This post was originally started several weeks ago when I had the sudden urge to start a very personal and uncharacteristic blog post about life behind the doors I have constructed over the past few years. I had the sudden urge to write and express my thoughts, feelings and document in written form about the experiences of different matters within the World of Scarlett and online blogging. Yet, I couldn’t find the words to define this periods of moment and vast opportunities until only just now, when I sat down at the computer table at The Little White House and simply let the fingers start talking.
Allow me to take you back to the morning where I woke up with a sense of purpose alongside the thought and belief that I was going to write the middle and conclusion to a post that I’ve been sitting on for the past two weeks at that time. Even though I found myself walking away from this post after spending a majority of the time rewriting the introduction a few hundred times and twiddling my thumbs while waiting for the words to come, I had a feeling it wasn’t the post I was supposed to sit down and write.
Like any other writer in this world who experiences the beginnings of writer’s block, I decided to save my draft and close my various writing platforms for the day. Stepping into the shower, I was in the middle of rinsing the shampoo from my hair or exfoliating my body with Michael’s lost glove from the 80’s, that the concept of what I had to write come flooding into my brain.
Post shower voice screaming at me from inside of my head (hello insanity?!) and with the words writing themselves into paragraphs, I quickly got dressed and trailed down the slightly darkened hallway at The Little White House. After making a detour and sitting down on my backside numbing chair at my little new old white desk in the study room, I opened a saved document that I had been nurturing for the past few weeks and began to type.
With my right hand in a bag of Italian cookies and the thought of a hot chocolate or almond milk coffee being equally as tempting as Mr Darcy arriving on my front doorstep, I felt invigorated to not only think about the present but also, what the future holds. As to being a fan of reliving various moments of the past and becoming emotionally upset when it all becomes too much for my delicate senses; the feeling of being openly encouraged to think about where the past has taken me has allowed me to define, explore and physically point out where things have gone wrong, right and politically insane. All the while, shaping the journey I have been somewhat reluctant to undertake thus far as a woman, writer and story teller.
Self-dictated motions of a twenty something year old woman from the lined pages of countless diaries to a much wider, racially demographic and very public viewing panel.
While others would deem it as being a thought in amongst a series of rambling and stringed along words in sentences; to me, it feels like it is so much more than one single thought. Over the past five months, I have been slowly branching out by talking about childhood memories and how they seem to revolve around three underlying contexts: my bed and the eternal craving of feeling and being safe and content at heart. After a long period of time where I refused to openly discuss anything of emotional depth and value unless I had control over what was said and who by, I have been questioning myself as to where I should really begin and end this post.
Because of this question, I have come to realise that with any non-fiction based story, you must always start at the beginning. In my case, my story starts well and truly before Scarlett O’Chunky was a thought or a glint in my eye when I took my private thoughts and self-dictated motions of a twenty something year old woman from the lined pages of countless diaries to a much wider, racially demographic and very public viewing panel.
The decision to have an ‘online diary’ of some sort saw me launch the first ever blog I somewhat owned into the stratosphere of the online word for blogging and writing. However, what I didn’t or couldn’t have known was the toll it would have on my mental, physical and emotional well-being. Over the next few years, I would write about the emotional and physical toll I would allow myself to experience because of how highly stressed and anxious I was about my never-ending fear of failing. Not to mention, how mentally drained I was after completing an 80+ hour fortnight of work as a Student Nurse.
It would only be during my third year of college, I made the choice to revisit the past. Although I started off amused at my own uncertainty as a first-year blogging and nursing student, I found myself cringing at how much pressure I piled onto my shoulders to be ‘perfect’ and at what had been written. Later dubbing it as my rather infamous ‘it’s you, me and us’ phase, midway through my first year of writing and forming relationships with you, it read as if it were a not-so subtle hostile, carelessly pointing blame on others novel. Before delivering the plot line and hook of a very public reasoning as to why I walked away from my two-and-a-half-year relationship.
Now some three years and personality changes by the dozen later, a part of me has admitted a time or two that I wished to have kept that relationship and part of my life a secret. I have learnt that unlike others who get to grieve the loss of a relationship in private, I made the decision to openly pen a post about why I destroyed a man’s heart and yet, felt no concept of emotion when watching him walk away from me for the last time. For it simply boiled down to the fact, whether I chose to physically and verbally address the matter at heart, I had already spent a fair share of my personal time behind closed doors, grieving for the loss of a relationship. Having penned and posted this post for the world to read alongside the small-minded people that resided within Redneck County at the time of upload, I had forgotten a vital point.
