Category Archives: kiddoes

Lord I Find You in the Doubt

(Oh how I need you – All Sons and Daughters)

 

This song has been stuck in my head today and I really love it. Admitting need is hard, but this song is a really good reminder that it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to admit that we have needs. It is okay to reveal that we are broken and need help putting everything back together…and it is very true. “And to know you is to love you.” I’ve struggled with God these past few months. When life is intensely painful it is hard to understand God as good. It is hard to believe he even exists or cares. I had held on for years of hard things and this was just the last straw where I really didn’t feel like God was good or cared anymore. It felt, to quote Britt Nicole’s song World that Breaks “like life is only pain.” When that is the case, it is so difficult to go on believing. Everyone seems so happy. Everyone has their life figured out…and you are drowning and no one cares. No one sees you as the waves crash high above your head. (Yes, there were people who reached out, and for that I am profoundly grateful, but for the most part, you walk the halls and streets with people who don’t even notice your pain or if they do either shy away or pretend it isn’t there).

 

I have healed a lot, but there are still a lot of moments that are hard. There are a lot of times when I just feel frustrated. And all the people who walked through the worst of it with me are miles away, so now it is even more true that I need God, because he is the only one I have who is still accessible and understands what I’m going through. I do still have moments of doubt – it’s a lot easier to dump out the package of glitter than to get all the glitter back in the package – but I no longer have a totally empty bottle in front of me while I stare at an enormous pile of glitter with nothing but myself to try to clean it up or make it go away. There is a lot further I could go with that analogy, but that wasn’t what I set out to write…

 

Where I am now wasn’t plan A. It wasn’t plan B. It wasn’t even plan Z or plan ZZ…maybe we went through the alphabet three times all the way to ZZZ…I don’t even know anymore. Suffice it to say that a lot of things that should have been exciting have been things I’ve attended or done out of necessity and going through the motions but haven’t really been thrilled. I have been able to experience a few moments of joy or at least calm but the overarching unescapable feeling has been the loss. I’ve frequently been barely surviving day to day when I wanted to be thriving.

 

I desperately longed for death for months…and even now if given the choice I do not think I’d choose to keep living though there’d at least be a question in my mind now. It is hard when you’ve prayed every day for God to take you home and he hasn’t. When you’ve learned that no one wants you and you’re not good enough, not worth it, not going to make it, that feels like the piece de resistance. Even God doesn’t want you. Ouch.

 

Well, at one point in August I was really really trying to make the best of what I had, but was frustrated and told my friend that life was still super hard and it was hard to think it would ever really be okay, but there were three things at least kinda sorta in the realm of possibility that would make life easier…a friend, somewhere to serve, and choosing a church. I saw my friend on Monday. Tuesday I went back to my new home and went to an event at one of the two churches I was still deciding between. I made a new friend, got invited to help serve at an event that was coming up, and I decided that was going to be my church. God was good.

 

Life was getting better slowly and I started considering hope again. Then I packed up some work clothes and went to my parents’ house expecting a phone call from my manager inviting me to come in to process the job title change to pharmacist…and found out instead that I lost my job. I was crushed again. I had been doing so good not crying in front of people, but the tears were pouring down while I was on that call…I was really upset because the one thing I felt like I had left was gone. I was officially losing my coworkers and my job and the place that had started becoming my home in elementary school. Maybe a couple weeks later, still really upset, I told God this place would never feel like home because there were no babies for me here…backstory, I adore small children, particularly the first few weeks of life and at the church I went to at my parents’ house, I spent five hours every Sunday in the nursery. Not necessarily working with infants the whole time, but loving any time I did get with the infants. Well, that day, God brought me into a situation in which I got maybe 2 minutes with a small child. The kid was kind of on the border of really still being an infant, but that time was an amazing reminder that God was still there and still listening even when life was so hard…but at the same time I was thinking if God was going to give me the one thing I exploded about this morning, I wish I could take that back and ask for something about my work situation to improve…I don’t really complain as much about that anymore because it became hopeless and if you put so much energy in and can’t change it, eventually you give up…but anyway, like one or two days later, I hear from my manager that she finally got a position open that I could apply for. God is so good. I was ecstatic!! I was literally jumping up and down once I was alone. I went home that evening and finished that application so fast. I was thrilled!!

And then on Friday October 6th, I got a voicemail from my manager letting me know that she wasn’t able to hire me. I’ve probably written about that already, but I was done with life again, struggling to eat again, not sleeping well again. And burned out on hope – again it seemed like hope was just a way to be hurt more deeply. It wouldn’t have been a big deal to not have the job if I hadn’t known it was a possibility…and it wouldn’t have been such a big deal to find out I didn’t get it if there were any question in my mind whether I would get the job…but in my head, I already was ten steps ahead. In my head I already had this job and finding out I didn’t get it was taking away that lifeline I’d built for myself. It hurt so much and was one more set back in my healing process. I miss my coworkers and my job so bad.

