Anger to Pride

Anger is an emotion I’ve struggled with my whole life.

When I was younger, anger was my first reaction. I was so mad whenever something didn’t go my way. I threw some good tantrums. I could yell and scream like none other. My dad was also quick to anger. Still is. He lacked the language to help me cope with it in a healthy fashion. He lacked the tools to teach me how to channel it. Ironic as a social sciences teacher.

I recently was at an event where the keynote speaker lectured on anger. Anger, he said, is an emotion that stems from 3 other negative emotions.

  1. Hurt
  2. Fear
  3. Sadness

Sometimes it’s one of these emotions. Sometimes it’s a mixture. Sometimes it’s all of them.

My anger usually comes from hurt. When I’m hurt, my first instinct is to hit right back. Make them hurt how they hurt me.

I’ve gotten pretty good at reigning in that instinct – at least, I like to think I have. Or as the speaker said, channel that emotion.

Yet, I don’t remember what he said on how to channel hurt.

At the present moment I’m hurting.

A complicated issue in my previous relationship with Joel was his family. Coming from a conservative Christian upbringing, I was definitely not the idea of who he should be bringing home. He knew that from our 3rd date. I challenged him and learned my lesson.

His mom at one point said that I wasn’t classy enough for him. It was a phone conversation that I was in the room for. I remember sitting on the floor of his room thinking about how fun it would be to see if I could get him aroused while on the phone with his mom. I was acting goofy – thinking about it, but not acting on it. He was laughing at me one minute, then suddenly preoccupied in his computer screen. I noted the shift in his body. How he refused to make eye contact with me. The longer pauses between his responses. I stopped being so goofy. I simply sat and observed as this man unraveled before my eyes. His demeanor was still light, but a heaviness set in the room. In that tiny, cracker box of a room.

He told me afterwards about everything his mom had said – ‘how he deserved someone who wasn’t so rough around the edges & how my presence would taint them’.

I’m not totally innocent here. I am rough. I was with my best friend, my at-the-time boyfriend, boyfriend’s sister and her partner. We were drinking and playing card games. I was swearing. Not enough were even Joel thought to tell me to cool it (which he had before that instance). Joel’s mom hounded Emily (sister) and Paul (sister’s partner) over “what I was like without adults around”. They noted that I swore more than expected.

That was all it took.

But it took Joel over a month of me pestering him to confront his family on it.

That’s what played into my first anxiety attack in over a year the day before we broke up.

My reaction to hurt has changed over the years. First, it was anger. Now, it morphs into a complicated solution of fear and sadness. I become scared at voicing my hurt – anxious. That anxiety turns into a deep-rooted sadness – depression.

Another tumultuous relationship within that relationship was between myself and his church group. After hearing that one night, Joel unloaded all of our relationship issues to a few members of the group, I decided to bow out of the group. It appeared to me that he needed that group to be a safe place to discuss our problems. I hoped it would be more of a place of processing rather than hiding. It became both and neither.

My hurt today comes from the news that Joel never told the group about that incident with his mom. I don’t know why he chose to keep that story tucked away. I feel cheated of validation. It confuses me. Was he ashamed of himself? Was he ashamed of how his family behaved? Was he ashamed of me? Well, I know he was ashamed of parts of me. That’s one of the many reasons why we split.

I’m not perfect, but I am proud. Hurt may heal in different ways for different people, but I’m choosing to channel it into pride. I am strong. I have endured much worse. Some boy isn’t going to make me feel ashamed of who I am, what I do, and all that I have accomplished with and without him. Some boy who unravels at the words and mercy of his mother doesn’t have any favor with me. I feel for him – but I will not let myself down like that.

I choose to carry my head high. I am happier than I’ve been in months because I’m no longer carrying someone else’s shame on my shoulders.

I am channeling my hurt anger into pride.

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Dreams

I wonder a lot about becoming a nomad.

What triggered this particular episode was a photo album on Facebook an old childhood friend of mine had posted. It was of this stunningly gorgeous house. I’ve always been drawn to very nature/cabin-esque styles while also loving sleek minimalism. Some parts of it were over done in my opinion, but 90% of it I liked. Which… I don’t feel ever happens. It’s a weird combination I feel and I don’t feel like I’ve ever seen it that often. I would say the closest thing to what I’ve seen and liked is my parents’ house, but the mixture of my dad’s Southwest American modernism and my step-mom’s adoration of doilies and antique farm life clashes so much. It’s difficult to put much sense into it.

