Category Archives: blogging

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.

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I’m losing control…and that’s what it’s like to believe

(I’m Letting Go – Francesca Battistelli)

I was recently reading a book called something like Tale of Three Trees. It is a children’s book, and I didn’t make it all the way to the end because everyone lost interest because someone mentioned snack…and that’s okay, because snack is important to me too. That was what made the decision a definite no for me to not apply for the one summer camp that is both still looking for volunteers and happening at a time at which I could attend. They strictly prohibit snacks except for documented medical necessity and this girl is definitely not interested in trying to survive a camp experience without snacks, especially once you consider that camps tend to think waiting until almost lunch time for breakfast is acceptable. There was a video that circulated recently of a little girl probably 1.5-2 years old being asked what she was going to do that day and her response between mouthfuls of food was “eat, eat, eat.” That girl is after my own heart. I can’t imagine a world where I only get to eat three times a day and don’t get to decide when those times are or what is served. I have always survived camp and other travel situations by packing my own snacks in case of foods I won’t eat or just being too hungry to wait until the next snack or meal time and most camps actually include snacks in the day…just sayin’. And that wasn’t the only persnicketiness of this camp. They also require you wear bug spray, but it can’t be aerosol bug spray. And all toiletries must be packed in a clear plastic bag for inspection. Most of the time I don’t like people scripting the minutiae of my life. I very do not like bug spray. Also, I can’t even remember the last time I even saw a bug spray that wasn’t aerosol…actually I do remember, it was like 6 years ago. So yeah, I guess I will not be headed to any kind of summer camp this summer even though there are some super awesome camps out there that I really really want to volunteer with.

 

Anyway, I don’t know how the book ended, but guessing based on the fact that it was in the church nursery and by the fact that most children’s books are somewhat simple, don’t end sad, and have super contrived messages especially if they are trying to be Christian but not too Christian so that other people might accidentally buy the book and then be disappointed when they get home, I am guessing that the first tree that wanted to be a treasure chest became the manger that held baby Jesus, the second tree that wanted to be a massive ship became the canoe Jesus stood in while teaching or something along those lines, and the third tree that just wanted to grow tall became the cross Jesus died on…just guessing based on the part of the book I read. I only made it as far as the first tree being made for animals, and the second being at a dock, so I don’t even know for sure if the second tree was made into a boat at all and not something like a ladder or whatever…but I couldn’t stop thinking about that third tree. It just wanted to stay where it was and grow tall. That’s a lot like me. I just wanted to stay with the healthcare facility I already worked for. I wanted to stay and live out my dreams. Instead I was knocked down. That little tree bravely stood tall…umm…I had to pretend really hard to bravely stand tall when on the inside I was crumbling. The lumberjack who chopped the third tree said anything would do. I felt that way too, like “they” were right that no one would really want me and I wasn’t good enough so I could only get the job that really just needed a warm body to fill the position…so I guess this is where I am supposed to spin this positively, because that is how literature is supposed to work…even if it doesn’t seem like positive is how the world works in reality…but okay, positive…ultimately, that tree was taken from everything it knew and every dream it had. That kind of sucks and that is where I still am…but that wasn’t the end of the story for that tree (assuming my assumption of the ending is correct). God needed that tree. It wasn’t a glamorous role, but a tree was needed to create a cross for Jesus to die on so that he could take away sins so that we could have eternal life in heaven with him. Maybe if I hold on long enough, I will find there is some important reason God put me here not because it is good for me, but because it furthers his plans. It isn’t that the tree was a throwaway tree. It was brave and strong and just happened to be chosen. Similarly, this doesn’t make me a throwaway person, it just means someone who couldn’t see my talents and couldn’t see me for me took away my potential to fulfill my dreams but gave me a different purpose.

 

Unfortunately, grief doesn’t just end, and I still long for a career in pediatric critical care, NICU or emergency. Sometimes it is hard. The events leading up to Easter were hard for everyone. Jesus and the criminals were facing death on a cross. Pontius Pilate was facing knowing he made a decision he knew was wrong in an effort to be popular. The Christians lost their Lord. Judas realized he had denied his identity and faith. The criminal set free was likely dealing with the confusion and guilt of being free but unjustly and at the cost of an innocent man being sent to death. And I have to believe in the crowd’s hearts there was at least a seed of that twinge of conscience letting them know they’d done something wrong in cheering for an innocent man to be killed. But like it said in a book I read recently, Jesus paused Easter to listen to one man. As Jesus was bearing the humiliation, pain, and suffering of death on a cross, he engaged with someone. Not one of the people on his inner circle. That felt hopeful. Jesus pressed pause on one of the biggest events in history to attend to the needs of one person. That is how much he cares. He might not always choose to take the pain away, but he also willingly suffered on our behalf when he could have taken the pain from himself.

 

I can’t believe I am saying these things. It seems like just yesterday I was crying because God “got” to die on Good Friday but I was still stuck here despite praying for God to take me home. That was over a year ago now. The healing seems so slow and prolonged as it happens, but looking back in the bigger picture it is so clear how amazingly far I have come. It was hard to believe at first that healing in any sense would ever come, but it has.

 

I guess I kind of feel like I should go back to the topic of my week off this summer. I have no idea what I am going to do with that week. If you asked me in person I’d probably shrug and leave it at that as if I hadn’t put much thought into the week and was thrilled to just have a week with minimal to no plans. In reality, I have been thinking about that week a TON…Sometimes I talk like that TV show is reality and I really do have to pay to use vowels. That’s why I love writing. I was Quiet Girl. I was the girl who didn’t talk. I was the girl who brought her laptop to write to people in person if email wasn’t going to be fast enough but talking was too hard. I was the girl who’s achievement was celebrated when she said “I haven’t thought about that” instead of “I don’t know” (or silence) in response to her best friend’s question. Writing, whether to myself or in a slightly more public forum has always been my way of expressing myself. Sure, even those written words can be terrifying and take a lot of courage to share and were often written and deleted choosing no communication over the fear of communicating, but I can write a lot more easily than I can talk, so I’m going to share in writing my thoughts…

 

August 10, 2008 my family started going to a different church. The next year I tried out VBS for the first time. In my oversized t-shirt I spent a couple nights with the yellow lightbulbs and a night with the purple feet (both preschool classrooms). The next year I did 3 year-olds all week. After that I started leading the 0-2 year-olds and added on the 3 year-olds when they decided 3-year-olds no longer needed their own class. There have only been two years since then that I haven’t led that age group, although one of those years I was given a room of 2-3 kids alone so I was kind of leading but the actual leader made it clear we were to do nothing but play except for we were allowed to join the other 0-3 year old class for snack. (My group was the younger kids who might get trampled in the other class plus the one older child who struggled with separation anxiety but knew me well enough that I could keep him happy the entire night whereas in the other class he’d be inconsolable). When I started leading the game plan was play time, carnival, music, snack and play time, then pick up. If my memory serves me correctly, the first year I wasn’t leading they stopped having a carnival and the leader decided this age group didn’t need to do anything but play and have snack. It was hard for everyone. 3 hours or so is a long time for a kid to play in the same room with no structure except for a snack right at the end. When I came back to leading I added story time and coloring time and moved snack earlier in the evening, and brought back music. It was a lot more successful, and felt really fulfilling, because parents thanked me for how well I was incorporating their younger kids into VBS and keeping control of the room, and loving on the kids and volunteers. I missed taking the kids out to the carnival, but I was really happy with how the week went and thrilled to be there. I felt like I made a difference.

