Taking My Life Back

I recently had a situation where I had to make a choice.

I had been renting a car from my old landlord. The car has been having trouble ever since I first got it.

The low tire light has been coming on every 2 months. The first time it happened, the landlord said to take it to a mechanic and have them put air in the tires.

When I did that, about a week later, the mechanic said that I need all new tires. He showed me some cracks that were in the tires and some bald areas on the tires. He also showed me what a tire is supposed to look like. From that time on, I was nervous to drive the car.

When I told my old landlord, he said the mechanic was just saying that because I was a woman and he wanted to make a sale. My instinct was telling me to trust the mechanic but I needed a vehicle at the time. He was giving me a good deal on the rental car. I wouldn’t be able to find a rental car for the price that I was paying. So against my better judgment, I kept driving the car.

Every two months, I would just text the landlord and he would come out and put air in the tires and check the car. I was too nervous to the drive the car when I went whale watching so I would rent a car from Turo. That was even more money that I was spending.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back happened in November.

I went on vacation the second week of November. The week before, the tire light came on and the landlord fixed it while I was at work.

When I came back from vacation, one of the tires was completely flat. I had to take an Uber to the grocery store. The landlord was in Mexico, so he sent his associate to take the car to his mechanic in LA and fix the tire. When his associate came he found that the tag was expired. The tag had been expired for 5 months. I didn’t even know because I didn’t look at the tag. The associate was too nervous to drive it to the mechanic, so he took the tire to the mechanic. He was supposed to leave the car that he drove with me and take the car to the mechanic.

When he came back with the tire, he told me there was nothing wrong with the tire. My gut was telling me that there was something wrong. A tire just doesn’t go flat. I told my concerns to his associate but he told me that if I was pulled over by the cops they should just give me a warning. The hospital that I work at is right next to a police station.

The next day, the landlord calls me and says that the mechanic stated that someone was probably letting the air out of my tires at work. He said someone didn’t like me and that the tires were good. Again my gut was telling me that something was wrong with the tires. I only drive the car to work and the grocery store. My job is 10 minutes away and the grocery store is 5 minutes away from the house. He also said that someone stole my tag. He said that he put the new tag on in November when he last took the car to put some air in the tires. That still means that I was driving on an expired tag since the end of June.

My brother is a mechanic so I decided to get his opinion. I sent him pictures and videos of the tires. He confirmed what the first mechanic had said. There were cracks in the tires and they were about 7 years old. He said that I shouldn’t be driving on the tires.

I made a decision after that. I needed to get another rental car.

My landlord is a nice guy and I had asked him about two times if he had another rental car that I could rent. He had said no. I had asked if he would get the tires changed and he kept saying that he would but he never did.

I talked with my life coach about the situation and after that conversation it was clear that my landlord didn’t care about my feelings. He only cared that I was paying him on time. His actions were telling me that he didn’t care if I got pulled over for an expired tag or if the tires kept going flat. He allowed me to drive with an expired tag for 5 months.

I do take responsibility for the tag situation. I should have looked at the tag and let him know that it had expired. I was the one driving the car. He also had a responsibility to make sure the tag was up to date too. When the tag on my car is about to expire, I get something in the mail reminding me that the tag is about to expire.

This car situation was mirroring the situation at the hospital. In the hospital, we are reusing PPE that I was taught in nursing school was meant for one time use. Up until March, we could not use the same gown between multiple patients. We could not use the same mask more than once. Sometimes I feel like my life isn’t in my own hands anymore.

At least with the car situation, I could take my life back into my own hands. I could just rent another rental car.

I felt guilty about telling my old landlord that I wouldn’t be needing his car anymore. He was going through a lot of rough situations. I had asked for another rental car. He had also said many times before that he would replace the tires but he always came up with an excuse for not doing it. I needed to do what was best for me.

Now that I have another rental car, I can say that I feel safer in the car. I’m not afraid of the tires going flat. With a rental car company, if something goes wrong with this car, I can get a replacement car. I’m saving money because I don’t have to get another rental car when I go whale watching anymore. Yes, I am paying more money but I have peace of mind with this car. I’ve had the new rental car for 2 months and the low tire light hasn’t come on and the tires haven’t gone flat.