While looking through this album, I felt a combination of awe and anxiety. Awe in that something that beautiful exists and that a person could wake up to a place like that every day. Anxiety for if I would ever live in a place like that or more importantly, if I wanted to live in a place like that.

It’s beautiful. It’s what I would picture when daydreaming on my dream home.

But then I would be tied to that one location.

It’s literally the only place I would be. It’s so beautiful, I would feel guilty for wanting to see other places.

My family members are mostly home-bodies. When I was a kid, my family would go on these large road trips all across the country. We would camp along the way and be gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. It was usually something we did early summer. Both of my parents were/are teachers and we would all be done for the summer.

Growing up, I always envisioned that I would someday do that with my own family. I would probably be settled someplace close to home and also be a school teacher. My summers as an adult would be the same – if not better – than my summers as a kid. I would teach my kids the beauty of the outdoors – see places that look like from other planets.

Then, I got to college and a lot changed.

Within 6 months, I decided that teaching was not the career for me. Well, someone else made that decision and I agreed to it. I was vulnerable – struggling with crippling anxiety and depression. Things continued to get worse. I was wracked with indecision of what I wanted to have as a career. I became overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities. I made some poor choices due to my feelings of inadequacy. I had to prove myself of greatness in some ways because I felt like I had already failed in achieving my lifelong dream.

I lost sight of many aspects of my dreams. My dream career was dead. I was hurting so much, the thought of passing this pain onto my own offspring was too much to bear. My family dream was dead. I had very little to cling to besides the people around me at that time.

So, I started putting my dreams in other people. More specifically, a person.

I decided that if I were to ever be with this specific person, that would be it. My entire future would be whatever he wanted it to be. No matter the issue, we would work it out. I had endless possibilities, endless opportunities.

But then, I started daydreaming again. I started seeing errors in placing my future in someone else’s hands. I found new dreams that collaborated with my old ones. I was determined though, that my new dreams, old dreams, and current dreams could all exist in the same universe.

But that was not the case.

Calvin dumped me and there I was again at square zero. My new and current dreams became mangled in the mess of the break up. I was lost again.

Not long after, California appeared and with it, endless possibilities and opportunities.

I latched on with everything I had. But I made similar mistakes.

I once again tried to become someone else’s dream while forsaking my own. Some parts meshed better this time than in the last, but I was at war with myself constantly. The freedom, passion, and liberty I experienced between Calvin and Joel became buried under the companionship of another person. I became addicted to that one, small part of my dream and tried to make every other dream work around it.

I feel the pressure from somewhere inside of me. Most of my friends and family are at that age where they’re finding people to “settle down” with. I have felt that I’ve been looking for that kind of person my whole life. I have always dated with the future in mind. I need to have that kind of person in my life. It needs to come from a romantic source.

At least, I’m realizing that’s how I’ve been behaving for the last 25 years.

I no longer like the person I become when I get into a serious relationship. I don’t like how different my behaviors, personality, and mood are between the two. I don’t like that I put my emotions into one person. It’s not theirs to hold. It’s not my place to give that away. I need to have some ownership and some sort of fucking spine.

I try to look at the lessons and knowledge gained from failed relationships rather than ruminate on my emotions from being alone.

Ben taught me that I was first deserving and capable of love. That I need to be able to give as much as I take. How to play cribbage. What it was like to have romantic and sexual feelings for another person and to have that reciprocated. That not everything will last in bliss for forever. That being with someone who challenges you intellectually is a necessity. People, places, and things change, but they can still be wonderful with that change.

Sean taught me what it was like be loved unconditionally. And worse, what it felt like to love intensely for only a brief period of time. How to feel welcomed into another family without hesitation. What it felt like to plateau. Then, the path to deterioration.

Calvin taught me what it was like to love unconditionally. How to give. How to see the world from other perspectives. How to hurt – and I mean really, really hurt. How to communicate with another person. How I should be proud of my talents. That I was rougher around the edges than I thought and sanding them down wouldn’t help me. How to be truly alone.

