Posted by: rachelok | May 29, 2012

Good music and a beer allows me to say hi.

There was a moment a few days ago that stopped me in my steps, sucked the air out of me for a moment. Not sure what happened, and the anxiety meds usually take care of that, but I realized who I am and where I am and what my chronological age is about to point at me and say, and I was breathless.

I thought that being back in my hometown would afford me some peace, some reflection, some time to care for my mama. What I did not anticipate was how incredibly stressful and consuming nursing school is, and how, though you try, you can’t help someone who is utterly resistant.

Summer school is in session and my days are spent allotting time for too many things. When I have time to sit back and think for a moment, I miss my 8-5 days with a steady salary and great benefits. The rest of the time I’m too busy to remember. I work a dirty job for minimal pay, barely covering bills. But it’ll help me in the long run, so I persevere. I push ahead and study like mad and try my hardest and can do nothing but hope and work for the best. Hope the best is in me.

This town has brought out childhood in me, that I don’t like. It dictates how I act in relationships, when current me should be doing that. Wrist slap. This town makes me afraid I won’t have the guts to leave again. Psychological slap. But the end is becoming more apparent all the time. I’ve lasted this far. Over 50% who started this journey have not fared so well.

On July 18th I will be done with summer school. That gives me almost a month to do nothing but work and try to find me again. I want to read, I want to write, I want to do things that scare and delight me. I don’t want to live for when I’m done, that wastes over two years of my life. In the thick of it, it sometimes seems the only thing to keep me going. I think I owe myself more than that, though.

I turn 31 in less than a month. When I look back on the last year, I wonder where the fuck it’s gone and what I’ve done. Well, I’ve been becoming a nurse. I know a lot more stuff that makes me proud of myself. Emotionally, though? Not so much growth. Not so proud of that. I don’t want to waste this next year by doing the same, putting all focus into my future career, though it often demands it. My hope is to politely decline the advances of the looming rest of my life, and be able to give some love to here and now.

It’s important.

Posted by: rachelok | April 13, 2012

Life at 30.

Has it really been three months since we spoke? Time flies when you are crazy busy, very stressed, and find yourself down more than up, I suppose.

I do not find myself with days off. I have school and/or clinicals and/or work every day of every week. Without fail. The next days off I know of are at the end of June when I’m traveling to Florida with my family for our first ever family vacation extravaganza. I cannot wait…but I must.

Nursing school is terribly interesting right now, but I still find myself questioning me at every damn turn. If I could drop these nerves like a bad habit I’d be golden. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to drop bad habits, as well.

30 is good, but not at all what I expected it to look like. I had pictured it sidling up to love every night to drift off, after tucking in a baby or two, and working at something I am fulfilled doing. I guess no one pictures their future as lonely and unsure, though. What a dire state we’d all be in then…While I am lucky enough to have love in my every day life, I haven’t yet found that sustaining love that drops us both to our knees and makes us want to empty our pockets in front of each other. Every last bit of crappy lint.

But I’m alive. Filled out my application to take the state boards this week, that was weird and nervewracking. Sure do need to study more. And committed to one job, will put in my 2 weeks at the other on Monday. Things are moving. I feel like a burden and odd, but things are moving.

Posted by: rachelok | January 22, 2012

In 2011, I stood graveside and helped bury my first love.
Sometime in 1997, I was at a school party/dance/band thing with a good friend. He tapped the guy in front of us on the shoulder. The guy turned around. That was it.
For our first date, the day before Christmas eve, he took me sledding at night. We said ‘I love you’ for the first time to each other. We went to prom together. I stood next to him in all his graduation photos. He kept a bottle of bleu cheese dressing in the fridge at our house, spending more time cooking with my mom and I than at his own house. He told me I was better than strawberry milk and chocolate cookies, and I believed him.
We broke up. We grew apart. We’d still run into each other, and it still hurt every time. When he left he was going to be an engineer. He ended up being a drop out, covered in tattoos, making drinks and in a band. What mattered? He was happy. The last time I saw him was on 9th street in Lawrence, outside the Pig. We briefly chatted. I wish now I had scooped him up, stuck him in my purse, and kept him safe from his demons.

I knew the pictures they had posted. I felt like the him I knew was the him they still knew and held onto. Nobody would blame them for that.
Fact is, he killed himself. That sucks. It’s selfish, but I get it. I’ve been that dark before, but have managed to always hold my breath till the other side. He, evidently, ran out of air before he could surface.
Hardly anyone made it back for his funeral. We had a pack of 4. One was an old friend of mine, who had known Matt for even longer, hardly a childhood memory without him in it. We circled this silly little town for a couple of hours, crying and laughing and crying and being sad and grateful and joyful and heartbroken…all within the same sentence, sometimes.