I am a little mad at myself for allowing this situation to go on for so long just to save money. I wasn’t even saving money because I was paying for 2 rental cars every week. The Turo car would be about $200 per month because I went whale watching every week.

Now that I look back at the situation, I have learned a lesson. Listen to myself. My gut was telling me that something was wrong with the car and I didn’t want to listen because another rental car would have been more expensive. I am committed to listening to my gut feeling. It hasn’t stirred me wrong yet. It is when I don’t listen that I get into trouble.

Have you ever had a situation where you didn’t listen to yourself?

Lessons from the movie, Onward

Onward has become one of my favorite movies.

I have learned some important lessons from the movie.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned was to be grateful.

If you haven’t watched the movie, then don’t read the rest. I don’t go over the whole movie but I do go over some scenes from the movie.

The main character is named Ian. Ian grew up without his father because his father died of an illness before he was born. He never got to know his dad. He does have an older brother named Barley. Barley is fearless and Ian fears every thing. Ian is in high school. Ian really wishes that his dad was there.

Ian loves to make to do list. He will either check or cross out the things that he has done.

In one scene, he writes that he wants to ask some kids to his birthday party on his to do list. He does end up asking them but then his brother shows up and embarrasses him and he ends up telling the other kids that his party has been cancelled. At the end of the day, he crossed off the item on his list that said he should ask the kids to the party.

Every time I look at this scene, I think to myself that he did ask the kids to the party. It just didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to.

Then I ask myself, haven’t I done that in my own life? I didn’t make a to do list on paper but it was in my head. I tell myself that I failed at something when I tried something new if it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to.

For example, when I was in my early twenties, I wanted to be married, have kids, and be a stay at home mother. I never wanted to work. My life didn’t turn out like I planned it in my twenties. About seven years ago, I considered my life a failure because I wasn’t married and my life plan wasn’t what I thought it would be.

Now I don’t consider my life a failure. I know that if I had of gotten married in my early twenties, I would probably be divorced by now. I didn’t know myself at twenty like I do now. My taste in men has changed over the years. Having a partner that is emotionally mature is more important to me than having a partner that is physically attractive. Don’t get me wrong I would like my partner to be physically attractive to me but in my early twenties that was all that I was really looking for in a partner was the physical attributes.

Ian may consider his to do list a failure because it didn’t turn out how he planned it but in reality it isn’t a failure.

Another thing that Ian wrote on his to do list for his sixteenth birthday was that he wanted to learn how to drive. He takes driver education and volunteers first. The teacher takes him on the highway and he is scared. The teacher tells him to merge into the traffic. He is so nervous but eventually he does merge into traffic but immediately gets back into the on ramp of the highway and states that he isn’t ready.

Again even though he crossed this item off of his list at the end of the day, he actually did merge into traffic. He just didn’t stay in the lane for a long time. Ian actually accomplished a lot of the things on his to do list for his sixteenth birthday but he doesn’t see it because they didn’t turn out how he wanted it to turn out.

Ian and Barley’s dad died before Ian was born. Ian wanted his dad in his life and misses him. He thinks that his life would be so much better if his dad was raising him. Ian was raised by his mom and his big brother, Barley. On Ian’s sixteenth birthday, his mom gives him and his brother a gift from their dad. It turns out that it is a magic wizard staff and a phoenix gem that will bring his dad back for one whole day. Barley tries the spell but it doesn’t work. When Ian tries the spell it works. Some how the spell doesn’t work all the way and only brings back the dad’s bottom half.

This starts the two brothers on a quest. It turns out that Ian has magic powers. The brothers have to go on a quest to find another phoenix gem. Barley is super excited because he is into magic.

With Ian’s magic and Barley’s knowledge of magic they go on a dangerous quest with their dad’s bottom half in tow.

Of course Ian makes a to do list of all the things that he wants to do with his dad. Some of the things include, “play catch, take a walk, have a heart to heart, laugh together, driving lessons, and share my life with him.”

On the quest, the two brothers become closer and Ian becomes more sure of himself. Barley teaches Ian all about magic and spells along the way.

