Work

More Than a Woman?

Tired. That’s how I’ve felt this past weekend. I think the 10-hour days are catching up with me and I’m not looking forward to Monday when it will start all over again.

I think it’s time to take some time off. Maybe a scheduled mental health day to regroup myself. On a Monday. Or a Friday. So I can extend my weekend by an extra day.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still going to spend the day before returning to work worrying about what I need to do the day I actually return to work. 

I worry too much. Not a surprise for people that know me very well. To others though, especially at work, I guess I put off this vibe that everything is going to be okay. But internally, I’m a nervous wreck.

Why is that?

Hubby seems to think I put too much pressure on myself, that I should learn to ease up on myself. That I should learn to break down projects into manageable tasks. And he’s right, the smart man that I married.

I do put a lot of pressure on myself to be as best that I can be. I guess it goes back to that thought that if I try hard enough, I’ll succeed in anything I do.

And we all know that Infertility taught me that that statement is not always relevant to everything. 

So why am I still living my life like that? I guess I do it in the hopes of being a better person than would be if I had kids. That somehow, I need to make up for being more of a woman because I don’t have kids. 

Does that sound ridiculous? 

I know it does. There are lots of women living child-free by choice that can attest to this. Heck, there are women that have gone through infertility and are now living child-free that can say that they still feel like a whole woman. 

Right now, I’m not one of those women. Which is why I worry too much. And expect more out of myself. And I wish there was a way that I could just be happy with who I am. 

 

Nothing Important

Sitting and staring at the blank Word Document in front of me is kinda intimidating. I hate how the cursor blinks to the tune of the background music at the Caribou Coffee I’m currently sitting at.

I know it’s been more than a couple weeks since I last posted, but there hasn’t really been much of interest to write about. Unless you wanna talk about how hectic my last onsite visit for work was. But why would I want to bore you with that?

I could also tell you that I came SO close to seeing Jefferson’s Monticello estate during my last work trip. I even took the 20 minutes to drive there, only to be disappointed that I could only get to the visitor’s center … Which then would have required me to purchase a ticket for a shuttle to take me up to the property just so I could look at the building.

If I had the time, I probably would have done it. But as it was, I had already been teaching all day and I was exhausted by the thought of taking the extra time to buy a ticket to tour the entire property, when all I wanted to do was admire the structure. Plus I wasn’t feeling too hot.

When traveling, nothing sucks more than not feeling your best … Especially when you have to get up in front of a group of strangers and teach. But since there was no way of cancelling the class, I just did my best and hope that all the participants would stay engaged in our discussions. Lucky for me, they did.

So now I get to travel again next week and I hope that this cold has finally left my system. It will be another hectic onsite visit (large hospital, two different locations for each session, etc), but the best I can do is leave it up to God and my constant chanting of the Serenity Prayer.

Until next week …

Sunsets and Sunrises

I can’t believe I actually have time (and energy) to write today. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m en route (and in the air), anticipating a nice reunion with Hubby. And the fact that I’m kinda caught up with work things for now. Either way, I’m feeling somewhat inspired today.

I flew out to Southern Georgia this week for a training session at a regional hospital in the area. It was a one-day session, so ultimately I should have flown back yesterday evening instead of today. Except the closest airport to this town was approximately a 3-hour drive. Even if my session ended when it was supposed to end at 5 pm, I would have never made it back to Jacksonville, FL in time to catch the latest flight back to Detroit. So instead, I’m catching the earliest flight back to Detroit today. Non-stop, of course! 😛

Since my flight didn’t leave until noon, I thought I’d take full advantage of being close to the ocean. Just like I did a couple weeks ago when I was down in Miami (South Beach, baby!) But since I had a limited time, I thought … what better way to dip my toes in the water by watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean? So early this morning, I sat on the beach to watch the sun hide behind clouds; watching the clouds progressively change hues. It wasn’t the best of sunrises; definitely not any type of “golden hour” scene. But it was beautiful, nonetheless.