 

Then there was last year. My memory of last year is not of how much of a difference I made or how much fun I had. Instead, my memory is of trying to protect the dignity and safety of one particular child and his family. That is not what the week is supposed to be about. I was volunteering with the 0-3 year olds again even though I was in no position to lead. The person leading decided we were going to split up with 0-1 year olds in one room and 2-3 year olds in another. Not how I prefer to do it, as I found it made logistics more difficult (siblings or close friends that really need to be together to do well, “older” 1’s vs “younger” 2’s, staffing two rooms and/or having to split kids up after an initial drop off, etc), but okay, not a bad plan on the surface if that is how you want to do things. Here is the problem. A child with special needs was dropped off. He was in the older age group and his mother made it very clear that she wanted him to be with his age-appropriate peers. I saw no problem with that as he quickly warmed up to the room and played appropriately with the other kids his age. If you didn’t know he had special needs it wasn’t like it was immediately obvious or anything. He fit in. The leader came in and was angry that I let him in with the older kids because he should have been with the younger kids. My mama bear came out and I fought for him, but I lost. This child had medical needs that were very important. Before handing the child off to the younger room since staffing required me to stay in the older kids room, I needed to share his medical needs with the volunteers in his room. The leader refused to let me do this. I was really terrified for his safety. Without going into the details since that ain’t any of yo’ business, he had a condition that was important to recognize because it could be life-altering or fatal if an event happened and wasn’t recognized and treated appropriately and quickly. I only got as far as the people in the next room had no idea at all about recognizing or responding to the condition before I was cut off. The rest of the night I was so thankful for the small windows between the two rooms so I could periodically keep an eye on that kiddo. It was really sad because this kid clearly understood that he was in a room for babies. This room had no age-appropriate activities for him and he was clearly bored out of his mind stuck with the infants and early crawlers. If there’d have been some older 1-year-olds in the room it might not have been quite so bad as he’d at least have had a playmate, but they were all under 1 or just newly turned 1. I was angry, and so was this child’s parents at pickup. I wanted to apologize and explain that I was at least trying to watch out for him. His parents were so brave to entrust him to us – they’d had a hospital visit with him two days before, and I felt like we broke that trust and defeated the whole purpose of VBS – to serve families and reach children. By taking him out of the older kids class he missed the opportunity to have a story, too.

 

That night I knew I needed to cool off before I said anything I would regret, because I was absolutely livid, but I knew after having a conversation with the leader I would get nowhere with her, so I went above her head to the director of children’s ministries the next morning and explained the gist of what happened. She assured me that she would reach out to the family to apologize and to the leader to ensure it didn’t happen again. That sounds like a positive ending, but everything leading up to that really took away a lot of the joy of that week. Unfortunately as well, we also lost the trust of that family, and they didn’t come back until the last night. I recognize it might not be fair to classify the whole week based on that one situation, but it is my predominant memory of the week. It was a very good week for me because working full time an hour and a half to two hours away combined with the 4-ish hours at church each night meant that I was so crazy busy I didn’t even really have time to think about my loss or my career situation or anything which was super helpful at that time in my life (although coming off of that with not enough sleep, less connection time, and more free time was rough).

 

Also, while the director of children’s ministries understands what I have done for the children’s ministry, and some of the previous nursery directors got it, the majority of the current staff didn’t appreciate me and somehow couldn’t draw the connection between the success of their ministry when I was around and how they were struggling when I wasn’t around. There were/are also a lot of problems with them just not understanding the needs of parents. Sure, the service doesn’t start for 10 more minutes, but parents can’t be in two places at once, so you can’t turn them away until the service is actually starting. Also, while I agree that prayer is important, it is totally not cool to tell a new family that no, you can’t show them where to drop off their children because you are busy praying. And it is also not cool to tell a family that their child will not be allowed to drink anything because you think their bottle looks weird (the kid had a swallowing issue and his bottle had thickener in it to make it safe for him to drink – understandably the family said if he can’t have his bottle we aren’t leaving him here).

 

So yeah, all that to say that not even knowing who will lead the 0-3’s this year I can’t say with certainty it will be an utter flop or anything…and I am not sure that most people will even recognize or connect me being gone with a less smooth week…but although I originally put this week on my list of preferred PTO weeks because of VBS, I plan on taking the year off of VBS. I am thinking about Summer Jam, but IDK on that, because based on the videos, I think the game time would be super overwhelming for me and I don’t think that would be a good role to set me up for success unless there is more of a behind the scenes role I could take that wouldn’t involve being around the chaos of the games. Also, I would have a hard time coming to church for Summer Jam and not helping with VBS stuff, because I do tend to gravitate towards finding ways to help out and VBS usually has plenty of things for me to help with that I can excel at, but I’ve never seen anyone involved in Summer Jam need help with anything…

 

I know there are people who hire a babysitter or have some other plans set up so their younger kids don’t have such a late night or so that there is less chaos in getting ready for the night and getting everyone out the door and stuff…that also sounds like something I would love to do although I definitely wouldn’t accept any exchange of cash for it. I offered that, too, but I kinda doubt anyone’ll take me up on that, because TBH, a lot of the families with kids that age don’t really know me that well anymore and might not be sure about taking me up on that.

 

So yeah, like I mentioned in the first part of this post, there aren’t any summer camps that I could find still looking for volunteers that week, I don’t think I am doing VBS, and I have my doubts about Summer Jam or watching children working out. I have no idea what I am going to do. My mom thinks I should fly to Georgia, but I am someone who really hates traveling, so the fact that I only have one assigned week off makes me really want to have something that feels like an actual break. Flying is SUPER stressful and not fun for me (Well, the flying part isn’t *so* bad, it is the airport part that I really hate, and then the lack of independent transportation ability following that). Not what I want for my time off. Sure, I could drive to Georgia, but that’d be a long drive, which would be similarly unfun. I could punctuate the drive with a stop somewhere, but I can’t expect people to be available on the exact day and time I want to see them, and so many people have moved all over the country that I can’t really just go one place and have a whole list of people potentially available to say hi to anymore…I feel like I should have some idea what I want to do, but I really don’t. I feel frustrated. I kinda feel like I am wasting my week off since I don’t really have any specific plans.

 

So yeah…I’m not going to declare on the public internet when my time off is because I know it is bad form to announce in advance when you potentially may not be present at your home since that invites criminals to take part in the opportunity to break in while no one’s home…but if you are someone who knows me in real life and can therefore figure out which week is my week off and have any ideas for me, I’d love to hear them. I super love people, especially infants, small children, and my friends, and so yeah. It doesn’t have to be some glamorous trip across the globe. In fact, I’d be more thrilled with an hour with an infant in my hometown that the entire week alone in Paris.

