Category Archives: Thankful

They don’t know the real you. All the rain in the sky can’t put our your fire

(Gold – Britt Nicole)

 

Today I had some hard moments including some of the OCD fears coming back briefly. Sometimes I feel like a loser or a failure when that happens, but I realized this afternoon that I really have overcome a lot and I have beat the odds, and no one can take that away. Sure, I certainly had a lot of help along the way from people who really cared about me and wanted the best for me, but I can’t forget to give myself some of the credit.

 

This past week I’ve had more difficulty sleeping than usual and had some of the overwhelmed, defeated, trapped, frustrated feelings re-emerge. I cried last night and this morning. Then at church someone mentioned the V-word (vomit) and externally I rocked it (no washing, still touching things), and even internally I wasn’t completely flooded with fear, but there was definitely some very real fear threatening me. Because of that fear I felt angry that someone would enter the room I was in who had been near someone who felt sick. It is probably worth mentioning at this point that I don’t even know if this person ever actually threw up or just felt bad…and considering I can sometimes feel pukey just from my normal hormones and usually can hold back from actually vomiting, I do logically understand that feeling extreme nausea doesn’t even necessarily involve any threat of contamination. The OCD is going too fast in analysis to entertain the possibility of non-contagious nausea and the train going full speed ahead can’t be stopped. And I refuse to believe that once vomit has happened that it is not an infection hazard. Airborne saliva is infectious in my book, and vomit is even more airborne and even more infectious whether it comes from an infectious cause or not…which is why it was not at all reassuring when someone told me one day that I shouldn’t be scared because someone’s vomit was because she was pregnant, not because she was sick…umm, yeah, I had already figured out the cause of the vomit thank you very much, but that didn’t alleviate my fear, because the vomit still happened.

 

A few hours later I am doing totally fine again, OCD thoughts dissipated, but it got me thinking. I am so thankful that a few tears that I was able to stop this morning, and a VERY minor OCD incident are the worst I currently have to deal with. At this time last year I was only a couple weeks away from the deadline I set for God to take me home. I was still fighting every day to get enough food and water in my body, and sleep was much improved from the worst, but still most certainly not the best it could be. I was hanging on each day just thinking if I could hold on second by second would turn to minute by minute and I’d make it through the day and soon God would take me home and it would all be over.

 

Obviously God did not meet that deadline I set for him. He kept me alive. If I could live through that for this long, I know I can continue to face the battles of life. I made it through a pumpkin phase as a baby. I made it through thinking I was the only kid in my kindergarten class followed by a falsified report to ensure I stayed where it was thought would be best for me and subsequently being kept from play and craft time instead being asked to write book reports*. I made it through a second grade where the timeout desk might as well have had my name on it because falling down earned you a timeout and I fell (or got tripped) a lot. I made it through a friend telling me her other friends wouldn’t be friends with her if she was friends with me so we couldn’t be friends anymore. I made it through bullying including being hit in the head with a rolling pin. I made it through a traumatic change of churches taking me away from everything I thought was a given in my life. I made it through changing my college plans only to find out the school I went to wasn’t fully honest about what credits could transfer in. I made it through not getting the RA position I wanted because “I didn’t think you’d want to be an RA” despite the fact I’d essentially been RA’ing without the title or benefits for the past year. I made it through being abused by a counselor at my school. I made it through ending that counseling relationship and the chaos and restrictive punishment imposed on me while watching my abuser receive the princess treatment and continue to hurt me and other people. I made it through failing to match repeatedly, losing my dreams for myself and any self-worth I had left.

 

I will survive.

 

I was going to end my post at that, but something was nagging at me to say one more thing. The counselor that abused me is still at my school and still in a position to continue to hurt people. My school also used mandated counseling as a punishment. I firmly believe that mandated counseling should NEVER be used as punishment. First of all, it will not achieve any real goals and will thus waste the counselor and the counselee’s time and effort. Additionally, for me since it was mandated to do it off campus instead of being mandated on campus like they usually do, it was exorbitantly expensive…for something I had no desire to do. Even if someone did have legitimate mental health needs, those needs are likely to go just as unaddressed in mandated counseling as punishment as they are with no counseling. Let me say that one more time. Counseling should NOT be used as a punishment. Okay, now that we are clear on that, one of my friends was mandated to I think it was 2 or 3 counseling sessions as a punishment. She didn’t know about my getting abused by certain someone because of the gag clause. I am so thankful she is very well adjusted and that she came to me. She was like hey, this is what happened, is this what counseling is supposed to be like, because it felt really wrong. I assured her it was totally not how things are supposed to be and totally not okay. She was given the option of seeing a different counselor for free, but I am so proud of her, because instead she decided that two could play certain someone’s games. She went back intent on trolling certain someone back. Oh, I wish I could have been a fly on that wall, because my friend could be totally sassy, and oh did certain someone deserve to be put in her place. I am still frustrated with my school because they continue to promote certain someone’s “services” despite knowing what she did to me and other students. It angers me that not only do they allow her to continue to be in a position to hurt more students, but they also continue to encourage students to engage with her.

 

Okay, rant over. I just needed to get that part off my chest.

 

*side note…also not originally intended to be part of the post, but just popped into my head as I was about to hit publish…when you are a kindergartner and therefore don’t really have much understanding of numbers with commas, your book about kangaroos (it was actually a book on Australia) becomes quite confusing…how do they not know if the population is 64 or 307 or 599?! I thought each set of numbers was a guess and they just had a bunch of people make up a guess…Lol…It is also interesting being asked to identify the plot points of a book of science experiments…and this is why you probably should at least help kindergartners choose their books…

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I’m workin’ on switchin’ them letters

(LeCrae – I’ll Find You)

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Doodle in my journal in January to commemorate my goal for the year and try to make it fun instead of some kind of obligational burden.

 

 

They say don’t get bitter get better. I’m workin’ on switchin’ them letters.

 

I thought maybe it was time for reflection and an update. I still cry sometimes. I still mourn my losses, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other and slowly I am healing. I am doing my best to hold it together, and sometimes I am almost successful. Sometimes I am less successful. And that is okay. Like it says in one of the books by Sheila Walsh that I read, people may say there is no reason to be sad or angry because joy comes in the morning. I’ve told them it is still night. While I would love to have a button to press to magically turn off the pain of the abuse and of the loss, I don’t have that. Healing cannot be rushed. And because of that I am very thankful for people who have been willing to sit with me in the dark when I really couldn’t access the bright side.

