Day 15

I’ve been up here in The Empire State for 2.5 weeks now, and I think I am probably changed forever. I am learning so many things about myself. I have new concerns for my patients. I am afraid of exposing them to a virus if they do not already have it. I am also afraid of leaving them afraid and feeling isolated even after I see them. It is hard to comfort people when you are trying to maintain a safe distance from them. 

I am also learning to communicate with stressed out family members who are feeling neglected and ignored because they cannot be at the hospital. When our loved ones are sick we want to be there to take care of them and we are unable to allow visitors. I cannot even imagine what it is like to be sitting by the phone wondering what the hell is going on at the hospital. I know my imagination tends to run wild when I cannot be there. I can’t imagine what it would be like during this time. I am trying to make plenty of time to reach out and give these families the support and care they need as well. 

All of this is stressful and it is easy for me to become mired in self-pity and to feel like it is all too much. I have to remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones. My family is safe and sound at home. 

Speaking of lucky, I got presents! A dear, sweet friend made me some beautiful scrub caps and I am already feeling even more loved and cared for than I usually do. Our friends and family are the reason we can keep doing these jobs. They remind us to keep fighting and provide us with the support we need to overcome our fears and self- doubt. When I find myself feeling inadequate and wonder what I am doing all I have to do is think of all the people who believe in me. 

It is so easy to fall into the trap of negative self-talk. When I am frustrated I tend to take it out on myself. I wonder why I cannot be better. I wonder why I do not know all the answers. I convince myself anyone else could do a better job than I am doing right now. I ask myself just exactly who do I think I am and what makes me think anyone would trust me to take care of their loved one. That is a dangerous place to live in for very long. It is also not true. 

Not that I am special, but I know how to take care of patients. I have been taught by the best of the best. I went to one of the best nursing and NP schools in the country. My mentors have all been phenomenal and they have taught me the skills I need to provide excellent care. 

My fears are healthy as long as I keep them in perspective and use them to make sure I am constantly evaluating every situation and looking for the best solution. Staying humble allows me to ask for help and recognize my own limitations. This is why I am good at my job. I am not afraid to ask for help and this is a strength, not a weakness. 

I do not know what the future looks like. None of us do. We all need to keep our wits about us and just keep doing the next thing when it comes up. We will make it through this because we are able to adapt and change. This is our gift as a species. We all need to be prepared for things to change and to be willing to change along with each situation as it arises. We need to protect and love each other. I am so grateful to know I am loved and I get the opportunity to give something back to others. It makes me feel useful. 

Today is a better day. Wish me luck and remember to take care of the ones you love. We all need support right now. These are scary and hard times. I feel like we can make it through though. 

Rockstar Superhero

I have been walking around all day with a ridiculous grin on my face. I have felt confident, competent, and strong. 

This morning was my first day at my new Locum assignment. I had no trepidation or fear when I waltzed into the hospital with no idea where to go. I had a strut in my step and felt open to meeting any new person I contacted. 

I spent some time last night talking to a potential suitor I have been texting. He was charming and funny. Pretty much knocked my socks off. I didn’t feel like I needed to watch what I said or put on some mask of the girl I thought he would be interested in. Nobody has time for that shit. People either like me for me… or I am not their cup of tea. It’s not that big of a deal. 

Then I met the doctor I was working with today. She’s a force of nature. After a little while she put her glasses on and turned and peered at me. Her eyes opened a little wider and she said, “Oh! You’re a pretty girl!” I was pretty much struck speechless. Not sure why she was surprised… but okay. 

The day went fantastic. I loved the view out the window and the job was challenging and fun. I felt like I knew what I was doing! On the first day! Holy crap! 

At the end of the day we were wrapping up and she called me confident and told me how great that is. Once again dumbstruck, I just laughed and sashayed out the door. 

More flirting and fun chatting with The Spy. He’s not really a spy… but I think he could be. Hehe. And he thinks I am cute with nice eyes. So, I have pretty much been blushing all day. 

Met a hairdresser who said my hair is fantastic and she would love to do my blowouts when I am here. 

I spent a good part of the day yesterday reminiscing about my friends and our adventures. They liked the little blurb I wrote about it. Telling them how much I love them gave me such a peaceful and content feeling. 

You wanna make a girl glow and strut around like a woman who knows she has good things to offer? Tell her. Tell her you are excited to meet her. Listen to her. Share things about you. Invest in the relationship. Make her feel like she is worth the effort. I promise she believes in reciprocity. She will make you feel like you are worth the effort too. 

I guess I have fallen into the trap of underestimating a phone call. There is an intimacy that encourages excitement when you are obviously paying attention to each other and not doing 35 things at once while texting. 

You want to make a girl work hard for you? Do you want her to actually meet her potential? Acknowledge the good parts of her personality that she has been ostracized for her entire life. Appreciate her gifts. Help her learn and grow so she can overcome her liabilities and shortcomings. Offer to teach her the procedures she has honestly been too scared to learn until now. 

So today I feel like a rockstar superhero. I have not magically changed overnight, I just got the right amount of awesome compliments at the right moment. When I looked in the mirror tonight while I was removing my makeup I didn’t see a tired mess of a girl. I saw a confident, strong, cute girl with nice eyes. 