 

But I want to believe in hope again. I want to believe that someday I will be happy again. And if I am being really honest, there is one way in which this extended period of grief has been beneficial. Grief messes with your hormones. The first big hit was in March, and I think since then I have had two or *maybe* three periods, and they have all been super light. That has been a huge blessing. One of the things I had been worried about before all this happened was the difficulty in adequate functioning and the potential embarrassment the first time I was on the first day of a period with new coworkers who barely knew me. I have been sent home early from work when I wasn’t needed, and more than once people have asked if they should call someone from the emergency room to help me, because I have trouble breathing and staying upright and might be non-responsive to people talking to me or waving their hands in my face until I can get enough energy to say something…so not having to deal with that with brand new coworkers is a huge blessing. If I could choose having everything I wanted back or having this, I’m pretty sure I would still choose having everything I wanted back, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t rejoice in the little miracles along the way…and maybe if I’m lucky even after the grief is totally over I’ll get to keep it this way. I could totally dig having only one light period every four months or so…being a girl sucks even aside from the whole being less diverse thing… #firstworldwhitegirlproblems…

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I was ruined by the world but I blamed it on the Son

(Take the bullets away – We As Human)

 

I absolutely love this song…I found when I was pretty close to the bottom, and it was a good empathetic cry song. Now I adore it because it is also SO hopeful. I was resistant to the hopeful message at first because from my perspective, hoping was just a way to be hurt more deeply. It felt safer and less painful to separate myself inasmuch as possible from hope. Now I am ready to slowly give hope a chance again. It is scary, but I think it is good and necessary. Being hopeless is also difficult.

 

I also really connect to the screamed demand in the refrain “Take the bullets away.” Once a bullet is shot it cannot be taken back. It cannot change course. The pain cannot be simply ended. Yet I ask God and pray that he will take it away. I so badly want to go back in time to that Friday in March and open my email to something that doesn’t hurt so much. I want my dreams back. I want hope back. I think it would cause more problems than it would solve for me to die right now, so I am no longer praying every day for God to take me home, but I so desperately long for God to come back so that I can leave this place of pain. But I can’t have what I want. The train left the station without me leaving behind only my now impossible desires and plans. I know God works all things to his glory, but I don’t understand how putting me in this place could ever be for his glory. How could the deep pain of loss work for good? How could rejection be his plan? How could completely severing all ties connecting me to my dreams be something he allowed to happen? I feel so hopeless, helpless, frustrated, and alone.

 

Today in my frustration I screamed that maybe God doesn’t even want me to pray. Maybe God really doesn’t want me. I know it is really bad to think that and totally not the Sunday morning Christian thing to admit it, but y’all know I’ve never really been very competent at playing the social game and believe that sometimes it is okay to just be myself. So what prompted this outburst besides just the grief that I can’t outrun? Well…I was listening to the VBS tape “Treasure Hunt Sing and Play” and had just flipped the tape over to side 2. The first song on that side is “Let us Pray.” (Let us pray let us pray, everywhere and everyway. Every moment of the day it is the right time. For the father above, he is listening in love and he wants to answer us so let us pray). Except it only got a couple lines in when it suddenly stopped. At first I thought maybe something had accidentally gotten recorded over the top of the tape or something, but when nothing was happening a few minutes later I investigated further and this is what I found:

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Yep, it’s broken. And I got frustrated. Sometimes it seems like everything I want gets taken away from me.

 

But I need to believe that God cares. I need to believe that he loves me and has power to work his plans in my life. He really has done a lot even though I still really hurt. Maybe I do still cry more days than I don’t, but most of the time now after a couple minutes I can calm down and be okay. And last week I was writing about how I wanted three things that logically shouldn’t be THAT big of a deal, but seemed just as impossible as everything else in life. Those three things were a decision on a church to attend, a friend in or near the city in which I live, and an opportunity to serve. I am now 97% sure I have chosen a church. I kinda sorta have a friend and I don’t think I am just her little charity project. I had an opportunity to serve. It might have only been a couple hours rather than a continuing relationship like I’ve had elsewhere, but considering God did all those things that seemed so overwhelming in a week, I can’t be too picky about how he did it. I am so thankful for what he did do even though it is super easy to see all that he didn’t do.

 

I am definitely still struggling and two hours on a Saturday of almost fitting in isn’t really enough to totally eliminate loneliness from my life and certainly doesn’t fix the grief, but when you are fighting to get through every day, sometimes even the littlest things can seem really big. A kind word on a hard day can make an enormous difference. Also, today I saw a baby who I would approximate at around 6-9 weeks old. Super adorable. Although I longed to hold her, even just getting a chance to see her made my heart feel good. Birth to 3 months is really my most favorite age, especially the first few days and weeks of life. I would love if someone wanted to share their infant with me. I super miss my infants in the nursery.

If I reach out can I trust you? Will you help me see the light of one more day?

(Take the bullets away – We as Human)

So yeah, I fell on two Sundays ago. I’m blaming it on the red bumps at the end of the sidewalk, because I already hate those anyway, but in reality I have no memory of falling. Partly I hate the red bumps because in school I was told that everyone appreciates having those and I don’t like when school tells me what I like and what I don’t like…but partly I actually legitimately dislike those red bumps because they make it more work to skate and because they collect yuckiness on the sidewalk.

 

So anyway, I remember looking both ways and starting to cross the street while singing to myself and listening to an audiobook, and then I remember being on the ground and in a lot of pain. I honestly have no memory of actually falling or what happened. I know as soon as I realized I was on the ground I looked around to see if anyone saw me and noticed someone had heard me fall and turned around to see what happened. Hashtag embarrassing…based on the scrapes on my skates my ankles were facing towards my right which is already weird because I naturally tend to lean towards my left when I’m on my back…although maybe that is why I was falling. Seeing as how I don’t remember falling and I was too concerned with getting up ASAP to preserve as much of my pride as possible, I have to judge what happened by the marks left behind, so what is really confusing is that the bruises are definitely worse on the lower right, but the cuts are worse on the upper left on my back. Based on what my helmet looks like I am pretty sure I caught myself before I hit my head.

