All I Need is What You’ve Given Me

(Well of Lies – Flyleaf)

Sometimes it makes me angry when companies try to do something nice and people blast them with hatred because people are entitled brats sometimes…yep, I went there…

 

So build a bear held a pay your age day. Awesome, right? Well, as you can imagine, it was very crowded and not too long after opening they already had to close the lines because they had as many people as they could handle all day lined up. Note, that they closed the LINES, not the STORES. If you were already in line BEFORE the lines were closed you still got to wait for hours in line to get a bear. Is that fair? Absolutely, it was noted from the start that the event was only “while supplies last.” Build a Bear could have let you stand in line all day just to tell you hours later at closing that no, you can’t have a bear, not yours, but instead they had the decency and courtesy to acknowledge as early as they could that they had reached capacity for the event.

 

Build a bear then went the extra mile and offered vouchers to anyone trying to join the line after the cut off. Build a bear then went like an extra marathon and offered a new birthday program extending the pay your age offer to your entire birthday month every year. Build a bear then went another extra couple marathons and offered vouchers to EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET whether they even had any interest or ability to attend the original event in the first place or not. And these vouchers were not chump change. These vouchers were for $15 off, which is BETTER than paying your age anyway, because like some of the sane commenters pointed out, most of the bears are $12-15, so with the voucher, the bear is FREE.

 

And people are insanely upset. Which is retarded. Yep, I definitely did go beyond just stupid to the ultimate elementary school insult, retarded. People are saying that they were discriminated against or disability shamed because they weren’t allowed to cut the line because they or their children has a disability. Umm, you were absolutely not discriminated against or disability shamed. Both of those terms imply you were treated differently because of a disability, when in fact your complaint is that you were treated identically to every other person in line. Unlike seems to be popular opinion, it is a disability, not a gold status for life card. Having a disability doesn’t mean you should expect extra privileges that no one else accesses. Some places do offer special privileges for disabled people, but it should be viewed as a gift, not an expectation. Y’all acting like everyone in the world owes you compensation for having a disability are pretty much why disability shaming became a thing. People resent that you have an entitlement complex.

 

People are also saying that the event should have only been for people who needed it and people who just wanted a discount on a toy should have been turned away. Umm, since when is a stuffed animal EVER a need? I can’t think of a single instance in which a stuffed animal is anything more than a want…they aren’t even a toy most kids actually enjoy playing with. And if for some reason your kid does somehow need a stuffed animal, like another sane commenter pointed out, you can do like she did and take your kids to the local dollar store to pick out an even cheaper stuffed animal…without even having to wait in an hours long line.

 

Yeah, I get really angry about these things. Build a bear went out of their way to do something super nice for the community and did so much that they really didn’t have to do, and people are bashing them for it.

 

It is the same thing with my grocery store. They have coupons and deals advertised on their website every week and post a few of the deals they think might be more exciting on their facebook page…where people berate them for having a deal on this product when that product is the one they would prefer to buy, or why is it only the single cup of yogurt for 25 cents when I think I should be able to buy the 8-pack for 25 cents because that would be a better deal, or why is only the deal only good for fresh carrots when frozen carrots taste better, or it’s not fair that only that brand of granola bars is on sale this week because I’m allergic to that brand so I should be able to substitute whatever brand I can have instead but the cashier said no and that is discrimination. Umm, no, the sale is on whatever items it is on and that is for the store to decide, not you. You may notice that all the stores in your area have deals on almost the same items each week. That isn’t just a weird coincidence. It is because the sales are often based at least in part on deals the manufacturer is willing to give the store to promote purchase of their product. Those items are the special because those re the items whose manufacturer was willing to spend a little extra to promote this week which is why no, unless you get a spineless employee, you can’t substitute the gallon of super premium ultimate milkshake for the 8-oz bottle of shoppers value white skim milk. The manufacturers and the stores have no obligation to give you any discount on any product. The correct response is “thank you,” not “but I wanted more.”

 

Okay, rant over…

 

This post has been on my computer for a few days. I didn’t really know why, but I didn’t feel ready to hit publish. Then I realized why it wasn’t getting published. It doesn’t feel finished because anyone who really knows me would likely quickly identify that I have been through way too much in my life to ever get this angry over something as silly as people getting butt hurt and rude about stuffed animals and groceries. But the other reason I was feeling angry isn’t something I know how to write about on the internet. I guess it is a good reminder that there is often a lot more going on than just the center stage act.

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Fell like sand through the fist that I made

(Beauty From Pain – Superchick)

 

I was watching a video that showed up on my facebook feed. In the video, the girl said “everyone was telling me to celebrate that it’s over, aren’t you so glad it’s over, yay it’s over…and I felt so much pressure to be like I was before…and I was like what do you mean it’s over, what do you mean?…no one seemed to wrap their head around that my entire worldview had been shifted.” That is what graduation felt like and that is what getting the job I have now felt like. I was supposed to be thrilled, but there was so much else going on. Things didn’t magically go back to the way it was before as if the pain never happened. The pain is real. The abuse was real. The betrayal was real. It was all real. It is hard to celebrate when it still feels like the world is an ocean of shattered broken glass. Broken. It’s how I felt. Damaged goods not even really worth the salvage rack. Everything I once knew was slipping out of my grasp. This supposed ending marking “over” felt like a magnifying glass illuminating everything I’d lost.

