A fight was all she needed – And through her tears she laughed

(She walked away – Barlow Girl)

So yeah, I am now officially allowed to say whatever I want. That is something to which I have looked forward for a long time. I didn’t really care anymore when I didn’t have a job and graduation just seemed like a mocking of my previous dreams…but at graduation, when the freedom became real, it became exciting and amazing again. I still certainly am grieving, but I am able to be super excited about my freedom…

So now that I am free there are so many things that will be so much easier to talk about. No more talking around the point or alluding to things I can’t say. I don’t have to walk the line anymore trying to be honest without breaking rules. I have always been a rules-follower…and especially the last few weeks I have wanted to desperately to be able to talk about my failure in job hunting, but some of the pain and shame was tied too closely to the abuse. Talking about it was dangerous because if I slipped and if anyone found out I could lose graduation. That was terrifying. So I was stuck. I needed help, but I couldn’t afford to let anyone in. I had a few friends with whom I felt safe, but they were all busy, and some of them always wanted a group meeting which further decreased availability…and probably also decreased the amount I was able to say. I do still have some elements of social anxiety when stress is very high. I love people and I often value other people above myself, so despite my thoughts that separately I could have almost twice as much support, I wasn’t going to complain. They already were giving me far more than I felt like I deserved. I super appreciated so much what they did give me. I am so amazed at how awesome these people are. I don’t know how I found such awesome friends.

So anyway, it might seem weird knowing that I was in counseling with my abuser for a year, why I stayed so long. There were a couple people who tried to get me out sooner and I refused. There are a variety of reasons I stayed…and as much as I retrospectively want to hate myself for it, at the same time, I know that in the moment these decisions made a lot of sense.

In some ways, I felt like I had no other option. I knew I needed support, and didn’t really know yet that sometimes something isn’t better than nothing. I didn’t yet understand the importance of being selective in choosing whom to use for support. At the end of second year my counselor tried to warn me about my abuser and dissuade me from further engagement with her. First, once I have made up my mind it is hard to change, but more than that, the option she suggested was going to her school to continue to see her. She did her best to persuade me and even endorsed willingness to sometimes meet at my apartment, but I was scared, and my fear kept me from making the decision that could have put me on a better life path. New things are not my favorite. I didn’t know how to get to this place. I didn’t know where it was. I wasn’t sure about the parking situation. I didn’t know about the waiting situation. There would be lots of people around that I didn’t know. It was a social anxiety and OCD nightmare. On top of that, school remained my primary concern. I didn’t feel like I had the luxury of time to devote to driving somewhere else. That was probably a very real concern since that next semester I was sometimes hoping to fit counseling into a 70 minute break in my schedule. That semester there were days that my day started at 7am and didn’t end until 7pm with only ten-minute breaks most of the day before you even add in student organization and social events. In reality, the amount of time I was losing was greater than the amount of time I thought I was saving. And academically, the abuse probably caused more issues than less time would have caused. I certainly could have done better academically if I hadn’t had to deal with my abuser at the same time. I can think of a few times when one of the worse problems with my abuser coincided pretty well with my exams. That made it super challenging to study and to think well enough to do well on the exams. Considering despite the circumstances I was never more than like a point away from the next grade up, there could have been a real impact on my gpa. Hindsight is 20/20. I was very protective of my study time and I wanted to hold on to that time. Someone else tried to help me get out when she saw how bad it was by the end of August my first year (As in I had barely started and it was super obvious to this person that I was in a bad relationship). The alternative she suggested cost money though, and I could do it for free at school, and I never would have even started counseling if it hadn’t been free. I don’t know how much the option she suggested would have cost, but I can almost guarantee it wouldn’t have cost anywhere close to as much as the fallout of the abuse cost…not to mention there was also the time factor…Yeah, so short-sighted former me made some mistakes.

If you couldn’t figure it out from that previous paragraph, I am pretty change-averse. Structure and routine makes me feel safe. Expectation management is very important. (Lol, my parents warned me on the way home on Sunday that there is a graduation gift in my room that I was probably not going to like. With that warning I didn’t freak out when I saw it in my room). I don’t do change well. Even positive changes are really hard for me and I will at first probably seem just as upset about a positive change as a negative one because change is so hard for me (the difference being that a negative change will continue to feel bad whereas a positive change will switch over to excitement soon). I knew my counselor second year was not planning on having hours on my campus after that year, and I knew that going into it, so I had been planning all year what I was going to do next, and the fact that my abuser was the only one I knew for sure was going to be there again the next year, that was what I centered my plans around. Was it a good choice? No, but with my social skills the way they were, a known person who was not kind was still someone with whom I was a lot more able to communicate than with someone I had never before met. And in my head, she couldn’t be THAT bad, because she did let me play with her child for like 5 minutes during winter break second year…so yeah, my baby love and my lack of social skills made that decision. Even as evidence built up over the year that this was a bad choice, I was still afraid of change and didn’t feel like I had any other options. Then when I started with her, that became the routine. I got used to being hurt. I got used to being torn down. I got used to being yelled at to go away and banned from telling anyone and then going back a week or two later. I got used to being told verbally I might need a hug while she was physically creating more distance and her expression was one of disgust. I got used to assuming my opinion was wrong and shouldn’t be shared. Don’t worry, I wasn’t grieving after my classmate died. She told me so. Unfortunate that I started learning this, because one of my goals first year was to recognize that I have opinions that matter and I was pretty much there when she took that away. As much as I hated it, change was going to be really hard. That’s how my week was supposed to be set up with getting hurt one day a week and using the rest of the week to try to calm down and then to try to catch up on homework once I was calm enough to even start with the homework. That year was the first time I ever missed a deadline…the first week of school I forgot to take an online quiz. Luckily so many other students also forgot that the quiz was re-opened for us, but that is just one more piece of evidence that I want to say I should have picked up on sooner that there was a serious problem. I had previously been a student who had everything done early, did all readings twice, was very prepared for everything. It was easy enough to blame being in classes that weren’t just repeats of high school and that I was no longer living on campus and things like that…but in reality, I should have known that such a huge change in how I responded to school was not a normal reaction. I wish someone had been able to see the problems and make me see what a big problem it was. There certainly were people who noticed, but no one was able to provide me the evidence strongly enough or in a way that connected with me well enough to make the change…besides, there were also people telling me it was normal in college to start doing less well.

Another issue is that one of my strengthsfinders strengths is Developer. That means that I see ways that people could improve and what is probably holding them back, and I deeply desire to help them improve. I am a caretaker. I want everyone to be the best they can be. So, even when someone is hurting me, I can identify reasons why they might be doing it, and I can identify areas that they need help, and I feel like I need to hold on so that I can help them. I let myself get hurt so that I can stay in the circle to help them change and improve. In this person, I saw a lot of things. A few examples, someone who didn’t believe in herself. Someone who had experienced failure…some other things I noticed that she probably would prefer weren’t shared even though from my eyes it was super obvious…I wanted to help her. I wanted to encourage her. I guess I wasn’t ready to understand that some people are not interested in changing. They are happy staying stuck. I think she tore people down because she didn’t know how to not do that. She hurt me because when I started anyway I was a threat because I believed in myself. She made sure I felt like a failure and she taught me shame because she saw I had potential. She made sure I was going to fail so that I wouldn’t be more successful than her. She was hurting so she used her power to make other people hurt more than she did. She felt like the world revolved around her. I mean, I totally have at other times worked with people who were hurtful, but this is the first time that the hurt went beyond at least marginally acceptable to the level of definite abuse.