I had initially forgotten was this young man had been liked immensely by the community and was considered ‘marriage worthy’ for daughters around the surrounding distracts. As a result, I experienced my equal fair share and uncalled for substantial amount of blame, shame and finger pointing in my direction as those outside of the relationship formed their own opinions and feelings about the ending of something so bitter-sweet. A few weeks later while I began the process of packing my life into various sized boxes and cancelling my application to my original university, the thought of living a relatively open life with you, Dearest Reader, would come to a dramatic change.
After publishing the blog post, I was walking down the main street of Redneck County and was verbally attacked by a crazed woman, before she spat at me in disgust. I realised while wiping the saliva from my face with a tissue that the news of my relationship ending had reached critical level and it only seemed to confirm that I needed to leave the area. It would be while scrubbing my cheek to get rid of the trace amounts of saliva and questioning myself as to whether I needed a tetanus shot for rabies, I shed a few tears in silence at the depravity someone would sink too to get revenge. Thus, I began to erect and establish a mental door between the personal and online blogging lives I led. Because of this vile woman’s action amongst many other things over the past few years, I have made the decision to reveal certain things that have occurred within my life after a set period of time.
This decision has had both a positive and negative influence upon my mental well-being, there has been a part of me that has wanted to open that titanium, sound proof and shock reabsorbing door and let you in on what has been happening behind closed doors. While standing under the spine tingling hot water as it cascaded down my body before coming to the unmerciful ending of its relatively short lifespan, I made a decision that would see my titanium, sound proof and shock absorbing door creak at the solid hinges.
I have begun to brace myself for the onslaught of emotions and questions that no doubt shall be verbally and silently asked by you, my titanium door has swung open for the first time in quiet a long time.
Although I know there shall and will be others out there in this big, frightening and traumatically horror filled world of ours that shall question the reasoning behind everything that has, shall and will be written or spoken of. However, after sitting on this post for several weeks while adjusting to a new lifestyle that is filled with complete honesty, open mindedness and the delicate art of balancing a work, social and love life, I have discovered that I cannot please everyone. Rather, I should focus on pleasuring and pleasing myself as it leads to a great lifespan of deeper gratitude and appreciation for the smallest moment in time, a wider insight to living life with anxiety and depression as well as my utmost humanly needs and whether they are being met on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Fast forward several weeks of not having to actively think creative or wanting to write about anything if I didn’t want to before finding myself at the end of my tether and writing rope, I asked my partner in writing crime (Lois) if she would be able help me out and write down a series of questions that someone would normally ask. Having set the scenario of not seeing one another for a substantial amount of time due to life/jobs, children and partners taking a chunk into our daily schedule and agreeing to meet up for coffee and cake, I waited anxiously for the questions to be formed and written down onto a piece of paper.
Holding up to her end of the bargain, Lois presented me with these questions:
Q1. Have you done any traveling lately?
Over the past six weeks, I have been travelling all over the Sunshine Coast and visiting different places that I wouldn’t have thought I would be interested in seeing. Recently, I have travelled to Maleny, a small town located an hour or so from The Little White House for a spot of local knowledge, great paleo and healthy based meals alongside cheese and wine making for those who love a spot of vino at midday. Before finding myself, singing TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ while standing and observing a waterfall as it pillaged over the edge of the rock face.
However, when I haven’t been travelling all over the countryside and ducking down to celebrate Lady Blacksnot’s twenty-something birthday in May, I have been spending equal moments to visit my one true hot spot and that’s the beach. There is something about the beach in my mind that I find to be a great influence on my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
Q2. How has work been and are you finding it interesting?
What I am about to say has been in the process and works of happening for the last four and a half years and has finally come true, after much doubt and actively asking questions of ‘have I made the wrong choice?’
In the month of April and May, I sent out 82 online and written applications for nursing positions available as well as applying for the second time for a Graduate Nurse program through a hospital of my choice. Out of those 82 online applications, I was contacted by 5 Nursing agencies and given the opportunity to be interviewed in person and over the phone. Out of these nursing agencies, three were Registered Nursing positions. After seriously thinking about the vast opportunities each different facility could bring to my working life and profession as a Registered Nurse (RN), I made the ultimate decision that could and probably would have ruined my beginnings of a proper mental health wellbeing and emotionally stabled outlook on life. Having made my decision after calculating the risks associated with what I was about to do, I deliberately went about failing and sabotaging the phone interview by not answering or deliberately choosing to not answer the questions correctly.
