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. 

Pugnaciously and Pertinaciously Yours


Words. I love words.

I love how using the proper word enables me to clarify my meaning when I am trying to explain something to someone.

The problem lies in my inability to find the right word at times.

For example, how do I describe myself?

  • quirky
  • eccentric
  • pugnacious
  • pertinacious
  • idiosyncratic
  • capricious
  • obstinate
  • resolute
  • open-minded (that one may be wishful thinking on my part)
  • intransigent
  • compassionate
  • curious

All of these words will work to describe me. Some of them are pretty similar, while others directly contradict the notion of the previous. If pertinacity and capriciousness both fit my personality, how can I be either? (By the way, if you don’t know any of these words- I recommend you download a dictionary app, or google them. I found a very interesting article about pugnacity and pacifism when I googled it earlier.)

So, here is the point. I am on a journey. (psst- we all are- that is what life is.) I have been told the whole song and dance about how you have to love yourself. Embrace who you are, appreciate you for you. It goes on and on. Be nice to yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. Sometimes, I am able to do that.

Other times, not as much.

bran pics for gradbook0111
Who am I to be mean to that sweet boy’s mother?

People tell you to ignore the negative self-talk. The negativity that runs through your head. The worst part is, the negative stuff is just easier to believe. They tell you to look in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you.” Ugh. Don’t even get me started. Those are just words. I was raised to be strong and independent. I was told often that I was beautiful, and that I was loved.

I really have no excuse for the way that I talk to myself. I cannot explain why I judge myself so harshly.

I have a real conundrum when I look at the pictures of me working out or at the Tough Mudder. On one hand, I love that I have photographic evidence of it. On the other, I see a million flaws. I would never say the things I think about myself to another person, so why do I say them to me? I feel so strong and awesome after I workout. So, why does it fill me with so much dread?

Why would this girl not be good enough to go to the gym? She loves it! Why can’t she go?

Because I am not there yet. I told myself for years that I would workout when I was thinner. I needed to lose weight before I could go to the gym. I am not sure how I expected this miraculous weight loss to happen, I just knew that I was not worthy of the gym until it happened. hmm. This line of thought makes a lot of sense right?

It’s the whole dress thing all over again. One of my goals was to lose enough weight to wear a dress. I know, dumb. Guess how I fixed the problem. That’s right! I went out and bought a dress. I wore the dress. Even now, I feel pretty fantastic in these dresses. I still have the negative thoughts every time I look at them in the closet, telling me I am not ready to wear the dress. I am not good enough. It is a constant battle. I get a negative thought, and I either give in to it, or I ignore it and go about my merry way. IMG_6182

Oh, and the negativity does not stop at the physical aspects of my personhood. I constantly tell my intelligent, somewhat articulate self that I am stupid, or uninteresting. Why? Why on earth would I tell myself that? I convince myself that no one cares what I have to say. (Despite repeated assurances to the contrary.)

So, if I know that the things I tell myself are not true, and if lots of other people whose opinions I respect contradict these lies, then why are these poisonous thoughts on a constant loop in my mind? When do they stop for good?

Now, don’t get all worried about me, I have plenty of tools to combat this problem. I have ways of dealing with myself that leave me pretty much okay most of the time. I am just perplexed at the pervasive nature of the thoughts. It’s like they are professional confidence killers for hire. Who hired them?

Oh, that’s right. I did! I am the one responsible. It is irritating. One more thing I can blame myself for. Do you see the inane nature of this? It is a perpetual cycle.

So, what is the answer?

I assure you, it is not looking in the mirror and murmuring sweet nothings to myself. (If you ever catch me doing that, I probably need either food or a drink because I will have lost whatever is left of myself to this insane cycle, and it could be a symptom of hypoglycemia or something.) I seem to be doing fairly well, with constant conscientious opposition to the negativity. As long as I remain vigilant, I suppose that I just might have a chance to convince myself to shut the hell up and get on with it already.

The look on my face is hysterical. I need to find something to wear this dress to… Hey! I know! Sergio- wanna ask me out? I can wear this dress!

Or, I may just wear a quirky hat. Or, maybe a tiara. I am still trying to figure out how to pull it off for every day wear.

So, I promise to ignore the little voice in my head (the one that screams louder than the rational one,) and to keep trekking along on this adventure. I am doing two more Tough Mudders. I am going back to boxing. I am going to eat well and right. I am even going to wear dresses that probably show a little too much cleavage, and wear a little too much eye makeup.

I am not going to stop having crushes on totally unobtainable men (Sergio Garcia- that one is for you.) I am going to go out-of-town to see a friend. I am going to seek to improve. I am going to work on my story (I still can’t call it a novel, but I really hope that is what it turns into.)

Despite the negativity, I am going to keep going. I know I am not the only one who struggles with this. Maybe that is the point. We all have problems. It’s a shame that mine just happens to be me.