 

Someone suggested that maybe I fainted…IDK…my best guess is that I was dehydrated because I hadn’t had anything to drink all day and I was dizzy and between that and acting out the song I was singing to myself managed to get off balance and maybe it all just happened too fast for my brain to keep up with what was going on…IDK…Either way, I know dehydration isn’t good for me even though it does feel like it helps sometimes, so new rules have been implemented that if I want to do anything active I have to drink something before I leave and especially if the goal of going in the first place was to create enough motivation to drink something, the water needs to come with me unless I am not going further than the end of the driveway.

 

I might not know what happened, but I do know the impact was pretty significant…the plastic on my left wrist guard broke just a little…and the person a block away heard me hit the ground. I initially thought the cut on my hand was from the broken wrist guard, but as I realized later the break is a lot lower down than where the cut is, so my hand must have scraped against the pavement which is also super weird because that is the hand that was holding my phone and would therefore have most likely hit the pavement later but hit more with the fingers than at the base of the thumb. My phone survived the fall (besides how it already didn’t have service). I also know it is significant, because none of the injuries I can see explain why it hurt so bad just to breathe the first few days…also, while the injuries I can see explain why it hurts to lean against anything, it doesn’t explain why I can’t twist or bend at the torso without pain and why doing really anything but laying down mostly flat on my front hurts at least a little. Yeah, I know that sometimes being strong means letting other people in and getting help…but sometimes I just am not that strong. I can handle a lot, but even I have a limit.

 

Two and a half month olds are not heavy…but I have to admit that as much as I love infants, that it probably was not nearly as good for me physically as it was emotionally to hold that cutie for an entire service to put him to sleep, keep him asleep, and then let him gently wake up. It was so hard to give him back to his mom when she returned. But anyway, although I was holding and carrying bigger kiddos before and after that, I was being more careful to hold for as short a time as I thought I could get away with without the (child’s) tears coming back, so it wasn’t as big of a deal…but I have a soft spot for infants…and yeah, I could have at least sat down to rest more of the weight on my lap and the chair, but I didn’t wanna…but it was totally worth it. On the way to church I was working really hard just to remember things like using my turn signal because I was having such a hard time, but on the way home I was doing a lot better. Life is still hard, but any small moment I can experience even of just better and not good is something I am super thankful for.

 

I felt super lazy taking the elevator last Monday, but carrying three (empty) cardboard boxes was way more weight than my body was telling me I should be carrying…I got halfway down the (not very long) hallway and wondered if I needed to abandon the boxes and get a wagon to pull instead of carry, so there was no way that I was going to be able to get down the stairs carrying the boxes and make it back upstairs by the end of my break…so yes, I do really need a lot more boxes than I brought home, but my ability to carry the boxes is a definite limiting factor in the number of boxes I can bring home…and if the elevator can allow me to remain functional for my shift then I might need to be lazy and realize that is okay.

 

While I certainly do not want to indicate that I believe intentionally creating pain is okay as long as it will be beneficial for emotional health, because I certainly do not condone deliberate self-injury, I have to admit that this was super awesome in the emotional realm. Without recognizing the role that physical pain plays, it would be easy to have just found myself on the ground and been annoyed that I wasn’t dead or to just lay there and hope to become dead by someone not seeing me and running over me or something…but that isn’t what happened. For the first time since March 17th, I didn’t really strongly desire to be dead. In fact, I actually felt thrilled to be rollerblading. It took until Wednesday for the thoughts that I’d rather be dead to come back, and even then, the thoughts come in and out. The strong desire to die is no longer a constant companion…at least not right now. The physical pain seems to have done a really good job whiting out the emotional pain.

 

I know it is not healthy to live with the desire to die whether that desire is accompanied by suicidality or not, so really I just exchanged physical for emotional health. It seems like a good trade because one thing I have always thought was pretty fortunate considering the severity of my former, also unwanted, buddy OCD, is that my skin heals pretty quickly. Partly wiping up the blood quickly made my back look a lot better immediately, but beyond that, in the past few days the puffiness around the cuts has mostly healed and the cuts are definitely shrinking really well. I wish the pain went away just as quickly…both the emotional and the physical pain. I know grief is more like a marathon than a sprint and I can’t expect it to completely go away by utilizing pain. I also know that it is unacceptable to intentionally use pain to heal my mind…it is not a long term solution and definitely not something I am going to allow into my life. If God wants to gift me with physical pain I wouldn’t complain (except for that most of my ibuprofen is an hour and a half away already and I already am in a decent amount of pain without adding new physical pain to help with emotional pain. And I know that my body is the temple of the Lord and it is wrong to damage his home…but at the same time I am thinking about the teen in the nursery with cuts on her legs and arms and how easy it would be with all the blades at work to try out a few cuts to try to get an emotional release. I don’t want to do it. I know it is wrong…but the thoughts are there. I don’t want to be alive and I know that hurting myself physically will dull the emotional pain. I promise I won’t do it, but the thoughts are scary because it was such a big deal to stop hurting myself the first time…I know that they say once you do it once the thoughts about doing it again will never fully go way even years later as an adult so I guess it is kinda normal to have these thoughts, but it is kind of like how even normal things to be grossed out about make me nervous sometimes because I don’t know where the line in the sand is between what is normal and okay to think about and what is not normal and not okay to think about.

