Depressed in Maui

I recently had a conversation that solidified my decision not to take an assignment in Maui, Hawaii.

I’ve been wanting a travel assignment in Maui ever since I learned of travel nursing almost 13 years ago.  A position in Maui doesn’t open up very often.

About 2 months ago, a position opened up and I wanted to take it.  The problem with the position was it was a rotation shift.  Which means that one week, I would work day shift and the next week, I would work night shift.  I like working day shift.  I’ve worked a few night shifts in my work as a nurse.  Every time that I worked night shift, I had a hard time sleeping afterwards.  I would only sleep for about 2 hours and not be able to get to sleep until night time.

I was excited and nervous to take this position.  More nervous because I didn’t want to work night shift.  Switching up my sleeping habits every week wasn’t appealing at all.

I talked with my life coach and she helped me to make a decision.  I’m at my best when I get good sleep, eat right, and exercise.  I wouldn’t be at my best having to change my sleeping habits every week.  So I decided not to apply to the position in Maui.

A few weeks ago, I was having a talk with another travel nurse.  She was telling me that she had taken a position in Maui.  It was a rotating shift.  She was used to working day shift.  She took the position because she wanted to go to Maui.  She told me that she had a very hard time adjusting to working day shift one week and night shift the next week.  She wasn’t able to go and do the things that she wanted to do.  She wasn’t able to get enough sleep.  She said that she became depressed.  She said that she couldn’t believe that she was in Maui but she was depressed.  She stated that she would no longer take any rotating travel assignments.

After that conversation, I learned a lesson.

Sometimes you have to say no to some thing that you want in order to not hurt yourself.

If I had taken that travel assignment, I would have been hurting myself.  Yes the assignment would have only been 13 weeks but would I have enjoyed myself if I was miserable from lack of sleep.

Now I’m choosing to wait for an assignment that works for me.  I’m going to wait for a day shift assignment that will allow me not to mess with my sleeping habits, eating habits, and exercise habits.  It was a hard decision to make at the time because I really wanted to go to Maui.  The right travel assignment will come when the time is right.

Leisure Time

I recently had a conversation with some one that got me thinking.

This woman was trying to convince me that going back to school would be the right thing to do.  She told me that she went to school full time, had 4 kids, and a boyfriend.  She said that she did have to give up her leisure time.  She told me that if she did school then I could get through school as well.  I applaud her for doing all that while going to school.

Without her knowing it, she actually validated my decision not to go to school right now.

The thing that she said that got me thinking was that she had to give up her leisure time.

I looked up the meaning of leisure.  Dictionary.com says that leisure is defined as, “freedom from the demands of work or duty, when one can rest and enjoy hobbies or sports”.  Reading that definition, it seems to me that leisure time is more important than some people think.

As a nurse, my days away from work are just as important as the days that I work.  When I’m at work, I take care of my patients.  When I’m not at work, I’m taking care of me.

In the conversation, she told me that going to school I may just have to give up going to the movies once a week.  I thought to myself, what if going to the movies once a week makes a person feel good and relaxed.  If someone told me that I had to give up whale watching once a week to go to school.  I would say no to going to school.

Whale watching relaxes me.  I get excited to see whales and dolphins.  I do that once a week because I love it.  Being around water helps me to meditate and feel relaxed.  Whale watching is one of my ways of practicing self care.  Some people call it leisure time but it can be interchangeable with self care time.

I recently took a trip up to Monterey Bay and saw killer whales.  I just wanted to see killer whales in the wild.  I had so much fun.  I even extended my trip to see them.  I took a week off in between my current travel assignment.  I went up to Monterey Bay by train on Wednesday.  I went whale watching on Thursday and Friday.  I saw a lot of humpback whales.  On Friday, I decided to extend my trip.  I really wanted to see some killer whales.  On Saturday, I saw a lot of killer whales.

Another thing that she said that made me think was, “people make time for what they want to make time for.”

I agree a little bit with her statement.  People do make time for the things that they want to but life does happen.

For example, a couple of years ago, when I was working in retail at Goody’s.  I remember this mom came in with her son.  The son was about 6 or 7 years old.  The mother got a call and she let out a little scream.  She then yells into the phone, “What hospital is he at?”.  She grabs the little boy by the arm and runs to her car.  I could only think that her life just changed that day.  Some one that she loves is in the hospital and it didn’t look like she had planned that.  She came into Goody’s to shop and she ended up not buying anything that day.

