Throwing Myself Somewhere

I’ve started writing again.

I know that is a risky thing to say out loud. But, it’s there. I am actually sitting down and, at the very least once a week, putting words to a story, hearing a character in my mind speak (she sounds like she never moved out of the town I was born into and is chronically cranky as a result), and above all: throwing myself somewhere.

I have no idea where this story was going to go. It’s only the first chapter and I don’t know how many chapters it will last, but at least I’m not staying in one place as I have for many frustrating years. I actually haven’t even decided the main character’s name. Nothing had fit yet. But, I feel like her name will come. Just one day I will come across a name and just know that is her.

I can’t help but think that so many points in my life have been improved when I move forward without fear thinking. It’s definitely not something I want to do every moment, but I know with my cautious lazy attitude sometimes just taking a whim on a little thing can change more than you expect.

For example, last year in spring, I went for an interview at another place on a whim and got out of a toxic work environment. Later, I went for another interview and moved up a little by getting benefits I would not have at the other company (on the flip side, I also got the realization food service is not what I want to do with my life, hence the search for a new job…again*sighs*).

You also know the Match.com story. We’re doing pre-engagement counseling and he’s told me he has planned already how he wishes to propose.

I don’t know how this story may work out, I don’t know how many more weeks or months I’ll be working on it, but at least I’m not staying put and I’m taking a risk instead of taking nothing.

We’ll see how it goes.

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When I Can’t Believe My Own Name

I’m currently talking to a friend who is suffering from Schizophrenia. They’re describing some of the struggles they have with their own mind sometimes and they mentioned that one day they literally believed they had died and now continued as a ghost. This happened for a whole day and then just suddenly turned off and they realized what was real and what wasn’t again.

Let me say here that I definitely do not believe I have schizophrenia. However, speaking with them reminded me of something my own mind does occasionally. Sometimes, I don’t believe my mind is the mind that has always been attached to my body.

Imagine staring at your face in the mirror. You’re internally listing facts off about yourself but your mind is reacting in disbelief. That’s not your name, is it? You’re dating him? Those are really your parents?

It’s literally the feeling that your mind just began existing and it was put into a stranger’s body. You have nothing belonging to you or attached to you. You are a stranger to your own self. It’s almost that shock you feel after you scream at someone in the face very suddenly or act out in violence and are appalled by your actions.

Oddly enough, the only insight I have into why this might happen to me came from a conversation I had in the comments section on Youtube. This guy described what I just described, except he lives with that 24/7 and trained himself to accept the facts in his mind about himself as truth. Throughout talking to him I remembered that none of this happened before 3rd grade.

When I was in third grade. I fainted for the first time. Most of the class realized it only after they heard my head hit the desk behind me.

The guy encouraged me to pay close attention when I have those moments of detachment from myself and see if I can figure out what triggers them. It wasn’t until just now, thinking back on the times I can remember having that feeling, that I realized what triggers it is often thoughts of amazement that I’m loved. Whether it is by my family, friends, or boyfriend, somehow being amazed by that leads to a sort of shock in my mind and for a few minutes I don’t believe I have a name, a body, or even a life.

Maybe someday I’ll figure out for certain why my mind does this. In the meantime, I must sleep.

Unstable

Lately, I just find myself craving stability. Stability in my work, money, and relationships. What else is new, huh? Yet, lately, in all those areas I’m having things slip.

Work has always been chaotic and even when it seems we’ve found stability in the employees, something comes to tip the balance and we’re scrambling again. Someone leaves, someone doesn’t show up for a shift, or someone just isn’t working with the whole line in mind. It’s draining me and I’m reminded I won’t do more than three years here. I miss the people I love and my health is starting to take a bit of a toll.

Money…money is rough now. No matter my planning and budgeting, it seems every time I’m about to get some rest and have something building interest in my bank account, I check my balance and find it at zero. Insurance and gas are basically eating everything up. Also, my tax refund isn’t showing signs of being here anytime soon. I’m hoping I don’t have to contact them again after nine weeks and ask where it is.

Car inspection and registration renewal are also coming in June and July. The “check engine” light keeps going off. I still have to pay back my mother for the repairs I needed back in January. I need my car to get to and from work so I can continue to pay for it.