 

I also saw recently that people think the first year after a loss will be hardest, but in reality that first year you are often a lot more numb than you realize so it is really the second year that is the worst. Obvi, everyone grieves differently. I think I am really overall doing WAY better than I was at this point last year, but it was validating to hear that it is okay and normal to still feel intense pain at this point. I feel like I should be better by now than I am. It can be frustrating. And I guess add to that the post referenced singular loss and mine was more of a complex series of losses, which also can be harder to handle. Sometimes instead of one loss teaching enough coping to make each successive loss easier to handle, when they come too close together, each one adds on to the next making it even worse than it would have been alone, and sometimes not even additive but multiplicative.

 

But I am healing. I am surviving. And no one can take that away from me. I am strong.

You’re the best believer in me

(Believer – Kristene DiMarco)

 

A few weeks ago I was looking through my journal. I clearly don’t use it nearly as much as I used to considering I am still on the same one I started in September 2015, but there were a couple things that I noticed that I think are really good things for me to remember now. So I am going to re-type them to get those things in my head…

 

“My life is worth too much to waste it hiding and being scared of M” Okay, so this might have been followed with something along the lines of oh cr*p she decided to hang out right in front of where I am sitting and I don’t know if I can escape…but still, I love the idea of the sentiment that my life is worth too much to let M continue to control it. While I was still in school there was a huge power differential between us that gave her the ability to do pretty much whatever she wanted while I was always walking on eggshells just trying to get to graduation, which obviously did give her some control over me, but now that I have graduated she shouldn’t get to dictate anything about my life…

 

The other thing was a page titled “I am Resilient.” The first section was labeled “She called me” and “But I am/was.” Here is the contents of that section. But first, just a side note that my journal is not usually intended for sharing…I am writing this for me, not for you…I need these truths in my life right now. I am not trying to sound conceited or whatever…this is purely to fill my own needs, because it is a lot harder to believe the lies is I am focused on copying out these truths. This was a super challenging activity when I wrote it originally for my journal. I had written out the negatives and was just going to find some way to artistically say this is not who I am. These are just words or something like that, but then I got the idea to talk back to each and every one of those negatives. It felt impossible at first, because these things still felt so close to truth, but slowly I filled in all the positive rebuttals. I’m not sure if I let myself delete some of the harder negatives to negate, but I think it was a really good healing activity and I think re-writing it out will maybe help me continue towards healing.

 

Rude – Quiet, quick to offer assistance, a resource for everyone, extremely cautious and thoughtful with my scarce words, ready to give away whatever I had regardless of the other’s relative need.

 

Stupid – Getting a few bad grades mostly b/c of the stress she created, but mostly getting fine grades.

 

Condescending – Uplifting, positive, bubbly, and wearing myself out people-pleasing.

 

Inconsiderate – Neglecting my own needs and wants trying to jump through the hoops of what everyone else wanted

 

Disruptive – Quietly minding my own business most. Occasionally my music got a little too loud drowning out the inappropriate conversations that were going on around me, because I don’t really need to know the personal business of other students that others were sharing, but even then I was quite amenable to turning down the volume and just walking away for a while.

 

Not trying – Working my hardest to help her and me at the same time

 

Not wanting to get better – Desperately trying to pull myself up while she keeps trying to push me under

 

Immature – Dealing gracefully with far more responsibility on my plate than should have been placed there.

 

Hopeless – Being continuously refined by a loving, caring, and patient God

 

Out of touch with reality – Not as clueless as she thinks – just unable to tattle on her and trying to make her happy

 

Narcissistic – Prioritizing others above myself and thinking pretty lowly of myself, especially the further time progressed, but I am working on un-learning that, because God doesn’t create mess-ups and failures; He creates masterpieces.

 

Dependent – Strong for realizing my need of some assistance and asking for help yet trying not to add undue stress to my extremely accommodating friends, but very willing to talk to someone else if only I could find the opportunity.

 

Disrespectful – Not the one texting in session, always late, ignoring confidentiality, and manipulating.

 

The next section was labeled “She made me feel” and “But I am.”

 

Worthless – I am so valuable to God that he sent his only son to die for me so that I might live and be adopted into his family. I am chosen. I am God’s girl. My eternal daddy loves me so much and will never let me go. He loves me not because he has to, but because I am worth so much to him.

 

Helpless – Do I sometimes need help? Yes, but were we made to live life alone? No. God created us for community so that we could be supported when we were falling and support others so they don’t have to stay stuck at the bottom of the pit.

 

Hopeless – Capable of improving, and I have improved SO much. Am I perfect? No, but am I better than I ever believed I would be? Yes yes yes!

 

Isolated – She might have taken away most of my friends, my safety, my freedom, and all the places I liked to study, but she didn’t take away my ability to create community in whatever ways possible, and cling to that community with everything I have.

 

Alone – NEVER ALONE (per Plumb).

 

Unwanted – Sought after and definitely wanted. Everyone at Karis is super appreciative of everything that I do, teachers and students appreciate my assistance and dedication and passion towards mentoring students towards success. People want me not just out of charity to make me feel good, but because they know I am reliable, and jump in heart first to do my best. At work they always beg me not to go back to school. A few even suggested that I apply to be the manager. Everyone is super happy to see me there…and at church where I am essentially the nursery director when I am home and the director of Children’s Ministries considers me more in charge than the actual nursery director.