 

If I remember correctly, my goal for this year, better not bitter, was not inspired by the LeCrae song, but when I heard it in the song a couple weeks ago, I listened closer to the rest of the song, and it’s been a really good song…

 

Last year at this time some of my favorites were Skillet – The Last Night, We As Human – Take the Bullets Away, and Skillet – Not Gonna Die. I do still love those songs, and not that they are bad songs or anything, but I’ll Find You has so much more hope. Last year’s favorites had some hope, but it was kind of buried. That was the most I could really connect with, because the totally happy life is awesome kind of stuff just felt fake or like a slap in the face that I was doing it wrong or like no one really gets it. I’ll find you still has some focus on how life is hard, but moves from that to holding on for things to get better.

 

They don’t know the battle I face; They don’t understand what I’m going through.

 

Oh, there is so much depth to the lyrics of this song. Because of the gag clause, most people didn’t know how much I was fighting against through school and how that impacted what I was feeling when I didn’t get a residency. Even the few people who did know couldn’t necessarily really understand what the loss was like. Time passes, but the pain doesn’t ever end. It can’t be totally fixed. Even if I got a call today telling me there was a mistake and I actually should have had a position last year and it is mine for the taking effective immediately, it wouldn’t totally erase the pain. But I am starting to see some positives in not going directly into a residency. There is the obvious that I will be a lot more financially stable when I do finally get a residency, but beyond that, I am learning to be a real adult. Real adults don’t eat ramen every day. Being a resident is essentially an extended student position, which is a role I enjoy, but I think it was good for my personal growth to spend some time as an adult before jumping back into a student role, and putting me in the sink or swim position being an actual pharmacist instead of a resident with a preceptor forced me to learn to communicate without someone at my side giving me words, or at least being there in case I get stuck. Sure, I am certainly a communication avoider, because I don’t feel like I know what I am doing and I don’t really get much of a chance to observe and mimic to really get comfortable, but the skills that I am learning will help me no matter where I go in life…not just in helping me someday get a residency…which was in my mind, the only purpose in staying in pharmacy rather than getting a job at Caribou.

 

I’m tryna remember the way; I’m tryna get back to my home, but I can’t do this on my own.

 

Figuring out how to navigate from completely devastated and barely making it through the day to actually surviving and maybe even sometimes doing more than just surviving is something I couldn’t do without support, but it was also isolating. Grief is isolating. Partly because you are a hard person to be around when you are grieving – people are uncomfortable with pain and unsure how to respond and want to make the pain go away to alleviate their awkwardness, but they can’t…and partly, because in grief you tend to lose the energy to make any real effort to be around people and it is just easier to be alone. Sometimes even people way removed from my support network can be incredibly helpful. I was reading a blog post recently by someone who experienced a loss 12 years ago. She still struggles emotionally particularly around the time of year the loss occurred. It was so helpful to read that, to know it is normal to still cry so much later, to know that someone else understands there isn’t a mark on the calendar by which everything will be awesome again. I do still cry sometimes. I still have deep hurts that resurface particularly around meaningful dates. And that is okay. It was helpful to realize that she mostly posts positive well-adjusted posts – she has moved on from experiencing the pain as regularly as I still do, and someday so will I. She does post maybe a couple times a year about her loss, but mostly she shares about the other things in life – at the beginning of her blog I think she was like 5 years out from the loss if I remember correctly, and it was mentioned maybe a little more frequently then. Seeing the post made me feel like I had a kindred spirit. I am sure most of the people in her life would be like why are you still bringing this up, how is this still relevant to your life now, but as a fellow loss survivor, I get it. I get that no matter where you are in life, you might be struck down by a memory of that painful time and no positive can ever completely cover up the pain. Sure, some details of the memory may fade over time, but it will always be there.

 

I’m smilin’ in everyone’s face; I’m cryin’ whenever they leave the room.

 

Once I got far enough along that I could hold in the pain, this was totally me for a long time. I’d paint on a smiles in front of people, but as soon as either something happened that broke through to the darkness hiding behind the smile or I was no longer around people, the tears poured down. It was kind of a problem, because when wake up in the morning and cry is your modus operandi, it is sometimes hard to turn that off to be ready in time to go to church or to work or to wherever else needs going. I am so happy to be past that point. I do still cry sometimes, but not every day, and that is huge.

 

When that ocean of doubt comes don’t let me drown in my sorrow.

 

For a long time it felt like I was drowning and suffocating. It is a painful terrifying feeling. I finally started getting moments of reprieve from that feeling eventually. It is only over the past couple of months really that the drowning feeling has become more of a once a month or so thing rather than a more frequent or even near constant experience. I am so thankful for that progress. My external situation might still be similarly hopeless, but my internal situation is a lot better. To be honest, although I would have been angry if anyone had violated my trust and placed me in any kind of mental health crisis hold center, but looking back, I can definitely see where they might have been coming from and while it would have been devastating, I don’t think it would have been a wrong choice. I wasn’t eating, drinking, or sleeping well. I was undeniably living in crisis mode, barely making it through the day. Something needed to change. I don’t think not forcing me into that was the wrong choice, and I am glad that it didn’t happen, but I also know I was dangerously teetering on the edge. I had zero desire to be alive and wasn’t doing a good job taking care of myself. If it hadn’t been for caring and compassionate and patient friends, my outcome could have been a lot different. I don’t know exactly what that outcome might have been, but it would certainly have not followed the same trajectory I ended up on. Now I finally feel okay or even good again a lot of the time. I eat. I do what I can to take care of myself…my job isn’t very conducive to getting good sleep and stuff, but I am doing a lot better than I was.

 

I’ll be there for you no matter where you go…Just fight a little longer my friend.