I used to be the person who could send a friend money when they were struggling. I miss that. I miss being able to help, being able to give.

And money…also leads to the last bit. The Professor and I are still together, we’ve gotten through some struggles. Right now, while we don’t know yet if marriage is the definite continuation of our relationship, we both know we’re going to continue heading that direction together. There is no timeline for if it’s going to happen. We’ll know.

But, how money is related is that he might have to move within this year…to another state. Long distance is more than possible in this day and age. I just wish I knew for certain if he is going to be moving away to pursue what would be best for him or if he’s going to stay here a little bit longer. Long distance is an option he will take with me if he does so.

It’s just that uncertainty. That little bit that is unstable and wobbling with the other parts of my life that are unstable. I will know soon but in this moment, I don’t know at all how things will pan out.

Last year around this time, this all happened to me. I switched jobs and found a new friend who was slowly changing my life for the better. I seemed to be doing everything I could to turn my world upside down. God used that time to give me better opportunities and grow me as a person. It’s hard to trust Him now. I will be honest. It is hard to trust Him when I can’t see how things will be.

But, God has shown Himself to be only doing what is best for me, through the abuse that grew me into a stronger person who finally had a mind of her own, to the jobs that failed and gave me a clear picture of what I do and do not want to accomplish by the end of my life. I will be better at the end of this. I just need to keep going.

Storytime: How a Scarf Changed Everything

It’s about time I tell anyone visiting here the story of how I met The Professor.

Around this time last year, I was only focusing on how to get out of my job as a hotel cook. The assistant general manager there was abusing the system and just being plain two-faced when it came to accountability. It was not a healthy place to stay in and I’m glad to be gone. However, this time last year I was still stuck and in need of a way to escape. I would spend my days off looking at jobs available and send resumés out to certain places.

During this time, I was really beginning to enjoy the freedom that not having my ex involved in my life at all gave me. I was on facebook, reconnecting with friends, making plans for a future that would be spent traveling the world. I even was researching if adoption was possible for a woman who was single. I knew I wanted to be a mom more than anything and I’ve always had a desire to adopt. In my mind, I was all set and making plans for what to do after I could afford to ditch my current situation.

Now, I honestly have no idea what possessed me to create a Match.com account. I literally was sitting there on one of my days off and browsing the internet when I just got this urge to create a dating site profile to just see what might happen. After some research, I decided on Match.com since it seemed cheaper than eHarmony and had a higher approval rating. I tried the free version for a bit but decided it was worth dropping a little money so I could more easily contact any guys I might meet.

Once again, I had no idea why I took this chance. I wanted to be single and not have to answer to anyone else for the adventures and travels I would take in life. I’d like to say this is one of those times where God directly changed things in my life in very obvious but somewhat unexplainable way.

I did see The Professor that first day. I checked the info he provided and everything looked good: serious about his faith (which was the same faith as mine), enjoys coffee, hiking, history, and writing. I checked out what he was looking for…and decided to not message him. I did not fit the description he had put for the woman he was hoping to find.

So I took a few days and continued searching, not getting a response from the people I was hoping for and getting notes from people I wouldn’t consider because of some very glaring differences.

So, I went back to him and looked at his profile in full because I figured maybe it was worth talking to him and at least finding a friend.

That is when I saw it.

Wrapped around his neck and not visible in the general thumbnail, was a Gryffindor scarf. Immediately, I knew I had to talk to this man. I didn’t care if he replied to say he wasn’t interested or if we talked and he wanted to keep things on a just friends basis, I was sorely lacking in friends to watch/reference Harry Potter with.

I complimented his scarf. That was it….Ok, and I liked his profile too.

He actually replied. He thanked me, explained his sister made it, and then left me a small note to let me know something important to him. He was hoping to find someone who took their faith seriously. I knew at this point we could at least have conversations because I was in agreement with that. I replied with a note that was slightly longer, he replied in kind. We kept writing through the end of May and into June. My parents knew nothing about it because, honestly, what if this friendship just stayed an online friendship? I would be fine with that. There was hope building though.