Looking for someone to save your life

(Worth it – Francesca Battistelli)

 

Music is an important part of my life. It is how I best encounter God. It is how I like to experience my world. It used to be omnipresent in my world. I realized recently that through this period of grief, music has not been so consistent. Sometimes it was my lifeline, but other times it was absent, the empty soundtrack mirroring the emptiness in my life. But anyway, on Tuesday I was walking home, trying to hold back tears, and singing to myself…”So whatcha gonna do when the bottom falls out and you’re left with nothing but your fears and your doubts to hold to? Who’s gonna hold you?” The lyrics showcasing the desperation and pain and immense loneliness and worthlessness I felt. “And where you gonna run when it’s all on the line and you’re looking for someone to” and then I stopped. I couldn’t explain it. I just inexplicably couldn’t keep going. The tears came as I frantically tried to keep anyone else out on the streets from seeing my wet cheeks. I turned the corner and partially hidden by the privacy of a building I took a deep breath and weakly finished the sentence “to save your life. Save your life.” Those words so hard to say when the last thing I wanted was my life. I wanted so badly to die. But now I am doing better. Now I can move on and start to actually believe the second half of the song. “Love can hear you. Love can heal you if you let it inside. Oh remember now, love’s not easy. But it’s worth it.”

 

So yeah, I thought considering my last post I better hurry up and get something more positive up before anyone got too worried about me. I’m sorry. I do not usually edit my posts anymore now that I am free and don’t need to hide, but that also means I don’t have the opportunity to read my words and wonder if anyone will be legitimately worried about me. I am still trying to heal the hole of grief, and sometimes it is hard. I know my goal was for this year to be better, and crying uncontrollably doesn’t sound like better, but I have to give myself grace. Being able to give myself grace is better than before. And really, I am learning to climb out of the pit I keep being pushed into. I was pushed hard and the wind was knocked out of me, but I didn’t stay down too long. On Thursday, my manager came to apologize to me about the situation (okay, not the whole thing obviously, but the tiny piece he knew – that the PALS class I was excited about was happening without me). He wasn’t going to change it, and wasn’t going to bend the policy about training only being allowed on paid time, but somehow just being brave enough to acknowledge to my face that he understood my frustration was enough to start building the bridge. Like I have always said, there is a lot of power in “with,” and I think that is why that helped. Although I will say that initially breaking the news to me via email was also good, because I don’t really want my manager to see me cry. Vain, maybe, but whatever. Anyway, I might have come home Friday and had skittles and cookies for dinner before going to church, but I had so much fun at the game night that I actually did eat reasonably well and didn’t want to leave…I was up WAY past bedtime and was practically asleep standing up by the end of the night, but I really enjoyed it, and this morning I was feeling so much better.

 

I know that it is not “good” to be fighting life so hard when grief storm hits. I know it is not exactly “normal” to spend significant amounts of time deeply yearning death. I am working on it my own way, at my own pace. I also know that there are some things I am just not ready for, and trying to process with a counselor is still something that is too similar to the abuse for me to be ready to seriously consider it as an option. There is more healing to be done before I am willing to try again.

 

So on that note, back to what I actually originally sat down to write…

 

I know I can’t expect life to be perfect or anything, and sure, I rarely do compulsions anymore, but I do occasionally have more than an appropriate amount of germ anxiety. Yes, I know people do get sick, and the world goes on, but OCD doesn’t make sense. I am so much more free of it than I used to be, but when I am scared I don’t want “better,” I want no fear. Zero. Nada. Zilch. It (the OCD) probably did get worse than it had to because of what else was going on a few years ago, but I am a fighter. Compared to where I was mid to late third year, I basically haven’t had a single problem since the summer after third year…it’s just that I want recovery to mean 100% of the time having zero fear, but that isn’t realistic, because every single person has at least a little fear once in a while. Having some non-disabling fear occasionally and even having disabling fear once in a long while is normal…which is hard to understand when you have spent time in the very black and white world of OCD. Either it is clean or it is not, and either you are afraid or you are not…no in betweensies. So realistically, I probably am totally normal or pretty close, but my perspective tells me it is pieces of OCD back because I had fear…

 

I read an article maybe a month ago about how hard contamination OCD is in the winter and talked about how people with OCD tend to have a radar for signs of sickness and how that can be like a game of dominos. I definitely have a radar for signs of potential sickness and it sets off a theoretical chain of dominos and I end up with a feeling of impending doom. It is terrifying. For me it has always been linked to social difficulties. If you get sick you have to either communicate that you are sick or somehow manage to hide it, which is probably not completely possible (particularly around anyone like me with a very sensitive radar) and is also super disrespectful of other people to not quarantine yourself if you are germy. Communicating it is scary and also means that you have to decide when to come back.

 

I hate winter. I hate germs. I hate norovirus. So far I feel healthy, but my world doesn’t feel stable, and working in healthcare can definitely impact how safe I feel. Plus, the compulsions I had/have with OCD were not just washing, but also “researching” (in quotes, because primarily through social media). So I am acutely aware that a person remains contagious for weeks following the end of symptoms and traditional hand sanitizer is not effective against it, and even cleaning supplies that *can* kill it are often not effective because they are used wrong. For example, I’m not sure if Clorox wipes are effective against noro even if used appropriately, but the way a lot of people use them they might as well be using wet paper towel to clean. Cleaning wipes require a minimum wet contact time to be effective. If the surface doesn’t stay wet long enough you haven’t cleaned the surface and if you *cringe* wipe the surface dry immediately after using the wipe then you have just become a master of the placebo effect if you believe you actually did any cleaning. Frozen noro can remain infectious forever. Room temp noro can remain infectious on surfaces for significant periods of time as well. Very possibly months or more. The number of viral particles required to cause illness is in the single digits. Compare this to the millions to billions of aerosolized particles following a single vomiting or diarrhea episode, not to mention the amount in the vomit or feces themselves, and clearly it is no surprise why infection doesn’t tend to happen in just ones or twos.

 

So yeah, winter can be a really hard season for me as a former OCD-er. I go on a rollercoaster ride from almost certain I am doomed to promising myself that I am safe and back again. Knowing way too much from my former hours of research makes it easy to be fearful. I know how easy noro spreads, so not only do I react to the people in my actual life that get sick (umm, yeah, I have determined my parents entire house is contaminated and am not sure I ever want to go back…kinda a problem), but I also react to the Olympics outbreak in Korea and the outbreak at a college in Wisconsin. I see the dominos. Even if someone doesn’t get sick, suppose somehow an American tourist’s backpack picks up a few viral particles from being near someone who was near someone sick (and realistically there would be a lot closer contact than that). That backpack gets put onto a plane with zillions of other people where the germs are transferred to another person’s purse. That person goes to work and their purse is hung on a hook touching lots of other people’s bags and coats and the germs transfer to the inside of someone else’s coat. That person’s coat comes home. The next day they put their coat on over their pajamas to go to the mailbox. The germs transfer to the pajamas. The pajamas are worn to bed the next night and the germs are transferred either to hands or sheets and then to the mouth. By that next night the person is sick and there are zillions of virus particles everywhere and they are tracked all over the city and people are very mobile, city to city, state to state, country to country.