I know she was being disrespectful to other students. I do not know if her actions towards them rose to the level of abuse, but I really want to believe for their sakes that it only got that bad for me. I was an easy target. I am a protector, so I won’t usually tattle on people. This is probably part of why the fall out was so bad. No one knew why I acted out because I was still protecting my abuser. As far as they knew it was totally unprovoked because they were only hearing the other side. It took months before I was willing to share what was going on behind closed doors, because I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble…and I have now learned my lesson that there are some times when watching out for people isn’t the best option. Also, I was a lot more talkative than when I started college, but I still came to her a girl of few words. All she had to do was make sure I stayed that way and it would be virtually impossible for me to come up with a coherent enough message to let anyone know what was going on. I think that is also why she continued to be abusive after that year and brought her husband into it. She could see I wasn’t a quiet little lemming anymore and that I was going to be talking with the one person with whom it was allowed. She needed to assert her power and make sure the power differential was strongly enough in her favor to keep me trapped and preferentially to also keep me alone. She taught me during my time with her that I should feel shame…yeah, most mental health practitioners argue that we should not feel shame, but she taught shame. That served a couple purposes. First, it made it easier to teach me that I don’t matter and I am not good enough and no one will like me and I am never going to make it and I am a failure. Second, it stops people from tattling on her, because to do so would be to let people in that you were in counseling which she had taught you was shameful. I know for sure there were other people with whom she used this tactic. She used gaslighting and so many other things to make sure if we (I?) did say anything that it would be easy to make it seem like I didn’t know what I was talking about and make even me question what really happened…now I have learned enough about that to know that what I remember happening is really what happened despite the constantly changing stories she weaved to the contrary. Anyway, because of the shame and learning I wasn’t good enough, I felt trapped. I couldn’t go to anyone else, because they wouldn’t want me. No one else would accept me. She would ban me from talking to anyone else, but explain that was because no one else would be willing to talk to me anyway…so I couldn’t escape because I needed support that I as believing no one else would provide…in reality she wasn’t providing support either, but the limited knowledge I had said that if X then Y, if you have anxiety find a counselor. I did, so I did, not understanding that what this person was doing was unacceptable.

So yeah…kinda convoluted…but that is a picture of some of the reasons why I stayed so long in a relationship that was so obviously hurtful…but I am not going to sit in the corner feeling sorry for myself. I escaped, and now I am free. Abuse hurts, but freedom helps to heal the wounds. Now that I am not bound by so many rules, the power differential is gone and I don’t have to live in fear of what is coming next. Before all this happened, I had child-like trust. In the middle of it, my trust was shattered and I trusted almost no one outside of myself. Now I have been re-learning trust. I want to be able to trust people, but after what I have experienced, I jump to false negative conclusions. When being nice used to mean making sure that the next attack would hurt that much worse, I sometimes have struggled with learning how to be in a positive supportive relationship. Similar to what the CSO guy said in his speech at graduation, we don’t go through Trauma without being changed on the other side. Some of those changes are good – I learned that I need to stand up for myself and my rights, but some of the changed are less positive – I had a strongly negative visceral reaction for a long time to finding out someone was in any way related to the mental health professions, and I still am cautiously guarded when I meet new people in that area. Luckily I know so many amazing people that I am learning how to more correctly put people in boxes realizing that some people in every job are just not good at their job or choosing to not do a good job and that not everyone is like that, but it is a slow learning process when the pain has gone so deep for so long.

…and there is so much more I want to write, but I don’t even have time to edit what I already wrote, because my mom is going to kill me if there isn’t some significant progress made in putting away the piles of clean sheets, clothes, and towel in the entrance of my room before I go to work…

Excuse me, but I’ve got a request, could you please take the gag off my mouth? // Today I am graduating

(From End to End—Relient K)

Today I am graduating. Today I am free. No, not of learning and books and schools, well okay, yes of those things, but more importantly, free of the gag that has been placed over my mouth and bound my fingers and tongue from sharing my story. No longer must I live drowning in an ocean of isolation, unable to scream for help. I signed early in fourth year that I wouldn’t speak about the abuse that I had endured at my school nor would I tell anyone that I couldn’t discuss the fall-out from the situation. I later learned in law class that the contract was not valid because I didn’t have the capacity to contract as it was presented to me as sign this or go home and throw away the past three years of time and tuition from your life…but I knew that legally binding or not, my life would become even more a living hell than it already was if I was found in violation of the “contract.”

Today I am graduating. Today I know my rights and will not allow anyone to abuse me or force me to give up my personhood again. I can and will fight for my rights. I will not be silent about the pain of abuse. I am still learning how to let people get close to me again. It still feels safer to just shut everyone out so they can’t hurt me, but I can and will learn how to live safely in community.

Today I am graduating. It is freeing, yet it is a little scary. The pain I have walked through for so long doesn’t evaporate overnight, yet, does anyone care about the ocean salt I will be washing out of my hair and clothes for a long time in order to heal? For years the salt has been rubbing into my wounds, and that doesn’t end overnight. The tide has gone out again, but in its wake has been left years of damage that can’t be mended overnight.

Today I am graduating. I can talk, but can I really? The story wasn’t linear at the beginning, and now, nearly three years from the forced silence, unwinding the tightly twisted story seems nearly impossible. I want to share, but I don’t know where to start, what direction to go, how to share an experience so extended yet so acutely deeply painful.

Today I am graduating. Today I can tell you the biggest hard thing I have overcome—and it is not OCD. So…long story short…I was abused by a counselor at my school. In retrospect, I should never have gotten more involved with this person than was strictly necessary. It was quite clear that she was not ethical nor caring quite early on. For example, first semester of second year she told my counselor that I had been listening in on another counselor’s sessions and needed to be talked to and punished for it. There is absolutely no way that I could have done that, never mind the fact that I had no reason to do so. The counselor in question was only in the office until 11. I was in class until 10:50, then went directly to the cafeteria where I received my hamburger plain, banana, and vanilla milk at approximately 11 each day, then to my dorm room to eat. Anyone who knows me knows that there is no way I would ever skip class, so I definitely wouldn’t have skipped it to listen in. Next issue: even if I had wanted to listen, I definitely wouldn’t have heard anything. Finally, why in the world would I even want to listen? I can’t think of a single situation that would lead me to want to listen in. My counselor was, understandably, not happy with me. After hearing my perspective the next week, she admitted that ABCD had told her to talk to me about it and she trusted me that it wasn’t true, but the accusation hurt me and caused a division between my counselor and myself that week. Also, ABCD violated my confidentiality prior to my getting overly involved with her. Funny how she told my friend that “SOME people have thought that I was sharing about them, but that is not true, and I would never do that.” Umm, nice story, but you left me COPIED IN when you violated my confidentiality some of the times, so clearly I didn’t just THINK you were sharing, I KNEW. Also, in my record which I have a legal right via HIPAA laws to see for free once per year and for a fee after that though you tried to keep me from it, you documented some violations of confidentiality, so umm, yeah no. I am not picking up what you are putting down; I’m not buying that you would never do that. Aside from strange stories and complete and utter lack of confidentiality, I was also torn down emotionally, and made to question my experience of what had occurred. It is unfortunate that I have good memory, because it hurt that much more when her version of events continued to change. Respect was also an issue. When you are talking to me, you shouldn’t be texting your BFFs, for example. I understand we live in a busy world and have a high tolerance for other people being distracted, but sometimes enough is enough and she was past that line by leaps and bounds constantly. Additionally, timeliness is next to godliness. I am patient and will let you waste my time and not show my annoyance when I am standing right there and five minutes after we were supposed to start you engage in a lengthy conversation with someone else, but how dare you have the gall to ask me where your client is when you were supposed to see her two hours ago and were too busy chatting it up with a friend? Keeping track of your clients is not my responsibility. There are many things I am happy to do, but client management and tracking is not one of them and it is inappropriate to suggest that it is. I shouldn’t even know who your clients are, much less where they are.

