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SkyGirl

The Silver Archer: Temple Quest

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15 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

Umm, heap coals of fire on their heads? Pray for them? Do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you?

 

... I am going to talk to the counseling center next week.  :) 

 

I was gonna say love them. Remember the coals of fire on their heads is a metaphor for kindness, but you do you booboo.

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8 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I was gonna say love them. Remember the coals of fire on their heads is a metaphor for kindness, but you do you booboo.

 

Feeding them is also an option.  ;) 

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I went to the gym yesterday for the first time since May and I feel like:

 

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So. Much. DOMS. But even though it hurts, I feel so happy because it means I pushed myself and worked hard in a physical way after months of intense mental work. I didn't push myself super hard - I didn't quite feel like I was reaching my edge - but as sore as I am today, I think I did enough for the first time back in months.  :) 

 

I did 5 minutes of rowing, then used the machines to do leg curls (I'm trying to get back in the swing of my physical therapy exercises, because my knees have been very sore), arm extensions, abdominal crunches, chest presses, low pulls, and weighted squats. I only did 30 reps of each (20 squats) and the weight was pretty low on all of them, but it felt good to get back into the swing of things. (Notice the past tense in "felt". It does not feel good today.) 

 

In other news, I've been feeling rather sensitive emotionally these last few days ... just lots of feelings going on generally, making me a little sad and irritable. Thinking about finishing school after 24 solid years and being afraid of what comes next; afraid of moving away from home permanently and trying to establish a new home for myself; noticing myself thinking a lot about finding a boyfriend/husband, being interested in some guys I've met lately, and then the layer of shame and repression that always accompanies romantic feelings or desires; lots of people commenting on my decision to go non-thesis, both in support and in disappointment, and lots of second-guessing and a little shame involved in that; overwhelmed angst at all I have to do this semester and trying to find a time management scheme that works; and lingering anger from a disturbing Facebook argument I was in last week that involved people I used to know well throwing racial insults and hate at each other. I don't want to be here, but I don't want to be anywhere else, either; everything my advisor says and does annoys me, but then that annoys me, because she isn't doing anything wrong and I shouldn't be annoyed. I don't know ... none of it is acutely distressing, but it makes a background hum that's a little unpleasant.

 

I keep putting off calling the counselor because I don't feel the acute emotional distress and confusion that I did last semester - the old "but I'm not sick enough" argument resurrected - but I put it on my to-do list for today. As I keep reminding myself, it never hurts to at least have a safe space to vent, and I will almost certainly get some useful insights and advice to help me prepare for the transitions coming up.

 

Later tonight I'm going to do some gentle yoga (on my new yoga mat, yay!!) to try to loosen my crackling painful muscles, but the rest of my day will just be attacking my to-do list and getting as much of it done as I can. Going to get some sunshine and a healthy treat in a little while to push me through the afternoon.  :)  I'd love to write a story segment soon, too ...

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4 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

I keep putting off calling the counselor because I don't feel the acute emotional distress and confusion that I did last semester - the old "but I'm not sick enough" argument resurrected - but I put it on my to-do list for today. As I keep reminding myself, it never hurts to at least have a safe space to vent, and I will almost certainly get some useful insights and advice to help me prepare for the transitions coming up.

 

Look at it this way, the counselor can help you get to the bottom of what is making you so irritable. If you can process that, day to day functioning should get easier. 

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giphy.gif

 

Wow, I thought I was feeling emotional before - I got a call this afternoon from NASA letting me know that, if they can work out a few logistics, I will most likely be hired for the science writer position at Goddard.

 

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I mean, they've even got it down to the salary and figuring out travel arrangements for me to finish my Master's degree. It sounds like Aubron has been pushing pretty hard for them to hire me - which is so funny, because for the longest time I thought he didn't even like me.  :D  Irvin got called to provide a reference today and he gave a glowing one; Walter gave his last week, and both of them have told me they're rooting for me and very excited. Irvin and his wife (I forget what pseudonym I gave her; I'll have to go back and look) were messaging me excitedly tonight to plan trips to introduce me to their favorite Eastern seafood places. 