At the end of the day, when they haven’t found a phoenix gem, Ian gets mad at Barley and tells him that he screwed up his one chance to meet his dad. Ian takes off with his dad’s bottom half in tow. He goes to sit on a cliff with his dad and takes out his to do list of all the things that he wanted to do with his dad. He starts to cross off the items. Towards the end of his list, he starts to think. He realized that on the quest, he has done all the things on his list with Barley.

He realizes that he has shared his life with his big brother and learned so much from him. He actually checks off the last item on the list because he realizes that he did do that item with his brother.

Again the lesson that I learn is to be grateful. Your life may not look like you want it to but there are still blessings in it.

If you haven’t watched this movie I would highly recommend it.

Whether the dad will ever know it, he went on a quest with his two sons. That quest also lead to Ian and Barley’s mom, Laurel, going on a quest of her own and she makes a new friend.

What are you grateful for?

What have you accomplished that didn’t go the way that you originally planned?

Shots

I recently got my covid vaccine and that made me remember a moment from my childhood.

I have always been scared of needles. I can give them to patients but when it comes to myself, I hesitate.

I had to be around 4 or 5 years old, when this incident happened. My mom had told me we were going to the doctors for a check up. I didn’t know that I was going to be getting a shot that day.

I remember as soon as I saw the needle, I immediately got scared and started to cry. The nurse tried to calm me down but I wasn’t listening to her. I wasn’t interested in getting a lollipop afterwards. All I knew at the time that it was going to hurt me when I got the shot.

This was back in the eighties. After seeing that I wasn’t calming down and I wasn’t going to let her give me the shot, the nurse then told me that she was going to have to get another nurse to hold me down. Back in the eighties, the nurses were allowed to hold down the children to give them their vaccines. I’m not sure if the nurses can do that today. I don’t work in pediatrics so I’m not sure.

The nurse went outside the room and returned with another nurse. That nurse stood in the doorway and was looking at me. The first nurse then said that this was the nurse that was going to hold me down if I didn’t cooperate and let her give me the shot.

To this day, I remember how the other nurse looked and made me feel. This nurse scared me. She looked very mean and was a bigger lady. Even though I was scared, I knew that I didn’t want this other nurse to touch me. I was scared that she would hurt me even more than the shot would hurt. I felt so powerless in that moment because I couldn’t get out of the situation. The only options were to allow the first nurse to give me the shot or get held down by the other nurse and get the shot. Either way I was getting the shot, whether I wanted it or not. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have gotten the shot.

I allowed the first nurse to give me the shot then. Afterwards the nurse gave me a lollipop and called me a good girl. I didn’t feel like a good girl, I felt like I couldn’t trust any nurses. The lollipop didn’t make me feel better.

To this day, I still get nervous when getting a vaccine. I know that vaccines help eradicate viruses. I know that vaccines are mandatory for children. I feel like there could have been a better way to go about giving me the shot.

One time, I was supposed to get the flu vaccine. I was in my early twenties at this time. I got so nervous that I walked out before getting the vaccine. I had already paid my co pay for the doctors visit. I was just too nervous.

I’ve seen some recent videos of how some nurses get creative in giving kids their vaccines. They make it fun for the little kids and the kids aren’t scared. I wish that a nurse would have done that for me when I was little instead of telling me that I was going to get held down.

Now that I’m a nurse, I do understand that doctors offices are really busy. If even one patient takes up a lot of time, then that means less time with other patients or the staff will have to stay later. They might see up to 40 or 50 patients a day.

Have you ever had a childhood situation like this one? How did it shape you into the person that you are now?

That childhood situation actually made me a better nurse. I don’t want any of my patients to feel the way that I felt in the situation that I was in when I was little. I want them to feel like they have a choice in their treatment. I don’t want them to feel powerless. That was one reason that I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse and then go into pediatrics. I didn’t want any kids to feel like I felt in that childhood situation. Maybe I could prevent that by becoming a nurse. Unfortunately I wasn’t hired for any positions in labor and delivery or pediatrics.

Now when I get any vaccines, I just don’t look at the needle. I know its going to hurt a little bit but I still get them. Even when I need my blood drawn, I can’t look at the needle. I can give my patients shots but I just don’t like to get them.

I recently accepted a job at a covid vaccine clinic. Hopefully I won’t have to let anyone practice on me. I have to teach people how to give vaccines at this job. This will be interesting.