 

Like a burden – A value-added member of society. I care. I do more than my part to help and protect others.

 

Useless – Making a difference. I might not be able to change the world, but even if I had only made a difference for one person, that is one person who wouldn’t have been impacted without me, and it all counts. Every life matters.

 

Unworthy of love – Probably not worthy of love, because we are all fallen sinners unworthy of love and grace, but the great thing is that God loves me anyway, and I have SO many friends who also love me.

 

Not enough – Doing my best and learning every day. I am not perfect, but that is okay…sometimes I felt not enough because I couldn’t meet her ever changing expectations, but I don’t need to live my life the one-year-old playing monkey in the middle with baseball stars.

 

Shameful – More than a conqueror through Jesus Christ though I don’t feel like a conqueror tonight. Sharing burdens makes them lighter, not heavier. People want to help if you can let them in…and in retrospect, it makes a lot of sense, because shame is part of what kept me from speaking up and letting anyone in about what was going on behind closed doors when up until that point people could get a play by play of what was going on if they asked me in a way I could answer.

 

Confused – Able to push everything about her into a dusty box in the attic most of the time so I can live my life…sure, sometimes I have flashbacks like last weekend with me reading her email in May that we work really well together superimposed upon her words mere weeks later that we couldn’t work together anymore, but most of the time I have set that chaos aside because I am hashtag strong.

 

Wrong – Now aware that this was gaslighting, no matter how close to perfection I got she wouldn’t be pleased.

 

Stupid – Not stupid according to other people, but sometimes struggling to believe it b/c the voice is too loud.

 

Not safe – Protected by my God at all times. He walks through it all with me.

 

Hurt – Resilient, strong, flexible, beautiful, awesome, innovative, and an overcomer.

And I got through this day

(Courage – Superchick)

A couple months ago I brought another big bag of stuff from my parents house to my apartment. To be honest, although I didn’t really want to, by the time I went through most of it I ended up throwing a lot of stuff away, because while it was really special to me, living in an apartment rather than a house, I just don’t have many places to put things.

I could probably make more space – through the entire winter I don’t think there were ever more than 3 pairs of jeans in the wash and I probably only wore 3 long sleeve shirts for the entirety of the winter…but since those actually have monetary value and will eventually have a distinct important purpose since clothes do eventually wear out, it seemed better to throw away papers than the clothes.

Anyway, that is a long intro to say, that one of the things in that pile was an envelope of the things I saved when  I moved out of my last apartment. It was also insane how many “necessities that I couldn’t possibly live without” suddenly became trash worthy  when faced with packing up. I probably threw out more bags of trash in the last month in that  apartment than I had the previous three years I’d lived there. Although, to be fair, I didn’t generate *that* much trash and because the M-stress exacerbated the OCD, especially the first year I lived there I found ways to minimize what needed to be thrown out while home because I was terrified of taking out the trash…

This is the contents of the envelope:20180711_125430.jpg

A paper about volunteering at KH (I blanked out my friend’s phone number at the bottom for her privacy). KH was the best part of my school years. I wish I could still be there. I don’t know exactly what I was thinking when I kept this page, but I noticed that I never met the requirements, so I am so incredibly thankful that they accepted me anyway and let me do what I could do and gave me the responsibilities that I needed to thrive. Everyone there was so nice and really cared about me (okay fine, with the exception of one intern who kinda got on my nerves. He never did anything wrong in regards to me, but there was one particular family he always complained about and that really irked me. He thought the kids were annoying, when they were just being kids). I wish I could live there.

Also in the pile, a paper that says “Our City NEEDS YOU” because it makes me feel like I matter. A pretty paper with a verse about taking care of the downtrodden, because I guess it makes me feel like no matter what I deserve care even though I was told so long that I didn’t. A paper about finding joy in serving…because serving is where I feel good. I can’t remember if I was actually seriously considering trying to get more involved, but I am fairly certain that I really wanted to and just didn’t think I could. Some barcode stickers because I for some reason have always liked the idea of having barcode stickers even though I haven’t got a clue what I could use them for. A stamp out stigma pledge and a paper that came in the mail for no apparent reason that says a lot of things about supporting people like “some people just need someone to listen.” Those things are things that I was trying to champion, but I think I also hung on to them, because I really wanted people to be thinking those things about me. A quick note from Kati Morton because it felt really good that she took the time to send that out to everyone with her signature actually written on and the address hand written on the envelope. The M-crisis made me wary of *every* person related to mental health until they had proven themselves to be safe. Very few people were grandfathered in. Kati Morton was one of the few, and I think maybe subconsciously it was important for me to have that reminder of her being good to hold out a lifeline that people in the mental health field were not all horrible people out to take advantage of people who might already be disadvantaged. And some pictures that I cut out of advertisements because they were super cute…

I wish there was more because college feels a lot like a black hole and I wish there were more to represent the time I spent there, but at the same time, there was not a lot of positive there, and what I do have is a good representation of the positive things. I kind of wish I hadn’t thrown away every prayer card from my community group in a rage/cleaning session a while back, but I can’t get those back. I get why I did it though – community group was good, but it also brought with it some memories of the pain in college – the M-stress and resulting exacerbated OCD, the fact that it didn’t really seem like people really understood what I was going through the next year or maybe didn’t even care.