It feels good. 

Tell the people in your life what you love about them. It will help them be the person you have always known them to be. 

Red Lipstick and Curls


I am not the most girly of girls. I struggle with the normal things most girls seem to be able to do. One of the most challenging aspects of girlhood has been hair styling. I am not even kidding. For years I did not even own a blow dryer. Forget about a curling iron. Seriously, I am the girl who shaved her head at 17.

For the past few years I have been a little more adventurous in this department. I have been growing my hair out and learning how to use more cosmetic products. (The eyeliner remains hit or miss.) I own a good hairdryer and have actually invested in a flat-iron. I am not saying I use them every day, there are still a lot of days that a ponytail is all you are going to get. Sorry, I am not sorry. 

Despite my forward progress, the curling iron and all other curling apparatus have remained completely shrouded in mystery and challenge for me. Imagine my delight when I found resources for creating curls while you sleep! AMAZING! All I need is a headband? I have those! In my suitcase! So, I had to try it out.

I think the curls turned out pretty well. I was a little nervous my hair was too big and fluffy, perhaps I would be drawing too much attention to myself. I did the only natural thing to do. I paired it with red lipstick. I mean nothing says understated quite like bright red, come kiss me lips. Somehow, I managed to ignore the intense anxiety welling up in my  as I walked out the door.

Femininity is a daunting skill for me. I struggle with it. Dammit! Where is my girly girl brain? The girl who understands what clothes go together and whether or not the electric blue eyeshadow is slutty or not? It is really unfair. How do you know where the line between daring fashionista and garish clown resides?

What are the rules? Don’t try thumbing through fashion magazines. It does not help.

I want to rock red lipstick. I think women who are willing to risk the red smear and mess of red on their teeth are ballsy. That is the kind of woman I want to be. It really has nothing to do with what other people think or like. I want to do it for me.

Some may say it is silly or trite to make wearing red lipstick a life goal. I think the bigger issue is whether or not I am willing to walk out of my house and wear exactly what I wanted to that day. Every moment I resist the urge to wipe it off is a little victory for me. This is similar to my old goal of wearing a dress. Now I buy and wear dresses. 

I am noticing small changes in my ideas about who I am. I am braver and I am proud of the person I am becoming. Personal growth is hard to measure. It is okay to use the little things to evaluate growth. Confidence waxes and wanes throughout the day. I require frequent self- checks to keep my inner dialogue and self- doubt in check. 

I wonder if other women have these issues. The confidence required to wear my hair a little bigger and my smile a little brighter is hard achieve. I used to stare at the ground and avoid interactions with random people. Now I try to be more approachable. It is almost as if I am inviting people to look at me, or offering my costume for their inspection.

Then I remember I am not seeking your approval. I chose this mask for me today. If you like it, thanks. If you don’t, oh well. To be completely honest, it is not even for you. I am expressing my confidence in my unique way. I am giving myself permission to be seen.

Thinking Problems

imagesI may as well admit it, I have a thinking problem.

I continue to over analyze and obsess over every thing that pops into my head. I think it is because I am back to waiting to see when I am going to my new job. Waiting for licensure and credentialing to be completed is agonizing.

I hate waiting.

While I wait, I ruminate.







When is all of this angst ever productive? In my experience, never. So, why do I continue to make myself crazy? I think it may be habit. I refuse to be one of those people who rush into decisions without having thought it all the way through. People who rush into things drive me crazy. Life decisions should be carefully considered.

My anxiety about making decisions is often misguided and borders on ridiculous. By the time I am done going over my options I no longer care which option I choose. I almost always have immediate buyer’s remorse. I should have gotten the other one. I also do the thing where I can’t decide between two options and I either get both, or neither. I have to tell sales people to stay away from me when I am making large purchases. If they are over there prattling on about the features and differences between two options, I get overwhelmed and change my mind. It is really a little embarrassing.

Big life decisions about where I want to work or live are often better left to chance. I do better if I am well-informed, but then when I am going about making the choice I try to see what works out best. The problem with this attitude is I am running the risk of making a choice because it is logistically simpler. Sometimes it is because there is less paperwork involved. I hate paperwork. I don’t like signing stuff and I REALLY don’t like signing stuff again.

I am trying to learn how to back off and relax while still evaluating decisions objectively. I am still trying to figure what characteristics are paramount and which are simply preferences. Location and money are important factors but not as desirable as an excellent learning opportunity. I have not figured out a scale to measure and evaluate decision yet. I think assigning traits a weight would help more than a simple pro and con checklist. What about things that are both pro and con? How do you measure which side wins?

I even manage to get weighed down with the decision to make a decision. It is somewhat ludicrous. Here I am trying to ascertain the proper method for ascertaining what I want out of life. I am actually starting to believe the most important skill of highly successful people must be the ability to decide and follow through with their decision. Where do you learn that skill?

So, where is the delineation between purposeful consideration and needless obsession? How does one go about making a decision and standing behind it with confidence?

Most importantly: How on earth do you make your brain turn off for a little while so you can get some sleep?