I’m Not a Cool Girlfriend

No one I have ever dated will ever call me cool.

The words, “loyal,” “honest,” and “intense,” may come up, but “cool,” despite my very best efforts, has never been a descriptor that fit me very well.

And believe me, I have tried so hard to be cool.

I have shrugged off missed dates, gotten over lies, moved past drunk indiscretions that “meant nothing.”  I’ve laughed off inappropriate requests,  given guys second chances without second guessing them, after seconds turned into hours, and then days without hearing from them.

I have dealt with cell phones smashed in fits of anger, holes punched into walls, and a million, “I’ll do better next times.”

I tried really hard to be cool.

You can ask my therapist how hard I have tried:

During one of our sessions, it was with desperate sincerity that I asked her if it was possible to take medication that could “dumb me down” just a little bit.   Make me feel like less of me.  Make me let things go.  Expect less of people.  Because I was sick of feeling like too much for  the people around me.

I’ve tried really really hard to be cool.

I’ve had people that insist on treating relationships like a game of “would you rather.”  I’d hear things like:

Well, would you rather he tell you about something he did that would upset you or have him lie to you?

Would you rather he get moody and disappear from time to time or have him be super clingy?

I’d play along and choose the lesser of two evils and pretend that it was enough.

I’d let lies slide by, I’d let communication lapse, I’d pretend I didn’t see things that I saw.  I’d let myself feel miserable. I’d bite my tongue when people told me to never settle.  Because all I ever heard about was how I needed to settle, because…well…guys just don’t ever really “get it.”

I really really wanted to be a cool girl.

But I couldn’t.

I have tried to be a cool girlfriend.  I have faked being cool.  I have literally paid in blood, sweat, and tears to be cool.  I’m not.

I cannot be a cool girlfriend for this one reason: I could never find that boundary between making a compromise and being a door mat.

And I finally got sick of being walked all over.  I couldn’t deal with having my faith in men and relationships destroyed all in the name of “keeping my cool.”

I’m not a cool girlfriend.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I refuse to believe that all men are as basic, and needy, and insensitive as the world at large portrays them to be.    I refuse to believe that in order to be in a partnership with a man, I have to accept a certain amount of “boys will be boys” behavior.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because at the end of the day, I believe that a boyfriend can treat me with the same respect, honesty, and integrity that I treat him with.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I expect my partner to treat every woman like he treats me.  I expect him to sit out strip clubs, I expect him to stand up for drunk women being creeped on in bars. I expect his adoration for me to reflect in his treatment and respect for every single woman he meets.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I believe that men can learn to honor, cherish, and fiercely protect the commitments  they make to the people they love.  They can realize that every decision they make either takes them towards their commitments, or away from them.  Without compromise.  Without question. Without ridicule.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I know I don’t want a boyfriend who is “cool.”  I want a boyfriend who is brutally honest.  Who shows me his edges in moments of panic and says: how do I fix myself without hurting you?

I want a boyfriend who realizes that both of us, in the face of something real, like a relationship that matters, are so drastically uncool, and uncollected, that it’s beautiful.

I want a boyfriend who treats me like my friends do: who returns calls, checks in, invites me out, laughs at my incredibly not funny jokes, and recognizes how horribly overwhelmingly unfair it is for women to always have to be the cool one.  The one who understands. And forgives.  And pretends to forget.

So yeah, I know.  A lot of you out there are thinking: girl, you’re living in a dream world.  That there’s certain realities I have to face.  That “guys will always be guys.”

And all I have to say to you is…yes…most guys will always choose to be guys.

But some will choose to become men for the people they love.

And if you doubt that, if you really think some men’s cluelessness in relationships, and the endless one night stands is what all guys want because it is in their nature…show me your role models.  Show me your men who live their lives lying and deceiving and failing at relationships, who, on their death bed say…man…that was one heck of a life.

Show me those men.

And I’ll show you the slew of men who are happy to step up their game.  Who are relieved to not be reduced to a #notallmen stereotype.  Who want to talk about what they’re feeling.  And how broken they felt when they were crying as kids, and told to hide their emotions and “act cool.”