How losing your hair can be the path to finding your best life.

I had written this speech over 2 years ago for an Alopecia event that was later cancelled. So I thought that I should write it here.

The title for the speech is, How losing your hair can be the path to finding your best life.

You don’t get to have your own hair, but you do get to have your own back.

I am the Alopecia Empress and it has catapulted me into my best life. When I say that, I mean that alopecia has elevated me into the queendom of my life.

But oh my God, it did not start out that way. And if I’m being honest, brushing up against alopecia was not the first time I judged my body for the way it looked. And my guess is, for all the woman with alopecia, that you were judging yourself in the mirror long before your hair fell out.

Make no mistake about it, alopecia isn’t the problem, if we let if, it will be the cure for self-judgement. Cause there’s nothing like having a bald spot or bald head to make sure that once and for all, the standard of your beauty is not going to be solely based on how you look.

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I had a little pot belly. The other girls had a flat stomach, and I wanted that too. Mine stuck out, and that made me different. And that childhood belief, that I needed to look a certain way to be accepted, grew into an eating disorder. By middle school, my relationship with food was unhealthy, fast forward to college and that’s when things really got out of balance. Now imagine, as a nurse, years later, how I felt like a fraud for telling my patients to eat well, when I knew that I was binging and starving myself, or as we call it in our culture, dieting.

One day I had had enough and I decided I was going to heal my relationship with food, which really was about healing the way I view myself. It didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of 3 years, I loved myself back into acceptance. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s when I stopped dieting and started recognizing my value and I lost 50 pounds without dieting.

So here I am feeling great. Pretty sure that I mastered this whole self-love thing, when my hair dresser points out a bald spot on my head. She was about to start coloring my hair and then she asked what was this. She showed me a bald spot on my head. I hadn’t noticed it before. I then did the thing that I tell my patients not to do. Sitting in the hair dresser’s chair, I searched the internet and self diagnosed myself. I got on Facebook and joined some alopecia support groups. I was freaking out. I didn’t want to lose my hair. I didn’t want to have to wear wigs. I didn’t want to be bald. The Facebook groups were very depressing and not making me feel any better. There were very little positive posts.

Thank God I have a life coach. I had a talk with her and she talked me off the ledge. I would wait until I had seen the doctor and dermatologist so they could make the diagnosis. I went to both doctors and it turns out they diagnosed me with alopecia areata. I was concerned because there was no cure. The doctor wanted me to start with the steroid injections on the first visit. Yes, I’m a nurse but I hate needles. The doctor said it would take 10 injections for my spot. I declined the shots but the doctor prescribed me a steroid cream.

The first time I found the bald spot.

Raise your hand if you have ever looked in the mirror and wished some part of you looked different than it does. Keep your hands up and look around the room. See all of these amazing women and how they have had moments or lifetimes of not being able to see their magnificence.

We have a job to do. We get to redefine what beauty is for women. And we’re gonna do it together.

So first things first, let’s go over 3 mindsets that elevate a woman with alopecia from self judgement to magnificence:

1.People who struggle are often locked in a comparison game. They feel less than. The truth is you felt less than before the alopecia. People who thrive with alopecia stop hiding and stop comparing themselves to others.

2. People who thrive with alopecia have a belief that things will work out even if they don’t know how. For example, I wanted to be a public speaker. I didn’t know what to talk about. When you get alopecia, you suddenly have something to talk about. Not the path that I would have picked for myself, but I have to say, I am really happy to be here now in this conversation with other brave and resilient women.

3. People who thrive with alopecia choose compassion. They accept that while they might not have their own hair, they can finally have their own backs. It’s ok to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you are weak, it means that you are strong enough to recognize that you needed help. Going to therapy may be what is needed.

Now I know that I said there are 3 things, but truthfully there are 4. The fourth is that women who thrive while having alopecia unite. They form a tribe. They cultivate sisterhood and friendships that will have their own backs.

Do not leave this event today, without swapping emails or social media accounts, or phone numbers with at least one other women you want in your tribe.

And to make that really easy, my website is http://www.alopeciaempress.com. We can schedule a time in my calendar for you and I to talk one on one for a private alopecia Breakthrough Session. During this session we will do one main thing, we will uncover what is sabotaging your joy and confidence and then we will replace it with an hones knowing of what you are capable of moving forward.

