlude arteries or veins. Which, is partially true, but what I learned on that ride is that you would need to infuse probably a meter or two of tubing worth of all air before you’d have much likelihood of causing a problem. So now I know if people are freaking out about a tiny fraction of a mL of air that they just need to cool their jets and everything is going to be fine. I mean, yeah, that was in a small, but adult-sized patient so obviously in a neonate the amount of air that could be problematic is going to be significantly smaller, but still, air isn’t the big bad enemy that I had previously thought it was.

 

This one is from the book To the End of June by Cris Beam:

“I’m like a broken thing. I’m always watching. Looking for the hurt. Looking for the pain. People want to get close to me, but I can’t. I look for pain because that is my escape into isolation.”

 

So, I don’t connect with this whole thing, but I do sometimes feel like I am broken. Yeah, sometimes in that Japanese (I think that’s the right culture) are thing where broken is emphasized because it is seen as beautiful, but more often in a damaged goods only really wanted by those who are willing to sacrifice on quality kind of way…and that phrase about always watching…middle and high school is when I started becoming really aware that there was something I was missing. I became an observer, always watching the interactions around me, trying to understand how to have conversations and make and keep friends. It might sound dumb, but while I never really unlocked any kind of key to conversation, I did pick up phrases that were super helpful…I’m still in the market to pick up new communication skills, but any tool I can add to my bucket is going to be utilized to as much of its potential as I can manage. And the other thing about watching is that after I was abused, I did become more guarded, trying to protect myself from further harm…the rest of the quote I thought sounded pretty, but isn’t something I really directly relate to, nor is it something I even completely understand.

 

And then this quote is super long, but it is from the book Remember God by Annie Downs. Oh my, the book is so incredible and awesome…and Annie is super incredible and awesome…and this quote basically sums up a lot of the book and a lot of my life. I’m going to link Annie’s blog right here… http://www.anniefdowns.com/blog/ …because I don’t actually read it anymore, because life happened, but I kinda want to, and Annie is amazing…at least based on the Annie on the internet and in her books, I feel like she is someone I would be thrilled to be friends with in real life. She would probably be very similar to my current bestie I think, except a little tiny bit older and also single…

 

“And immediately I went into all the ways this word was going to disappoint me…or where everything will fall apart professionally and I’ll have to say like well, I was warned. Surprise, you have no career anymore. I told all that to Jennifer…how I was sure it was going to lead to bad things, and she put her hand up like a stop sign. Stop. This is why you can’t finish this book about God’s kindness; because you don’t believe it. He told you surprises, and you heard tragedy?…Warning me that I could get injured again instead of reminding me that I could get blessed again. My expectations mix with my fears and my past failures mix with this life I can build in my mind’s eye and I’m just so scared to hope. I’m so terrified to picture joy and good things coming from that word when getting let down has become my normal. I jump in with both feet expecting God to do what only God can do and then it doesn’t look right. It flops. As my brain thought it wouldn’t. Or thought it would. And that’s the hard part…but all is not well. I am broken hearted. The new manna is not working and I am in more pain than I have experienced in a while…but it’s the end of the story and so it should all be well, but all is not well. I’m still waiting for God to show up for me. I’m still wondering if he is going to spend my life breaking my heart. I’m still wrestling with him because this doesn’t feel fair or right and I am ready for it to be fair and right and well…and I’m frustrated that I can’t see [my pain] as a blessing.”

 