Cool gets you no where. There are better things to be than a cool girlfriend.

Cool gets you settling for a cool love, a cool relationship, and cool communication that inevitably turns cold, brittle, and breaks. And I’ve had enough of things breaking on me.

I can’t shake off the pain anymore.  Pretend giving more than I got didn’t matter.  I’m just not that cool of a girlfriend.

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People Need to Change How They Talk About Adoption

Ok, so…we all know I don’t have children.

I enjoy the freedom my child-free existence gives me.  I enjoy it tremendously. I love having no schedule, sleeping in, and booking plane tickets on a whim.  My life, right now, without kids,  is quite frankly… delicious.

Seriously.

That being said, I’m in my 30’s, so at this point, as a child-free woman, I’ve gotten really good at dodging the never ending questions about my age and fertility, to the point that they generally don’t bother me much anymore.

I do however, LOVE other people’s children.

I’m convinced my niece is the coolest kid ever.  All of my friends have kids, and all of those kids are freaking amazing, just like their parents are.  I genuinely get excited when someone posts a video of their kid walking, or sleeping, or babbling.  I love it all.

And though I relish my child-free existence, I’m beginning to slowly warm towards the idea of starting and having a family (mainly because I’ve finally met someone I would want to raise a family with…not that you can’t do it alone). And when I say “slowly warming,” I mean like  “melting a glacier with a lighter” type slow.  I’m not quite there yet.

I’m still a while away from wanting to add “Mom” to the long list of words people hurl at me in irritation.  But I’m getting there.

And while I’m getting “there” I’ve turned to asking people who have families for their insight.  I talk to my male and female  friends about their experiences and regrets.  Is parenthood really so great? Would they do it all again? I want it all…the nitty gritty.  So I can prepare myself for the inevitable emotional slaughter that is parenthood, as best I can.

But many of these conversations inevitably come back to my age.  I get subtle warnings about the biological clock tick-tocking away. Reminders about how, after 35, my ovaries might literally dissolve into dust in my body.

And that’s when I say, “Actually,  if I can’t have my own, I don’t think there’s a strict age limit on adoptions, so I’ll be okay.”

And that’s when people get stupid. Just…so…stupid.

There’s usually a pause, a polite smile, followed by some sort of mind numbing comment about how it takes a “special” type of person to raise someone else’s kid. This comment is usually followed by reminders and questions similar to these ones:

  1.  How are you going to know about their mental health?  Lots of adopted kids have issues, you know.
  2. Can you not have your own children? You’ll never really love a kid like you’ll love your own.
  3. Aren’t you going to feel rejected when the kid starts looking for his or her birth parents?
  4. What if your kid turns out to be some sort of serial killer? Have you thought about that?
  5. <Insert anecdote about a family they know who is struggling with their adopted child>

And the list goes on and on…

So now, here’s the thing.

The questions, while they bother me, don’t hurt me… because I’m not an adoptive parent.  But many of my friends are.  And several other incredibly well adjusted friends of mine, were adopted children themselves.

And as I’m being inundated with insufferable questions that unintentionally diminish both the lovability and value of children up for adoption, all I can think about is…why is this line of questioning even okay?

Seriously…why do people think it’s okay?  Because…it’s not.

If you think these types of questions and comments are appropriate, I want you to imagine what it felt like or what it will feel like when you or your partner gets pregnant. I want you to now imagine telling one of your friends your great news.  That you’re pregnant. And about to have a baby.

And I want you to imagine them giving you a polite smile, and then saying, “That’s so brave of you, your life is going to get so hard.” I want you to imagine that they ask you questions like:

  1. Oh, man…aren’t you worried about what this kid is going to do to your body or relationship?
  2. What if the kid has learning disabilities or mental disorders?
  3. Aren’t you concerned he or she is going to grow up and resent you like you resent your parents?
  4. What if you don’t bond with the baby?  Aren’t you worried about post-partum depression?
  5. Have you read any of those articles about parents who wish they had never had children?

