Observations

Tell The Truth: Is This Goodbye?

My family hurts me Forcing myself to stay strongly attached to my family hurts me. I often feel scorned and unseen or like I don’t actually feel a sense of belonging with them but rather that I cover myself up when with them. My needs aren’t being met. In many ways, I think I tried to cover this feeling up because many around me claimed to have great relationships with their family. I felt envious because I don’t think I ever truly did feel that. At least not after my grandmother died. Lately I wonder, is it possible to leave my family behind with love? I’m seeking confirmation on this concept. It’s not that I hate them but that I’d like to untangle myself from them to the point where I don’t exactly care to stay in touch often, to call often, to visit often or to have them visit me. For this reason as well as the need for health benefits, I think it would be valuable for me to return to work. I’m so grateful that they agreed to watch my dog while I took a trip to Trinidad. And while I love Django and I truly appreciate the company of dogs, I don’t want another dog or pet after this one. I miss my complete freedom. I’d like to let go of my family in a loving way so that they know that I do still care but that being close to them allows them to hurt me and I don’t want to hurt anymore. Deep inside I feel like I desire better than to feel scorned or unwelcome or forgotten or like I’m a burden or that they’re obligated to love me. They don’t understand my plight. They don’t see it and I don’t feel like they really see me.

I think I’ve attained closure in Trinidad, from Trinidad. I really don’t care to come back. Maybe I just need to honor this concept.

Personal Development

Tell The Truth: The Fire Turned to Ashes

During therapy, I told the truth about all the anger I felt. I explained that the solid boulder I felt in my heart had transformed into a fire that burned throughout my chest. I could see the flames. My therapist instructed me to invite the energy of my mother into the fire and tell her everything I was feeling. I did.

I wish you had the courage in yourself to advocate for yourself. If you did, you would’ve had the courage to advocate for me. I wish you had more love for yourself so that you wouldn’t have projected all of your self-disdain onto me, your daughter. 

That was all I had to say. My therapist asked how I felt and what images I saw. I didn’t know how to explain it at the time. I needed to process. I simply said I felt sore. All the areas that the boulder blocked, all the areas that had burned with flames were gone. I imagined eschar being removed from a wound so it could heal. I didn’t tell her that. What I saw was ashes. Throughout all the areas where the fire had burned, in this seemingly vast wasteland, ashes were now in its place.

One of the things I asked my therapist was whether or not healing meant having to be ‘best friends’ with my mother. I do know (or use to know) people who are best friends with their mom. I told her how I noticed that my cousin often goes into a baby voice whenever she speaks with her mom and that she tells her mother everything. While I thought this was cute, I didn’t want to have that kind of relationship with my mom. I wanted to be able to keep some things to myself if I so chose to. She said that was okay. The truth is that in that moment I sought validation for who I am and what I wanted. She asked if I could honor that. I said yes and felt relieved.

My therapist asked what it is the little girl in me needed as it is possible for me to give her what she needs. I said a voice. She needs to be heard, she needs to continue to tell the truth, be sincere, be authentic, she needs validation and a support system that works for her. Lastly, she needs to advocate for herself. I asked her why these people treated me this way. She said from what I told her it seemed as though they saw me as being strong and resilient and could handle them. I can see this. My original thought is that they tried to break me. But I realize now that they were all cowards. They were scared and taking their fear out on me because I was the most vulnerable.

 

 

Personal Development

Tell The Truth: Day After Mother’s Day

I am chronically angry. In public I smile and say hello, I’m polite, im helpful and I’m nice. But deep inside, I’m angry from years of having it communicated to me that I don’t matter in some way, shape, or form. I’m angry because for years I have been told that in some way I am wrong. This never stopped.

I remember my experience in the NICU where I use to work in DC. All I felt there was anger and distrust. I remember trying to talk to them about what I thought, how I felt, what I needed. Again, it seemed like it was communicated to me that I didn’t matter and I didn’t belong. I tried to stick it out like I always do, forcing myself to stay in situations where I often can feel and know I’m not wanted. Because that’s what the strong girls do right? You don’t let people make you quit your job. But I never worked in a place where I felt so much anger and hostility. Only one and I vowed never to return.

