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Lo non so dov'io vada.

Let us know this for leavetaking,
That I may not be heavy upon you,
That you may blind me no more.

E pur' io torno qui

As I mentioned last time, I've been a little down lately. Understandably so - it's difficult to go from being right there next to someone you care about, being able to laugh together, hold them close and share some cozy moments, to being alone and so far away again. This sense of separation stings a little. I know I'll get to see DJ again, but I always want it to happen a little sooner, and that's a weird, 'conflicting' feeling. It's great because I feel so good about someone that I'm pained by being away from them, and it's hard because...well, I'm pained. I realized today that I'm happy that I'm sad, which is funny because it's confusing.

I haven't been shut in or moping about uselessly, but it has been harder to get out and do things. Looking ahead, I don't feel like going to the gym, I don't want to go to the board meetings next week, and I don't want to go to lunch with the folks on Sunday. I already don't want to go to work, so that's nothing new. I don't like letting people down, though, so for the last few days, I've been trying to push and shove myself through this sadness. 'Just get over it', I kept thinking. Force you way past it. It's been frustrating, stirring a lot of feels up, but I only attributed it to my feeling down. When I wasn't able to 'just get over it', I kept shoving to make it happen, but it never got any better.

Today, though, I spontaneously remembered something, some piece of advice that DJ tumbled not too long ago, that we struggle with our feelings too often instead of accepting them. From that, I realized that my frustration wasn't from the situation; it came from the failure to 'just get over it' struggle surrounding it, as if I were trying to move a mountain and, in ignoring certain obvious limitations, getting confused over why it wouldn't budge. By that, I mean that I absolutely can't 'just get over' this. This whole thing means too much to me. Frankly, it's a little insulting too because it belittles how I feel about this relationship, as if it doesn't matter and can be casually forgotten. I realized that I just need to accept the situation - just be a little sad.

I would've talked to DJ about this, because I know she would've helped me wrestle this idea to the ground a little sooner, but she's been tired and stressed lately herself. Something this emotionally-involving would've just been another thing on top of a tall pile. I know I can depend on her when I need to, but I also don't want to needlessly complicate her life.

Now, accepting a feeling is okay, but I'm of the personal opinion that it's important to also understand why one feels certain things and find some closure. For instance, people who are depressed, I feel, should try to identify the source, whether it is environmental or medical, so it can be addressed and helped. I personally don't want to simple coast through this feeling or let it linger any longer than necessary; I want to fix it. But that's no surprise - it dawned on me earlier this week that I should be actively searching for jobs down in the Dallas area so I can get there a little faster. Staying with my current job and transferring later is acceptable, but will take longer. So I do have a solution in sight - I only need to keep working towards it, not struggling to push everything else around. In a couple weeks, who knows? One of the jobs I applied for might give me a call (one in particular seemed kind of 'fun', a mail room clerk with decent pay). If not, I just need to keep trying.

It is a long process and, in and of itself, still frustrating. I think I'll be happier in the end, though, so it is something worth working towards. Focusing on the positives helps too, like just knowing that there is someone pretty special who wants to see me again soon. I still have the opportunity to enjoy talking and playing with DJ most nights, so it isn't as though I've lost anything. I've only gained.

In the mean time, I still need to (ugh) go to work, enjoy lunch with my family, and go to those meetings. I'll only feel worse if I don't, and disassembling my life won't help anything.

O che sper'io?

Having completed his quest and returned home, our hero pauses briefly to chronicle some of the fine points of his journey.

First off, I'm glad to know that this car was able to handle the trip just fine. Despite the long drive-time, it didn't show any signs of strain, and got pretty darn good gas mileage there and back - just one fill-up along the way. Second, I'm also glad to know that the ride down to Denton is not a tough one; no tricky turns or awful stretches of road. I'll have to remember not to take the route that curves out past Tulsa, but take the more direct route and avoid those smaller toll roads in the process.

That's all the official stuff. As far as the actual visit went?

Ahh. Such a great time. Even for a weekend, I feel like we were able to spend a good amount of quality time together, and we had a lot of fun. We didn't even get out to the zoo - we just spend the whole time staying in, watching movies and playing games, or laying in bed together. Naturally, I wish we had more time, but this is just the reality of things until DJ wants to use up more of her time off, and until I finally move down to Texas myself. I'm more than glad to drive down again as soon as possible in the meantime, though.