 

I had like three more paragraphs written and then my computer froze and when it woke up those three paragraphs were goners…I don’t even have the energy to care that much, so I’ll just continue with what would have been the fourth paragraph…lol (not literally)…

 

Since I am posting this, I suppose it is evident that God refused to take me home on June 30th like I told him to. It is so hard continuing to live like this. I cried myself to sleep Friday night. I was so thankful for the sleep I got even if it wasn’t much. I guess I didn’t realize how much having an end in sight was helping me get through each day, so I didn’t realize how much harder it would be when the end was no longer in sight…I guess I should have. I am so tired of living with this pain. I don’t want to keep going. I don’t see an end in sight. I don’t see any way out. I don’t see any hope. All I see is how much life hurts right now and I don’t like it, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to make it okay. It will never be okay. I will never be okay. Being alive hurts too much, but death doesn’t seem like a good option anymore either. Dying would just leave a bunch of messes mostly figurative, but some literal. Death wouldn’t fix enough to even be worth it anymore. The only alternative between dead and alive is for the world to end and everyone to go to heaven. That isn’t really a fair solution either though because then people who have worked hard and are actually seeing some kind of reward from it wouldn’t get to experience the fruit of their success. That isn’t really fair to them. So basically all I can see in life is despair and hopelessness. I can experience little glimpses of joy like when my coworkers surprised me with gifts and pizza on Friday and it was completely overwhelming in an awesome way, but most of my day is spent crushed in the pain of rejection and loss and inadequacy and frustration. I can tell how out of life I am by the fact that I let my mom throw away things that had been important to me for years and despite the fact that I don’t watch tv, when my mom insisted that I needed a big tv I gave her my credit card and let her use it to buy one…which then led to further frustration later when the stupid tv hook ups didn’t work in the apartment where they needed to so unless the cord was going to be stretched across the apartment it wasn’t going to work anyway.

 

I should be studying for the NAPLEX…and probably to retake the MPJE when I find out that I failed…but I’m just so overwhelmed that I just can’t right now. Life hurts too much. I don’t know why God makes me live through this but I know that I don’t like it. I want a stop button on life so I can have a break. I also want someone to hang out with and hug but I don’t have that right now either. And I really want to go to Lake Superior and to a few places where I know people…but while I am an adult and can therefore go on vacation if I want, the only place I should be going right now is to finish putting things away in my apartment…vacation is not on any agenda until that is done and my room in my parents house is clean and empty and my tests are passed…and also I don’t know how to plan a vacation.

Like a warm waterfall wash over our wounds

(Safe Place – Kristene DiMarco)

I am more of a Caribou girl (especially because Caribou has a zillion more choices for caffeine free drinks), but I went to Starbucks today and got a Pokemon Go Frappuccino. The girls working there didn’t know exactly how to make it, but I showed them the picture on the menu on the website and they made something up that at least looked mostly like the picture. Sugar works pretty well usually to dull emotional pain for a while. Plus I was proud of myself for using my big girl words to ask for what I really wanted.

There are a lot of things that are really really hard about everything going on in my life right now. Here are two of the things on my heart today as things that I am having to leave now that I have accepted a full time job away from the home in which I’ve lived since second grade.

First, I will be spending a LOT less time at the hospital at which I have worked since 2009. (I’ll find out tomorrow if I can stay at all). Besides how so many people there are my friends, I was really proud to work there. The organization has some really amazing caring people who do incredible things for kids and their families. I haven’t ever experienced another facility with the same level of care for and about each other. In fact, I’ve asked questions at interviews in which I didn’t get to experience interactions and had people respond as if I was crazy to think that an employee would stop to make a patient or family feel welcome and important or that there might be deep partnership and/or respect between employees in disparate departments. A couple weeks ago I was having a day where not a single person had insurance already in our system, and I’d had multiple frustrating conversations with insurance companies when I had found the information and discovered that the insurance company wasn’t covering the medication for a stupid reason that I couldn’t get them to change…and a foster parent came in with the children she was fostering without any insurance cards and medications that I knew we should absolutely not “pend” despite the pharmacist I was working with pressuring me to do it to get them out the door faster. Getting people out the door is not a reason to pend medications. I figured out what insurance company their coverage was through and called to get the information to get their medications covered. The mom was so thankful to get the medications covered, and I offered to give her the insurance information in case he needed it for another pharmacy before she could find the kids’ cards. She was almost crying happy tears when she told me that this was the reason she came to this pharmacy – “because you guys always go above and beyond to help us.” People recognizing how hard we are working to provide excellent care more than makes up for all the rude and entitled people that I also serve. I love being a part of an organization that provides care that meets more than just the basic physical needs.