 

I feel like this post is a little bit all over the place, but long story short, I am doing a lot better than I was. Life can still be hard and painful, but I am so thankful that I am not in nearly as deep as I was a year ago. Last year at this time I was quickly approaching the deadline I set for God to please just take me home…but he didn’t. I kept fighting and I am still here. And God is with me even though life is hard and painful and frustrating. He is good. He is not good because I am doing better though. God was good when I was at the bottom. He was good when I didn’t match. He was good when I went through phase II and the scramble with nothing to show for it but a drained bank account and exhaustion. He was good when I graduated and was still crying every day. He was good when I lost my pediatric job with all my friends. He was good when I almost got it back then lost it again. He was good when I struggled through another residency season, and when I failed again. God’s goodness isn’t based on the goodness or badness of my life. He is good and that is a truth. It is hard to believe sometimes when life is so bad, but God is good. God understands and cares about what I am going through, and one day he will bring me to forever home and the pain here will make paradise seem even better by contrast, and it will all be worth it in the end.

 

P.S. Even if you don’t wanna listen to the song, I totally recommend just reading through the lyrics to “I’ll Find You” by LeCrae. So good, so powerful, so full of depth. K, I’ll shut up now.

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This is from my journal in early November 2015, written across two printed emails from people who were way nicer to me than I deserved and took time out of their busy schedules when I was supposed to be serving them to actually serve me in a big way. Just taking the time to say hello and include me meant the world to me, and these people did that and more. And there were so many other incredible people I got to work with there. I so miss that place and yearn to be able to go back and serve some more even though a lot of the people have left. Buying everyone there a starbucks treat for their Monday morning meetings is still on my list of things I want to do someday to give back to the people who gave me so much even though so many of the people have left in the past couple years…

Safety is not for Sale

(in the end – JJ Heller)

 

Sometimes facebook sends me emails about people I should consider friending. I have always wished I could turn it off, because it drives me crazy. It is usually random people I don’t know and have no way of knowing – like not even someone I have mutual friends with or who lives near me. It has never been anyone I was actually interested in friending. If I don’t know this person then I don’t want to be facebook friends with them. If I do know them, there is probably a reason we are not facebook friends yet, and sending me an email suggesting them as a friend isn’t going to make me friend them. Most of the time people I know are not my facebook friends because of my social unsureness. I am afraid the other person won’t want to be friends and that maybe it will undo the hard work I’ve put in to find community in real life.

 

Anyway, that isn’t the point. The point is that recently facebook sent me a friend suggestion. It was my abuser. Or at least it was someone with the same name as my abuser. I was afraid to even open the email, because once you have been hurt as much as I have, you learn to be wary and wonder if you are somehow being tricked.

 

That paragraph there. It is a sign that I am beginning to learn how to live free. Until I graduated, I really avoided using that a-word, abuse. For the most part, if I was going to talk about myself I didn’t come out with the word abuse, and if I was going to use the word abuse I was going to avoid directly talking about myself. Why? Well, I was told that my abuser didn’t like when I insinuated that she had abused me. She had a lot more power than me, so I was instructed that it was best to keep from making waves. And I did my best…although it was hard to completely not make waves, because she would turn the tiniest ripple into a tsunami like wave. For example, one day I was blogging about music. I mentioned that everyone has their own opinions about music, but like here are some types of music I am not a fan of. She got all butt-hurt because she likes that kind of music and tried to use it as a reason I should be kicked out of school.

 

I am lucky to have had an advocate who realized how ridiculous that proposition was. She protected me. I had to lay low and be even more careful for a while, but obviously I ultimately didn’t get kicked out of school. So yeah, it was in my best interest to be careful with what I said. Rule #1: Don’t vilify your abuser no matter how much she hurts you.

 

It is probably partly my fault that she had so much more power than I did. Sure, she had some extra power because she was older than me and had a lawyer husband who is the stereotypical American: Sue Happy. But, it feels like my fault, because I am too overprotective of people. Despite what she did to me, I didn’t want to hurt her. Also, she had two daughters and I didn’t want to hurt them either. She probably still has two daughters…lol…but anyway, I know about how kids can sense stress and tension in caregivers and take it on themselves or otherwise be negatively affected. I also didn’t want to take away a stream of income and cause a period of chaos in their lives even if it wouldn’t be that big of a deal…so yeah, at first I kind of refused to tell anyone what happened. I pretended it was all pretty much okay and nothing really happened. Probably also didn’t help that she pulled her little fake crying routine to make people feel sorry for her.

 

Again, I am so thankful to have had an advocate who somehow sensed there was a lot more to my side of the story than what I was sharing. That woman must have had the patience of a saint working with me. It took a few months before I started opening up to what had been happening behind closed doors. By that point it was too late. The school’s minds had been made up that I was going to be punished for my immature attempt at escaping and she would get pretty much whatever she wanted without any punishment. It isn’t fair, but life isn’t fair.

 

She had the freedom to follow me around. To walk into the empty cafeteria where I was studying and sit down at the table next to mine. To follow me to the parking garage. To wait in line to use the microwave next to me when there were multiple other microwaves without lines equidistant or closer to her workspace. To intercept faxes from my counselors and read them with her friends. And she accused me of stalking her and threatened to press charges. I wasn’t allowed to say anything and wasn’t allowed to access student services. I was powerless. I could run, but there wasn’t anywhere to hide. I could *try* to avoid her, but wasn’t super successful. Sure, I knew she tended to work 10am to maybe 3pm or so, but when someone seeks to hurt you and knows the last thing you want is to see him or her, they aren’t going to make their schedule 100% predictable…especially since her office window faced the quad so really she had a huge home court advantage in actually having a pretty reasonable ability to track at least what building I was in most of the time, and with our very window-y buildings, maybe even more than that. That is why from my perspective, the abuse never truly ended.

 

But I am gradually learning that I really am free now. I can express myself without fearing consequences. There will not be retaliation if I say something offensive. Now that I have a diploma, she doesn’t have much influence over me anymore. Now, I can use the word abuse. It feels a little dramatic after years of saying I was “hurt” to say I was abused. But it also feels really right to give it that name; to acknowledge that what happened wasn’t just me being too sensitive, but was something legitimately wrong that should never happened. It feels like it gives me back the power I surrendered so many years ago. My voice is not dangerous. It is okay to express myself. It still feel a little scary and a lot rebellious every time I use those words, but “safety is not for sale, you cannot buy peace of mind.” It is something I’ll have to continue to get used to a little at a time.

