Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Keep on keeping on.

Emotional Status:
So the past year+ has been a completely new and difficult experience. I go through these stretches of doing really well. A couple weeks of great eating, working out and mental health here, and a couple there and then I may hit a really rough weekend and check out for a couple days. Sometimes I realize what is happening and sometimes I'm blind-sided. It's like I'm surrounded by triggers; sometimes it's someone being affected by suicide, sometimes it's goriness in a show or movie, sometimes it's a smell that reminds me of childhood, sometimes it's a young man walking down the street that has the same stride as Amir, sometimes it's someone having a relapse, sometimes it's ice cream, sometimes it's coffee, and sometimes it's a song on the radio. Then there's the times that I am doing something and wish my brother was here and I just miss him. I spent years missing my brother and wishing he was a part of my life, trying not to see how bad he struggled. Not knowing what to do, so not really dealing. That sucked. At least back then I had hope that eventually we would have a shot at being a closer family again.  Most of the times when these moments come, I choose to smile and love and be happy for the times we had, and perhaps shed a few tears. Sometimes though, it's hard to choose the positive over the negative, and I end up drained, finding it difficult to do much more than survive.
It's okay though, during his last months alive I got to see him once, which was a lot compared to the previous few years, and we talked on the phone a lot before the last couple weeks of his life when he had started using again. It was like no time had passed and we were the same tight, two eldest children of our clan. We talked about childhood memories and discussed ways we could help the other kids get back on track. I'll forever be grateful for those conversations. I realize now that the ache will never go away and I am okay with that. C'est la vie. There are also the times now that I know he's with me and always will be. I know there are many that do not share these beliefs, but there have been way too many instances of synchronicity since my brother's passing for me ever to be convinced otherwise.

School and Work Status:
Despite all that though, I've made some steps forward. I enrolled in Summer classes and made A's in both of them. I had a brilliant professor in Speech & Rhetoric that normally teaches at OSU-Stillwater, but teaches at OSU-OKC during the summer. This is where I discovered for the first time that despite my social anxieties and aversion to speaking in public, I sort of love giving speeches. I am sure that my recent movement towards caring less what others think of me and caring more about just being myself has contributed, as well.This gave me the confidence to move forward in completing the Incomplete's I received in both of the Accounting classes I was enrolled in when my brother died. I also had the confidence to join the school's Ethics club and participate in a couple debates (I came in at the tail end of the 'season'). In all my life I never imagined being involved in, and actually enjoying, debate. I have two weeks left in the Fall semester, and then I get about a month of focusing just on my workouts, Yoga, and meditation (aka self growth). Work has been work. I recently have been given a lot more responsibility, so the stress has been significantly greater (especially with Oklahoma's poor budget scenario), but I have been trying to manage my stress better through Yoga and meditation, so I'm dealing. I still believe in our agency's mission for children, so that helps.

Family life:
My family is fair. In a way, some of us are more united than ever, though we struggle with missing each other and worrying from a far. My dad is a machine. Never in my life had I expected to see my dad as broken and beaten as I did when my brother passed. In the aftermath, I've never been more proud of him. There have been so many times in the past year that he has been the one to hold me up when I ran out of strength and he says I've done the same for him, though I don't feel like it. We've both decided that all we can do is show the other kids that we love and support them and enjoy our time with our family. This is what keeps the motor churning. It's because of this that I struggle with the concept of going back to school. The realization that the span of a human life is so infinitesimal has been shocking to me, and two years of nothing but school seems like a long time to dedicate to something other than my loved ones and my passions. Sure, I'm really good at Accounting when I'm focused. And sure, I find it interesting and can find ways to apply it to real life and my job. But am I sure that it gets me hot and bothered? Not really. I'm also not sure that it's more valuable than the energy and time it takes away from my loved ones and the opportunity to pursue my passions. I am sticking with it for now, as I do not really have a lead on how to pursue my passions yet; and Accounting is a fairly multi-purpose field, so it could very well be beneficial when I do get the rest sorted out.

Health and Fitness:
My health  has been fair. I say fair because a) I still struggle with smoking, b) I still struggle with fatigue, and c) I'm still 40 pounds up. I recently went for my annual checkup and my blood pressure went from being in the high range to healthy since January. I am not even smoking a third of the amount I was in January, I am somewhat conscientious of my diet compared with January, and I exercise now. My dad and I have started walking together, I have been somewhat successful at keeping a regular Yoga practice. I have stuck to two HIIT, three sessions on most weeks. In May, dad and I actually walked the 2nd Chance 5k in Fort Worth to support the cause of the organization that handled my brother's organ donations.
We averaged sub 15 minute splits which I thought was great for a walking pace!

I make the occasional Body Pump and Zumba class, this has become more difficult with school, vacation and other trips. I have been fairly consistent with the walking, HIIT and Yoga though. Recently, From Fat to Finish Line hit Netflix so I watched it a few weeks ago. It was bittersweet. In one way, I felt a bit guilty because I'm up 40 pounds, in another way it was inspiring to be reminded of how it felt to really be on top of my health and fitness. I was even inspired by one of my own comments, it went something like: all the small changes add up to something amazing. I need to remember this. Not only did watching the movie make me miss my running friends and want to run another Ragnar, but it reminded me of my beliefs and strength. I am 40 pounds up, but I'm not even close to 260 or 280 and we all hit bumps in the road. I recommend checking out the movie, they really did a great job and best of all, you get to see Bella :-P:

The past couple months have been more rough than the couple months before. My brother's death anniversary was in October and Thanksgiving was sad. Christmas and Amir's birthday are coming up - I can't believe he would have been 26. However, my dad and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit my sister for over a week and got to know this precious bundle of joy:

Such a perfect miracle to remind us of the beauty in life. 

The sweetest kisses, ever.

I've also seen beauty in the recent months. There's always something to keep on keeping on for. There was a time that I really hated myself for being resilient and for continuing on, but now I'm thankful for the endurance to not give up.