People act like college is like the bestest time of your life…yeah no. There are a few people at school who did what they could to help me survive, but mostly there is very little of college itself that was positive. I adored the counseling center at which I volunteered and I loved serving at church, but there wasn’t much about school itself that lends itself well to good memories. There were some sparks in the dark, but for the most part that section of life is probably better off just not existing and letting me move on with my life.

But it is really hard to move on. Let’s be honest, I am a control girl. I struggle when my life feels completely out of control, and that is where I have been living for a long time. I don’t feel like it is possible for me to ever grasp onto the steering wheel of my life again. I feel stuck. I feel like I am spinning my wheels just getting stuck deeper and deeper into the mud.

It’s been one of those days for a lot of days now

(Not Done Yet – Superchick)

Today four years ago my world was falling apart. My attempt at fixing things had ended with my email and moodle and pils accounts not working and no one telling me anything and being fed lies all day until someone finally called late that day. She wanted to know what happened. I was still too scared to tell anyone about the abuse. As much as I hated MRH and as much as she had hurt me and continued to hurt me, I still couldn’t shake my protective nature. I knew what MRH had done was very very wrong, but I had learned to mostly blame myself. The situation with MRH was the first time I truly wanted to die. I cried a lot when I was alone (and sometimes when I wasn’t alone) except when I was so low emotionally I couldn’t cry. MRH had been teaching me all year that I was worthless and stuff, and although now I can recognize that what happened to me wasn’t my fault, at the time I was desperately seeking a way to die without it being a suicide because I felt like that would be the best answer for everyone. I wanted to get accidentally run over by the metro. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t fix MRH. I had tried so hard and failed, so this must be my fault. I didn’t yet understand that sometimes people make bad choices and hurt people and it isn’t my job to keep that from happening.

 

I am sure I was super frustrating to work with, because I think my advocate knew there was a lot more to the story than I was telling, but she couldn’t make me tell any more than I was willing to share. It was months later before I felt safe enough…and had had enough and was ready to drop the protective act…to share little pieces of what had been going on. But gaslighting and other emotional abuse techniques are powerful and combine that with the people pleasing personality I started with, and you get a girl who will stand up for people no matter how badly they hurt her.

 

Anyway, that summer I was in limbo. MRH I guess maybe realized she might lose her grip on me so she put in a complaint that I was too stressed out to go back to school. Umm, yeah, I was having a pretty good summer and wasn’t really stressed out at all until this issue and the possibility of me not coming back to school was mentioned. I was given enough access to complete my summer course, but didn’t get the official okay that I could come back to school until the day before school started. It was hard preparing to go back to school not knowing whether I’d actually still be a student when I got there. There was a cru retreat before I found out. I quietly cried most of the night and struggled to focus both because of lack of sleep and because of the uncertainty of whether I’d even still be a student while these activities we were planning took place. And on the first day of school I was stopped by some security chick who didn’t believe I was supposed to be going to class because I wasn’t a student anymore. I could barely stop crying long enough to go to my first class of the semester and on break I was on my phone crying. I bet my teachers were wondering who this girl is who sits in the front row and mostly looks engaged but is periodically losing her ability to hold back the flow of sadness (and fear and stuff).

 

But I survived. I mean, I don’t think at the point I came back to school I would have really minded *that* much if I died and could have the whole thing be over, but I was doing a lot better. Slowly I started to heal…

 

Then the whole residency thing happened. The lies that had been so deeply engrained during the worst of the abuse came roaring back into my mind. No one would ever want me. I’d never be a pharmacist. I was worthless, unlovable, value-less, stupid…I had been counting down to graduation when I would finally be free of the gag clause keeping me from telling anyone anything and I would be, like I misheard the lyrics of a Zoegirl song “free of Michelle.” Moving from being continually exposed to M’s abuse (because it didn’t end that day in July) to an exciting residency at one particular institution was supposed to be the bright light at the end of the tunnel I’d been trying to get through for years. It was the prize waiting for me after enduring so much. It was the proof that I really did have value and really could be a good pharmacist that someone wanted. And it was taken away. I had nothing. The light at the end of the tunnel was gone and I had nothing left except the lies I now believed. I had nothing left to live for and felt that the best plan would be for God to take me home to where it wouldn’t be so intensely painful. It hurt too much. Sometimes it still hurts. Sometimes it still feels like my heart has gone through the shredder. That residency was the only thing I had wanted since elementary school. I kept trying to find other options only to be faced with continued rejection.

 

Today last year was my first day at the job that finally accepted me. I don’t really know if they were just super desperate for *someone* to fill their position and just feeling lucky to find someone they could get for cheap or if they actually wanted me, but while I did appreciate having a job, feeling wanted was not how I was feeling. I was so thankful that finally someone was willing to give me a chance, but overwhelmingly I was feeling grief. Starting this position was a very tangible reminder that I didn’t have the future I’d been working towards for my entire life. Since early elementary school I’d had one goal and this marked the end of the possibility of getting anything remotely close to that goal. I sat in orientation activities about how excited we were to work at this institution and about well-being and all sorts of things where I had to pretend that I didn’t want to just go home and go to sleep and never wake up. I was so exhausted in every way one can be exhausted.

