Wedding Confidence

So my best friend is getting married this Saturday. I’m super excited about the wedding. I am not super excited about wearing a dress.

See, I am required to wear a dress by all of my friends because they know if they leave it to me I’ll pop up in jeans. Because of this, they all made the decision that me wearing a dress this time was mandatory.

Great.

I act like I have a great self image. I’m lying to everyone. 

I am ashamed of my body. I have been for as long as I can remember. I’m at my heaviest at the moment but even at my skinniest I had low self esteem. I constantly compare myself to other women and I can always find reasons they are more beautiful than I am. I see my flaws, all of them. I see my acne scars. I see my stomach rolls. I see my arm fat. I see my stretch marks. I see my cellulite. I feel like I’m shaped like a block of velveeta cheese. So wearing a dress this Saturday is going to be weird. I’m going to feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me. 

I just wish I had the body confidence that other people have. I want to look in the mirror and like what I see, regardless of size. I want to feel beautiful in whatever I decide to wear. I just want to be happy with who I am and how I look. 

Comfort

I need to learn to worry about my own comfort. Regardless of who I date, or who I am around, I tend to change myself to make my partner or friends comfortable. I need to stop doing that.

I am bisexual. I hid that for years because I didn’t want to make anyone else feel awkward. I am not really religious though I do believe in God. I also love collecting crystals and burning sage around my house. I hid that from anyone I dated because I didn’t want people to feel weird about it because they didn’t understand it. I have wanted my hair super short for years but didn’t cut it because my ex preferred me with hair or a weave. I wanted a nose ring but didn’t do it because my (ex) girlfriend didn’t like them. I have collected posters from going to Magfest three years in a row but didn’t put them up because I didn’t know how my partner would feel about anime/comic/gaming posters on the wall. I held off on the Sailor Moon tattoo I wanted because I didn’t know how to explain to other people why I would want permanent ink from an anime.

I spent a lot of time doing what I thought would make other people comfortable. I did not take the time to notice that no one really went out of their way to make me feel comfortable with all the odd things I liked. So I stopped giving a damn about other people’s comfort. My crystals and incense are out and on display in my living room. My posters are on my wall. My hair is as short as I want. My nose is now pierced. My sailor moon thigh sleeve has been started.

It’s my turn now. I don’t have to change for you, you have to accept me for who I am. Simple as that.

 

Woman

I am a woman. I am proud of this. I do not consider myself the “weaker gender”. I am strength and courage. I pride myself in that.

However, I no longer base my womanhood on how feminine I am. This is a change for me. It wasn’t a conscious change, one day I just realized feminine does not equal womanly and vice versa.

As a kid I was a “tomboy”. Covered in dirt, scratches, and bruises with the boys, that was me. As I hit adulthood I was told this or that wasn’t “lady like”. I needed to be softer, gentler. So I stopped embracing my “rough” side if that’s what you want to call it. I kept my hair long and relaxed because guys “prefer” long hair on girls. I started wearing makeup because that’s what grown women do. I tried to dress more feminine and “cute”. I tried to soften up. I tried to learn to bite my tongue. I became a “woman”. I place the word in quotes because I became what people said a woman should be. I was always a bit uncomfortable with the “woman” I had become. It wasn’t me but I kept at it. 

And then I did something I thought was insignificant. I cut my hair. Not a little trim this time. I walked into a barber shop and cut it all off. I loved it. It was freeing. That’s when I started to notice a change in me. My womanhood was no longer based on how I looked. Strange right? A haircut shouldn’t really have that much power, but it did. See, the way I got my hair cut made me look a bit “dude-ish”. Without makeup and in my comfy clothes I started getting mistaken for a guy. I got called sir a few times actually. It didn’t bother me. In fact, I would answer with no correction of pronouns. Why? Because I realized I was a woman no matter how I looked and no matter what someone called me. I am a woman. Period. I am a woman because I say I am a woman. Makeup or no makeup. Long hair or short hair. High heels or sneakers. Skinny jeans or baggy clothes. I am still a woman. On the days I am feeling super feminine, I will rock a face full of makeup and strut in my heels with the best of them. On other days, I’m in a beenie and a Nintendo tee shirt hanging with my boys and fitting in flawlessly. I can be soft and gentle and rough around the edges. I’m still a woman. I am more comfortable with the woman I am now than I’ve ever been. Short hair, bare face, loud mouth and all. 