Today I am graduating. Today I am finally free to talk about the pain that has permeated my life over the past few years. Today I can tell you as much as you want to know or I want you to know about the person who caused so much pain in my life that I truly wanted to die for the first time in my life. It is too painful and vulnerable to recount more stories right here, but the one I feel most comfortable sharing an abbreviated form of is the summer story. May 13th I received an email telling me how she really thought things were going really well between us. June 20th I left around 4am and drove across the country and that afternoon I went to see my file. When my time limit was up we briefly discussed phone meetings and meetings in the fall. On June 21st I went to immunization training and then directly from there to church. On June 22nd I left around probably 4:30 am to drive back home. At home I got a new phone that I was NOT happy about and declared that I was not touching it. June 23rd I was sitting on my bed trying to figure out how to explain to someone who I knew would ridicule me about it that I couldn’t make the phone meeting that day because I had no phone since I wasn’t touching new phone and old phone had no service when I got an email that she couldn’t answer the phone. Okay, problem solved. No suspicion yet, because chances are she is cutting the meeting to talk to one of her friends and at least she is telling me this time instead of just not answering. Well, a few hours later I get another email from her that we are done. This is different from all the other times she said we were done, because this time she doesn’t ban me from talking to anyone else. I ask why. She refuses to answer the question. Still upset about the new phone, she has added to the fire and I am now caught in a storm of so many negative emotion words. Confused. Betrayed. Hurt. Sad. There is a tiny sparkle of hope, but like a tiny flashlight beam in a dark stormy night, the hope is hard to see through the torrential downpour of negativity. I act out. I feel really bad about it and start trying to call to apologize. I finally get through and start to get the words out on July 10th. She cuts me off saying “this is why we can’t work together” and slams the phone down. I try again. No answer. I write an apology email. My campusweb and pils and password retriever stop working. I call IT and am told that the person I need to talk to is on lunch and will be back soon. I cancel my plans to bike ride opting instead to babysit my phone, so I don’t miss the call. Hours later no response. I start calling again. And again. And again. I leave messages. I call again. Finally I receive a call but not from IT. I am sort of in shock (not literally…I didn’t actually need ICU admission). I leave my laptop open and go to Bible study where I vent to my friends who are really caring despite the negativity I brought with me. I go home and am SO frustrated that my computer ran low on batteries and went to the password page which means it is now unusable. By morning the shock is wearing off and I am spiraling deep deep deep down. The little beam of hope has gone dark. I desperately wish to not be alive, and am afraid to tell anyone.

Today I am graduating. Today I can tell you that the abuse never ended. First it was stalking and trying to pit my friends against me. I sit down outside to talk to a friend, she shows up and stares. I go to the bathroom, she suddenly needs it too. I go get a spoon she walks past to fill her (already full) water bottle. I sit down at a table in the nearly empty cafeteria, she sits at the table right next to mine. I go to the parking garage, she follows me. She intercepts, reads, and shares faxes from my counselors. I don’t feel safe, yet she brings in her husband to accuse me of stalking her…yeah, me who has done everything in my power to hide from her. I step up the avoidance even more. She gets even more intrusive, standing right next to me to wait in line for a microwave when there is no line at the microwaves closer to her workstation and further from me. She claims she won’t even be at the event my club is hosting and then switches places with the speaker so that she is speaking at the event, not to mention intentionally moves her stuff after I sit down in the room so that she is sitting way too close to me.

Today I am graduating. Today I can finally explain as fully as I’d like without fear of repercussions the deep fear I have developed of people in the mental health field. See there was ABCD, and then as part of the terms of staying in school I had to waste a metric buttload of dollars and time with a bunch of other people, and I guess the reason these people had openings was because of how lousy they were. Let’s see…psychia #1: Diagnosed me within five minutes based on the title of my blog. Never mind the paperwork I filled out indicating that I had no current symptoms of the disorders he was diagnosing. I tried to question the one that was furthest out of line, and his justification was that I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt…umm, true, but 1) they were nice shorts and it was August, and 2) I don’t know of anyone who dresses up to go to an appointment, and the rest of the waiting room was filled with people dressed like me. No interest in listening to me, insistent that I was lying that I was not a special ed kid. I was not lying; I was an honors kid, most definitely not a special ed kid. I cried tears of angry frustration following that appointment. On to psychia #2: This guy is so weird. He spent almost the entire session talking to himself about whether or not he would write a letter to school—nevermind that I had made the appointment on the grounds that the only reason I was there was for a letter to be written. I don’t get a chance to say much as the vast majority of the appointment is him talking to himself. It was all I could do to not tell him to shut his trap and listen to me. He also tried to ask for more money than was originally agreed upon. Luckily I brought an exact amount of cash so he backed off. His retarded letter essentially said he couldn’t find anything wrong with me but would be thrilled to get paid a ridiculous amount of money weekly to keep looking! On to psycho #1: She is a lot older than her picture on the website, but she is really nice and during the meeting I actually like her as much as one can like someone whom she has just met and has just barely earned any trust or respect points. Life is going to be okay until she calls and leaves a message that she changed her mind and instead of writing that she recommends at most monthly meetings like we had previously agreed upon that she is going to write at least every other week. I cry tears of angry disillusioned sadness as I drive to the wonderful counseling center at which I volunteer, willing the tears to stop before anyone sees. These experiences prove to me that hurtful experiences are not an isolated incident with this one person, but are the norm. Meeting a new counselor is terrifying until they win my trust.

Today I am graduating. Today the light is finally the end of the tunnel and not a train coming at me with nowhere to run.* Abuse is a Trauma that hurts. Isolation hurts. Silence hurts. We were made for community. It is not good for girl to be alone, yet I lived since that stupid contract in silent isolation. At first it was wait a couple weeks. Then it was wait until next semester. Then next year. I learned to almost stop hoping because hope just meant more soul-crushing when I had to keep holding on in isolation. Inevitably, every time there was a teeny tiny sliver of light and I considered hope again, the hope ran away before I could shove it away and I was painfully crushed again. I never thought being numb was a good thing, but I learned that I’d really prefer if I could be totally numb and not have to care about anything. Getting rid of the highs felt worth it in exchange for getting rid of the lows as well. Oh…the contract and the agreement it replaced that were signed by someone whose name was not on the Word doc…yeah…so personal we got a form letter and filled in your name and our names…nothing says you matter like a form letter…why bother putting your name on it if you obviously didn’t write it? Why can’t we just tell the truth?

Today I am graduating. Today I no longer have to hear at least monthly about the wonderful “services” of my abuser. Like seriously people! Some of the people advocating those services are people who know how abusive she is yet continue to advocate people being in contact with her. That is so not cool. It is a forgivable offense if you don’t know, but if you do, it just makes me angry.