Four days after conducting my interviews and having returned to my working life as an Assistant in Nursing, I received phone calls that not only ceased my heart momentarily before the electrical currents raced around like a bunch of headless chickens and picked up rhythm. But it also brought to the surface, a true sense of realism and thinking about the future in a long-term aspect as well as the underlying and shaky ground that comes with soul impacting sense of fear, loneliness and resentment.
The first interview call asked me to go through another round of interviews as I had passed the first round with complete success and while recovering from the shock of being offered another round of interviews, I received another phone call with an offer for the position as a Registered Nurse. Unlike the stories of friends and them becoming overcome with joy and wonder at what lay in their future, I was a completely different basket case.
Having chosen to deliberately fail the phone interview because I experienced and relived my greatest fear that came in a dream or in my case, a premonition of what the future would look like. My dream consisted of me waking one morning as an elderly woman, in a small town known as Redneck County with Cowboys and tumble weeds gracing the black tar of the highway and not knowing what I had done with my life. While living in Redneck County those many years ago, I experienced that dream on a nightly basis and when discovering that I had been given a position at the same place I had openly walked away from, my first response was “Oh. Wow!” before the sensation of wanting to be physically ill had me opening my driver’s door and dry heaving.
After being given an ultimatum of having a 24-hour deadline to think about what my decision was going to be and due to personal circumstances of the woman who offered me the position, my 24-hours was suddenly cut down to 9 hours and 27 minutes. It was in this moment of having imagined sheer joy and feeling successful at being given a job as a Registered Nurse after studying my arse off for four years, I experienced the feeling of being suffocated and smothered. In desperate need of releasing the pressure of high expectations, I drove my parent’s place and poured out everything I was feeling.
From excessive amounts of self-doubt, wonder at why it had been presented and questioning if I was desperate enough to sell my soul to the devil (answer being no!), I consulted with the elders in my family and asked what I should do. Alongside the outpouring sense of wisdom and guidance, I received a variety of different answers ranging from “you won’t be happy” to “you should take the job and everything will be there when you get back.” Even with all the noise and different opinions playing like a broken record, I could hear a voice in the back of my mind that sounded like Mr. Darcy, who was saying: “Don’t go, I’ll miss you.”
Nine hours and twenty-seven minutes after receiving my offer to work as a Registered Nurse, I politely declined the offer.
Two days later, I would receive a phone call from the second company who agreed to interview me for a position as an RN. During my lunch break for my shift, I was informed that I had been given the position and without a second thought or split second of doubt or fear, I joyfully accepted the position. Some four weeks into my new life as a Registered Nurse and discovering the ins and outs to what it takes to survive an industry that doesn’t really have much time for Graduate Nurses and their lack of skill set and knowledge, I have found myself thoroughly enjoying and loathing it at the same time.
Which brings me to the third question.
Q3. Are you finding the skills learnt at University are being used in the workplace?
As much as I try to be pessimistic on the outlook of life, which can be difficult for someone who is constantly anxious about making mistakes or doing something outside of their comfort zone for potential unknown risks, my answer would be a sound “no”.
Over the past few weeks of undertaking this new position and trying to learn the ins and outs of everything that I can possibly grasp a hold of, one of the many lessons I have learnt and come to realise is that I am a Graduate Nurse and therefore, have a very small and basic understanding of what nursing is about. For example, when looking back on my years as a Student Registered Nurse, I can tell that college and my facilitators provided a sense of comfort and guidance in the form of a security blanket while actively persuading and encouraging you to think outside the “student nurse” logo and start thinking, viewing and working as a proper nurse within your scope of practice.
Now as a qualified and registered Nurse, the sense of security and comfort have been lost to the ultimate and very true prospect of what the future may and could entail. The only thing that is essentially stopping myself from having the license that I have spent countless hours stressing and crying over, actively being disbarred from a profession that can either create or break you as a person in a single flutter of an eyelash and can open the door to future endeavours is me.
The one person who decided one morning many years ago to enter a profession that has allowed me to gain a somewhat better understanding of Math, only because I am forced to calculate medications daily and to find a sense of fulfillment in knowing that what I have achieved is a result of hard work, stress, many anxiety attacks and phone calls to Lois regarding self-doubt. With the knowledge and yes, after having finally admitted to myself, acceptance of what it took for me to stand here today with a Bachelor Degree in Nursing has not only made me a better person in whole but it also allowed for some vast opportunities regarding stepping stones. Even though at the end of the day, I didn’t get a graduate position in a hospital program and constantly bet myself up about not having a high enough GPA or didn’t answer the questions properly in the interview, I still managed to achieve many layers of success.
