If I could use one word to describe how I always felt, from as early as I can remember, it would be “Misunderstood.” Years back, I took a personality test to identify where I was classified in the “Four Temperaments Theory.” The Four Temperaments Theory suggests that there exists four basic personality types: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy. Theory states that each individual has a primary and secondary temperament. My primary temperament………..Sanguine. I once heard that this personality enters the room mouth first. I would say that is an accurate statement as this fits me perfectly.
Sanguine temperaments are described with words such as “leader, easy going, talkative, outgoing, sociable and responsive.” No arguing that this is my primary temperament. On the flip-side, my secondary temperament is the introverted Phlegmatic type. Phlegmatic’s are “passive, even-tempered, calm, peaceful, reliable.” Also, a very accurate description of me.
Two opposites living inside my mind. I liken it to the old cartoons where there is a little devil and angel sitting on a persons shoulder; arguing with back and forth. Knowing my temperament types, helps to make sense of how I have responded to the many life experiences that I have had.
I have often found that I am “accused” of being difficult, stubborn, and even unteachable. I have been told that I am a ruthless; and even go for the jugular. I do think this particular comment was supposed to be a compliment, but it is hard for me to comprehend that in a positive way.
As I child, I recall being reprimanded daily for talking in class. Each report card during my primary education had that little box checked; you know the one…….. “needs to control talking.” It is comical to me now. I now understand as an adult, needs to control talking, translates into: “Your child needs to SHUT UP!”
I admit, I talked to talk sometimes. I had a curious mind, I still do as a matter of fact. I ask a million questions. Not to be difficult, but because my brain wants to know the “why.” I literally look at a light bulb and chain reaction occurs. I do not just see a light bulb, as a light bulb. No. My crazy brain goes into this tirade of thoughts trying to reason and rationalize HOW that light bulb give me light? What is inside it? Which breaker in my house powers it? Where is the transformer outside that sends current to my house, through my breaker, up the walls of my house, and into my lightbulb?
I liken my thought process to that old nursery rhyme, The House that Jack Built. It is simply the way that I am wired…….do you see how I made that reference? Seriously, no pun intended!
This crazy way that my brain works has been a phenomenal asset in my career as a nurse. Nursing school was hard; but, it was also easy in the sense that we were instructed to think in a way that was natural to me. We were taught to question, to have a plan a-z, and then more. I realized in nursing school that it was literally ok and acceptable to question life.
When I was going through my first divorce, my ob/gyn and I were chatting at my annual visit. He very solemnly told me that nurses have one of the highest divorce rates of any profession in the medical field. He said something that to this day, resonates with me. His words: “The very thing that makes you so incredibly good at your job, can destroy your closest relationships………..if others do not understand your heart and mind.” Was he ever right.
In my career, as well as my personal life, I have gone through, endured, survived, perservered…….so many things. This is not a badge that I wear for glory. It is quite the opposite. Somedays I think I would have been perfectly fine with a blissfully boring, predictable, uneventful life.
The “highlight” reel, beginning at age 18, depicts three marriages. Two divorces. A bankruptcy. A foreclosure. And let us not forget the partridge in a pear tree……Sorry, I could not resist that one.
I have given life to four children, two of which came close to death. One at birth, due to an unexpected defect that I was told was terminal (she is 12 now); the other, diagnosed a Type I diabetic a month before his 6th birthday. I live every day knowing that I could receive a call to inform me that he slipped into a diabetic coma due to low blood sugar, and has passed.
THIS is my reality. These things, these events, are my reality. In one decade, I lost 10 family members including my grandmother and my biological father. I was witness to their passing from this earth, into to the next. In both circumstances, I was either a part of, or solely responsible for making the decision to stop their life-support.
I have cried with mothers whose babies died before they took a breath. I have questioned God while bathing their lifeless bodies, inking their tiny handprints, and clothing them for photos. I have seen a husband leave my unit defeated on what should have been the happiest day of his life. Instead this happy day turned into a horror movie when his wife and newborn daughter died during delivery. I have seen some shit to say the least. This is my journey; my reality.
Still, I move on. I embrace life and all it has to offer. I know all too well, that in a single moment everything can change. ALL these experiences have shaped who I am today. I am not stubborn, I am not unteachable. I am very teachable, because of these experiences. I desire and want feedback so that I can be a better version of myself. I just may not see the need to fret or stress over things that are trivial.
I simply have a zero tolerance for games, for pettiness and for what I perceive to be childish and selfish behavior. Life has changed me. Life has given me blisters and now callouses. I like to think that I am the same sweet, innocent, big hearted girl that I was 20 years ago. I think she is still in there, somewhere. Perhaps, I am simply a wiser version of that wide-eyed, naive girl. Perhaps, I truly am a different girl? I know I am mis-understood. I wish I were not. I am viewed by some as a bitch; as a difficult person that wants to challenge another. This absolutely could not be further from the truth. I simply have no issue calling another out on their “bull-shit.”
This used to bother me. I thought that I inherently was the problem. I am such a people-pleaser that if someone was unhappy, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was the problem. You know what I have realized……I am not always the problem. There are those with much bigger demons than I. The difference, they choose not to acknowledge them. I do. That may surprise some, but I truly do acknowledge my shortcomings.
I suppose that I have stepped outside of my own box for so long to see the bigger picture, that I simply cannot comprehend those who do not. I don’t care anymore. I decided a long time back to live unapologetically. Life is too fucking short to do otherwise.
I am too much for some. I know this. I am genuinely ok with that. I have come to understand that I am a girl who is mis-understood…..guess what??? There are a million more like me…….