Today I am graduating. I have gradually healed over time, but the scabs have been picked off so many times that they have never truly gotten the chance to fully heal. Now I can really talk and write and process and heal, separated from the daily reminders like thorns tearing at my skin.

Today I am graduating. Today I am thankful to be done not just with academics, but with school. The cycle will stop revolving. No longer am I caught in the spiral of ABCD and Co. making school miserable which causes my academics to slip which stresses me out which makes me more emotionally vulnerable which makes the intrusions more painful which makes academics slip further…I should put a picture of my life cycle spiral here…

Today I am graduating. Today I can shed the stitches binding my lips closed. I can take off the chains holding me down. I can stop living in daily fear of what may be around the corner.

Today I am graduating. Today I am free.

(written in March 2016 in anticipation of my May 2017 graduation). Names and one paragraph removed later because retrospective me realized the need to be respectful. I also want to sincerely thank all the people who have gently created safe places for me. Y’all mostly know who you are and I am so grateful.

*Okay, not totally true anymore. The light went out in March. I am still grieving that loss, but I’m working really hard on changing the lightbulb.

I’m on my knees begging you please

(Alone – Hollyn)

 

Sometimes things don’t go well and you have to learn to just go with it.

 

If we want to stay super surface level, my mom and I are VERY different people and therefore don’t get along very well and also I find her extremely embarrassing. She likes to make a scene. I like to fade into the background. It isn’t a good combination…but I didn’t start writing to stay on the surface.

 

More to the point, last night was graduation rehearsal…that is something that shouldn’t have been a big deal for me…and it wouldn’t have been, except that the first thing we did was fill out a survey with a zillion questions…about the job I don’t have…thanks…can we rub it in any more that I failed? They are going to wish I didn’t fill out a survey when they see my answers. I’m kinda going to mess up the statistics they wanted to perform. Yep, lots of applications, no offers, no job. Yep, not only is there a line for what job(s) you signed on with, there is also a line for job offers…because some people actually have choices of where to work while I’m still over here rejected and unwanted. I almost cried, but I didn’t because I am not a baby.

 

I made it through the rest of the rehearsal. Once I got outside I wanted to run away. I wanted to hide. I wanted anything but to be where I was. Certain someone was there. Certain someone wasn’t supposed to be there. I haven’t seen her at previous graduation events, but there she was in the open area in front of the doors as if she’d just been waiting for me to emerge. That pretty much ended any possibility of having a positive attitude about being there. I found my parents and wanted to go home right then and just explain to the people I didn’t see that something came up (true statement – a bully came up). My parents weren’t keen on that idea…I don’t really know if there were other people I promised to say hi to and didn’t, but I found a chair in the crowd and wasn’t going anywhere.

 

Award ceremonies are already not really my thing. Ginormous social events are not my thing. I don’t like winning and I don’t like sitting still and watching other people win. Award ceremonies are pretty much lose-lose for me. So even without the situation I wouldn’t have wanted to be there, so you can imagine that my tolerance for annoyance was greatly decreased, particularly as the thing was going on super late at night. Like could we not do this at a time I wouldn’t rather be sleeping? It would be a lot more special to have a small group hang out time at a more reasonable hour than to force us to stay up late in a jumbo crowd. Just open a bunch of classrooms and enforce a maximum of maybe 5-10 people per room and then one classroom with bigger groups allowed to make sure people don’t make the hallway a hang out spot making it impossible to get from one room to the next.

 

The event ended with everyone having to hold a stinky cup of alcohol. I love the smell of cleaning alcohol, but the drinking kind is one of the smells that I can’t handle. I wanted to skip it but my parents wouldn’t let me. I stood there and by the time it was over I was SO done. My parents agreed that we could finally go home, but they just wanted to dump the nastiness out of the cup and go home that way. I said no and was again out-voted…but I did end up getting my way. I was so in over my head by the ridiculously late night and the earlier situation and having to be surrounded by that smell and it still kinda stunk in the car like the alcohol and I started crying and screaming and I half asked permission and half just did it. I pulled into a parking spot and went back inside and rinsed the gross out of the cup. My parents weren’t happy, but they should just be glad I didn’t throw the cup out the window. Besides, what is the point of a single cup? I don’t have any cups in that style at home so it isn’t like I can ever use it anyway. What a waste of my tuition dollars. A mug is something we could actually use. Speaking of my tuition dollars, we have a perfectly good auditorium and many other large spaces on campus but instead the school is renting another facility for graduation so that we all have to go to some random place downtown that we’ve never been before.

 

Also, why would you put something so disgusting in the cups? Fill them with lemonade. Everyone likes lemonade, and there is already as much free alcohol as you want at the event, so if it’s not like by filling the cups with something yummy you’d be depriving anyone of their opportunity to be even more over-served. Plus, like my parents noted, there are some people for whom drinking alcohol is opposed to their cultural beliefs and therefore not very inclusive to make us all hold it. Yep, my school found a way to make me hate them even more on the way out. I overheard when I was like a first or second year that the school doesn’t understand why their recent alumni are so angry…well it doesn’t seem like rocket surgery to me. Stop pulling this kind of stuff on us and maybe we will be more willing to engage with you once we have our diplomas and are no longer obligated to do so. I fully acknowledge that not all of the issues at school were completely the fault of the school, but I also acknowledge that there are a lot of things that once brought to their attention they could have quickly and easily remedied but chose not to, and many situations that they did directly create or were the primary contributor.

 

Speaking of diplomas, my school also plans to give diplomas to three students who didn’t even take most of the professional courses and certainly didn’t graduate. What a way to diminish the value of a diploma! I’d be cool with recognizing other students, but it is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the work that the rest of us have done to give those students diplomas. If they can have them then I want some of my other friends to have them too. If all you have to do is make it to third year to get a diploma then I know plenty of people who also deserve diplomas. Why did I need to do six YEARS to earn my diploma when they get one for only getting 5-6 SEMESTERS through the program?

See the Sparrows in the Air; Not a Worry not a care

(Alright – go fish)

 

Actually, no I don’t see the birds in the air, I see the ones dead on the sidewalk. There are a lot of them. Maybe those birds should be a little more worried…but I do say hello and goodbye to all the dead birdies on the sidewalk. I might have a hard time making friends my own age, but I am good at making friends with the dead birdies on the sidewalk…they tend to be there for a long time and they don’t judge if I stumble over words and only use the same two phrases. Their expressive love language is quality time, my receptive love language is basically all of the above, so it works out pretty well (as in I tend to get a pretty even score across all five love languages…I just like being loved)…I wish I were better at knowing how to make people friends that were as good as dead bird friends…I do have some awesome people friends, but it certainly isn’t because of anything I was doing right.

 

Tuesday I got my first official NO to my applications since phase II. Sure, I had the passive no of positions that I hadn’t yet heard yes which essentially meant no, but this was the first actual emailed no. The first time that the no had been more than implied. It hurt. I mean, I already wasn’t doing awesome, but it definitely wasn’t a happy moment. It is complicated though. It confirms that no one will want me. It really hurt…and then I am not sure if I was numb or in emotional shock, but it is like the world turned off and it wasn’t like I had energy to do anything but at least the pain was less intense and I was able to go to bed and get some sleep. The past few nights, despite the crying and pain during the day, I have been getting a full night’s worth of sleep. That is super rocking awesome. Emotionally I am certainly struggling, but physically I am doing SO much better.