 

To be honest, despite the abuse, I still care about her. I can’t help but see that she is still another human on earth who deserves love just as much as I do. I kind of want to click over to profile and try to judge any public posts or images to determine if she seems like she is doing okay, but at the same time, just seeing her name was scary and I have zero interest in knowing what is going on in her life. I just want to check the box okay vs not okay. A few years ago I longed for reconciliation. I still think that has some potential to be a healing experience, but I also think that it could go wrong because I am so terrified of her…and who is to say she wouldn’t use the opportunity to find a new way to hurt me? I think I have grown enough in my confidence that I wouldn’t let her put me down, but I worry that my strength in the moment might not be enough to protect me from sinking into those hurtful words when things weren’t going so well.

 

On Sunday it’ll’ve been a year since I graduated. It feels like an eternity since I was in school, but at the same time it feels like yesterday. I feel like I am living in limbo. Not a student, not on a path towards my desired career, but also not settled into a career. I don’t want to forever be longing for the job I don’t have. It is times like this when I start really wondering if there is any way I could make it work to go back to school for social work and just start over. I’ve at least gotten a year out of my pharmacy degree, so I mean I wouldn’t be totally throwing away my education. Last night wasn’t so bad though. If every night could be like last night I might be okay with keeping my job longer. Last night I spent quite a bit of time in the ED with an infant. Not a newborn, and not a very involved patient, but just having the opportunity to be around an infant again and being a part of the emergency care team made me feel like I was at least kind of sort of living out my purpose. I really wanted to call everyone at Children’s and be like hey, number one if this patient comes to you, please be careful because this patient (like all my littles) means the world to me, and number two, I miss you and wish we could have taken care of this patient together…but I mean, it wouldn’t have been very appropriate to call, because I really didn’t have anything to hand off…I miss everyone at Children’s so much!! I loved what I did there so much. And I need to stop writing so I can finish eating dinner, because, priorities.

Don’t think I don’t care

(Don’t Even Try – Children 18:3)

I crave community, but when life is hard, my instinct is to become more hermit-like and reaching out is the last thing I want to do.

I was told over and over, mostly 3rd year that I would never make it. No one would want me. I couldn’t be a pharmacist. I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t worth it. I worked really hard in attempt to unlearn those lies. When I failed to match on March 17th last year, not only did my dreams die among many other things, but in my grief, those lies became truth. This was further compounded when I failed again on April 12, 2017, and then in the scramble. It was the same each time “you are an outstanding candidate” and “we are so thrilled you are interested in our program.” Followed by rejection.

I wasn’t going to try again this year – I didn’t want to let down the job I have now, it didn’t seem possible to hold a job and interview, and really, I was still struggling with last year’s failure and was afraid of failing again.

Somehow I got the crazy idea to apply again this year in phase 2. I was thrilled with the possibility…alternating with telling myself how much I’d hate the job as a way of trying to avoid hope so if I failed again it wouldn’t hurt so much. And I pretended I didn’t care what the outcome was. And then I failed again on April 12, 2018. I pretended it didn’t matter that much, but it did. It does. I’ve learned to act strong, but inside I just hurt so bad and don’t know how to make it stop. I don’t understand why God lets it hurt so bad. I don’t understand why he refuses to take me home. If my eternal daddy really cares why won’t he let me come home? My earthly daddy loves having me at home. Why doesn’t my eternal daddy want me? Why am I not even good enough for the God who loves the rejects, outcasts, and beggars?

So this post is me using everything I have in me right now to not shut down and shut out the world. This is mostly for my friends I actually know in real life (sorry). I am trying to learn to reach out and appropriately request help instead of drowning in silence not letting anyone close enough to notice. I tried to create a Lotsa Helping Hands community but couldn’t figure out how to make it work how I wanted it to work. So…A network of community surrounding me is the best way to help me heal. Last year I asked for but didn’t actually have the energy to set up regular texts. It doesn’t need to be much – just a simply smiley face texted to me would mean a lot. I just need a connection to the world. Because go big or go home, I am requesting one text a day for the next month. If more than one person texts me in the same day, no big deal, the more the merrier. If I don’t get a text some days, also no big deal, I don’t want to impose on anyone. All that to say, it might seem lame, but the two characters it takes to type a smiley face is something I would really appreciate. Thank you in advance if you are willing to participate. I seriously wouldn’t be who I am today without the support of the amazing people God placed in my life.

I’m a Warrior

(Toy Soldier – Stephanie Pauline)

 

Today I have a lot to be proud of. Usually the key to my success at the grocery store is to have a list of no more than three items, preferably just one or maybe two. That is all well and good except that my day off is only one day and I wanted to make bread and there were still at least 6 things I can think of off the top of my head that I didn’t have that I needed…and no, multiple trips in quick succession is not generally an effective workaround.

 

And I had a coupon for $5 off if I could spend $30. Considering I usually spend $10-20/month on food including both groceries and eating out, spending $30 all in one day, especially considering my usual shopping abilities was going to be a stretch goal, but I wrote a list and figured if I really couldn’t do it I would extend myself some grace. As it turns out, the price of chicken was 20 cents per pound more in the store than the advertisement said it would be and that threw off my list and I almost gave up, but I am so proud of myself for persevering. Because of that I had to alter my list a little and I was a little off on where I was at so I spent a little more than I intended and am the kind of person who definitely won’t tell the cashier that I’d like to put something back, but ending up with a full cart of groceries is something I have never done before ever!! (I mean, unless you count when I am shopping with my mom and I am pushing the cart but she is the one picking out groceries). I am so stinkin’ proud of myself!!

