Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dear America

I read something that I'd like to share. Aaron Paul posted the following on instagram yesterday.

"The 11th hour has come and it is loud. Louder than before. Louder than ever. You family and friends fighting with one another, picking sides. Raising their voices to be heard. Spitting out the cliff note facts they think they might know. She said he said. Wrong. No. Stop. Enough. We are split. There is no talking to the other side. Either side. Republican or Democrat. Whoever wins there will be half the country holding each other, screaming, crying, packing their bags (if they can) and moving because they may have lost hope in this beautiful country of ours. The land of the free and home of the brave. Whatever happens tomorrow let us all remember we are living on this pale blue dot in the middle of nowhere and none of us knows whats going on. What I do know is that we should all have at least ONE responsibility and that is to simply LOVE one another. Simple as that. Let us just try and keep our heads high and now as a nation and stand strong by each other's side no matter the outcome. Do this in a kind way. A loving way. Not in a I told you so way. No more hatred. No more bigotry. Let us work thru our beautiful and flawed differences. That's all. Thank you for reading. #VOTE"

This. A thousand times this. Today I read the following also on instagram. Are you following Jedidiah Jenkins? You should be. His words are amazing and always so thought provoking.

"I once saw I spider in Versailles. I was on a tour and I saw this tiny cobweb and a spider living in the corner. I wondered if that little lady had any idea she lived in one of humanity's greatest places. I wonder if she knew her web was sewn onto gold leaf. I wonder if she cared that blood was spilled and slaves whipped and Marie-Antoinette died in the theater of that little spider's home. 

"I bet the spider thought nothing of it. Nothing of our spectacle. Nothing of our grave history. Just, 'dang, I wish there were more bugs in here.'"

Do any of us really take in the majesty of where we are? The fact that we're all tiny ants on a giant blue ball of water in the middle of an endless sea of space? How many Americans actually take in the fact that we are shaping our little corner of history? That we have a hard-fought right to vote. It is a right, also a responsibility. A responsibility to educate yourself on actual issues and, sadly, for many people, the way that our government is set up. 

I very proudly say that #ImWithHer. Not because she's the lesser of two evils. Not because I think the other candidate is a deplorable human being. I do think that, but you don't vote based on who you think is a 'better' person. You vote, hopefully, ideally, for the candidate that you feel will best represent the values you stand for in the leading of our great nation. In order to do that you have to do a little bit of research. By research I don't mean listen to commercials on tv, or realistically to news broadcasts. Every one has their bias. If you're going to listen to either side of a news broadcast, watch knowing that bias exists. On both sides. 

I had a conversation with a coworker as we were leaving work last night that sums my voting experience this year. "The reasons I voted for Hillary were all policy based. The reasons I would have not voted for Trump are all societal based. Because he has no actual discernible plan or policy that I could find." Aside from the fact that I still don't know that 'societal' is the word I was looking for (or a word at all tbh) That pretty much sums it up. 

We also had a discussion on how realistically, no matter who wins the presidency very little if anything of our day to day lives will change. And the gross impossibility of some of the claims made by Trump. Are there actually people that believe that the president himself can overturn Roe V Wade? People, IT IS AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION PEOPLE (the 14th... look it up if you're not familiar). In addition, are people not familiar with the three different branches of our government and the balance of powers? Even if all three branches of government were on board, such a drastic change in AN AMENDMENT TO THE FREAKING CONSTITUTION would take a shit ton longer than four years. I wish people -our own fellow citizens- were more educated on the way our government runs. Did you take that little online quiz thing that spun your opinions around all the candidates platforms and told you who your opinions were the most alike? I took the full long version and 97% of my views aligned with Hillary. Even I was surprised. Less so, the more I looked into each platform issue. 

My point is this. Be educated. Make informed decisions. Make choices on what you want, on what you know. Not based on hate. Do I think Donald trump is a deplorable human being who has zero respect for women, who is a bigoted racist who is so alike Hitler and Putin that it honestly makes me shudder, who is a dishonest and terrible business man? Yes. Is that why I didn't vote for him? No. I didn't vote for him because My values aligned more closely with the other candidates. Because I truly feel she is the better and more qualified candidate who will continue taking this country in the direction I'd like to see it go. I made the decision based on these facts. 