As I sat on the beach, I reflected on how much I still love the ocean; still love being around water. And no matter that it was cloudy and that I felt drops of rain splatter onto me, I felt peaceful, content and – for a brief moment – happy.

I knew sometime in mid-July that, despite being on medications, my clinical depression had started to resurface. (Which, if I would have read back at some of my previous posts, I might have realized this a lot sooner.) The precipitating factor – or rather the event that forced me to re-seek treatment – was when Hubby & I officially moved all our stuff from Chicago back to Detroit.

It makes sense, looking back now, that I would need to feel weighted down by everything; to feel the constant fatigue associated with depression. It makes sense now why I couldn’t even to get out of bed; why I couldn’t stop the racing thoughs of anxiety that would keep me up at night … or, at the very least try to relax.  The truth is that in the span of a year, I had lived through many stressors that could have easily sent any other person running up a mountain, only to jump off the cliff.

Not that I’m saying that my stressors were any worse than anybody else’s stressors. (After all, I’m not writing this to complain about my life.) I’m just stating the facts.

I look back at 2010 in awe of myself; of having survived through one of the most stressful years of my life. (And by that, I do mean that there were both bad and good stressors.) “But why am I feeling so miserable now?,” I remember asking myself in the beginning of August.

I had no answer at that time, but today I realize that this was exactly what happened when dealing with my depression the first time around. But that time, it took three years after my failed IVF to realize that I hadn’t even begun to deal with my loss. At least this time, it only took 9 months from the last major life-stressor to realize I needed help again. And two months from mid-July to finally do something about it.

I’m slowly beginning to feel the fog lift. And by slow, I think of the “Slowsky” turtles in that one TV commercial (who, coincidentally, just recently had a baby … WTF?). Over the past year, there have been moments of bright colors scattered amongst the other days of gray. There were those days where I felt brave enough to face the world amongst those other days where I just didn’t want to deal with anything. But it seems like that those moments of happiness – brief as they can be – are happening just a tad more frequently than before. And I guess that’s something to be proud of.

One thing is for certain … even when the sun goes down in life, it eventually rises again. Here’s hoping for brighter days ahead.

*****

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Ticket To Ride

Almost a week without a post. Yes, I’m trying to get better at writing at least one post a week here. At least thats my goal.

As it turns out, I’m on a train heading back to Detroit from Chicago. Hubby and I drove back to Chicago in mid-March, but he had to get back to Detroit before I returned from my Boston work trip this past week. Anyway, this just means that I have a little window of opportunity to sit and write without being distracted.

Dr. Bro, LJC and me at Disneyworld

Being a “Road Warrior” for work has given me the opportunity to spend more time listening to music on my digital library. After all, many times I find myself in airports for just enough time to check my email, but not enough time respond to them. Or else I’m literally on the road driving to a location hours away from where I started. Either way, music is my constant companion at these times.

It’s refreshing for me, because music has always been part of my life. One that only recently re-entered at full force after years of focusing on a career. Or trying to get pregnant.

My parents always had music on in the house and in the car. In fact, many of those road trips we’d take as a family involved worn out cassette tapes or — gasp! — old 8-tracks.

One of my favorite memories is my first trip to Disneyworld at the age of 6. My parents packed my brother, my cousin (who would later be known as LJC) & me in our tan wood-paneled station wagon along with our two grandmothers and an uncle and drove down from Detroit to Orlando. During that trip, I believe my parents only took a handful of 8-tracks; ones that we would constantly repeat, only because we couldn’t get any radio reception when driving through the mountains.

Let’s just say that by the end of our trip, the three kids knew all the words to every Neil Sedaka song, as well as all the singing parts to the Grease soundtrack. And it’s apparently a memory that keeps on giving, because Hubby can attest that I was recently able to identify a Neil Sedaka tune!