In fact, most people with biological children HAVE to imagine the above situation playing out, because it just honestly never happens.  Whereas parents with adopted children deal with questions and judgments like these all the freaking time. For like…ever.

It’s not okay.  So stop.

Is it okay for these questions to come up in your head? Sure. I certainly wonder about all of these things in regards to adopted and biological children. Starting a family is a crazy leap of faith no matter how you do it. But it’s the same leap.

And if you struggle with things to say to someone who is considering adoption, here’s a life hack: just think about what you’d say to anyone who was going to have a child. And proceed from there.  Offer to throw them a baby shower…share experiences you’ve had with parenthood…smoke a cigar with them…it’s not difficult.

So my point:  no one gets off easy when it comes to kids and family.  That’s why compassion and mindfulness is needed no matter how someone decides to “do” the whole family thing.

So people without kids:  if you really think you need to expel a human out of your vagina in order to fully love it, you should really think about your intentions behind your family:  do you want to be a parent?  Or do you want to have your own children?  Because there is a very distinct difference.

And people with kids: if you think there is a difference between the love you feel for your child, and the love an adopted parent feels, that’s fine.  Just stop talking about it.   And if you feel the need to bring it up around adopted parents…there is something very broken in your definition of parenthood and love.

Now… if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got five hours of Youtube to catch up on before I sleep-in until noon.

I’m really gonna be a great mom one day.

 

How to Fix Your “Jealous” Girlfriend

I’m not the jealous type.

Needless to say, I have experienced jealousy from time to time.

For example, the time my brother got a birthday party at Soccer Zone and I didn’t…I felt kind of jealous.  Or in sixth grade, when the guy I liked asked my friend to the social…sure…I felt super jealous.

But then life taught me I have plenty to be grateful for, and not much to be jealous of, and I chilled out.  I mellowed out.

And then…I started dating.

And I started noticing that I was being called jealous…like all the time.  In fact, in two of the major relationships I’ve had, pretty much every question I asked was answered with: Hey…Why are you SO jealous?

Now as someone who loves to learn from past mistakes (as to not repeat them) I really wanted to evaluate and consider whether or not I actually had a jealousy issue.  And it occured to me that lots of people out there probably are also dealing with partners who suffer from bouts of jealousy.

So I figured, while I work on myself, it makes sense to give guidance to people who are currently suffering in a relationship with a “jealous” person.

So if you’re currently with someone who just seems to be way too jealous all the time…look into these quick fixes and see if it helps. <end sarcasm font>

How to Fix Your “Jealous” Girlfriend:

1. Cut the “basic bitches” out of your life.  You know the ones: 

Girls that fall under this category are  ex-hookups and ex-girlfriends.  And stop calling them “friends.”  They’re not your friends.

Also in this list are certain female friends that just seem to be a little too close for comfort.  If you don’t know which ones, just ask your girl…she will tell you.

Now I get it…sometimes your girlfriend may go over board and demand that you stop talking to any females other than her.  Thats not what I’m talking about here.  We all need to be reasonable.  We, as girls, need to understand that you will have contact and friendships with other females in your life.  We need to understand that.

But you…what you need to understand is that we, as girls, understand other girls.

When we meet them, we have to make an assessment: is this girl  a “friendly,” or  is she a “foe.”  And we often err on the side of caution.

So when the same “friend’s” name keeps coming up in your fights over and over,  it’s time to stop treating the symptom, by calling your girl “jealous,” and cut off the cause of the issue…the other girl.

As for your “female friends” you have.  This always cracks me up…when a boyfriend talks about being ‘just friends’ with a girl.

Here’s why: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that “guys and girls can NEVER be friends.”

In fact, any time I tell a boyfriend I’m “just friends” with a guy…he laughs…stares at me like I’m a child and says, “He’s just waiting for a chance to get with you.” So apparently, I actually don’t have any male friends. None.   Because boys don’t want to be friends with girls. Le sigh.

Except you… You apparently, are totally capable of being friends with a girl.  Because you’re not like “most guys?”  Doubtful.