 

For the first hour or so after getting that call, I couldn't feel anything besides a vague dread of something I couldn't quite pinpoint. I came home early to change clothes and work on repotting my house plants, to give myself some time to relax and figure out what I was feeling; and I realized that I was feeling afraid of what would happen to my relationships with my family and close friends if I moved 600 miles away from them. I was feeling afraid that if I went to an entirely different place and built my own life and new relationships, my friends might forget me, and my family would learn not to miss me. I've never put that fear into words before and it was both startling and a huge relief. I know I can settle into a new apartment, I have friends there in Maryland who are excited for me to come back, I know I can handle the day-to-day without being crippled by homesickness and anxiety. But this part is - new? or is it old? - and putting it into words gave it shape and boundaries and made it something I can understand.

 

I reached out to my two closest friends this evening to ask for support ... Amethyst immediately wrote back reminding me of all I've accomplished this year and assuring me I can do this and she believes in me; and Ayre offered to call me tomorrow morning and let me talk through things with him. I'm going to buy something from Starbucks and chat with him for a while tomorrow, and Amethyst's texts were so bright and practical and shook me out of my fog a little bit.  :) 

 

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I don't want to act like I'm only feeling negatively about this possibility, though, because that's not true at all. I am so honored and I'm so delighted to know that they want me back, as a colleague and even as a friend. I am excited to live in a different apartment (not the death trap I lived in this summer) and make it comfortable and just the way I want it. I know that if this happens, it will be a vital growth experience for me, something that will open up my world and give me lots of room to grow and expand and explore - I am always in need of experiences that push me past what's comfortable and familiar, and this would certainly do that.  :)  I absolutely loved my internship this summer; I loved the work, I felt so strong and alive while I was doing it every day; and I loved the people I met there - getting to go back and be part of their team and share Jesus with them would be incredible and amazing. It's all shocking and unexpected, but thrilling and definitely another adventure, if it happens. I mean - who gets their dream job before they even graduate???

 

Still some pretty intense DOMS tonight, but I'm going to get some sleep in just a second and let my muscles recover a bit. I had a guy ask me to work out with him sometime and I'm considering taking him up on that offer, but I need to get back in the hang of this working-out thing before I do ...  ;) 

 

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Congratulations!!! And I think it is totally normal to have all sorts of emotions, this is a big change. And as I mom, I can tell you what I'm sure you know, your family will not forget you. They will eagerly await the times when they get to get together with you

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3 minutes ago, Elastigirl said:

Congratulations!!! And I think it is totally normal to have all sorts of emotions, this is a big change. And as I mom, I can tell you what I'm sure you know, your family will not forget you. They will eagerly await the times when they get to get together with you

 

Thanks EG, you're the best!!  :)  :)  :)  Sometimes I wish I didn't get so emotional; it would make life so much easier.

 

It will be weird not being in the thick of things with my family if I do move out there - but that's all part of growing up, isn't it? We all have to make our own lives that don't center around our parents and siblings anymore. It seems from the outside like that's an easier switch to make when you get married or have a child and your attention is clearly directed toward your own new family and life; but even for single people it eventually happens. Since my 30th birthday is coming up faster than I'd like, this is probably a good time to start.  :P 

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Ahhh well done!

 

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It's perfectly natural to have all sorts of mixed emotions about something this big. Huge changes like this shouldn't be taken lightly but you are young and the experience alone is probably worth it. Change, especially a big change, is scary. I can tell you that your friends and family won't forget you and there are no laws telling you that you cannot simply move back home again in a year or two (or less) if that's what you decide you want to do :) 

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I'm so proud of you! Well done. I'm talking of course about even more than the job, which is by itself incredible. I'm proud of that AND the emotional processing you did to figure out what's going on. Reach out to Sra. Tanque as well, she'll be a good resource for you.

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19 hours ago, jonfirestar said:

Ahhh well done!

 

It's perfectly natural to have all sorts of mixed emotions about something this big. Huge changes like this shouldn't be taken lightly but you are young and the experience alone is probably worth it. Change, especially a big change, is scary. I can tell you that your friends and family won't forget you and there are no laws telling you that you cannot simply move back home again in a year or two (or less) if that's what you decide you want to do :) 

 

Yes there is - it's called the "my parents would kill me" law!!  ;)  Seriously though, I allowed myself to say out loud today that I don't plan to stay at NASA for the rest of my life and I am counting on changing jobs again in a few years - whether or not I actually end up wanting to, we'll see, and of course I can't go into the job thinking about when I'm going to leave; but saying it lifted the anxiety burden that fears making permanent, irrevocable commitments. I can come home again if I want to. I can take this resume experience and come back to the Midwest with a much stronger chance of getting an awesome job than I have now. This is a choice that I am making because I want to; I am not being forced into it (except by the understanding that my parents would disown me if I turned it down), it is not a life sentence, and I retain my autonomy to choose when I am ready to move on. Knowing all of that helps so much.