I remember the patient care manager in this NICU. Under the guise of keeping it real she would unleash so many insults, threaten me and say I’d be blacklisted from the hospital for 7 years and that other institutions talk. If she only know how much I had disliked this place. But I didn’t trust them there. I tried and would always be cut off. I felt like I was the outsider and I didn’t belong. And the truth is, I didn’t belong. I didn’t like the energy I felt there or how those who had been there a while would all team up to talk about any newcomers who weren’t exactly like them in some way. I didn’t like that everyone knew each others business and people were constantly gossiping or knew about each other’s personal lives. I wanted out. I used my options.

My family looks at me like I’m a complainer. But the truth is I’m trying to be heard. When I look, I realize that it’s not my ‘family’ I’m angry with. They hurt me for sure. But most of my anger is directed towards my mother for not being the support system I needed as a child. The truth is, since I’ve begun to untangle, I realize that she couldn’t be that support because she still isn’t able to truly support herself emotionally. She’s only now beginning to learn and her voice gets stomped out by the bullies of the family (her two sisters). I realize that all the pain she exacted upon me is what she either had put on her or what she put on herself. She couldn’t do any better. Even when I try to point it out to her, she couldn’t hear me, maybe because as her offspring, my voice didn’t matter if hers didn’t. But that doesn’t make me any less angry. It only makes me hate her more. I can’t imagine seeing my little 10,11,12,13,14,15,16 year old girl cry and hearing her say how her father’s refusal to call her or spend time with her for years even though the two of you are in a relationship makes her feel neglected and abandoned and turning to my daughter and basically blaming her for her absence and neglect. How is she suppose to feel? She felt invalidated and worthless. That’s how she felt. And ended up with a boy who further made her feel invalidated and worthless.

I’m angry because I realize that the little 6, 7, 9, 10 and 13 year old in me mattered just as much as the me I am today does. I’m angry because I realize that I always deserved a voice and was entitled to my own opinion but the grown ups around me didn’t see it that way. I was ‘wild’, I was ‘different’, I was ‘rude’, I was ‘weird’, I was a host of names but these people were not nice and allowed others to do and say not nice things to me. They didn’t allow me to have a voice, they didn’t treat me like I mattered so much as they didn’t want me to make them look bad. Shame. Guilt. Control. That’s what I grew up in.

Grandma, even though I can’t remember a single bad thing about you, I can’t help but feel as though somehow you contributed to the cultivation of all of this. But in my heart, my mother plays the biggest role. I don’t like her. I don’t respect her. Yesterday was mother’s day and I was even more angry with her then than today. Sometimes I feel like I’m just waiting for her to die so I can finally stop feeling like my very being is wrong and like I don’t matter. She keeps me tied to people who constantly seem to try to make me feel like I’m wrong and don’t matter. Why God why?

Personal Development

What is Normal: Belonging

My counselor suggested that I revisit that 11 year old girl who went through a myriad of transitions at once and experienced a lot of pain as a result of her resistance to those changes. She asked what it is that girl, me, needed at that time. That 11 year old girl, I, was angry. Very angry. In many ways she’s still angry. She wanted belonging, validation, and respect. None of which she felt she truly received. But she blamed herself. I think deep inside she wanted to know that she was good enough and that nothing was inherently wrong with her.

The 11 year old girl came up with a lot of reasons why she wasn’t wrong and the rest of the world was the problem. And this was how she coped for years. I think my encounter with God was always humbling but confusing. When I no longer saw the world as being “the problem”, when I felt like I did everything “right”, I again began to question what was wrong with me. This is where I am now. This is what I feel, how I often feel. Like I don’t belong.

I’ve been trying to write myself a new story for years. I’ve been trying to create a new script. I do remember growing up feeling like I had to change who I am in order to fit in. I remember opting not to change, to remain true to myself, even if it meant feeling lonely. But that wasn’t always easy.

Many times my feelings of anger are aimed towards my family that I often felt only supported me so long as my changes weren’t too outside their own comfort zones for approval. My desires weren’t “bad”. Just not acceptable. I realize that even to this day it influences my life.

Most recently, I developed very strong feelings for a man who smokes marijuana. I like him more than any man I’ve met so far. We just click! But I kept destroying the connection because my mother would not approve of the fact that he smoked marijuana. I dumped him. In my heart I think I do regret it because the feelings I have for him are very real.