It’s really hard to all of a sudden be asked to accept that we have met the one guy who can actually be friends with girls.  And that we’re dating him. Yet all of our guy friends are just waiting for their chance to move in.

So… sort out your hypocritical bullshit, and maybe you’ll help sort out your girlfriend’s jealousy issues.  Maybe.

And if you really think you need to have all these extra females in your life…maybe you should work on sorting out your ego issues.

2. Unless you’re Simba from The Lion King…stop saying “the past is the past:”

We keep getting told not to live in the past.  And then we get told to not worry about things that MAY happen in the future.  So that means we have about 5-8 seconds of the “present” relationship that we are allowed to think about.  That’s ridiculous.

A relationship is based on the foundation laid in the past, the present feelings, and hopes for the future.  Pretty much all of those things matter.

The past is not the past.

And the best prediction for future behavior, is past behavior.  So if you acted like a deceitful twat in the past, that’s going to carry over into your future.  So…looks like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Just accept that things that you did that keep coming up, will continue to come up, and  deal with it, or leave that jealous girlfriend who just “can’t let things go.”  And find a girl who wants to put up with you.

3.  Don’t ever end stories with the phrase “Don’t worry.  Nothing happened.” It will not go well: 

The very phrase itself makes no sense.  Of course SOMETHING happened. The only time you can say this is if you woke up… and remained in bed…all day.  Until your girlfriend came over.

And why are you being so defensive?   Had lunch with a co-worker that turned into a happy hour?  Yet nothing happened?  What does “nothing” even mean??

You could, of course, define it for us.  But, much easier to just call your girl jealous, and be done with it.

4.  Figure out how social media works, or get better at lying:

Seriously…it’s not even hard.

We can see pretty much everything you do on Instagram or Facebook, unless you specifically change your privacy settings. So if you haven’t changed anything since you created your account…your girl will be able to check up on anything her “crazy jealous” lady-brain may make her check on.

For example: let’s say you go on a bachelor’s weekend in Cancun.  And you tell her, “don’t worry…nothing happened.”

Here’s what she might do:

Step One: Check your “recently added” friends on Facebook and see if any recently added girls have profile picture that were recently taken on a tropical beach resort…similar to those found in Cancun
Step Two: Check out those girls and any female friends they may have “tagged” in recent photos
Step Three: Cross-check those girls on the “recently added” with your “followers” on Instagram
Step Four: Check if you’re “following” any of those girls 
Step Five: Check your “liked” photos on Insta (yes we can do that) 
Step Six: Ask you questions about any girls that fall into any or all of those steps

Sound intense to you?  No way.

All of those steps would take us, maybe a total of 47 seconds.  Maybe.  Depends on internet speed.

Now some people may be saying…hey…checking into your boyfriend that much shows you don’t trust him.  And to those people I say: you’re absolutely right.  And I don’t care. Trust is built.  And in 2016…this is how we build it.

5.  Admit that your friends might actually be the ones that suck: 

Because let’s face it…your 30 year old single guy friends who troll on Tinder and take geography quizzes online for fun, may not be the best “go-to” people for relationship advice.  And often times, they will only hear about your girlfriend when you’re complaining about her.  So why would they ever tell you that you’re in the wrong?

The only time you should ever consider taking relationship advice from a friend is if they are currently in a relationship that you would WANT to be in, or have had a healthy relationship in the past.

Otherwise…misery loves company.  And they sure liked it when you were single.

6. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It’s in the Bible:

Self explanatory.  It would solve a lot of jealousy issues right off the bat.

7.  Watch the “If I Were a Boy” video and learn.  Learn from Beyonce.   

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Disclaimer:  I’m a girl…this is written from a girl’s perspective.  All of this completely applies to girlfriends calling their boyfriend’s “jealous” as well.  So relax, gentlemen, we do it too

 

Stop Calling Women Crazy

So…it happened again the other day. Someone called me crazy.