 

8 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I'm so proud of you! Well done. I'm talking of course about even more than the job, which is by itself incredible. I'm proud of that AND the emotional processing you did to figure out what's going on. Reach out to Sra. Tanque as well, she'll be a good resource for you.

 

Thank you so much, Tank, that means so much to me.  :)  I did reach out to Sra. Tanque and Princess Mononoke and we've been talking this evening. I'm so darn blessed to know you all.  <3 

 

The Lord brought an article into my Facebook feed earlier today about learning the difference between true fear that needs to be heeded, and fear that arises simply from doing something new and unknown. It helped me slow down and think about the fears I have and how, while they're important and they do speak to emotional needs I have going through this process, they aren't things to truly be afraid of. My mom has been helping me look for apartments and we've found some nice ones that aren't too expensive. I know people out there who are excited to welcome me and help me get settled. Walter is going to be absolutely thrilled when things are finalized and I get to tell him we'll be working together again.  :)  Thinking about different types of fear and what they're telling me has been really helpful and I am going to read about fear in Psalms tonight before bed.

 

No workout today, just lots and lots of walking; but I did finally get my new yoga mat and it's so squooshy and I can't wait to use it.  :)  Tomorrow the soreness in my shoulders should be manageable enough for me to do something gentle. 

 

Also, in case I haven't mentioned it enough lately, I really love you guys and I don't know what I'd do without my Rangers.

 

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5 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

 

Yes there is - it's called the "my parents would kill me" law!!

Now now, if there was a compelling reason for you to be shiping yourself back in 6 months I'm sure they'll support you. 

 

5 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

Seriously though, I allowed myself to say out loud today that I don't plan to stay at NASA for the rest of my life and I am counting on changing jobs again in a few years - whether or not I actually end up wanting to, we'll see, and of course I can't go into the job thinking about when I'm going to leave; but saying it lifted the anxiety burden that fears making permanent, irrevocable commitments. I can come home again if I want to. I can take this resume experience and come back to the Midwest with a much stronger chance of getting an awesome job than I have now.

It is very important to know that you aren't making a lifetime commitment. It's a job. A very cool job and an amazing opportunity but you aren't getting yourself into anything you at you cannot get yourself out of again if you want. Life has a way of surprising you and you might end up living in Singapore and deciding never to move back to the midwest ever (very unlikely but the point is it is okay to commit to this now and see what the future holds). 

 

 

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Whoooaaaaa congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you!!! Reading about all the craziness that the semester has brought you so far... you're doing so well, taking time to decompress and get in touch with your feelings and everything.

 

I think talking to a counselor is a good idea. You may not feel "distressed enough" to need help, but... you are still distressed. Just because "it could be worse" doesn't mean you have to live with that distress when a solution might exist. 

 

*big internet hug*

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8 hours ago, Shadri said:

Whoooaaaaa congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you!!! Reading about all the craziness that the semester has brought you so far... you're doing so well, taking time to decompress and get in touch with your feelings and everything.

 

I think talking to a counselor is a good idea. You may not feel "distressed enough" to need help, but... you are still distressed. Just because "it could be worse" doesn't mean you have to live with that distress when a solution might exist. 

 

*big internet hug*

 

Thank you dear Shadri ... I tried to schedule an appointment online this afternoon and the portal wasn't working, so I'm going to go to the office in the morning and set something up.  <3  I agree, I am distressed, and even though I know why and know it's normal, I don't really have any good strategies to feel a little better. It will be helpful to talk through it with a counselor.

 

11 hours ago, jonfirestar said:

It is very important to know that you aren't making a lifetime commitment. It's a job. A very cool job and an amazing opportunity but you aren't getting yourself into anything you at you cannot get yourself out of again if you want. Life has a way of surprising you and you might end up living in Singapore and deciding never to move back to the midwest ever (very unlikely but the point is it is okay to commit to this now and see what the future holds). 

