Thursday, October 28, 2010

Faces of Loss has a monthly writing challenge and this month, in honor of Halloween, the topic is to discuss the figurative masks we wear daily.

I feel like I became less honest with people about who I really am after my loss. I remember feeling the pressure to "just get over it" and so I hid my pain, wearing a mask of strength. I still wear that mask frequently when I'm feeling raw and exposed.

It's amazing to me how well I can fake moods now. I find myself constantly working towards projecting a better mood than I'm actually feeling. A different mask for certain friends, another for nursing school, even another for clinicals. Some days, I forget who I actually am underneath these masks. How long do you wear a mask before it stops being a mask and starts to become who you are? Matt likes to tell me to "fake it til you make it" but I don't feel like that's how I should be getting through each day.

Will there ever be a day where I feel like I can just be me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I always find myself feeling overwhelmed by the amount of life that just keeps passing me by.

This semester is over half way over and clinicals finally started this week. I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Arkansas Nursing Students Association 2010 Convention this past week and it was incredible. It filled me with inspiration and solidified my desire to become a nurse. I loved being surrounded by so many people with a similar drive. It helped me to break out of my own shell and I feel like I grew and flourished. I decided at the last minute to run for District 2 Director for the state board of nursing students, filling out my application a half an hour before it was due, and winging a speech in front of 150+ people. Public speaking has never really been something I enjoyed but this time was so different. It was like a drug for me, such a rush of hormones and adrenaline that it kept me lifted for days afterwards. I had people I had never met coming up to me and telling me what a great public speaker I was and asking if I was considering running for a national office. It was awesome! I didn't get the position since I ran against a girl from a school that had 7x as many delegate as my school, but you can bet I'll be back up there again next year. I've also decided to run for a local chapter office (vice president) next year and Shandi and I are going to turn this chapter around and make it even more amazing. Can't you just feel the new inspiration?! And clinicals have been great too. I was so nervous, but once I got to the facility and met my clinical instructor, I started to feel at home, so much at home that I might apply for a job there if I can.

My personal life is definitely suffering now that school has taken the top notch in my priority list. My marriage, my friendships, my house, and my puppy are all being sacrificed in one way or another. Matt's feeling neglected, threatened not only by school, but also by all the comments I make about cute women. His nonexistent self esteem is nothing new to me, but the strain that it puts on our relationship from feeling like it's somehow my responsibility to make him feel better is getting even more exhausting. He is still quick to jump to "we should just split up now" when faced with any sort of issue he doesn't see a solution to. Just seeing (or hearing) those words brings back this flood of emotions from when we were apart when I really just wish we could put that behind us. He likes to assume he knows how I'm feeling or thinking, and usually he's way off base. His restlessness seeps into me and make me anxious. Anxious to be done with school, anxious for a family, anxious for happiness. I find myself so caught up in my own life, in school most particularly, that I have no idea that these other parts of my life are being so neglected until it's about to explode in my face and then I just have a full system meltdown. I wish there was some kind of nursing student spouse support group so that he can understand he's not alone in this. Yeah, we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like and I'm so exhausted most of the time we do get to spend together, but this is not unique to our situation. This is such a common problem during nursing school and hopefully in another year and a half, we'll have more freedom to enjoy our time together (if we make it that far). I would love to see his depression, anxiety, and OCD medicated, but that makes me a hypocrite for not wanting to medicate my own mental hurdles. His insurance with his job won't kick in until February, but I'm hoping now that I'll be able to find a CNA job with an insurance option cheaper than what I have for school, and we can both get insured. My insurance right now doesn't cover mental health at all and we definitely don't have the money right now to pay out of pocket.

I'm still getting to work as a nanny part time which does wonders for my soul. Without that outlet for mothering energy, I'd be a wreck. The loving bond we share just warms my heart. With the colder weather coming, we've been trying to soak up as much outside time as possible and I've discovered that tuning everyone out and pretending to be an airplane with him is a huge stress reliever. We just "fly" all over the park and downtown square and get all kinds of silly looks. I really do love that boy. <3

We're still working towards our own family and we'll be incredibly grateful whenever a little one decides to join our lives, no matter how "inconvenient" the timing may be. I talked to our chapters current VP and she had a baby during her first semester (and she was born early!) and she managed, so I feel like we could definitely figure out a way to make it work, even if would make things more difficult from time to time. I keep reading this quote everywhere in my online circles and I don't know who said it but it has stuck with me: "Don't give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about." You can definitely count on us not giving up anytime soon, or ever. If we're still childless when I graduate, we'll most likely move forward towards foster-to-adopt again. It brings me comfort that no matter what the future holds for us, I will be a mother one day.

