Change Will Do You Good!

Change can be good. This is a statement that I have heard so much lately that it is starting to sound hackneyed and cliché.  No matter how true that statement is change is still often hard.

In less then ten days as of this post I will be starting a new and exciting chapter of my life. Nursing.  Not nursing school but actual patient care nursing.  I graduated nursing school in September of this year and passed the NCLEX in 75 questions in October.  In November I interviewed and accepted a position for a clinical float nurse for a local branch of a national nonprofit.  I will be covering the needs of their clinics within the state of Minnesota.

To say that I am excited would be an understatement.  While it still does not feel real to me yet I can not wait for my first day.  This is the thing that I have worked for two (well more then that really) years for.  This is the thing that I stressed, screamed, endured and fought for.  Shit is getting real!

If I did not talk about how this change is actually bittersweet I feel that I would be missing have the picture though.  As this door is opening, another is closing.  By taking this job I will be leaving the one that I have had for over eight years.  If I am being honest I think that it is time.

I loved my time as a tech, as a whole.  I met and worked with some amazing people.  I have helped some amazing patients.  I learned so much that I have not even going to go into that list.

These experiences are not without their cost though.  It is so true that nothing in life is free.  During my time as a tech I have seen things that will stay with me forever, and not in the good way.  During my time as a tech I have seen senseless deaths; been verbally, physically, and emotionally assaulted almost daily, and lived/worked with a near constant undercurrent of fear for my own life.  It was to the point that my family had an actual plan for what would happen WHEN I was killed on the job.  After eight years of this I was mentally worn down to the point that I ended up in the hospital after a failed suicide attempt. (see previous posts for the whole-ish story)

Please understand that this is not really commentary or rebuke of my soon to be former employer.  This is the state of hospital medicine in the US today.  The number of attacks on healthcare staff is not only appalling but is only rising. Staff are being assaulted every shift. Staff members are being killed on the job at rates that are mind blowing (sources upon request).  This needs to change.

This is one of the reasons why I decided to walk away from the hospital setting for now and focus specialty clinical nursing.  I want to become more of a specialist in an area(s) that I am truly passionate about. With this new job I will be doing just that.  I will be focusing on Reproductive Health and Rights, Mental health promotion and Transgender Healthcare.  These are the three of the four areas that I have the most calling for. To say that this is a dream job of mine would not be a lie.

I know that there are those who read this blog that are acute/hospital care nurses.  I am not saying anything against them.  There are those who that is where they are called to be. I love that.  I love that there is a place in nursing that everyone can fit. Maybe some day I will go back to the hospital side of nursing.  Right now it is not where I feel I can do the most good for the most people.

I will update everyone once I start on how the new gig is going.  Thank you all for your time and reading my blog.  I love you all!

As always, Be Good, Be Well and ALWAYS Be Kind!

Cheers

KJD

Trans Women Read as Crone

The image of the Crone holds many different connotations in our vast global history.  It is a character that is seen throughout most of the world lore.  Many times the Crone is depicted as a bitter old woman when is not conventionally attractive who prays on children and the gullible.  She is the old witch in the woods that deprecate people will seek out for the help of last resort.

In some pagan traditions, the Crone is seen as the Goddess in the later stages of life.  She is the woman who had past her childbearing years. The Crone is see and often revered as the wise woman of the tribe.  She is the healer and councilor.  She is the maker of medicines and potions.  She is the worker of magic of both pure and..not so pure.  She is the teacher of knowledge, both the mystical and practical.

As a trans woman, I feel that once I began transitioning I also started my own Croning process.  The fact that I waited till I was 38 and already had two teenage persons in my life to start may have contributed to those feelings.  This is not a bad thing mind you, just not something that I expected

The fact that I did not start living authentically until later in my life afforded me a very different outlook.  Walking in the world of to my miss-assigned gender for almost four decades allowed me to see “how the other half lived.”  It was enlightening.  I have seen the world from now two very different sides.

I have seen the privileges that masculine identified persons are afforded.  I have felt the stress of trying to be the “perfect” man, father, leader and/or spouse.  I have felt the bite of the phrase “Man the hell up!”

I have also begun to experience the world through the lens of feminine identified persons.  I have felt that pressure to alter my body to be beautiful enough, skinny enough and/or smart enough (but not to smart). I have felt the fear of personal injury, assault or even death as a group of men cross my path.  I have felt the idea that I need to be the perfect spouse, parent and worker without complaint or balk.

It is the exact fact that I have see the world through both sets of eyes that makes me feel that I have entered the Crone phase of life.  I have knowledge that many people do not possess.  I am able to take this knowledge and use it to incite changes, to teach other and attempt to make the world better. As the old School House Rock cartoons always said, “Knowledge is Power!”

 

Be Good, Be Well, and Always Be Kind!

Cheers!

KJD

Minor Step are BIG Progress

As you may (or may not) know, I am currently on a medical leave of absence for reasons of mental health. I was originally ashamed of myself for having to take this time to work these issue.  I decided to own my story and be radically vulnerable and transparent (see Confessions of a Depressed Trans Woman for details).  Through treatment and self-reflection I have been able to make tiny strides in the right direction.  This was made clear this morning at about 330a.