We are in this together. We will set the new standard for what beauty is, because I can see a day, where little girls and grown ass women no longer stand in front of the mirror and each other and wish they were different. I can see a day when we know our strengths and rise together.

Alopecia you tried it!

You tried to take my identity, my beauty, and confidence.

You taught me a valuable lesson and for that I’m grateful.

My beauty, identity, and confidence isn’t in my hair, It’s inside of me.

It’s my soul. My soul is where my beauty, identity, and confidence is.

Alopecia you can’t ever touch that.

I am grateful that you showed up because I wouldn’t have known that anything was going on with my body.

I get to define my beauty, my identity, and my confidence.

No one else or a disease can define that.

A.L.O.P.E.C.I.A.

A: Always been beautiful.

L: Love myself.

O: Only I can define my beauty, my identity, and my confidence.

P: Perfectly imperfect.

E: Empress.

C: Confidence is inside not on my head.

I: I can never lose my worth.

A: Alopecia can’t beat me.

Shavawn Boyer the Alopecia Empress

Hopefully one day soon, I will tape myself doing this speech and wearing the formal dress that I was supposed to wear for the event. It’s been hanging in my closet for 2 years now.

Advice from my Dad

My dad was sick recently and I was so scared and nervous. Before the surgery, he was telling me all the things that I need to do in the event of his passing. He has made detailed handouts of all the things that I need to do.

The advice that he always said is that just like you prepare to live, you have to prepare to die.

You save up for retirement, you put money aside in case of emergencies, you have health insurance, and there are multiple other things that you need to live.

“The average cost of a funeral is between $7,000 and $12,000”. 2021 Breakdown of Average Funeral Costs (Cremation, Burial, Etc) – Lincoln Heritage (lhlic.com). This article breaks down what you are paying for in a funeral. A funeral is more expensive than I thought it was.

If the person hasn’t prepared and put any money aside or already paid for some of the things, then who will pay for the funeral. Usually it will fall on a family member to pay and plan. A person has to be buried or cremated. If I were to die right now, I have not prepared anything. My parents would probably have to pay and plan my funeral. I haven’t discussed my plans with them. I would probably get buried.

I have put in thought about what I want done when I die. I want to be cremated and I want my ashes spread in the ocean. I want my ashes to be spread around killer whales. I joked with the captain of the whale watching company in California that I don’t want to be thrown out there when you see some common dolphins or grey whales. It has to be killer whales. I also want to be an organ donor.

Also having a living will is a good idea. I have seen some patients not have a will and the next of kin has to make decisions for them. If you have never talked to your family about what you want when something happens then they are going to do what they think is right for you. The patient may not have wanted to be on life support but since the matter was never discussed, the next of kin don’t know what the patient wanted.

I know that I don’t like to discuss or even think about the topic of my parents death.

I do appreciate that my dad has made a detailed handout because when a person dies, it is hard for the family to process everything that is needed to be done. You are suddenly thrust into grief and on top of that you still may have to work and plan the funeral dates. If the person has already planned their funeral it makes it a little bit easier.

I don’t like to discuss this topic with my dad but I also do see the necessity in it. Over the years, he tells me things about what I need to do when he passes.

No one is promised to grow old, some people die when they are still young. Some people get into accidents and then cannot make decisions for themselves.

Just like you have to prepare to live, you have to prepare to die.

I don’t like to think about my death too much. I know it’s going to happen one day but I don’t like thinking about it. It do think it would be right of me to put some money aside for my funeral expenses so that way no one else would have to pay for me. Especially since I want to be cremated and put out to sea with some killer whales. I have a friend that works for a whale watching company in Alaska. That is probably the best place to see killer whales year round. That would probably be the company that I would go with to do the burial at sea.

Maybe in this coming week, just think a little about what you want when you pass. Do you want a funeral or to be cremated? How is it going to be paid for? What do you want to be in your will?

Your Right to Choose Any Treatment

There was recently three blog posts posted to the alopecia Facebook group that I’m a part of. I read all three of them. Only one person out of a thousand women in the group liked one of the three posts.

