Word Vomit 2: An Agnostic Atheist

Religion has always been a touchy subject for me.

As a child, I was forced into Sunday school classes, which I hated with a passion. Even as a child, I didn’t like not having my own opinion, my own say in things that involved me and my life. I didn’t like getting up early on a Sunday to go to school to learn about a book that I was so convinced was a work of fiction. I lived logically, and the bible just wasn’t logical to me. It didn’t make sense to me, none of it made sense to me.

I didn’t understand why I had to memorize prayers, or why I had to recite them, or why I had to go. Church, to me, was a waste of time. Praying didn’t help anybody. HOW COULD A HIGHER BEING, IF HE ACTUALLY EXISTED, HEAR ME AND CARE ABOUT ME ENOUGH TO LISTEN TO ME.

But then I believed. In middle school, a friend of mine took me to her youth group and for the first time, I was exposed to Christianity. It was…different. I wasn’t asked to recite 10 Hail Marys, or confess my sins, or even believe in God. I was taught how to live through guidance that came from that fictional book, and if I was lucky enough, I’d establish a relationship with God, with Jesus. Something personal that I didn’t have to explain to a priest behind a waffle-esque screen. It was suddenly mine and I could control how I believed and how I lived…and the best part? If I didn’t want to get up early on a Sunday morning to go to church, I didn’t have to.

My faith was finally forming, bricks securing a foundation built on trust and lenience. Built on my experiences and my own prayers. It was something beautiful, and it was mine. And I believed in God and I spoke with Jesus, and I was able to express that through worship and music and friendship and happiness. I lived my life the way I wanted to, with guidance from God. I lived for me.

Unfortunately, I’ve since lost that faith. Throughout high school, it faltered and finally broke once I graduated, once I didn’t have a youth group to go to. Once I realized how agnostic I’d become. I needed to see proof, scientific reason–and until I do, I’m unbelieving.

As a woman who’s seen every side of Christianity, I see where it goes wrong, too. I’ve seen friends of mine crumble under it. I’ve seen them so disappointed in themselves, because all they could think about was what God saw them as. I’ve seen this religion fail people, and it honestly hurts to watch.

I have a friend, well…ex-friend I guess now, who is struggling with this. She’s trying so hard to gain her faith back that it’s ruining her as a person. Everything she does is for this God that she is trying to impress, trying to gain forgiveness from. A God that, honestly???? Probably doesn’t exist. She’s pushing people away in her effort to find her faith again and it breaks my heart because she’s doing this all wrong. I support her and her desire to do this, but I wish she could see it my way. If this God is so unconditionally loving, then why does it matter what He thinks of her? Why is she trying to impress Him rather than those around her?

I hate comparing her to other Christians that I know, but I tend to do it. There are people who take their religion and form a lifestyle through it, not around it. They speak and live for themselves, in a way that would make their God proud, instead of living for Him. I can’t cohesively put my thoughts into words right now, but there’s a difference between living for God and living through God. There’s a difference between genuflecting for God, and reflecting God for other people. Some people absorb God’s light for themselves, and others radiate it through to others.

I just hope that if I were to ever regain my faith, I’d live through it rather than for it.

 

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It Just Ain’t Living.

I currently (and only for one more day) work for a hematology and oncology doctors’ office, and I only get one question when I tell people about my job: How do you do it?

It’s hard. I build such close relationships with my patients, especially the ones that come in several times a week for treatment. They brighten my days, even when they’re grumpy and tired and losing weight and giving up. Most, if not all of my patients come in with a huge smile on their faces. They ask me how I’m doing while they’re not doing so great themselves.

And when I can give something, be it care or a laugh or a hug or hope, this job becomes really rewarding. I know that what I’ve done for each and every patient that comes through here has left an impact on them. I know they go home and they think about me and the nurses and the doctors. I know that I’ve done something to better their lives, and what they have left of them. Maybe it’s selfish to think that way, but I think it’s really true.

