One of the reasons I started writing this blog is to write about everything I experience in my nursing career and the ICU. I remember when I started my job last summer I was so nervous and desperate to find any tips to survive that I searched “New Grad ICU blog” on google. Haha. Yes, I was that desperate. I told myself that if and when I survived the three-month new grad. precetorship at work, I’d start a blog. One that would share the tips I have learned along the way in surviving not only the ICU but also the beginning of a nursing career in general. I find that just hearing someone else’s stories and knowing that their are other people who have gone through the same thing is incredibly comforting.
Now that I’ve started writing, I think the purpose of this blog is beginning to morph into something much broader. There is so much I encounter in my job that is beyond the boundaries of the medical field. I have come across issues of cultural diversity, political differences, women’s rights, death and faith. I don’t expect to be followed by hundreds of people out in this vast world of Internet blogging. Realistically, I think I just want a place to write about the growth I am encountering as a person, as a woman and yes, as a nurse as well.
Something I have been grappling with lately is my identity as a woman. Earlier this week one of the nurses on my unit told me she noticed I had gained weight.
Here I was, sitting innocently in the break room. Trying to peacefully have my fruit and yogurt before what I knew was going to be an insane day. It was my second orientation day taking care of a fresh post-op, open-heart surgery patient. (Post on that soon to come!)
“Oh, look at Andi! She’s eating so healthy!”
“Yeah, my doctor told me I’ve gained some weight since last year so I’m trying to eat a little bit better.”
“Oh yeah I was noticing that yesterday.” (She motions her arms away from her body around her hips, making the motion of being very wide.) “You’ve gotten bigger!”
I was stunned.
“Yeah, I think working the night shift has been a little hard on my eating schedule.” I tried to hide the feeling that the wind was being knocked out of my chest.
There have been a couple of instances like this that I have come across recently. Not necessarily about my weight but about my worth and value as a woman in general.
“A man is looking for the mother of his children for a wife.”
Hmm, so you’re telling me that the only value I have in a relationship and to a man is in my ability to bare and mother children?
Most of my life I have struggled with issues of weight and beauty, value and self worth. Our society has so many expectations that are placed on us as women. We are expected to be gracious and nurturing, strong and resilient in all circumstances. We are told that beauty fits a very specific prototype of the typical 5’8” and 125lb, perfectly presentable female. We are told that, to be desired as a sex object by men brings us power and affection. We are taught that the “perfect wife” is one whose entire life goal is to serve her husband and raise his children. We grow up surrounded by role models that have fallen victim to the fallacy that to be valued as a woman is measured in how desired you are by a man.
Not until recently though have I started to truly question how many of those expectations I have internalized for myself. How much of that message do I choose to make my own standard in determining my worth?
I do need to loose a few pounds. I’m not overweight but I am almost outside the range for my height, so healthily speaking… I could afford to loose a good ten pounds or so.
I wish I could tell you that were my only reason or even a reason at all for my recent change in eating habits. It’s not. I want to loose weight because I am tired of feeling ugly and undesirable. I am tired of not fitting into my clothes and I’m tired of constantly being afraid of mirrors and always comparing myself to those around me who are, what I consider to be, pretty and thin.
It is exhausting to constantly feel like I am unworthy because of what I look like or because I am not the image of what we are told is desirable. I just wish I was good enough…simply because I am me.
So here I go, on an attempt to become healthier and a mission to loose weight. For now I know I am not doing it for the right reasons and because of that I might fail. Still, I know it is something I need to do and in the meantime I hope that along the way I will eventually stop doing it for the sake of everyone else and start doing it because I love and value myself…simply because I am worth it.