They didn’t actually say it to my face.  We always tend to hear these things second hand (unless we are in an argument someone wants  to shut down immediately)

Apparently,  my  name came up in a conversation, and someone quipped: “Be careful with her.  She’s crazy.”

Not going to lie to you.  Despite my ferocious amount of self-acceptance and understanding…this word never ceases to get under my skin.

Now look…

There’s a million posts about why calling women (or anyone)  crazy is one of the most harmful trends in our language today. If you haven’t read any of them yet, I want you to stop reading my post, and click here.  Do it.  You don’t even have to come back to my page.

This is not going to be one of those posts.

This is not a level headed plea asking people to reconsider what comes out of their mouths.  Not at all.  This is a direct, no bullshit , no sugar coating shout out to the people calling me and any of my girls out there “crazy.”

You need to stop doing it…like, right now.  And here’s why:

When you call a girl “crazy” when she’s not…you’re showing the rest of the world that you’re  just too god damn stupid to understand how words actually f*cking work.

And I’m not just talking to the men folk.  Ladies…you’re hurling that word around quite a bit these days too.

I know, it’s going to be difficult.  The word “crazy” is just our default for describing a woman’s “problematic” behavior.

It seems  to me that people need help stepping away from this word.  It seems that there’s quite a few people out there with the vocabulary of an illiterate four year old.  So I’m here to help.

The next time you want to call a woman “crazy,” see if any of these words or phrases will work better for what you’re trying to say:

Ways to finish the phrase: That girl is so ___________

  1. Intense
  2. Much prettier than me
  3. Funny in a way I don’t appreciate or understand
  4. Confident
  5. Ballsy
  6. Going to steal my boyfriend
  7. Not into me
  8. Outspoken
  9. Malicious or Mean
  10. Talkative
  11. Quirky
  12. Aggressive
  13. Dramatic
  14. Good at getting attention
  15. Honest
  16. Insecure
  17. Assertive
  18. Successful
  19. Passionate
  20. Weird
  21. Happy
  22. Blunt
  23. Loud
  24. Quiet
  25. Unlike me

There you go.

Feel free to consult a dictionary (that’s a book with words and their meanings in it…sound out the syllables first before you ask for one if you’re nervous using  your new words.  Really, take your time).

If none of these words work better than “crazy,” then feel free to consult a hospital and have that person medicated or looked into.  Leave the diagnosis to professionals, asshole.

Hey…

I’m even going to take this to the next level for you, and show you how you can use these words in real life situations.  Here’s some situations where I was called “crazy” where another word definitely would’ve been more suitable.

Situation 1:  I found out a boy I was dating had a girlfriend in another city.  And I wrote her a message telling her everything.

Wrong word: Crazy
Correct words:  Honest, Blunt, Ballsy

Situation 2: After a bad breakup, I wrote angry comments on an ex-boyfriends Facebook photo

Wrong word: Crazy
Correct words: Passionate, Outspoken, Mean (yes…I know it was mean)

Situation 3:  I spoke out very openly about a relationship that ended because of physical abuse  (And now I’ve done it again. So. Awkward.)

Wrong word: Crazy
Correct word: Awesome

Situation 4:  I called a guy 32 times in one night before he finally turned his phone off.  After that I switched to email. 

Correct word: Crazy.  So crazy. 

************

So, back to it.  The word “crazy.”  It’s used so often to shut women up about things people would rather just not know or hear about.  Things that actually need to be said.

It’s often used whenever we just don’t like someone, and when we want to make sure other people who meet them won’t like them either.

Boyfriends and guys use it against us to shut down what is often legitimate questions and concerns.  And women use it against us, because some women love hating other women (idiots).

It’s a cheat word.  A game ender.

It’s a word used by insecure and weak people  to gain some sort of strong hold on people they know they just simply cannot level up against. And it’s a word we resort to when we just want to cut someone off at the legs so we don’t have to see or hear from them again.

So, the word “crazy.”  It’s a word that’s best used within the context of medical facilities…or Britney Spear’s lyrics.

So unless you’ve studied medicine or are currently performing daily at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas…quit with the crazy talk, and start using words that actually mean something.