And if the election doesn't go the way I'd like it to, I'll be ok. Like I said, I realize that very little about my day to day life will change. Honestly, more than anything, I would be disappointed and sad for the state of humanity in our country. At the amount of hate and anger toward our fellow man that has been exhibited. The lack of integrity in leaders who refused to condemn actions they themselves found deplorable. The way that we fix that though is love. I have a voice. We all have a voice. An I hope today we all used that voice and let it be heard. At the polls. And I hope tomorrow we all use that voice to unite as one country, as one human race and be a little more kind, a little more tolerant of our fellow man. We're all in this together. Like it or not. So let's use our voice to be kinder to every person we meet in our little corner of this little blue dot we live on. And if I wake up tomorrow and the election has gone the way I hope it will, thenI hope tomorrow we all use that voice to unite as one country, as one human race and be a little more kind, a little more tolerant of our fellow man. We're all in this together. Like it or not. So let's use our voice to be kinder to every person we meet in our little corner of this little blue dot we live on.

Do what you can to make your little corner of this space we live on a better place. And realize that it's a very small corner on a very small space. Perspective.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

On Doing That Thing I Do

There was a time in my career when I would walk out of the Emergency department at the end of my shift on top of the world. Actual physical excitement, and I remember thinking on several occasions, 'I can't believe I get to do this job!' I was the luckiest girl in the world. This was all I had ever wanted to do. And now it was here and it was everything I thought it would be and more. Fast forward a few years and the enthusiasm wains. But I've become damn good at what I do. And I'm still proud of what I do. I tell people, I save lives for a living. And it's true. Fast forward a few more years and I'm crying on the way in to work and sitting in the parking garage for ten extra minutes trying to force myself to go it. I get home and can't wait to take my scrubs off. Because I'm so excited to not have to be a nurse anymore that day. I'm tired.

A couple more years. A new state. More sunshine. More freedom. I no longer cry on my way into work. I don't hate my job most days. The fact that this feels like 'success' the fact that I don't loathe my job anymore feels like a win? That's depressing af. I see new nurses and student nurses in the ER and they're so excited. So passionate. And I tell them to hold on to that for as long as they can. They smile because they think I'm joking, but I'm not. I'm not mocking their enthusiasm. I'm giving honest advice.

My uber driver this morning asked me if I liked my job and I told him, "Some days. And some days I wish I'd gone to beauty school." This is not a knock to people who have gone to beauty school. Those who know me know that the people who do my hair are two of my most favorite people, and people that I hold a great deal of respect for. Both for the amazing work that they do and the hard work they've put into their careers, their art. It's something I'd thought about doing once upon a time however briefly, and sometimes I wish I'd done something else. Anything else.  But what I told my uber driver this morning wasn't wrong. I do like my job some days.

I just got home from the Emergency Nurses Association Conference. Three days of classes, mediocre food, and a whole lot of free pens, lunch bags, water bottles, and even a reusable ice pack. I have only been once before. A few years ago in Tampa, FL. The conference is annual, and after the first one I was so rejuvenated and loved it so much that I wanted to go every year. But life happens and work happens and I haven't been since. The thing about the conference is, it kind of feels like church for your job. You go to church on Sunday, you get spiritually fed, and you feel like you can make it another week.

You go to ENA conference and you get your shriveled, blackened, jaded little ER nurse soul revived. You feel like you can go to work another week. Because there is a reason you wanted to do this. That reason gets lost sometimes. twelve years of being yelled at, spit on, verbally abused, threatened, and belittled by patients contribute to that. But that's not the only contributing factor. Even through all that, most of us got into this business because we wanted to help people. We have a skill set and we have the determination to help people even when they're at their worst and most vulnerable. One thank you from a sweet little old grandma can undo a week's worth of abuse from other patients and their families.

The thing that's harder is the 12 years of being understaffed, under appreciated, reprimanded for not checking the right box on a chart, for charting but not scanning the motrin that the 18 month old spit all over your hand. Treated like a petulant child by management and administration. Nurses and doctors are no longer resources. We are commodities. We are disposable operators of the electronic chart robot who exist to click the right boxes so that the hospital can get paid. Oh, and hand out narcotics and turkey sandwiches. So that the hospital can get paid. That's not healthcare. That's not what we signed up for.

And so there's a disconnect. There's conflict. You get tired. And I don't want tired to be my story. Instead of coming to work excited every day to see what I got to do and then leaving feeling like I have the greatest job in the world, I just come to work. Sometimes excited to see my friends. I survive a shift. I fake a smile. I fetch all the turkey sandwiches and narcotics. I do the ordered tests that are unnecessary because it doesn't matter if we as doctors and nurses all think they're medically unnecessary. That's not what we're paid for. We're paid to make sure the hospitals and insurance companies get paid. And to not get sued in the meantime.  Does anyone know the ICD-10 code for holding the hand of the young woman who just got told she had cancer? What about for hugging the 95 year old man who's going home without his wife for the first time in 60 years because she died? What about the ICD-10 code for watching a patient walk in and knowing to put the crash cart outside their room because something isn't right, and you know that just from a glance. Where's that box to click?