 

But I survived. I am still here. I am doing better. The more I worked at this job the more I’ve found that what I was told about in the interview is not the job I came into, but I am still alive and not crying nearly as often and aside from the issues that come with shift work, I am getting decent sleep. I am eating and drinking well. I am not happy, but I am getting up every morning and going through all the motions.

 

I guess looking back I have to admit that I have faced a lot of battles that I shouldn’t have ever been placed in. And I survived. Maybe I am strong. I wish life could have been different, but wishes aren’t real and I have to live in the real world.

So the sun can burn you up and wear you out; it’s an angry summer; there’s no room to smile

(Break your knees – Flyleaf)

About a week ago people were posting about their first days of their PGY-2 residencies. Tuesday this week last year was my first day at the job I am currently with. That was a hard day. It was another punch from reality that my dreams were dead. It was one more thing making it even more real that I was never going to get back what I’d lost.

 

And now people are posting stuff like “Getting into Harvard? It’s not like it’s hard.” It hurts. They treat it like it is so trivial. I wouldn’t even really be interested in specializing in palliative care at Harvard, but it feels frustrating that someone else gets to do it who doesn’t even get how hard I’ve worked and still don’t have anything to show for myself. She has a PGY-2 residency and I have tried and tried and tried and still don’t even have a PGY-1. I am no quitter, but I just feel like no matter what I do it’ll never be good enough. Maybe I’ll never be good enough to go from dead end to following my dreams.

 

It is so hard and frustrating. I have always been someone who worked harder in school and life than most of my peers, but in the academic realm I always had something to show for it before. Now I try and try and try and all I get is failure. I feel discouraged. I feel left out of the club. It feels like everyone else can find a job and I can’t and I don’t understand what is wrong with me. Why doesn’t anyone want me? I just want to be good enough for once. I’ve always been on the outside looking in wanting what seems to come naturally to other people. And I can’t figure out how to crack the code.

 

I figured out enough social skills to limp along and not even have people notice right away that I am lacking, though over time it probably does become a little more obvious there is something different about how I communicate…and a lot of the time I am not sure if what I said was right or wrong, but there definitely are times that I understand based on the reaction that what I said was evidently not an appropriate response. I try, but I still am working hard trying to keep up. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to get a residency someday, but right now it feels so totally out of reach and I am so frustrated. I am tired of never being enough. I just want to figure out how to break the glass ceiling and enter the world it feels like everyone else lives in where friendship and communication is natural and getting jobs is just routine. I’m tired of looking on without being able to join the party. I don’t even like parties, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be invited.

 

And I think this is why I haven’t seriously started looking at residencies yet even though I told myself I was going to whatever I could to get a residency this year. Back when I was “supposed” to be looking at PGY-1 programs, I was well on my way to completely certain to which programs I was and was not applying. I don’t remember for sure if I still had 10 plus a maybe or if I was actually down to for sure the 10 I ended up actually keeping in the yes pile to apply and interview, but I was definitely a whole lot further than right now where I don’t even have much of an idea what I am looking for. And I feel discouraged because I have tried so many times and failed and I don’t want to be that girl who just keeps trying even though it should be obvious the answer is no.

 

I just want someone to give me a chance. I don’t understand why no one wants me. I get that my communication skills have room for growth, but there are so many other things I am good at. I know realistically nearly everyone I have worked with has loved me, because I am efficient and get things done quickly and accurately and once I understand the workflow I will find what needs to be done and get it done without waiting for someone to expressly ask me to do it. But no one cares what skills I do have, because they are stuck zeroing in on the skill I don’t possess. Like the song from the sermon on the mound says, it takes a team; every member has a job and that’s a team. Pair me up with a good communicator who can either teach me skills or do the communication role while I do the clinical and operational role, and I will excel. And I CAN learn. When I started at my previous job, I absolutely did not answer the phone, and rarely talked to customers. (In school we learn to call them patients, but my opinion is if you are purchasing something you are a customer…and besides, working in pediatrics, the person with whom I often needed to communicate was not the patient anyway, but a parent, so it doesn’t even really make sense to call that talking to patients. Also, I just hate the “new terminology” that my school used, so if they love it I probably don’t). Gradually through observation I learned first to talk to customers. For years though, my coworkers watched closely and any conversation I was starting to struggle with they took over. During that time I also started answering the phone occasionally. By the time I left, I handled the phone and talking to customers independently just as well as anyone else. So yeah, it’ll take me more time to learn, but I will learn. And people say that I am easy to train. I pick most things up to at least a working knowledge very quickly. I might not reach expert level immediately because that isn’t really possible, but at my current job, for example, training period is usually 4-8 weeks. By the end of the first week I was pretty comfortable and confident and could do my job independently. I couldn’t legally be left completely alone until I was licensed and the government isn’t exactly known for being speedy, but really I was only using my trainer for policy questions by the end of the first week. Could I have probably looked up policies instead, sure probably with 90% success, but I had a trainer doing nothing right next to me who was a lot faster than looking it up…and besides, when you try to learn based on written policies you will fail more often because they are often not what actually happens in practice, so it is often better to get the information from a real person.