 

I didn’t do a perfect job, but sometimes my best is good enough. I might not have gotten the best deals in the world (in fact, I know some of the stuff I could have gotten for cheaper elsewhere), but I figure that after the coupon it probably works back out to at least reasonable prices so it really isn’t a big deal. And I didn’t necessarily pick out the best groceries…hashtag the flavor milk I wanted was only available in the 30 calorie variety and usually I won’t buy unless the calorie count is above 100…except I couldn’t find any milk at this store that met that criterion and so I picked the one with the most calories I could find; 60 calories in original almond milk…I figured it was DIY vanilla almond and the sugar and vanilla extract I will add will probably at least add back some of the calories the manufacturers forgot to put in. And I couldn’t find butter flavored Crisco so I called my mom to ask what the difference was between that and the other kind. Umm…duh…the flavor. So if I ever decide to make cookies, we’ll see how that situation works out, because I am guessing that in the case of greasing things it doesn’t matter much but in the case of making cookies it might make a difference…but on the other hand, cookies have enough sugar that the butter flavor might not be THAT important. It was super weird though seeing white Crisco when I opened the container though…that threw me for a loop. Also, just some advice that is probably obvious to everyone but me, but 5 pounds of flour, for example, weighs 5 pounds, and two of them weighs 10 pounds. I am not really sure why I decided I needed two 5 pound bags of flour, but I did…and that (and all the other things I bought) is kinda heavy. If I were smart I would have put the heaviest stuff in the bag on my back, but I am not smart, so I put it in tote bags to carry home…which is why I was late to the event I go to at church on Tuesday mornings that I don’t work, because I had to stop a few times on the way home to re-adjust…well, that and I spent most of an hour at the grocery store…

 

Also, today I used my big girl words and actually participated in conversations. I am proud of that too 🙂

 

Today I also had lots of opportunities to use my creativity and problem solving skills. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because it isn’t just OCD making me clean up and wash my hands after (or in the middle of) every single ingredient…it’s because I am not sure there is a single ingredient that didn’t spill at some point. Maybe the salt? But I didn’t have a big enough cutting board so a piece of foil and the other cutting board side by side and it kinda sorta worked. Not ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I wasn’t about to go to the store again and get a bigger one. (I might update the post with that picture, ’cause it’s a little funny). And of course I only have the kind of cookie sheet with walls on all four sides which means I made a huge mess trying to get the bread onto the sheet and also I guess it conducts heat differently than the fancy kind my mom has so the bottom got a little burned…and of course the timer was going to beep in like 2 minutes when I realized I didn’t have a cooling rack. Doesn’t everyone pull the metal shelf out of the microwave and lay it out across an open drawer with a placemat underneath to catch crumbs while cooling things? (Umm, no…I’d never even encountered a microwave with a shelf until I moved into this apartment, and I can’t imagine any time the shelf would do anything in there except get in the way and cause my popcorn to burn even worse than usual). So the bread looks a little ugly and is a little overdone on the bottom, but it still tastes awesome! So we’ll count that a success 🙂 .

 

And I also have always wanted to have people over to my apartment…that is a slight exaggeration since there were some periods of time third year during which my OCD was so intense that being around people was a struggle and there were definitely not going to be any extra people in my space if I could avoid it…but aside from that, I would really like to have people over, but inviting them is super hard for me. Last night I did it when I realized I’d been waiting for small group for over half an hour and invited the one other person there to my apartment to hang out for a little while, and today I did it again trying to invite people over for dinner.

 

Also I am super proud of all these successes, but this is not actually what I sat down to right about. I actually was going to write about forgiveness. I still want to figure out what that means. Since it is now almost time to go to bed, I am going to skip over the rest of what I was going to say and just skip to something I found today that could be a paradigm flip but could also be one of those things where I just have to agree to disagree. I don’t yet know my opinion and I am a processor so sometimes it just takes me some time/space/thought to figure out whether I agree or disagree. This site on the internet claimed that if a person willfully and hurtfully sins and refuses to admit their wrongdoing and make it right, God will not forgive them and we don’t have to either. Using this remark, I don’t need to forgive. I’m not sure though that God ever doesn’t forgive us or gives us permission to not forgive. I think I need to see if I can find anything in the Bible to support or not support that.

 

I’m gonna lift your name and let this flame get higher

(Fire – Krystal Meyers)

 

I have a really awesome God.

 

I have described the resiliency/determination/motivation drive inside of me as a fire, and God has been incredible in helping me keep the fire burning.

 

My fire had really just started growing again from the embers. I was healing really well from the grief and was finally at a point where the fire was pretty darn close to fully functional. Then life threw water on my fire when I got the voicemail that I lost my job again (that I didn’t actually fully have back yet…). The fire almost went out, but first, of course, there was the little flare that initially happens when you put water on a fire.

 

That evening I could use the back-up gas can to have a good time with my family. The can was running very low by the end of the night, but Saturday God put me with people who could throw some extra kindling on my fire to get me through the afternoon.

 

By Sunday morning I was running on the fumes from the gas can…and I was somehow supposed to make it through going out to lunch with some people. My fire was getting close to burned out and I didn’t know how I was going to make it work. But God is so good. On my own I would have given up and come up with an excuse to go home or I would have gone and not eaten, but I don’t serve a God who leaves me all alone. God had some extra logs and matches to make it through most of lunch and actually eat it!! By the end of lunch the fire was starting to burn down again and I was totally overwhelmed with the prospect of finishing lunch and eating dinner later.

 

But God didn’t leave it at that. God knows how hard I’ve worked to gain weight and how much I don’t want to have to remake all that progress. In the afternoon God continued to throw little bits of paper and sticks onto my fire to keep it from burning out. I started being interested in eating fry bread tacos for dinner…Well, I couldn’t figure out how I could make that possible, but while I was attempting to shop I got an idea…

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Fry bread tacos…nailed it…okay yeah, it’s an asiago bagel with a tomato bit in half and some taco seasoning sprinkled on…so I had a single baby tomato, a sprinkling of taco seasoning and an asiago bagel…and it took over an hour to eat it, but I have now eaten something and that is a lot more than nothing. I might not have gotten all my errands done this weekend, but nothing was a real emergency. They say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping hungry, but my opinion is that if you go when you aren’t hungry then what motivation do you have to put forth any real effort in picking out groceries? I feel that grocery shopping is difficult enough already so the best way to be successful is to go hungry so that you have a good reason to end up with food at the end of the trip. (My other tip is to only have 2 or 3 items on the list)…so going grocery shopping when eating is such a battle was not something I was going to make myself do, because setting myself up for failure when I’m already struggling isn’t a good plan…

Painting on a smile like it our covers our need, no thank you I’d rather bleed

(Almost 17 – Stephanie Pauline)

 

God is always working things for good. Even though it doesn’t always feel that way.

 

I try to pretend that I am okay, that I am moving on with life, that this doesn’t really bother me. I paint on a smile in hopes of it hiding the gaping holes in my heart and cover the tears that have so recently fallen and will yet fall again.

 

On Thursday, one of my friends emailed me something that really spoke to me.