I added him to facebook sometime in early to mid June. After continuing to talk on there, we broached the subject of meeting in person. This meant I had to tell someone I knew in real life in case the person he was presenting himself to be was a façade and I was about to put myself in danger. So, while I went on a shopping trip with my mom, I brought him up. I was honestly expecting her to flip her lid, instead she was open to me going to meet him as long as it was a public place (he had suggested a bagel/coffee shop so ✔), as long as I kept my cell phone on me (✔), and as long as I had some proof I wasn’t, what I would call, being catfished (skype convo confirmed he was the same guy on his facebook ✔).

For the first date, I’ll spare as many details as my first draft had. Basically, I knocked my glasses off on accident when I greeted him with a hug, we walked around and explored the Capitol while trying to get the conversation flowing as easily in person as it did online. It took at least an hour, but eventually, the conversation happened. I bought him a book, and we ended our date at a local pub enjoying dinner. He had proof that I really wasn’t bothered if he enjoyed a glass of craft beer with his meal. We ended the date knowing we wanted to have another one soon.

That soon was next week on the Fourth of July. Not only did we watch fireworks, we watched them with my family and my whole church. We sailed on the lake and things were getting more relaxed between us.

The dates kept going. Every time we went out, we visited a new place and seemed to eat at a different restaurant. We liked each other. I could just tell in how he treated me and mostly but how honest he was about himself. He never hid how he felt about things and I loved that openness. It built trust. I felt safe and unpressured to change myself for him.

In August, I finally broached the subject of us dating officially while driving him around the area where I live to go to Friendly’s. Technically we were dating, but I wasn’t his girlfriend. After that car ride, that changed. We made it “facebook official” and everyone who knew us was glad for us. For me and The Professor, nothing changed except the name. Our relationship had always been getting to know each other more and growing closer as friends.

A month later, he said out loud that he loves me. I had known though. He had shown it to me and countless moments where I truly was valued as a person. I told him what he must have known by my own actions. I love him back.

Right now, a year later from our first “meeting”, we’re dating, working through doubts, speaking about difficult issues for us, and building this thing we started together. We hit obstacles now. Each obstacle brings struggle. Those struggles bring hope when we go through them together. I don’t know where I’ll be on this day next year, but, if this last year was any indication, I’m hoping we’re still doing things together.

And none of it would have happened, without a Gryffindor scarf.

 

What’s Really Bothering Me Right Now

Today, something kinda familiar happened to me. When looking at my facebook, I realized that some of my post from the past didn’t have a person tagged in them I had tagged before and that I remembered being a facebook friend awhile back.
Usually, this realization brings about the knowledge that this person I was once on memorable terms with, had unfriended me.

Why is this always a big deal for me?

For me, the reason is that I first blame myself. For three years, I avoided facebook except to check in every once in awhile (but never engage outside of a casual like) or to reply when my mom messaged me there. The reason I did that is that I was hiding from my ex.

For three years, almost every time I got online, if he was online, he’d talk to me. I didn’t realize that actually was scaring me and pushing me away until last year when that presence was gone. I’d just be so scared of what a conversation with him might lead to and if I’d have to try and tell him again I wasn’t interested in being more than friends, (and trust me, I had to have that conversation a few times). I didn’t realize it was ok to just remove him when he wasn’t getting the message, even after it was repeated again and again either by me shooting down his hints to point blank saying I was happy where I am at right now.

As a result of me hiding, I found a few friends, who had removed me simply because I wasn’t active anymore. They were totally fine with me but just didn’t want to keep people on their friends list who weren’t there.

So, why today hit me a little harder, is that my friend not only removed me but blocked me. I have no idea why. I never was confronted with anything I had done wrong or that I might have done wrong. I had no warning that this person just needed some time away from everyone. All I know is that I’m blocked.

I’m actually ok, though. For once, I am ok. I know that it’s not my fault unless the person does choose to speak to me and tell me I did something that I actually did.

Right now, I’m just getting an aftershock from blaming myself first and letting it out this way. I’m not going to harass this person and try to find out what I did wrong. If a person just unfriended me and I want them in my life, I’ll message them and see if they’ll accept that. I can’t message a person who has blocked me out. I’m not going to try and force myself back into a person’s life when that person has made it clear they don’t want me there. That was my past self and I am pulling myself away from that.