Everything’s ok, it’s just a loss that hits me sometimes out of the blue. There’s a fresh stab when I suddenly remember that he’s just not here anymore. There’s no soup can device to facilitate the existential communication that I need to calm my tummy. So I have to sleep on it. Hope on it. Find peace in it.

Thanks for giving me ears.

And, until I can muster the gonads to bust out those photo albums again and share some real photos, here’s one of he and his best friend, Brandon. We were all in high school and completely invincible.

Posted by: rachelok | January 6, 2012

Resolving to be resolute.

The new year as an idea keeps getting more weird to me as time passes, as ‘a’ new year could be celebrated at any point. There’s something about ‘the’ new year, however, that seems to always end up holding an oddly burdensome amount of weight.

Like, I always want to work to be a better person, but the sudden presence of that new number tacked onto the end of the year actually makes me more conscious of working toward that goal. Funny how that works.

I guess I’ve gotten further and further from making resolutions because it just started seeming very sort of…arbitrary? I suppose? Why not make it at the time I recognize the need instead of waiting for a holiday of resolutions to make it?

It may not seem like it, but I’m trying to circle around to a point.

I don’t like a lot of things about the person I behaved as in 2011. There are things I wish that I had handled differently. There are definitely times when I would have been a better partner, friend, daughter, aunt, sister, worker, student. There are times that I used fear and uncertainty as an excuse to brick and mortar people out of my heart and head. There are words that slipped out of my mouth that surprised even me once they hit the air.

Added to that cord of wood, though? I don’t like the way I have treated myself. I don’t like that I gave up on things, I don’t like that I allowed myself to be deceived, I don’t like that I walk around as though I do not deserve any sort of respect or kindness. And I don’t like this emptiness that I keep expecting another human to fill when, in reality, I’m the only one with a shovel, standing next to a perfectly sized for me pile of dirt. And no matter how hard and pushy I get, trying to hand that shovel off to someone else to do the dirty work, it won’t happen. They can’t accept it, because I’m the only one who can roll up her sleeves and fill it.

Sounds like a lot of work to do alone, but I think I’m up for the challenge. So thanks, new number, for forcing me to, once again, sit down in my own pile of mud and really take a look at me. Maybe resolutions aren’t such a bad idea after all.

Our spazzy Christmas picture :)

Posted by: rachelok | December 25, 2011

Year in review.

A whole load of crazy and life-learning and far out stuff has happened this year.

I’ve gone back to school. I’ve done well at it. I am going to be a nurse. A good one, at that.

I’ve left a really good relationship. No matter what he ever says about me, or how bitter he is, he is a good man, and I will always love him. We had a great big love and big promises and a whooooole lotta heart in it. That being said, it didn’t mean it was right for me. I don’t mean to hurt people and nothing about it was easy, but that man that I will always love, will always be better off because I said goodbye. I can take his mean spews, because I know that his life will be better without me in it. Though my actions might seem selfish at the time to that person, I rarely, if ever, come first. His life will be grand and beautiful. I promise you this.

For the first time in a very, very long time, I have wholly thrown myself into something that terrifies me. I was thisclose to failing out of nursing school. 16 people got booted from the program this semester. This ain’t no joke, ya’ll. But know what?? I did it. I am finally starting to believe in me a little bit again. It’s an oddly nice feeling.

Over the last 6 mos I have gotten reacquainted with a long lost friend. Someone I was once very close to, someone whom I have had a thing for since before we met, about 14 yrs ago,someone whom has never left my heart. Someone whom I am, today, proud to call my boyfriend. My confidente. My support. My study buddy. My relaxation. My outlet. My…wait for it…love. Good or bad, this girl’s got it. Hard. Love has a way of changing your perspective, enhancing it…owning it. And this one’s got me, through and through. Wait till you meet him-horrifically handsome, pissingyourpants hilarious, amazingly in touch with great stuff like sending flowers when appropriate, night holdings and back scratches…he’s not perfect, no. But nor am I, and we give and take in a way that makes me believe that love can work. Because we both want it to, and we both care enough to put forth the effort. That feels good.

I have gotten to meet my mother again. We’ve always been close, but this is high school new. We share close space, and we both love it. She has always been, and will never cease to be, a soul mate. Lucky me.

I have turned so inward and worked so hard for so much of who I am, that I finally really give a fuck about standing up for myself. I have always been able to stand up for those who couldn’t for themselves, but believing that I have things of worth for myself to stand up for? Another thing. Yet here we are. And I have good advice, if you’d care to hear it. Well…at least it’d be free advice…

Thanks for listening. While this post is missing about 4 important paragraphs about great people and things in life, I’m tired. It’s xmas eve. I have 2 kids who are going to be bouncing on my legs in 6 hrs. I’ll try to video my niece doing ‘we wish you a merry christmas.’ You won’t be sorry.