One of the posts talked about one of this person’s clients wanting to shave his head because he had lost half of his hair to alopecia. She told him that that would be giving up and that he didn’t need to shave his head. I don’t doubt that her program works because she has a lot of success stories on her website. I just don’t agree that telling someone that shaving their head is giving up on their alopecia. In the blog post, she did say that her client’s hair did grow back after using her program.

I do agree with her saying that diet and exercise are important.

Certain treatments work for some people and some treatments don’t work at all for some people. Some people try a few treatments and some people just want to try natural treatments. Some people elect not to do any treatments.

Any choice that a person makes for themselves about the treatments they want is the correct choice for them.

I’ve had some patients choose to get a second opinion because they don’t agree with the treatment the first doctor presented. I’ve had some patients refuse treatment. Some patients take the treatment that the doctor offers. As a nurse, I have to respect the treatment plan that the patient chooses. I cannot force any patient to take a treatment that they have decided not to take.

When I was first diagnosed with alopecia areata, I knew that I wanted to go the natural route and not be on any medication for life. When the doctor offered some steroid injections, I knew that I didn’t want the injections. I wanted to wait to see what the blood tests showed before I decided on any treatments. It turned out my vitamin D and iron levels were low. So I decided that I was going to take some vitamins and see if my hair would grow back. Thankfully my hair did grow back but I do still have a very small bald spot that hasn’t grown back.

In the future, I may change my mind and get the steroid injections if my alopecia comes back. Whatever I decide will be the best treatment option for me. I will listen to the options that the doctor offers but it will still be my choice on the treatment plan.

I’ve seen some women in the group that have shaved their heads and said that it felt very liberating to them. They have said that now they don’t have to worry about their hair or it makes it easier to wear their wigs. I’m really happy for them. It takes courage as a woman to shave your hair off.

Don’t let any one else’s opinion deter you from choosing a treatment that works for you.

Alopecia doesn’t have a cure yet. So the treatments that are offered work for some patients and don’t work for other patients. Just know that you have a choice. You can try as many treatments as needed until you find one that works for you. If you are ready to stop any and all treatments that is your choice. If you want to wear toppers or wigs that is your choice. If you want to rock a bald head that is your choice as well.

It is not giving up if you have made a choice that works for you.

Killer Whale Lesson

I was recently having a talk with my best friends and one of them said that she admired me for going whale watching around the world. I didn’t know that she admired me for that.

We had had a conversation about how we had wanted to live our lives a few years ago and that was one thing that we had agreed on. We had agreed that we wanted to be able to relax more and not to work so hard.

One of the ways that I have found to do that is through whale watching.

One of the reasons that I love killer whales is how they live their lives. They hunt when needed and they also know that play is important. After they hunt, they celebrate and play.

I read in the past, how when they hunt whales, one part of the pod will hunt and another part of the pod will rest. They take turns during the hunt so that way all of them won’t get too tired while hunting. They work smarter and not harder.

That is one of the lessons that I get when I go whale watching. When the dolphins are hunting, they hunt and then when it’s time to play, they play. They don’t have to earn their rest, they just do it because they would be exhausted if they just hunted and ate all day long.

It is a physical reminder from God, that as hard as I work is the same thing I have to do when I play or relax.

Nursing is a hard job. It takes a physical toll on your body and a mental toll on your body and spirit. A lot of nurses have back issues because of the job and a lot of emotional issues because of what we go through on the job. Just the other day, I was talking with a nurse about the emotional issues that we have been going through since the pandemic started. It is still hard to see people die without family and friends around them.

Even killer whales mourn their dead. One killer whale mother held onto her dead calf for some weeks because she was distraught. That same killer whale mother is said to be pregnant again this year.

Animals know when it is time to hunt and when it is time to play and relax. They know that relaxation and play is important to their survival just as much as hunting and eating is important.

You never know what people admire in you until they tell you. I would have never guessed that my best friend would admire me because I whale watch. I whale watch because I love to see whales and dolphins and they remind me to work and play in balance.

What do you do to relax or play? Let me know.

Another thing I love about killer whales is that they don’t think to themselves that they can’t earn their play or relaxation. After they hunt, they play. It’s a part of their culture to play after hunting.