 

 

 

Stop Saying, “I Don’t Date Short Guys.” You Sound Awful.

“He’s super cute and nice but…I don’t date short guys”

I can’t express how hard I want to laugh when I hear a girl say this.

After ALL of the crap we give guys about appreciating us for the unique angels we think we are, we sit around saying this nonsense, with almost NO hesitation, to our friends, at dinner tables, and worse of all…to guys we know.

It’s awful.  Epically awful.

Now don’t get me wrong…we all have “a type.”  You are entitled to liking whatever it is that you want.

But ladies, we have been BATTLING to eradicate body shaming  for years and years now, and we are making some major progress, we really are. There’s a long list of things that men are just not allowed to say about us and our bodies in public domain.  So then why should it not go both ways?

Just because historically body shaming has been directed towards females by men AND women, doesn’t mean we get a break when we do it.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel this way about dating shorter men, I’m saying it’s horrible, awful, and hypocritical to be saying this stuff out loud.

The measurement of a man is not in how tall he is, it’s in how much he measures up in your life. He may not stand tall, but does he stand up for you and the people he loves?  Does he support you? Does he bring things to your metaphorical table? Those are the things that should matter.

Once again, I’m not saying you should want to date short guys… just stop saying it without realizing the double standard you are very openly playing into.  Stop saying it because you are basing someone’s value on something they have no control over.   Stop saying it because your words are hurting other human beings.

And come on…We know how it feels when people do this to us, when they make us feel like less of a woman because we have small breasts, non-existent hips, short legs etc.  So let’s stop trying to instill the cycle of insecurity that has held us back for centuries onto men. We all know where that leads.

For the first time in a long time, many guys are working on themselves and their friends…challenging each other to be better partners and allies to us.  Don’t you think we owe them the same respect?   

Gentlemen, if a girl says this to you or around you in any way shape or form…avoid her.  And if she SAYS she doesn’t want to date you because of your height, let me be the first to say: Congratulations.  You dodged a very basic bullet.

Oh, and ladies, if one of your friends is dating an amazingly great guy who is barely taller, just as tall as, or <heaven forbid> shorter than her, and you feel the need to bring that up publicly as a “con” when discussing their relationship…please hand in your “opinion card” because you’re no longer allowed to have one on this issue.

With men beginning to step up to the plate on issues like gender equality, it’s becoming harder and harder to excuse women who perpetuate these double standards. And remember…I’m a girl’s girl…I WANT to be on your side. But ladies, we are wrong on this one.  Very very wrong…so it’s about time we start treating the men in our lives with the very same BASIC decency we have been fighting for for the past few hundreds/thousands of years.

Why This “Girl’s Girl” Owes it All To A Nurse

I promised myself when I started this blog (a whole three weeks ago) that I would keep my posts universal, relevant and humorous (when needed).  I’m not sure this post will meet any of these criteria, but this needed to be written.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 5.22.52 PM

Miss Colorado

I needed to write this because  I thought this morning that maybe, miraculously, the nurse/ medical assistant I’m writing about will recognize themselves in this story.  I wish more than anything I knew her name.

But this probably won’t reach her. So, hopefully and more realistically, this will at least be read by a few nurses or medical assistants, that often never get to hear what they so often deserve: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

For those of you who don’t know, during the Miss America pageant last week,one of the contestants (a nurse)
performed a monologue that she wrote about her profession.  It later came under scrutiny by a talk show host, and has caused quite a few people to share their experiences with the awesomeness that is nursing.

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So here it is: 

To A Nurse,

I’m a doctor’s kid.  In fact, most people in my family are doctors, or surgeons.  I understand the fascination people have with them, the way we tend to glorify them… They are Gods amongst men, the healers of the sick, the fixers of broken bodies.  In TV shows and movies, the doctor is the one who takes the special interest in the patient and makes the breakthrough that changes the course of their patient’s lives.

So I get why people feel that way about doctors, I do.  And honestly, I think we all tend to think that because very few of us know what it’s like to be really really sick.