Second, I will probs be leaving the church that I have been at since August 10, 2008. It is more than just holding little babies. I did absolutely love holding a 2 month old for a good part of the morning today while watching and managing a room of other kids of varying ages, and I could totally get used to doing that all day every day, but holding babies isn’t the whole reason I am there. It is about pouring into the lives of kids (including infants) and their families/parents. It is awesome to have found an area to use my leadership skills and childcare skills. Sure, that was one of the things I did at my old church, but this being a bigger church, there are more opportunities. I want to protect the privacy of the kids and families lives I am involved with, so I can’t share too much detail about any situation, but working with kids for a long time I have been involved in a lot of really difficult situations and had a lot of kids who really needed some extra love. Although there are a lot of them, it never becomes less heartbreaking to hear a crying preschooler confide why she didn’t come with her parents. It is one of those things you never want to hear but at the same time really want to hear if the kid needs to talk. It is a huge honor for a kid to open up, and to give kids in these situations a safe comforting place where it is okay to be sad and scared. Not going to lie, for some of these kids finding out whether directly from the kid or indirectly from a guardian definitely explains the behavior I am dealing with, but when you work with kids you pretty much have to have a thick enough skin to understand that most if not all little people are not trying to be difficult and are not trying to be disobedient. Their behavior usually has a pretty clear origin if you can find out (even infants though it is going to need to be a guardian telling you since they can’t use words yet). There are so many little kiddos stories that I hold in my heart. I wish I could make it okay. I wish we lived in a world where every child could grow up with their loving bio mom and dad.

I guess this should probably make me realize that the things that I am grieving are so stupid compared to the things some of these kids are facing, but while I can hold these kids’ stories in my heart and I can sit with these kids, it doesn’t really take away my personal pain. Sure, I am distracted from my own pain while holding their pain, but that isn’t the same as my pain going away…

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!

I am fearless…well that’s not me

(Cage – Plumb)

I will find out tomorrow if I have a job next year and if it is the one I wanted, but in the meantime, I am really proud of the work I did to get this far. Bravery isn’t lack of fear. Bravery is doing it, scared.

In the month of February, I was on 10 planes. I hate the airport. I hate the complete lack of control…and to be honest, being inconvenienced by people who think the world revolves around them is something I can deal with and brush off when at work, but that really annoys me when it involves other people. I suppose it mostly goes back to the fact that I don’t always value myself as much as I value others so I’d rather take the beating in order to keep it from affecting anyone else, and don’t want anyone else to have to be hurt. Like dude, you booked a flight with American Airlines so the United Airlines gate agent is not going to get you on a flight for free because you changed your mind about when and where you wanted to go. No one cares that you flew with United Airlines last week, but you’ve been talking to this person 45 minutes and they have other things to do to keep people moving in other areas so that we can all get on the flights we paid for…

I made a lot of connections and did a lot of other Big Girl things at the airport that made me proud of myself…and it wasn’t all bad, because on one of my flights there was a really cute baby in the row across from me (which does mean I got exactly zero homework done because that kiddo was so cute!)

I also stayed at a hotel alone for the first time. A hotel alone is definitely a lot more pleasant experience than with three other girls I don’t know well who are LOUD and omnipresent, but is definitely still something that I wouldn’t necessarily choose on my own. It was kind of awesome to be able to call a phone number and have a cookie delivered to my room though.

I booked four AirBnB’s and stayed at three of them. Slightly less scary than a hotel, but still a social experience that was totally new.

I rode a couple buses in Chicago. I may have used GPS on my phone to figure out when to get off, and the prices posted online were wrong which made for an embarrassing first ride when I had to dig through my bag to find more money, but I did it!!

I rode the metrolink near school twice and taught someone else how to ride. Finding it was probably the hardest part for me since that is a task I have done numerous times between school and the other airport terminal…I definitely did consider taking the shuttle to the other terminal so I didn’t have to keep looking for the metrolink platform at the terminal I was at, but I didn’t and I eventually found it.

I used both Uber and Lyft. It is unfortunate I didn’t know how to use new rider deals until after I had used the app and wasn’t eligible anymore, but whatevs…it still got me from point A to point B.

I also paid tolls for the first time. It was terrifying at first, but by the time I got to the last one on my way home it wasn’t scary anymore. If I had it to do again I would have practiced with fast food drive thrus where handing money to a person in a window earns you treats before I had driving in a completely unknown area to contend with in addition to the drive thru without any treats, but I made it…and made a wrong turn shortly after that last one that took me on a detour through downtown Milwaukee during rush hour, but it’s over.

Oh, and I had a wonderful time “sightseeing” in St. Louis…it may have been my version of sight-seeing which mostly involved walking past an intersection and being like HEY I totally recognize this place! It is where I got lost last year!! And ooooh, that is really pretty trash on the ground!…but it seemed dumb to me to get on the metrolink for the sake of going only one stop so I walked. Yes, I do feel safe in St. Louis. My opinion is that it is just as safe as anywhere as long as you have your brain turned on. Not turned on like be jumpy and critical of everything, but turned on as in treat people how you’d like to be treated and if someone is holding a gun then probably you shouldn’t provoke him or her…(not that I remember ever seeing anyone with a gun who wasn’t in uniform…but…it is also a REALLY good idea not to bother anyone in uniform if you value your life…just sayin’)

Only moderately related, but whoever designed the keyboard to have m and n next to each other was not thinking of the consequences…lol…so one of the blogs I follow is The Great Umbrella Heist. To navigate to this page I type Um and the down arrow and enter and am brought to the homepage…unfortunately, this morning my fingers were a little off and I typed Un…and instead of cute kids on the top of my screen I was greeted by something completely different that made me mad.

Moderately related again: pinterest found some cool things for me…I know better than to pin them, but I’m pretty sure my blog has become safe again…so yeah…these quotes made me smile…

“Abusing someone then telling them not to act upset is like stabbing someone and telling them not to bleed.”

Laughing SO hard…this is currently on my desktop and makes me laugh every single day. So like I know it is kinda rude and derogatory but that’s what makes it funny…anyone who knows me knows that I would never intentionally hurt anyone…which is probably why I am an easy target and also why I love the bold statement this meme is making – it is so not me, but starts to break down my walls of I’m fine.