Joel taught me that love isn’t always the answer. How to become better prepared for adulthood. To laugh at dumb memes and learn the history behind them. That I shouldn’t stop my dreams to try to fit into someone else’s. Listening to your gut is sometimes just as important as listening to your heart.

I’ve always been a more instinctual person. Now, I’m seeing how much that’s colliding with my decision making capabilities.

I had lost my ideas for exploration.

I am gaining new dreams.

And I’m not so sure those dreams keep me in one place.

The Middle (It Just Takes Some Time)

Everything right now is spinning. Literally and figuratively.

Prepare yourselves for a classic Drunk Rant.

A lot of changes have been happening in my life and I feel that I need a space to process it.

First, there’s the absence of a significant other. One that I am okay with on many levels – and one that reminds me why I was comfortable.

Joel and I wouldn’t have worked out in the end. It’s something I’ve known for a long time now, but denied it because damnit I wanted it to work out. I was so comfortable with him in so many ways. It was so easy in so many ways. It was so dissatisfying in so many ways. It was so difficult in so many ways.

I knew he made me happy in the present. I knew that splitting up with him would mean I would be unhappy for at least a short while. I was too cowardly to accept that brief amount of pain for the potential of something better.

There’s so much potential out there. I’m finding that as of right now, I’m not the most obvious of explorers. Either that, or my expeditions are moot.

Or maybe both.

Something… doesn’t feel right to me. Of course I have some friends that want me to go for the “obvious rebound”. I’ve never been much of a rebound kind of person, though. The idea seems nice, but the execution is awkward and not my style.

I don’t just go for people for the short game. I definitely will try things and come to my own conclusions that a short game is all there is to be had, but it’s never my goal. I find it to be inauthentic to myself. I don’t enjoy it. If there’s no risk, why pursue it?

The risk is in being vulnerable.

The risk is in trusting someone.

The risk is in investment.

There is no pleasure in a short game for me. I think there’s interest or simplicity in it that makes it appealing, but it isn’t fulfilling.

Second, there’s work.

Work, work, work, work, work.

It’s also the weekend and I made a promise to myself to not think about work on the weekends. It’s a boundary of sorts.

The gist is that I was quite productive at work this week, but also not productive. I am taking control, but I’m not as professional as I feel I should be. Imposter syndrome never goes away, but I have more freedom and power than I have since beginning this position.

I’m in the middle. Work is both rewarding and frustrating. Being single is both liberating and lonely.

And I’m still spinning.

Catalyst

I have put my life on hold for the last 15 months.

I have done what I thought was necessary to keep someone else happy, believing in turn that I would be happy.

I have learned an incredible amount during this time – about myself and the world around me. I gained experience in ways I never thought I would. I pushed myself time and time again and found some hard limits and found some easy transitions.

Now, I’m facing another question of what it is I really want. I believed that what I wanted for the last 15 months to be putting certain aspects of my career on hold as to better suit a relationship. In doing so, I put undue strain and expectations on that relationship and am now facing the consequences.

The consequences? It’s 3:29AM Monday, May 7th and I’m lonely, confused, sad, and tired.

It wasn’t completely unexpected.

I can’t help but worry that we’ll both villainize each other.

We both screwed up in a good number of ways. We held realistic expectations for the other person, but were unable to ever properly communicate those expectations. We said cruel and conflicting things that we didn’t mean. We were happy but unhappy at the same time.

The end of something is always hard in some ways. I’m not as sad as I’ve been before. I’m as disappointed, but I was ready either way.

I didn’t want to move closer to LA. I was ready to, but I never really wanted to. I still don’t.

Do I feel that I’ve taken full advantage of my time in California? Not really, but I have gotten to experience a lot of things that I would have never dreamed of doing before. I have changed in so many ways yet am still the same.

I’m at a place where I feel beaten and broken down. Not as bad as I have been, but bad enough for me to see in myself a lot of those pieces from before. Disappointment is a strong emotion.

I am disappointed in myself.

I have let myself become beaten and broken down. I have denied how beaten and broken down I am. I have let someone dictate how I live my life without them saying a word as to how I should. I lost myself in someone and they couldn’t find me when I had  directions and shouldn’t have gotten lost in the first place.