 

Thanks Jon, that's exactly the way I needed to think about it ... I know eventually I'll probably have to make some kind of permanent decision, like getting married or moving somewhere with no plan to come back, but I much prefer the decisions that I can reverse, should I choose to do so. Thinking of it as just another chapter of making job changes (like how scared I was the first time I took a medical job, or how scared I was to come back to grad school, or how scared I was to change majors and throw myself into writing as a career instead of a hobby) helps me feel much less nervous.

 

No updates from the contract company today, and I'm actually really happy about that. I would love for them to wait until after Labor Day and give me a little time to process and gear up to say "yes" enthusiastically. We'll see if that happens.  :)  But at the very least, I'm happy to have had a quiet day today. 

 

So far I've only walked 2.5 miles today, so I'm going to take a walk later this evening and also try to do some yoga. And I have so much homework.

 

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First of all I'm catching up with your thread and I am SO.  PROUD.  OF YOU.  MY GOSH.  You are doing so great with everything that's on your plate right now, ok???

 

On 8/29/2018 at 12:39 AM, SkyGirl said:

For the first hour or so after getting that call, I couldn't feel anything besides a vague dread of something I couldn't quite pinpoint. I came home early to change clothes and work on repotting my house plants, to give myself some time to relax and figure out what I was feeling; and I realized that I was feeling afraid of what would happen to my relationships with my family and close friends if I moved 600 miles away from them. I was feeling afraid that if I went to an entirely different place and built my own life and new relationships, my friends might forget me, and my family would learn not to miss me. I've never put that fear into words before and it was both startling and a huge relief. I know I can settle into a new apartment, I have friends there in Maryland who are excited for me to come back, I know I can handle the day-to-day without being crippled by homesickness and anxiety. But this part is - new? or is it old? - and putting it into words gave it shape and boundaries and made it something I can understand.

 

 

Yes yes yes yes yes.  Yes.  I have been dealing with this a LOT lately with my move.  It's SO HARD and just puts a little cloud of anxiety around me a lot of the time.....

 

It makes me a little sad to think that in (insert number of months) here, like you, my new situation will be normalized, and one morning I'll wake up and won't miss anyone anymore, or have anyone missing me.  Like, that sounds terrible, right??  You think about the people you're connected with and you don't WANT to not miss them (or vice versa them to you), because they're so important to you!  But I think that's what happens in situations like ours, over time we learn to adapt and reforge our relationships bit by bit and it hurts while it happens, but eventually it will all settle into place and a new normal will be the thing for everyone....

 

You've SO got this. <3

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2 hours ago, shaar said:

It makes me a little sad to think that in (insert number of months) here, like you, my new situation will be normalized, and one morning I'll wake up and won't miss anyone anymore, or have anyone missing me.  Like, that sounds terrible, right??  You think about the people you're connected with and you don't WANT to not miss them (or vice versa them to you), because they're so important to you!  But I think that's what happens in situations like ours, over time we learn to adapt and reforge our relationships bit by bit and it hurts while it happens, but eventually it will all settle into place and a new normal will be the thing for everyone....

 

You know, I read this right before I went out to take a walk (my brother has the stomach flu and I have emetophobia, so he's been kindly warning me before he's about to hurl so I can go outside and take a walk until he's done), and I was thinking - that's kind of like grief, isn't it? That's like how we feel when someone we love dies or something we love is coming to an end. Yes, the pain of the ending and separation is hard enough; but knowing that it won't hurt forever is part of the pain, too. When we lose something, we want the pain to go away, but we also often don't really because the pain tells us how deeply we cared about this person or this thing. And that's where some of my anxiety is coming from. I want to be missed, because that means I'm important in my friends' and family's lives. I want to know that they'll miss me as much as I will miss them, because that's going to be an awful freaking lot. And right now I don't want to think about building a life that doesn't have them in it.

 

Yes, of course some of this isn't really logical. Of course they'll still be part of my life - they're my family and my dearest friends. Of course they'll miss me. But it's that further out that you're talking about - what about a year from now? Two years from now? Will I be as close as I am now with my sister, who is basically the other half of myself? What about Ayre, will we still talk almost every day? Will Amethyst still call me as she's driving home from work to tell me about her day? Those questions are the ones that scare me.