 

That little scenario I wrote out takes out a lot of potential steps in the process, and drastically simplifies from the zillions of vectors to a single chain, but I hope that it helps understand how easily I can fall victim to fear. It took a lot of words to write that scenario out, but it took less than a second from reading about the Olympics to feeling a sense of lack of safety…and anger. The Olympic committee put out a bunch of hand sanitizer in response. Unless in Korea hand sanitizer is actually pure bleach rather than something like the ethyl alcohol we generally use in America, it will not help prevent spread. In fact, it probably decreases safety, because it makes people feel safe even though they really aren’t. When people feel safe they are a lot less careful which greatly increases the potential for spread of sickness. I want to say that is not okay.

 

But I am proud of myself. So far I have thought about whether I should keep eating and drinking, but have continued to decide that yes I should. Even with all the other things going on making life hard, or maybe because of all the other things going on, I have not come to a panic level of fear. I might be exclusively wearing pajamas in or near bed – not even clean casual clothes, but I am able to go through life seemingly normally at least from the outside, and that is important to me.

 

Although I will admit that I do have a desire to know everything there is to know about what is going on with noro at the Olympics…but that is probably also related to my input strength – trying to collect and categorize all the information available. It really is a bummer that news sources don’t seem interested in reporting full stories. From my perspective they give just enough info to whet my interest and then end the article and cease follow up coverage. It is kinda frustrating when you are someone like me who desires to know the entire story. It’s the same way with a lot of news – like with a school shooting I want to know how people are doing after it’s over. How are things different? What new frustrations are they facing? …ad nauseum…if I had my way we really wouldn’t need much news, because we’d still be getting news updates on the school shooting that happened in December 2012…inquiring minds want to know…

 

Lol…what do you want to know? I would love to do a Q & A post…although realistically I don’t have anywhere near enough viewers for that to ever happen…

Though the world doesn’t care it matters to me

(It Happened – Stephanie Pauline)

 

I’ve seen blog posts after the owner has not written for a long time that simply say something along the lines of “Y’all, I am doing so much better” and that is the end of the post and often the end of the blog. I don’t think I have been away long enough to warrant that and I think I want to keep blogging…and I feel like as a blogger I have always been way too verbose to have a one-liner post…but I am doing a lot better.

 

Four years (ish) ago I claimed that I had absolutely no OCD issues anymore. At the time it was true…but OCD is a sneaky beast. Since then there have certainly been times when the OCD came back…usually it’s just been a few hours or maybe a day and then it is gone again. Considering the sleeplessness and poor intake over the past months since not matching the first time, I probably shouldn’t be that surprised that a more protracted relapse entered my life even though I am doing a lot better with the grief than I was. My body and mind are still recovering even if I want to claim that I am fine. I still cry sometimes. I gained weight to my goal (not all of it back) and kept the weight on long enough to say okay unless there is a concern it doesn’t matter whether or not I keep this weight on. I did lose some of the weight again, but having a lower set point is okay as long as I am actually eating reasonable meals three times a day and not using up excessive amounts of energy without replacing it.

 

OCD makes it hard to be at work sometimes because people call in sick sometimes and the internet says shared pens are disgusting and dangerous and so are phones. OCD makes me vulnerable to computer viruses, because if I need to search the internet for stomach flu stories, I need to click on every single link…which means potentially clicking on dangerous sites…I am fairly certain that is how my yahoo email account started sending out spam emails on its own which I only discovered when it sent one to me…I was so embarrassed because I have no idea how many people it may have fraudulently sent emails to since the emails are not archived in my sent mail folder…and I don’t know whether proper etiquette is to pretend it never happened or to email absolutely everyone I know to make sure I don’t miss anyone in letting them know it wasn’t really me…but then that would be basically another pointless email clogging up people’s inbox…and I really hope they know it wasn’t really me. Speaking of my obsessive searches…I am very much aware that the more I search the more fear I feel, but when the OCD strikes, the need to know overrides all logic, and it *feels* like reading all the things will make me safer…luckily, so far, although I had a bit of a protracted relapse, it never got to a really bad point at all, more of just a very mild hovering just above a normal point for a long time. Just in case though, after getting home from Target to buy my Christmas tree, I allowed myself to wash my hands because I was at a point where I wasn’t touching things and I knew that if the anxiety didn’t calm soon it would be a lot easier to cope if I washed my hands and kept my apartment at least relatively clean than if I forced myself to horribly contaminate my entire apartment…shopping can be hard. Partly because the internet also says that shopping carts are dirty and because people on the internet admit to going shopping while sick (STAY IN YOUR HOME PEOPLE) so all the stuff in the store might be contaminated. Also, there are times when I want to buy bleach, and I know that I am not quite ready to be responsible with bleach. There have been times I would have been ready to go shopping but didn’t because I was afraid I might come home with a bottle of bleach.

 

Sometimes “just relax” or “what’s the worst that could happen” are unhelpful words that show a lack of understanding, because trust me, if I could “just relax” I would. But sometimes I have to remind myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect…case in point: Thanksgiving. It came into my head that I *was* bringing something to Thanksgiving, so I asked and asked until I finally became in charge of bringing rolls. Easy, right? Well, first I kinda fell asleep after lunch and woke up and realized I intended to start getting the rolls ready a while ago…then I realized the directions were super confusing/vague. As I finally get to the let rise at least 45 minutes I look at the clock and realize that I am falling hopelessly behind the timeline. Remember that not only am I taking extra time trying to understand, the area in which I still wash almost excessively is when cooking…washing your hands doesn’t take a lot of time but do it enough times and it adds up. And I am also realizing that even if I skip half of the rise time I still have nowhere near enough time to re-use the same pan for two batches and I only have one pan that is really intended for making rolls so I’m going to need to come up with a creative improvised solution ASAP to get everything into the oven at one time. So this is the perfect time to spill and/or splatter most of a stick of butter all over my microwave. I don’t know the importance of butter in this recipe – I might just try skipping it altogether next time and see what happens instead of getting stressed out. Trying to make up time while shaking from anxiety makes it hard to get a new stick of butter unwrapped. Just sayin.’ And of course I spill flour all over too. To speed things up I try mixing the bread dough with a mixer…and pretty quickly realize it is a bad idea but for a few seconds freeze which is long enough for the dough to get up into the holes to the point that the eject button doesn’t work and I have to yank the stick things off of the mixer base…so after skipping a few steps I didn’t have time for I tried all sorts of things to get the dough out of the inside of the mixer and am hoping it’ll work again next time I have an appropriate use for it. Anyway, at this point you have to either laugh or cry…so I announced to myself that I now have the most well-greased microwave ever. And as I am looking for more towels to try to clean it up because soaking up some of the drips before they got to the floor with paper towel and napkins was good, but real towels are the only match for the explosion in the microwave, I relax and realize that it doesn’t have to be perfect and my worth as a person is not dependent upon my ability to make rolls. I might feel embarrassed if they turn out bad, but it is not the end of the world if there aren’t rolls for thanksgiving. In fact, I have been at thanksgiving celebrations where there intentionally was not rolls.