So, this is all I’m doing, reminding myself by typing that I am loved as a friend and one person’s actions do not change that.

Tinkerbelle

Just in case the events of this entry will bring back unpleasant memories or trigger anyone, I am warning you now that I discuss a drug-related death in this post.

I don’t know the whole life of any one reader who is subscribed to me. All I know is my life. And part of my life included going to camp. I remember my first few times I always seemed to have this one girl in my cabin, I later figured out we were often together because our names were close to each other in the alphabet. Out of respect for her, I will call her Tinkerbelle in this post. It seems like a silly name, but she did have a love for that character.

At camp, she was always stuck with this one counselor who seemed to know how best to…rival her attitude? This counselor and Tinkerbelle had a close friendship and I believe a respect stemming from the fact their honesty was a blunt, unhidden honesty. I’m still friends with that counselor to this day.

What I remember about Tink the most was her attitude. Tink had her way and wasn’t much interested in how other people wanted her to be or what they wanted her to do. She had no interest in other people’s opinions and expectations. That caused her to butt heads with authority figures, but the older I grow, the more I admire that about her. That’s the Tinkerbelle I remember.

What I also remember about her is that she never looked down on me. Like I said, I probably have ASD because I get fixated on things nobody else is bothered by and I sometimes don’t know when my reactions or words aren’t socially acceptable. For some reason, she didn’t care how offset I was, she treated me with as much acceptance as the coolest people at camp. Looking back, I see how many people were “friends” with me because it would be too awkward to push me away. I never got that from her and I can’t see anything to show that she was just being polite. Tinkerbelle didn’t care about being polite just to keep the peace.

My most memorable summer as a camper with her was the last one, the year she actually added me on facebook because next year would be her last year that she could attend. Some of the guys we were hanging out with were sassing back and forth with her and told her to read the Bible and be a good girl.

She selected Song of Solomon and read it out loud in the snack shop of the camp. I cannot remember laughing so hard in my life before that moment. After the guys protested enough to make her stop, she still read it out to those of us in the cabin while we laughed ourselves tired.

That Friday, we would always have a serious campfire to share anything that has changed in our lives or how we’ve grown during that week. She actually gave her testimony. She told us how she had lost a friend to death and blamed herself, how she had been abused by some of her boyfriends in the past. But, I saw in her that she did actually have faith and was aware she was struggling to show it and share it. I personally believe she is in Heaven now. I honestly believe I will see her again and hug her and tell her I’m sorry.

What will always lurk in my mind when I remember her is that I didn’t even know she was struggling so badly with drugs. I went away to college, got wrapped up in my own messed up relationship, and got caught in the routine of school, forgetting friends except for a few from high school. I can’t believe I let myself go on facebook every day and never saw her posting when she was celebrating a victory for being sober. I can’t believe I didn’t notice when she changed her profile picture to a dark, shadowed image of herself.

What bothers me the most is that I didn’t know she had died until a full year later. A friend tagged her in a post with her picture and the friend spoke of how God had called an angel to heaven sooner than expected. I was confused, looked on Tink’s facebook page, and found out she had died a year ago. She was one month clean from heroin and had a relapse. To this day, it still doesn’t quite hit my mind right. I can’t imagine her gone. I can’t imagine her struggling so much. I can’t imagine her using drugs.

I don’t know what started it. I just know how it ended.

I miss her. She would have turned 27 a few weeks back. She never even made it to 21.

I’m sharing this mostly for myself, but I know others can relate. They’ve lost friends or family this way and know how it feels, or they lost contact with someone just to realize later that they never got to say good-bye. Sharing and crying just helps me. Right now I’m doing those things at the same time. Sharing and crying.

I miss you, Tinkerbelle. Thank you, for never treating me as if I was someone to be pitied. Thank you for the laughter and for showing me what it looks like to live without fear of being yourself.

The Few Things I Miss About College

Right now, I’m once again awake way too late at night. My sleep schedule has finally corrected so I know I won’t get 8 hours of sleep. I’ll probably wake up around 7 AM as I have been recently.

But, right now I know more than anything that I miss my friends. I used to live in the dorms with them, pass by them every day, or even have classes with them. Now, they’re tweets and facebook posts and making any arrangements to meet has a dollar sign attached to it. Yes, there was a dollar sign attached to college but it didn’t loom so imposingly as it does now, especially now that I’m trying to save up to live on my own.

