The Choice.

Flashback to 6 months ago….

It’s around 4:30pm. I was working for a home health care company, and had just gotten home from cleaning a clients house for two hours, while silently crying to myself.

Why was I crying? A week earlier I was given the companies first pediatric client, diagnosed with autism, along with a few other things. I had had no training, no experience, and less than 24 hours to prepare myself before my first visit. I stayed up all night researching everything I could about autism, not knowing that there is really nothing you can find that will describe caring for every person with autism- everyone is different. It was like nothing I had expected, it shook me, and I was terrified. Caring for people is no joke.

I had been crying because after a week of working with this client, and being so scared because I didn’t know what I was doing, I was overwhelmed and my brain was fried. I had been given the night off. And I was so relieved. And then last minute I was told I had to go to the clients house anyway, because I was the only employee that knew how things worked there. So I had gotten my hopes up, on top of being overwhelmed and anxious to have to go over there again.

By the time I arrived home, I was starting to panic. I could not stop crying to save my life.  I forced myself to eat something while trying to hold back tears. Halfway through my meal my hands and feet started to tingle and then go numb, and I began to hyperventilate. It was about 45 minutes before I needed to be on my way to the clients house when I found myself on the floor. Laying on my stomach, on top of my hands, listening to the ringing coming from my phone. I had managed to dial my bosses number (Who also happened to be a friend of mine from high school.), and hit the speaker button before I could no longer open my hands. I explained what was happening between gasps, and begged for him to find someone else, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t think. I was done.

He talked me down for a half an hour, until my breathing regulated, and I was able to stand up again. There was nothing he could do, I had to be at the clients house in 15 minutes. I pulled my scrubs back on, and cleaned up my face. Light-headed and still scared, I headed to the clients house. I had a job to do.

New Years 2017…

I had been unhappy for a while, but the anxiety attack was the last straw- it was finally so bad that it was effecting my health. I missed Washington, and the people here. I wanted to do something with my life. I wanted to do something I, and family could be proud of. I wanted to keep growing, and moving forward. I didn’t feel like I could do that in South Dakota, I didn’t feel like I could go anywhere. It was like I was trapped in a never ending loop, lost in limbo forever.

We were sitting at a nice little bar in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. One by one groups of people left their tables to walk to the Alex Johnson Hotel, where the towns version of the time square ball dropped. My boyfriend at the time, one of our good friends, and I sat at a table next to the bar watching as the room cleared out, until it was just us, a couple old men, and the bartender. Ethan and Harry were immersed in their own conversation. I sat quietly, and listened to the crowd, just a few blocks down the street, start the countdown. Sipping at my cider, I watched the ball drop in Time Square, from the large flat screen above the bar, and made the same promise to myself that I always did: “This year will be different. This year I will not dream about things, I will have them. This year I will do things for me. This year things will change, and it will be great.” —BUT, this year I mean it, no excuses, no matter what nothing will stop me. Do, or die trying.

Today, June 28, 2017…..

Today I am making a new home, and a new life for myself 1,216 miles away from where I made those promises. It wasn’t easy getting here, there was a lot of tears, uncertainty, fear along the way. So many times, I wanted to scream out “I’M JUST KIDDING!”, take it all back, and crawl back into my same little loop. I couldn’t though, because I knew that if I didn’t just go for what I wanted, I would never get it. Dreams don’t chase you. You have to chase you’re dreams.

It’s not all perfect. I still have a lot of growing to do out here, it’s a work in progress, but it feels better. I feel closer to the life I want, even though I’m not sure what that life looks like. But that’s the best part- I HAVE NO IDEA what will happen. All I know is that I am exactly where I want to be right now, no longer stuck in my loop, and I can finally breath again!

How have you grown in the last 6 months?

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

 

No One Said It Was Going To Be Easy

This is the part where I pull a wrinkled news paper out from between the cushion of an old leather chair, and straighten it out in front of me. The date: May 3rd, 2017. The headline reads:

“Twenty-Something Year Old Makes Quick Decision To Quit Job, Empty Bank Account, Say Goodbye To Friends & Family, Pack Car Full Of Belongings, And Move Half-Way Across The Country To Start Life Anew.”

And here we are!

It’s been one week since I pulled into the driveway of my Dad’s house here in Skagit Valley, car packed, exhausted, and teary eyed. The journey was long, my emotions where out of control, but in the end I am happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest and I know that it will be worth it.

I was joined by my best friend on the drive to my new home, which was comforting, and made the transformation a little easier. She followed in her car, with her little one, and at least once an hour we were talking about the drive via phone. We shared a motel room in Bozeman, MT to rest after a long day of packing, working, and driving, and then headed out in the morning towards my home in Mount Vernon, WA. Along the way I would catch her laughing at me, and my jam sessions, through the rear view mirror, and we would call each other to laugh about it.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to leave the comfort of South Dakota behind me. I cried, a lot, but you know what? I am going to come back. I will visit. It was not a final goodbye. Leaving the place you grew up in, and know by heart sucks, but it will always be there. Right where you left it. I also cried when I reached the Cascades. (It was a very emotional trip.) At the first sight of the Washington I know so well, and have loved my entire life.. I totally lost it.

Every dream, and every goal just seemed so close. Or maybe I’m just overly dramatic. Either way, I made it here, FINALLY!

The last week has been great! Busy, for sure, but great. So far I have:

  • Unpacked everything! (WOOHOOOOO!)
  • Shown the best friend and her Littles the ocean.
  • Been to the islands.
  • Opened a bank account.
  • Gotten a new Drivers License.
  • Sent out resume and applications. (Unemployment is freaking me out.)
  • Spent time with the family. (Biological & not.)
  • Went to Seattle (China town!!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, double feature, in I-MAX 3D (Because I’m slightly nerdy.)
  • And spent A LOT of time with my friends up in Bellingham, having fun and finding my way around. (The plan is to live there.)

It’s helpful to have people already here. Friends that I’ve known for years, that I trust. I got lucky that way. One of my favorite people is here, and thank God for him because he’s made everything so much better. 10 years of sticking by my side, no matter what, back and forth between being here and being 18 hours away, I know I will never be alone here. I already feel at home.

I guess my point is to not be afraid to go after the things you have always dreamt about, but to be aware that making the big changes WILL be scary, and might suck at first, you just have to power through it. You have to take time to adjust. You will miss that little town you always wanted to leave, but everything will be ok.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

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May 11, 2017. Mount Vernon, WA