Another 8-track that was in the wagon during that trip was one of many Beatles compilations that my Dad threw together. It was from that home-made “playlist” (created circa 1978) that I learned the words to most of the Beatles songs. And to this day, every time I hear “Ticket To Ride” I have this incredible urge to belt out the song.

The 1978 Road Warriors (minus Mom)

It’s one of those childhood memories I keep stored close to my heart. And one that usually surfaces whenever I hear any song that reminds me of road trips and spontaneous singing.

For instance: Today on the train, “Tiny Dancer” came  up in “shuffle-mode.” The first image that came to mind was my favorite scene in “Almost Famous.”

Or the other day I thought of “Harold & Kumar” when hearing Wilson Phillips “Hold On” on the radio.

Regardless of the song, each one brought me back to my own road trip memories and how much fun they were when music was thrown into the mix. And hearing each song certainly gave me the urge to break out into spontaneous singing. Loudly. And at the top of my lungs.

And, in the midst of the chaos that my life has become of late … It made me happy.

So even though I might not be an American Idol contestant, I think I might just sing aloud. At least in the privacy of my own home. Or car. Or shower.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Your turn, oh Internets … What song makes you think of road trips? Or what song makes you break out your singing voice?

~*~*~*~*~*~

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*

Oh, how I miss our old station wagon ...

Bottoms Up …

My previous boss once said to me, “You don’t have to get everyone to like you.”

This is the same boss who, in the midst of all the chaos at the end of this past April, didn’t do a thing to help me out. The same boss who worried the whole time that I’d find the job horrible and go running back to Detroit.

But, as difficult as my position at this company would get, I actually enjoyed my job. I found that it challenged me in ways I hadn’t been challenged before. And up until the day I was sent home (and eventually told to stay home), I found myself gaining a little more confidence in myself … confidence I had lost so much of when going through the roller coaster of Infertility.

Megan from Bottoms Off and On the Table wrote a post that really resonated with me. In her post she talks about how busy she’s been at work and how, perhaps, she’s using work as a self-imposed coping mechanism while deciding on the next step of her Infertility journey.

And, oh … could I ever relate to this.

Reading her post reminded me of “stepping down” from my previous supervisor position in Michigan in order to concentrate my energies on IVF. After all, I had already been through years of conservative treatment and months of medicated cycles … all with disappointing results. By then I was so exhausted by the monthly cycles of treatment, which included multiple trips to the various doctor’s offices for lab draws and pelvic ultrasounds, only to be concluded with yet another negative pregnancy test.

And how I even managed to keep track of all the supervisor duties I had during those years, I’ll never remember. But what I do know is that once I decided to become a “regular” staff member (instead of supervisor), I suddenly felt as if I had more breathing room … at least enough to allow some positivity and hope into my life before heading into IVF territory.

After our IVF failed, I admit I began to slack off at work; an obvious sign that I cared little about anything during those first months of incredible depression. Then I discovered that throwing myself into work helped distract me from feeling like a complete failure. Flash forward a few years, and now I found myself moving to Chicago to accept a position that I’d hope would advance my career. I, once again became a supervisor; but this time for a high-profile group within a much larger company.

I did this for a number of reasons, but mostly I did this so that I could further my career. My thought was this: If I couldn’t give bear children because Infertility robbed me, then I might as well focus on the part of myself that I knew I could be good at. I might as well be a “successful” career woman.

And then … well, you know what eventually happened with that job. And the ultimate failure I felt from that fallout. What had angered me most was that I felt I went above and beyond my capabilities of being successful (and had been recognized for such accomplishments), but yet my previous boss never bothered to step up for me and fight for me; something she could have easily done. Except … well, this being the same boss who told me that I didn’t need to be liked, I rather think she had something against me. Personally, I think it’s because she had kids and was currently in school, which meant that she couldn’t completely “focus” in further her career …

As I’ve just completed my first week at my new job, I have found myself contemplating the lessons I’ve learned from my last job; what I should take away from that experience. And since I had four months to mull over the past year and a half, this is what I came up with:

There’s no need to “make up” for my inability to bear children with trying to more successful in other ways. Because it’s more important to focus on being happy with who I am and the strong(ish) person I’ve become … even though it’s nowhere close to where I though I’d be at this time in my life.