“Rule #1 for helping a victim: believe her. Her description is only the tip of the iceberg.”

I saw this and was like “oh my, I totally understand now.” And that is why pinterest can be a good healing activity.

Caught up in the halls of introspection

(House of Mirrors- Tenth Avenue North)

Can I just say that I adore children…except for when one of them decides my toothbrush is awesome and plays with it…Kids outside of an elementary school setting have never been a germ problem for me—even in situations it probably isn’t very safe I am happy to share with kids…and right now I am at a place where it is relatively hard to ruffle my germ feathers even though I always live life with a little bit of protection just in case to soften the fall if anything does happen. I will say though that someone playing with my toothbrush went pretty close to the zone of not okay with me. It’s a good thing she’s cute…and that it didn’t actually go in her mouth.

I think I finally identified what it is that bothers me so much about people bashing Trump…see, I knew there was more to it than just that people were being incredibly rude, because while I reacted to people bashing Hillary, internally I reacted more to Trump bashing. The difference is that the core complaint hits a little too close to home. The difference is that the main thing people seem to complain about is that he isn’t the greatest speaker (okay, that might have been putting it a bit too softly…he is a lousy public speaker). I get that he isn’t eloquent, but there are worse things at which to be lousy. TBH, it is my opinion that it doesn’t take eloquence to run a country. I, too, am not eloquent, not a good speaker. If I were judged solely on my social communication skills, people would probably have a lot of fuel for bashing me, too. Yes, I did tell someone a few months ago “maybe you should dance by yourself.” It was intended to be a positive comment, and you can probably tell that it doesn’t sound so positive when spoken. I do say a lot of dumb things when I don’t think before I start talking. The point I was trying to convey is easy to ignore, instead making fun of the way I expressed my opinion. I am lucky enough to be able to usually surround myself with people who will clarify and take a moment to understand what I am trying to say, and to not be surrounded by the media. Everyone has flaws, and not being well-spoken doesn’t make me or Trump a bad person. It just takes a little bit of being polite and listening to understand our hearts. Am I saying that I agree with every one of Trump’s policies? No, I am not, and I do not. (Note that I also do not agree with all of Hillary’s policies or all of Gary’s policies. They each had policies I liked as well as policies I disliked). I didn’t vote, and I can honestly say that the more I looked into the issues, the more the decision of the “best” candidate for presidency as well as the “best” candidate for whom to vote became foggy. I know I’ve talked about a few of the issues already, but based on the hate-speech I am still hearing about the candidates, I think further sharing of my opinion is probably not a prudent choice at this time. Like I heard on the radio one day, America desperately needed change and change is what we got. Regardless of the candidate filling the White House next year, it was going to be a change. Only time will tell exactly what that change will be. Because we are adults, we can show respect to our leader without agreeing with every one of their opinions.

Have you ever been spontaneously invited into the middle of a party and not known how to escape when it is almost midnight and you usually go to bed at 9? Yeah, that happened. It was probably good because I realized about the time I got in my car that I hadn’t made very good nutrition choices all day…hmm: cheerios for breakfast, noodles bread chips and skittles for lunch, crackers and cookies for dinner…what’s missing? Parties aren’t really the best for me getting nutrition in either, but I did at least add some protein to that list. I just had a little hard time trying to figure out how to excuse myself to go to bed. Like I unsuccessfully tried to explain to someone first year, knowing potential words to say and watching interactions has never really been enough in some areas of communication to pick up on the skills I need, because there are some situations that are just seem so different every single time that I can’t figure out how to properly imitate them or modify them to meet my needs. Leaving a conversation is one of those areas…and it is a problem both in person and on the phone. It is one that I really need to figure out though, because being at a party until almost midnight isn’t good when I have a ton of homework I really need to be doing…and sleep I really need to be getting…I was really proud of myself for staying in bed until almost six, but when I was most definitely awake by 3, it just isn’t quite enough. I have been trying to do homework but ending up staring at the screen or at my paper in a half asleep daze…so tired…

Speaking of nutritional choices…it was becoming obvious there was a problem right about the time I got in my car to go home. I knew the gas light had been on for a while. I knew the closest gas station was the opposite direction as home. I knew I had 10 miles left before completely empty. I went around the block to go to that closest gas station…then immediately realized that the closest one in the direction I actually needed to be heading to get home was definitely within 10 miles…so instead of turning left with a light like I could have done, I ended up turning left onto a busy road without a light…yep, I am an idiot sometimes. I did make it to the gas station without running out or getting lost…and then promptly drove past another gas station I totally could have made it to that was selling the gas for 20 cents cheaper per gallon…you can’t be picky when you live about 15 miles from church and are forgetful (and/or lazy) about keeping your car full of gas…especially when you are directionally challenged and never really know how far you’ll actually end up going in the process of getting from point A to point B. (Lol, people think when I am willing to try going somewhere myself that I must know what I’m doing—in reality, I have just gotten really comfortable with being super lost). Yeah, there are a lot of things about myself I would change if I could, but sometimes those same things can be positive. There’s always two sides to every coin, you just have to flip it over. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_hK6YG3jjI )

I had another paragraph written. I deleted it because it was probably going to offend someone. You’re welcome.