 

But yes, I have been posting random pieces of life on facebook…yes it is an attention seeking attempt to get little red notifications….no I am not ashamed of attention seeking…it is adaptive to seek attention when you desperately need people. My opinion is that as long as you are doing it in a way that is not hurtful to other people and not intrusive or obnoxious it is perfectly fine to use social media to help yourself. If a few little red numbers on the screen are what it takes to get me through the day successfully then I’m going to do it, and I really don’t see a problem with it. Attention seeking is certainly stigmatized in our culture, but it shouldn’t be, because it generally is something people only do when they legitimately need the attention. It seems to me that filling a legitimate need shouldn’t be scorned, mocked, or punished.

 

Although, maybe my opinion doesn’t count…I did show up to class after lunch break with a container of peanut butter, a spoon, and some bubble wrap…it might not be a “normal” way to get protein to eat peanut butter with a spoon, but if it gets the calories and nutrition to my mouth, it counts as a win in my book…and I might have popped some of the bubbles during class, but I did refrain from being obnoxious enough as to get told off or even get the stink eye from the teacher…that was not an attention seeking attempt though…that was just my impulsivity saying hey, there’s some bubble wrap, that looks fun! and not thinking about that people like to not listen to me pop bubbles in class.

 

After class, my original plan was to immediately heat up my dinner and then go walk to my happy place. That plan got derailed for a variety of reasons. One is that no one is going to fail because they didn’t have the appropriate clothing or the appropriate type of time keeping device…not on my watch!! I found some students who needed stuff that I had, so I ran to my room and handed out what they needed. I think it is utterly ridiculous that a teacher would fail someone over the way they keep track of time as long as they do keep track of time, and I really really think it is dumb that a teacher would fail someone over what they are wearing (within limits…clearly there is a problem if you show up without a shirt on or something), so I’m going to provide whatever you need to pass. No, wearing a student ID is not part of being a professional, nor is wearing a watch with a second hand or wearing a white coat…among other things…My opinion is that being a professional is about how you act, not about your appearance. My opinion is also that on a skills-based assessment your appearance should not be considered because the color of your shirt does not generally impact your ability to perform a particular skill. Not sayin’ just sayin’…okay, actually I am sayin’, ’cause this is important to me.

 

Once I finally did leave, I turned on an audiobook. It is pretty good. One of the first sentences of the book was: “routine teaches our brain that normal exists…whatever normal looks like in a life that has been changed forever.” That is so true. It isn’t just the busy-ness that helps me make it, but that I am doing things that seem normal. That is probably part of why Monday and Tuesday were hard when class was cancelled. I needed to be in class not because there was so much to learn (there certainly is) but because I needed life to feel normal. I mean, Monday was also hard because I was having a hard time with applications on Sunday and therefore procrastinated so much that I didn’t finish with enough time to really calm down before going to bed, but the lack of normalcy definitely didn’t help. It is also why I desperately need people, but while there are times I need to talk, there are other times I just need to BE so that life feels more normal.

 

The loss was more than betrayal. It was more than the loss of the plans for my life. It was more than not having income. The loss took away my identity. There is very little I am good at. I have been told so much I would never make it. The one thing that made me good was that I had known what I wanted to do since fourth grade and wasn’t going to let go. Then I didn’t get that one job that was part of my plan. If I’d gotten a different pediatric PGY-1 in phase I, I think I would have been a little sad but mostly okay, but without that particular job and then without a pediatric PGY-1 and then without any PGY-1 and then without any job, any little remnant of my identity was gone. There are so many ways that it hurts. I know I can make it through though. If I can get through what happened at school, I know I can get through anything. My all of me hurts, but I will be okay.

 

I have always needed like three times as long in the morning to make up for staying up late, which is almost exactly what I took this morning…I stayed up late trying to text my friends, and eventually after staring at the blank screen for way too long, I had to admit that I probably wasn’t going to come up with the words that night and it wasn’t an emergency. I don’t think it is JUST staying up late exhausting my body though…there are three things right now that help me dull the pain even just a little. Being with people helps, but I often don’t have the social ability to ask for what I need, and even if I did, the world doesn’t revolve around me and I can’t expect my friends to let me be with them all the time; that wouldn’t be fair to them. Eating (Especially Dominos or candy) also helps…but occasionally eating is still hard, and eventually you reach a point at which eating no longer feels good. That leaves being in motion. Someone commented on Monday that I must really like exercise because I’ve been walking a lot lately…actually, I do not like walking. I do not detest it as I detest running, but it certainly isn’t something I normally choose. When there isn’t a line you better believe I will take the elevator to get up or down only one floor. Being in motion makes the emotional pain hurt less…but most of the time when I am not grieving I spend 90% of my time laying on my bed in front of my computer. My body isn’t used to being in motion so much. It doesn’t physically hurt, but I’m sure my muscles are tired and needed some rest.

 

I don’t have a scale, so I literally can’t use numbers talk right now to talk about how I am doing physically in terms of food, but I can say that my guess would be that I am doing well. I have been eating a lot of food…like three donuts and a chocolate chip panera bagel for breakfast yesterday…and eating dinner twice because food was available and I was hungry again…I have certainly been doing my best, and that is all that anyone can get from me.

 

Interesting story…so I was walking back to school yesterday and suddenly there were police cars driving erratically all over. I used my thinking brain and stood still well away from the edge of the sidewalk. There must have been some donuts somewhere because the cars were randomly driving down one street then parking then turning around and driving down another street, parking, and doing it again until they all chose one street and all parked their cars there, got out, and seemed to be having some kind of party…lol…once they were all out of their cars, it seemed safe to cross the street without being smooshed by a police dude not paying attention so I minded my own business and continued back to school. Maybe I should be a police officer so I could have donuts too. Plus, I am super indecisive also, so I could totally turn around like three times trying to choose where to park…although my parking ability is lousy so I’d need to do it a lot more slowly which would probably take away the thrill of slamming on the gas and steering like a crazy girl….

 

I also used my thinking brain before that. I ALMOST used my fingers to strain my noodles…I figured out just in time that I should probably not do that. My fingers appreciated not having hot water poured against them…

Do you reach out and touch them?

(Dreaming Jacobs Dream – Michael Card)

 

I am resilient. I am strong. I am brave. I am alive,..but I am so overwhelmed.

 

The continued questions about post-graduation plans are hard and don’t go away any more quickly as graduation comes closer. I have been holding on for graduation so long but the glow disappeared what is now almost two months ago. And applying is SO hard…and today was the first day there weren’t “normal life” plans. And that was hard too. Going through the motions of life gets me through the day. Sometimes I have to have life feel normal just a little bit. It is so hard. I need people so much.

 

In motion I am okay, but stopping I am not. It doesn’t hurt as much when I am in motion. So I was okay-ish most of the day until I had to sit still without music on to get more sunscreen on. Then I was crashing. I knew I needed to be in motion, so I didn’t even stop to get my shoes back on my feet. I just picked everything up and started walking. At this point I only had 20 minutes to be calm enough to use my big girl words with my friends. When there were five minutes left, I stopped and put my shoes on and like immediately got a text from my friends and could hold on for a few more minutes.