 

So yeah…I really just want to be good enough. I want a residency. But I feel stuck. I feel frustrated. I feel hurt by the people talking as if this is something easy when for me I have worked my butt off just to fail over and over again.

I’m Still Here

(Sound of Surviving – Nichole Nordeman)

 

They told me I’d never get to tell my story, too many bullet holes, it would take a miracle…trying to steal my hope, silencing my soul. This is the sound of surviving…I’m still here. I’m still here….I’m still here – say it to the tears, say it to the ache.

 

I’ve felt lately like “I’m still here” is my flag. But I’m not sure if that is a resilient proud “I’m still here,” or a resigned defeated “I’m still here.”

 

Some moments there is a sense of accomplishment that I am still here. Still alive and now feeding myself appropriately, sleeping, trying to make a life from the ruins even if it kind of mostly is hard and frustrating and lonely and disappointing. I don’t cry all day every day. I go to work every day and am the pharmacist I was told I’d never be. Maybe not the kind of pharmacist I want to be, but nonetheless, a pharmacist who made it through school, and was hired into a full time position.

 

A lot of times though, it is more of an expression of defeat. After another year I am still stuck in a dead end. I am still struggling with the pain of loss. I still feel alone, especially now that I am not the new kid that everyone needs to meet. I don’t want to be here anymore, but I’m still here.

 

I don’t really know what to do. Last year I learned to be active to make the pain go away. That stopped working. For a long time there was a direct correlation of movement with how I was feeling, but somehow eventually it stopped making a difference…maybe because I am so active that it doesn’t really matter anymore…idk…I tried again today. Walking the mall sorta kinda gave me purpose, but that’s about it. It kinda also reminded me of the time spent walking around and around the block last year in my free-ish time during that last rotation, which caused a reflection of that pain, which was not helpful.

 

But whether good or bad, I’m still here…like the quote in one of the books I listened to said, “I’m not trying to save my ministry, I’m trying to save my life.” My focus needs to be on doing whatever it takes to continue to survive.

I Wish Wishes Came True

(I Wish – Point of Grace)

 

Last year on the fourth of July I was hard at work moving into my new apartment. That was painful both physically and emotionally…physically because of the fall on my rollerblades. I’ve realized that since then I have been over-cautious, not ever going down even hills that I probably could handle and taking everything at a very slow pace – not as much fun…but I’m afraid of falling again since it hurt so much that time. And it hurt so good because the physical pain covered the emotional pain. And so I kind of want to make an effort to really rollerblade for real again, but at the same time I don’t know if that is a good idea when there is still so much pain in my life. I know I am doing SO SO SO much better than I was last year, but there is definitely still a lot of pain.

 

Today I had a busy day which helped a lot in covering up some of the pain that very easily could have been there. I biked somewhere around 10-15 miles to somewhere to lock up my bike then walked maybe a mile-ish to the parade line-up area. I wandered around the block listening to a book on my phone until other people were there. I helped decorate the truck. I put my phone and watch in the plastic bags I packed in case it started pouring. After we finished the parade I started back-walking the parade hoping in the process I’d get some candy, but in reality I am too shy to get any, because unless it is handed directly to me I won’t be one of those obnoxious people who ask for candy, and I won’t reach out for it. There were too many people to really bike, so I had to walk a lot of the way until I got to the highway where I had to ignore the signs because the bike path was underwater and I didn’t know another way home and didn’t plan to go for a swim, so I was going to use the road whether the signs said that was okay or not. On the way home, the sky quickly turned from sunny to a downpour with extreme wind and some small hail…and I couldn’t see where I was going and it hurt and I was holding on to the handles tight to stay upright. I saw a building and honestly even if I’d known with certainty it was my abusers house I would still have approached the building. At first I just went against the building which blocked some of the wind and rain, but there was still so much wind and rain, so I tried to see if there was a possibility of locking up my bike and getting inside. I was in luck. It was a gas station with double doors, so I stood with my bike between the doors. It was awkward, but it gave me somewhere safe to stand. It was still raining when I left, but not nearly as hard and the wind had died down enough that I was able to not struggle so hard to stay on my bike on the road and get home. I was muddy so all my stuff went through a quick wash cycle to get the mud out. It wasn’t an awesome day, but it was so much better than I could have been.

 

I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but I am glad that life is getting easier.

Sometimes I Feel Lost

(ZoeGirl – Skin Deep)

 

Today last year I woke up knowing God failed to meet the generous deadline I gave him for taking me to forever home. It felt like I wasn’t good enough for even God to want me. I had been hanging on desperately crying out that the pain was too much to bear for so long, and God just left me there. It felt like another betrayal. What do you do when your dreams have died and you have nothing left to live for?