 

I have a strong hunch that I will come back to the Midwest one day down the road. But I don't know that for sure. And while I know I need this - I need to live on my own; I need to push myself outside my comfort zone; I need to continue my journey as a writer and see how far I can go - those relationship unknowns are the part that scares me the most. 

 

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Woohoo, congratulations!!!

 

On 8/30/2018 at 5:57 PM, jonfirestar said:

Life has a way of surprising you and you might end up living in Singapore and deciding never to move back to the midwest ever (very unlikely but the point is it is okay to commit to this now and see what the future holds). 

Oh, come on.  When has this kind of this kind of thing ever happened?  

 

Oh, wait...

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16 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

 

You know, I read this right before I went out to take a walk (my brother has the stomach flu and I have emetophobia, so he's been kindly warning me before he's about to hurl so I can go outside and take a walk until he's done), and I was thinking - that's kind of like grief, isn't it? That's like how we feel when someone we love dies or something we love is coming to an end. Yes, the pain of the ending and separation is hard enough; but knowing that it won't hurt forever is part of the pain, too. When we lose something, we want the pain to go away, but we also often don't really because the pain tells us how deeply we cared about this person or this thing. And that's where some of my anxiety is coming from. I want to be missed, because that means I'm important in my friends' and family's lives. I want to know that they'll miss me as much as I will miss them, because that's going to be an awful freaking lot. And right now I don't want to think about building a life that doesn't have them in it.

 

Yes, of course some of this isn't really logical. Of course they'll still be part of my life - they're my family and my dearest friends. Of course they'll miss me. But it's that further out that you're talking about - what about a year from now? Two years from now? Will I be as close as I am now with my sister, who is basically the other half of myself? What about Ayre, will we still talk almost every day? Will Amethyst still call me as she's driving home from work to tell me about her day? Those questions are the ones that scare me.

 

I have a strong hunch that I will come back to the Midwest one day down the road. But I don't know that for sure. And while I know I need this - I need to live on my own; I need to push myself outside my comfort zone; I need to continue my journey as a writer and see how far I can go - those relationship unknowns are the part that scares me the most. 

 

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You're so spot on, it's EXACTLY like grief.  Grieving the loss of a life that you know, and knowing it's going to change as time flows... everything changes, and it's natural, and it's so good for us as people.  We need it to learn and evolve and grow into amazing versions of ourselves, but damn if it doesn't hurt along the way, huh?

 

You know what you need to do.  You are brave in just realizing that and affirming it!!  And one step at a time, you'll get there. <3

 

(Have I told you how PROUD I AM OF YOU???)

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EEEEEEK I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! That is so awesome!

 

The thing is, no state is permanent. Not even after you get married (and not only because the marriage will eventually end one way or another). Nothing is permanent. And you can get back from 99% percent of things in one way or another. 

 

I'm so happy you're dealing with everything so well. I am rooting for you and know you will do just fine.

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The sun had dipped down behind the trees, casting shimmering golden shadows across the clearing a few miles from the Temple, and the breeze was sweet and cooling with the softly approaching night. My list of assigned tasks was long and I felt a bit irresponsible for stealing away instead of working, but I had been ill for several days and was giving myself a rest day to let my churning stomach heal itself. The slow, easy walk down the hill from the Temple to my favorite quiet, shady, flower-fragranced spot had been gentle on my weakened body, and by the time I reached the sacred place, the softness of evening wrapped itself around me like a welcoming embrace.

 

I lowered myself to the ground and pushed up my sleeves to let the breeze cool my arms and wrists, unfastening my vest and setting it carefully on the ground beside me. This clearing was not only my favorite place to rest and be alone, but I had learned how to part its space to open a portal - one of the mysterious gateways that had brought many of us here from outside our own time and place. Through the portals, I could talk with the other Rangers back home in Middle Earth. Today I shook back my hair and reached out with my power to part the space in front of me like a curtain, and right on schedule, my dearest friend Ayre Kallana walked into his kitchen and slowly lowered his long, lean frame into a chair, breathing heavily with fatigue but smiling brightly when he saw me waiting to see him. 