Oh man, there is just so much in that quote…It certainly is so much easier to see all the possibilities for failure. After all the pain I’ve been through in my life it just seems more natural to assume things are going to fall apart and mourn that loss than to believe that maybe things will be just fine or even more than fine. It is easier to just prepare for tragedy than to go heart in and believe there could be something good just to be disappointed later. Like my facebook banner says (echoing Dan Allender), Hope is by far one of the greatest commitments we make in life. I want things to work, but it is hard to really believe it will be okay, because that opens my heart up for deeper wounding when it is not okay…and right there is the problem. I have been hurt so many times that I am not saying “if,” but “when” it is not okay. As if I already know it will be bad. When being hurt is your normal it is hard to imagine living any other way. Intuitively I know that there are people loving life like every day, but in my life it just seems different. And oh, the ending of that quote…it seems so much sometimes like people wrap up their hurts with a pretty little bow and isn’t it awesome that this happened, because it made my life so much better…but that stings like orange juice in an open wound, because I don’t feel like I have a bow to put on my story. I so yearn for that bow of look how awesome everything is now, but I don’t know if there will ever be a bow at the end of my story. I mean, even if I found out today there was some mistake and I could start my dream residency tomorrow morning (and magically all the loose ends like living situations and pharmacy week and everything were just taken care of), and even if that was followed by the perfect PGY-2 and dream position and board certification, that wouldn’t just instantly take away the pain of the rejection of the last two years. It wouldn’t take away the abuse before that teaching me that I would never be wanted, never be worth it, never be good enough. Umm…and looking at it that way I am starting to see why my friends were trying to push me to give counseling another try. The fact that I can identify it as a lie sometimes, but other times fully believe it is a truth means that maybe there is something more for me emotionally. I’m not sure I’m ready yet…being in a job with hours that make doing anything with any regularity a challenge…and the fact that I am currently in another application cycle which could leave me raw again. I want to be careful, because I know that if I try to go into the dark places again without a good flashlight that I could either be hurt again or fall into the pit (yes, that second part is a metaphor for self-destruction). I want healing, but I need to be in a place where I can be assured of my safety. I’m not really sure what that looks like yet, but I know it means that someday I am brave and give counseling another chance. I do know that there is a huge power in with that is difficult to replicate in any online space, so for my safety I am not going to entertain the possibility of online counseling again unless it involves something that feels more personal than what I tried before. Maybe it means at least asking for more information about the spiritual and mental health group I read that a church in my city facilitates. Or maybe it means five years from now starting over as a student at another university and just giving the school a chance and then giving their counseling services a chance. I honestly have no idea. I just know that if it is possible to live a life less shaped by abuse and shame then that is what I want. I know this is bad to say, but I don’t want my story. I don’t like the story God has written so far with my life, and I want out. I want to trade in my old story of pain and failure for a new one of confidence and grace. I just want to be good enough.

I don’t know what you’ve seen, don’t know what you’ve been through, all I know is my God will never let go of you

(No Matter What – Ryan Sevenson)

 

On the radio yesterday, I heard some lyrics and decided it was perfect for the post I was going to write…can’t remember it now though…so I had to pick something else, but here are three alternatives…lol

 

Ten Thousand Oceans Couldn’t Sweep me Away

(Face to Face – Mat Kearney)

 

You CAN be Whole Again

(Beautifully Broken – Plumb)

 

You’re not afraid of all I feel…desperate cry in a dark place, you take me that way

(Broken Prayers – Riley Clemmens)

 

Yesterday I was just struck by how good God is. I just had this sense of joy and thankfulness like all day. God is such a good healer. A year ago I was crying most days unable to just hold it together, deeply in grief and struggling to believe there was ever going to be a way out or that it would ever really get better. Just the ability to have a truly joyful day is such an amazing contrast that I am so thankful for…but God isn’t good because I felt good. He isn’t good because I have made a lot of progress towards healing. He is always good. He was good when I was bottom of the pit of grief and had lost my job and seemingly everything that mattered to me. He was good when I was being abused. He was good even when life circumstances weren’t good. It can be hard to acknowledge God’s goodness when it is so other to my current position, but I have to remember he is still good even when life is so bad and I don’t want to take it anymore. That is a really important part to me to acknowledge, because it hurt so bad in 2017 then again in 2018 when everyone was posting about how God is so good because they got the job of their dreams…and there I was grieving my loss and lack of the job of my dreams. Yes, God was good, but not because they got the job of their dreams. God is good because that is just who he is. We get exhausted striving for better, but God rested on the 7th day, because it was good and it was enough. God knew the pain would come, but he also knew how strong he made me and he knows that the contrast one day will be that much richer because I know how pain feels.

 

Last year I really couldn’t even imagine feeling real joy more than just a minute or two at a time because life hurt so much. Yesterday life was beautiful. I had lunch at Ikea. I had cake first. The first bite was a little disappointing because the people of the internet told me that it tasted like a chilled snickers bar and it totally didn’t, but after that it was pure delight because it was so delicious! The meatballs were good. It was kind of weird to be served a side of a scoop of jelly, but it was yummy. The potatoes were bland but better than usual food service potatoes, and the vegetables were filling even if they weren’t my favorite vegetables. I was so happy to be enjoying food rather than struggling to get food in my mouth like I was last year. Then I went shopping. I had a list…and by the time I was done shopping I’d completely re-written the list with different items about a million times. (Slight exaggeration). A closet organizer is something I had never even thought about purchasing ever…and then I saw one on display…and somehow decided I needed that in my life even though I wasn’t even sure if it would fit in my closet.