 

I have tended to be more of a Stand in the Rain kind of girl (Superchic[k]). When hard things came my way I hid away the pain in a box and put the box in its little cubby in my head and tried not to let that box spill over. Tried not to let that box by seen. But sometimes I can’t stand up when it’s all crashing down, and if I stand in the rain, I will drown. Some days my anthem has to be “No, we’re not gonna die tonight, we’re gonna stand and fight forever.” (Not gonna die – Skillet). Standing and fighting in that sense isn’t standing in the rain; it’s continuing to eat sleep drink breathe. “I won’t give up I refuse.”

 

One email. It wasn’t a long email – one line intended to show caring but not to change my life or anything…but it made an impact. A big impact. My friend gave me permission to be upset. I’ve been trying to hold it together for so long. It was freeing. I might not be comfortable just crying openly at work or church or really anywhere, but her words let me know it is okay to hurt. It is okay to grieve. It is okay to not *really* be okay. If where I am is crying almost every day, it isn’t a failure. It just is. That felt really good. It was validating and comforting to know it was okay and that I wasn’t inconveniencing everyone when I couldn’t (can’t) contain the pain and tears. Letting go is hard, and that’s okay.

 

It is such a different message than I’ve gotten in other places. In the abusive counseling relationship, the one time I slipped and cried in session I earned myself extra hurtful words and actions. I got the message loud and clear that crying was unacceptable and bad and something I should definitely avoid. I learned that it was wrong to hurt and no one would want me if I showed any signs of pain. Even elsewhere in life, society has shown me that crying should stop, preferably before being seen. I mean, how else can you interpret being asked to go on break (alone) that first day back when I started crying…or that day on rotation being asked to take a few hours off to calm down before being given alternate activities that kept me away from the students…okay yeah, partly the goal was probably intended to be caring, but the point is, what this friend said was so other to the message I had been living and believing for so long. I had struggled to hide my pain. Felt like even more of a failure when it overflowed, but I don’t have to do that. She doesn’t need me to throw a smile on to hide the storm inside…and neither does God. She wasn’t condemning me when the tears overflowed and the pain stole away my voice. She didn’t see me as the failure I wrote myself off as.

 

It’s okay. I don’t have to wear the Christian ‘I am so blessed’ mask. It is exhausting to keep that mask on. Does that mean that I will suddenly feel totally comfortable walking around town crying…umm, I doubt it…but maybe sometimes with one or two friends I can stop painting on a smile when I’d rather bleed. My really close friends kinda saw through some of it anyway – it was never a very well-maintained act even when I wasn’t crying. And I don’t have to keep putting on that play. I can stop trying to hide away from all the pain that [I] feel…maybe making me bleed will be the answer that could wash the slate clean (When She Cries – Britt Nicole). Maybe slowly letting people in and talking about the pain will not make it more real than either of us could bear but instead be an avenue of healing. Maybe facing it with a friend by my side will make the pain more manageable. I am so glad for permission to hurt. I have been frustrated with myself for the breaks in character where people saw the pain underneath, but these simple words gave me permission to live in the pain and really feel it without worrying about it being not what others want.

 

That is such a huge relief for this girl who has been running a marathon with a backpack of concealer on her back, berating herself for being too slow and for sweating off the makeup and letting her true feelings show through. It is such a burden to be able to let go of for this people-pleasing girl who just wants to make everyone genuinely smile and know how appreciated they are for putting on a bubbly smile to not be an essential part of the role anymore. It is “living life with a different set of rules” (Rebel – LeCrae), and these rules make the game so much less overwhelming, and more fun.

 

Also, another friend who doesn’t know much of my story yet told me a few weeks ago that she was praying for bravery for me…I don’t really know where that came from, but it reminded me that bravery isn’t being unafraid. Courage isn’t not being scared, it’s doing it, scared…which reminded me of the Mary Kate and Ashley song, bravery…which I drew out the last line from today…because when you live alone and don’t spend 85% of your waking hours at school anymore, and no longer have homework to fill your time, you start realizing that the majority of the inside things you can do are either getting old (trying to find something to entertain me on the internet) or are a lot more fun with another person (playing games)…and sometimes the effort of putting on sunscreen and stuff just feels like too much so outside isn’t an option.

 

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It’s a sand pail sitting in the sand, but filled with bravery. It says “I’m brimming with bravery. It’s scary.”

But today I did find a video with which I connected.

 

Imagine if this video were real life…but instead of the lies and hurtful words happening on the internet it is happening via email and verbally between people when you aren’t around. It is a big, but not very well-kept secret. I might not have been around to hear it, and obviously I didn’t tend to be included on the emails, but I knew it was happening. I guess it is kinda like during the times at the beginning when the girl in the video was without her laptop but we both knew there was stuff going on about us that wasn’t positive. Other people knew and heard it, but I didn’t. I just knew it was there. Anyway, this in a lot of ways was a really good image of what life was like after I broke free of the counseling relationship with my abuser. A lot of broken relationships with people who didn’t want to be my friend anymore – or only wanted to be my friend when no one would see them. A lot of relationships strained nearly to the breaking point when I was hurt so badly that I couldn’t be a good friend anymore. I didn’t attempt suicide, but I did hurt deeply. I am thankful though, for the people who saw through my pain (both the I’m fine façade and the pain-induced responses) to the girl underneath who just needed someone to acknowledge that she had value. Abuse is really painful. Stalking isn’t a victimless crime. I am totally serious when I say that there were times I kept the alarm at the place I volunteered right next to me because I was terrified of how far my abuser would go to find me and hurt me. Eventually I determined she wouldn’t come find me there and it became my safe haven. The one place I could go and know I wouldn’t be followed and watched. Anyway, I pushed away the hurt and most of the time I was okay…but when the profound loss came this spring, it brought with it the pain of the abuse. The words came back just as vividly as when it was happening. Worthless. Stupid. Never going to make it. Unwanted. Annoying. Not good enough. Failure. Loser. That is just a sampling of how I was feeling and what I believed about myself. Abuse doesn’t go out like a birthday candle. Neither does grief. But I don’t have to be a happy plastic person…with smiles to hide [my] pain. (Stained Glass Masquerade – Casting Crowns).