My office becomes a second home for a lot of my patients. They spend more time here than they do at home–at least, I know that it feels like that to them. So for me to provide such a loving and caring atmosphere for my patients to heal in, or in some cases, die in, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Tomorrow is my last day and through this entire week, I’ve been receiving hugs from my closest and favorite patients. They’re wishing me luck in wherever I go; they’re complaining about me leaving; they’re begging me to stay; and I can’t. I can’t stay. I want to, I want to be here for them, but I’m not allowed to. And that makes me really sad because I don’t know if the kind of care I’m giving them will continue to be given by my successor. And that’s so fucking hard to accept.

I wish I could record every interaction I’ve had with my patients and coworkers. I mean, just tonight, I went over to the hospital to visit one of my patients who’s going on hospice. He is literally dying and on his death bed, he talked my ear off and told his daughter and granddaughter about me and how because of me and my smiles, going in for treatment wasn’t so bad. I want to package him up and give him to my boss, a “Keep-Rhia-O-Gram”.

I’ve never loved a job so much. I’ve never loved a branch of medicine so much. I really want to continue in oncology. I don’t ever want to work in another specialty ever again.

But I Never Dreamed of Second Place

I struggle with the concept of worth. Self worth, mostly. Am I worth being friends with? Am I worth the time and effort my parents put into me? Am I worth anything at all in this world? Is my life worth living anymore?

And right now, my worth is being tested more than ever. I’m struggling with not taking decisions about me and my character to heart. I’m struggling. Because nothing hurts more than loving something so much, and putting your entire mind and body into it, and being told you’re not good enough. You’re not worth it. Nothing hurts more than loving a job and knowing it’ll be ripped right out from underneath you in a matter of weeks.

Through a temp agency, I was placed in an oncology/hematology office to cover for a medical assistant when she went on maternity leave. My first day was February 15th. I was told she gets three months, and after that, she’d be back and I’d have to find a new job. I took this position because at the time, my family had plans to move to Florida (then I had plans to move to a different part of Florida) and this temporary position would be perfect. It’d end just in time for me to move.

But plans fall through. My idiocy and need to have the final word in everything ruined a friendship and I know I can’t get that back. I can try so hard and change, but no matter what, I’m not worth the hurt anymore. And I understand it. So Florida is out of the question. As for my parents moving? They aren’t. My dad’s health isn’t the best and they want to wait it out until he’s better.

And the girl on maternity leave? She’s not coming back. Which means they need a replacement medical assistant; and since February, I’ve fallen in love with my position, my coworkers, my patients. I want this job. I want them to hire me. I cry just thinking about the fact that they won’t. His words echo in my mind constantly.

“We want to keep our options open.” “We want to find someone with more skills.””It’s just ridiculous to pay an agency to end the contract and hire you.”

I was told it was originally $5,000 to end the contract. That’s steep. But I was also told that after negotiations, the fee was lowered to “over $2,000” which to me says that it’s under $3,000.

I did the math. This office pays the agency $25 an hour for me ($13 of which actually goes to me). Over the course of six weeks (allotted time to find someone), that’s $6,000 going out to pay me for my time. This doesn’t include advertisement of the job through the newspaper and various websites.

Two of those six could be for training the new person, and if they’re making $15/hour, then that $6,000 turns into $7,200 they are putting out to keep me on until they find someone new for me to train.

If they paid the $3,000 (rounding up because the way my manager said it, told me the fee was under $3,000) and hired me to start at $15 tomorrow, then after six weeks, they’d have paid $6,600 ($15/hour for 6 weeks is $3,600).

They are paying more money to find someone to replace me in the long run. And I spoke with the doctors about this, I spoke with the nurse practitioner about this. They all agree with me that it’s throwing money away.

But after a business meeting, they want to keep their options open. They love me, but they want someone with more skills. They want to keep me, but they don’t want to save $600 (or more because I rounded that fee) to do so.

And it’s a slap in the face. I’m not good enough. I’m not worthy enough to keep this position. I’m not worth the money they have to put out to keep me. Money that the doctors make per patient per visit. I’m not worth it.