 

I carefully concealed my pain at his gaunt, unshaven grayness as we began with our usual opening pleasantries. The last few hellish months in Ayre's life showed graphically on his scarred and tired face. Deaths of loved ones, racking illness and pain, and crippling attacks of fear and terror by the Dark Elf and his own mind had left him weak, brittle, and frail. As his body and spirit weakened, he was coming to depend on my strength more and more - whereas I had depended on him in my meekness and doubt in the early days of our relationship, now I was the strong one, supporting and loving him and pointing him back toward the King as life continued to pummel him. And despite the pain of seeing his suffering, it gave me joy to be the one to offer a strong shoulder for him to lean on. I thought I couldn't love him more when he was my protector and I his student - but now I loved him as a sister and encourager.

 

"You look amazing," he said earnestly, leaning forward on his knees and gratefully taking in my face and posture with eager eyes. "How's your stomach?"

 

I shrugged. "It's there. I'll be better soon. How's your leg?"

 

He also shrugged. "It's there. I walked outside and worked on Aki's flowers for almost an hour today. That's an improvement. Tomorrow I might be able to walk down the road to see my neighbor."

 

"That's wonderful." I nodded and smiled, again trying to choke back sadness so he couldn't see. Ayre had officially left the Rangers - he could no longer fight in his weakened condition. Thinking back to the first days of our friendship, when he gave me the Silver Bow and showed me how to use it, when we fought off shadow elves together and he had nursed me through the many wounds I received in my inexperience, made it even harder to see him suddenly old and sick and fragile. His beard had grown long and gray; his hair, too, hung down almost to his soft gray eyes, the only part of him that retained any spark of who he used to be. His strong arms were thin; his legs, swollen and painful from long months of bed rest, were hidden in loose trousers. His hands had not touched a bow in many, many months. 

 

"I know, Sky." Of course my gaze had not escaped his notice. I looked up at his face and he was smiling sadly. "I know. Leaving the Rangers was a difficult decision to make but it was time. I need to focus on getting well right now before I think about getting back into fighting."

 

"I know you do." I leaned forward, reaching out toward the portal boundary and wishing I could touch his hand. "I know you do, Ayre. I'm sorry, that wasn't what I was thinking. You're doing exactly what you should be doing." I bit my lip as a swell of emotion filled me and tears sprang to my eyes. There was a time when such strong emotions would have frightened me and I would have sat in silence until they passed, but not now. I opened my hands and let my healing power shine upward, like sundrops streaming through the trees, and it shone on his face and began to surround him with the embrace I could not give. "Our shared love of word-healing and bow-fighting is what brought us together, but it's not the reason I love you and I don't want you to think it is. I love you and I'm proud of you no matter what you do, Ayre. I'll be just as proud of you if you never fight again as I was when you were a Ranger. I was only thinking that I want so much for you to be well and happy."

 

Ayre spread his palms to receive the glow as it shimmered over him, and his face lit up with the smile. "Your success is what makes me feel well and happy, Sky," he said earnestly. "I'm so proud of you. I've always known you were destined for great things, but you have completely surpassed anything I ever dreamed you would accomplish. You have grown into such a strong, vibrant, caring healer and archer and blessed so many people in the two years since we met. And I know that you will only get stronger and brighter as you continue to grow."

 

I took a deep breath. "I've decided to go back and join the Movement, Ayre."

 

"I know you have, Sky."

 

Of course he knew. "I need to go and spend more time there before I come back to Middle Earth," I said, my voice shaking. "I'll learn things there with those people that I need to know, in order to be the best Protector I can when I come back. I need to go far away from everyone I know and love in order to learn who I really am and what I can really do with my powers - I need to break free of the safety and protection I've had up until now so I can see the King with my own eyes. I need to walk with Him and learn how to trust Him when there's no one else to come between us." 

 

There was a brief silence, so I looked up quickly, hoping he was not displeased. He was sitting with his hands folded on his lap, smiling. "You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, Sky. You are so young and there are so many adventures you have yet to experience. I'm sure you'll be leading the Movement in a couple of years. I couldn't be more happy and proud of you."

 

"But - I'm scared, Ayre."

 

"I know."

 

"I'm scared to go so far away from Middle Earth without knowing when I'll be back. This summer was different - I knew when it would end and when I'd be back. But this time I don't know. What if - what if I don't come back? What if my destiny lies out there somewhere?" I pulled my knees to my chest and lowered my head to hide my tears. "What if I'm gone so long that you forget me?"

 

Ayre had insisted many times that he did not have powers like I did. But in that moment, I felt a soft warmth wrapping itself around my shoulders, and the familiar smell of pine needles and smoky evening air that always reminded me of his spirit. I did not open my eyes; I just sat very small, letting his love still my anxious spirit. 

