It’s a beautiful thing to wake up and believe that you’re exactly in the place that you need to be. Even if it’s not the place you plan on staying. For me, figuring out where to go or what to pursue next has always heavily involved where not to go and what not to do next. I’ve made some decisions in the recent two months that go in a very opposite direction from what I had planned. You know what they say: Man Plans, God Laughs. I suppose this is my official (and late) letter of resignation to Delgado Community College. Unless of course the writing doesn’t work out, in which case I’ll need Anatomy and Physiology II in the Fall and in the afternoon, please.
I’m often surprised how hard it is for me to admit that I am sick. All my friends would tell you differently because they’ve all heard me say a million times “Sorry can’t make it. Feel like death again,” or something similar and I operate an entire blog centered around my stupid health! But it hasn’t always been this way. And in my instances of pain I have no hesitation in admitting that I feel awful and to just go ahead and count me out of whatever activity they’re planning. But for some reason, in a larger context, in the long term, I’ve never really considered myself sick or disabled or incapable. That’s why when my best friend Jess and I talked about nursing school this summer, I jumped on board immediately. I was feeling better, (as in, I could walk with ease now) and I wanted to be working towards something. This was in July so I had been away from my job since February and was really feeling the void of not doing anything. I was writing, true, but no one takes a jobless “writer” seriously. I didn’t even take myself seriously! Everyone is writing a book. Everyone has a brother in a band.
Anyway, I have always had a passion for nursing. My mom was a nurse, and since I was young I would dress up in her lab coat, wear the stethoscope around my neck, and walk around the house pretending to conduct my highly important work of tending to the sick. I’d also beg people to let me give them an exam, which usually ended up in me asking my Grandma questions like “And how often do you take fiber?” and listening to our dog Bacchus’s heartbeat. When it came to choosing a major in college, I chose Journalism for two reasons. 1. I’m an inherently curious person and 2. It came easy. My writing classes were easy A’s for me. Math and science meant a lot more work on my part. So I chose what came natural, and that was the right decision.
But now this nursing idea was popping up again, so I jumped on board. It was something I had interest in anyway, and I only needed a few pre-reqs in order to be admitted, so I went for it. I signed up for 3 classes, passed the entrance exam, and decided to start a silly blog to accompany me on my sickly journey to nursedom. Oh how the tides would turn. Funny that I didn’t really stop and consider that the whole reason I even had time to consider going back to school was because I was sick and physically unable to keep up with the pace of the rest of the world. Nope..never thought of that…
Even after the blog went viral and other opportunities began presenting themselves, I finally sat down one morning and really thought about nursing school. I started thinking about how I handled my three classes at Community College. Usually, I went, so that was a start and my grades were fine. But nursing school is very intensive. Sometimes the hours are very long and I don’t think it’s one of those jobs that would be very forgiving about me calling in once a week or letting me come in late when I had a migraine. I know a few people attending nursing school now, and when I would see them after a full day and how tired they were, I knew deep down I wouldn’t be able to do it physically. Didn’t I know that before? And yet something made me go after it in August. Unfortunately I think it was ego. Something in me wanted to prove I could do what other people could do. I could be normal. And if I couldn’t make it through, I’d just give up. And that’s not really a responsible or wise decision on my part, but since it only began with 3 classes, I think those near and dear to me wished me luck and quietly thought ‘What the hell is that girl doing? She can’t even prepare her own meals!’ It was also not a wise decision because it was this kind of thinking that kept me at a job so long that I was incapable of keeping up with. It was ruining any shot at me getting better, and this would have done the same.
Luckily, I didn’t get far enough into nursing school to have to quit or give up halfway through. Three days before my last final, the blog went viral and new, more feasible opportunities presented themselves under the same heading: Writing. Remember? The thing you’re decent at and enjoy doing that comes naturally and doesn’t require you to use your feeble little body? DUH. Like Nepo says “When we stop struggling, we float.” Once I stopped trying to prove what I could do, I stopped having to try so hard, and was left with the gift I had all along.
What I’ve been considering lately is that my motive for going into nursing in the first place was very basic: to help sick people. And somehow, now, I am inadvertently given that same opportunity, just through different means; my words. I’ve received quite a number of emails from people with many types of health issues who say this site helps them feel less alone and less crazy, and makes them laugh, too. It’s a beautiful gift to be able to reach people that way. The internet rocks. It’s like I’m an internet nurse!
So I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has written, commented, or laughed, and to everyone who has found comfort, hope, or joy here. One of the biggest realizations I’ve had in all of this is that it’s entirely possible to be sick and still laugh, love, dance, and have a happy life. So don’t ever start becoming comfortable with the perspective that you’re sick and being sick sucks and thus, you’re life is going to suck. Being sick does suck, but you’re life doesn’t have to. Mine isn’t completely where I’d like it to be, but it’s getting there, and I believe more than ever in the prospect of true happiness. This realization is of course coming after a year of a lot of mental and physical pain and breakdowns and loss and lessons. But hopefully it can offer some comfort to anyone out there without them having to go through a year of pain and breakdowns and loss. Tolle says this: “I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” I think I know what I’m meant to do now.
Health, Happiness, and Mom I’ll Pay You Back for That Semester at Community College Soon I Promise.