And it hurts. Oh my god, it hurts. All this progress I’ve made learning to love myself and what I do and who I am, I’ve lost because of this. I’m second guessing my skills in this career, I’m second guessing their claims to adore me as their medical assistant. I’m wondering if everyone in this office has lied to my face about loving me and wanting me to stay.

I’m lost. I don’t want to go to work most days, especially now that I know it could be my last week. I’ve had patients tell me they don’t want me to go. I’ve had coworkers tell me the same. I just. I’m hurt. I’m truly hurt. This is the best job I’ve ever had and I don’t feel like I deserve it. I’m not worthy enough to have it. I love this job, but I want to just quit now. I want to rip the bandaid and never go back.

But I never dreamed of second place, so I’d rather just quit than continue to race.

Forever 22.

I am at a loss for words.

Every single time a celebrity dies, I always think of my favorites and hope to God I never have to experience losing someone I idolize so dearly. But the older I get, the more I’m faced with losing people I cherish, people I don’t even know on a personal level.

It started with Cory Monteith, and I wasn’t even his biggest fan, but it hurt me so much to learn about his death. I hurt for him, I hurt for Lea, I hurt for my best friend Jenn who loved Cory more than anyone else I knew. His death brought her back to me after a falling out, and I’m forever grateful of it, but it’s still so heartbreaking. To this day, I can’t listen to his Glee songs, to this day the only episode of Glee I can watch is the Quarterback.

Cory’s death made the deaths of celebrities feel very real for me. It became personal. I wasn’t a fan of Michael Jackson, and I only knew who Brittany Murphy was after googling her name and seeing her face. But Cory’s was the first one that made my heart stop, knocked the wind outta my lungs, made me sob.

I was in the car when I heard about Robin Williams. I found out on twitter and my only response was “oh my god.” To which my parents asked what was going on and I relayed the information to them. His death came as a shock to me, and I think it was the nature of it. It hit close to home. I understood his struggle, I understood his decision to finally give in. I didn’t cry because I sympathized with him. I knew he was at peace, even if that peace came from tragedy.

Learning about Prince was another story, however. It shocked me, it saddened me. I grew up listening to his music thanks to my mother who was and still is such a huge fan of his. His death brought his music back to me and for the first time, I saw my mother grieve for someone she loved, someone she didn’t know personally.

Christina Grimmie’s death hurts me in such a way that I cannot describe in words. She was only 22. I’m 22. I found her on youtube and my sister and I would send each other her covers constantly. She had talent I could only hope to obtain. She was kind and sweet and generous. She had so much passion in her music, so much hope to make it big, to be discovered. And when she was on the Voice, I literally screamed. I cheered so loudly, my parents didn’t understand what was truly going on. And then I explained to them how I had discovered her years prior. I explained that I was already a fan, I told them she would win the entire thing.

After the Voice, I didn’t follow her career too closely. I unsubscribed to her youtube videos. I never bought her original music. To call myself a fan right now seems cheap and fake, because I’m not an active fan of hers. I wouldn’t have gone to see her in concert.

But for someone to just. Go to her show, target her and only her, and shoot her dead before shooting himself. I just.

I can’t believe it happened. It’s such a tragedy. She was only 22. She had her entire life ahead of her with so much potential for a glowing music career. And someone took that away from her. In front of her fans. While she was signing for them and making their dreams come true. While she was being her generous and kindhearted self. While she was living her dream, and happy.

She will forever be 22 years old. And I just can’t process that because I’m the same exact age. I have plans in my near future, I have dreams for my distant future. And so easily, so quickly, my life could also be snuffed out by disaster. My life could also freeze at age 22 and never go on. It’s eye-opening, even more eye-opening for me than other shootings have been because I knew her. I knew who she was, I watched her grow up on Youtube. She wasn’t just a face tied to a tragic story, and I think that’s why it’s unsettling for me.

