From ages 5-10, two male family members sexually abused me. After the sexual abuse secret was out, I stood at the crossroads wondering what to do. I continued to do all the things I loved, such as playing with my friends, toys, and enjoying nature, but I knew something within me had to change. I didn’t want go through sexual abuse again or anything similar to it. I needed to address the weakened areas in my foundation.
So, one day, standing in between the crevice of my dresser and my bed, I fixed my eyes on the sky, and said, “I want to be aligned with nature.” A series of events transpired. Some of the events included getting a copy of a King James Bible, reading the entire Bible every day until I finished it, receiving a bookmark with the Lord’s prayer, and kneeling besides by mother’s bed until I memorized the prayer; it took me 15 minutes. I continued to say the Lord’s prayer and sought a spiritual relationship with God.
At some point, I started thinking about my career. I couldn’t find anything I was good at. I looked at my skates I got for Christmas one year, and I still didn’t know how to skate. I looked at the Operation game and thought about becoming a doctor. Then, I pondered about becoming a teacher or secretary, but I didn’t feel a pull in either directions.
Then, one day, my mother told me about her attempt to become a nurse and how our father did not support her. “He threw my nursing books away in the dumpster outside our apartment, she said. He always had something else to do when I wanted to study for my courses. and needed him to watch you guys.”
Irate about my father’s interference with my mother’s dream, I committed myself to nursing. Within minutes of hearing my mother’s story, I said, “he may have stopped you, but he wont stop me.”
In the Spring of 1994, I enrolled at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and eventually obtained my Master’s as well, at University of Missouri Saint Louis.
To further share what nursing did for me, here is an excerpt from Bent Not Broken, my unpublished memoir pertaining to childhood sexual abuse, healing, and reuniting with my purpose.
“Although, I chose nursing out of anger, SIUE’s nursing program, helped heal my wounds and confirmed what I wanted out of life. I was not a victim, but a student of life. I was surrounded by hope and possibilities. I loved learning about the human body in my science and nutrition courses and the power of our mind in my psychology class. I learned about resiliency, growing old gracefully, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and self-actualization, and Pavlov’s conditioning. I read about people overcoming adversity (Abraham Maslow, Florence Nightingale, and others) and making the world a better place. I loved that nursing adapted principles from other disciplines to enhancing their holistic approach to humanity. Nursing includes and not excludes people for the greater betterment of the world.
On the first day of my first nursing class, one of my first teachers confirmed one of my mother’s teachings, “you don’t have to experience what others experience.” The instructor encouraged the class not to fall in the hole of thinking we have every medical condition.”
For over 20 years, nursing has fulfilled some of my childhood dreams, such as traveling the world, giving back to my mother, and advocating for others.
Although I set my navigation to nursing out of anger, I would not change my decision to go into such a life-giving profession. The nursing program I attended confirmed the type of character I wanted to have and provided me with a wealth of knowledge that have not only served me, but my family, and clients.
In the past few years, I have detoured away from my initial detour, but nursing will always have a place in my heart.
Make this lifetime great!