 

"Sky, listen to me. To Aki and me, you are part of our family. You aren't my student and you aren't just a friend. You're our dear, sweet, wonderful little sister and you mean more to me than anything in this world. Whether you realize it or not, your presence in our lives has saved me - when you defied Mistral to come back and help us, when you prayed to the King for us this summer, when I first fell ill - all the times that the Dark Elf's powers have nearly ended my life, I kept going because I knew you needed me. You have continued to shine the King's light and hope into my life when I thought it was all gone. I've never known anyone like you and I doubt I ever will. Sky, I loved you before I ever knew you, because I knew that there must be someone like you out there in the world and I was overjoyed when you came into my life. The first time we met, you were so weak and confused and covered in the worst poison ivy rash I've ever seen, but I didn't notice any of that - I knew from the moment I saw you that you were a powerful Lightbearer who was going to change the world for me and everyone else around you, and that's exactly what you've done. I have been inspired and motivated by your courage and determination to overcome every challenge that life has thrown your way, and I know with all my heart that you will continue to overcome whatever lies ahead."

 

Trembling, I slowly opened my eyes and lifted them to his face. His faded eyes were glowing with warmth and pride, and tears ran down his scarred cheeks to flow into his beard. "Middle Earth will always be your home, Sky, and I know in my heart that you will return when the time comes. But until then, I want you to fly as far and as high as your spirit will take you. All of us who love you - and there are so many, Sky - will be here, loving you and praying for you until you come home. None of that will change and you don't have to be afraid."

 

I smiled back. For the first time since I had received Aubron's elegant, beautiful letter asking me to return and fight with the Movement once more, a bit of confidence and excitement started to kindle in my stomach. By going to join the Movement, I would gain skills and relationships that would make me stronger, braver, and better able to support and care for my family and friends whenever I returned. The way we loved each other was not going to change - we might not see each other as often, or talk as regularly, but our love would hold strong across the miles.

 

"I can never repay you for your friendship, Ayre," I whispered. "I always wanted an older brother to look up to. I thought that was impossible. But - it seems a lot of impossible things are happening these days, aren't they?"

 

He grinned. "It depends on whose perspective you're seeing things from. I think some of us see a lot more possibilities in you than you've ever seen in yourself."

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I called Ayre yesterday afternoon for our weekly check-in, and we talked for almost two hours and he said so many beautiful and encouraging things (see above) that I felt very warm and fuzzy and confident afterward. I also ended up feeling very sick to my stomach myself most of the day, so after getting off the phone I pretty much rested the rest of the day, except for going to the store to get medicine for my brother and some nibbles for upset stomachs. Everyone is feeling much better today - Broski still has fever and Sister still has a cough and earache, but they are on the mend. And my stomach feels fine - so no more excuses not to do homework.  *hides face in shame*

 

Didn't do any yoga last week, but I did go to the gym twice and walked 3+ miles every weekday (including 7 miles on Friday), so that's pretty good. This week really needs to be about breaking the avoidance cycle and hitting my homework hard - my Big Immovable Deadlines are coming up very quickly and I can't hide my face and pretend they aren't. I did get to the counselor's office and scheduled an appointment, but they can't see me for a month, so it's up to me to use whatever tips and tricks and help-seeking actions I can to keep myself focused and not check out, mentally or emotionally. I am here today and this is my challenge. These projects are my test and I can ace them. I know what I need to do and I am capable of doing it. There's no need to listen to the frightened voice that says I'll never be able to do it all, because it is wrong and it is out to hurt me. The truth is that I know how to do everything I have been assigned and if I apply myself, I will do a great job at all of it. 

 

This afternoon I'm going to set myself a time limit and work on my final Master's project for just one hour, that's all; then I will go play in the pool with Sister for a while and then I'll come back and do another hour of work, then eat a bit, then do another hour and be done for the day. Also reminding myself that I don't have to do EV.ERY.THING today is helpful.  :) 

 

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Oh! and I have finally decided on pseudonyms for the siblings - our parents have always called us by the names of the Muppets we most resemble, because my parents are legit Kermit and Miss Piggy in every conceivable way except for being a literal frog and pig; so hereafter I shall simply refer to my siblings by their Muppet names:

 

Broski 1: Gonzo

Sister: Janet

Broski 2: Sam

Broski 3: Animal

 

(I am Scooter, by the way, but I'm not giving myself yet another pseudonym here. Too confusing.)