I know what it’s like.  When I was 18 (so twelve years ago) I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…a bad…but highly treatable form of cancer.  At 18, I was shuttled from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, out of one scan into another, injected with all sorts of dyes, liquids, chemicals, to see how “bad” my cancer really was.  I met a million doctors, was poked, prodded, asked a thousand questions, and was scheduled to start chemo all within in the span of a week.  My life, as I knew it, had ended.

And then I ended up in a room with you.  In what seemed like the basement of the hospital.  You were supposed to take one of my “baseline” tests (to like make sure my lungs didnt melt or something during treatments, I don’t know really).  You took my blood pressure, listened to my breathing patterns (with your stethoscope!) and gave me a tube I needed to blow into.

You handed it to me, and said, “ok, honey, take a deep breath and just blow sharply into this tube…let it all out.”  So I took a deep breath, held onto the tube, and did exactly what you said…I let it all out.  I cried.  Inconsolably.  It was just so quiet in there and you were just so nice, I needed to let it all go.

You didn’t look away like my friends would do.  You didn’t “give me a minute” and leave the room so I could get myself together.  You sat there, and you listened to me snuffle and sob, and you waited until the hysterical teenager in front of you finally quieted down.  And then you took the tube out of my hand, and put your hand on mine and said:

“Hey…look.  I see people come in here all the time.  I don’t know what your prognosis is, or how long you’re going to have to come to this hospital, or how things are going to go for you.  But I know one thing…

I know that one day, years from now, your doctor is going to say to you that you’re done.  That it’s time to start living your life.  And that’s what you need to do.  Take your time…be sad… but when the doctors tell you it’s time to move on, promise me that you will.  Don’t be one of those people who is constantly looking over your shoulder and thinking about this part of your life…forget about this place, and just promise me, you’ll move on.” 

I nodded my head, wiped my nose, and you handed the tube back to me and said, “Ok…let’s get this done now.”

And that was it.  I went on with the treatments, lost my hair, got my hair back, went to my follow up appointments, finished school, and then five years later, in March, I was done.  My doctor said I didn’t need to worry about coming in anymore, and that it was time to move on.

And that, dear Nurse, was when I remembered what you said…what you said about moving on and not looking back.  And I listened.  I really think you would be proud.

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Life’s been good

People who know me know what I’ve been up to, but I’ll give you the Spark’s Notes version: I live overseas, I work a job I love, I travel and meet more people than I ever imagined, I’ve learned empathy and compassion from the empathy and compassion you and others have shown me, and I almost never think about those days when I was really sick.  I do, however, think a lot about you.

Anyone who ever asks me how I ended up overseas, has heard about you.  You’re nameless in the stories, and I hate it.  I’ve rarely cried about cancer since then, but I’ve often teared up thinking about what you said, and how I would never get to tell you to your face, because what does an 18 year old really understand about the impact our word’s have on others?  So I’m sorry.  I wish more than anything you knew in that 30 minutes you spent with me, you changed the course of my life.

With eternal gratitude,
Sonia

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So, if anyone who worked at, or is still working at Medical City Dallas, remembers an 18 year old girl in 2003 wearing a shirt that was entirely too low cut, and crying all over your equipment…please know that I owe much of who I am today, to what you said to me.

And to the chemo nurses, the medical assistants, the people drawing blood and the guy who operated the PET-CT scans (yes I remember you)..all of you were my angels at Medical City Dallas.  I have innumerable stories from that time I spent in your good graces, and without you all, your jokes, your sincerity, your all around bad-ass-ness, I don’t think I would’ve been able to move on from it like I did.  I mean…one guy saw me run into a bathroom crying, and waited outside just to make sure I was okay…really…he had a job to do, and he did that instead.

And to ALL nurses…if you think you remember the one or two patients who stood out to you, please know that numerous people hold your faces and your words in their hearts, even though they may never know your name.  Keep up the good work, I just wanted to drop you all a line.

And to anyone still reading this, nurse or not…your kind words matter.  Say them.