Monday, January 7, 2013

Becoming Me, The Writer

In a person's life, they may find that they are faced with an event or a period of time that causes something(s) about themselves to change. They start to shift into a person they never thought they would be - a person they were meant to be, rather. Self discovery is what some may call it; one would be so fortunate to go through this, but I suppose that it could be both a blessing and a curse. It's all about timing and probably a bit of luck. Which side of the coin will it be?

I am whole-heartedly convinced that I am going through this right now. I've had both life changing events and periods of time: entering motherhood, moving far away from my family, meaningful and mature commitment, unemployment, and financial hardship are just a few things that I've had the pleasure of handling all at once in the last few years. Each and every one of those aspects are completely different but at the same time so intensely intertwined that it's no wonder I'm changing into this person. I was destined, AM destined, to be this person.

A writer.

I never knew it was something that I could just decide to call myself one day, but this isn't something I just realized overnight. Since I earned an undergrad degree in Nursing 3 years ago, not being able to find a job as a Registered Nurse has been a huge blow to my ego. Classmates, as well as friends who graduated after me, seem to be finding jobs okay, then there was me continuing to chip away at the old job-hunt mountain. Time and again, I've told myself "that job just wasn't meant for you" or "you're just meant for other things". Defense mechanism, denial, they call those kind of cliche afterthoughts many things. At this point in time, I just see Nursing as something I will try at again someday, but not today (much to the delight of my parents, I'm sure).

Not that I'm complaining. I've been able to stay home with my son for 12 out of his 13 months of life and counting (maternity leave until he was 3 months old, returning to work for a month before we moved when he was 4 months old). Meanwhile, many of my friends who have children close to his age have long since returned to work and perhaps wishing for what I have. I love being home with him every day, don't get me wrong, even on days where I wish motherhood was revocable. (Well, I guess it could be for some, but I'm not one of those women and that's a topic for another blog.) 

There are long hours during the day though, even when the 12+ hours that I'm awake seem to fly by. Long hours filled with constant thought; usually, I think about my boy's every move, what we're going to do next, is it time to eat yet, he's probably peed a few times in that diaper by now, and the usual oh my GOD when is Gary coming home. There are a few moments here and there that I can think about other things, though. Hashing out my life in my head, letting my vivid imagination run wild, those sorts of things.

An important event, however uninvolved I actually am from it, happened a few months ago: my home away from home, where I learned everything about being a nursing professional, from 2005 to 2012 is now no longer. All of my old coworkers, who were very much my extended family, are now unemployed. It makes me sad, but also relieved - had Gary not found this job, had we never left San Diego almost a year ago, I would be among them feeling even more depressed about myself. So see, unemployment is not an absolutely terrible thing for me right now. As it turns out, it was going to happen anyway. As a result, it's shown me a different route to take in my life.

It pains me to admit this, that after spending thousands of hours in school and probably an equal amount of time both job searching and being depressed about lack thereof, I am a nurse today because I settled. I am not undermining the profession at ALL because some of these most influential people in my life today are nurses and I would have never met them if I hadn't gone the path I did in my early twenties. But in regard of myself, I settled. At age 19, I had zero idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I mean ZERO. My parents suggested that I try vocational school, that a nursing track might be something I'll like. With a doctor for an uncle and a nurse as his wife (how cliche, right?!), I agreed. I finished a 9 month program, certified as a Nursing Assistant, and landed my first job (the place that closed). From there, despite all the other professional interests I had developed over a 2.5 year period, I decided that I would pursue a degree in Nursing because well, I was almost there and how hard would it be to find a job as a nurse once I graduate with all this experience? Ha!

There are days where I just want to slap past-Me in the face. But like my mother and I have said time and again, there was really no way to know back then just how hard it would be for me to find a job as a nurse. I mean, all those Johnson & Johnson commercials and statistics about how America desperately needs registered nurses, what drug are those creators and overseerers on? Because I want some. Maybe I'm just a disgruntled psuedo-Registered Nurse with astronomical student loans but really, I fell for it and the only person who was paying for it was myself.