There were so, so many different ways this story could have gone. I’m disappointed that this was the way this story ends.

I am disappointed that I feel ready to go.

I fell in love with Colorado when I moved to California. It has been my dream from the start. I have now lived almost two years in California and am unable to find reason to stay. My reason became toxic to myself and others and I let it poison my life. I’m ready.

I have sadly always questioned the relationship. I knew I was trying to hard to be someone for someone else. To stay in California and be financially independent – even though the jobs that I wanted weren’t here and the cost of living is so high. To fit the Christian community even though it hurt me in the past and hurt me during the time we were together. To pretend that I was satisfied when I craved more. I tried to be someone that I used to be while denying who I am now.

I am disappointed in that.

I am disappointed that my first instinct is to flee. To make big change. To go where I want to go without thinking about it.

I was never really settled in California. Fuck, I still have an Iowa drivers license. California was a safe haven of exploration for me. Instead of enjoying and exploring the whole, I got lost in the beauty of a tunnel. I have come out of the tunnel, but I’m blinded by the sun. Unsure of which direction I want to go, but I know I want to walk further away from the tunnel.

The next few months will be more relaxing than I was originally anticipating, but also more stressful. I’m more motivated than ever to do what I’ve been wanting to do this whole time. I’ve made some life-long friends that I don’t question will keep in touch. I’ve gained invaluable experience in my field that I don’t think I could have gotten at this age anywhere else. I’ve learned about a whole new life and what a fresh start does for me. I let this life become stale. I still have opportunities in Southern California, but I’m also ready to move on from it. I’ve been ready for longer than I’ve been willing to admit.

This won’t be easy, but the decision isn’t hard. I have my doubts of course, but I’m more prepared to pick up and go than I was before. Before I was tied down. Before I was naive. Before I was inexperienced. Before I didn’t know the possibilities. Before I had to know exactly how things were going to play out. Before I wasn’t financially prepared. This will take some time, thought, and effort, but I’m free, a little bit wiser, a little bit more prepared, and expecting the unexpected.

California will always have a special place in my heart. It was the place that taught me new beginnings and how to make a life for myself. It was my catalyst for growth.

I’ve been disappointed by my lack of growth in many areas of my life as of late. I finally have that catalyst back and I’m ready to use it.

Survival Mode

Let me scream into the smallest void imaginable.

As if that were even possible.

I have not been myself lately. Let me explain what’s been going on in my life for the last 9 months in the most round about, tangential way.

Survival is such an interesting concept.

So many people around the world struggle with it on a daily basis. When our survival is in question, our brains react in very primitive ways. We become a baby beige – unable to think or plan for a seemingly non-existent future due to the high levels of cortisol coursing through our system. It’s fight or flight. It’s dangerous. It’s toxic.

Yet it keeps us alive. It keeps us breathing.

But is breath equivalent to life?

Are we but a collection of delicately and deliberately organized organs working together with the ability to express thoughts and emotions in ways others of our own species are able to understand?

But then, do we really understand each other? Or are we just trying to make sense of our own perspectives of the world and sometimes they happen to coincide with others?

Humans are able to accomplish great things when thinking as a collaborative unit.

I miss you already. Even though you’re not really gone.

Yet I love my freedom to explore my own world. I have been neglecting that for the better part of these last 9 months. As I have been in survival mode, I’ve clung to the one thing keeping me above a primitive beige. Clinging never works when it’s one sided, though. Eventually, you fall.

I have a habit of doing this. I have a habit of assimilating myself into the life of another person. Why?

My own life is too stressful?

I hope they’ll take pity upon me and try to fix me?

Why did I stop trying to help myself?

Why did I let myself go this much?

I now work in mental health. This is really hard.

How do I stop the cycle? How do I keep myself from spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning out of control?

I was so good. I mourn for myself a year ago. I had such confidence. I should have gotten out when I could I think. I would have kept myself from hurting so many others.

Why do I keep pushing the envelope open when it means to be closed? Why am I forcing something that is visibly unhealthy?

Life is fucking hard, guys. As if you really needed to hear me say that.