 

So yeah. The rolls weren’t perfect and some of them were falling apart. I ended up with a hard to clean microwave and almost every bowl in my kitchen dirty (thank God for dishwashers). I burned my serving tray by pouring the rolls from the pan directly out of the oven into the towel-lined tray. And I was still late to Thanksgiving…but I also still had a wonderful time. Thanksgiving can be hard for me because of my social skills or lack thereof, but I had such a good time. No one made me feel awkward for what I did or didn’t eat or for what I did or didn’t say. It was okay to just be me. I was accepted and included and LOVED it!!

 

Probably a week-ish later I had some time scheduled to hang out with a new friend. Maybe an hour or so before it is time to go I read a text from her that she hadn’t thought to tell me but her kids had been sick. And the way it was worded definitely sounded like the vomiting kind of sick. Full stop. This is basically how I lose friends. Anyone in the home sick pretty much means the person is going to be contaminated for a LONG time. I was determined not to lose my brand new friend. I was terrified because clearly if I hadn’t already been told this is not a contamination-aware home. I am strong. My plan was bring as little as possible in and only things that can be cleaned easily. In my car was a towel to protect my car from germs and spray hand sanitizer. Of course one of the first things that happens as I come in is she is preparing food that my passive can’t reject…and one potentially sick kiddo was helping. So, long story short, I ate throughout the day even with toddler fingers in the bowl. That is not something I really ever expected to be able to do. I don’t know if it would be a big deal for “normal” people, but it was a big deal for me. Yes, I did come home and wiped my flip flops with a sanitizer wipe, stripped all my clothes off into the washer with the towel and my watch band, ran a quick wash cycle while showering, found a new towel and clothes, ran a *real* wash cycle, and worked on cleaning my watch itself, my phone, and the floor where I walked before showering…yes, excessive, but after that I was totally fine again, and that is a huge accomplishment for me. I CAN challenge myself and I CAN do it without falling apart.

 

Do I still have OCD fears? Sometimes. Do I still at times struggle with the grief? Definitely, but I can live life okay with minor contamination sometimes and accept minor risks…and even challenge myself with big risks. And I no longer get up every single morning wishing I weren’t alive. I might not be thrilled with where I am in life, but I am doing so much better than before.

 

I don’t recall where this quote came from, but it’s been on my list of things for awhile… “I needed to live, not live better.” It is easy to be frustrated with myself and see all the perceived failure, but that misses the fact that one of my major success stories is that I lived. There are a lot of really hard things that I have faced in the past year, and even before that, but I survived. Sure, in retrospect it is easy to see how maybe there is some way I could have fought harder and lost less weight for example, but starving short term wasn’t going to kill me. I needed to live, not live better. It took all the power I had to get something in my mouth every day and to keep on making it through each day on almost no sleep. I did my best, and I survived. It really is only by God’s power that I am still here. Barely functioning I didn’t necessarily always remember even the basics of driving like gas vs brake, much less the intricacies…and I was often trying to get where I needed to be while struggling to see through the storm of tears. It wasn’t the best way to live, but I needed to live, not live better…

 

It is crazy to think that at this time last year I was finishing up and submitting the applications to the nine places I expected to interview including the one place I intended to end up. Now I am finally in a job that I do not like, but that I am learning to be thankful for because it pays the bills and has allowed me to grow not professionally, but personally as I learn how to make new friends and stuff…’cause as a resident in a lot of places you get a built in friend of your co-residents who also have just graduated and are in need of friends and with whom you will spend lots of time, so being a real pharmacist I skipped over that hand holding step into the real world.

 

I am really proud of myself. I might have challenges to overcome, but I am a fighter and no one will take away my shine.

11 Days of Brave

Every October, a lot of bloggers commit to writing a post every day on a particular topic. That is a lot more commitment than I am able to give, but I think maybe I could handle 11 days if each day was a few sentences rather than an entire post.

So here are my eleven days of brave.

10/21: I am going to start opening up my heart to hope again. It is terrifying, but I have to believe that hope will be good in the end even if it just feels like a way to be hurt more right now. I am a fighter.

10/22: I completed my first marathon…not as a runner…I was on the medical team. The reason pharmacy is the best fit in the medical profession for me is because brief face to face communication with patients is not my forte. I am fine communicating with other providers as needed and I prefer most to work independently, but today I had to talk to patients directly with some brief interactions. I wasn’t really *supposed* to have to do that, but a lot of times all the nurses would be outside cheering for runners leaving me the only one available to triage new arrivals and start helping them. Luckily each time that happened someone realized I was way out of my comfort zone and jumped in to help before I totally imploded…But I tried, and that was a big brave thing. I was stressed out enough that I started getting enough dehydrated that I was a little dizzy, but I did it and really enjoyed it.

10/23: Today, for the first time since losing my job again, I wore logo wear. Sure, it was “just” a jacket that I have loved for the style rather than for the logo anyway, and the jacket was like my security blanket all last winter, but losing my job and coworkers and dreams was an incredibly painful experience and the simple presence of that logo was too much. A couple weeks ago the best I could do was realize it was way too cold to be outside without a jacket or something and put my jacket in my purse in case I really needed it. Sounds reasonable-ish, right? Well, except for that really needing it was probably not going to happen until my all of me was getting frost bitten. Luckily I figured out later that for most things a jacket wasn’t as necessary as SOMETHING warm that was comfortable enough to not make me whiney…Thinking back to winter storm Decima where I had to get a little creative to stay warm and ended up wearing a pair of dirty pajama bottoms around my shoulders for warmth, I realized that a soft sweatshirt would work too, so I haven’t been freezing the days that it was cold out. Being able to wear the jacket is a huge step in the right direction.

10/24: Today I was having a hard  time. On the way home I felt like I should sing the song God Rocks (here there everywhere better believe that God rocks! Not a doubt, check it out, gotta believe that God rocks…). I really didn’t want to, because it sure doesn’t seem like God rocks. It seems like God is sitting back relaxing when I need help. I feel left alone. I know intellectually that God won’t throw me away, but right now I don’t know it in my heart. Right about the time I stopped singing, the narrator on the audiobook I was listening to said sometimes we ask so many questions that they pile up on top of the answer. It made me think, maybe I have spent so much time asking God where he is and why it hurts to much and why he won’t take it away that I haven’t shut up long enough to hear an answer. I don’t actually know if this one is a Christian based book – I was drawn in by the pretty picture on the cover – so maybe this isn’t the “right” or “Christian” approach, but I feel like I’ve tried everything else and at this point I would be willing to try practically anything if it might help heal my pain.

Off topic, but I was thinking this evening about why today was feeling so hard – there wasn’t really any particular trigger I could think of besides wearing the jacket starting yesterday. I realized that maybe the problem is that I have been so focused on achieving my goal weight. I think it kind of became like a marker of when the grieving is over…but as it turns out, reaching a particular number on the scale does not mean that the grief is automatically over. I can work really hard and achieve the physical goal while emotionally I am still far behind. And this morning I was no longer at the goal. To be honest, in the morning I was able to just brush it off and realize the goal was not some biologically based number and if I am eating appropriately every day the exact number doesn’t really matter. The goal is a healthy weight that can fuel my body. For a while I wasn’t fueling my body. I was exhausted not just from grief-induced insomnia but because I wasn’t putting the proper nutrition and hydration in my body to effectively create energy. But I am a morning person, so everything tends to seem better in the morning. By the afternoon that was just one more reminder of failure. Another indicator that I am not good enough. I don’t want to cry anymore. I just want this nightmare to end. I want to wake up and find out this was all a dream. For that matter, I would be perfectly happy to die in my sleep tonight and never wake up. That might be the best option.