And

My previous boss was right. I don’t have to get everyone to like me. Because it’s not about being “liked.” Rather, it’s about being respected … which should really begin with respecting myself. And how can I respect myself if I continue to measure myself on my inability to have children? My life isn’t supposed to be all about whether I or not I failed in the “kids” department. I should be about my accomplishments and about remembering to give myself credit where credit is due.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

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Ghostly Thoughts

I have ghosts in my head that keep telling me I’m a failure.

Amazingly, this feeling of failure has nothing to do with my inability to have children. Well maybe indirectly, anyway.

No, this feeling of failure has to do with everything that has happened since losing my job this past May. And with what has transpired since.

You see, I had this wonderful blog entry scheduled to post today; anticipating that I’d be busy in Seattle (thanks to the generosity of my parents) trying to board a cruise liner for an all-expense paid cruise to Alaska. It talked about how lucky Hubby & I were to be able to have had a wonderful (albeit hectic and financially difficult) summer this year. And I also wrote how I was looking forward to starting my new career path in Clinical Health Care Education. And how excited I was that Hubby & I decided to stay in Chicago rather than moving back to Suburban Detroit.

Except something happened this past Friday to make me scrap that post. Without going into much detail, Hubby & I were forced to reassess whether or not we were making the right decision to stay in Chicago. It affected us so much, that we were willing to lose the security deposit on the lease we just signed for an apartment and move back to Detroit.

We knew it would be financially risky to stay in Chicago. However, when we sat down to discuss the pros and cons, our guts told us that moving back to an economically-challenged state (with incredibly limited job opportunities for Hubby) would be the wrong thing to do. At least in Chicago, we knew there was a demand for talented people like Hubby … even though it might only be contract or free-lance work.

As Hubby & I (once again) discussed our various options, I found myself spiraling down uncontrollably. Suddenly my feelings of inadequacy and incompetence started to resurface. And it was perpetuated by this feeling I’ve had since this past May …. that, since *I* was the one to lose a job, I was a failure.

I was a failure because *I* moved us to Chicago for this “incredible” job opportunity … and then lost this job.

I was a failure because *I* encouraged Hubby to quit his full-time job in Michigan and go “free-lance” so that he could realize his dream of working for himself. But since I no longer had a job, I couldn’t support his dream.

I was a failure because *I* wanted to move to Chicago order to provide some distance away from all the bad Infertility memories we had in Michigan; all in an effort to help us move forward in our lives. Except now, we were on the cusp of moving back to Michigan, back to the same house that held such bad memories.

So yeah, the way that I see it … I just plain and outright, failed.

What’s worse than this feeling of failure is the self-doubt that has now crept in to my head.

These same ghosts, hence forth known as Ghosts of Failures Past (GFP), are now telling me that I’m not going to be able to hold any job down.

It’s as if my GFP decided to team up with my Ghosts of Failures Future to give tips on what to look out for if I started to travel down the road of “failure” once again.

And that no matter how excited I am to start my new job … new career, I should just expect to fail again. After all, wasn’t I so excited to move to Chicago for an incredible job opportunity?

Yes, I realize that this makes no logical sense. And I realize that I shouldn’t base every future experience on all horrible past experiences. But I do. And I am. And it terrifies me.

Despite the (relatively large and indescribable) hiccup that happened on Friday, Hubby & I have determined that we will stay Chicago. For now. While I’m incredibly happy excited relieved that our decision is final, I’m now incredibly scared that I might just screw up again.

I know Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And I’ve tried to ingrain that quote in my mind; believe that, without a doubt, I am the master of my own perceptions.

But when it’s your own “Ghosts” that are the cause of such inferior thoughts … how do you counteract these thoughts?

Perhaps visiting Seattle, the city where Hubby & I have dreamed of moving to, will keep me focused on moving forward.

