A childhood passion turned into a freelancing career. Jessica currently writes for various outlets in the healthcare space, including Nurse Guidance and American Nurse Today. She has also recently become a regular contributor to The Dog Files. Her lifetime goal is to publish a book (or two!).
I am attending my first national ANPD conference, all expenses paid, because my employer believes in the value of my own professional development (that is what I do, after all...). I used to see people filling up airport waiting areas, busy typing away on their ultra sleek laptops, talking on a cell phone about when they fly back and how many people they had to meet. I used to wonder what it was like to live that life - to get paid to travel, to network, to learn amazing things in your field.
I used to wonder, and now I do it.
I have been at my job less than 6 months and this is my second flight-worthy trip, third time in a hotel. I have done this enough times now to complain about which airports make you feel like you are on a trek across the mountains with no map and which hotels could improve their room service menus.
I spent the afternoon listening to some of the most accomplished women in my field talk about the art of self-promotion, career planning, and goal setting. To say I am inspired is an understatement. I'm feeling grateful, hopeful, excited, and accomplished. (and hot!)
The best feeling of all, though, is the indescribable feeling of "I am becoming who I wanted to be". I say becoming, not became, because I don't know if we ever really complete this journey. I don't think we ever stop growing into ourselves, learning about ourselves, and letting new experiences shape us.
We never know what our future has in store for us. We can spend years planning our lives to the minute and still be thrown off course. But we can set goals, and we can make plans, but in the end we are only going to become who we are meant to be.
If you love a girl who's damaged, there's a few things you should know.
If you love a girl who's damaged, you'll work harder than you would with any other girl.
You'll spend years proving yourself, convincing her you aren't the monster in her worst nightmares, making her feel safe instead of scared.
You'll get frustrated, because she won't always believe you when you say "I love you".
You'll question everything, because she'll challenge you in ways you have never been challenged.
You'll feel sad, because you'll realize how badly someone has hurt her, how ugly someone made her feel, and how even after all this time, she still doesn't believe she's beautiful.
You'll feel anger, at everyone who is behind that distant look in her eyes, who taught her to be guarded, and who she thinks about when she drinks too much.
You'll feel more love than you thought possible, and if you do it right, she'll give you even more.
You'll want not just her midnights, but her future, her Sunday mornings. You'll want to give her every dream she ever had, with brunch and movie dates and intellectual debates at 4am.
You'll want to do everything in your power to keep her safe, to protect her, to shield her from every moment of sadness.
You'll want to hold her, hold her hand in a crowded place, listen to her nightmares as often as her dreams.
You'll love her, and once she realizes that - you'll have something that no one else does. You'll have the love and devotion of a woman who is damaged, a woman who trusts you are the one to put her back together, and a woman who will let you.
This year I’ve become especially sentimental when it comes to father’s day.
In the year since we last celebrated fathers around the world, my life drastically changed.
The thing every father fears most happened. The man who vowed to love his daughter forever left her for someone else. Left her alone. The thing he promised, in front of my father himself, never to do.
This year taught me more than it taught my father. For he remained the same. He wasn’t sad when I told him. Not even angry. He simply looked at me and said, you’ll be alright.
And at the time, the time I was breaking the news to my parents that my husband had left me, which ultimately felt like the greatest failure - that was what I needed. I had enough people feeling sorry for me or telling me I was better than this. But I needed someone to say yeah, this sucks. But you’re stronger than it. That he was not me. I had a life outside of a man.
So this father’s day, I celebrate what my father taught me. that any man who loves me should treat me as such. And I shouldn’t settle for less. that i'm not "hard to love" and some man exists somewhere who wants to "deal with me" and who loves every single quirky thing about me.
And that not matter what mistakes I make – my daddy will always be “on my side” with open arms.
We see it, with our privilege and happy pills, and we judge.
We think, "thank God it's not me; that would never happen to my child; i'm better than that"
Well it's time someone calls bullshit.
What about the soccer mom who started drinking a little too much wine when her marriage began to fall apart? Two glasses of wine turned into three, turned into four. Twice a week with the girls turned into every night as she sits alone in her too big house wondering what happened to her life.
What about that same soccer mom - now she's divorced. The wine isn't cutting it anymore. Her phone blowing up every night with a bunch of handsome men she calls "friends", each one just like the other, each one making her feel better a couple hours at a time, making her feel something besides the endless numbness that she has become.
She wakes up with the same shame every time. But now it's too late; the shame and guilt is just as miserable. Those few hours of distraction become priceless, become necessary, regardless of how she feels afterwards. Because when you feel that low, you'll take any opportunity you get to get picked up.
Now let's talk about her ex-husband. Wasn't happy in his marriage, couldn't accept how many mistakes he's made in his life, all those years of doing the right thing and hard work, now what does he have to show for it? He's never spent time alone before, so instead of going back to his one bedroom apartment as a 45 year old single man, he stays in his office. Later, later, later. 80 hours a week, one too many cups of coffee, one too many projects on his calendar. Anything to distract him. Anything to keep him out of his own head.
Both of them eventually end up alone, with themselves, for a minute or two. It's inevitable. The thoughts come trickling back in. The gut wrenching sadness. The unbearable idea of not being good enough. The overwhelming lack of control of their own emotions.
Now you tell me how that's different from the ones with the needles in their arms, the ones who take a pill when they really aren't in pain, the ones who will try just about anything to make the shit stop.
Whether your problem is feeling too much or too little, the misery never goes away.
And it happens to the best of us. Whether we like it or not.
Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.