I make plans and sometimes I don’t follow through with them.  I recently wanted to go to a waffle and beer festival in LA.  I made plans but on the day of the festival, I didn’t feel like going.  That day I just felt like relaxing at home and that is what I did.  I love waffles and pancakes.  I was looking forward to the different kinds of waffles that they were going to be selling.  The day before I had had a very hard day at work and I just wanted to relax because I was emotionally and physically tired from work.  The next day I did go whale watching to relax myself.

To me leisure time is important.  Leisure time can be interchangeable with self care time.  Leisure time is when you can enjoy your hobbies like fishing, boating, going to sporting events, whale watching, knitting, reading, going to a spa, getting your nails done, or what ever a person enjoys doing.

My leisure time or self care time makes me a more productive person at work.  It makes me feel better.  I make time for self care every week.  Some times I even say no to working extra shifts at work because I need my leisure time.

When I do choose to go to school, I will make time for my self care habits as well.

 

 

Power of Positivity

Last Sunday it was like the Universe/God was trying to test my positivity.

I woke up on my way to work like any other day.  While getting my breakfast ready, I found out the microwave wasn’t working anymore.  I couldn’t have my usual breakfast because I needed the microwave to warm up my veggie burger.  I told myself that I wasn’t going to let it affect my day.  I would just have to have breakfast at work.  I decided to leave early.

I go out to the car and put the key in the ignition and nothing happens.  The radio comes on but the engine didn’t come on.  I tried for about 5 minutes and nothing.  I just told myself that I would just take an uber and be chauffeured to work then.  It wasn’t my car and the landlord happened to be out of town.  I would text the landlord when I got to work.  I left the key at home and took the uber to work.

I get to work and got breakfast.  I just got a bagel because nothing else looked good.  After eating the bagel, my tooth started to hurt.  I was thinking what is going on today.  I decided that it wasn’t going to ruin my day.  After an hour the toothache went away.

I ended up having a great day at work.  It wasn’t too busy and I didn’t get any admissions or discharges.

I was thinking to myself how I didn’t let any of the situations in my day affect my mood.  I could have chose to tell myself that I was having a bad day and let it affect my mood.

I have trained my brain to see the positive.  It took a while for me to do that.  I have to practice positivity daily.  At the end of the day, I think of 3 things that I’m grateful for.  It could be things that happened that day or it could be other things.

Situations will always arise that you might not like.  I’ve found that I always have the power to choose how to react or not react to a situation.  I also have the power to not let it affect my mood.

Sometimes I do have some days that I have to struggle to hold onto my positivity.  It is getting easier every day not to let things affect my mood.  Eating healthy foods every day has also given me a big boost to my mood.  I didn’t know until I started to eat healthy how much that affected my mood.

So next time, you find yourself having a bad day.  Just remember something that makes you smile or laugh.  This youtube video always makes me laugh.  When I’m at work and I’m feeling stressed, I try to take the time to watch this video and get myself laughing again.

 

Ignoring my Calling

For most of my life, I have been ignoring my calling.

Looking back now, I can see the signs that I missed pertaining to my calling.  God/Universe wants me to be a teacher.  Maybe not in a classroom but a teacher of some kind.

One time that I ignored a sign was when I was in RN school.  I was in the bridge program for LPNs.  It was a three semester program.  Before starting the dean told me to stop working my two jobs so that I could make it through the program.  I didn’t listen.  I thought I could make it work.  The first semester came and I found that I was having a hard time balancing my work and school life.  I was having a hard time making time to study.

By the end of the first semester, I had a high C in the class.  At the end of the semester, there was three exit exams that we had to take.  We only had two chances to pass each test.  The first time, we took the test, the teachers didn’t count the questions that we hadn’t gone over in the semester.  If we got those questions wrong, it didn’t count towards the grade.  The second time we took the test, the students had to get above the national average.  The first time, the score that the students had to get was lower than the national average.  The national average was the average score that the nursing school students scored on the exit exams.

I ended up not passing any of the exit exams.  I had to retake all three of them.  To take the exams the second time, the students had to sign a contract saying that if the student didn’t pass the exam, the school could change the grade to a D.  The student could not continue in the program unless the student passed the exit exams.  I ended up passing two out of the three exit exams.  To say I was crushed would be an understatement.  I remember going into the dean’s office crying.  She told me that she would give me another chance.  The regular program was starting that Monday and I could start in it.  She told me that I wouldn’t get another chance if I didn’t pass the exit exams again.