Yes, I may not be actively calculating medications as they now come in packages already processed, half of my patients don’t have photos attached to their profiles and I’m having to ask my fellow staff members for clarification while interacting with patients who are confused, agitated or cannot verbally or mentally comprehend you due to their brain diseases such as Dementia; I feel like this period in time is a stepping stone to something greater.
Whether it be another opportunity to enter for another chance at a graduate program or be told that even though I am new to the industry and appeared to be a fish floundering in the fish tank that “you’re doing the best you can”, I know that whatever shall come about will not only be beneficial in the long term but it will allow for more learning opportunities to arise. On a positive note, University taught me a few vital lessons and they are:
- Admit when you are wrong and do apologise to the patient/family members.
- Learn when the appropriate time is for being sympathetic and empathetic.
- Hand washing is a God given MUST!
- Finding another Grad Nurse and forming a relationship with him/her can and will save your soul from exhaustion.
- If you are not sure about something, pipe up and ask because it never hurts to ask a silly question…. Even then, it’s not a stupid question.
- There will come a time where everything is overwhelming and you’ll burst into tears. The nurses and staff who comfort you during that time will ultimately look after your patients like they comforted you.
- Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn.
- University doesn’t prepare you for the real world at all. Instead, you prepare yourself for the real world of nursing and medicine.
Q4. Considering the hours you work as a Registered Nurse, you look amazing. How do you manage to look so fresh?
The answer to this question is simple and that is: coffee has been a staple in my diet since I started university and most of the week, I have a cup in the morning and one in the afternoon around three-ish since that’s when I start getting tired. However, I have also been incorporating a regime where I try to not have any caffeine products three or four mornings throughout the week and often resort to drinking plain water or have chopped fruit in it. Or if I have a little bit more time up my sleeve than I go about making a fruit smoothie.
For outer appearances, I moisturize with Olay’s moisturizing facial cream in the evenings or Cocoa Palmer’s Coconut Oil Infused Body Moisturiser if I am pressed for time (I know this is a criminally heinous act that shall no doubt have beauty bloggers around the world screaming, “NO!” but when you have an hour and a half drive to work one way, a girl’s got to do what she’s got to do!) Lately, I have also been wearing two different concealers to balance out the dark shopping bags I have under my eyes due to sleep loss and long ass drives to work and home.
Q5. How is the love life?
A picture is worth a thousand and one words, right?
Now before you get all of your hopes up and start wondering if this is the infamous Mr. Darcy, who has been found at long last after being stuck in a train station for who knows how long, this is not the man in question. Although, I do suspect he was close enough for me to have reached out and touched if I wanted to.
Q6. Are you still Paleo and if so, are you enjoying it after your month-long adventure of being Paleo based?
Although I enjoyed my experience of living and being Paleo based, aside for the costs or how time consuming it could be for someone who works 30+ hours a week, I am currently not living a strict Paleo existence like I did during my thirty-day challenge (click to read here). One of the many things I didn’t end up writing or did not even think to mention was how I went cold turkey from the foods I normally consume as a part-time vegetarian (the story is too long to write) and dived head first into the online world of Paleo.
Because of the mentality and not knowing what I was getting myself into, when it came time to finishing my challenge after initially struggling because all I wanted to do was stuff my face with chocolate and other tempting things that are not Paleo friendly, I seemed to plummet in many aspects. For example, I discovered my immune system had become compromised and when becoming ill with the seasonal flu that had seemed to impact everyone severely, I almost ended up in hospital with pneumonia. The ten kilos I had lost during my month of being Paleo because of my body breaking down and eliminating fat and water storage through increased urination and other bodily functions, I have steadily crept back two of the ten kilos. However, now that I am walking up to 10,000 steps per shift, I think it’s safe to say that my weight may decrease over time or remain stable.
At the end of the day, I am neither concerned nor fussed about my body weight because it’s going to fluctuate no matter what time of the month it is and if someone doesn’t like my weight, it’s their loss. Maybe they should also question why they find it necessary to fat-shame someone else when clearly, they should focus on building better rapport and relationship with their own body appearance and views.
With this matter of opinion having been clearly stated for all to form an opinion and thought on, I shall be ending this post here. Dearest Reader, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and public viewing as to how life behind closed doors has been for the past several weeks and well, years. Although I am not and probably will never be ready to give up the closed door policy on some areas of my life, it has been nice to pry open this door and to share with you, some of the things that have been happening and how I am going.
I sincerely hope you have a lovely week and I shall see you back here next Sunday, 10 am for another blog post.