Why do I write when I’m in crisis? Why not write when things are good? Maybe because being upset gives me purpose? Or an excuse to write like I’m smearing dog shit with the English language because my train of thought is incohesive?

I integrate too much. I need to be independent. Ugh. I’m so frustrated with myself.

I can mourn, and I can grow.

I will grow, be damned.

Grace, please, as I attempt to crawl forward.

Do I have to do this on my own?

Am I forced to locate and sponsor a support system?

I’m sorry for this… whatever it is.

To be less “poetic”, I have recently acquired a full-time job in mental health as a manager/activities therapist in southern California after a long period of searching. Even so, during this time I have been in a more-serious-than-need-be-but-be-damned-if-I’m-not-serious-about-this-person relationship. It’s been hard on the both of this, all this waiting. I have been in survival mode for so long and I don’t know how to shut it off. I’m still not able to shut it off as I’ve been looking for a new place to live in the last week.

It’s been hard. Words have been said. Many more words have gone unsaid. Resentment built. And built. And built. And built. And built. And we should have torn it down.

We’re crazy, stupid in love. Love really makes you do really, stupid, things.

But man, it’s great. And hard. And amazing. And difficult.

My communication skills have been slow as I’ve had a much harder time processing things without a good therapist. I can no longer sit idly by and hope it passes.

I need to be “action oriented”.

It’s time to move from survival mode and into myself again.

The Return

It’s almost been a year, my friends.

I’ve thought about writing over the past year. I really have. But it never happened. I can’t say why because I don’t really have an answer. To that I apologize.

I’m also guilty of having started a bullet journal. That’s where most of my writing has gone.

The question now is where to begin?

California has been nothing like I ever expected. It’s been amazing.

I’m sad to say that my time here is probably growing short, though.  At least, my time in Southern California.

The internship was nothing like I expected. It was challenging, it was rewarding, and it ended too quickly. In some ways, I don’t feel that I grew as a music therapist. Very rarely did I receive constructive critique from my supervisors and observing therapists. I questioned it then and still question it to this day – nearly 6 months post-completion. I did so well, though, that word spread up the chain to the clinical director at the facility and I was encouraged to apply for an open position.

Now, the facility I work at is slated to close in 2019. It was a temporary position – a year long. Great pay, great benefits, and it would allow me to stay and gain some experience at a place that I was already quite familiar with. It also would give me preferential treatment for other state jobs. At the beginning of my internship, I brushed this off as I believed I wanted something permanent post-graduation. Other circumstances led me to change my mind.

I made some quick friends, my best friend being a girl named Lauren about my age who also recently graduated. She’s from the area and lives at home like many new grads in California. It was an awkward beginning, but she has become someone very dear to me. She also happened to date Ben, my ex, for a period of time.

There was tension at first. I was very confused about my feelings about Ben when I initially arrived. We did have a history, but we are both very different people from then. We became friends again mostly through my constant invitations for him to hang out. Now, he’s currently looking after my cat as I am in a tough housing situation.

I have made other good friends with Ben and Lauren being at the top of the list. There has been tension there though as Ben has been coping with his break-up with Lauren and I have been closer with her during this time.

There’s also someone else.

His name is Joel. He’s a part-time engineer, part-time graduate student. He’s someone that I’ve gotten very excited about very quickly. We met towards the last half of my internship via a dating app. After going on a few dates, we decided to end our romantic relationship as he did not believe his conservative family would approve of me. Also didn’t help that I would be his first girlfriend. After being friends for a month though, we found that our reasons to not be together were silly and we were quick to pass judgement.

Sound familiar?

We’ve quickly gotten somewhat serious. We communicate quite effectively due to similar styles. We have similar but not too similar of interests. He’s incredibly intelligent. He’s funny. He has a kind heart. He’s nerdy as fuck. He’s someone that’s been easy for me to love.

My plan was to work at the facility where I completed my internship. I was told that so long as I passed my first interview which was an oral examination, I would be a shoe-in for the job at Fairview.

I did everything I was supposed to do as quickly as I could have. I made several calls, pushed lots of buttons, sent countless faxes and emails. My hope was to start working at the facility at the latest by May. I did everything I was supposed to as quickly as I could have. By mid-February, the ball was in their court. It was risky in the first place – I decided to risk my livelihood on a promise made by a program director that they couldn’t guarantee.