 

My coping mechanism to get through the abuse had been to try to believe all the things you’re supposed to tell bullied kids – that what the bullies are saying isn’t true and they are just jealous of you because you are going places and they are not. So I put aside the constant commentary that I’d never make it as a pharmacist and I’d never be wanted and I wasn’t good enough. Realize, these comments were coming to a girl who had a 4.0 in high school and realistically could have had straight A’s in college if it hadn’t been for the struggles the abuse created, but still graduated with nothing less than an A minus, and probably would have been top in her class if she’d signed up or one of the stupid classes like photography or something like some other people including the person who did get top in the class did…so from an outside perspective it seems like it should have been obvious that those words were not true, but at times they really did feel true. I had healed a lot by the time sixth year came around, but when that day in March rolled around, it was devastating. It was like I was right back there in the abuse. But this time even the people telling me I did have value were not much of a boost in believing it. They were obviously wrong. They’d been telling me that lie for too long and now I had definitive evidence it wasn’t true.

 

Not even my friends wanted me. At the hospital where I worked they acted super excited that I applied. When I interviewed, everyone was very friendly and the interview was more of my friends having a conversation with me just happening to be in the room than them asking me questions. And then they didn’t want me. When I asked for advice going forward all I was told was that I was a strong candidate they were sure would find a residency somewhere. Not helpful…also not true. Everywhere I went kept telling me I was a great candidate. In phase II everyone kept telling me how excited they were that I applied and how wonderful a candidate I was and how great that I was still available for them. And none of them wanted me either. The scramble was a total fail. I applied to a zillion jobs and most of them said nothing or a couple said no. I had two interviews. I eventually got the job I have, but that doesn’t take away the pain.

 

And then I lost my job at the hospital I’d been working at. And then I almost got it back but then didn’t. Then a couple weeks ago I lost access to my email at that hospital. My last link to anything I liked.

 

It has been a year. A year longer than I was supposed to be alive and it still hurts. Why? I can’t understand why a God who cares would make me stay here. I’m so frustrated. I’m tired of this. I just want a way out.

You can’t run when you’re holding suitcases

(Suitcases – Dara McLean)

Let’s ignore the fact that this lyric is wrong, but not worry too much about it, because it sounds pretty anyway.

I found a notecard in my lunchbox dated 4/14/16. It is from an activity with Cru. The idea was that you write down five things you want on the notecard and put it somewhere you won’t be looking at it all the time, but will eventually find it again. The directions were to dream big and if you write it down it’ll probably happen.

 

It was interesting reading my notecard. The second item on my notecard was good grades. I suppose every grade I got *after* that point was good…but I’m pretty sure when I wrote that I was hoping somehow I could get a revision of my previous not so good grades. It actually wasn’t a completely unheard of idea. At my school there were people who successfully whined to the dean that they didn’t like their grades and got a grade increase. The part that makes that very unlikely to happen in my case is that I am NOT a whiner. I hardly even stand up for myself, so yeah, I refuse to whine about my grades even if it would potentially increase them. So yeah, if you don’t express your discontent loudly and inappropriately then you aren’t going to magically get good grades. Another item on my list was “Friends, the real kind…maybe like the popular kid kind.” I have always struggled to make and keep friends who actually want me as a friend back. I also wanted reconciliation, a particular residency and job that I didn’t get, and “Healing from abuse, emotionally, self-esteem, confidence.” I thought that one was pretty insightful. For a long time I thought healing and reconciliation were basically one and the same, that if we ever got an opportunity to talk about what happened that it would all magically go away. It took a while to realize that abuse hurts and scars in a way that impacts a variety of aspects of life and cannot simply be reversed with an I’m sorry followed by I forgive you.

 

In church a week and a half ago, someone was talking and said forgiveness isn’t giving someone control. That really impacted me, and I realized sub-consciously, it is hard to forgive because certain someone always had power and control over me and it felt like forgiving would be like saying that was okay and that she could continue to hold the reins of control. I didn’t have control over anything else in life, so I was struggling to let go of that last set of reins and give up control. That simple statement helped me realize that I don’t have to let go of any tiny shreds of control I might have left in order to forgive, and that felt awesome.

 

Totally changing gears, a couple weeks ago I was going through some piles of schoolwork deciding what I was willing to say goodbye to, because if I get my way, next summer I will be moving and right now my mom keeps sending me back to my apartment with more of my stuff that I’ve left around the house, and it is overwhelming to think about moving all the stuff in my apartment (and all the stuff still around my parents house). So anyway, I was sorting through exams and syllabi and notes…and I had to laugh when I got to the APP (Advanced Pharmacy Practice) stuff…one of the things I was graded down on was smiling too much…y’know, I feel like having a positive attitude shouldn’t be a negative in a customer service position like the retail pharmacy skills they were assessing, especially since on the exact same page the assessor commented that I practiced good empathy so it wasn’t like I because I was smiling I was failing to respond to the SP’s (Standardized Patient’s) concerns…so y’all if you want the pharmacist who is crappy because she smiles too much then come to me…lol…Can I also just take a moment to vent about how much I hated APP. It was such a frustrating class. I believe there was *maybe* 1% of the class that was worthwhile and the rest was either completely pointless or a direct repeat of material learned in previous classes or that was going to be covered in future classes. Add on top of that the fact that the teachers for that class wrote lousy test questions and were lousy assessors of subjective assignments, and you have the recipe for a super frustrated student. It is not cool when you couldn’t be bothered to finish grading my and 4 other students first projects in time for us to get feedback before the final project and then grade me down on the final project because I should have known from the first project (you know, the one you have yet to give me any feedback on) that my introduction should have been worded differently. It is even less cool when after giving me my final grade on the project (which I might note was already significantly lower than I felt I deserved) that you tell me you changed your mind and are going to decrease my grade even further…not cool. Once you’ve given me a grade you don’t get to change your mind unless doing so would improve my grade. I will recognize the exception of a few teachers who said for recorded presentations you could request a regrade if there were points you didn’t receive you felt that you earned, but gave a disclaimer that they would listen not only for those points but to the entire presentation again and if they found places they gave points that maybe you didn’t completely earn they would take them away. I think that is a fair exception, because trying to grade from a recorded presentation is hard so asking them to do it again even if it is just for part of it is a lot of extra work to ask them to do, so it seems fair to put in some sort of way to discourage people from taking them up on the offer of a regrade unless there is a drastic problem.

