Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shift in paradigm, take 2

So after being put on academic probation, and scoping out the mounting student debt (after being told I would have to be knocked up and/or have a child in order to take out more student loans), credit card debt, and car debt that I had accumulated (hey, I needed a reliable ride. In 2004. That ride had 26k and now has more than 200000 on it. I'd say, pretty reliable!) I decided it was time to work. Time to pay the piper (student loan demon).

My job was working for another evil empire, but this one of a different sort.
This was the ambulance evil empire, one who did not care if you worked 40 hours of overtime, their shifts were filled, and their contractual obligations were fulfilled, and I was making 1.25/hr more than working at the OTHER evil Empire. Bonus.

It did not matter that I had a college education to them.
It did not matter that I could think on my feet.
The powers that be persistently put me with the castaways, the ones who were unpopular, the ones that would not jump anything that moved, the ones who couldn't identify a bar of soap and a stick of deodorant, and if they could, they had not seen said items for many, many days. The stench that emanated from them indicated as much. Or, the ones who had such a wretched attitude, they could make even the sweetest of grandmas crotchety at them. Or better yet, the ones who were dumber than posts. And usually, I'm not very mean, but some of these people could not find their way out of a paper bag with a map, flashlight, and painted directions on the bottom of the bag. The EMT class is essentially advanced first aid. Most people who go to all classes, pay attention, do the work, and genuinely WANT to be there will be successful in the class. But really...fueling a diesel engine with gasoline? You gotta be some kinda spaychel to mess that up.
Very rarely did I have a decent partner to work with who did not stink, could carry on a logical and intellectual conversation, and had a positive attitude.

I received nothing but disrespect for my intellect, teased for my accomplishments (living on a farm, graduating from college), nor praised for doing a good job. My self-esteem sunk to new lows. People teased me because I did not date. People teased me because I had short hair, was in shape, enjoyed riding a bike, and didn't have a boudoir that resembled a revolving door. Automatically, they assumed I preferred the female persuasion.

Eventually, I came up with a saying "Check your soul at the door, or they will take it from you."
People who knew me before, during, and after my employment with this evil empire said I was not the same person I was before I began working in their midst, nor was I the same person after. I had become a robot, even though I had taken an intermediate course, acquired licensure, and can give medications, intubate, and start IV's.

The job I have now, I have worked for over 3 years. I enjoy my job, though it entails no patient care. There is a TON of stuff to learn, and I learn new stuff every day. While I know that what I do is not directly related to prevention, I know that the data needs to be collected to determine where the information needs to be targeted.

The relationship I am in is wonderfully positive, and I feel very blessed that I have him in my life. He makes me laugh, he hugs me when I am having a bad day, he loves me and not just in words. He tells me I'm special (and not short bus special) and he tells me I am smart. And that's just a start!

For pretty much the first time on a personal and professional level, I have been told "You're smart, You're intelligent. And I don't know who told you you weren't, but you need to not believe that. You need to have confidence in what you are doing because you DO know what you're doing and you're a valued member of this team!"

After almost thirty years of conflicting reports, the messages of inadequacy causing self-doubt that have been hammered home for so long, are starting to shift. The paradigm that "I am smart, I am worthy, I am capable" is starting to take hold.

And I kinda like it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A shift in paradigm. An enlightenment of sorts Part 1

All of my life I have received conflicting reports from my parents. "You're smart, you just WANT to fail." If you're smart, how can you want to fail? I suppose they were trying to use some weird, fucked up, twisted psychology on me, though I am not sure, because when I went to apply for colleges, the same parents that told me I was smart told me "You'll never succeed in nursing school. You don't have the math and science skills". So nursing school was fairly out of the question.

When I applied and got accepted to my alma mater, I was a "Liberal arts Undecided" candidate. Basically, the major meant I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew I had to go to college.

The weekend I started freshman orientation, my mother had a tragic accident involving a 40' extension ladder crushing her dominant hand, requiring multiple surgeries, years of rehab, and never regaining full use of the hand again. My parents were not by any means wealthy, and with my sister and I in college, I knew I had to get some sort of a job to pay for my gas to get back and forth to school, (I commuted from "home"), and I knew I had to pay my own way.

I applied for work and got hired, making a nickel over minimum wage, at the Evil Empire, the one that sells cheap plastic crap, and has invaded America as a "Way of Life". But, hey, it was a job. And it wasn't a whole lot less than what my mother had been making at her job. They were flexible with working hours, and routinely enlisted college students into their ranks so they knew that with each semester, a schedule change would be almost required.

Being talkative, intelligent, and an easy learner, over the years I have discovered it best to mind your own p's and q's, don't let on to people that you're smart, as you will be viewed as a threat, and thus be laughed at, made fun of, and constantly viewed as "different". Being smart has never been a good thing. Therefore, in school, I did what I had to do to get by. I didn't put a whole lot of effort in because if I did, I would be put into a 'different' group. My parents always said 'Your sister can do it, why can't you?' I hated my sister for that. And because of that, I tried even less. I purposely did not do my homework. I would intentionally fail tests. I just didn't care. To the point that I was put in Title 1 (which,'round here, is for the kids that ain't the shaahpest tools in the shed) for math, and English. Good grades were expected in our house, and I quite frankly, didn't give a shit about it, and one year, I walked into my math class, and the teacher looked at me and called me my sister's name. I stood straight up and said "I am NOT my sister, and DON'T EVER call me that again". I proceeded to fail math that quarter. I did what I had to so I wouldn't get into trouble. I paid attention in class, but I never read my books. I would do my homework on the bus the day it was due. If it wasn't perfect, oh well. Therefore, they couldn't be mad at me for failing, but I didn't get the glowing praise that the persistent straight A student got. Sure, I could have done better, but why bother, if you're in the middle, not getting in trouble for failing, but not getting the super-duper grades.

Moving on from the Evil Empire that sells cheap, plastic crap, I had a college sheepskin saying I was all graduated and all. While working full/part time, taking a full college load, working at a work study, living at home (and working on the farm), I managed to squeeze in an EMT class 40 miles away. So I decided to get a job working in EMS in the southern end of the state, where, I had secured a spot at another university taking classes to work towards my elusive second bachelors...a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. What I really wanted.
I discovered rapidly that working 60 hours a week and trying to take a 13 credit hour course load was a lot different than working 30 hours a week and taking a 15 credit hour course load. Needless to say, I had "proven" my parents right. My performance was HORRIBLE in school.

...to be continued