 

I did a really good job. I tried really hard to use my big girl words with my friends…It helps so much, SO much, but I was already so worked up that as soon as I was alone again I was back to falling apart and knew I couldn’t be safe going home. There are a lot of ways that going home could go wrong if I’d tried right then, so I didn’t.

 

And sometimes I’m a baby. Thumb in mouth, audiobook on my headphones, Sleep Sound in Jesus album playing on the laptop, skittles sharing the mouth with my thumb. In another hour I was okay…but so exhausted. There isn’t anywhere to sleep here. I looked. Well, okay, there is multiple somewheres I know about to sleep, but it would take too many social skills that I can’t access to go there.

 

But now IDK what to do. My thumb came out of my mouth like 5 minutes ago, so I can go anywhere without people finding out that I am not okay, but I’m so tired. I don’t really want to go back to school…partly because of the tiredness, but also because once I am back at school I will be alone again…but I guess without any other ideas I should probably go back…all I have left in my bag in terms of feeding my face is skittles and water, so it is probably time to head back to get some food. I will be okay. A few minutes at a time I will make it. I wish I could just go to forever home. Why does it have to hurt so bad? Why can’t it all end? Will anyone ever want me? Why did God take me to this place for the past approximately 15 years just to crush everything? Why is it so hard? I want so badly to go to forever home.

 

Lol yeah, so that was written maybe an hour and a half ago or so…I made it back…obviously…I did stop and admire the carseat graveyard, but I had enough sense to not try climbing the fence to get a closer look. I also apparently didn’t do a good job with the sunscreen and now have a beautiful imprint of my bra strap on my shoulder…and that is the real reason why your bra straps shouldn’t show…

 

Sometimes I wish people in this city weren’t quite so nice…so today someone stopped to offer me a ride when I was walking to the fancy gas station because I needed to go potty and didn’t want to have to have any conversations on the way and have to try to explain anything…and it wasn’t like I was dressed in such a way that I felt like I could get away with just wandering in anywhere and not being noticed…so anyway, single man in a car like I said yesterday is not something with which I am comfortable. Not to mention how awkward it would be to explain that I was wandering to go to the gas station…and given how I was doing emotionally, it was a really proud moment that I had words to say no thank you. It is great when my friends offer help, but random strangers on the street are a different story…plus I can’t apologize later for my poor behavior when it is some random stranger I’ve never met before.

Like Life is Only Pain

(Britt Nicole – World That Breaks)

Life still feels like I am stuck in a tornado holding on as tight as I can to keep from flying backwards in the wind. Everything still feels like it is spinning around me.

I tried something different this weekend. Usually I do applying for jobs on Sundays because it is so hard emotionally that I don’t want it to overshadow the goodness of being at church…not to mention that it is certainly an element of avoiding the excess of pain that comes with trying to work on applying.

Since the weather was nice. I decided to walk to church. Since walking has helped me a little in containing my emotions…not as much as rollerblading and biking did for me, but certainly something, I decided maybe the pain would be more manageable if I could break it up between both days of the weekend. So yesterday I worked on letters of intent, then walked to church to help calm down. Today I will do the actual application part. I think it helped so the emotion wasn’t AS overwhelming, but I can’t keep doing things like this. I really need to be able to study and do other things besides laying in front of the computer working on applying for jobs.

Speaking of walking to church, it was a bit of a wake up call last night. Physically so many things are getting a lot better…but certainly I am not out of the woods. I got halfway to church before stopping while waiting to cross the street and adjusting my sock. The sock seemed stuck so I pulled a little and it was itchy so I figured maybe there was a leaf or rock or something in my shoe or stuck to my sock…I checked and found that my sock was stapled to my foot. My best guess is that perhaps I had some staples in my pocket last time I did laundry and one got stuck in my sock and then stuck itself into my foot when I put the sock on my foot and my foot in my shoe. It is certainly not good if I don’t notice a staple in my foot before walking over a mile. I obviously took the staple out, and at least thought about a bandaid…it is frustrating that I can feel so much emotional pain that physical pain is covered instead of covering it up. Luckily, the bottom of my sock was stained enough that the blood wasn’t noticeable enough to make me feel like I need to wash the socks.

The end of last night’s sermon was convicting. He was talking about how worth is defined as how much someone is willing to pay, and so how much are we worth if God was willing to pay for us with his son, and he was recounting a conversation with someone who had survived tragedy and said “you made it because God has a purpose for your life.” I’ve continued praying for God to take me to forever home because this hurts too much…but I’ve continued to survive. It is hard to believe there is any reason for this pain. It hurts so much. It feels like I am underwater drowning every day trying so hard yet failing to get to the edge to be able to pull myself up and get another breath. It is a crushing pain drowning out the joy in life.

To be honest, I am writing right now because I should be applying and doing this feels like I am doing something kinda sorta productive, gives me a reason to not face applying, because that hurts so much. I know I need to do it, but just writing these words thinking about it makes the pain of loss so intense. It is so difficult.

But I do know how to take care of myself. On the way home, someone stopped, honked at me, and waved me over. I went to see what he wanted, and he said “Hey, come ride with me.” Although I was starting to notice that I hadn’t brought sunscreen with me and was starting to burn, I also knew that getting into a car with a man whom I had never seen before in my life and whom I had no context for meeting was not going to put me into a situation that made me feel comfortable. I said no thank you and I moved on.

I am proud. My roommates left me with an overflowing trash can that smelled awful. I left it alone a day hoping that someone else would empty it since I had barely used it, but it became obvious that no one else was going to take responsibility. Taking out the trash (even my own trash sometimes) is something with which I still struggle. To take out the trash I not only had to touch the trash bag, but also clean up the excessive trash overflowing out of the trash can. I was overwhelmed. Luckily, I was desperate enough to look everywhere first to see if I could find anything to help me…what I found was two gloves. I managed to complete the task one handed so that one glove could be preserved in case I needed it. I mean, I did not follow the direction of tying off the bag, because I couldn’t do that one handed, but technically the directions said to use a bag that could be tied, not that you actually had to tie it…semantics…I can and will use them to my advantage when in that type of situation. Now I feel frustrated, because to prevent having to do that again I didn’t put a new trash bag in the trash can, assuming that without a bag people would throw their trash into their own trash cans. Yeah, silly me. Instead, they are throwing disgusting trash into the trash can without a bag which will make it even more difficult to get rid of it. Luckily it is a trash can that belongs to the school that they forgot to remove when converting these rooms back from temporary offices to dorms and isn’t a trash can I was planning on bringing home, but I feel really frustrated. Your mommy doesn’t live here. Clean up after yourself. I mean, it is kind of like how between me and the two other girls in my bedroom, I was the only one who brought soap…like did you not think that you might need to wash your hands or body while you were here? Perhaps a little self-centered but instead of offering to share I suggested that they use their shampoo as soap. My guess would be that I am also the only one who brought cleaning supplies.

I think I probably can’t delay the inevitable any longer and need to start actually applying for jobs…

Better be Ready

(Written primarily during breaks in class…lol…that’s why we get potty breaks right? So we can skip them to write blog posts?)