Mid-March, I received a call I didn’t want. It was that program director informing me that they hadn’t moved quickly enough. The funding for the position was gone.

At the time, I was living in a small room but very nice room attached to the garage of my former supervisor from my internship. I was waiting tables 25 miles away from where I was living. I was staying the night in Joel’s tiny room in his house in Irvine where his lease prohibits overnight guests most of the time. I was meeting all these people in Joel’s life – his friends, family. All on the promise that I had a big state job waiting for me and I could be my own person. It all fell apart in a 2-and-a-half minute phone call.

Since then, I have found one other part-time job. I am an independent contractor for a preschool music entertainment and education company. It pays extremely well, but I have very few hours. I still rely upon my restaurant job.

I have been searching for a job in music therapy in Southern California now for 2 full months with limited success. I was offered an on-call position at a psychiatric facility located in Long Beach. I was offered a full-time, benefited position at Coalinga State Hospital working mostly with violent sex offenders. I declined both offers.

Most of my motivation to remain in Southern California, particularly Orange County, is because of Joel. Early in our relationship, he made it quite clear that he does not wish to have a long distance relationship of any kind. This has deterred me from looking elsewhere for the most part. Most of the places I’m interested in moving to though are places he also is interested in. It’s been confusing. He’s not particularly happy at his current job, but also doesn’t feel any urgency to leave it. He’s expressed that he’d be potentially interested in following me where I go, but has also stated that he doesn’t want to move just for me. It’s all perfectly reasonable and completely baffling.

Really, it gives me a false sense of hope when he tells me that he might look where I go next. It gives me a false sense of hope when he jokes about us getting engaged. He even hesitantly brought up fixing my housing crisis by us moving in together.

We have reached a crossroads, though.

My current situation is not sustainable. As I briefly mentioned, I moved in with my former supervisor once my housing through my internship was over. I lived there up until a week ago where I moved into an extra bedroom at a friend’s home. I haven’t had ownership of my cat since late January. While I am not paying rent, I had to save up to take my boards which I am only about to take in a week. I am unable to financially support myself out here for much longer without either getting more hours or finding a full-time position.

California has been magnificent in so many ways. When I made the choice to move out here, I took ownership for my life and my decisions. I was making choices for myself – big ones, too. I made a life for myself out here. I left everything I knew. I was able to find myself again, though. I joined a community band, a quartet, and a saxophone ensemble and rekindled my love for performing without anxiety. Over the span of my internship, I had a total of 5 anxiety attacks. 5. I used to have 5 of those in a 48-hour period on the regular. It was amazing. I was doing things I never thought I would do. I had the time of my life. California called and I answered with open arms. It is still the best decision I have ever made.

Lately, I’ve been making choices out of self-interest, but also to preserve the relationships I have made. I have started to lose myself in trying to maintain the life I’ve made for myself. It’s not sustainable and my health has started deteriorating.

I see patterns repeating. Increasing heart palpitations. Constant worry. Restlessness. Fatigue. Sleeping too much. Hopelessness. Lack of feelings of self-worth. Overeating. Agitation.

It’s been a rollercoaster since I found out the job I had planned post-graduation ceased to exist. I’ve had days of great triumph, remembering the confidence I had when I moved out here and everything I’ve accomplished over the last year. Mostly, I’ve had days of uncertainty. I’ve been holding out on the hope that Joel would be ready and wanting to go with me once he graduates in June. I’ve only now realized how foolish that was despite his disclaimers.

Today, I decided it was time to take things in my own hands again. I’ve made the mistake twice now of resting my fate on another person. This time, I’m doing what I need to before I get in too deep. I’m already in deeper than I should be. It’s not going to be easy. Already distancing myself from Joel is hard. Part of me knows I should cherish what remaining time we will have together and just enjoy the moment, but that’s hard to do when you think you can see the end in plain sight.

I met with Calvin for the first time since we broke up almost a week ago.

