The Lies We Tell Ourselves

We all have an inner dialogue and it is constant. Some call it "self talk". And it is in this self talk that we tell ourselves the biggest lies. And everyone does this. Negative self talk happens, at one time or another, to everyone (to some more than others). Ever thrown yourself a pity party? Usually there are two guests at a pity party, you and your inner dialogue. 

Now, if you're like me at all, you have a go to negative thought or phrase that loops in your mind. This phrase/thought is usually a lie. Mine is that I'm Not Good Enough. For years and years I've struggled with this lie. And when I say struggled, I mean STRUGGLED. Countless nights spent upset or in tears, a constant voice in my head telling me "you can't do that, you're not good enough. You're not worth it. You're not worthy." That makes it difficult to achieve just about anything. 

Weight loss, school, career advancement... My inner self has constantly told me (sometimes still tells me) I'm not good enough.

And after many, many discussions with my mom, friends, a therapist, I started to become able to recognize that these thoughts were lies. Acknowledging that these are lies is the first step in healing and gaining a sense of worth. Next you must replace the lie with the truth. THIS is the hard part. And I'm not good at it at all. 

In a conversation with my mom earlier today, I told her that my self talk has been very, very negative the past several days (weeks, even). She told me I need to take those thoughts captive and replace the lie with the truth. She then suggested that I take some time, get in a quiet place, and ask God to replace the lie. 

So that's what I did.

You're never going to become successful in your career.
It takes time and work to be successful and I've already come a long way, even if I still have a ways to go.

You will never lose the weight, you have no self control, you will be fat for the rest of your life.
Self control is learned. I have lost weight already and will continue to make progress, even if it's slower than I'd like.

When people (your friends) stop needing you, they'll stop spending time with you.
Now this lie hurts pretty badly. And while some people may be using me in times of their need, it doesn't mean everyone is.

You're not smart, funny, pretty, entertaining enough for people to want to be around you.
This goes along with the above lie... Because the truth is I AM smart. I AM pretty. I AM entertaining. And people DO want to be around me... Not everyone does, but when I think about it, I myself don't want to be around everyone!

You're. Not. Good enough...
I am. I am valuable. I have worth. I have things to contribute to the world and to those around me.

It's time to stop believing the lies. Take the negative talk, the self doubt, the insecurities, and replace them with truths. Ask God, ask a trusted friend or family member... We all have things we need to work on, but we all have good qualities. We are all valuable and worthy and worth it and GOOD ENOUGH.

So today, in my hormonal, emotionally fragile state, I will remember, simply, I am good enough. 

(Ehhh so I'm pmsing and you didn't want to know?? Too bad!)

Things That Remind You How Small You Are

There are things that put our true "size" into perspective... Things that remind us just how small we are. Good things, like a wide open, starry sky. Or staring out at the ocean and feeling like it goes on forever. Or holding a new baby. Then there are "bad" things, like pain, suffering, death... 

I see the good and bad things. I've been thinking a lot recently of how short our lives really are. I've been asking, does what I do matter? Then I realized that sometimes, I am the first person someone will see after an accident, a fall, a severe illness. I will someday be the last person someone will see. What we do matters, even if we don't realize it. Our choices make a difference, though it may not be apparent in the moment. 

Tonight, I am reminded how small I am by the passing of a friends sister. I didn't know her personally, but I know him. I know the effect she had on him. I know about her battle with cancer through her blog. I know she was beautiful, strong, brave, God-fearing, caring, compassionate. 

Drew and Amy were heavy on my heart this evening as I drove to work. They have been on my heart before, but this time was different. Tonight my heart is with the Nash and Touchet families. Love you Drew.

When the going gets tough...

It has been around 5 months since my last post and so much has changed!!

I was given full time status at work (yaaaaayyyy) and was placed on a night shift (ummmm whaaaat?). It took me almost two months, but my body has finally adjusted to being up all night. As I write this, my partner is snoozing in the drivers seat as we post, and I am wide awake listening to the chaos that is the south end dispatch. 

At the beginning of December, I loved from the north San Diego area to east Murrieta. That was quite a change. It took several weeks to get over the homesick feeling. Living with 4 other people (all guys, too!) has been a very interesting experience, but I actually really enjoy it. There is almost always someone home if I want to be social but at the same time if I'm in my room they give me my space. Though I do miss being close to my family and friends, I feel this move was a good decision. 

Now, the current struggle is making ends meet and continuing to improve myself. 2013 was filled with growth and learning and I expect no less from 2014. 

For the love of the game:

Over the last few weeks, I've had the pleasure of working with many different people. This is one reason I love being part time! I love meeting my workers and spending time to get to know them.

That being said, occasionally you run into people who obviously hate their jobs. And when I say obvious, I mean OBVIOUS. To the point where I have to stop myself from asking them why they're even here.