10/25: So this is kind of lame, but the brave thing I did was attempt to ask someone to hang out with me…except I failed because for some reason facebook won’t load right now and that is the only way  I know how to contact this person. But trying is step one and something I usually wouldn’t attempt because I am more of the find community as you osmosis into it kind of way than an actively seeking people out kind of way…

Also, off topic, but I wish that more problems could be solved the way one problem was solved today…my guitar wouldn’t work at all. The computer said it sensed one guitar connected, and the lights on the USB remote thing were lit up and the switch was in the on position…and the buttons were doing nothing. Eventually after frustratedly pressing every single button a few times and realizing nothing was doing anything and there definitely weren’t any steps in turning the game on I was missing, I got the idea to try changing out the batteries…so a screwdriver and four double A’s and a little bit of problem solving and it worked again. But screwdrivers and batteries do not fix ALL of life’s problems…which is probably good because I don’t have another four AA’s to use to fix the next problem…

10/26: I actually did contact someone on facebook today…is it cheating to use that as my brave thing since I kinda used it yesterday? IDK…Speaking of facebook, I also got challenged to take pictures and post them, so I’m doing that…today: the mess under my bed left over from yesterday…

And, off topic, but I do not like Hy-Vee… #annoyed… so it isn’t actually Hy-Vee’s fault for the most part… but I had 5 cents off/gallon on my Hy-Vee Perks card…and the only place anywhere near here that accepts that card is like across town. Gas Buddy and Google both agreed that the price of gas was the same there as everywhere else…so I figured that I’d probably save more than I spent in getting there and back, so I went. Yeah, so I actually passed a Hy-Vee on my way there when I got mildly lost. I figured I’d stop and try to find what I wanted, ’cause I’ve been driving with the gas light on for a while and figured it was time, but I was pretty sure I had enough to stop and get to the gas station…and I got SO frustrated. So disorganized. Found nothing I wanted. Struggled so hard to even figure out how to get out of the stupid store…it’s like a maze in there. So yeah…then I finally figured out how to get to the gas station and got that figured out…and got super lost on the way home…let’s just say if I ever tell myself that I don’t need directions I should probably know by now that I am lying to myself…yep, any potential savings most definitely lost and then some…and then on the way home, I discover that a gas station much closer to me was 4 cents less/gallon than the gas station I went to… #fail…

10/27: So someone at work complained that they felt like they were going to throw up and were going home early and kept talking about how she wasn’t sure if she was going to make it all the way home. So lets just say that even before that my OCD was starting to creep back in just a little and that was enough to push me from creeping in to totally drowning. But I still ate lunch and dinner including going to a restaurant (Panera) where I can’t control what happened to the food before I got it and it is sitting out without being sealed so like anything airborne could be on it or bugs could carry stuff to it…and it almost certainly has had at least indirect contact with human hands if not direct contact…yeah, all that to say that restaurants are already a little scary even before you add in the social aspects…and I am okay.

10/28: So yeah…I already shortened the commitment to 11 days instead of 31 days…and I failed anyway yesterday…but I’m not deleting this and pretending it never happened. I am getting back on the horse and continuing the ride.

10/29: I made a new friend in the garage today…you should probably know that by made a new friend I really just mean I managed enough one to two word responses to keep a conversation going for a couple minutes and said conversation ended in someone inviting me to knock on his door to borrow his bike sometime…but anyway, that is something that isn’t always easy for me…now whether or not I will ever be brave enough to knock on someone’s door is a totally different story, but getting far enough in conversation for that to come up is pretty sweet!

10/30: yeah…I kinda forgot and/or gave up…lol…whatev…

10/31: On my way home from work late at night, someone on the sidewalk started talking to me. It would have been easy to barely acknowledge them and go on towards my apartment, but I paused to exchange a few words…funniest thing ever though, the person said “isn’t it kinda late for walking outside?” That was the point at which I lost interest in talking when I could be sleeping, but I laughed because that lady was obviously also walking outside late at night.

Just When You’ve Lost the Will to Live You’ll See the Shore

(Drifting – Plumb)

 

As I continue to grieve, some days are definitely a lot harder than usual.

 

Monday was one of those harder days. My guess would be that spending a few hours at my old job Sunday was enough to remind me of what I have had to give up.

 

Grief is like an open wound, making things that should be of minimal consequence seem so painful as to derail my day. I checked my mailbox and had a bill for $435 from my new employer. This is not how working is supposed to work. I was so upset that I immediately started crying and screaming about how much I hated my new job and wanted to quit. I know it would be career suicide to quit at this point, but it doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal when I’m in a position that I like so little with no hope of getting what I really want. There was a simple answer to this problem: call and ask about it, and once I calmed down enough to figure that out and then enough to make the call the problem was solved…the bill was a mistake and they’d delete the charges from my account if I brought the bill to their office…but once I’m that far gone my communication abilities are definitely affected enough that I really didn’t want to go to the office and really didn’t want to have to talk to the receptionist about what I needed. It was another overwhelming hurdle to jump.

 

As my shift started out, it was actually at least a little better than last week – there were at least more than like the same 4 drugs at the exact same doses to verify over and over…but the person I was assigned to work with was not easy to work with. I felt really frustrated and was very ready to leave. There were a lot of issues like getting yelled at over how I sorted my home med list which makes absolutely no difference one way or the other because how I default sort it does not in any way shape or form affect your default sort and if I am comfortable the way I like it then it doesn’t matter…and it wasn’t like this was a good teacher either. Yelling at me that I am doing it wrong isn’t very helpful if when I ask what I’m doing wrong your response is that the dose I’m typing can’t be given…especially when I know for a fact that it can and your protocol that I am working off of also says that this is an appropriate dose. If you always do it differently than the protocol then first, I think the protocol should be changed to reflect that, and second, it would be more helpful to tell me how you always do it than to just tell me I am doing it all wrong. I wish I were a little more bold so I could request someone else to work with instead of just dealing with it. Also, there is one particular protocol that while I am definitely not going to try to change it as the new girl, I definitely do not like it and don’t think it is a very safe practice. I hear in all my pharmacy practice groups that standardization is very important and there should very rarely be more than one concentration made of the same product because it leads to errors. In this hospital, pretty much every single pediatric dose of certain antibiotics is a different concentration. That really scares me because it leads to such a wide opening for errors. Especially in kids it is important to have a standard concentration and they are doing the opposite of that.

 

And of course because it is me, I got lost on the way home from work…I live about a mile away, but I didn’t get home until almost midnight…I understand random other people still awake that late not stopping to get my attention and ask if I need anything – I know I learned somewhere that you are supposed to be careful because single girls could be bait to attract you so bad guys can hurt you…but I would have thought that a police officer would notice a very obviously lost girl and at least ask if she wanted help…and I was desperate enough at that point I would have said yes…but nope, saw me, turned around, and went the other way…I miss the city I went to school in. It is questionable whether it is actually a safer place to wander or not, but there are a lot more street lights and a lot fewer trees which makes it FEEL a whole lot safer and less scary. Also, people there are super friendly and I am 98% certain that I had I been wandering around there SOMEONE would have said something to me. I was always so amazed how friendly people are there. You can walk through a neighborhood and people you have never before seen in your life will wave and say hello or people driving with their windows down will say hello to people on the sidewalk.

