you should never rush writing, but in my situation if I dont, it will never get written. t-1 hour until I leave for my nightshift. I am a perfectionist when it comes to pretty much everything. That has taken me a long time to come to terms with. Nobody wants to admit that they can’t handle a little chaos or disorganization- its what makes life beautiful right? the perfectly imperfect.
I have come to realize, that I have pretty much always been a perfectionist. type A. stubborn as hell. makes sense I ended up in the ICU and not the ER, because I need order and control. I have developed some serious level of anxiety that i believe comes as a result of imbalance, or feeling lack of control. Over the last 8 years or so, since I have had autonomy over my own schedule, life, and choices, i have become increasingly more rigid. I have planned out every step. crossed every T. Dotted every I. if theres a place where I see room for deviation, i have come up with plans A-Z for back up decisions or options incase something re-drails.
Looking at it from a removed perspective, that sounds absolutely insane. Its impossible to control everything or arguably anything in this life. All you can do is take control over your own actions and choices, and have faith in humanity that others will do the same. Lately that faith has been questionable for me, but at the same time I have found so much solace and love in the people that radiate respect and loyalty right back at me. This year has challenged me in ways I never thought I would face, especially this early in life. Shit, I was beating myself up a year ago for the smallest of things, like not yet having an actual 40 hour work week job that would be considered “respectable”. Looking back on that, I find myself in a half smile due to the pure ridiculousness of the situation. On the other hand, hell yeah I am proud of being an ICU nurse, and that label doesnt even scratch the surface when I think of how I define myself and all that I am. Sometimes I think we sit back and ridicule ourselves over the smallest shit, and I absolutely get caught up in that. There have been points this year where if I didnt do something active 5-6 days out of the week, have my lunches prepped and ready to go for work, room clean, laundry done and a social schedule filled out with an upcoming trip planned I felt like my life was “out of control”. Funny, coming from someone who grew up with little to no organization, a messy house, parents with unstable health, uncertainty in physical abilities and an early 20s diagnosis of ideopathic gastroparesis. I do think these things are connected. its the things we hate the most that gravitate us towards craving the opposite. I think for me , thats always been certainty, security, a promise from those around me. words of affirmation if you will. What I never realized however, is that its not just the words I needed. Its the commitment. Thats a scary word, but we do it all the time. committing to a job, to paying rent, to lunch plans, to being a parent, a partner, a best friend. Its not so scary when you break down each day and look at all the small little commitments we make in our day to day actions.
Im sitting here thinking of the commitments I made in the last 24 hours- PT today, work tonight, 12+ hours of promise to the tiny babies i’m going to go devote my heart to tonight, etc. Here I am on a commitment tangent, but I think that its something that is simply overlooked. The problem is, we don’t think about what happens when we revert that commitment, or don’t follow through. There are always explanations, reasons, drives. Whether or not we acknowledge them and meet them with self awareness is the part that gets grey. I commit myself to things all the time that I don’t want to do- but then why do i do it? because I have to? because it makes me look good? because deep down maybe I do want these things? it gets complicated. I think in a world where we are so over-stimulated, so plugged in, with so many rules and expectations, its easy to get caught up and not take a second to step back and examine our actions, thoughts, commitments. why are we feeling this way? are we afraid? is it because the opposite happened when we grew up and we want order in the chaos (can i raise my hand here?).
I hate running late, rushing things, spontaneous ideas. I like order, routine, and I thrive on consistency. I could sit and list the things that de-railed this year, which i think was my initial plan when i told myself I had 30 minutes to write, but as I sat down all the spit up i just created above came out (too much time in the NICU sav- spit up.. rly?). I want to just sit here and shit on this year and list in alphabetical order all the negatives and things that went wrong and how sad/mad/frustrated/hurt I am with all of it, but honestly I have gotten to a point with it where I just broke. We interpret broke as a bad thing, but honestly for me I am realizing it may be a good thing. To where even the parts of my life I swore would never go to shit, never lose control, always stay perfect, let me down or completely abandoned me out in the cold, left alone in the dark night to self navigate. Nobody to help me or guide me. thats my worst fear. not having anyone, right? i grew up worried about not having my parents, my health, my own ambition to support myself and those around me. Who knew betrayal and heartbreak would seep its way in the midst. This year, each of these things have been threatened for me. I broke a little more each time, jumping to one of my beautifully written A-Z options to fill in the void, to hop on plan B,C or D since A threw a wrench in it. This worked for some of the “bumps” but not others. I grew frustrated. I became okay with screaming “I am not okay”. I let myself become dependent on those around me (to an extent..), and would tell others im not okay. I never really expected them to fix it or fix me, but what I quickly realized was that not a damn person could, even if they wanted to. I needed to find a different way to get through these roadblocks.
I encourage you to try and tell a 26 year old stubborn type A woman that has their entire life mapped out, passions polished, plans ready to go, ambitious as hell, with perfectly solid morals and beliefs, plans for every mishap that they aren’t handling their problems well, when you know full and well that her life has been more full of problems than you could ever imagine encountering.— good luck. its not going to happen. That is someone that cannot find help or dependency in another. it has to come from within.
SO here I am, december 7th 2018. looking back on last december 7th 2017 where I finished my finals and was about to graduate nursing school , ICU job secured, and embark on a fantastic trip out west with my fiancee and love of my life, laugh so hard, and spend some good time with my best friends, family and the people around me I love most. I look at all that has happened in the past 12 months and all i can think is holy shit. I have been doing this all wrong. How long was I going to be able to keep going with the perfectly planned, I dotted T crossed life I envisioned. Its almost comical because I dont expect anyone else’s life to be like that. I believe i created that for myself as a defense to how insane my life had been growing up, but even moreso since 2016 when I felt myself losing control of my own body as I got sick. I pushed myself harder, dreamed bigger, became more ambitious and much harder on myself.
All of this to say, in the past month as I have hit my breaking point, SWAM ACROSS THE FREAKING OCEAN (that will need to be its own re-cap. absolutely incredible) and watched all of my perfectly crafted plans come crashing down, i have started to lean in. lean into the things I was most afraid of. I was supposed to stop running in may- its now december and I did a couple more half marathons and things I shouldnt. I hated night shift, but here I am. I am not running, listening to physical therapy. If I feel like eating a bag of sour patch kids at 3am in the bathroom at work? who gives a shit, do it. my bed isnt being made. my laundry has been sitting in the dryer for a week. i amazoned myself cat litter a week late. I went over to my parents house to get frozen yogurt and didnt panic when it was closed or over think the implications it would have on my stomach when i just ordered a frosty instead. i slept 12 hours. cancelled a doctors appt and rescheduled just because i didnt feel like going. I stopped listening to other peoples advice. I have started listening to my own intuition. one thing I know I have always had, is love for myself. There was never a shadow of a doubt about that. However, I havent loved myself unconditionally, and thats what I am realizing. TO be okay in my own body, even if that means I sleep all week, dont get shit done, cry my eyes out, dont work out and run late. It doesnt change me and all that I am. if I hit anxiety for a few months- guess what, still same me. if I cant run for 6 months or have to get surgery- on that other side? still gonna be myself.
my morals and beliefs are solid. i am a beautiful person. I do the right thing always. I am honest, loving, giving, but no matter how perfectionist I am inside, i am not perfect. I never will be. and maybe just maybe, this year has taught me that I need to give up on trying and that might lead to the most happiness of all.