Here's the deal... I love my job. I enjoy being at work. I enjoy (most of) my coworkers. We all have bad days. We have those calls or those crews that just rub us the wrong way and make us Cranky McCranky pants. But I'm going to say that 80% of the time, I thoroughly enjoy my job.

I do not enjoy working with people who do not enjoy their job. They stress me out and take all the fun out of what we do! But when you find those people that love their job, you can tell. It shows in their faces, it's in their tone of voice.

I consider it a great compliment when my coworkers tell me how much they enjoy working with me or how happy I seem. I actually had a fire medic tell me yesterday on a call that he had yet to meet an AMR medic as happy as I was. While I was stoked on the compliment, it bummed me out that people don't love this as much as I do!

Yesterday was a ridiculously hot and humid day (there was actually a flash flood that shut down several roads to several hospitals... That made life extremely difficult!! What should've been a 5 min drive took an hour!). The power went out in multiple neighborhoods (which made our last call of the night interesting, to say the least), the AC went out in some hospitals... Sure there were complaints, but luckily the crews at the hospital had good attitudes. It kept an already sticky situation (get it??? GET IT?????) from becoming worse.

Bill Watterson drew a wonderful comic about this kind of thing... You may have seen it. If you haven't, click here.

Attitude is everything. And when you're doing what you love, it doesn't feel like work so much as fulfillment of a calling. So do what you love!! Find a way to thrive on it or live more humbly. There is beauty in simplicity and joy in working hard.

This is real life

I just read a few status updates on Facebook and it got me to thinking (dangerous when that happens, I know!). Please note there is some over sharing that goes on in this blog. :) You've been warned.

As I write this blog, I'm getting over a cold I've had for almost a week, eating pizza I made last night, drinking guava flavored coconut water. I'm listening to some new music I just downloaded and I'm still in my pajamas. My bank account is overdrawn, I have $40 cash that is for gas for the next week and I'm pmsing like no ones business and am on the period from Hell (first there's rage, then there's crying, then happiness... There's no winning right now...). My car is about to die (I just know it is... It's on the edge of  the car-death cliff and it's starting to tip), and I have no means of getting another one. My hours are unstable at work, I'm actually not sure if I'll be able to support myself without picking up a third job. The job already comes with a lot of pressure and it's going to get worse before it get's better.

I write all these things not because I'm complaining, but to give some insight into my life. I've been trying to complain less and be grateful more. Some days I don't succeed and I complain a lot :) I have been living in such a constant state of stress, it's become almost normal for me to feel some degree of anxiety or worry.

I find that on my worst days, the only thing I can do is admit my mistakes and my short comings and pray like God is walking right next to me, a constant conversation (sometimes a desperate plea to get me through the day).

Here's where I begin to rant...

I have not had an easy life, but in all honesty, even with all the shit that's gone down, it's a damn good life. I am proud of who I am, I am proud of what I've made out of my mistakes.

Your life is what you make it. Things happen, good and bad. No one escapes tragedy or hardships in some form or another. What matters is how you handle it. Do you grow from it? Or do you wallow in it?

As soon as you start accepting responsibility for your life and stop making excuses or blaming others, life takes on new meaning. There is pride in a life lived well. You will find fulfillment in hard work and simplicity.

Be the person you would want to be with. Be honest, caring, kind. Have boundaries and enforce them. Believe that you are worthy of being treated well and don't stand for being treated poorly. Don't play the pity game. No one finds the "woe is me" mentality to be attractive. Again, be someone worth dating. Don't beat yourself up when it doesn't work out. Being single does not mean you have to be lonely. And honestly, if you can't handle being single or alone with yourself, you're not ready to be in a relationship. Take a cold, hard look at yourself and really consider what you offer. Give yourself some credit on the good things you bring to the table. Don't be overly critical about the things that need improvement, just start working on it!

I have a POS car, but it runs (and it passed the smog test, yay!).
I am single, but I am not lonely.
I don't have a place that feels like it's mine, but I have a safe place to live with good people.
I don't get the hours at work I would like to, but not only do I have a job, it's a job I love.
I am tired of being sick, but I am so so glad I am getting better and I am otherwise healthy.
I'm broke beyond my imagination, but I have everything I need and then some.
Sometimes my friends and family piss me off, but they are there for me and know I'm there for them.

This is real life, friends. And it's damn good. :)

Let's Talk About: Faith

And by faith, I mean mine specifically. And believe me, it gets pretty darn cheeserific towards the end...

*The Fine Print*: I'm sorry if what I say as this blog continues offends anyone (actually... I'm not that sorry... It's my blog, I say what I want!! :P), but this is not only what I believe, it's what I'm going through right now. I don't care what you believe. I'm not here to beat you over the head with a bible and shove Jesus down your throat. This blog is extremely relevant to my life :) Plus, blogging is soothing. It's almost like a journal entry. A little bit of self therapizing, if you will. :)

But first.... STATISTICS!