 

And in the process of not being fully unpacked, I realized I had no idea where my passport was. I opened every box looking for it before remembering that a signed credit card is an acceptable substitute (something that still boggles my mind…) and switching my attention towards finding something that will write on the back of my credit card…clearly though I finished that and then thought of a few more places to look and finally found the passport…

 

And I seem to lose a sock every time I do laundry and this week it was one of my favorites that didn’t come back out of the wash. I wish I knew where these socks went because I had the socks paired up in the laundry basket, brought the basket over to the laundry closet, put everything in, moved everything to the dryer, and then took everything out and put it away and so there really isn’t anywhere they could go except into thin air…

I’m holding on. Minute by minute. It’s so hard.

 

Totally unrelated, but I take the NAPLEX Friday and IDK if I am ready.

The best laid plans can go upside down if that’s lady luck’s intent

 

(Accidents Happen – Thomas and Friends)

 

Things don’t always go how they go inside my head.

 

I was going to do a video with a teacher…instead I got pulled into a meeting about background checks and discovered that it is finally going to be a lot less expensive for students now than it has been for me. Then I got pulled into helping with looking through preceptor of the year awards.

 

I got out of my last event of the day super early and I had the great idea that I would go swing on a swingset….umm…yeah…it was thunderstorming and I didn’t get very far on my way to my car before I realized swinging in a thunderstorm was a Very Bad Idea.

 

So instead I decided to go find someone to talk to…except everyone was busy…

 

It is easy to forget me…especially when I never made it known I needed anything…

 

But some things do go right. Sometimes God answers prayer with yes. There was a garbage truck that happened to turn onto the road in front of me. Oh c**p oh c**p oh c**p are the last words coming out of my mouth before trying to hold my breath as long as possible…then I forced myself to breathe while thinking about if there was anywhere I could get some bleach and clean myself and all my things. And I was frustrated because clearly if I can barely touch the steering wheel while I drive because everything is contaminated then eating is going to be super difficult…so I did the only thing left to do. I prayed my heart out the rest of the way to school…usually I’m also singing myself songs (usually inside my head…), but not today, and shortly after getting to school I was actually doing okay again!! Maybe I don’t have a job and I’m still alive because I’m not a good enough Christian.

 

I’ve been listening to the book “In the Water they can’t see you cry.” As a former swimmer and loving the title SO much, it was totally worth the fact that it was like 10 hours long. Amanda Beard was the topic of my french paper in seventh grade. I was a little disappointed at first because the book wasn’t like I thought it would be, but it actually is pretty good. It is so familiar that I feel like I’ve read it before in like actual words, but I’m pretty sure based on the publication date that I haven’t read it before…I suppose there is probably a good chance that the majority of the story I read from the Splash magazines a little at a time. I read those things religiously cover to cover until they stopped coming. Anyway, I am so glad I read the book this week. It was something I could totally connect with. Someone else who had very similar problems to my own and experienced it similarly…and she got through it and ended up with a BABY!! Mostly it was just me having someone to commiserate with who wasn’t going to be overwhelmed or anything seeing as how it was only a person on a recording, but there were tiny bits of hope that if she could do it maybe I could too.

 

Sometimes life is frustrating. I wanted to go to yoga today. I had lab until 6:30, so even worst case scenario I’d make it to the second half. Then the teacher for the class I had before lab said unless I wanted to be in class that I might as well leave because there wasn’t going to be anything useful for me in class. I took that invitation and left. I probably should have done something useful with my life, but instead I went on a walk…a five-mile walk. Yeah…that was stupid. And that is why I am unable to go to yoga. I don’t think it is safe for me to be there. Either it will be slow stretching yoga in which case I will be tempted to pretend I am totally able to do what everyone else seemingly can and intentionally do things that will leave me in physical pain to drown some of the emotional pain, or it will be some type of fitness yoga that will similarly be bad for me because I really shouldn’t be doing anything that is going to burn extra calories when I am trying to gain weight…especially seeing as how I am already having trouble with my dinner today. I was super efficient in lab moving people around and grading papers and alphabetizing at top speed so that I’d have plenty of time and I was pretty proud of myself for finishing at 5pm. But then I realized that it wasn’t a good idea to go to yoga. But I also couldn’t go home. I already said I wasn’t going to be home for dinner and it is always awkward when I say that then show up at home…especially because a lot of times dinner when I’m not there is fish and so people feel bad that I can’t eat with them, because that is one of the things they are aware that I do not eat. Besides, I had enough food for two meals in my lunch box and extra snacks in my car. So I started getting dinner ready, but I didn’t really want to eat it. So I went to my happy place so that I wouldn’t be tempted to show up to show up at yoga. Now I am trying really hard to finish dinner. It is frustrating, because I feel like I should be over this by now. But I’m still struggling. How long does this last? I’m tired of holding on.

 

Umm yeah…so we’ll just end with some good lyrics:

“When does a scar become a tattoo? When does the sky turn back to blue? When will this heart that’s broken and bleeding beat again? When do I stop feeling this burn? When will it stop? When will I learn?…I’m right here, standing in the pouring rain; tick tock hours all feel the same.” (Say your name – Plumb)

Like a Blaze I Can’t Contain

(Krystal Meyers – Fire)

 

So, umm, yeah…this might be the dumbest thing I ever did in my whole life (wild exaggeration). So I accidentally set a metaphorical fire last week. It was an accident. Stupid words came out of my mouth that I didn’t intend to say…

 

And then it blew up in my face today…and because I was scared I pretty much just shot the messenger. Now instead of one fire I have two; the original oops and then the breaking of the messenger’s relationship.

 

So yeah…I left school ready to do homework and got home and very quickly was pulled into firefighting mode for the next three hours…and no homework got done.

 

On the positive side, although I did stay up late sending texts, the result was that both fires were put out and the train is back on the tracks…lol…and I think everyone has learned a lesson…don’t break news to Wiggle Worm via text in the afternoon if there is a possibility of the meaning being misinterpreted into a terrifying scenario that she feels like needs to immediately fixed…and for me, get all the information BEFORE you freak out and assume the worst…

 

So to keep from setting anymore metaphorical fires I’m just gonna share random lyrics that I like, because I am pretty sure there is no way that can get me in trouble or anything…

 

To go on living when all you’ve lived for is gone…this is the Courage to make a light

(Superchick – 5 minutes at a time)

This song is really encouraging and has gotten a lot of listens in my life…unfortunately.

 

We learn how to identify and correctly label other people’s sick neurotic pathetic behavior…what does this prove? The rats are totally insane!

(Psychology 101 – Ten Minute University)

I adore ten-minute university, and this is probably my favorite lecture. All the lectures are good, but this one makes me smile the most. Like seriously, if you haven’t heard it you need to. It is hilarious with zero knowledge of psychology, but once you know some psychology the humor level goes up like a million fold.