The third semester, I had to meet with the dean.  This meeting was just to check on my progress in the program. I had passed the exit exams.  I had almost flunked out of labor and delivery but ended up passing.  I had only talked to the dean a few times.  She told me that I would make a good teacher.  At the time, I was not interested in that.  She even told me that she would pay my fees to be a part of the teacher’s association.  I told her thank you but no.

Looking back on that situation, I was amazed that she would even say that to me.  I had flunked out of the bridge program and almost flunked out of labor and delivery.  Some how she still saw in me the potential to be a teacher.  She must of heard that from the other teachers that had taught me in the program.  Different teachers in my LPN and RN programs have said that I would make a good teacher.  They told me that I had the patience and disposition to be a great teacher.  Another sign that I ignored.

One thing that nursing school doesn’t teach you is how to teach.  At some point in a nurse’s career, a nurse is going to have to teach.  There may be nursing school students on the floor that day.  A nurse may be asked to train a new nurse coming on the floor.  My first job in the hospital, I ended up training a new nurse.  I had only been working at that job for a little over a year.  I still felt like a new nurse at that time.

I recently worked at a hospital in Florida.  There were three different nursing schools coming to the floor on different days.  This hospital unfortunately had the nurses with seven patients at times.  I loved when the nursing school students came and they had some of my patients.  I could ask them to help me or they could take some of my tasks off of my plate.   Two of the teachers told me that I would make a good teacher.  Another sign from the Universe/God.

One day all of the students were placed with me.  I had a great day.  The students were beginning to compliment me on taking the time out to teach them and letting them do things.  I remember how it was to be a nursing student and so I like to pay it forward.  Nursing school can’t teach every thing about nursing.  Some things nurses have to learn while on the job.

I remember in LPN school, there was one nurse on the floor who didn’t like students.  She had a nasty attitude towards us and didn’t allow us to do anything with her patients even though the nursing school teacher assigned a student to that patient.  When I had one of that nurse’s patients that day, I didn’t know what to do.  Thankfully it was her birthday that day and she was in a good mood and allowed me to take care of the patient.  Through her behavior I learned what kind of nurse that I didn’t want to be.  Every nurse has been a nursing student at some point.   Now I love it when students are around.   That is just another sign that I was being called to be a teacher.

Now I’m not ignoring the signs anymore.

I Still Amaze Myself

Last week, I did something so simple but it still amazed me while I was doing it.

I was going to Tijuana with a friend.  I got there early.

The Shavawn of 5 years ago would have just waited in the car until her friend showed up.  She was insecure about other people thinking that she had no friends.

Instead of sitting in the car, I saw a dollar tree.  I wanted to go window shopping.  On the way to the dollar tree, I saw that there was an outlet mall across the street.  I chose to go to the outlet mall and window shop.  I enjoyed myself.

It was something that was so simply but at the same time it wasn’t.  I was thinking while I was window shopping how hard this would have been for me a couple of years ago.  I used to hate to do things by myself.

Now I’m a travel nurse traveling around the US by herself and enjoying it.

A couple of weeks, ago a drug company came to the hospital and brought us lunch.  I ended up taking the salsa home.  I was going to put it in a salad or my tortilla.  I found myself really happy and dancing in the kitchen when I was using the salsa.  I was just happy to be using the salsa.  I used to dance like that before I ate the doughnuts and cakes that I used to eat.  Now I get happy and excited to eat healthy foods.

My parents have a garden and I love when the tomatoes are ready.  I can actually tell the difference between home grown tomatoes and store bought tomatoes.  I love the home grown tomatoes.

If you had of told me 5 years ago that I would enjoy eating vegetables and fruits, I would have called you a liar.  Back then, I loved my doughnuts and cakes.  That’s why I ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at times.

I hope I never get out of this phase where the little things like this still amaze me.

Sometimes you just need a reminder of how far you’ve come.

It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s next.  With my life coach, I check off a goal every 2 weeks and then I’m on to the next goal.  Sometimes I forget how much I’ve actually done.

I remember when speaking in public used to be a big deal to me.  It still scares me but I know that I can do it.  I did an open mic night at a club.

Just recently I was trying to write my biography.  I was having a hard time listing the things that I’ve done.  It felt like I was bragging.  It isn’t bragging to list the things that you’ve done.  It may actually encourage some one to know that you did something that scared you.