It was nice. Odd, but nice. He has completely immersed himself into his career. He was out here to give a masterclass and small performance through a friend of ours who is a professor at Fullerton. He’s been booked up over the last year performing, traveling, competing in music competitions, and school. He has taken on some students and has a very nice little studio for himself. He is trying to pay for most of his own way. He hasn’t had much time for anything not school or music related.

I asked if he had met anyone or even dated at all since we split. He told me that he hasn’t been able to meet anyone that compares to me. There isn’t anyone out there that understands him like I do. I encouraged him to move on. He will find someone. I know he will. I hope he does. He deserves happiness with someone else.

He taught me a lot. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last year.

I’m ready for the next chapter.

 

Nothing Substantial

Whose words have you been listening to?

What portrayal is more accurate?

Whose portrayal was more accurate?

To whom do those words belong to?

I read an interesting article. Then I read another interesting article. One was of a student of Biola University in California and the other was of a liberal-leaning publisher. At least, the student shared one side and another article I read on the topic showed another side.

Both made me feel something akin to anger. Both made me frustrated.

Both showed one side as discriminating against the other. One side showed SB1146 as a bill that will infringe upon the 1st amendment. Another on how these universities were discriminating against the LGBT community.

Honestly, all of this just makes me hate religion.

I don’t feel that having a moral compass is that difficult. It’s just that every person has an individual compass. I think we can all believe that some acts are wrong and against nature, but even that line is debatable. Killing isn’t a foreign thing. Killing ones’ own species is not that hard to believe. It’s not like other species don’t do it.

What makes us think we’re better than someone else to make that kind of decision? Is it all just a part of this cycle of life or is it something beyond our comprehension? I feel as though I’m grasping at thin threads. Nothing substantial.

Nothing substantial.

On a side note: Calvin messaged me. He was in town this weekend. He let me know. I said okay. There was nothing malicious intended by it, no anger, sadness – just nothing. I shrugged my shoulders. Did I want to see him? No and yes. Would seeing him benefit me? No. Would seeing him cause emotional distress and pain? Yes. So… Not sure what he was going for there. Did he want to see me? Maybe. Was that selfish of him? Yes, but when has that ever stopped him?

Was he upset with my response? He wasn’t satisfied with it at least. Was it maybe more of a “heads-up-in-case-if-you-see-me-randomly” thing? Maybe. I don’t know why he told me, but he did. I don’t care too much why he did either.

This has been all over the place.

Tonight was my going-away shindig.

It was really sad to think that this was the last time I’ll be seeing lots of these people for a long time.

California is going to be amazing and difficult.

A Letter Never Read: To Ben

A letter that will probably never be sent:

Dear Ben,

I don’t think you’ve thought about me as much as I’ve thought about you over the years. Before, I always wondered. I never knew if you thought about me that much. I didn’t think so, but now I know so.

I don’t know if I was really your first real heart break. I like to think I was. Then it would all make sense.

Calvin was my first real heart break. I have only felt more pain on a couple other occasions. It destroyed me for a time. Of course, I’m able to move on and pick up the pieces, but it wasn’t easy. It still isn’t.

I’m not one of those people who can act all buddy-buddy with someone I have conflicting feelings with. I usually move on quickly from anger, but hurt and betrayal are much deeper emotions. I don’t understand how our relationship all those years ago impacted you or if you really even take it seriously now. It’s hard to believe that we started dating almost 9 years ago. We’re still so young now, doesn’t it seem almost silly to be that young and in love? I know I was though and I’ll always remember you as my first love.

It hardly seems fair sometimes. I can say with certainty that I was not fair to you. We were young and irrational and inexperienced and immature. But not a day goes by that I wish I had treated you better. I can say that I feel I became a better person because of our relationship. I’m better able to control my anger and like to think myself as a more rational person. I can still be petty, but I try to keep it in good taste. If in good taste is even a thing. Probably not.

I want to say I’m sorry. I wanted to say that when we went out for breakfast about a month ago, but I didn’t. I was so nervous. I was so incredibly nervous. I took 3mg of Ativan and I was still shaking from anxiety. At least I felt like I was. I was a coward. I wasn’t thinking.