Several books I've purchased have turned out to be greatly disappointing, and as my blog readers know: I don't read bad books. More often than not, I found myself taking these boring books back to Half Price Books and getting new ones. Considering how long my 'want to read' list is, I simply don't have time for this!
I came across Grit by Angela Duckworth online in a few places. It kept showing up on my pinterest feed of the latest books on personal development and success. Given that I just started a new job that literally is all about professional development, I figured I would give it a try.
Now I'm here to tell you that this book could change your life. I read it in under a week; I just couldn't put it down. Dr. Duckworth delves into the science of success and writes in a way that you just want to know more. Grit is filled with stories and advice from highly successful individuals, as well as stories from Dr. Duckworth's own career as an educator and psychologist.
She teaches us all how we can be grittier, if we want to be. Success is attainable, and there's research to prove why some of it experience it and others don't. I absolutely loved every page of this book and I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in the fields of education, psychology, business, sports, management, human resources, well...you get the point. This book is for anyone who's ever had a dream and wondered how they could ever achieve it.
A few months ago, I was laying on the beach sipping a daiquiri, watching a woman about my age. She was in her bikini, the man with her just ordered a bottle of rose, and they were laughing, clearly enjoying themselves. The woman also had her laptop open in front of her. She was "catching up on some work" - while laying on the beach drinking rose.
I, now green with envy, became determined to find out what this woman's job was. I couldn't hear much, but it was something along the lines of digital marketing - or something. Not my field. I was on that beach because I had decided after my unexpected divorce that I was going to do something just for me. The problem was, because I still worked in the Emergency Department as a nurse, I could only get a few shifts covered. I had pleaded with my coworkers to trade nights with me, and managed to get four days off. Four.
While enjoying my four days on the beach, I became slightly obsessed with this plaguing thought, "what am I really doing with my life?" This woman seemed no different than me, and here she was on the beach on a Wednesday, drinking rose with her boyfriend while "catching up on work". She wasn't on vacation. This was her life.
I had already been feeling very Eat, Pray, Love since the divorce, and decided it was time to stop accepting things I didn't want and go for the things I did. But what was I going to do?
When I got back from vacation, I was on a mission. I wanted out of a job where I had to work until 3 am, feeling beyond stressed, unhappy with the current state of things. I sent an e-mail to a contact I had from an editorial committee that I am on. I asked her if she heard of any job openings I might be qualified for, pass it on. She immediately responded with a yes! There was a position opening that wasn't even posted yet, but she believed would be perfect for me. Little did I know how perfect it actually was.
Fast forward, through multiple phone calls, e-mails, and interviews (some with the entire organization staring at me over a long conference table), I had landed my dream job. I can utilize my nursing degree and my passion for writing, research, and planning. I can do work from the beach if I want to. I can work from home. I have vacation time. I have flexible hours. There's great opportunities for advancement, and the exact kind of advancement I dreamed of. Just yesterday, I booked a week long stay at a Disney resort with my company credit card, for work.
My job, literally, is to plan things. While still using my nurse brain.
It just hit me today as I was leaving the office that I had, in some ways, become this woman. I've found my place, and I've discovered a whole new dimension to the nursing profession that I never knew about. I've found my career,
My point is, you can find your dream job. You can get out of where you are. It may take time, it may take perseverance, relentless e-mails and anxiety-causing interviews. It may take hard work and it may take passion. But you can. You can be happy. If your current situation isn't fulfilling you, start doing what you need to do to change it.
Every writer's dream is to be published. To see their name in print, their words spread across glossy magazine pages or taupe pages of a novel.
Last week, this dream came true.
I received a copy of the national, peer-reviewed, nursing journal, American Nurse Today, featuring my article. My. Article. National. Journal.
At the beginning of this year (which has turned out to be the craziest one to date), I was just a girl with a dream. A writer with her head in the clouds. To think that I can say I'm published in multiple publications is incredible in itself, but to hear the word national...that's just amazing.
I'm excited to announce that as of yesterday, I've officially expanded my writing portfolio to include the world of dog lovers!
As if you couldn't tell, I love dogs. Like, love them. My two boys are my world, now more than ever. While I'm going through what is hands down the hardest period of my life, my boys are my constant, my unwavering support no matter what, They make me laugh, make me feel safe, comfort me at the loneliest, darkest, ugliest moments, they never judge, they simply love, in a way that only dogs can.
So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to be a contributor to The Dog Files (click to see my first post!). I'm so excited to share my writing with an even larger audience, one that's so near and dear to my heart. I never imagined I'd be able to combine everything I love, and get paid to do it while sitting on my couch in sweats and fuzzy socks.
I'm sorry you're cold and had to ask for more blankets twice.
I'm sorry the monitor is beeping too much.
I'm sorry the television channels suck.
I'm sorry you have to wait for discharge paperwork.
I'm sorry we're inconvieniencing you by drawing blood.
I'm sorry you'd rather be home, but so would we.
I'm sorry you're hungry and "haven't eaten all day", and we haven't provided a meal in the two hours you've been here.
I'm sorry because we're trying to save lives. We're trying to save someone's mother, son, grandma or pom-pom.
We're trying to console those who just lost someone.
We're trying every last measure to maintain someone's airway or keep their heart beating.
We're starting lines, placing catheters, running every medication we have to keep that blood pressure from dropping.
If it was your family member laying on that cart, would you want their nurse bringing someone else a blanket?
As nurses, all we ask is that you respect what we do - and consider the battle we're in before yelling at us that you're not receiving enough attention. We hear you, we know you're in pain. Let us go save a life first.