 

I leave you with the closing lines of Stained Glass Masquerade, when the song slows to ask these very real questions that hurting people are subconsciously asking when walking into the church room where everyone seems to joyful and perfect and like they have it all together living in paradise, or at least a lot closer to paradise than I am…Sometimes the happiness everyone else exudes makes me feel even more like an outsider. I knew no matter how hard I tried that I couldn’t match their zest for life. I was the black cloud in a cotton ball sky no matter how hard I tried to scrub off the color to match everyone else.

 

Is there anyone who fails?

Is there anyone who falls?

Am I the only one in church today feeling so small?

No one tells him company’s coming use your fork and spoon

(No one tells the president – Mary Kate and Ashley)

 

Today I got a feeling that I’ve never really felt before in this sense…I cleaned (not sanitized) my apartment. It feels successful. Like hey, I’m winning at adulting. I vacuumed, mopped, cleaned the sink/shower, did the dishes, wiped down the counters, did the laundry including the towels/sheets/pajamas…and an extra load for the one towel that hadn’t been unpacked yet…and even took out the trash. Taking out the trash is still a hard task for me, but I told myself that we either have to consider whether OCD is back or we have to take out the trash, because normal people don’t wait until there is a box of bags of trash in the corner to take it out so just because you happened to make an online purchase that came in a nice box doesn’t mean you get to revert to filling it up like you did as a third year. So that is a success, but the bigger success is that I cleaned without sanitizing. With all the stress this year it would have been easy to stress-clean which for me means stress-sanitize. Instead I did it the normal people way. Yay!!

 

I also mostly finished unpacking and decided that it is good enough for the foreseeable future. It isn’t perfect, and that’s okay.

 

Speaking of cleaning up, I came across this today. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting having read the title and preview, but it definitely gave me something to think about…and not just that barbecue chips smell bad and I don’t think I could have a useful therapy sessions with the smell of barbecue chips surrounding me…although where I am right now I’m not sure I could have a useful session regardless of the situation…but anyway…I would most definitely not be interested in eating chips that had been on the floor in a public place. Perhaps at my own apartment where shoes are not worn past the doorway and I know exactly when it was last cleaned, but certainly not in a public place that is rarely if ever cleaned. Is that a problem? I don’t mind throwing away a chip or two that fell off my plate…now if it were skittles, that’d be a different story. Skittles, are able to be rinsed off and I also value them a lot higher than a chip…

 

And speaking of OCD, see the remnant of OCD leftover here? (Not my hands…)

 

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Yep, the marker and cap are labeled dirty. I’m guessing this marker is from first or second year and was brought into the bathroom to mark off the chore chart and even just going in and marking the chart and leaving again was enough for this one to be clearly segregated. It is incredible how different life is now…a LOT more functional!! I mean, first and second year except for when there was some kind of trigger, I was usually just barely on the clinical side of the line, and even like that I was marking things dirty that were hopelessly contaminated…

 

Things haven’t just changed in the OCD realm…unfortunately…I am still really struggling with the loss of the possibility for residency, the loss of my dreams, and most recently the loss of my pediatric job and all the things that come alone with that. Today I got a text from my now-former manager. I was so happy to be included and re-connected with my coworkers. The ecstatic thrill was awesome while it lasted…and then I was crushed and running across my apartment trying to outrun the tears…I don’t know why I do that…but anyway, I was crushed because I am not *really* part of the team anymore and the reminder became too much to handle. I don’t know how I am going to get through Wednesday without crying in front of my coworkers who are also some of my best friends in this state.

 

Changing gears a little bit, I will admit that I have too many treasure, so periodically I go through my treasures and try to find things I can let go of. In the process today, I have been feeling so loved. It is incredible going through the stuff I found in a file folder from 2nd year and realizing I don’t even know who some of the people are anymore who wrote those notes, but I made enough of an impact that they wrote me a note to let me know. What was even more amazing (And why I stopped to start writing this…) was going through a pile of things from fourth year. That year I was facing both the continuation of the abuse as well as the worst of the punishment and fall-out from the abuse. So much of that year was spent in tears as I tried to piece my life back together even though I’d been torn away from a lot of my friends and had started believing that I really was unlovable and unworthy. The summer prior to fourth year was the first time I had really believed that death would be so much better than life, and while by the time I got to the school year I was past that point and ready to rebuild and show everyone I was a conqueror, I was still certainly struggling, trying to learn how to cope with big problems at a time when this girl who previously trusted anyone and everyone could not trust anymore. And I have so many super sweet notes from people that year. Notes from every single person at the wonderful counseling center at which I volunteered, from other friends, from “anonymous.” It is a good reminder, too, as I am going through another big trial (and okay, still working through that one…) that even though I might feel really alone and it might seem like no one gets it, I am more loved than I realize. By other people and by God. I just gotta keep doing my thing and someday I’ll look back and have made it through and be even more able to see the people holding me up the whole way. I am so so thankful for all the incredible people God brought into my life. There might be people who don’t value me and even intentionally want to hurt me, but there are also people looking out for me who just want me to let them in so they can love on me. I really really really miss my counseling center buddies. They were the best friends that I had in that state. I would very much like to come back and just soak in their presence again.

 

Also, totally unrelated, but in the process of unpacking I found my adult coloring books. I have never done an adult coloring book before so I decided to try it out. It was super hard work. It took forever. It was kinda frustrating…but it also was kinda addicting…many many many hours later I have finished my first adult coloring book page…and started a second page.

 

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Okay, one more thing before I start picking up in preparation for bedtime…someone told me that after you graduate from college you aren’t allowed to buy ramen anymore. That is seriously crimping my style. It might have been cheaper to buy a loaf of bread and eat peanut butter and jelly, but I only did that as treats in college…which was dumb because twice my jar of jelly went bad to the point of being inedible and had to be thrown out…but anyway, the point is that I lived on ramen. I make regular ramen. I make peanut butter ramen. I make Japanese ramen. I make pepperoni ramen. I make stir fry vegetable ramen. I use ramen as the base for meatball soup…basically like 52% of my meals in college were ramen, probably 39% taco meat, 8% potatoes, and 1% other (chili, pb&j, pizza, macaroni)…so starting to take ramen off of the menu since I only had like 10 packages left upon moving into my apartment really takes away my meal possibilities…

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.

Am I worthless? Am I filthy? Am I too far gone for a remedy?

