Enjoying the Moment

Where I’ve Been:
I had deep thoughts of suicide when my grandmother died (I was 9). I remember a couple of incidents where I probably came home from school, after being treated horribly, going into my room and crying. And looking at a bottle of pills. It could have been something as simple as a bottle of Aspirin or Tylenol. I was ten at that time-I thought it may work. Looking at the bottle and thinking about my life and what it was or will be. How can I continue if people keep treating me like this? I did not want to endure it. I also remember another time, taking a sharp kitchen knife and going into my room. Self cutting was never my thing because I knew it would just create more pain but I do remember thinking of holding it up and aiming just to the left of my sternum and thinking about jabbing it into my heart. I figure that is where the blood pumps, that probably would be the fastest way to go! If I slit my wrist, I think I probably would have stopped as soon as it hurt, never going deep enough to make a difference. I never thought about hanging myself, as I thought that would be a slow death and I did not want to suffer anymore. And though my grandfather had guns-aside from the BB gun, I did not know how to work them and not to mention I did not know where my grandfather kept them. My mother never owned a gun.

But I never went thru with it. I am not sure why. I do not know if I felt, deep down, maybe I will have a chance later in life or not. I do not know if I saw the light deep in my thoughts when my eyes closed and tried to envision the future.

In the early 1990s, I remember watching Free Willy and watching the music video before the movie started. It was called “Will You Be There” by Michael Jackson. I watched him move. Of course, everyone knew who Michael Jackson was but I never really paid much attention to him or his music. Prior to this realization, I did not think about him or what he represented-including Thriller, Billie Jean, Bad, Smooth Criminal, the moonwalk, the sequined glove.

I saw the Will You Be There video and I was just mesmerized by his movement. So much so that I rewund the tape after the (music) video and watched it again. I, again, did not really pay attention to the lyrics but just the man himself. At the end of the music video, I had to rewind it again and again. I was finally paying attention to what the song was and the lyrics. I was hooked right there. It was before the 1993 allegations and I knew that I was a forever fan. I actually listened to the lyrics of “Will You Be There” and they spoke to me. I was like “WOW! He understood where I was coming from!”

“Hold me like the river Jordan
And I will then say to thee
You were my friend.
Carry me like you were my brother
Love me like a mother
Could you be there?”
These lines describe my life that all I want is a friend to count on. Or a mother to be able to soothe my hurt and pain. A guidance for a young child to right a wrong. For anyone to love me. The way that I am. For all that I am. For anyone to listen to me. For anyone to protect me. For anyone to hug me.

“When wary, tell me will you hold me
When wrong will you scold me
When lost will you find me?”
My mother was there physically but mentally she had her own issues. She could barely guide her own life and well being much less ours. This was not her fault. I was very intune as a child to know that the guidance was not there. That she could not help it. It was an illness. She indeed loved us the way that she knew how. Inturn though, I missed a lot. I did not understand why people were the way that they were. I did not understand why I was born different. I did not understand why people treated me different. I did not have a teacher to say it’s not me, it’s them. I did not have an authority figure to step in and say “you are fine the way you are. You are perfect”. In part, when it came to my mother. I did not let this happen because I often did not tell her what I was going through in school, with my peers. It was partially my fault because I did not want to worry her. She had enough problems of her own. Often times she was working two jobs. She was trying to raise kids. At the same time, I felt that “how could no one NOT know? Hello, I was physically different? You are supposed to know that people are not kind in the world to those that are not normal.” Again part of this was my fault because even during the all day facial clinic when I had to talk to a therapist/social worker-I pretended that life was good. It was not. I was depressed. I felt embarrassed of myself. Of ME. I felt like I was alone in the world. I understand that people cannot and should not assume.

“But then they told me
A man should be faithful
And walk when not able
And fight ‘til the end but I’m only human”
This struck me because you are supposed to go through life pretending life is good. Your world is good. Everything is fine even if deep down you’re hurting. Everyone is supposed to continue life like everything is peachy, even if it is not. You’re not supposed to talk about the bad. You’re not supposed to air your “dirty laundry”…life is full of rainbows, lollipops, and happy unicorns.

“Everyone’s taking control of me
Seems like the world’s got a role for me
I’m so confused will you show it to me?”
You’ll be there for me and care enough to bare me.”
For me it seemed like people had control of me. I was an emotional and verbal punching bag for me peers. That was their role for me. In my mom’s world, I was quiet and perfect. I did not do much wrong. I did not step on toes. In my sister’s world, I was the smart one. Always getting the good grades because I did not have a social life and my life remained in books. In everyone’s eyes-they have their own role. In my eyes, I was a lost soul. I did not know what to do with myself. I did not want to endure daily teasing. I did not want to avoid school. I did not want to avoid people. I did not want to stay inside my room because that was the safest place to be. It was lonely.

“Love me and feed me
Kiss me and free me
I will feel blessed.”
“Lift me.
Lift me up slowly
Show me you care.”
Show me that I mean something. My peers often disregarding me. Someone that didn’t appear to have feelings or a heart. I was no one. I was a void in a human body.