I know she says that her smile isn't anything special, but I love seeing it. And hearing her laugh. And every now and then on the way back, my sinuses would open up and I'd catch a small hint of her and her home in my clothes, and it would make me smile. Oh, and it was adorable to hear her whine and groan in bed this morning, lamenting having to go back to work - it really made me feel good knowing she had a good time.

She's a saint to put up with me sometimes, too. Like overfeeding her fish, scratching up her cookware, not being able to make coffee, and that whole 'Plan B' scare last time. It makes me feel even more special that she likes me despite it all.

I can't wait to visit her again as soon as possible. We'll probably have to wait until May, spacing these out so I don't run out of time off traveling down there all the time (and I would, if she'd have me).

Naturally, I'm a little down at the moment. It's like any sort of withdraw after having a good time. But I'm actually doing fairly okay, just with the satisfaction of feeling like we've grown a little closer, and that it will happen again before too long. I'm not alone.

Son risoluto alfine.

I had a pretty shitty dream last night. Sort of ruined the mood going into an already tense day.

I remember, I was a kid, probably ten years old, and I'm back in my old childhood home on Shady Lane. I can barely breathe and barely see, because everything around me, the walls and every little piece of furniture, is on fire. I don't know why or how, though, but I swear I can still recall how tortuously hot it was. I can't even think straight, with everything in my little world feeling so painful and disorienting.

I run down the narrow hallway leading from the bedrooms to the living room, and the fire alarm is going off so loudly that it hurts my ears. I have to stay straight down the middle there, because the walls on both sides are completely engulfed, and I'm afraid that a tiny little lick of the fire is going to snag on an edge of my clothing as I try to escape.

Just as I'm about to turn left and leap down the stairs for the front door, I can hear my mother's voice. She's in the living room still, laying on the floor and moaning. She's not able to get up - something hurt her legs. I run to her and try to help her up, but I can't. She's just too heavy for me to move. So she looks up at me, the panic and desperation clear in her eyes, and tells me to leave her.

I can't, though. I scream that at her as I pull and tug on her arm, trying to get her up to her feet, or drag her closer to the stairs. I can't just leave her behind to die.

But she screams back at me to do it. She pulls her arm out of my grip and yells at me to go. I'm immediately reduced to a flood of tears while I beg her to try and move.

Then I remember feeling angry here. Angry that she would give up like this, and angry that she would force me to make the awful choice of leaving my mother to die. I'm practically killing her myself, I feel. I'm just so damn angry that I hit the floor with my clenched fist. So I yell at her again, voicing my complaints before turning to run down the stairs and out the door to safety. The house collapses behind me.

I woke up right around that point, still feeling genuinely hot while I attempt to compose myself.

While I was at work today, I couldn't help but think back on the dream - naturally, something like that just wouldn't get out of my head so easily. Specifically, though, I kept trying to piece together why I felt so angry; it felt like there was more to the situation than just having to make that grim choice.

Maybe I'm angry at myself. Like, angry that I wasn't strong enough to save her. Of course, I was just a kid in the dream, but I always sort of wonder today if I'd be capable of protecting someone in need when the time came. Maybe I don't think I'm strong enough to save the day, and I'm worried about letting the people around me down. Maybe I'm scared of losing my loved ones too - scared of having to face down that inevitable sense of loss one day, and worried that I won't be able to handle it.

I'm not sure. I can't say that this is absolutely eating me up right now, but it's given me plenty to think about.

Come dolci, Signor, come soavi.

I think I made it through the woods!

As part of my "Hey let's make some positive life changes, shall we?" goal, I've been trying to cut out soda/caffeine from my diet, as well as cutting back on sugary stuff in general. Not cold-turkey, but pretty quickly, and the first part of this week was pretty rough. I felt tired and 'weak', as I'm sure my blood sugar was trying its best to even back out again. Today, though, I feel actually good again. I'm drinking water most of the time for meals, but still gulping down plenty of milk and juice. I actually feel like I have more energy! I can come home and do a little conditioning and exercise before I settle down for the night.