Positive affirmation for the day: Every day brings me closer to my dreams of being a mother and a midwife.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I feel this this past week flew by. Two more validations out of the way which means only TWO MORE LEFT for the whole semester! I desperately need to start studying for this next test even though it's not until the following week. It's just a TON of information we've covered.

Wednesday I had a life altering experience. We drove 4 hours each way to Oklahoma City to see The Mountain Goats! John Darnielle has a voice that just gives me butterflies and can bring tears to my eyes. When he sand Woke Up New I felt like he was singing just for me and I cried from it's power. It was well worth the drive, getting lost in downtown Tulsa at 2am, and the sleep deprivation. I'd do it again a million times over. It was such a great experience to get to share with my hubby.

Have I mentioned lately how awesome Matt is? I don't even want to think about how crazy I would be without his stabilizing love and support. He keeps me going when I want so badly to give up. I love him so very much (even if he is making me watch a 3 hour movie right now).

My sweet toddler boy got back in the US today and I get to watch him tomorrow for 7 hours. I can't wait to see him! I've missed him so very much these past three weeks.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's been an insane week. One of my best friends, C, had her baby around 1am on Thursday after a long, hard day of labor. I was anxious to get to meet her new son so I decided I would leave for Little Rock as soon as I was done with my physical assessment validation in school Friday. I was so ready to get on the road that I screwed my documentation up a few times, saying that N had "no visible legions" on her scalp, rather than lesions, but I still passed which is all that really matters.

I decided I'd stay the night with my other best friend, W, since she's been having just as rough a time as I have. Our mutual friend, and W's best friend, had her sweet baby girl three weeks ago in an emergency c-section. They soon discovered that she had been without oxygen for a few hours by that point and her brain had already suffered too much damage. They used all the technology available and countless numbers of prayers in the hopes that a miracle would heal her brain but it just wasn't in the cards. So Friday evening, as we were visiting C and her precious, healthy son Elias Jude, our friend K had just made the decision to take her baby girl, also K, off of the ventilator. After hanging out in the waiting room for a while by the NICU to see if any of K's family was coming out, we went back down the hall to see C again and love on the sweet baby who gets to go home with his mommy and grow up and do things.

W and I were both emotionally exhausted at this point and pretty much at tears over any passing thought of K and what she was having to do right then. We decided that we were both going to go back to her apartment and get drunk. It's something neither of us does very frequently at all and we are both such light weights that it only takes about 2 drinks for us to be fairly intoxicated. We went back to her apartment and watched Veronica Mars while randomly blurting out things we probably wouldn't say sober. It was a few hours of escape that I desperately needed. We cried and it felt good. I still wish we would have went for the tattoos though.

I woke up the next morning wishing I didn't have to move and remembering why I drink so rarely. I got around about 10 and headed to Little Rock to see C again before I had to come back to NWA. I stayed there at the hospital with her and Elias for a little over 2 hours and then I headed to Cabot to see my Nana. I only stayed there about a half an hour but it was great to see her. As soon as I hit the freeway on my way home, it was like the weight of everything hit me all at once and before I knew it, I was pulled off on the side of the freeway crying so hard I could barely breathe. The whole way home I don't think I made it more than a few miles without tears. And when I got home, Matt had cleaned around the house, like he said he would, but I assumed he would do the dishes that had been piling up in the sink all week and when I saw that he didn't I cried and cried like it was the end of the world. It's just been that kind of week.

I'm ready for the week to start just to have school as a distraction again. This Wednesday we're going to Oklahoma City to see The Mountain Goats and I am super, super excited. Thursday and Friday are both skills validation days so I'll be spending most of them studying for our 3rd test the following week. I'm 1/8 done with nursing school already! I also found out that after spring semester I can sit for the state LPN exam if I want to and I'm definitely considering it. I'd be able to have a great summer job and I'll admit, I've thought about applying to Baptist's nursing program and if I had my LPN, I could transfer a lot more smoothly.

Sometimes, I can make myself forget about how much I miss my friends and family, but these days, it's practically impossible and I think constantly about how badly I want to live closer to them. As much as I would love to travel the country and the world as a nurse, a huge part of me wants to stay right here. Matt's been ready to get out of Arkansas for a while now so I know he doesn't want to be here forever, and I'm not saying that I do either, but right now, I just want to draw them all close to me and surround ourselves in love.

P.S. I miss my sweet little ninja toddler. He's enjoying his European vacation and right now I think he's in Amsterdam. I can't wait for him to be back so I can cuddle him and love on him and pour energy into caring for him.

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