What do you do when you 'like' your job 'some days' but you can't imagine what else you'd rather do with your life? I don't have any permanent answers. I can tell you that one thing you do is you go to these conferences. You read books. You watch TED talks. You realize that your issues are not only your's. There are people from across the country, and even Sweeden and The Netherlands who feel the same way. You listen to talks from physicians who feel the same way and have a Facebook following of hundreds of thousands of people who feel the same way. You learn new skills to cope. You get the strength in your ER nurse soul revived, and you get the strength to try again.  And then you go back to work and you take care of the people. You do what you got into this business for. You do it for those people. And you try to check all the boxes to make the desk people happy, but you take care of people for the people. You do what you can. And that's all I have for now. But it's enough.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Those Things We Tell Ourselves

On inadequacy... Why is it sometimes so hard to be kind to ourselves? Why is it sometimes so hard to believe that we deserve good things? Like, not just say we believe it and like all the nice quotes on instagram believe it, but like feel it deep in your soul at the very core of who you are believe it? There's a certain need to measure up. To be good enough, to compare. This is not ok. The need to measure up, the need to be good enough is not the same thing as always striving to improve. The subtle difference is in the intrinsic motivation. What are you trying to be good enough for? Who? Who says that you have to be 'good enough' for anyone or anything or any ideal? And why do we listen? Why do we internalize that? The truth is, you are good enough. Already. Right this second. Just as you are. One of my favorite accounts on instagram (@idillionaire) I found through the woman that owns the salon where I get my hair done. Today she posted a snipet that fit SO well with my post-yoga self discovery thought train that I had to share.

Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress --which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once. Little message for anyone who needs a reminder on trusting the process. Understand that patience means trust. It means you believe you'll receive the seed you've sowed. Don't let worry, fear, and anxiety make you dig up what you've planted just to see if it's growing. If you didn't know before there's a very important universal law called "The Law of Gestation" this law basically means that there is a natural process and order to things once they have been planted. This law works in nature; growing trees, food, and even all reproduction systems. The truth is right in front of our faces even if we don't pay attention. This is why we have to learn to respect and honor the process. When it comes to our goals and our dreams we expect things to happen, like, yesterday. And when they don't show up in the timeline that we want or the way that we expect, our doubts and limiting beliefs come into play. Our negative mind chatter creeps up and starts blurring our vision. You ave to believe that life is perfect and timing is life's best friend. Trust the process, and have faith in the unseen. The minute you decide on a goal or have a strong vision in what it is you want to accomplish, the energy starts moving through you and begins the work. Everything is in fruition! Your vision will be realized. Just believe!

We don't owe being 'enough' to anyone. As Erin McKean says, “You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.” You don't owe prettiness to anyone. You don't owe measuring up or being enough to anyone. You deserve it. For you. You deserve to spend time on yourself. You deserve to have your hair done well.  You deserve the new lil gloss that makes you feel pretty. You deserve to feel pretty, you deserve to feel enough. For you. Not because you owe it to the world. Because you're you. And you deserve good things. You deserve to feel good things and to feel pretty when you're all dressed up and going out for the night, and when you're makeup free dripping rivers of sweat in a hot yoga class, and when you're eating ice cream watching tv at home alone. You deserve to eat good things, healthy things. You deserve to move and be healthy.

The little things we tell ourselves, even on an unconscious or subconscious level do some damage. I had a hard time at hot yoga today. I got dizzy a couple times, I couldn't find my balance on my right leg in any of the poses, and I couldn't get my brain to focus or connect with the breath or any one thing. My mind was racing to all the things to try to focus on -focus on the breath, tuck your ribs in, pull your tailbone in, ground through your feet-- flitting from one internal suggestion to the other without landing on any one in particular. As I was walking home I found myself wondering why it was such a difficult class for me today. The poses were the same, the teacher was the same and wonderful. The class was good, so what was it? Ultimately it is this deep seeded belief I've installed in myself that I'm not good enough. And as I strip away and let go of the layers and beliefs and bad habits I've gotten into I'm uncovering the deep hidden layers that weren't even on a conscious level yet. And it feels good to get down there, to strip away everything else and get to the center of who you are. The good pieces and the pieces that you need to reconstruct. Tear down and build again. There's such a freedom and a stillness that comes in self acceptance. In saying "Okay." Not in trying to change, but in those moments of realization, just feeling what you're feeling, listening to yourself and saying okay. The realizing and accepting what is and being ok with what is so you can build what you want, what you need. It starts with saying okay. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Okay, my body doesn't want to make that shape right now. Okay, let me just stay here for a minute. Okay, you don't feel like you're 'enough' for this person. Okay, let's feel that for a minute. What is it? Now let it go.  Be proud that you showed up today. And show up tomorrow and ask your body to make that shape again. And tell yourself that you ARE enough and believe it. Be enough for yourself and let that be all that matters. Let other people's opinions go. Show up for yourself. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Late Night Thoughts