Almost every time that I’m scared to do something, I think of the things that I have already done.  I went skydiving, did an open mic night, got my certification to be a life coach, lived in Hawaii for 6 months, beat my eating disorder, started a blog, and so much more.

So next time you get scared or sad, just think of some of the things that you have done throughout your life.  I’m pretty sure that you may be amazed also, just like I was.

 

When?

When?

I used to think happiness was a destination.

I used to tell myself that.

I’ll be happy when I lose the weight.

I’ll be happy when I graduate from college.

I’ll be happy when I get married.

I’ll be happy when I get a new job.

I’ll  be happy when I become a travel nurse.

Some of those came and I still wasn’t happy.

I realized that happiness comes when I decide to be happy.

I am happy with the woman that I am now and the woman that I am still becoming.

I am happy with the progress that I’ve made and I’m happy to be working towards my goals and dreams.

I took responsibility for my own happiness.

I am happy because I decided to be happy and grateful.

Acceptance

A funny thing happened about a week ago.

After my shift was over, I was finishing up my charting for the day and the other nurses started to compliment me on my voice.  I had had an unruly patient that day but one nurse said that my voice was calm while I was talking to the patient.  Even when I was trying to be stern with the patient my voice was still calm and smooth.  Some other nurses jumped in and said the same thing.  They said that if I was on the radio then they would listen just to hear my voice.

This is funny to me because I used to be so self conscious about my voice.  After I went through puberty, my voice got deeper.  I used to ask my friends if I sounded like a guy over the phone.  Some people over the phone would call me sir instead of ma’am.  That made me even more self conscious about my voice.

In high school, a guy gave me his number to call him.  It took me a whole year before I called him because I was so self conscious about my voice over the phone.  My brother had to literally sit on me and dial the number and put the phone up to my ear until the guy answered.  I laugh about that situation now but I was so nervous at that time to call that guy.

When I first started working with my life coach, she complimented my voice.  She also said that I needed to be on the radio.  When she listened to my practice breakthrough session, she complimented my voice.  She said that my voice was warm, steady, calm and I had the right pace.  While I was doing the practice breakthrough session with my friend, I had felt so nervous.  I thought my voice was shaky but she told me that wasn’t the case.

I don’t need to be self conscious about my voice.

Maybe what I used to think of as a flaw (my voice) is actually what makes me unique.  I asked myself a question.

What if I actually loved my voice and my body and didn’t worry about changing them?

When I was in my first year of college, I thought about getting breast implants.  I felt that I needed bigger breasts to help myself love myself more.  I’m now glad that I didn’t have enough money to get breast implants.

About five years ago, I wanted my butt to be bigger.  I tried to exercise for it.  Squats didn’t really help.  I looked into surgery.  It was expensive and I didn’t want every body to know that I had surgery to get a bigger butt.  Even though I was 180 pounds, my butt didn’t poke out like I wanted it to.  As I gained weight, it just got wider.

I recently went shopping with a friend and started to try on skinny jeans.  I never really liked skinny jeans because I think they accentuate the fact that I have a small butt.  I tried them on anyway.  I actually bought 3 pairs of skinny jeans.  I love them.  I just accepted the fact that I have a small butt.  That is not going to change.

Recently I just decided to love my body.  I spent about 30 years thinking of changing my body.  I was going up and down with my weight.  I was looking into surgery.

What did happen when I changed my mind about trying to change my body and just love my body?

I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  I don’t need to have a bigger butt or bigger breasts to love myself.  I’ve come to love my voice.  It’s mine.  Now I don’t have to worry about saving up for surgery.  I can use that money to have adventures.  If someone wants to get surgery to change their bodies that is ok.  Every one has a choice to do what they feel is right for them.  I was letting other people’s opinions influence my decisions about my body.  Some men would tell me that I would be a 10 if I had a bigger butt or bigger breasts.  That is one of the reasons that I thought about surgery.  I stopped listening to those men.  Their opinions will not make me try to change myself any more.  I will do what I feel is right for myself regarding my body.

I love my body just the way it is!  I love my voice just the way it is!  This is the body that I have right now.  I can either love it or spend my life trying to change it.  Like the HGTV show, Love it or List it, I choose to love it.  I accept my body for what it is and love it.  My body is amazing and can do amazing things.

Kung Fu Shavawn

One of my favorite movies is Kung Fu Panda.  I’m watching it right now as I write this.  I love the movie because there are so many life lessons in the movie.