I feel so disconnected and it’s hard to realize that a person may not hold any value to the memories you create with them, or at least not the same value you have placed in those memories. Sometimes, the likes or comments just meets blankness and you felt like a fool for trying to reconnect. Other time, you realize you’ve overlooked their own attempts to connect. I wish the ambiguity was gone and I could at least pass them on the sidewalk again and ask “Hey, how are you?” and be right there to show them I’m actually listening for a response.

But, there are other things I miss, like theater. At school, I had access to so many plays and performances for either cheap admission or no cost at all. I miss experiencing the excitement of backstage and the unscripted moments. I miss looking forward to the next play without sighing because I’m hundreds of miles away. Livestream doesn’t quite capture the experience the same way that sitting in the seat and watching every speck of dust drifting through the light beams directed around the stage.

Also, I must admit, I miss the classes. Many of them seemed obstacles to the few enjoyable courses I took there, but some surprised me. I had no idea a class about how to be a Godly woman would help me move on from a break-up. I would have loved to take two semesters of Ethics just to keep talking about the topics instead of labeling them “done” or “discussed” already. My Apologetics class changed how I look at the world and even something as simple as the Grand Canyon.

Some classes just knew how to ignite a fire and get you passionate, those classes I would love to take again or at least speak with the people who took those classes with me. I keep going over how I would do projects I had over again to make the results better. Those projects almost haunt me, honestly.

For now though, missing and wishing for things isn’t something I can afford to continue doing for long. I have to get some sleep before work tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll have a better opportunity to connect with those friends (who I once spoke to so frequently) again.

Going to Cry for a Bit Here

I am so sore right now and tired. It was a long shift physically and mentally. It’s hard to describe to those who haven’t worked in the service industry what it feel like without sounding like I’m whining. Those how work in the service industry during the night shift on a Friday or Saturday night know EXACTLY how I feel without any more words being said.
But, I’m going to whine for a moment here.
I won’t give the list of details about what specifically happened to make tonight so hard. You may have some idea without realizing it. You’ve seen restaurants packed full to the brim on weekends where you have to wait over and hour for a table.
You don’t realize it might be four cooks serving that entire crowd. One cook is hoping to get out on time to keep those plans he made with his girlfriend(because in the service industry you literally have to schedule plans in to meet those you love), two more are coming off of a double and about ready to snap, one more is dealing with burns they got on their hand earlier that week and the blisters are opened and raw but they hide it under gloves and band-aids.
For various reasons, everyone is strained. That strain grows more and more as the night goes on and large tables are sat with everyone ordering much the same thing. Mistakes are made in orders and on the fly the cook has to remake a dish or make a different one.
I think the point I’m making is that people in the service industry deserve a little more than they are given.
My schedule is exactly opposite of those I love, I’m working when I’m feeling sick but not sick enough to call in, I’m working when someone skips out on work that day and I have to do their work on top of my own, I’m working twice as hard when a server puts the order in wrong and it needs to be fixed but they act like it’s my fault, I’m working carefully when I have to make a gluten-free dish so someone who has an allergy or intolerance can eat their meal in safety, I’m working when people were expecting me to have that time off because they had that time off, I’m working when I want to do nothing more than cry because something is going on in my life or I’ve just been worn down and another large table has been sat.
A friend just asked me if I had Saturday off and I was crying when I laughed and told her no.
I want to give up sometimes, but I literally cannot afford to switch jobs right now because I’m not worth $15 an hour. Yet, people on my facebook act as if that’s the solution: just switch jobs because the position you’re working in isn’t worth paying a living wage to.
If I don’t do the work I do then who does? Who would you rather have putting up with that strain? Who in your mind deserves it more? Or did you want me to just shut up?
To be honest, those people bother me only a little bit.
The biggest thing that hurts is when well-meaning people say “Oh wow! You worked a lot of hours! But hey, think about that paycheck!” and I don’t have the heart to tell them that my paycheck doesn’t cover losing time with my family, my friends, and the man I love. A paycheck doesn’t heal the burns or cuts on my hands immediately. A paycheck won’t replace the plans you couldn’t make or had to cancel because you couldn’t get that time off. A paycheck doesn’t fix tired.
Right now, I’m crying. Today was just one of those days that happens a lot in the service industry. Where things were hard but you can’t put them into words that will translate to those on the outside. You already heard their replies and you just don’t want to hear them again. You just want to stop.