Something new

With encouragement from my brother, I am trying something new. I have a second blog that’s going to be all nursing related. I even made a new twitter just for this second blog. Like, I am really putting in some effort into this. This is completely new to me. My brother has been building his brand for some time but this is not something I have really ever done. I have always wanted to do a nursing blog but just never really had the time or the patience. Well, I am out of school and I have the time. I am going to actually give this thing a shot.

So it looks like I am going to be a double blogger. This blog will stay active, stay weekly, and stay full of shenanigans and unwanted opinions. The second blog, BarelySaneNurse, will also be weekly. I am not one of those people that can blog daily. I am opinionated but good grief how do people have stuff to talk about everyday?

Anyhoo, let’s see how this goes.

Do the thing

Remember that thing you told yourself you were going to do? Why haven’t you done it yet? What is stopping you from doing “the thing”?

For me, “the thing” was going back to school to get my BSN. I knew I had to get it to remain competitive in my field. It is almost impossible to advance from being a bed side nurse without at least a BSN. Yet, I kept finding every excuse not to do “the thing”. “I can’t get financial aid so I can’t afford it”. “It’s going to take a year or more for me to get this degree”. “I don’t have the time to study”.

Continue to insert bullshit excuses for four years.

In that time I did actually attempt to go back to school. The program I chose was not for me AND I did not dedicate myself to completing it. I wasn’t serious about it so I flunked out. After that I started back with the excuses… until I had no choice but to go back to school and get this degree.

At the time I was working at a hospital that I hated. While I was in an ICU setting, which is what I wanted, the place I worked did not care about their patients. It was about profit. I don’t do well in that type of an environment, I am far too much of a patient advocate for that. For me to get out of there and back into a teaching hospital, I either had to have a BSN or be willing to complete one within five years of hire. Looks like your girl was going back to school whether I wanted to or not!

I won’t lie, school damn near broke me. I paid completely out of pocket so I had to get a high interest loan, took a PRN position in what can only be described as Hell, and took multiple term breaks just to not have a mental breakdown. What could have easily been completed in about a year and a half or less took me three years. My degree just came in the mail.

This has been a learning experience for me. It made me realize there are multiple ways to do ” the thing”.  It also made me realize I needed to be realistic with the timeline I created to do “the thing”. Whether it took one year or five, those years were going to pass anyway. I could either use that time wisely or I could continue to watch the years progress. I had to learn to readjust and keep going.

So I say to you, what is keeping you from doing your “thing”? Could you have done “the thing” in the time you have spent finding excuses? You can do this. Whatever that “thing” is, you have the ability to accomplish it. Take that first step, all the steps after that will seem a whole lot easier. You’ve got this.

Starting from the bottom

People have this idea that they should just be at the top of any and everything they do, from the moment they start doing it. 

Stepping into the job market? Well, I want a six figure job with no training, in the most saturated field.

Starting college? I’m supposed to get into every Ivy League school I apply to with my 2.1 GPA.

Starting a blog? My first post should get 10,000 likes as soon as I post it. 

Starting a podcast? I should already be number one on iTunes with this first show.

Starting a vlog channel? I should already be a YouTube partner.

Starting a gaming stream? I should have 15,000 subscribers and companies beating down my door by the end of my first stream.

Starting a business? I should have $100,000 in revenue in the first month.

Starting a band? We should sell out Madison Square Garden for our first show.

What ever happened to “starting from the bottom”?