The movie opens with Po (a panda) having a dream.  He is dreaming about being a kung fu warrior.  He loves kung fu.  This first scene is inspiring to me because I have dreams too.

Po is working at a noodle shop with his father, Mr. Ping ( a goose).  His father expects him to take over the noodle shop. When his father was young, he had wanted to work with tofu but decided to follow his father into the noodle business.  His father states that if was just a stupid dream that he had.  The specialty at the shop is a secret ingredient soup.  His father hasn’t told him the secret ingredient yet.

Meanwhile, Master Oogway (a turtle), has a vision that Tai Lung ( a snow leopard) is going to escape from prison and try to take the dragon scroll.  The dragon scroll is said to contain magical powers and whoever looks at it will become the greatest kung fu warrior of all time.  Tai Lung is evil and wants to take the scroll for himself.  Master Shifu raised Tai Lung as his son.  Master Oogway calls to his friend, Master Shifu ( a red panda), to tell him of his vision.  After telling Shifu his vision, Shifu calls for his assistant, Zeng (a goose) to go to the prison and tell them to double their guards so tai lung won’t escape.

Master Oogway states that, “one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it”.

That line always makes me laugh because it reminds me of myself.  After I graduated from RN school, I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse.  I had seen in my dreams that I was going to be working on a med/surg/telemetry floor.  I didn’t want to work there.  I spent a whole year just applying to labor and delivery floors and getting no interviews.  I finally started to apply to other jobs.  I applied to med/surg floors and other specialty floors.  I got six interviews.  One was to a new graduate position on a med/surg floor.  The other interviews were to a med/surg/telemetry floor.  Can you guess which floor I ended up on?  I ended up on a med/surg/telemetry floor, just like I had seen in my dreams.  I was trying so hard to avoid it.

When Zeng reaches the prison, he is shown that Tai Lung can’t escape.  Tai Lung ends up escaping because one of Zeng’s feathers drops near him.  If Master Shifu had not sent him to the prison then Tai Lung wouldn’t have been able to escape.  Master Oogway’s vision comes true because Master Shifu was trying to get the prison to double their guards so Tai Lung wouldn’t escape.

That day while Po is working, a poster is put up that Master Oogway is going to be choosing the dragon warrior.  Po excitedly tells every one to go to the Jade Palace to learn who the dragon warrior is.  Po unfortunately doesn’t make it in time to make it into the palace.  He tries multiple times to get into the palace.  He doesn’t give up because he wants to see which student is going to be chosen.  Po looks up to the Furious Five.  The furious five include Master Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Crane, and Viper.  Po ends up tying fireworks to a chair to get into the palace.  His father comes and asks what he is doing.  He finally breaks down and tells his dad that he loves kung fu.  Po ends up being blasted into the sky and falls in front of Master Oogway.  Master Tigress thinks that Master Oogway was about to choose her to be the dragon warrior.  Master Shifu and the furious five are disappointed but Master Oogway’s decision is made.

While Tai Lung is escaping from prison, Master Shifu is trying to teach kung fu to Po.  Master Shifu tries to teach Po just like he taught the Furious Five.  Po fails miserably the first day.  Master Shifu makes a plan to get rid of Po.  He doesn’t believe that Po is or can be the dragon warrior.  He tells Master Oogway that is was an accident that Po fell out of the sky and fell right in front of Master Oogway.  Master Oogway states that there are no accidents.

That line also teaches me that there are no accidents in my life.  When I look back, I can see that every thing was orchestrated by the Universe/God.  I was meant to be a nurse just like my dreams showed me.  I made it through RN school with help from the Universe/God.  In my dreams I saw myself doing yoga, hiking, and being happy with myself.  I am now doing yoga, hiking, and I’m happy with myself.  I am now the woman that I saw in my dreams.  That is no accident or coincidence.

After Po fails the first day of training, Master Shifu is upset.  He doesn’t believe that Po is meant to be the dragon warrior.  The furious five don’t believe that he is going to be the dragon warrior either.

Po goes to find something to eat.  Master Oogway finds him and has a talk with him.  Po starts to compare himself to the furious five.  Po wants to quit because he isn’t any good at kung fu.  Master Oogway tells Po that he is too concerned about what was and what could be.  Master Oogway then say, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present”.