If I go to be any time before midnight I will normally wake up around 2-3a.  This just the way it is.  Since I was asleep by 930pmy eyes popped open around 330.  I am addicted to my phone (mostly likely so are you so stop judging me 😉 ). When I am coherent enough, I grab the phone and turn it on. I have a voicemail from work and a few text messages.  All of these are on the same theme. I was back on the schedule and where was I?

Here is where I start to see my personal growth.  In the past I would have freaked the hell out.  I would have jumped out of bed, call work and lost my ever loving shit at the situation.  I also would have most likely taken it out on whichever poor soul answered the phone. Not good.  This morning was different.  I was able to take a breath and be ok with this minor mess up.

I call work and talked to them very calmly.  I explained that I was still on leave and that I would be for a bit longer.  The Nurse I talked to was very kind and understanding.  I told her that I would be contacting team member health in the morning to clear this issue up.  That was it. No frustration that was blown to the N-th degree.  No downward spiral in to the pit of despair.  Just a feeling of, “Well this kind of sucks because of this miscommunication.  I see that there is a way to fix it but not right now.  I will just fix it when I can.”

For those who do not live with anxiety this statement may seem benign.  For me it is anything but. In the not so distant past, this would have sent me into such a tailspin that I would be wrecked for the next few days to a week.  I would have ruminated on this like a cow on its cud.  My mind would have taken this small issue and taken it to places like, “They are doing this to me on purpose,” “They are doing this just to make me look bad,” or “I should just cut bait on the therapy and get back to work. I am not really sick anyway.”

As you can see, this is a far different reaction.  Now I have the mental tools (and yes medication) to deal with these issues.  I can not tell you how great that being able to see these changes feels.  It is validating as well as gives me hope that I will continue to get better.  I just need to stay the course.

I am not better yet. What I am is better then I was yesterday and tomorrow I will work to be better then today.  That is my goal and plan.  I know that there will be setbacks.  I know there will be hard times.  I also know that as long as I stay grounded, lean on those who are willing to help me when I need it and practice self-compassion I will get there.

Thanks you all for your amazing readership and coming along with me on this adventure into my future.

Admin note: There will be some changes that will be coming up in the near-ish future.  I will keep you all posted as that are about to happen.  I hope you enjoyed this and PLEASE feel free to share this blog with everyone you know. Love you all!!!!

 

Remember, Be Well, Be Good and ALWAYS Be Kind!

Cheers!

KJD

pgp: she/her/hers

A Meditation Through a Viewfinder

After my post yesterday, I decided to do some actual self-care.  I bought out my old camera and headed off to the Conservatory at Como Park. If you are not familiar with what the Conservatory is you really need to be.  Think of it as a year round beautiful garden.  It is by far one of my favorite places to go here when the weather starts to get cold here is the frozen north.  There are four basic gardens all with some of the most beautiful plants, flowers and fountains that I have seen here in Minnesota.

While I was walking around I was playing my yoga/meditation playlist in my ear buds as I shot.  It was serene.  If you talk to many people you may find that almost everyone has a hand full of “happy places.”  These are places that they will think of when things get rough in their lives.  The Conservatory is one of mine.

Of the four gardens, the one known as the “Sunken Garden” is by far my favorite.  If you ever see pictures of people getting married in the Conservatory, This is where it most often happens.  There is a long and shallow pond running down the center of the garden.  The pond is flanked by walkways and rows of seasonal plants and flowers.

As I walked around and viewed this world through the eyes of a very armature shutterbug, the other guests there seemed to just fade into the background until I felt like I was alone in this place.  In that space it was just my camera, all those beautiful creations and me.  This trancelike state was broken from time to time but either bumping into someone or others in a similar state bumping into me.  I would apologize to the ones I bumped into and the others would look up and we would both chuckle and ask how the other’s shoot was going.  We would show some of your favorite raw shots and go back into our own worlds.

In that space I did not think about anything but “what is the best angle/light/distance/lens for this shot?”  There was not thought of how cold it was outside of the walls. There was thought of how shitty the world is becoming.  There was only the moment that I was standing in and the world that was in my viewfinder.   It was mindfulness personified.

The last week in the program that I am in, we have been doing A LOT of work on the idea of mindfulness. The quick and dirty definition of mindfulness is being in the moment.  It is being in your body.  For me I have fought this concept for so long. The reason for this was mostly because I did not (and still do not) like the body that I am living in right now.  By practicing mindfulness, we are to learn that it is ok to be in the body and place we are in.  We are to use the practice to be present or in those moments as it unfolds.  Mindfulness is the opposite of disassociation.

I have included a few of my favorite picture from the shoot.  I hope you enjoy.  If you download the picture, please ask first (I promises to say yes, I just want to know who has them) and PLEASE give my the credit form them (saying you did them when you did not is a dick move).

Well, my amazing readers, this post makes number 4 in 4 days!  I think that all 600+ words a day thing is starting to be a good thing for me. If there is a topic that you would like to see me talk about or cover please let me know. You can reach me on the FacebookPage.  Just add a post and say, “HEY GIRL!!! I want you to talk about  XYZ on the blog!”

Ok Off to get this Sunday underway!

Love you all!

Be Good, Be Well and Always BE KIND!

Cheers

KJD