Last Sunday, I also broached the subject of moving down to Texas while I was eating lunch with my family. Dad already knew about the new facility being opened up somewhere down yonder, so he asked if transferring down there was my intention. I said yes, of course, because that would be the safest and most reliable method open to me. Mom reacted better than I thought, too - I'm not sure if she's convinced that I'll go through with it, but she said if I was going to do that, I'd have to find a place big enough for them to come and visit. Naturally, I agreed, but I told them they'd have to sleep on my lumpy old fold-out couch mattress. They remember sleeping on that all too well while they were staying with me before the house got built, so that made for a nice, tension-relieving joke.

Statement is Ready

Today was not necessarily a 'great' day, but a few good things did come out of it!

The finance paperwork that I submitted on Tuesday finally came through this afternoon, so I went ahead with a plan to help shore up my financial situation: I went to the dealership and traded in my new, fairly expensive car for something still nice, but much more simple. That car had been no end of trouble, and although it had a lot of cool features to it, was costing me more than I wanted to spend. Now I'm behind the wheel of something a few years older, and with the reduced monthly payments to the bank and in car insurance, I'll be keeping an extra $200 in my wallet at the end of every month. Even if I do end up getting a new job that pays a little less, I will still be in a much more comfortable position now to do many other good things, like take some classes, or save up a little more quickly to travel. I could be ready to go back to Texas as soon as June now. I timed it just right, too - now I don't have to make ANY car payment this month.

This feels especially good. I feel like I've simplified something in my life that had been weighing on me. To the same effect, I'll also be trying to simplify a few other bits and pieces, like drinking less soda, and trying to make easier meals for myself rather than buying so many frozen dishes. There are so many things that I've wanted to do, like even decorate my home a little more, but never felt like I could because I wanted to keep the money available for emergencies. With a little effort now, I think I can do it.

Rotating Potato Tornado

The state of my state of being! It's...not bad!

Work was sort of secondary to me today. I stayed on task and everything, of course, but I'm sure I did more thinking about my life in general rather than anything specific happening on the job. I believe that I've come to a few important conclusions, and come across some ideas on how to proceed.

First and foremost, the road to happiness.

I've been on vacations before and come back feeling a little down over having to resume my normal life, so I know what that feels like. But this? This is different. This is a very harsh realization that I'm just not that happy with how things are going - and even worse, there are only a few things on the 'bad' list that are dragging everything down. Not some giant list, but a small amount that could easily be worked on.

Like work. Part of it is my own fault, because I've been lazy and complacent. Things have been getting increasingly stressful on the job, and there isn't anything I can really do to stop it, but I haven't done anything on my own to try and escape them. I haven't REALLY been looking for other work for some time now. I'm comfortable doing things at work because I'm a capable individual who learns and adapts fast, but I don't like what I do very much at all. Instead, I've let that sense of familiarity stop me from seeking out any other work - it's just easier than having to find something else. The hours are fucking awful, for one thing - I've been doing this same schedule for almost five years, and my body still isn't used to getting up so early. It never will get used to it either, because that's just not how I'm built. I'm sure that this job is eating away at my lifespan, since it just isn't my natural rhythm. And because of these hours, my ability to be social is severely limited; I either have to go to bed too early to do anything, or I'm dead tired at the end of the day anyway. Add in any overtime by taking away days off and things crash straight into a wall for me. This job is also jading me really badly. I find myself losing patience with things so much faster due to all the simple and stupid mistakes I have to fix on the behalf of others, and it sometimes creeps out into my life at other times towards people who don't deserve it.

DJ mentioned something last week that I've been mulling over today: a friend of her's who has a lot of interesting hobbies, who has a normal job but isn't defined by it. When she mentioned it then, I reasoned that I have a lot of hobbies myself, but my job seems to force itself into my life by limiting what I can do. I definitely don't want to be defined by where I work, and least of all this work in particular.

So I've set some goals for myself. First, to be done tonight, update my resumé, then get myself re-registered on the website for local state and federal jobs. Tomorrow, canvass all the job posting sites for the extended area and make a list of places to apply. Wednesday, clean up and visit those places, dropping off applications wherever possible. I might not be able to get in anywhere else - I really might be stuck at my current job. But I think that actually trying will help placate this awful feeling.