This line is something that I have struggled with and still continue to struggle with at times.  I know parts of the future but I don’t know when the dreams are going to come true.  I would love to know when they are going to come true but the Universe/God doesn’t want me to know.  I also used to compare myself to other people.  I’ve learned to stop doing that because success looks different for every person.  There is enough success for every one.  I also used to compare myself to my future husband’s exes.  I’m not like his exes but that may be a good thing. I just need to be the best me that I can be.

The next day, Po wakes up early to try to train and learn kung fu.  The second day of training is no better than the first day.  Po doesn’t quit because he loves kung fu and wants to learn.

Master Shifu is frustrated that Po hasn’t quit yet.  When Master Shifu learns that Tai Lung has escaped he goes to find Master Oogway to tell him.  Master Oogway isn’t scared because he believes that Po will stop Tai Lung.  Master Oogway states, “the panda will never fulfill his destiny nor you yours until you let go of this illusion of control”.

I remember that my life coach has said this to me.  There are some things that you can control but some things you can’t control.

Master Oogway tells Master Shifu that he just needs to believe that Po is the dragon warrior.  Master Shifu promises to believe.

Po gets scared of his destiny because he hasn’t caught on to kung fu.  He starts to doubt that he will ever become good.    He doesn’t want to face Tai Lung in a battle.  He tries to run away but is stopped by Master Shifu.  Po states that he stayed before because he believed that Master Shifu could turn him into the dragon warrior.  Po stated that it hurt every day of his life just being himself and he stayed so that Master Shifu could make him not be himself.  Po understood that he needed help to become the dragon warrior.  The furious five go off and try to fight Tai Lung.

This part of the movie, encourages me.  I used to be afraid to ask for help when I needed it.  I almost failed a class because I didn’t want to get a tutor because I felt that I should be able to get through it on my own.  When I got a tutor I passed the class.  Its a sign of your own strength when you can ask for help from other people.  I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the help of other people.  My family has helped me, my friends have helped me, and my life coach has helped me to become the woman that I am today.  My life coach helped me to become a better version of myself. That is what life coaching is.

The next day, Po is upset and goes to find some thing to eat in the kitchen.  Po eats when he is upset.  ( I used to do the same thing).  Master Shifu hears some one training and goes to find out who it is.  He finds Po in the kitchen doing kung fu moves to get to the food.  Po has broken the wooden doors with his fist and also does a split to get to some cookies.  Po states that it is just an accident that he did a split to get to the cookies.  Master Shifu smiles and takes Po up to a mountain to train him.  Master Shifu realizes that he can’t train Po like he trained the furious five.  He teaches Po kung fu through food.  Po ends up learning kung fu.

The furious five fight Tai Lung and end up being defeated.  Crane flies them back to the jade palace.  Master Shifu decides that it is time for Po to get the dragon scroll so that he can get the power necessary to defeat Tai Lung.  The dragon scroll turns out to be a blank scroll.  Po doesn’t receive any special powers.  Master Shifu decides that he will fight Tai Lung and tells the furious five and Po to evacuate the village.  Po goes back to his father’s noodle shop.  Mr. Ping finally tells Po the secret ingredient to his secret soup.  His father tells him that the secret is nothing.  Mr. Ping states, “to make some thing special you just have to believe that it is special”.  Po then realizes what the dragon scroll is saying.  He is the dragon warrior because he believes that he is the dragon warrior.  There is no secret ingredient or powers.  Po then goes back to the jade palace to confront Tai Lung.

In the fight with Tai Lung, Po uses the lessons that he has learned to defeat Tai Lung.  He uses what other people told him were his weaknesses.  He uses his fat, his love of food, his ability to learn, and of course kung fu.  For most of the movie, other people have called Po a big fat panda.  Even Tai Lung says that he can’t be defeated by Po because he is just a big fat panda.  Po states that he can because he is “The Big Fat Panda”.  When Tai Lung get and looks at the dragon scroll he thinks that he is going to get great power.  He states the it is nothing because it is blank.  Po tells him that here is no secret ingredient, it is just you.  Master Oogway made a great choice in choosing Po for the dragon warrior.  Po is believed to be the last panda.  Po is able to withstand some of Tai Lung’s attacks because he is a panda.

This last part encourages me.  I’ve learned to use what other people consider my weaknesses to my advantage.  I used to be told that I was too nice, I smiled too much, and that I was weird.  My compassion and empathy has made me a great nurse.  I have been told my many people that I have a beautiful smile.  I love to smile and I will share it.