Perhaps breathing in some fresh Pacific Northwest mountain will help clear the ghosts from my head.

And if it doesn’t, I’ll be making some serious phone calls to Dr. Peter Venkman to do some serious Ghostbusting.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

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Bullet The Blue Sky

It’s another warm and sunny day here in Chicago; been like this since last week. Not that I’m complaining … I’m just hoping the Blue Skies stay through the Memorial Day weekend. Especially in Detroit.

Anyway, because I’m admittedly lazy today, I’ll have to do one of those bullet updates as to what I’ve been up to. Because contrary to popular belief, I’ve been a bit occupied.

  • Applied for every Case Management position available in the Hospital and Health Insurance settings in both Chicago and Detroit
  • Never received any phone calls from any companies located  or based in Chicago
  • Received calls and set up a few interviews with companies located in Detroit
  • Interviewing by phone today for the position which requires traveling (cross fingers, peeps!)
  • In the mean time, helping Hubby’s friend out with populating pages for WordPress-powered websites and getting paid to do this. Woo-hoo!
  • Somehow knew my blogging skills would get me some sort of work … 🙂

Anyway, wish me luck on the interview I’ve got scheduled for this afternoon. This is the one that I really would love to try out. It combines my clinical knowledge and my love of teaching/training. And, if I should be so luck to get it, would allow me to live anywhere as long as I’m close to a major airport. So … once we have our house sold, Hubby & I can look at moving further west!

I promise, more witty and inspiring posts at a later date.

Cherry-Coloured Funk *

It’s after midnight and I’m finding myself in some sort of funk.

Which is sad, because my last posts were all about trying to enjoy the simple things in life; like the unconditional love that a pet can give you.

I am truly and utterly in a funk.

And I hate it.

I’ve (obviously) been trying my best to be optimistic about everything, but lately it seems as if I can’t catch a break. And it’s ridiculous, because it hasn’t even been more than a month since my life turned topsy-turvy.

Maybe it’s because the loss of my job reminds me too much of another loss that I’ve finally came to closure on. Well, as “closed” as it could get anyway.

I’ve always alluded to the fact that my inability to have children of my own, to be a mother has made me feel less of a person. It’s made me that Filipina, who was brought up to think of bringing up her husband’s children is the only purpose in life, feel like I’ve lost any reason to exist in this lifetime.

And once I  “resolved” myself to a life withouth children, I naturally gravitated to my career as the next “logical” reason to get out of bed every day.

Which, when you look at the time line of my blog, you’d notice it. Starting back in Autumn of 2008, up to the point where Hubby & I decided to “cut the strings.” Plain as night and day; written in black and white. (Figuratively speaking, that is). And when you see how much I put into this job since moving to Chicago; all the effort I made to making my career … it’s obvious that I found something to fill the void of Motherlessness.

Then suddenly and unexpectedly, I find myself without a job. I find myself without yet another purpose in life.

I find myself struggling with the loss of yet another reason for my existence.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Earlier today, I asked my husband what my purpose in life was.

This was all before I came to the conclusion I did up above; before connecting the dots as to why I’m feeling the same kind of loss for my job as I did for the loss of Motherhood.

Before I realized that I wasn’t quite that crazy for having these negative thoughts; however irrational it may have seemed at the time.

And Hubby’s answer was, “It’s whatever we want it to be.”

In my mind I know that Hubby’s right. And my heart tells me that he’s right for me to think of this as a time of opportunity.

But the empty feeling I have in my gut keeps digging away at my core; struggling to find something out of nothing. And I wish I could make it stop.

Damn … but I was doing so well.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

* In case you’re wondering where the title of this post came from, it’s the name of a Cocteau Twins song that completely reflects the mood I’m in. Take a listen to it here … isn’t it hauntingly beautiful?

Happy Birthday, Flo!

I know I’m a little late, but Happy Nurses Day to all those esteemed Nurses and Nursing Students and Aides out there.