We have become a generation of instant gratification. Things are just supposed to happen.  There should be no work involved. Success is supposed to be instant. Right here, right now. 

How’s that working out? 

Life rarely works that way. Success takes effort. It takes work. It takes time. Typically it’s not going to happen overnight. What you want to accomplish will take time, dedication, and consistency. Consistency is the one thing people seem to gloss over. You can’t just put forth all your effort into one try and then walk away when you realize it’s going to continue to take work. 

Apply for the top notch job you want. Understand, however, that there is probably someone more qualified than you for the position. Step your game up and work to become the candidate they are looking for.

You’re not going to get your degree overnight. Having one good semester is not going to carry you for the whole two to four years. Your GPA is cumulative, that one 4.0 semester has gotten dragged down by your three 2.5 semesters. Work to bring your GPA back to where you want it EACH SEMESTER. 

Know that not one single person may read your first blog post. That’s ok. Continue to post anyway. Be consistent on when you plan to post. Look into how to boost your page views. Advertise your blog to social media. Build your base

Pick a topic you know you can talk about for your podcast and then post on a consistent basis. You will never get your podcast to be popular if you sporadically post or go long amounts of time between posts. If Thursday is your podcast day then be ready to podcast every Thursday!

Record your first vlog and understand that only one or two people may see it. Look at your vlogs and determine what you like and what you may want to work on. AND THEN ACTUALLY WORK ON IT. Continue to evolve and grow. Don’t look at your followers, your base isn’t there yet. Good content will slowly bring people in. 

Stream like no one is watching. In the beginning, there is probably no one actually watching. That’s ok. Do it anyway. Let your social media know when you’re going live. You’re bound to reach a few people. A good stream can bring them back, along with a few of their friends. It’s a start.

Go ahead and start that business. Be ready to be your own biggest supporter. Understand that a Facebook post talking about your business is not a feasible way to truly advertise your business. The world exists outside of Facebook and a lot of us don’t even have a Facebook page. Be prepared to get business cards. Be prepared to make flyers if that’s the route you want to go. Understand that getting your business out there is going to take time and yes, money. 

You all are talented? Great. Make music. Push that music. Play those tiny venues. Play the small summer concert series in the park. Have ways to direct people to your SoundCloud or YouTube page. Work for your fan base.

Work for it. That’s it. Be consistent in what you do and work for what you want. Success isn’t instant. It’s ok to not be a superstar in the beginning. You’re a superstar in the making. 

Surroundings

Your surroundings influence you more than you realize. The places you go, the people you choose to keep around you, it plays a part in your story. 

For a very long time I was going to the wrong places with the wrong people. For a while I can honestly say I was an alcoholic. I was a true alcoholic. I went out with the sole purpose of getting as drunk as I possibly could. I went to the same clubs with the same “friends”, making the same dumb decisions every weekend. I have been to work drunk. I have driven home sh*t faced. At that time I saw nothing wrong with it because the people I was around were just like me. They were drinking to get away from their emotions just like I was. It was normal. I was in school but didn’t really have a plan for my future. I was there because I was supposed to be. That was the only reason I went to college originally. Before my mother died she made it clear that she wanted me to continue my education, so I did just that. In school and just as lose as I wanted to be. I didn’t have anyone around me to help me focus. Add in an unhealthy and abusive relationship and that was life. 

I remember the moment I knew I was done with how I was living. I was about to graduate with my Associates in Science and my dad told me I could move to Virginia and live with him. As soon as he said it o started planning. I felt no connection to where I was. I didn’t feel sentimental. I didn’t even feel like I was going to miss anyone if I left. I simply made plans and drove six hours from South Carolina to Virginia. Done. 

That was the best decision I have made to date. Granted, I’ve made some dumb ass decisions while up here too, but I’m surrounded by people now that will call me on my sh*t. I have a small group of friends that keep me sane, keep me moving forward, keep me focused on doing what’s best for me. Instead of helping me self destruct my surroundings now help me grow. 

Change your surroundings, change your life.