I am genuinely excited about becoming a nurse. It’s something I have really wanted to do for a little over 10 years now, but I fought it. For a lot of reasons. One, I didn’t want to become my mother. Granted, she’s not a terrible person to emulate – her confusing continued support of Donald Trump being a major stain on her record here – as she’s kind, thoughtful, and dedicated, especially when it comes to her patients. But as a people pleaser, she makes it very easy for her to get shat on; I lost count of the days that she would leave before daylight and not arrive home until 8:30 or 9:30 at night. And deep down, I take after her there. I like to feel appreciated and needed, and I honestly do a good job because I like doing a good job, something she instilled in me at a young age. I am also an incredibly competitive person, and who better to best but yourself, right? However, I can see myself running myself ragged, and I have spent a good deal of the last five years regaining my backbone, that ability to say, “Yeah, no.” It’s still a work in process, but I’m flexing that right now at my current job, where management is telling us, “You know, you need to work overtime so we don’t have to make it mandatory. My response? “Well, I’m in school, and I have two tests this weekend, so I think I’m going to focus on that. Maybe next week?” A few years ago, I might have tried to balance the two and then had a mental breakdown, so I’d have to say that’s progress.
Two, I’ve worked in retail or customer service for a very long time, and people, in general, are the worst. At least in a store or on the phone, I don’t have to clean up someone’s vomit or stick an IV in their arm. I mean, I’m not grossed out by it: in college, one of my coworkers at Books-A-Million hit his head on the counter when he was having a seizure, and while blood was splurting everywhere, I was pretty calm and in charge, ordering people to go call 9-11 or to back the fuck up. That sort of thing doesn’t really phase me. It’s the pissy people that get me. The entitled, THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT dickturds that want you to honor that coupon that doesn’t apply to their situation, the I WANT TO YELL AT THE LITTLE PEOPLE SO I FEEL IMPORTANT asshats that argue with you over company policy. And yes, people in hospitals are sick, but you know what? They’re sick. I’ll give them a little bit more leeway. Not a lot more, but you get the idea.
Three, from the time I was starting to think about a career, my parents kept telling me to get into the medical field, and by golly, I refused to follow any advice they gave me. Pride is a helluva thing. I wanted to be an artist, a carefree soul that only did work to make money until I hit it big in … whatever it was that I ended up doing. My parents just didn’t understand the artistic mind. I’m not sure I was entirely wrong about this, seeing as they still do not get how to communicate with me and don’t seem to value any art other than Hallmark holiday movies and jazz music, but whatever.
Which actually leads me to four: I feel like I’m giving up on art. I’m okay at a lot of things artistically: I have decent watercolor paintings (that I really do need to upload onto this site), I’ve self-published two books that haven’t gotten a lot of readers, I dedicate a lot of time to a website that few people read, I have hundreds of abandoned projects that stare at me angrily every time I open up my computer. I have so many ideas of what I want to do, but don’t have any plans (or any knowledge of how to make plans, honestly) to accomplish them, and seeing myself prepare for nursing school like I have, with the same gusto I have always wanted to maintain for my passion projects (The Legion, Paradiso, Jill & Abby, etc.) … it nearly brings me to tears. I feel like a complete failure, a waste of mediocre talents that I don’t dedicate enough time or energy to, at least in the long run, to actually make anything out of them.
I just don’t know what to do.
I know that I want to be a nurse. I want to help others and provide the best care that I can possibly give. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. But I also want people to see my artwork and be inspired, write theses on them in college, a la Buffy studies. I just don’t see it happening, and while I am enthusiastic about my medical career, I feel like I’m letting myself down, that I’m settling for a plan my parents put there for me. It’s a very confusing, frustrating set of conflicting emotions that I’m just in this emotionally exhausting limbo. I’ll be 40 in three years, for god’s sake. Why don’t I have this shit together by now?
I don’t really feel much better getting this out of my brain. All of this has been sitting there for the past several weeks as I’ve prepped for this last semester of prerequisites, and seeing it out on paper doesn’t make anything clearer. I’ve spent my entire life up until five years ago feeling somewhat okay with decisions I’ve made. Of course, being married to a narcissistic sociopath made me realize that maybe I should be a bit more careful in how I make choices, but prior to that? Did I do foolish things? Oh, for sure. Buying that motorcycle was definitely not the best idea, but I learned from it, and not just to not catch on fire. But I feel like I was much more secure in what I wanted out of life. Now, it’s a bit like staring into a muddy lake.
I just don’t want to regret anything.