“Need me.
Love me and feed me
Kiss me and free me
I will feel blessed”
Guidance. Life. Love. Hugs. Pat on the back. Security. Those are the important things in life. Those are the things that matter to the human soul.

I watched this video over and over again. I listened to the lyrics. I decided to figure out what album it was on and purchase it. And I did just that. I fast forwarded it to “Will You Be There” of course and then I listened to the song right after. It was “Keep the Faith” in the USA (it’s my understanding that other pressings had a different order for songs). I listened to that song too. It was a bit edgier. But the lyrics were strong and powerful. A song with a great message. This song following Will You Be There-I felt like Michael Jackson was talking to me. Not really but in a sense. Like he knew how some people felt in the world. Lost, alone, not being able to trust-with the lyrics of WILL YOU BE THERE. To a song of hope, triumph, you can do it attitude with KEEP THE FAITH. It was a gift that it was in order in that manner. It made me, who was struggling with who she was, to listen and understand. In return it opened his life to me.

The song KEEP THE FAITH:

I started paying attention to him and his life. He was not a perfect human. Who is? He had flaws. He had self doubt. He clearly did not like the way he looked, perhaps from his upbringing of his father Joseph Jackson. But did that constitute people criticizing him? Did that mean he was fair game for names and jokes and digs? Did that mean that he was not human? Did that mean he did not care? Did that mean he did not have feelings? Granted he was so rich and secluded (because he had to be) that did not mean that he still did not have the core that was in all of us. That still did not mean that he was untouchable emotionally. That did not mean that his soul could not be broken either.

The behavior and treatment of others towards him just made me want to follow him even more and understand him even more. I believe this was the case for a lot of his fans-which is why he had such a great following. He was no more of a freak than anyone else in this world. His treatment by others just made me want more of him.

Where I Am:
Because of my self reliance, I have come along way. This journey could not be made possible without people in my life. From my mother-who taught me not to give up. I saw that in her because no matter how many obstacles life gave her (either her own doing or others) she continued on the best she could. My best friend during my adult years. Without her, I wouldn’t remain sane through Nursing School. My therapist & now friend-without her I wouldn’t have been able to bounce things off and she taught me the way life could be, not just the way life has to be. My friends/co-workers-without them, I couldn’t have made it through nursing school either. Coming into work after a test that I practically failed, cheering me on that I could do it. My clinical instructors and teachers-“C equals RN” is the motto of Nursing School. I remember one clinical teacher saw my test score and was going to take me aside from the rest and say “what’s going on?” Instead she said it in front of my other peers and continued “what I am seeing in clinical is NOT what I see in those tests scores. So much so that I went to the director.” That made me feel good and encouraged me. Not to leave out my patients through the years-teaching me that life is short. Teaching me that I am a good person. Teaching me that we shouldn’t take life for granted.

Where I Am Going:
Who really knows? All I know is that I am enjoying the moment. Preparing for my medical mission trip to Madagascar. Than who knows? I know that I am enjoying traveling and seeing other cultures. Something that I never got to experience growing up because we just couldn’t afford it. In 2013 I went on an African Safari. 2014 Inca Trail, Machu Picchu in Peru. 2015 Japan and Mt Fuji. Not to mention the career that can take me throughout the country in America and perhaps even further (I’ve talked with American nurses working in Australia).

I am lucky. I know it can be taken away at anytime. Life is not promised. Life is not meant to be all rainbows and unicorns. I’m now just enjoying the moment.

Photographs of Strangers

Jeff Bell of Planet Bell blog recently blogged about taking photos of strangers, as well as “street photographs”. I find it sometimes uncomfortable taking photos of people. This is why most of my photos are of animals and nature. But I did manage to take some in my travels and I have no doubt I will take some more on my medical mission trip at the beginning of the year.

Here are some of the ones that I have taken. hope you enjoy. From Africa 2013, Peru 2014, Japan 2015.

On a dugout canoe in Maun, Botswana-Africa

On a dugout canoe in Maun, Botswana-Africa

On the ride to the Rhino Sanctuary. I didn't even realize there was a boy in the doorway until I uploaded them.

On the ride to the Rhino Sanctuary. I didn’t even realize there was a boy in the doorway until I uploaded them.

Little girl-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Little girl-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Woman doing needlework-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Woman doing needlework-Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women of Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women of Lake Titikaka, Peru

Boy flying kite. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Boy flying kite. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Mother & child, Lake Titikaka, Peru

Mother & child, Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women after ceremony. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Women after ceremony. Lake Titikaka, Peru

Little boy in Lake Titikaka, Peru

Little boy in Lake Titikaka, Peru

A couple on a cliff in Lima, Peru.

A couple on a cliff in Lima, Peru.