 

You’ll stand through the pain. You won’t drown.

(Stand in the Rain – Superchic[k])

Good reminder.

 

My thoughts are scattered and I cannot say a word, and I can’t seem to remember anything I’ve learned

(Sleep – Plumb)

This one is a good crying song if I’m not already crying but am in a safe place to cry. I lean towards sensory seeking to numb out so a slow song takes away some of the sensory stimulation which lets the tears pour down my face.

 

Are we happy plastic people under shiny plastic steeples with walls to hide our weakness and smiles to hide our pain? But the invitation’s open to any heart that has been broken…is there anyone who fails? Is there anyone who falls? Am I the only one in church today feeling so small?

(Stained Glass Masquerade – Casting Crowns)

This is another oldy but goody…mostly I hate music without words, but this song is so pretty that I might even be happy with this song without the words…and that is saying a lot because usually the words are the part of the song that matters to me.

 

I could keep going, but as mentioned above, my homework needs to get done…

Try to put the pieces together

(Free to be Me – Francesca Battistelli)

That title seemed fitting because this post is a bunch of random thoughts that don’t really fit together…but writing even just seemingly random thoughts helps clear my brain space to be able to think logically enough and sit still enough to write more than three words without getting distracted and doing something else in the middle…it helps a lot in coherency of my homework.

This is good because as I worked on my homework this morning it is extremely obvious that I am a morning person and also which parts I worked on in the morning versus later in the day…the questions, answers and explanations make sense and then suddenly partway through the page the grammar and logic seem to just vaporize and disappear…

I think I finally put into words the lesson I learned through the issues at school: Just because hurt people hurt people doesn’t mean that loved people love people. I can’t love people out of hurting me. I shouldn’t protect people who are hurting me to create a safe place so that they’ll be nice. It won’t work. But I still feel the guilt and shame that I should have been able to fix it. I mean, yeah, in retrospect I should have stopped loving and started tattling and gotten out of the relationship, but the fact that I care too much about protecting that person to create a no doesn’t mean that I am a bad person. It just means that as an adolescent with a not fully developed brain I didn’t yet have the capacity to fix it myself nor did I have the capacity to share enough hints that the other adults in the situation had enough to have reasonably figured out what was happening…if I hadn’t been the unpaid secretary helping students when they were super frustrated maybe someone would have gone to someone who could have changed things. So maybe it is my fault that this still happens. Okay, time for this paragraph to shut up because clearly I am not able to write about this AND be nice to myself…

Sometimes you just know what you need is a break in a safe place. I tried that at lunch time on Friday and couldn’t find it…got close until the person whose office and company I was borrowing realized she had something she really needed to do…and so I left to go have lunch even though I was having a rough day and food was sounding like too much. Success: I ate lunch. Fail: and then I tried to do homework but never actually got it all the way out because I started crying and ended up spending the rest of my 2.5 hours lunch break trying to calm down and compose myself to be able to go to class.

I made it to class. I should have been more focused but just being there was the level of energy I had to give right then. I knew that it was time when class was over to take some time for myself…I went to the place I have always run (well, always driven) for a sense of safety and due to the fact that I don’t want certain people to know where I go and follow me there thus taking away my hideout, I am going to refrain from mentioning where said place is…plenty of people probably have a pretty good guess, but right now I am worried about being found and having nowhere so I ain’t makin’ it easy. In reality, the person I am worried about has actually been pretty respectful recently, but I can’t afford to take chances. Usually I go sit in a chair or on a swing, or my first week back in this state I went and walked around the block to create distraction to make it easier to meet my water goals, but today even walking as far as a chair seemed overwhelming, so I sat down in the back of my car, turned on Spotify, and took a short nap. When I woke up the world wasn’t beautiful or anything, but at least I felt a little less pressed into a pancake. I then did feel like I could go to the swing and sit and release some energy. It was good…until I had to get back in the car and go home and I barely made it five blocks before I hit traffic and undid all the unwinding I’d just done.

Oh, you know, just napping in the back of the car…

But luckily once I got home things went pretty well. I intended to finish some homework tonight since I am feeling very much like the hurrier I go the behinder I get…so both of my major projects are barely started and both of my projects are due Tuesday…instead I had a delicious dinner and somehow my mouth kept saying yes I would like more thank you and I actually ended up finishing the day with a complete calorie load despite the jolly rancher subbing in for part of breakfast and the struggle to get through lunch…and then I learned about Passover since that is happening this weekend, and I learned about grieving and some other stuff in Judaism. I will admit that this non-change-loving girl is a little nervous about her first Passover celebration, but she is also excited to be learning…and is happy to do anything that makes her little six and a half year old buddy happy.

Also on like Thursday-ish…The awkward moment of checking your phone between classes to see a text “are you coming to the wedding this weekend?” Umm…crap…I forgot that I said I might do that…I legitimately have too much homework to make that even a remote possibility, but I really should have at least remembered enough to have said that I wasn’t going without being asked…

I’ve never been to a wedding before, and it doesn’t really seem that exciting to me. I’ve been to a funeral and both are pretty much the same thing as far as I’m concerned. Something is changing for eternity and therefore we will all get dressed up and sit still while someone reads the same Bible passage as always and some people walk around. Then we will eat. It is really only the and then we will eat part that has any interest points for me.

Also, I have the most amazingest friends ever. You should be jealous…actually you shouldn’t, because that is a sin…but you should totally find friends as awesome as mine.

Also, I’m kinda nervous about my first Passover celebration tomorrow. But damaged people are powerful. They know they can SURVIVE!

Yeah this year was hard but a lot went right so we’re in our yard singing silent night because all is calm and ’cause all is right when you end the year singing silent night.

(Holderni Christmas 2016)

 

I heard this song a few days ago and loved it because it is so true. This year and really a lot of the past years have been really hard, but in the midst of the chaos and stress, there totally were things going right. I have met some awesome people that I might not have met without the struggles that pushed me to reach out.

 

Sure, school is not really a good place for me to be, but because I will already be in town for the last rotation block (and at school), I have a good reason not to live in the res hall the last week before graduation…sure, it’s free, but safety is something without a price tag, and I’m pretty sure I’d rather drive back and forth and stay somewhere else even if it is a significant time/money/effort commitment, because driving back and forth to school is likely less stressful than being trapped on campus would be.

 

Anyway, check out the before, during, and after pictures of the car wash. Yes, I did go to the expensive car wash…my mom told me to, and I try to obey…and besides, I figure I don’t spend much money on myself, so it is okay to splurge once in a while…

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during

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Totally unrelated, but today my water bottle leaked in my lunch box…I mean, it always leaks, but today about half of the water was not longer contained in the bottle. It is approximately a 3-cup water bottle. My phone, wallet/keys, paper towels, and everything else in my lunchbox was dripping…including the candy in my lunchbox. There were some jolly ranchers in there…let’s just say that I’ve never really liked the idea of candy wrappers that don’t actually seal due to the germ component, but this is another reason that non-sealing candy wrappers are frustrating…now everything from my lunchbox is sticky from dissolved jolly rancher…on the positive side, my phone has never smelled so delicious!