 

RadiantKeenIrukandjijellyfish-small.gif 

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4 hours ago, shaar said:

(Have I told you how PROUD I AM OF YOU???)

 

And have told you how proud I am of you??? I mean GIRL, you are doing so much awesome moving and growing and thinking lately and WOW!!! I am so proud of you, Mighty Mage of the Caps Lock!!

 

12 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Oh, come on.  When has this kind of this kind of thing ever happened?  

 

Oh, wait...

 

Jennifer-Lawrence-thats-funny.gif 

 

3 hours ago, Echoceanic said:

EEEEEEK I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! That is so awesome!

 

The thing is, no state is permanent. Not even after you get married (and not only because the marriage will eventually end one way or another). Nothing is permanent. And you can get back from 99% percent of things in one way or another. 

 

I'm so happy you're dealing with everything so well. I am rooting for you and know you will do just fine.

 

Thank you so much, Echo, that means so much to me!! I don't know why I'm so skittish about Permanent Things but I really really am. I take such comfort in knowing that virtually nothing is permanent and it can be reversed or change if I want to do so. (Relationships are not included in that sentiment, though. I like to think those are permanent.  ;)  )

 

tenor.gif?itemid=5638624 

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1 hour ago, SkyGirl said:

Thank you so much, Echo, that means so much to me!! I don't know why I'm so skittish about Permanent Things but I really really am. I take such comfort in knowing that virtually nothing is permanent and it can be reversed or change if I want to do so. (Relationships are not included in that sentiment, though. I like to think those are permanent.  ;)  )

 

 

I find comfort in that too. There is no 'that's it, I can't take another path, this is it'. I mean within 4 years I've changed careers and paths so many times I am a bit excited for something more permanent, but knowing you are not stuck is awesome.

Yeah well, relationships in my mind are permanent in the way anything that leaves a mark on you is - I tend to go the morbid optimistic approach (everything ends sometimes, even if it does when they're 90, and that's why the journey and memories count more). But the thing is even if you are in a relationship with someone and you stay together forever, the relationship itself will keep changing sometimes to worse, sometimes to better, or to a different level of okay. It's all ever shifting and just because you want to stay with that person doesn't mean you can't change or reverse something. Hope this explains my brain. :D

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20 hours ago, Echoceanic said:

I find comfort in that too. There is no 'that's it, I can't take another path, this is it'. I mean within 4 years I've changed careers and paths so many times I am a bit excited for something more permanent, but knowing you are not stuck is awesome.

 

I've been in that place too, ready for something settled after more nomadic portions of my life, but that lack of "this is it" really does make me happy about life in general. I know that isn't true for everyone - a lot of people crave finding that space where they get settled and know they don't have to move again for a long time, be that metaphorically or physically. But even though I am tied to home and family at an emotional level, I have also always been frightened at another level of things that I have to commit to permanently or for a long period of time. I had a job once that required me to commit to it for at least one year and even that gave me anxiety.  :P 

 

20 hours ago, Echoceanic said:

Yeah well, relationships in my mind are permanent in the way anything that leaves a mark on you is - I tend to go the morbid optimistic approach (everything ends sometimes, even if it does when they're 90, and that's why the journey and memories count more). But the thing is even if you are in a relationship with someone and you stay together forever, the relationship itself will keep changing sometimes to worse, sometimes to better, or to a different level of okay. It's all ever shifting and just because you want to stay with that person doesn't mean you can't change or reverse something. Hope this explains my brain. :D

 

Yes, I think it does explain your brain!  :D That's one thing that's so interesting about relationships is that they don't stay static - that's why finding a romantic partner with a strong growth mindset is so important to me. I've seen too many couples fall apart when one partner has tried to change and grow and the other partner has tried to hold them back. Finding someone who understands that love is long-term and your partner  will change over time is one of the key things I'm looking for in a future husband because I want him to be prepared for me to change without freaking out (and I will offer him the same courtesy).

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7 hours ago, shaar said:

Your writing really paints such a picture.  I always look forward to more! <3

 

Thank you Shaar!! It's hard sometimes to find the motivation to write story segments, but when I do it's like BAAAMMM ...  ;) 

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