Workers doing some work on an historic site in Lima Peru

Workers doing some work on an historic site in Lima Peru

Locals at the town square in Cusco, Peru

Locals at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A couple after their wedding in Cusco, Peru

A couple after their wedding in Cusco, Peru

Strangers silhouette in Cusco, Peru

Strangers silhouette in Cusco, Peru

A woman leading her Alpacas back to the farm in Lima, Peru

A woman leading her Alpacas back to the farm in Lima, Peru

A boy at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A boy at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A group of band members at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A group of band members at the town square in Cusco, Peru

A local selling roadside in Peru

A local selling roadside in Peru

Taken from a distance. A farmer in Lima, Peru

Taken from a distance. A farmer in Lima, Peru

A young child whining on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

A young child whining on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

A local cooking up Cuy (Guinea Pig) on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

A local cooking up Cuy (Guinea Pig) on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Two young girls talking. On the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Two young girls talking. On the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Homeless people on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Homeless people on the way to Lake Titikaka, Peru

Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

Geisha in Kyoto, Japan

Wedding taking place

Wedding taking place

Musician in the wedding

Musician in the wedding

Serving tea at the wedding

Serving tea at the wedding

Zoomed in to a man sitting on his balcony enjoying the baseball game

Zoomed in to a man sitting on his balcony enjoying the baseball game

Players at the baseball game. Yokosuka, Japan

Players at the baseball game. Yokosuka, Japan

Two woman chatting in Kyoto, Japan. Probably waiting for a Geisha to appear.

Two woman chatting in Kyoto, Japan. Probably waiting for a Geisha to appear.

Two women passing each other on the way to a temple. Japan.

Two women passing each other on the way to a temple. Japan.

A Japanese man writing characters.

A Japanese man writing characters.

Woman visiting a temple in Japan

Woman visiting a temple in Japan

Volunteering for a medical mission in Africa

For quite awhile I have always wanted to do volunteer nursing. Specifically for Operation Smile but their credentials are long and time consuming, as well as they are a very popular organization. Last year, I came across another organization and decided to give it a try and apply. A few months ago, I received an email stating that I was approved. At the beginning of July, I received another email stating that they have dates available for me. Jan 10-March 5. The email stated to take some time to think about it and reply by middle of July. I did not need to think about it. This is something that I wanted to do. I hit reply within the hour and said “YES!”

I cannot tell you how excited that I am to hear this. It will be for a two months and many people are not sure if they could do it. But I think I can because I have been a travel nurse in the USA for over 2 years. That, and I do not really have a place to call home anyways.

Are there things that I worry about? Sure but most of it has to do with financing this trip. Not only financing the flight to and from but vaccinations. And while I am serving, I will be paying room & board while there, nothing is run for free-afterall. I am certainly willing to do it but when you think of the numbers…2 months of room and board there, car payment/insurance here, vaccinations, spending money. Well it all adds up. Thankfully I do not foresee an issue getting a job when I return because I am a traveler, but there may a lapse in the time. So therefore, it is probably best if I, in my head, save for 5 months.

This is all very doable. If it’s not doable, I will make it doable. This is something that I want to do. Since I am very well aware of this possibility, I am far enough out in advance where I can plan. But regardless of how much planning you do-the worry is still there.

Then of course, you think about where you are going in this world. And you think about how much we have (or more times than not-WANT) compared to others in the world. You think how superficial it is of me to even think, of all things, money…a lot of people in the world do not have clean water, or a mattress and I’m thinking about money for paying my car and insurance.

No matter how stress I get and how worried that I get with money, everything works out in the long run and things end up panning out. Usually I look back and think ‘why was there a concern in the first place?’

I’ve been searching and researching even more from others who have done something similar. I notice their life before and after. How much you are changing the lives of others but that they are, moreso, changing yours. For that-it’s priceless and all the more worth it. Human life and perspective is worth it. Smiles are worth it. Being able to walk, run, jump-is all worth it.

So I am counting the months, weeks, days…where my life changes, again, forever.

Hello world!

My name is Paula. Though I am a travel nurse, there are many aspects in my life that are not related to work. So in these pages you’ll probably see a number of posts about being a nurse or healthcare. My thoughts on healthcare overall and what I am seeing throughout the country. Maybe a story or two about happy and sad moments as a nurse. Perhaps some frustration as well? Though I will not be displaying names, ages, or specific locations. I will be going on a Medical Mission early 2016 (a lifelong dream). I will probably place a separate tab for that particular time, at that time.

I also love to travel and plan on traveling more as time goes on. Be it locally or overseas. As a child, we never had a real vacation. We went to the cabins, fishing, swimming, local park,  moved back and forth between two states (not for vacation). Therefore, now that I’m an adult and making a living, I am making a plan on SEEING the world. Sometimes with friends, sometimes by myself. I will tend to focus on the local people of whatever area that I am. I will sometimes post photos of nature or animals (they are my favorite things to photograph after all).

Through the years, I’ve gone back and forth about writing a memoir about my childhood-the pros and cons of writing it. Thus, sometimes that type of topic will come up time and again. Some stories about my childhood and adults thoughts that go along with it while I’m looking back. I’m a reader first…a writer is way down the line (grammar is not my strong point). We will see how that pans out.

I’m always open to questions, concerns, and/or suggestions. So please do not hesitate in dropping me a line.

Full disclaimer–my thoughts, opinions, views are of my own. They are in no way a reflection of my employers, place of employment, friends, family, or any other organization I associate with, etc.

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