Monday, December 5, 2016

Dear Journal


#keepcalmWRITEon Day 2.

Free write.  Let’s see what comes out. 

I’m challenging myself to write every single day in December.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Why? I think it will be good for me.  I think it will provide some way for me to get my mind to shut off when it’s supposed to, a way for my thoughts to find their way around each other.  I've got a big writing goal with a deadline of about a year and a half from now.  I guess that’s a good chunk of time.  I supposed the last year and half has provided so much life experience, it could be a book all on its own.  I wonder what the next year and a half will bring. 

A year and a half ago was………..June 2015.  Where was I in June of 2015?


June 1, 2015
Dear Journal,

It’s been just over 4 months since the Friday night conversation that changed my life. By April, there was no more contact. I’ve lost so much weight already.  I wonder how much more I’ll lose.  I think it’s easier to focus on what I eat and not let myself eat when I feel like this. 

Today was a good day, so I thought I’d try to write a little bit about how I feel.

How do I feel?

I feel like there’s a giant hole inside my body, but I can’t even identify where I feel the hole….it just…is.  Every Wednesday, when I have to drive to Ellsworth for work, I cry.  I’ve taken on a coffee habit.  Every Wednesday on my way out of town, I pull through the North 9th Street McDonald’s and I get a Large Hot Caramel Mocha.  I have no idea what’s in it, but I get it.  And I sip it while I drive, in between singing as loudly as I can to every Jesus song that comes on the radio.  The ones that don’t make me cry, of course.  (I try to write some of these songs down, because some of them make me feel awesome, and some of them I know are God speaking to me about all this.  Colton Dixon’s “More of You”…Third Day’s “Soul on Fire”… anyway.)  I know something’s different with me, because I survived 4 years of college as a double-major/athlete, while working random shifts at the nursing home---all without touching coffee more than three times that I can remember.  And it was just coffee from the cafeteria.  I wasn’t even one of those cool college hipsters who hung out at coffee shops, with earbuds and wifi, studying ever so intently.  I just poured it into my free mug I got from the Student Activities Board and took it with me to 7:45 am Physics Class, because it seemed like the right thing to do, after I’d had 5:00 am weightlifting. But the only thing that resulted was a huge headache and a newfound determination that coffee in its entirety must make me sick and I would have to figure out a different way to keep my eyes open.

So these days, with my Caramel Mochas…I don’t even know who I am.  At least it’s just on Wednesdays.  I still have too many kids in Ellsworth County for my liking, and work hasn't been able to take me out of that assignment…not that I don’t like the kids, but I just don’t know what’s going to happen now that things have …changed.  How am I supposed to keep setting foot there every week? It’s been so difficult.  I stopped packing hot lunch, weeks ago.  It’s too depressing and anxiety-causing to use the microwave at Kwik Shop.  There’s too many people there.  Too many people who might recognize me, too many strangers-to-me in those khaki uniforms, strangers who know probably way more about me than I know.  I just pack random snacks and eat in my car while I’m parked at the library.  On the days I’m hungry, that is. The library is my safe place.  It’s neutral.

Wednesdays kill me.  I come back to Salina, and I’m an empty shell.  Sometimes I go to the gym, but usually I just put on a happy face for church and go to youth group.  They need me there.

The second job still stands.  It’s been a whirlwind few months.  I’ve been on my schedule there since November, officially.  So, it’s been 7 months of losing sleep a couple nights a week, plus sacrificing my Saturdays.  I know I’m making progress towards my debt-free goals (goal is to pay off my car by December 31st!), but I get tired.  My coworkers at the main job know I’m exhausted.  They know I’m drained.  I can’t count the times and ways they’ve all shown me support.  I take smoke breaks with them, even though I don’t smoke (LOL).  They let me cry and they don’t judge me.  They’ve analyzed everything with me, from every angle.  All the new, unexpected things that come up---those, too.  It’s been so weird to let them into my life.  I guess I didn’t realize I was keeping them out. 

Church has been good.  I’ve continued to stay involved with the youth group, since I returned to them last fall, about the same time I got the second job.  It’s still crazy to think about how everything got added to my life all at once: the second job, then youth group needed me back...  Sometimes I really struggle with guilt.  How maybe if I hadn’t gotten the second job and maybe if I “hadn’t given up my Saturdays", and maybe if I didn’t want to help with youth group, then maybe things would have turned out differently. 

"You need to be glad that the door is shut, things are happening like they are supposed to, the pain will teach you something..." I hear variations of this speech from those who care about me.  I’m still not convinced.  I’ve gotten sick like three times since the end of January.  I had gone 4 years without a sinus infection, but as soon as I landed in El Salvador (4 weeks Post-Conversation) -- BAM-- sinus infection and horrible fever.  Then I got one again mid-April.  I’m starting to feel not so great now, and I can’t decide if I’ve just been exercising too much (because exercise numbs my mind) or if this summer weather is messing with my sinuses. 

I’m actually really glad my Saturdays are filled with work at my second job.  I’m on a pretty good routine.  I either stay late and work til like 6 or 7, or if I actually get off at 4, I go straight to the gym.  Sometimes I see Dean there so that can be hard because I wonder what he's thinking or how much he knows about the situation... but I do my workout anyway.

I know I’ve come a long way since February, though.  I don’t cry as much.  I’m starting to socialize more with friends from church.  At least, I think it’s socializing.  Monica and Jennifer have started to force me to watch “classic” movies with them, to culture me, because they found out that I haven't seen a lot of movies.  We watched “A League of Their Own” the other day, and I had them over in my apartment! I was so nervous.  It was only the second time that I’ve had a “group” over to my house, and I’ve lived here three years! We ordered pizza.  I had never ordered pizza to my apartment before, isn’t that crazy?? Anyway the movie was good.

At the end of July, we are taking our youth group kids on a weekend mission trip to Kansas City.  I’m super excited about it! When I focus on things like mission trips and service, I really feel connected to myself and to God, and that gets me through the bad days. 

Debbie’s been so awesome too.  She’s always there when I need to take a break and get a hug! I hope I’m not bothering her when I stop by to say hi.  I try to make up for it by helping her with Salina Shares.  Speaking of which—we are going to do our Disney at Del Rey party next month too! July is going to be busy, but it will be great.  I just have to get through June first. 

Well, I’m going to get to bed, I guess.  I work both jobs tomorrow so I’ll need my energy.  Hopefully write more soon!


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