 

(Believe what the lord says to you – FearNOT)

 

I feel like my brain is spinning in so many directions and I can’t keep up with any of them. So this post is probably going to be super disorganized and running in a million directions…Sorrynotsorry…

 

Life is all about balance…so for lunch on Wednesday I put my 7 pieces of pizza on two plates…yep, I ate almost an entire large Dominos pizza. I might have some meals that I still don’t do a great job on, but right now I am mostly balancing out to a level of calories that I think is going to get me where I want to be. It is certainly still frustrating when things aren’t going as well like last night when I gave away my drink tickets because I didn’t even want sprite, but it is really encouraging when things are going okay. It feels like maybe a tiny glimmer of hope when at least the physical symptoms are residing. I am so thankful for that.

 

Funny quote I heard this week: “People are just extended donuts.” Yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever look at a person the same way again…donuts are so yummy…I could totally go for a donut right now…I wanted a donut so bad yesterday and most times there are free donuts during finals week, but I couldn’t locate any donuts…sad day…

 

So, living in the res hall is wonderful in some ways. It solved my homelessness. It means I am never too far separated from any of my things so wanting or needing something different isn’t a huge deal. It is awesome to once again have access to water at any time of day. It is nice to not need to commute.

 

But there are also some things that are not so nice. I have never lived with other people in my same sleeping space before, and it is really intimidating and makes me feel like I can’t be me in my room, because I am afraid of bothering other people. It also means that I am constantly on campus. Despite the lack of major problems in a while, I am still always on alert to some extent while on campus. It is exhausting. I need time to turn off.

 

It is probably also why the germ issues have snuck back in a little bit. That’s what high levels of stress do. All of my things are in a corner to segregate them from anyone else’s germs. All of my things are in plastic bags before going in the community refrigerator. I cringed when one of my friends sat on my bed. I can’t explain it, but some people in my world seem dirty, and others don’t and this particular friend falls into the dirty category. Luckily, it was on the far side of my bed where my head doesn’t go, so I was able to continue to sleep on the bed each night. So far it hasn’t gotten out of hand, but it is frustrating to have worked through all of this same stuff so many times.

 

I went to IT yesterday because outlook won’t let my email account get set up. They couldn’t fix it. Their solution was that I should just delete all my emails and have people email me somewhere else so it wouldn’t matter. Umm, yeah. Deleting all my emails is not an appropriate solution to outlook not working. Yet this is what IT always does. However, it did give me the idea eventually that even though my email wasn’t working on my laptop that it does work in the library and I could therefore get my emails that way by utilizing the ones I did have saved (which was not all of them…good thing I didn’t rely on that TOO much). It also let me know that a lot of my emails that I thought were saved on my usb were not…good thing I was spot checking occasionally so I didn’t lose everything…I have no doubt that I lost a lot, and that is a bit unfortunate, and I’ll probably lose more later, but I am certainly happy to have whatever I can get.

 

I am overwhelmed. I don’t actually know if I have somewhere to live after tonight. I need to figure out how to register to take my board and law exams. I need to find a job. I need a lot of things…lol…I am so overwhelmed.

 

There are some times when I probably shouldn’t have been driving. Last night was one of those times. So, last night was an alumni association event that I figured I should probably go to. Despite knowing I should go, I was totally going to skip out anyway except for the promise of a drawing for $100. I went. It was immediately obvious upon arriving that it was not a good idea. On the way in there were a series of people and each one asked where I was going to be working next year and what my plans were. Ouch. Within the first 15 minutes I just wanted to yell EVERYBODY SHUT UP!! Even without that, I would have had a hard time…even if I weren’t struggling with grief it was an event with which I would have had a hard time. The venue would have been wonderful…if there were about a fifth as many people there. There were people and voices and movement everywhere. It was pretty much the entire space shoulder to shoulder. They originally said by like 6:20 we could leave…in reality the main program didn’t even start until 6:30…I was not a happy camper.

 

And then I went to church. I really thought that by going there I’d be able to calm down and recharge a little. I didn’t intentionally go so that I could be dangerous. I had a reasonably good time, but without really being surrounded by people I know, and by spending my time in an area that wasn’t as familiar to me, it didn’t really bring me to where I was hoping it would. Even if I had been with my favorite people and in a more familiar area, it might not have been enough anyway since I was so far gone after the ironically named event “Happy Hour.” Between exhaustion and the emotional pain I was in, I was definitely not a safe driver on the way home. My car and I made it in one piece, but TBH, I wasn’t because of anything I was doing. Like I got to school, walked around my car, and was relieved to note that there wasn’t any evidence of running into anything. I tried…All you can get from me is my best, and I did that.

 

Also, I have a lot of opinions…sometimes you learn to keep your mouth shut because if everyone is cheering about how excited they are about something you probably shouldn’t let them know how much you don’t like it…particularly since I am someone who would be thrilled to not go to the graduation ceremony anyway, so making it marginally better for me probably isn’t worth it…my opinions don’t matter that much.

 

Now that IT has re-imaged my computer, I can’t access the old wordpress anymore…I’m not really a fan of the new wordpress formats…so confusing. It takes forever to find what I’m looking for.

 

Everyone has been painting for hours and I finally was convinced to try it…so now I have two mini flower pots…so if you want one, let me know, because they are most likely not coming home with me…and no, I’m not quite sure what that white and red blob on the back of the one is…I accidentally got white paint on my hands that then got on the first pot I was painting and so I tried to make it look intentional but wasn’t quite sure what to make it into…

 

All I need I can find in you

(Press on – building 429)

I need people so badly. Sure, I was in a room with my entire class, but I was essentially alone and in that room all day. It’s hard. I want out…and I didn’t realize how much I rely on my laptop until I had to turn it in. Part of the issue was the possibility of losing significant amounts of my information, but a bigger part of it is the computer itself.

I didn’t realize how much that laptop was how I self-regulated. I need it for music to calm myself or to distract. I need videos for a human connection. I need my keyboard to provide my voice…even if most of the words are deleted without being shared. Texting this blog post isn’t quite the same. I need the company of the junk emails popping into my inbox all day. I need the community of social media. I need the pages that are familiar and the random stream of Google searches.

And with the intense loneliness and pain of grief I was (am) drowning by the end of the day. I wish I had my bike or inline skates. Even just like two minutes on my skates was enough to help me eat something that first week. It was raining…and my feet are kinda raw from yesterday, so it isn’t a good idea to take a walk. I am working really hard and struggling through dinner. I am frustrated. And IT doesn’t know when I can have the shell of my computer back and they don’t have a loaner for me. I either need some people to help me or I need my computer.

I know partly I’m struggling because I was working on applications yesterday and that is an emotionally taxing activity, but regardless of cause, I’m struggling. It probably doesn’t help that I am also sleep deprived.

Sometimes I need people to make life feel normal and sometimes I need people to let me talk, but always I need people. I really really need people but I’m really really alone. Why won’t God answer my prayer with a yes and let me go to forever home? I’m tired of holding on. It’s too much.

And I can’t figure out how to categorize my post from my phone.

Like it or not no matter how hard we can’t change all the damage

(Starting Over – Plumb)

Not really edited seeing as how I really need to get my computer turned in and I’ve had so many issues trying to copy enough of my files to feel comfortable saying goodbye…at this point I’m not sure how much or what is copied and there is half a chance that I have almost nothing…I hate that school completely clears our laptops…they say we can’t have personally identifiable information on there, but seriously? The information identifies ME!! Why can’t I have information identifying ME on MY laptop?? So frustrating!!