Finally, I have a few other minor concerns. I need to get a little more organized about certain things, especially around my apartment - I need to make some little tweaks to get things looking and just 'feeling' better. I also need to work on my finances a little, because there are some cuts I could make and some changes I could try that would probably save me a bit of cash and give me more opportunities to do other cool stuff.

It's a VERY good, eh?

Whatta week. I just finished unpacking from my week-long trip down to Texasland, and I feel absolutely overloaded with feels. I don't want to do anything, I don't want to play anything - I just want to sit here and process.

I had an amazing time, for all the simplest reasons. Just having DJ for company, sitting around and sharing laughs while we played games and watched movies. Staying up late and sleeping in accordingly. Whether we went out or just stayed in all day in our pajamas, I can honestly say that I have not been so happy in a great long while.

I knew it would be hard coming back home. I thought about it all the previous week - prior experience has told me that there's a deep sink to be felt after a vacation, so I had been attempting to keep it on my mind so as to help brace myself and accept it as a Thing. I'd say that it did help, yes, but then I went and had an even better time than I had originally imagined, so it became an even harder process than I expected.

It's quiet and maybe a little bit lonely again. That's the most difficult part - finally having felt a sense of closeness to someone again, then having to leave it behind. Now I'm spoiled.

I might be a little bit of a sadsack for the next few days, but I'm also trying out a new technique I picked up recently about traveling and enjoying your time away that is supposed to help ease you back into 'normal' life. Rather than become completely swallowed up by the conflict of the two opposing ideas (the great time I had on vacation versus my boring life), I need to take bits and pieces of all the fun I had and focus on a few good memories, letting those softly permeate my everyday routine.

The Milkman, Sir.

It's a giant snowy mess outside today. It's been falling since late last night, and it still hasn't let up. Yes, today has been conquered by a cold, powdery menace that soaks straight through your clothes the moment you attempt to wade into the knee-deep mix and chills you mercilessly, without any regard whether you're a fan of the stuff or an enemy. An enemy like me, someone who has grown to greatly despise snow over recent years.

I don't know if I ever 'liked' snow, but hey, it possibly meant getting out of school for the day as a kid if it was coming down hard enough. Still, I always felt like it looked ugly afterwards - all the blackened slush on the roads, piled up and pushed around into giant hillsides along the sidewalks. You had to slog your way through it on your way to the bus stop the next morning, out in the dry, frigid air. So even back then, me and snowy days weren't exactly on the best terms.

Now, it's even worse. I'm the one that has to drive - no, commute - to work on the slick roads when the weather turns bad like this. Slipping and sliding and holding a death-grip on the steering wheel when you start to lose traction. Blinded when the wind whips thick waves of white dust into your windshield. Going out into the cold at all is hardly any fun to begin with, like when you feel yourself choking every time a sharp, icy breeze hits you, but it becomes more than an annoyance very quickly. It makes me feel downright hollow and brittle inside.

When I hear about a winter storm coming, sometimes I get worried for my friends out there. I texted DJ a month or so ago over the same thing after I saw a nasty weather report. But after Reina lost control on that slick road and died in some frozen, miserable ditch all alone, I can't help but feel a little antsy. I think that's when I really started to hate snow, and started sneering at anyone who tells me how much they love it. 'Let it Snow' and 'Winter Wonderland' just piss me off.

So whenever it snows like this, I wait until it stops, and then I bundle up into a good work-layer and grab my snow-shovel. Digging out my car, digging out the parking lot, the sidewalk, around the mailbox, it actually makes me feel a little bit better. Sometimes I even dig out the rest of my neighbors' cars for the hell of it. It's the physical effort of it, the strain on my body, that brings an ironic sense of relief, like any kind of hard labor seems to give me. I don't know if it just provides some catharsis, or if I'm just someone that feels better after feeling worse. I tough out the snow for now because, no matter how cheesy it sounds, I don't want it to beat me.

I understand that some people really do love the snow. It's part of their lives, and maybe they have some cherished memory of playing in it with friends or family, and that's cool. I'll never outright say anything to discourage them, and even when those songs play, I just turn aside and tune them out. Snow is my problem. But one day I'd really like to live someplace where snow isn't quite as bad. Maybe not avoid it altogether, but a warmer climate.