I went to Toronto in November 2015 to visit a friend. Together we went to a Finger Eleven show and outside the venue, we were pat down. I had my purse completely rummaged through. My medications were questioned, the bottles opened and sifted through. I had to explain to them what each one was used for and why I needed them at the show. I felt violated in that moment. But I also felt safe. I turned to my friend who was so used to this and told him that in America, they don’t do this. In America, they shine a flashlight into your bag, pat it a little, and send you on your way. In America, you can enter a venue with a concealed weapon because no one touches you and no one questions you. No one is a suspect here, while everyone is a suspect there.

I feel like this way of search should be implemented in the States. I’ve been saying it since November. Every time I enter a venue without my bag searched, I think about my experience in Toronto. I think about the possibility that someone could sneak a gun into a show or into comic con (where my bag wasn’t even looked through at all) and shoot up the place.

News reports are claiming that officials at this venue in Orlando have stated they don’t know how someone could get a gun (he had two, actually) in without their knowledge, but I know very well how.

It’s such a shame what happened to Christina Grimmie. I went to sleep praying to a God I don’t believe in to give her strength to survive her injuries. I went to sleep praying I wouldn’t wake up to hear that she died, and I did. That’s exactly what happened. My heart breaks for her family, her friends, her fans, and every single person like me who finds it unnerving because of her age, because it could happen to any of us.

Word Vomit

Relapses suck. Whether it’s a relapse of drug use, or a relapse of alcohol abuse, or a relapse of self harm–they suck. Luckily, my relapses are just in depression. It never physically harms me to relapse, but it still sucks so much.

I’m a firm believer in medication, especially for depression, especially for my depression. I truly believe that my depression is a result of a chemical imbalance because I honestly have no reason to be depressed. I have a job (ok it’s not stable), I have a home to live in, I have friends and family, I’m otherwise a happy person with no huge life-changing event that could trigger depression. Yet, here I am.

And when I’m put on antidepressants, my mood improves. My suicidal thoughts go away. But medications are fickle, and our brains are too smart to handle them for too long, which ends in what I call the Plateau Effect.

When I first start a new medication, it’s great. My mood improves on an incline, up up up and usually after a few months, it plateaus. Boom. Deadpan. I don’t get worse, but I don’t feel better.

And then we try another medication, and it cycles through. Up, up, up, deadpan, try something new.

In October 2014, I was put on Pristiq and I’ve been on Pristiq ever since. Which means it’s working. It plateaued at one point, which made me increase my dosage from 50 mg to 100 mg, but I’ve been on 100 mg for as long as I can remember.

But recently, I’ve been feeling the Plateau Effect again. I’ve relapsed back into this hopeless, worthless feeling where I sleep nonstop and always cry and want to die. And it sucks. It really sucks. Because I wish I could just THINK this away. I wish I could just stop feeling this way, but I can’t. It’s literally what my brain’s chemically trained to do.

I have help. I have mantras, both of which are tattooed on my feet. I have support. I have medication. But it’s not enough sometimes. I can tell myself over and over Know Your Worth, Love Your Life but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to die. No amount of She Loves Me tickets, and meet and greets with Tom Hiddleston, and snapchat selfies with Zac Levi, and tequila by the handle will make me feel better.

And sometimes people don’t understand that. I really hate when I’m venting to someone and they say, “hey, you gotta stop thinking that way” like NO SHIT. But brb, let me try that because I have never thought of trying that before. “But you seem happy” or “Just be happy” or “You have so much”

I don’t choose to be depressed. I don’t choose to sleep all the time and cry all the time. I don’t want to be sad all the time. I want to be happy and I want to go a day or two without thinking about killing myself. I just can’t. It’s literally like asking a diabetic to go without insulin for a day or two–newsflash, it won’t work because their pancreas ain’t programmed to work that way, even with healthy food.

You can’t choose happiness. I mean, you can choose to not let things affect you and you can choose to move on with life, but in a sense of having depression and not having depression, you can’t choose happiness. At least, I haven’t figured it out yet.