A Joyful Heart is Good

(Joyful Heart–Steve Green)

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So this picture doesn’t do justice to the sky whatsoever…but ya’know, it is a little difficult to take a good picture when you are literally holding a phone pointed towards the window and hitting the camera button while driving and watching for the correct exit to get off on. I would have probably still posted this and commented on how awesome the sunrise was even if all I had was a picture of my dashboard, so be glad that the camera was at least angled towards the window…

Oh my, the sky was so beautiful. It was super incredible. It totally made up for the fact that due to forgetting to plug the thing in before leaving for work, my computer was packed with a marginal amount of battery life left that made it about three songs before conking out…thankfully, a finger on the radio dial allowed me to have some kind of music most of the trip…just not the songs on my driving through (state) playlist…

Also, you are never too old for an apple sauce pouch…I’d say don’t judge, but you probably should, because although I do have some big kid food, I definitely also have a pumpkin and oats baby food pouch that came on the trip with me to be saved for a special day…it looked so good that I had to have it.

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I intentionally edited out most of my face…this one is blurry because the power was out and I didn’t really desire to go outside…

Also, I was super thrilled to get to hold a baby this morning. Yay!! I don’t usually get to do that when I am not at my real home! Also, speaking of babies, I saw a sign on the freeway that said “adoption is not God’s plan.” I’m not sure what those people are getting at, because I am fairly certain that adoption is exactly God’s plan…umm, he definitely adopted us into his family, and I do believe that he wants us to similarly open our arms. Anyway, the parents of the baby suggested that I go with them (they were on vacation) and I really wish I could say yes…but the whole point in coming here was to go on rotation here, and that isn’t really optional…

Also, yesterday I saw someone with tattooed on bra straps…most people try to hide their bra straps if possible, so I thought that was somewhat odd…

Also, yesterday I decided since I couldn’t remember how to actually sign up to volunteer at church that I would just show up and ask if any help was needed. I was super thrilled that they let me help even though they definitely didn’t really need more people helping…I had a great time!! And I found someone to sit by that I knew reasonably well, and I had a zillion conversations with people. It amazes me how many people that I barely know are willing to intentionally say hello to me and make conversation. It makes me feel really loved. It would be easy to ignore the awkward girl who doesn’t quite know how to fit in and is definitely still a learner in the area of communication, and it means so much to me when people are willing to take a minute to talk with me.

I have so many really wonderful friends that I am so thankful for at this church. It is easy-ish to love people when they are willing to be lemmings and accept everything you say without asking questions, but anyone who knows me knows that I am not a very good lemming. I sometimes ask questions, and I often don’t stop asking questions until I feel satisfied with the answer, so if the response sounds wishy washy or I just don’t get it I might ask again…on the other hand, the people-pleaser in me might go the other direction and do exactly as I am told because that is what I was told, and just make guesses rather than asking questions and hope that it works out. And that odd combo is why, for example, when I babysit, the house is often cleaner and more organized when I am done than when I started, but people aren’t likely to notice because the trash still needs to be taken out and the socks and utensils the toddler took into the living room are probably organized and socks folded, but still sitting in there…but anyway, I am so thankful for my friends.

I can only say what I’ve seen and heard

(Flyleaf–Breathe Today)

I was taking a 5-minute brain break on Wednesday and came across a really awesome meme on the internet…that was actually really applicable to my feeling during finals…particularly on the T4 final…

“It’s not that I want to kill myself; it’s just that I would like to become dead somehow.” There were more sentences on it than that, but that part was the part that the rest pretty much centered on. I feel overwhelmed. I know that I know a lot more than my grade reflects…it has been that way in every class in which I haven’t done well…and I will definitely admit that there are a few classes (like APUSH in 10th grade) where I worked my butt off for the grade I got, and I would definitely admitted had I gotten a worse grade that the worse grade was likely what I deserved. APUSH seems like the high school equivalent of patho and therapeutics…moderately useless to most students, an excessive amount of reading and writing, and extremely difficult exams…a difference though is that APUSH the exams were graded fairly even if they were difficult, and if I brought up an issue with an exam question I was actually listened to instead of being brushed off before I could even finish asking the question, which is not something I can really say about therapeutics. Sure, they *say* they read our submissions of issues with the questions, but my experience has been if that is true then it doesn’t happen prior to responding to the submission in a demeaning manner. Disclaimer that I think the teachers are primarily good people, but being a good person doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what you are doing as a teacher. Also disclaimer that I might not be so critical if it weren’t that I was super stressed out about my grade and other stuff…

Well, I felt that way until one of my favorite little people came running up to say hi. I love people, especially the little people. And then once I said goodbye the feeling returned. I just wanna quit. Where’s my white flag?

Also, my name should really have been klutz. This time I have no excuse. I wasn’t really over-tired…and all I was doing Wednesday morning was hanging my towel up when the shower door tried to kill me and I subsequently sat on the floor and had a whine-fest (very important to not miss the ‘h’ in whine, otherwise I’d have WAY bigger problems to deal with…). Then I wished I hadn’t melted all my ice in the sink three weeks ago. Then I sucked it up buttercup and finished packing up my stuff and went to school. I like the phrase suck it up buttercup when I say it to myself sometimes. My guess would be that it probably actually means something dirty so I try not to say it out loud, and I know it is supposed to be derogatory (and sometimes use it that way), but I like to imagine pretty yellow flowers filled with yummy lemonade in a path towards what I am supposed to be doing as an incentive to move on…anyway, that is how I discovered that I pretty much always sleep on top of my right arm…