When my now-husband and sweet little boy entered the picture, I started becoming downright desperate. I'm sure, on top of the stress associated with caring for a young child, the stress of not finding a job has taken a toll on my health. At one point, we were so financially dependent on my parents that I felt serious tunnel vision. They were easily giving us about $800 a month just to survive. Then, the clouds parted and light showered us instead - Gary received a promotion. A significant one that included a company car, gas stipends, quarterly performance bonuses and enough money to pay for our bills ourselves! And almost overnight, my destiny changed. I was suddenly unafraid to flirt with the idea of writing, of calling myself a Writer. Every moment in my life suddenly seemed perfectly placed. As the great J.K. Rowling said, obviously for me, "and so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." (Harvard University Commencement Address, 2008)

I remember one time, when I was probably 7 or 8, stapling some lined paper between two pieces of green construction paper with full intention of writing a story. I don't remember what I wrote on the cover or what exactly I wrote on the first few lines (that's all I got to do, I remember that!), but the intent was there. All throughout high school, I loosely kept a blog and while none of them exist now, all those years of practice have led me to this moment. My mother instilled a passion for reading in me at a young age by taking me to the library to read books written in a very different language from her native Japanese. Now, despite not having much written work to my name, I am brave enough to own that title for myself. I deserve it. I just never knew these small things counted for something.

I'm in the process of writing my first book. Actually, make that 1.5. I think I will keep them as two separate stories as I don't really see a way of them intersecting in my head right now, but I'm not closed off from the idea that these two worlds might exist in the same story. So we'll have to see how they hash themselves out! I am so happy to finally share this with the world. Seriously. The only person who knows is Gary, who has been my cheerleader since we first met as friends. He asks to read my words, gives me ideas and advice, and always encourages me to write. This is probably something I will have to keep to my parents for a while but I have no problem telling an anonymous audience! So thank you for reading my story on becoming a writer and for being a part of the beginning.


  1. Julia, I think our lives are some-what parallel. Not completely, but we do share a significant part of it.

    I spent so many long hours studying and working and losing 20 (damn) pounds to getting a degree in Elementary Education and even though I'm struggling to find a teaching job (because, we always need teachers), I felt like those long, hardworking years were wasted. And here in Virginia Beach, there have been budget cuts on teachers and many of my classmates who are first and second year teachers were laid off. So I'm pretty sure I would've been laid off had I gotten at least one teaching year.

    But the best part of this unfortunate part of our life is the realization of something we love. You, with becoming a writer. And me, with becoming an artist. Maybe our lives panned out this way for that reason. Let's make the most of our lives now, and create. I feel confident.

    Love you.

  2. Hey Julia,

    I was sitting here working, and I remembered you had posted the design of your blog on instagram a while back and that I hadn't checked it out yet. Congratulations on embracing this new title for yourself and following your dream! Isn't it funny how sometimes things can seem so wrong or unlcear, but looking back you can see how everything has fallen into place? I believe everything happens for a reason, regardless of wether we can understand it at the time :)

    I feel like I'm on a bit of the same path as well. I was lucky enough to find a job straight out of school, but my husband was unemployed for a very long time- first job hunting after a move and then being laid off twice- so I hear ya! I recently see the possibility that my life might be taking a completely different turn, after 15 years of my current profession (first as a hobby, then 5 years of a school, then a career). I've always felt like there was something else out there for me. It's a bit scary, but exciting.

    Best of luck to you with your writing!

    1. It really is the most frustrating and funny thing how unfortunate things happen, and when you look back at them you see them in a different light. How different my life would be right now if everything fell into place like I originally thought I wanted! I think it's like this for anyone, everyone - there is always a bigger destiny, but only if you are willing to make it happen.

  3. isn't that awesome how God orchestrated all of those events to lead you here?! same happened for me-being a mom is what i was born to do :)

    1. I give becoming a mother a lot of credit for how I got to the place I am today - I don't think I would have ever been given this much of a chance to realize my destiny without suddenly having to slow down everything around me to watch my son grow. It's allowed me to grow as well!

      Thanks for visiting!

  4. I'm very excited for you Jules. Not many people find their calling and I have to agree wholeheartedly that writing is definitely yours.

    I had no idea you were going through such hard times financially and it really sucks that you put so much time and effort into school. It's scary because I always thought nurses were like cosmetics. You can never have enough. Bad analogy, don't judge me. lol

    I wish you nothing but the awesomest for all your future endeavors!

    BTW, sorry so late in commenting.

    1. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, Saha <3 you've seen me go through since we've become friends, so you know I'll rise above this hurdle too ;) it's just a matter of jumping. I'm working on my technique!