As a Certified Nurse Aide, I get to see and clean up things no average person wants to imagine, and I deal with people that no one else wants to care for. At the end of life, there is no more pretense or image, just the honest truth of what that person is at their core, good or bad. Since I’m the one providing personal physical care every day, I’m also the one that deals with what flows out of their mouths and their rear ends. Suffice it to say that it’s neither glamorous nor enjoyable most of the time. 

I was doing this job in a place with management that didn’t care how much of a workload I had to carry. Day after day, I ran for twelve hours, struggling to give good care to more people than I could handle. Due to chronic staffing issues, there was never enough help. When I went to management with my problems, I was blown off.

Needless to say, I was frustrated, exhausted, and angry at the end of each shift. I genuinely liked doing something that made a difference in people’s lives, but not in a bad environment at the expense of my physical and mental health. Who wants to dread going into work every day?

At night, I poured out my feelings of rage and disgust into my journal. Night after night, page after page, I processed all my dissatisfaction and anxiety by writing. It somehow soothed me and was a release for all of my pent-up emotions and thoughts. 

Gradually, I realized that writing is something I truly enjoy. I get to express myself and create something. It’s always evolving and changing as I continue to grow as a person. Writing was never something I had considered as a possible occupation and was a drastic change from what I had done my whole life, but the more dissatisfied I became with my current job, the more I wanted to pursue it. Even if I crashed and burned, at least I tried something new, something that made me feel alive. 

When I look at that workplace, for all of its negative aspects, I have to admit that if it wasn’t for that type of environment, I very well may not have reconnected with an important part of myself. I would not have been driven to search for something better and more fulfilling. I would never have considered venturing out into unfamiliar territory. 

Noticing that is encouraging to me, because it means nothing is in vain. My time was not wasted, even if it wasn’t enjoyable. If I was able to understand myself better as a whole person and find something that I truly want to do, then I won!

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