According to wikipedia (THE most CREDIBLE website on the planet), approximately 78.4% of Americans identify themselves as Christians (I believe this number includes Catholicism)...

I call myself a Christian... But what does that mean?

Merriam-Webster (even more credible than wikipedia... Incredible, I know...) says a Christian is "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." Well. If we go by that definition, I guess I can actually believe that 3/4 of the nation are Christians.

But professing belief in something and actually following are completely different, right?

Alright. Enough statistics, definitions and random questions... I'd like to get on to the part where I talk about why I'm writing about faith. :)

This new job has tested me in ways I've never been tested. Mentally and emotionally (and sometimes physically), I'm drained.

I've always been relatively self-sufficient. I prefer to do things myself because history has proven I'm the only one I can count on. For a long time I got along doing it all myself.

And then I went to medic school. Actually, my whole EMS career has been divinely orchestrated. Doors were opened that would never have opened on their own. And that was when I realized that if I kept trying to go it alone, I would never make it.

So I started praying. I started talking to God. I started thanking Him for the good things, asking for help with the tough things. There were many, many other things going on during medic school that made it a trying time. I had a TON of anxiety. A ton. I'm pretty sure that's what drove my ex away. (Let's be honest, as awesome as I am now, I was a WRECK during school).

But as soon as I finished school, I stopped talking to God. I stopped praying, stopped doing my devotions. Stopped listening for Him. I mean, every now and then I'd have a crisis and I'd run to Him, but that's not much of a relationship.

The past month or so, I've been asking Him for help. There have been a few days where I literally did not stop praying (those days my prayers went like "Please, please, please let me survive this."). I pray in an effort to get rid of the anxiety.

It's paralyzing, by the way. Anxiety, that is. People feel it differently and there are different levels of anxiety. There were several times driving to work that I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. And sometimes I feel my chest get really tight and it feels like I can't breathe. (that being said, I've never called 911 for this feeling... unlike many of my patients...). I did call my mom though. :) She can usually talk me off my "ledge of panic".

Anyways, I digress.

 The point of this blog is that I have tried again and again to do it all myself and I am failing. Not only am I failing, but I am miserable in the process. As difficult as it is to "let go and let God" (nice little Christian cliche for you), the peace I feel when I do makes it worth it.

Having said that, I must mention the beauty of grace. I cannot count how many times I've messed up. I make poor decisions (consciously!), do dumb things, say the wrong thing, ignore the right thing, do the wrong thing.

Yet I am not loved any less. I am not any less valuable because of my mistakes. THAT is amazing. This is why a relationship with God is much more important to me than religion. Religion is rules. Religion is run by righteous hypocrites. Relationship is based in loved. Relationship allows for mistakes because in relationship there is forgiveness.

(Friends, I highly recommend you read The Shack if you haven't already. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's one of my favorite books and it provides some new perspective.)

Sin is sin. But God's love is bigger than my sin.

So as I head into my work week tomorrow, I will remember that I am not alone. Because I know I am not strong enough to do this on my own. It isn't my strength that will get me through this. Sometimes, He has to carry me, just like the Footprints poem.

I now must go study some more, then go to bed (that has become my life... work, sleep, gym, study, sleep, work...).

On your graduation day:

France!!! You're graduated!!!! I'm so sorry I couldn't make it to your party or graduation. Riverside has sucked me into the vortex Sunday-Tuesday :(

However, your favorite paramedic has some words for you. :)

Life is hard. But it is beautiful. And fun. Keep your head up, pray constantly and laugh as much as possible.

You are embarking out in your own adventure now. Ask questions, learn from every experience. This is YOUR life. You are now an adult and the choices you make will come with consequences.

Stick to your guns but be willing to listen and hear someone out.

Always do the right thing, but never be afraid to apologize. It takes a strong person to admit that they are wrong.

It is ok to cry. It is ok to ask for help. We cannot live life alone, we weren't created to be 100% self-sufficient. :) Lean on friends and family when you need to. This will allow you to be strong for them when they need you.

Surround yourself with people who bring you up and hold you accountable.

Hold out for the man who treats you like you deserve to be treated (cause I will CUT whoever breaks your heart.......).

In all the stress and craziness that college will be (umm, Finals Week, anyone?), don't forget to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, drink water and eat good things (but... also eat some junk food... it's part of the college experience...). Find something you love to do and make time for it.

You are smart, beautiful, kind and amazing. You have grown into a wonderful young woman. You are so loved and so worthy of the destiny God has for you. Walk with Him in it. When you think you can't go on or things get too tough to do on your own, remember He is walking with you and will carry you.

I love you!!!!