A quick note on staying. Part of the unspoken tribal 'rules' when I was growing up was this idea of staying. Family members that stayed close to home -next door or within a 30 minute radius- were lauded and praised, ones that ventured out as far as an hour or a couple time zones away were... not outcast, but it was different.  I just typed and then deleted several snippets of conversation I remember vividly from my childhood. Deleted because, that's not the point. I don't even think the thoughts or the words were a conscious thing. It's a several-generations deep basic instinct, part of the 'rules' that are unspoken among a group. Family or otherwise. There is nothing wrong with rules. Rules help ensure survival of the group. So staying. There is nothing wrong with staying. It's a beautiful thing.

When I was a small child, only able to speak a few words I had one phrase perfected. It was "No home!" Let me state clearly and without reservation that this was not a reflection on my home. I had the most lovely of childhoods with parents who loved me, and loved each other. I wanted for nothing. I was happy. Every time we'd be out running errands or shopping or whatever the day's tasks may have been, the story goes that I would protest loudly and repeatedly "No home!" from my carseat in the back of our car. No matter what route my parents tried to take, or where we started from, according to my mother I had a sixth sense that ALWAYS knew when we were heading toward home, and I was always down to stay wherever we were for longer. From the carseat.

Growing up I loved to hear this story --I mean, what an adorable kid right?! Lol. Who doesn't want to stay out shopping more even at 18months?!  Again, it's not that home was a bad place to be... but, there was so much more to see and do...

I've thought a lot in recent years that this in a quality that I never lost. The first time I went away on vacation --I was hooked. The first time I went to New York I literally went through withdrawals upon leaving for MONTHS. And so a traveller was born. For a while I found a place that I wanted to stay for a while. And I stayed. And I fell in love. And I fell out of love. And I stayed. And it felt like home. For a long time. And then before I realized that it wasn't home anymore I was miserable. I was a rockstar at a job that I hated. I had fallen into this old bred-deep idea that everyone had a place. That there was a home. A geographical location where everyone belonged. And you settled down and you did adult-y things like buy houses and establish pension plans. By the time I realized I needed out I was a shell of the strong woman I had become. I felt such a strong pull to be near to my family again. The thought of leaving my family had me in sobs and tears every time, so I moved my home. That gypsy soul was still lulled to rest by the concept of adulthood engrained in my brain. It was right to go home. At the time I thought I'd stay there forever. In retrospect, that was not meant to be. I was never meant to stay. I was meant to be there and to have the experiences I did. Of that I am sure. I am also sure that I was never meant to stay. Again, by the time I realized I was meant to go I had held on to the concept of staying and permanence longer than was healthy for my mental state.

The point of this (I do have one) is that I find myself at an interesting cross road. I've found a new place. I love this place. It feels like a lot of things that feel like home. I have a complete mental block on calling it home or on committing to stay. And I'm ok with that. Because staying is not for me. --geographically. I'm happier than I've been in years. I've lost 40lbs without trying. I have a core group of friends and coworkers that feel like family. I feel free. I feel right. I smile every day. Every day. Do you know why? Because I let go of the idea of staying. This idea of permanence is lost on me geographically. Do you know what's permanent in my life? People. My people. My family. My people here in LA, my people from Seattle, my people from New York, the people I met in these places are literally scattered all across the country now and with one soul-sister (in the literal sense of the term) even in Kenya. They are my permanent. They are my stay.

Sometimes it kills me to FaceTime with the people I love most in this world. I love my littles more than anything in this world and I treasure the time I get to see them --even if it's only on screen-- more than life itself. It's also hard. To not be able to go snuggle them and have them read me stories and do my makeup and see them play and laugh and grow in person. Sometimes that kills me.

People ask me all the time "When are you just going to sign on and stay?" Or "Where are you going next?" and few people understand "I'm not" and "I don't know." And that's ok. It's not for them to understand. I'm not sure I understand it fully. What I do understand is this. It's me. And I'm ok with it, and I'm ok with not knowing and not having it all figured out. I have a home. I have a permanent. I have a stay. Mine just looks different than yours. Mine is not geographical. Mine is my people. Someday I might have a geographical stay also. Who knows? I like my version of permanent just fine. If staying in one geographic location near my babies --my littles-- wasn't right, nowhere is.  There is SO much of this great big world to go and see!! I'll keep my 'home' within me, my people, and I'll continue to be just fine --as someone who inspires me daily says, 'Wherever you go... there you are. Living day by day... let's see where it takes me.'