As a travel nurse, I try to work for 4 weeks and then take a week long vacation. Even if I don’t go anywhere I want to take a week off for relaxation. As a staff nurse, I wasn’t able to take a vacation when I wanted to. I had to build up enough PTO (paid time off) to go on vacation. Even when I had enough PTO saved up, I still had to put in a request for the time off. Even with that request put in, the hospital could still say no. The hospital had to have enough staff to cover my shifts. At one hospital, the staff couldn’t take their weekend that they were supposed to work off. It was a policy to work every other weekend. I remember one nurse asked to take a 2 week vacation and the hospital said that she could but she had to come back to work her weekend. No one wants to come back from vacation and work their weekend and then fly back to Mexico. She had planned a trip to Mexico and she ended up just spending a week there instead of the 2 week vacation that she had originally planned.

I’ve learned that vacations are a necessary part of survival as a human being.

I went 9 years one time without a vacation. I can say that I was miserable. I had wanted to go and even made some plans for a vacation but the plans always fell through at the last minute. At the time, I was scared to go on vacation alone. Trying to coordinate a vacation with other people and their work schedules was hard. Especially since I wouldn’t know if I could go until the hospital approved my request off.

Take a cue from the killer whales and work when needed and also play when needed. You don’t have to earn the right to work hard and play hard.

Room to Grow

I recently had some events happen to me that let me know that I still have some room to grow.

The first event happened a month ago.  I was whale watching and I wanted to see some whales.  It had been a long time since whales had been spotted.  By now I know that nothing is guaranteed with whale watching.  You could go whale watching every day and see something different or see nothing.  Nature is not scripted and if you do see something then you were meant to see it.

A month ago, we ended up seeing some Risso’s dolphins.  I have never seen any of those dolphins.  The captain and the photographer said that they hadn’t seen those dolphins in Newport Beach.  I was grateful and happy that I saw them but there was another part of me that was sad that I didn’t see any whales.

The other situation happened a few weeks ago.  I went up to Seattle to whale watch.  I was hoping to see the killer whales.  The killer whale season in Seattle is from the end of June through September.  I was within the season.  Even the resident killer whales are not a guarantee to be seen because their food source has been on the decline.  Unfortunately I didn’t see any killer whales but we did see some Dall’s porpoises.  I was also sad that day.  The reason I was sad was because I had wanted to see the killer whales because I had had a horrible dream about them about a month ago.  In the dream, every killer whale in the world wanted to kill me.  Usually when I dream about killer whales, they help me and protect me.  I wanted to see them so that I could feel better.  Then I read the whale blog on the whale watching company’s website and they saw some killer whales the very next day.  I just wasn’t meant to see the killer whales.

In each of those situations, I got to see something that rarely happens.  It wasn’t what I wanted to see but it was what I was meant to see.  These situations taught me that I still have room to grow.  Growing to be more thankful for what I do see.  I’m not going to stop wanting and traveling to see killer whales, which are my favorite animal.  But I am going to try to stop being sad when I don’t see what I want to see and be grateful for what I do see.  

Is there a situation where you know that you could grow?

 

Hindsight

If I had of known what was going to happen in 2020, I would have traveled more last year.  I didn’t travel because I knew that I was going to be in California in 2020 and I was going to travel a lot then.  Some psychics knew.  But you can’t prove a psychic right until the event happens until then it is just a dream or something that people think they made up.

Some people wear glasses or contacts to get 20/20 vision.  20/20 vision is perfect vision.

One of the lessons that I learned from 2020 is that some of the things that used to work for me, don’t work for me anymore.  I’m seeing very clearly what works and what doesn’t.  The things that are happening in 2020 are also teaching me that my actions can affect other people.

Another lesson that 2020 has taught me is hindsight really is 20/20.

I recently had another nurse ask me if my decision to stop dating helped me to get to know myself.  I told her yes.  It took me years to make that decision but that it helped me to get to know myself.  I used to put my boyfriend’s needs above my own needs.  I told her the story of my first boyfriend.

When my first boyfriend’s car broke down, I told him that I would drive him to work and pick him up until he got his car fixed.  He worked an hour away from his job.  At the time, I also had an 8 am college class.  I had to get him to work at 7 am.  I got myself up at 5 am and got to his house by 6 am.  At the time, I had a Plymouth Neon which was horrible on gas mileage.  I ended up having to fill up every day.  Just 4 hours of driving on the highway would deplete my gas tank to empty.