The Lesson That’s Won Learning

(Let’s have  a Race–Thomas& Friends)

A long time ago I had a really awesome coworker (actually I still have a really awesome coworker, more than one of them in fact, just not that particular awesome coworker) who would turn around, close her eyes, and say “I love my job I love my job I love my job” when she had to deal with something going wrong. I still remember that sometimes when things are going wrong in life…I love my life I love my life I love my life…

If things outside of academics could just go away while I was taking finals that would be awesome…

Or just not taking finals would be cool by me too…

And I wouldn’t complain about an open-note, open-partner final…

Also, after being in college for almost 5 years, I think in 50 minute hours…so when you say something will last an hour and starts at 4:30, for example, my automatic mindset is to expect I will walk out around 5:20…it takes conscious adjustment to realize that in the real world, an hour generally means SIXTY minutes…that is something I will miss in the real world when almost everything is measured in 60 minute hours rather than school where most hours are the 50 minute variety with a ten minute grace period to get to the next event/class/meeting…it greatly decreases how much you can schedule in your day when an hour takes an entire 60 minutes…

Also, I was doing homework Thursday and literally LOL’ed…so I was calculating ICER values to determine the relative usefulness of various things, and according to the homework assignment the monthly cost for counseling was $100. Wow…I’m not even sure in what alternative universe that question was designed…also, you know the author’s stance on counseling when medication costs half as much for the total duration of therapy and is twice as effective in the question…

Yesterday I discovered that two of Anne Jackson/Anne Marie Miller/Flowerdust’s books are on Hoopla which is the app I use for listening to audiobooks. I started listening to “Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace” yesterday…obviously doing the audiobook rather than the ebook or the actual physical book means I only get the essays, not the art, but there are so many wonderful quotes. I kinda want to do another book review but I definitely have no time for that since my most important final is in just a couple more days and also it doesn’t feel fair to review a book with art without seeing the art, and I mean, yeah, I saw most of the art online during the submission time before Anne changed her blog and got rid of the old one yet again, but that was a very long time ago…so one quote that I really connected with. “We use the F-word: fine. Everything in life is fine. But it’s not. And guess what, it is okay that not everything in life is fine. In fact, it is okay that quite possibly in your life right now, nothing is fine at all.” I tend to use that f-word, and the associated G-word (good). I started justifying it, because, I mean, my heart is still pumping oxygenated blood and my limbs are still all attached—I am so blessed. I guess sometimes it is just hard to admit that I can be both very broken and hurting yet still so blessed and loved. God really provides every day. I showed up at school Saturday with a bagel but no lunch box. Someone noticed and had enough money in her meal plan to get me some food. I had mini-cupcakes, cookies, and a few handfuls of puffcorn for dinner. Later I went to a goodbye party and there was actually real food there which was also super helpful.

Saying goodbye is really hard though. Not because of the words and my socially anxious history, but because I have learned to hold on to people and have real relationships, and saying goodbye means people leaving my life. I only had maybe two people at the point I graduated high school that saying goodbye to would have been hard—but I didn’t really have to, because I we all knew I would be coming back. There had been a couple people prior to that it had been hard to say goodbye to, but for the most part I really only had circumstantial friends. If someone sat at the desk next to mine they were my friend. If someone let me sit with them at lunch regularly, they were my friend. When the trimester ended and they weren’t next to me or letting me sit with them at lunch, then the relationship was over. I learned more about real relationships in college…and was surrounded by a lot of the same people for at least a year if not more than a year to make it easier to learn to hold on to them. I don’t want to let go of all my friends, but gradually they, too, leave. I miss people, but life goes on. I go on.

 

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I am a yes-girl. I say yes a lot…which is how I have spent a lot of time recently driving people places…I mean, I am the person who agreed to take some kid whose name I didn’t even know to some random store one day…as it turns out he came back an hour later and had decided he didn’t need to go to the store…but I did say no once Sunday…that I wouldn’t hang out before my final. I was super proud of myself. It makes me REALLY happy to make other people happy, but sometimes I need to say no and protect little pieces of myself from the world.

I am also proud of myself because despite the fact that I usually feel more comfortable hanging out with the kids I remained with the adults the entire evening instead of excusing myself to play with the kids and totally neglect the whole party thing. Not that I’ve ever totally missed the whole party thing before…oh wait…yeah, I did skip the entire TA Christmas party this year, opting to play with the kids instead. I am not proud, however, that the little bit of anxiety that has crept back into my life meant that I wanted to take selfies, but didn’t.

I already wrote part of this post last week and forgot to post it, then I wrote notes on what I wanted to write about in the like two minute down time I had Saturday. I have no idea what half of my notes mean.

How you know it is time to start getting ready for bed despite the clock not telling you to start thinking about bedtime: when you start getting obnoxiously whiney at yourself about wanting to wear the fireworks t-shirt that is definitely not among your pile of clean clothes OR in the laundry basket…and is probably, but not necessarily, in a stack of clean clothes at home a few states away…I sure hope it didn’t end up in the giveaway pile a while back when my mom was letting me use my shirts to buy rewards because she wanted me to give a lot of them away and I refused…but probably it wasn’t in that pile, because it is one of my vacation souvenir shirts…I mean, yeah, it was partly stress, but it was definitely also a sleep issue, especially because I woke up still stressed out but not whiney over which shirts were available for wearing.

I should probably stop here before I get too whiny or say too much and regret it later…but I have so much to say.