Since it needs to get turned in ASAP, I don’t have much of a choice in the matter at this point. It is going to have to go in God’s hands to hope that nothing crucial is missing. I guess I should be happy that there is a good chance I at least have SOME files. That was not true back in July when there were like 3 files left on my computer when it had a booboo…luckily that time the computer was fixable and I got everything back. This time it will be gone forever…plus that time my email was still fine…this time I’m also not so sure about my emails…sad day…we’ll just have to let go and hope for the best…

I was listening to a video yesterday, and the person on the video said “It’s okay to go numb. It’s helping you survive. It’s too much for our brain to process and we’re tired because we’re mentally and emotionally maxed out.” It felt really validating…I mean, she did say that being numb was normal for about two months from when the event occurred and if you only count from phase I my two months are up, but I didn’t go numb right away, so I think probably I get more time…and I know myself…it can take years…

Sometimes grief looks like a foot covered in blood…apparently there was something in the puddles I walked through on my way to church that irritated my skin…but I didn’t really notice much because of the much deeper hurt in my heart…as it turns out, by the time I got home the skin was so irritated that some areas had started bleeding and my whole right foot was red from blood…I didn’t even really notice until I looked down and didn’t think it looked right…yeah…sometimes the world in my head is so overwhelming that physical things get less notice. Oops…

I am still at a point where if I am interested in eating I am going to eat…not going to worry about whether it is a “good” time to eat or if what I want is balanced…when I am not actively trying to gain weight, snacks are something I really think about if I need before eating, but right now: if I want it and procure it relatively easily then I’m going to eat it.

It’s a really good thing that at the moment my OCD has gone away…I have no dish towels or wash clothes…so washing dishes is being gone with just some soap and my hands…are they perfect? No, but I’m the only one eating off of them, and that means it is good enough.

I keep telling people I am “applying”…AKA I wrote the letters of intent then went to church then tried to take a nap then watched videos. Then realized my CV needed updating before continuing…but by the time I went to bed I did have five more applications submitted than when I got up Saturday morning. It is a hard stressful process, but little by little I am getting through it.

A long long time ago when I was a first year I did the Strengthsfinders survey. Includer was not in my top 5. My guess would be that is probably because at that time I barely talked to my very closest friends, so clearly I wasn’t going to positively endorse any question about talking with a new person…but I think it is pretty clear to me that I am an includer. Lol…so what started as a quick special note to a few close friends to thank them for the difference they made in my life has turned into a huge insane project…when you are trying to figure out how to send a thank you note to someone who has lived in at least three states since the last time you saw her and you currently have no idea what state she is in much less have an address, email, or phone number, you know you might have started going overboard on this project…good thing I still have like 480 black and white prints left on my account…

I started with 2-3 people from the place I volunteer, 1 more person from church, 2 from school, and 1 from back home. Quick project to be easily completed sitting in the many many airports and airplanes I visited while interviewing in February, right? Yeah…then the list went up to 40 people to definitely do and a list of other people to be included if I have time…I think a good half of the list is people I haven’t seen in years and for whom I will struggle to find contact info…I might not be good at making friends, but living between two states gives you lots of opportunities to meet a lot of people…

Sometimes I am ashamed of my grief. The thought seriously went through my head last night that I should set up a make-shift bed in the closet so that if my roommates started moving in they wouldn’t see me crying…because at bedtime I was crying and not just like tears falling, but like body shaking crying. I go through most of the day numb and/or pretending…but the hurt is still very real more often than I’d like to admit. I haven’t truly gotten to the stage of numbness where the pain is 100% gone, but the light ache for parts of the day is so appreciated when the rest of the day is spent in agonizing deeply acute pain. I didn’t set up in the closet, and I calmed down without anyone seeing me…besides, it would probably be super awkward if someone had tried to move in and decided to open the closet only to discover someone sleeping and/or crying inside…

They did move in last night…in the middle of the night…side note, 24 hour quiet hours are anything but quiet…also side note, I now am very aware of why I have never shared a room before…umm, yeah not being able to turn on the lights makes getting ready in the morning hard. Not to mention I’m guessing they won’t appreciate if I want to turn my music on to sleep.

This morning I finished my cheerios and was still doing okay so I decided to capitalize that and went to get myself a chocolate chip bagel bread sliced please from Panera. It is kinda nice that now I live close enough to Panera that walking both there and back is less far than I walked one direction before I got my parking pass on Saturday. I have some rewards on my card, so that will probably help with the weight gain journey…I only gained half of a pound from last Saturday to this Saturday. I feel like a failure…Anyway, that’s not the point…so as I was walking to Panera, some lady comes up to me and goes “Why are you wearing that?” I looked down to make sure my shirt wasn’t inside out or backwards or anything, but all my clothes were on correctly and even fit appropriately. I just kinda stare at her like what is wrong with you and she says “well I just don’t know why anyone would wear anything like that?” Umm…it’s a Cru shirt and a pair of shorts…I just walked quickly away from her…

I’ve tasted hopelessness. I know what heartache is…I’ve lived through brokenness…but all that matters is that I matter to you

(Colton Dixon – All That Matters)

 

It is super easy to see lots of problems in my life…but this evening I have also felt a lot of gratitude. People have reached out to me and made me feel like I mattered. Being around people is super helpful for me. I don’t necessarily need to talk, in fact sometimes I can’t talk, but presence is such a huge gift to me. Presence is so healing.

 

I can be annoyed that my car turned into like a sauna because my dress and other articles of clothing that couldn’t go in the dryer were laid out in the car…in addition to the moisture left over from Friday afternoon, or I can be thankful that I have clean laundry.

 

I can be frustrated that it was about to start raining again so I couldn’t air out my car long enough to really get the insane humidity to go away, or I can be thankful I recognized in time that the rain was about to come down really hard and got the doors closed and myself inside before I was soaked.

 

I can berate myself for not having the ability to ask anyone if I can sit with them this evening, or I can be thankful that the majority of the time now that isn’t a problem and recognize that once there are fewer things adding to my overwhelm, I will probably quickly regain consistency in that skill.

 

I can be disappointed in myself that I almost cried in church in front of people, or I can be super grateful that I pushed it away before it happened…even if it was probably noticeable to the people I was talking with that I was a lot less okay than my words said I was.

 

I can be annoyed that it is raining while I am trying to move in, or I can be thankful for the fact that a cart was available that allowed me to get all my stuff to my room in only a couple quick trips which meant I ended up a lot less soaked than when I got home yesterday…yesterday’s shoes have had plenty of paper towels in them and still are soaked and now that I packed them in a plastic bag in my car all day kinda stink…

 

I can be frustrated that being the first person to move into my room means there is no one to help me raise the height of my bed before putting the sheets on and no one to talk me down when I am getting really frustrated because bed-making is not one of my skills, or I can be happy that I get to pick which bed I want and that at least for this first night I’ll get to use my music to fall asleep and can sleep with the light on if I want to…lol…apparently the outlets in this room aren’t shaped right for my nightlight. It does work on battery, but it seems easier to just leave the lights on and call it a day…Probably I should unpack…but I think Imma just go to bed and do that tomorrow…and I gotta do more applying…and try to figure out how to back up my computer…

 

Good lyrics of the day:

I should follow the word but I guess I’d rather be murdered. Excuse me I mean martyred ’cause I’m killin’ myself. My sin conceived a baby, and we gon’ name her death. Breath taken. She takes my breath away. Replaces it with poison. (Killa – Lecrae)