I used to be afraid of some of my dreams.  I thought to myself that I’m not right for the job that the Universe/God has for me.  This movie helps me to realize that there are no accidents and the Universe/God chose me.  I’m just right for my dreams because I was chosen.

If you’re ever afraid of your dreams just remember that the Universe/God doesn’t choose wrong.  You have those dreams for a reason.  You can also turn what other people perceive as your weaknesses into your strength.

Every time I need to remind myself of these lessons I just watch Kung Fu Panda.

Am I Weird?

I’ve recently had some people tell me that I’m weird.  I take it as a compliment.  If some one told me that I was normal, I might be a little hurt.

I was having a conversation with my recruiter for my first nursing agency about the current assignment that I’m on.  I was telling her that I don’t like block scheduling.  Block scheduling is when they put your days together.  I was working 3 days in a row a lot.  I was told in the interview that block scheduling would only be used if the nurse asked for it.  The first month, the hospital had me working block scheduling every week.  When I spoke up and told the manager, she stated that usually travel nurses like block scheduling.  I don’t.  Even my recruiter was telling me that most of her recruits like block scheduling.  She called me weird but again I took it as a compliment.  Because I spoke up, they stopped the block scheduling.  I know that as a travel nurse, I have to be flexible.  I can do block scheduling maybe once a month but I don’t like it.

I had a friend call me when she had a supernatural experience.  She was feeling very uncomfortable about the situation.  I told her that because of the way that I grew up, things like that are just normal for me.  I’m very comfortable having supernatural experiences.  She called me weird.  Just another compliment for me

I was recently telling a patient that there is no normal.  What is normal for me may not be normal for another person.  Medications don’t work on every one the same way.  Some patients may have side effects while another person taking the same medication may not.  Some patients want to know the side effects of their new medication while some others don’t.  One patient told me that they didn’t want me to go over the side effects because then they would have every side effect mentioned.  They would just take the medication information but not read it.  That was that patient’s “normal”.  They believed that looking at the side effects would bring the side effects on.  I didn’t think that was weird.  I understood.  I still had to provide the patient with the information but the patient also has the right not to listen to the information provided.

When patients ask what is the normal schedule for bowel movements, I have to tell them that every one is different.  Some people go after every meal, some go once a day, some go twice a day, some go every other day, and some people go every two days.  I can’t say what the “normal” schedule is.  I then have to ask them what is their normal schedule.  Some people haven’t thought about how much they go and I’m the first person to ask them that question.  I’ve had some patients ask me why I need to know when the last time they had a bowel movement.  One patient said that was a weird question because they didn’t come to the hospital for that issue.  I told that patient, that is was a part of the admission assessment, we as healthcare workers need to know.  We don’t want the patients to become constipated while in the hospital.

Some of the conversations that nurses have would be considered weird by other people.  Nurses talk about bowel movements, wounds, and other things that would make some one else feel uncomfortable.

After graduating RN school, I applied to work at the GI lab where I interned at.  I was excited to work there.  It excited me to see the inside of the stomach and intestines.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the job because they hired another of my classmates that applied earlier than me.  Another of my classmates called me weird for wanting to work there.  I thought it would be interesting.

I don’t consider myself weird, I consider myself a normal Shavawn.  I’m just being myself.  I used to hate when some one told me that I was weird.  I wanted to be normal and fit in.  Now I just want to be myself and if some one thinks that is weird, then I’m okay with that.

I wonder what the world would be like if more and more people embraced their weirdness.  That may be just what the world needs.  The world doesn’t need more people trying to be the same.  The world needs more and more people that are willing to just be themselves and love themselves for it.

Ready or Not?

At work, last week, I had a very uncomfortable conversation with some other co-workers.

I had just clocked out for my lunch break and was looking forward to just sitting down.  When I got to the break room, there was already 4 other people in there having lunch.

As I was getting my lunch from the fridge, I was listening to their conversation.  They were talking about another co-workers weight.  They were talking about having an intervention about her weight.  They were hesitant to do it because they didn’t know her very well.  One of them had been out with her once after work but still didn’t know her well.

I sat down to eat my lunch, just hoping that I wouldn’t get sucked into their conversation.  Unfortunately one of them asked for my opinion.  I told them that it was really up to that woman to decide to lose weight.  Having an intervention won’t make her be ready.  I understand that they are concerned about her health and weight but it may make for an uncomfortable work environment if they did the intervention and she wasn’t ready to lose weight.