Yes … I know that last Wednesday was the start of Nurses Week, but if you recall from last year … the actual day for Nurses is on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. And that day is/was today, the 12th of May.

Since usually the first couple weeks in May I use Nurses Week as a distraction for another “holiday” in May, I’m finding it quite ironic that I ended up being okay with Mother’s Day this year.

It’s been a really strange Nurses Week this year for obvious reasons. Seeing that I’m currently not employed, it’s not that I’ve had any reason to celebrate.

I know, I know … I can hear y’all asking why I’m not already employed elsewhere … especially since RN’s are in “high demand” all the time. Well, it’s because of the type of career I’ve chosen with my Nursing Degree.

I could go back to the hospital and be a “Floor Nurse” again; but there are a couple things that have me hesitant to do this. First of all, it’s been well over ten years since I’ve done any type of bedside nursing (unless you count taking care of a sick Hubby … ). And in just that amount of time, the acuity of care that one patient requires has more than quadrupled. I’m pretty sure that I can no longer keep up with the amount of physical and mental work it takes to work in the “war zones.” (And trust me … any given day can be as chaotic as a war zone!)

Besides the lack of physical stamina (and probably knowledge of new technology), the other reason I’m fearful to go back to the floors is because of a previous back injury. While I’m pretty sure I’m perfectly fine with lifting things greater than 50 lbs now, a year after my disk surgery I was limited to lifting no more than 25 lbs. I’m just incredibly terrified that if I do any constant lifting on a daily basis, I will re-injure myself. So yeah, heavy lifting is my other fear.

Instead, I’m looking for jobs that fit my career as an RN Case Manager; something that I’m more versed and comfortable at. And since I’ve had lots of supervisory experience, I’m also looking for things within Case Management where I can utilize those talents as well.

So on my job search, I’ve stumbled on quite a few positions I’m interested. All from the various states that I’ve been looking at. (Uhm, that would be IL, MI, OR and WA.) Surprisingly, I already received two phone calls from West Coast locations … I definitely thought that wouldn’t happen so quickly.

And while Hubby & I would love to jump ship and move straight away to Oregon or Washington … the reality is that we still have a house in Michigan and rent through August in Illinois. So moving to the West Coast now would only put us further behind financially. But the good thing is that I’ve received good contacts and recruiters looking for RN Case Managers in Portland and Seattle … so when we’re ready to move, I’ll have someone to contact.

Then there’s two other positions that have definitely piqued my interest. Both are opportunities that would allow me to be more flexible in where I live. One of them is a leadership role for another health insurance company that would have me supervising a staff of work-at-home employees … the benefit of which means that I could also work from home. A definite plus; especially if we need to move out of Chicago by the time our lease runs out in August.

And since the responsibilities of this job would be similar to what I was previously doing before my early departure from the last company, I’m guessing my learning curve won’t be as severe. (Knock on wood.) I’ve already heard from the Hiring Manager for this position and hope to have an interview scheduled with the actual department that’s hiring soon.

The other opportunity is one that I really really like. It’s one that I had thought about transitioning to do in my previous job back in Michigan, but the opportunity never came up; at least locally. And the reason I was interested in moving over to this career is because it combined my love of clinical knowledge and my love of teaching. So right there were two things that had me automatically applying for the job when I first saw the on-line posting.

Yes, this is ME as a Student Nurse

The other one that has me wanting this job is the fact that I can pretty much live anywhere I want to, as long as I was close to any major airport. So again, I could work out of Chicago or Michigan … or even Seattle or Portland, once we get out that way. The only downside would be the amount of traveling I’d have to do during the week; but hey … at least I don’t have kids to worry about! (The irony does not escape me.) I’ve also heard back from this company and am hoping for an interview soon.

So please, oh internet buddies … if any of you have a direct line with the Man Upstairs, I’d really appreciate it if you could put a good word in for me. Because this second (going on third) week of unemployment is starting to get old.

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