I want to say I’m sorry for how I treated you. I want you to know that I still hope for you and want the best for you. If you’d have me, I would like to be a part of your life again. This seems so incredibly formal and impersonal. But if you’d have me, I’d like to maybe be your friend. I know that can be a big step. Or maybe it’s not a big deal. I don’t know the protocol on this. Can we be friends again? Is that too weird to ask?

I’ve known you for most of my life yet I have no idea who you are anymore. We’ve always seemed to get along so well. I felt that after the first jitters were really gone we were able to have a decent conversation. I’d like to get to know you again. It doesn’t have to be right away and we don’t have to become best friends, but it would be nice.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll be beyond awkward and it won’t work. Maybe that’s how you felt about our last get together. God, I hope not because I didn’t think so and that would be pretty humiliating. Judging from your current responses and such, I think that’s the direction you’re currently leading towards. Is that something I deserve? Possibly. You certainly don’t owe me anything.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. My life took a complete turn around in the span of 3 months. This opportunity I’ve been given in California was beyond a surprise. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It was short enough after my break-up with long-term ex-boyfriend that I hadn’t had time to set down any deeper roots and long enough that the shock factor had passed. Everything sort of fell into place. My plane tickets were well within my budget, the facility is lovely, I was the first music therapy intern to receive housing from the facility in many years, and it’s a lovely area for a new start. I’ve never done something like this before. Well, that’s not entirely true. But I’ve never thrown myself so completely into something all by myself. I’ve never been this alone. It almost feels empowering. Or maybe that’s fear.

I have only felt the entire universe telling me to go out to California these last few weeks. It’s been an amazing whirlwind. Stressful and amazing.

It would be nice to know you again. I can understand if you’d rather keep that door shut, though. I just feel an invitation is more appropriate.

This is a letter you’ll never read. Many people have told me how I should approach this situation. It just seems too impersonal, though. But it’s more adult-like. It’s more mature. It doesn’t ensure that I can say everything I feel I need to say to you. All the unspoken apologies. It’s not that I don’t want to live with this guilt. I will take that guilt with me to the grave until forgiven. I can understand if you don’t want to forgive me.

It would be nice to know you again. This is a letter you’ll never read.

Love,

Tori

My Last Night

It’s my last night in this apartment.

I always get so sentimental at these parts.

I came into this place with a stable relationship, a budding future, and a lot of baggage.

I am now shedding myself of much of my material belongings and moving myself to California, single and happy.

I have 12 more days in Iowa City. 12.

This is so strange.

Lisa was wondering when my “Oh shit, I’m leaving” phase would kick in. It’s now.

I have lived in Iowa City for most of my life. My mother’s eternal resting place is here in this city. I feel it is so random, but it now has me forever tied to it. A lot happened here. I go places and I see memories. What kind of memories am I about to make? Will any of it be familiar? Am I walking into something so beautifully invisible that I’m paralyzed with fear?

In my future, I see myself with my car packed and ready to go. I see myself driving the hardest drive I have ever done. But once I get to California, what do I see?

I see the facility, the people I will be working with, I see a few familiar faces, but nothing else. The rest is dark. I see Thanksgiving with the family who hosted me for my short visit. I see Christmas at home, internship completed and first post-grad job ready. It’s all hypothetical of course. Will I be seeing anybody? Will I hear from Calvin again? Where am I going to work besides the facility? Will it be a good place? How will I work out at the facility? How will my internship go? Will I cry a lot when I’m there? Will I long for hot, humid days of the same old things? Will I embrace everything that California has to offer me? Will I offer myself to it?

I’m determined to experience California. I have to always remind myself that misery doesn’t last forever. Good things don’t either. Balance is key.

My last night, folks.

Simultaneous All-and-Nothing (Also, a GoFundMe link)

A coworker gave me the idea of starting a GoFundMe.

I’m sorry, I have no beautiful or eloquent way of stating this.

But I did it.

Even if you don’t donate – thoughts, prayers, anything is appreciated.
It’s been a crazy past 2 months.
My entire life changed. My entire future changed.
I learned what kind of control I had in my life. It is a simultaneous all-and-nothing.
I have enough control to make choices. I can choose where I want to go and what I want to do. I have no control over how those choices go. I can make informed choices. But everything will happen, it will be an experience, and I have to make do with what I have or create something bigger and better.
I think I can do that.