A Name for my Brain

I have OCD. I am Lactose Intolerant. I have Dermotillomania (Excoriation Disorder).

These things have something in common to me. On the separate occasions when I found out I had them, I wasn’t afraid of them. I was relieved. Suddenly I had an explanation for why I arrange things in my head a certain way, why I would get sick to my stomach after enjoying some coffee with cream, and why I have habitually picked at any scab, blemish, or difference that I had on my skin. These things I did suddenly have a name.

Lately, I’ve been getting this feeling with something else. My mind can sometimes “crawl into” the mind of another person, fictional or real, and think along with them for a bit if I’m given enough information. I think in pictures and my active imagination was sometimes a little too active for people to handle while I was growing up.

From the time I was in Pre-Kindergarten and all throughout school I just knew there was something off about me that caused the other children in my class to not get along with me. I chalked it up to bullying because I was fat, but lately, that reason hasn’t reached back to satisfactorily explain my first few years at school. Being maybe a little fatter than everyone else is not a reason your four-year-old classmate would hate your four-year-old self and bully you along with the rest of the class. I can’t remember much of how I acted back then but I remember I often wasn’t welcome and I couldn’t understand what made me different from everyone else.

I think now, I might have an answer that I wasn’t expecting. The problem is I can’t have that answer point-blank diagnosed. Everything I’ve researched has pointed a huge red arrow to this one thing, but, the truth is, an examination and diagnosis usually happen when a person is still a child and hasn’t learned to grow up and correct themselves to fit in.

Basically, I believed that I might have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s would mean I’m autistic. High-functioning autistic, obviously, but still belonging to a group of people who have trouble getting out of their own minds sometimes. That’s really how I describe it. My mind has a way of focusing and functioning that makes some common tasks difficult for me and social interaction a skill I had to learn over the course of my life and am still learning for some situations.

I can learn. I can apply what I learn, I can’t always communicate it and be communicated with. Speaking sometimes takes awhile because the words I want to say come in pictures and not letters spelled out for me to read and repeat. I may not realize when I’ve said something unacceptable until that’s explained to me. There are so many things I could explain here now about how I think and I’ll find them in a book that I’m reading a few days later where someone who has ASD is describing their mind.

What’s frustrating is that I’m trying to find a way to get a diagnosis. The more research I do the more I fell like I’m stepping into my own mind and I want to know is this my mind? Is this brain also a brain I inhabit? But, I can’t have those answers officially. Not easily. I’m certainly trying though and moving towards those answers.

As I said before, those tests are designed for children. I am glad I wasn’t tested when I was a child. If I was found to have it I might have grown up differently and not in a good way. Not because of my parents of course, but because (knowing myself back then) I would have let it be an excuse. Now for me, it’s only an answer that will help me figure out what step to take to make my life easier. It’s another name for my brain’s way of working.

I Promised Him

I often believe I don’t deserve the man I’m dating. Since we’ve begun, I’ve been amazed at how well he has treated me. He had been patient, loving, and encouraging even when I sometimes fight back and don’t want to be encouraged.

Have things been perfect? Of course not. Our relationship had been beautiful though and is growing more lovely to me each day.

But lately I realized something. When we’d bring up shortcomings or how our relationship is going, The Professor would mention my ex. He’d ask about how my ex handled something or reacted to something and would compare himself and his own actions to my previous relationship.

I realize that when I’m talking about him, I often compare him when there is no comparison. Even though it’s in The Professor’s favour, it’s not right. I already know The Professor isn’t the same man my ex was, I don’t need to bring it up again and again as a mark of how well the relationship is going. In a way, that is inviting someone into the relationship who has no right to be there.

So, I promised him that I will never compare him or his actions to my ex’s. It’s going to take awhile to make that a habit, but in the end I think it’s better for both of us. His value isn’t dependent on what another person has done to me that he hasn’t done. His love isn’t measured by another man’s actions.