 

I was reading something recently and it said ‘Sometimes “listen, really listen” is not enough, sometimes we need to ask.’ I thought that was a profound statement that is oh so true. Especially for me, there is a lot that I really want to talk about. There is a lot that has happened in my life that it would be really good for me to share, but I don’t. It isn’t that no one will listen – maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t. I mean, some people I doubt would listen, but I know enough people that I bet there are some people who would be happy to listen…but I am someone for whom communication is extremely difficult. I work really hard trying to keep up socially, and as a result I often err on the side of not sharing because it is easier to fit in on that side than on the other side. I think listen, really listen is extremely important, but I also think it is important to remember that listening is the starting point. Sometimes there is more we can uncover if we ask. What might seem small and inconsequential to you could be the hinge keeping the world together to someone else, and this is not always information that people are readily sharing.

 

Speaking of perspective and reframing, we usually think of adoptions that do not go all the way through as failed adoptions. While some of these failed adoptions may seem to legitimately represent a failure, it may be more helpful to see them not as failed adoptions, but successful decisions to parent. A lot of adoptions “fail” because mom and/or dad had voluntarily listed their child for adoption, but changed their mind and decided to keep him or her. Assuming the bio parents are fit to parent, which tends to be ensured once social services gets involved with a potential adoption, I think it is usually best for a child to stay with his or her bio parents. Adoptions can also “fail” when a child is completely unable to settle in to their adoptive family. While there are better and worse ways to handle this, removing a child from a home that is not meeting their emotional needs and placing that child in a home where they will be able to get their needs met is a huge success for the child. I think I latched onto this idea a little because I do really want to adopt someday, but also because of the larger implication. Sure, I failed to find a residency, but it might be better to say I successfully navigated graduation and starting my career. A couple weeks ago one of my coworkers was talking to a student about me, and it sure sounded like I was a strong addition to the team, not just some loser they felt sorry for and picked up after she’d failed everything else. That was really validating.

 

I also had a really validating weekend. I wish I could bottle up the weekend to replay. Which sounds really weird, because there were also some negatives this weekend, but there were enough positives that my overall impression of the weekend was positive. I was working 12’s this weekend because we were missing a person so I worked quite a bit of the morning alone, which with a high census like we had can be busy. Multiple times, when I sent techs out to deliver meds they came back letting me know that they had been stopped to pass along that pharmacy was doing an awesome job that morning. That made me feel really good, because most of the time if techs are being stopped it is to field complaints. Also, since I was sending techs out to do deliveries, I was also verifying and checking alone in addition to doing a lot of the tech duties alone, so when the one girl show is actually not making everyone frustrated about having to wait a whole minute for a Tylenol that is success. Also, multiple times techs told me I was their favorite pharmacist. That makes me really happy. It feels really good to be appreciated.

 

You know what else feels really good? Ginormous snow piles on a 90 plus degree day. A few months ago we had huge snow falls that basically shut down the city which frustrated me because like a news story I read a few years ago stated, millennials are more social than previous generations and even snow storms don’t really discourage them from going out to hang out with friends. The article went on to say that the city the article was from was planning on increasing snow clearing efforts to make it safer since millennials were going to drive whether the city took care of the roads or not. So yeah, I am like other millennials in that even if it snows I want to be able to still attend all my social functions and go on with life even if it takes longer to get there, so it super annoys me when places are closed or events get cancelled for snow. I don’t remember whether it was two days or three days later, but in any case within a very small number of days later, the temperature went above 90 degrees. It was so hot, but there were still humungous mountains of snow way over my head in the morning because it takes time to melt, and even on my way home from work they were still at about shoulder height. As you walk towards those piles the temperature got progressively cooler, and the temperature was actually really manageable if you stood right next to the snow mound. I wished I could just stand next to the snow and not have to go home through the heat, but I knew eventually I would regret that decision.

 

But y’know, it wouldn’t be the only decision I ever regretted. Sometimes I make decisions I should know there is a 97% chance I will regret later… #frenchvanillacoldbrewsmoothie So I absolutely love the taste of coffee…and I love banana nice cream (faux ice cream made with frozen banana) so I made nice cream and added some French vanilla cold brew coffee into my blender like a month ago…and the immediate gratification of the smoothie in my mouth was so enticing and so worth it. It is super hard to remember that the delayed gratification of not having a headache and upset stomach is probably worth saying no to the caffeine… #definitelynotnoregrets. I am finding that as I get older I am getting less reactive to caffeine, but I definitely still notice it, and even minor sources of caffeine can cause some issues.