What happened to my 8 o’clock class?  I was always late for it.  I could make it there by 8:15 but never any earlier.  The traffic would get bad around 7 am with every one else trying to get to work.  The teacher could have kicked me out of the class because I was always late but thankfully he didn’t.

I took him to work for about a month and then I had to stop.  I couldn’t afford the gas.  I was only working one part time job at that time.

The old Shavawn didn’t see a problem with that.  Putting her college class in jeopardy wasn’t even a concern for her at the time.  She needed to be there for her boyfriend so that he wouldn’t lose his job.  The current Shavawn sees a concern with putting her dreams in jeopardy for a boyfriend.

In hindsight, I can say with certainty that giving up dating to get to know myself was the right decision.  At the time that I was making the decision, I didn’t really want to stop dating but I knew that it would help me.  At that time, I just wanted to be in love, in a relationship, and be married.  I put my boyfriend’s needs above my own and that wasn’t going to help me to get to know myself and get to know what I wanted and needed.

Is there a decision that you have struggled with that now you can say with certainty that it was the best decision for you?

I also told the nurse when I was making the decision to stop dating that I was with a great guy.  My ex got along with my family and my family liked him.  He was even talking about marriage.  I told the nurse that it is sometimes hard to find a guy that fits into your family.  His family was also close by too.  We could spend the holidays with both of our families and not have to choose which one to spend the holidays with.  At the time, I wanted to be married but I also knew that I really didn’t know myself.

This year is teaching me a lot.

What worked for me in the past, may not work for me now.  I will no longer put my needs on the back burner and ignore them.  I need to take care of my needs so that I can take care of and help other people.

What lessons has 2020 taught you so far?  I want to hear about it.

New Normal

I’ve been thinking about the world a lot lately.  I’ve been hearing a lot of people say that they want things to get back to normal soon.  While I would like that but I think that we all may have to adjust to a new normal until this virus is under control.

When I first got diagnosed with alopecia, all I wanted was to go back to normal.  I didn’t want to have to face a new normal for myself.  In this society, to be beautiful women are told to wear makeup, be a certain size, and have long flowing hair.  I don’t wear makeup and I struggle to be a certain size.  If I didn’t have long flowing hair, was I going to be attractive to men or to myself.  I had just fallen in love with myself and I couldn’t see myself without hair.  I worked with my life coach through my issues and I accepted my alopecia.  I don’t know if my alopecia will return in the future but I hope it won’t.  It was a grieving process that I went through.  I had to get used to having a huge bald spot on my head.

This week, I was had been planning to take the train to Seattle and go whale watching.  I decided that it wasn’t a good idea.  I work with covid patients and it is getting worse in the area that I’m in.  It wouldn’t be safe to travel right now.  I want to be able to travel but I have to not only think about myself but other people as well.  This is the new normal that I have to get used to.  I don’t like wearing a mask at work and when I go outside, but I do it because it helps.

Life is just a series of getting used to a new normal. 

For example, getting a new boyfriend or girlfriend is a new normal to adjust to.  Going through a break up is adjusting to a new normal.  Losing weight and eating healthy is a new normal to adjust to.  Getting diagnosed with a disease will be a new normal.  Getting a new job will be adjusting to a new normal.  Buying a new house will be a new normal to adjust to.  Getting a new haircut is a new normal to adjust to.  Getting a bald spot or losing hair is a new normal to adjust to.  Not being able to be with a loved one that is in the hospital is a new normal to adjust to.  Being a travel nurse and moving every 3 months is a new normal to get used to.

Sometimes adjusting to a new normal is not welcome like this pandemic.  Sometimes a new normal will thrust us into the grieving process.  Sometimes a new normal will change our lives for the better.

I learned that the more I try to fight a new normal the harder I make my life.

Right now a lot of people are adjusting to a new normal at the same time.  This virus has changed the way a lot of people are operating today.  I now have to wear a mask when I go whale watching, even when out on the ocean.

It does help to have someone to talk to about adjusting to a new normal.  That’s why I have a life coach.  If you need help, I am here for that too.  I’m training to be a life coach.  Message me if you would like details.