One of the things I did notice about myself during this time of reflection is that I actually know who I am and what I like and want. I’ve just been afraid to acknowledge it because I deemed many of my wants or feelings or thoughts to be unacceptable. My counselor suggested acknowledging how I feel without judgement. So here it is…

I want to be in control of my life

I want to be heard

I feel I’m a natural born leader

I would really like to reconnect with that guy

I feel myself to be strong, loving, supportive, insightful, intuitive, independent, pretty

I see myself happy

I see myself as an advocate for myself

I see myself growing in the direction of my dreams

I know where I truly belong…it might not be exactly where I am right now

Education

Hello Truth, My Truth

studio-job-studio-job-labyrinth-tea-towelTwo days ago, I found myself feeling hopeless. I went numb. My initial plan was to sign onto my blog and write a bit more but I had no energy. Whatever I had been ignoring suddenly overwhelmed me. My anxiety attacks were occurring more frequently, my heart felt heavy, and I couldn’t even cry.   

This year, my goal was to focus on stress reduction and stress management. I’ve been burnt out and looking for a way out of the mind fuck labyrinth that is the life I created for myself. My solution was always to “try harder” at whatever it was I was doing. As a result, I kept burning out. And I’ve burnt out often. In my personal life, in my relationships, and now in my career choice. I eventually got symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, stomach ulcers, unclear thoughts, migraines, and tension headaches. At several points in my life, I’ve taken myself to the doctor for symptoms that often lead to a myriad of tests, that eventually lead back to them asking, “How are you managing your stress?” Burn out is not fun. The reality is that I was not following my truth and I pay hefty prices for that.

What makes it hard is having to admit to others that the very thing I said I loved with so much pride is now the very thing I despise. I haven’t wanted to admit I was wrong. As a result, I never wanted to say anything else with confidence because I didn’t want to seem fickle.  I’d often imagine people chastising me or saying, “ohhhh! But I thought you said you LIKED what you were doing?” In a mocking voice. But I’ve changed. When I agreed to work in nursing, I had a list of reasons as to why I wanted to be a nurse. But as the years went on, I was able to check those things off my personal list. I grew up. I started seeing other ways to have my needs met, and bedside nursing became less and less of a passion-filled experience for me. I was telling my mom that what I use to love most about nursing was only working three days a week and never once having to think about fashion or style or “looking good” because everyone wears scrubs and sneakers or nurse shoes. But now, I long for the opportunity to “beautify” myself at work. I want to wear nice dressy outfits, or dark blue jeans, long dangling earrings, and well manicured (possibly long) nails. In addition to the desire for more fashion choices, I became disillusioned with my experiences at the bedside.

I’m not dumping on bedside nursing in the least. Bedside nurses work SO hard. Possibly too hard. And it’s never enough. It’s just never enough for anyone. In the days when I derived my worth from the amount of recognition and acknowledgement I received, this almost killed me. But now I feel I am enough. Even more, I feel I have given enough to the bedside. I know there’s a lot of people in this profession who look at me and think, “You haven’t been a nurse that long. You burnt out already?” Yes, I have. Mostly, because I’ve changed and when something no longer aligns with your values, then “length of time” involved isn’t exactly a factor. It’s only a matter of time before you let it go or let it kill you. I almost let it kill me.

Trying to “prove my value” was stupid and futile. I am a worthy individual. I’ve been 10316a8d44f479fc5a602a23ca3c61adf2659512_largetalking about my feelings and outlook with anyone who’d listen. Yesterday, while driving to work, I kept asking,”What do I do? What do I do?”. It just seemed glum. For starters, I’ve worked as a bedside nurse caring for adults across the age spectrum with a myriad of illnesses and in a variety of specialties and I grew exhausted and disillusioned with every single one. I can’t see myself returning to the bedside to provide healthcare with the adult population. That chapter is through for me. What I heard inside of myself was, “When you get into grad school go!” Four hours later, I got the phone call followed by the email saying that I got into my first choice school. I’m going to graduate school.

I’m done clinging to work place perceptions as a source of self-validation. I’m done with feeling shame for admitting that bedside nursing wasn’t what I expected it to be. I don’t regret the struggle. I am, however, ready for something new. I want to grow. I want to change. I want to lead a life that’s congruent with my values and the person I am becoming. I’m done living in the past.