*This whole post started with me trying to find the right word to describe myself- which led to a google search- which led to an article explaining why pugnacity was not always the best trait- which led to self-doubt- which birthed this diatribe of honesty. Sorry, I am not sorry.



Yesterday, I saw the latest Dove campaign that is promoting body positivity. There were two doors, one marked beautiful, and the other was marked average. The women who walked through the beautiful door had a big smile on their face. The women who walked through the average door had a look of resignation.

The part that made me cry was all the women who said that if they had the chance to do it over, would choose the beautiful door next time. Is it a crime to feel good about yourself?

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Girls are taught that self-confidence is attractive, and they are also taught that airbrushed supermodels are the ideal we should strive for. We are taught that we should want to lose 10 pounds (or more!), finding a man is paramount for happiness, and that this lipstick will make us look more desirable. Don’t even get me started on the sex tips that so-called women’s magazines tout as helpful life tools.

We are bombarded with images that are not real all day long every day. Wear this magic bra, and Prince Charming will come knocking on your door… I’m sorry, but, what??? Some guy is going to fall in love with me because my breasts look amazing? This makes no sense at all to me. Wear this skin smoothing foundation, and you will look years younger. This will get him to notice me! 

Who on earth is this elusive life partner that is combing the world looking for a girl exactly like me? I mean, who on earth would think that I have something to offer? I am loud, awkward, and a little difficult. I like to say I am strong willed. Where do you meet a man when your favorite activity is going to the movie alone? Or worse, curled up on the couch with a good book?

Even Cinderella required a magic fairy godmother to make her catch the eye of her prince. I don’t have a fairy godmother. I am not interested in internet dating, and I am not an easy girl to fix up. Oh, I had an odd encounter on twitter, where a dude wanted to suck my toes… (that was so uncomfortable.)

Seriously, I like to think that I am interesting, smart, and yes- I think I am a cute girl. I need to lose weight, but that is something I am working on. Does admitting that I would like to find a man make me desperate? The constant editorial running through my head confirms the desperation.

We are told that the fat girl is the sidekick. It is okay to be smart or funny. Don’t kid yourself though, the leading man is never looking for you. He is looking for someone with the whole package. Not the girl who failed to take care of herself. So, are you supposed to wait until you manage to figure out how to wrangle your body into perfection?

Which brings me to another issue.

My body is never going to be perfect. (Turns out that no one has the perfect body, there is always something that they want to change.) My goals have changed from wanting to look a certain way, to wanting to be able to accomplish certain things. This has been the healthiest switch in attitude for me. When I see “AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS TRANSFORMATIONS” I am a little sad. Why do we pretend as a society that life automatically gets wonderful if we lose weight?

I like to believe that I have already started the transformation, and that it is not wise for me to wait until I am “done” to feel confident. Seems to be a mindset thing.

So, here is the point. I am not certain what makes a person beautiful. I know that I am going to treat myself like I am. I am choosing that door.


Mirror, Mirror

Who decides what is attractive? Who decides what is pretty?

I am in the process of growing out my hair. Let’s be honest, most of the time it ends up in a ponytail, except for those days that I feel like making an effort. Some people make an effort to please others, I am not one of those people. I make an effort for me.

There is so much pressure to impress the rest of the world, and really that seems to be an act of futility. It is difficult enough to just make myself happy. Eyeliner, mascara, and that sparkly stuff that you smear on your face. Are we trying to hide, or accentuate our features? Don’t even get me started on hair color, manicures, and Spanx. High heels, skinny jeans, and plunging necklines.

Do all the accessories and paint make us pretty?

Probably not.

For me, the mascara and eyeliner give me a sense of confidence. I do not know why. This is the first time I have ever really thought about it. But, I have heard that confidence is sexy on a woman. So, bring on the eyeliner.

No makeup, dirty, sweaty, gross. I think I look great! Nose wrinkle and all.

It’s funny, my most recent FB profile pictures have been me, without makeup. Pictures taken after I have been working out. (Or doing a TM- which left me looking pitiful, but I felt accomplished.)

So, is it personality that makes people attractive? Should we just try to let our personality shine through?

Maybe it is confidence. Or happiness.

I really do not think it is external stuff at all. Maybe it is just liking who we are and then other people like it too. The power of suggestion is strong.

But, let’s be serious. The magnifying mirror is not our friend. Examining our flaws, and looking for imperfections is not the way to feel pretty.

So, I ask again… who decides what is pretty?

Maybe it is up to me. Maybe I have to like what I am doing, and then I will like the results. I have been fighting a terrible cough, which is finally getting better, so I need to get back to the gym. I felt prettiest then. I felt strong and capable.

The gym is another thing that I do not do for other people. No one cares if I work out. I am the only person that benefits. I am ready. I am ready to embrace strong and healthy.