Posted by: rachelok | December 3, 2011

Sticker in my palm.

Once, not so long ago, I had a conversation with a middle aged bachelor. He is 45, has never been married, has no kids, and prefers to date younger women. He informed me that he gets kind of leery of women who are 30+ and have never been married because, obviously, there is something wrong with them. “Makes you wonder about them, you know?”

No, I guess I don’t know.

Because I am that woman.

So I turned it on him and wondered aloud what must be wrong with him, being 45 and never married. Surprisingly, he had never thought about it that way.

What really bothers me is how tightly this conversation has clung to me. How deeply it has rooted itself and made me, in fact, wonder: What is wrong with me?

Everyday that passes I sit idly by, hands tucked under my tush, and watch as friends, family, society announce engagements, legal unions, pregnancies, births…I try to relate as best I can through my own relationship experiences, through how maternal I feel toward my niece and nephew…but, at the end of the day, when I crawl alone into my empty bed, I really have no idea what any of that kind of love feels like. And it makes me sad. Really fucking sad.

My brave face is fine and getting a new career, but a mere 1/2 layer deeper, I’m scared. My tummy hurts from worry. I put up with far more than anyone should because I feel that if I just hang on, it’ll get better. Stronger. Less scary.

I’m ok until you ask me face to face if I’m ok. I don’t know why, call it the true girl in me, but when someone asks me that, salty, hidden tears spring up from my very toes and reveal it all.

I have no idea where all of this ‘life’ stuff is leading me, or how badly I’m fucking it up along the way, but I could really use a ray of sunshine. And an ounce of confidence. And a hug. A really good, tight, lingering hug.

Posted by: rachelok | November 20, 2011

And then there were 24.

My nursing program started the year with 39 people. 15 are now gone.

Maybe even more difficult than the school work is the constant stress, always feeling so vulnerable. Oh yes, and Pharmacology. Cursed, wretched Pharmacology.

From the start of this new journey, I have been putting myself down about it. Moving back to my hometown, moving back in with my mama, going to a community college…the thing is, is I feel proud of myself now. I chose to move back here to pursue this, and I get to spend real time with my mom as an adult.

A friend in the program and I were talking about if we get kicked out, how ashamed we’d be because we would have gotten kicked out the program at friggen Dodge City Community College, for goodness sake. What I’m discovering, though, is that they’re known for their nursing program for a reason-it’s legit. Seriously. They don’t mess around.

I’m also really proud because I’m learning stuff. I feel entirely more knowledgeable than I did just 4 months ago (even though I had to use spell check for knowledgeable just then). It’s giving me a confidence boost that is both unexpected and entirely welcome.

I’m still super nervous because if I don’t pass Pharmacology this semester, I’m out. This class is hard as hell and terrifying to me, but all I can do is keep trying. And breathing. Treathing. Brying.

Posted by: rachelok | October 6, 2011

Just trying to repeat what she said to me “Don’t forget to stick to the plan.” It means more than it sounds like out loud. Just keep breathing, baby. Some days it’s all you’ve got.

Posted by: rachelok | September 19, 2011

“It’s time to say goodbye, to turning tables.”

Every decision, every connection, every look and every word could have gone differently. But it didn’t. And that’s ok, because I’m here now. I’m doing well in school, I have love in my life, I’m fortunate. Love comes in all sorts of packages, and they all teach you something you need to know about yourself. Every restart is scary and lonely and sad, but they’re necessary to find your place.

This song is for him, it’s for me, it’s for all of us.

“Next time I’ll be braver
I’ll be my own savior
When, the thunder calls for me.
Next time I’ll be braver
I’ll be my own savior
Stand, on my own two feet.”

Cheers to every good time and bad, to every tear and laugh, to every plan made and now destroyed, to every part of me that I left behind and every new part that has been built up, to that piece of someone else’s heart that I will always carry around inside, and the piece of mine that he, willingly or not, will always clutch.

Cheers to the next chapter, and to not giving up when it all seems too much to bear, and to feeling worthy of happiness.

Posted by: rachelok | May 24, 2011

For so many years it was my mom and brother and I. We were fine. We didn’t need interventions, no kindness, no love. Our walls were up and life was ours.

But we did need love. My mom needed a love. My brother needed more than a sister to hold onto for female companionship. I prolly needed more than a brother to complete the masculine role in my life.
So, we branched out. And I got the best sister in law that anyone could ask for, and she is the best mom to a niece and nephew who are better than anything I could have ever have dreamed up.
And I found someone who loves me in all the ways that I am me. And that’s something else…
So glad we’re all still here and breathing and adjusting and good. Wish I could gather you all into a group hug and squeeze the bejezuss out of you.

Don’t let anyone tell you different, you rule. And you make a difference. Good for you.

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