 

Oh my…I got home and it required taking almost everything out of my closet and re-organizing in order to get the closet organizer to fit, and I’m not sure the way I have the closet right now is completely functional, but I am already in love with it. I have hated since moving into my apartment having to hang up my jeans, but there really wasn’t any way around that until this closet organizer came into the picture. Now all my jeans and casual pants are folded up, which created enough space that my entry closet is no longer half functioning as a second bedroom closet except for a very few items. It feels so much more functional. My shorts even have their own place that doesn’t involve getting moved to wherever they are not in the way for the moment. Love it!!

 

Anyway, I just felt so blessed that I had the resources and time to drive to Ikea. I have a functioning car. I can afford to put gas in said car. I have technology to look up directions to faraway places. I stopped by my parents’ house to pick up some stuff I might need. I am so blessed that despite their threats, most of the stuff I haven’t moved to my apartment is still at the house waiting for me to be ready to move it. I didn’t bring my laptop, because inside my head time is not a very linear concept, but I did have my PALS manual in my bag and stopped to read it…I’m not sure whether I am more distracted with or without the laptop in front of me while reading, but I read a few chapters and finally got to a point where actually reading the entire manual before class might actually be a possibility. I can’t necessarily promise I actually gained anything from reading the manual – I am not really the greatest reader and really wanted to read the manual to say I did it rather than really invest the time to see if I could learn something, so I mostly read words without taking the time to assign meaning to those words and commit those meanings to memory, but even that is a good start in my opinion.

 

I only got a little bit lost going to Chick-fil-A where while I was waiting for my cookie some lady came storming in upset that how dare they give her expired sauce packages…I think what really happened is they stamped the wrong date on there, but she was kind of a jerk…like lady, you can get all the sauce you want at the condiment bar a few steps away from the counter. I know you wanted to make them your little servants by having them pour sauce in bowls for you, but guess what, you can do that same thing yourself with the containers at the condiment bar. I was impressed with the kindness the employees showed her even though they clearly were a bit annoyed.

 

Then I walked to Culvers and got an ice cream. I guess they recently changed their pricing scheme so one of the toppings I ordered was going to cost extra, but the employee was super nice in letting me know that, and I got vanilla ice cream with reeses peanut butter cups and brownie pieces and it was awesome! I ate it in the car on the way home. God made such amazing things for us to enjoy…and I’m not *just* talking about ice cream, although that is pretty amazing…

 

On the way over to Culvers I saw these beautiful mushrooms growing in the grass that looked so much like leaves. And on the way back I was admiring the amazing design of the dirt against the concrete of the building across the street. And I was just thinking about how much of God’s world is so beautiful.

 

Changing directions a bit, church today brought a lot of thoughts into my head. First, we use distraction to keep away from pain or fear or other things we don’t want or don’t know how to feel. I am kinda known in my current community for walking most places. Before I came here I was someone who claimed I hated outside and would only walk if there wasn’t another option. Then being in motion became a way to feel even a tiny incremental amount better. And when I moved back to school, the only thing I had to put myself in motion was my own body…so I drove to church and walked around and around and around the block at least once almost every day…and when I moved into the res hall, walking to church to swing on the swings and just have a safer place to sit and work became how I used a lot of my time…and then I came here. I knew I needed to walk to work as much as possible at first because I was still falling apart whenever no one was watching. Eventually I probably *could* have stopped, but I was afraid to stop. What if I wasn’t as far along in healing as I thought? I didn’t want to walk, but I was terrified to not walk, so I walked…And then walking became my identity, so now I can’t stop. Next, I had a moment of understanding that all those things I was told were not true – I’m not a failure who won’t ever make it, won’t ever be enough. I have value…and so does my abuser. She hurt me, but she is still God’s creation. There is this ache in my body that does yearn to put that situation to rest, and I don’t know how to make the pain of abuse not be the first thing I think of when thinking about school or about counseling or about my career. I really need to figure out how to heal that wound in my heart…lol, speaking about heart, I was thinking about that heart lung transplant metaphor I wrote before and am just struck by how accurate that choice of medical metaphor was…My abuser took away my voice (lungs) by teaching me shame and deeply hurt me emotionally (heart). Finally, I found out my church’s income is about $500 less every month than expenses. That got me thinking. Like Steve Green says, “don’t give ’til it hurts, give ’til it tickles!” I got a PTO payout about a week ago. I am trying to save money to make living during residency easier financially…and there is definitely a list of things I want…but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe I couldn’t give an extra $500 every month, but I can fill in the gap this month, and it seems God needs that money more than I do. It is kind of cool to realize that I can make an impact.

 

Okay, totally changing subjects one more time…I recently finished listening to the audiobook “Garbage Bag Suitcase” and it was really empowering. As you can probably guess from the title, it was about foster care…