I told them about how I lost weight.  I told them that many people had told me over the years that I needed to lose weight.  Some people even told me that I look good with some weight on me.  Ultimately it was still up to me to decide to lose weight.

Becoming the food police wouldn’t help either.

I remember a few years ago, at work, I was at lunch and decided to eat a doughnut.  One of the patient’s family members had brought in some doughnuts to thank the staff for taking care of the patient.  One of my co-workers walked in and sat down.  She said to me that I shouldn’t be eating that doughnut.  “A moment on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips” is what she then stated.  I didn’t pay attention and kept eating the doughnut.  I remember that hospital because most of the nurses were skinny.  It was only about 3 over weight nurses and I was one of them.  I was uncomfortable every time that I went to work because almost every one that worked on my floor was skinny.

Another incident that I remember was when I was in RN school.  I would change my eating habits when eating with the other nursing students.  I would eat healthy around them.  I didn’t want to expose my eating disorder to them.  One of the other nursing students told me that I should be skinny because of the way that I was eating.  I told her that it was the way that I ate at home that was keeping me over weight and I didn’t exercise.

Even some of my patients commented on my weight.  Some of them would say that I would look so much prettier if I lost 50 pounds.  At the time, I chose to take it as a compliment.  At least they thought I was a little bit pretty.  I didn’t want their comment to ruin my shift so I just smiled and laughed and went on with my day.  I was uncomfortable being at 180 pounds but to myself I was pretty.

Its become acceptable in our society to comment on some else’s weight and not to focus on the real issue.  That person might be going through a rough time in their lives.  Some people deal with their issues by eating.

I call that swallowing your voice.  In the process of eating, you temporarily get away from your feelings.  You don’t want to deal with your issues so you eat so that you can go numb from your problems for a while. 

The problem with swallowing your voice, is that the “high” or numbness goes away when you finish eating.  When you finish eating the guilt comes in because you may have eaten half a dozen doughnuts in one sitting. Then your issues still haven’t gone away.  What I would then do is plan what I was going to have for lunch or dinner.  That would usually evolve half a dozen doughnuts or a whole cake.

I was thinking about those incidents today and remembered something my life coach told me once.  She said that over weight people wear one of their problems in public every day.  When an over weight person goes out into public, almost every one can see that they have an issue with food, self care, depression, or some thing else.  Not every one who looks at a skinny person can tell what their issues are.

My life coach also once told me that people that are over weight are usually over weight for a reason.  That reason is rarely about just the food.  The over eating is usually a symptom of a deeper issue.  For example, my issues were my self esteem, not knowing myself, and not loving myself.  Until I dealt with those issues, I would continue the eating disorder and the up and down roller coaster of my weight.

You can tell someone else about their problems but they don’t have to do anything about it.

It is up to that individual to deal with their problems.  When I was over weight, I didn’t need any one to tell me that I was over weight.  I already knew it.  When some one told me about my weight, it would just make me feel even worse.  I would then reach for food to comfort myself.  It just became a vicious cycle.

When that person is ready to do something about a problem that they are having, then they will deal with it.  I was only able to deal with my issues when I was ready.  I got to a point where I realized that I couldn’t continue the way that I was.  I was stuck.  Like one of my friends told me, “when the person is ready, the teacher will appear”.  When I was ready to deal with my issues, my life coach was doing a special and I hired her and I dealt with my issues.  It wasn’t a coincidence, it was meant to be.  The teacher appeared when I was ready.

Another example is when I see patients coming back to the hospital with the same problems.  Those patients just tell me that their medications need to be adjusted.  I educate them on their diets, exercise habits, and taking care of themselves but they don’t have to listen to me.  The evidence that they don’t listen is when I see them a couple of weeks later back in the hospital.  I have to realize that I can’t “fix” their problems, it is up to the patient to take care of themselves when they go home.  When the patient is in the hospital, the hospital can control some things like their diets and their medications.  Sometimes that works and some times it doesn’t.  If the patient wants to have some one bring them unhealthy food ultimately we can’t stop them.  When that patient goes home, they can change their diets and medications when they want to.

I just told my co-workers that it was up to the other co-worker to lose weight.  We can’t force her to lose weight.  We can’t make her be ready just because we are ready for her to lose weight.  We don’t know what is going on in her life right now.  They said they were uncomfortable even talking to her about it and that is why they wanted to get some one that was close to her to talk to her about it and do an intervention.

Thankfully after I gave my opinion, the conversation turned to hiking and running marathons.