(We As Human – Take the Bullets Away)

 

I’ve been living with the intense pain of grief for a long time…and before that the abuse…and long long before that the bullying. I know rejection. I know being unwanted. And so many other hard things life has thrown in my path. I am familiar with pain, but it seems to follow me and want cuddles like a small naughty puppy that I can’t get rid of. It doesn’t feel like there is a way out. I tried to create a timeline of when I could get back to my dreams. It was good to try to create an end to work towards, but even on the more magical completely unrealistic timeline, I still will be fighting through this for another year…and if we’re being really honest, even if we pretend this timeline is practical (it’s not) I am not naïve enough to believe the pain will completely disappear upon starting a new path. Sure, it will likely be super helpful, but it won’t be like flipping a switch. It won’t remove the previous rejection and wipe the slate clean. The more realistic timeline is a minimum of two years. The idea of holding on that long is overwhelming.

 

It is hard not knowing why no one wants me. It is hard feeling so much rejection. It is confusing to be chosen for a big girl position even over people with experience when I was rejected from all the transition roles I tried to get, especially when the same organization didn’t even give me an on-site interview for the residency to which I applied. It is hard hearing people tell me how great I am and then rejecting me later. I’d rather you were just honest and said hey we don’t like you instead of leading me on just to let me be crushed later. I’d rather instead of being polite you told me what was wrong with me so that I could change and improve. Am I so worthless that I do not even deserve the respect of being told the truth? Am I really so lousy that there is nothing I could do to even be close to good enough? And why doesn’t God love me enough to finally just say yes to one of my prayers and let me leave this pain? It is hard to reconcile this pain and God’s power with the goodness all-knowingness of God.

 

I’ve heard that when a Christian woman wakes up in the morning the devil says “oh no, she’s up again.” It’s not just the devil thinking that when I get up. It’s me too. God doesn’t seem to ever want the same things that I want. I keep crying and praying that God will take me home because I can’t take this pain. I can’t keep living like this…and God keeps saying no. I know God cares and I know God loves me, but it is really hard to understand how it could really be love to leave me here. It hurts so much. Why won’t God take me to forever home where I don’t have to deal with this? I have already struggled so long and I don’t want to keep fighting. I want to go home. When the bravest thing you do every day is get up and keep going, it is hard to keep up with life. I FINALLY got my authorization to test from the Board of Pharmacy…and I know that just trying to make it day to day has drained so much of my energy that I really haven’t put nearly enough into studying…and since it took so long to get the authorization, I probably only have one chance before my job gets taken away. I feel like I am probably going to fail…then I’ll have nothing but an expensive apartment in a city where I don’t have any close friends…

 

But I keep fighting. I keep trying. I get home and my ears hurt from the multiple media sources at full volume to which I am listening as I drive to minimize the tears so I can see where I am going to get home…because I can pretend life is awesome or at least tolerable when I’m with people…but put me alone in a car and it is very possible I will struggle – time alone with my thoughts and emotions, kinda trapped there. So especially if I’ve been reminded of the pain I am pretending doesn’t exist prior to getting in, I am likely to have a hard time. Grief doesn’t have a calendar. Grief doesn’t know that it has been over three months and is time to give me a break. Grief doesn’t have empathy. Grief doesn’t know I am exhausted and just want to be able to move on and have this whole thing disappear.

 

How am I? I’m doing the best that I can. I know the basics of life enough to know what I need…and God has been doing good things even if he didn’t give me what I want. I usually burn practically just by thinking about going outside, but I didn’t wear sunscreen and biked to my friend’s house and back last week and the burns were pretty mild. Yesterday, I did put on a little sunscreen but was outside about 4 hours (biked around 40 miles) and didn’t reapply…lol, you can look at my hands and see exactly where there was zero sunscreen on though…but anyway, last night I knew I was on the border of being too dehydrated (vs just dehydrated enough to mute some of the pain and tears as long as there aren’t any reminders). So I gave myself two choices: water or ice cream…I didn’t want either, but the trying to be a good girl half of me was stubborn long enough to win, and I did eventually pick one of the options…picking nothing seemed so much easier, but that wasn’t one of the choices. Protip: ice cream is always the answer. No, ice cream didn’t solve my problems and I was too far gone for the sugar to help pull me back in, but at least it did kinda sorta make me feel a little better about myself because I was also getting calories in at the same time…

 

There is a long road in front of me. Soon I will be moving a couple hours away and be even more alone. I am thankful that I make friends easily, but worried because I can’t exactly expect someone I just met to support me the way that the friends I have made over multiple years have…and I can’t expect to immediately be invited into other people’s circle of friends as the new girl. It is hard being new. Some people are willing to let you join their friend group, but other people are like the girls in my grade at the new church who never really let me join their clique. Sure, the moms sometimes tried to invite me, and sometimes I tried to push myself into their circle, but I wasn’t dumb, I knew that most of them really didn’t want me there and it was easier for them to preserve their little friend bubble by writing me off and keeping me out of the circle. I probably should have asked to join the girls in the grade above me who were a lot more welcoming and had already invited me in…but when I had the opportunity I was still in denial that I couldn’t just go back in time and make this whole nightmare end so besides the fear of using my words to ask or even of having someone ask for me, I denied that because I didn’t want to admit that I would be there long enough for it to matter. It wasn’t until almost my senior year when I finally let go and realized that this was for real and wasn’t changing any time soon…and by then the girls in the grade above me were graduating and moving on. They invited me to the grads group, but that didn’t solve the Sunday morning problem. (But the grads group was a lot better place for me than youth group ever was. Smaller and more inclusive was super helpful for me…no one cared that I was the farthest behind academically…it was awesome until the rest of my class joined and it gradually became more and more exclusive…a few years later I took my brother and he noted that every time he said anything it was as if he hadn’t said anything but the person next to him could say the exact same thing and people would respond. I hadn’t really noticed much because I didn’t talk much anyway, but it is definitely true. They would express excitement that someone new was there and then completely ignore whomever was not in their little friend group). Lol…all that to say that I appreciate however much my friends are willing to tolerate me while I am a lousy friend in return, and I do know how blessed I am and that having friends like this is nothing to be taken lightly.

couch

Speaking of my new place, last week I bought this couch (yes and the pillows in the picture)…might not have gotten the best deal of anything, but it is red and the place I am getting it from seemed to have a super flexible delivery plan which is helpful not immediately knowing when I’ll be available to receive the delivery…