Thoughts of a Number Two

Happily Ever After

It’s said that every girl dreams of her wedding day.  But even before that, girls fantasize about how their true love will propose to them.  It’s spontaneous or romantic or surprising or magical.

But for me…I’ve always dreaded this milestone.  When I was younger, I convinced myself that I would never marry or have kids.  But as I got older, wiser, more experienced, marriage quickly rode in sight, and my biological clock made me yearn for children.  Yet there is still that feeling of dread lingering over this topic.  Why?

Because I am a first-generation Vietnamese-Cham-American.  Because I spend my days freely as a young American adult who has to come home to a household heavily influenced by the Vietnamese culture and the Cham religion.

I love my culture.  I love my origins.  I love who I am.  But frankly, the culture clashes drain the magic out of proposal and marriage and celebration.  At least it does for me.  Because I have to tell my boyfriend of one and a half years how and when we will get married.  Because I have to follow certain rules and go through certain rituals and procedures.  Instead of waiting patiently for that day on which he will get down on one knee and pull out that little velvet box, we have to have a talk and a mutual agreement on whether or not marriage is something that’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen.

I love Ryan.  I want him to be a permanent part of my family.  But there is still that part of me that is scared that my crazy-ass culture is going to drive him away.  I’m so scared that this is too much for a typical American guy.  And I’m SO scared that one day he’s going to look back and wish that he could have done it the way he wanted.

I don’t need a big ring or a fancy wedding.  In my culture, if you’re poor, you can have a celebration with just your immediate family, share one plate of food, and give one gold coin to the bride.  As long as it’s done right and with the permission of the parents.  I don’t care how it’s done.  All I want is for him to be ready.  We don’t have a house, I don’t have a job in my desired field, and we’re both completely clueless.  But I feel as long as we’re both ready and have the support of all of our parents, we will be okay.

Three years ago, my friends told me I would change my mind about marriage and kids when I met the right one.  I didn’t believe them.  But wow, here I am, typing about it and crying my eyes out because I’m scared shitless.

God help me.

- B

I Can Survive This

A bicyclist was run over by a car exactly in front of my house.  I was asleep at the time, having come home from a treacherous twelve hour graveyard shift at the hospital, but my mom woke me up after police had arrived.  As selfish as it may seem, my first immediate thought was about myself.  What would I have done?

My competencies as a nurse have already been challenged today at this very same clinical, and it did nothing less than destroy my morale as a prospective health care provider.  So what would I have done?  Would I have known to immobilize the victim in case of a CVA?  Or would I have been too hasty to begin CPR due to my recent ACLS and BLS trainings?  Would I have remembered to watch for signs of adequate respiration and felt for appropriate pulses?

Or would I freeze?  Freeze and forget all of my training?

Would I have saved a life or compromised it?

Well, the bicyclist did not die but I’m not sure if they’re okay.  I snuck a peek outside but authorities were already on the scene and there were a lot of observers.  It was best to just stay out of the way.  Hopefully, everything is alright for the bicyclicst.

As for me, I really need to take my negative clinical experience and grow from it, improve my skills and my critical thinking, and just not be discouraged.  My Professor has been out to get me it seems since day 1, and she really grilled me today more than once, even though I was doing fine with my nurse.  I think her primary message was justified, but definitely not her means of achievement.  Her style of teaching is to instill fear in us, tell us we’re going to fail or that we’ll never be nurses, and worst of all, belittle us and treat our knowledge deficit as incompetency.  Instead of guiding us to the answer or encouraging us to thirst for that knowledge, she reprimands us.  That is not appropriate as an instructor and role model.  I cried.  Of course I cried.  But I partly cried for the disappointment in myself.  There is something in me that was made for this, I know it, and I know others see it too.  Therefore, I accept her challenge.

I can do it, even with a target on my back.

- B

I Once Knew You In A Dream

I’m no expert, and I was never very religious, but they say that in Islam, after a person has passed away, their spirit lingers for 40 days until they move on.  Mom had asked me, “Has she visited you in a dream yet?”  I suppose that would be normal.  I remember when my cousin passed away a long time ago, everyone kept talking about the dreams they had of him saying goodbye.  ”No, she hasn’t.  Has she for you?”  But who was I to expect anything?  Again, I was not very religious, and of all the people Grandma would visit, why me?  I shrugged it off.

Forty days.  In a couple days, it will have been about 4 weeks.  I can remember that one moment all so clearly.  I ran around the corner of the hallway to a living room just like the one in my house.  To the wall on the right, there was a sofa.  Three women sat on it, and the first I saw was you.  You just sat there and smiled.  You didn’t say a word but just smiled that smile I know so well.  That genuine indication of happiness in which your eyes crinkle in the corners.  Of all the times I wish I didn’t have lucid dreams, this was it.  The sight of you hit me like a hammer to the gut, and immediately, I knew I was dreaming.  No, it can’t be you.  You’re gone.  I turned to the woman on the other end and gave my formal greetings, but out of guilt, I turned back to you, this apparition of a non-physical world that existed only in my mind, and I said Hello.  At that very moment, this crushing sensation in my chest caused me to wake up with tears rolling down my cheeks, gasping for air.  I woke up before you could say anything to me.  Why did I have to know I was dreaming?

That entire day, I felt that wrenching, uncomfortable pain in my chest.  When I drove home, I just sat in my car sobbing like a child.  Is this what heart break feels like?  Then looking around the place I grew up, I realized how much of my life you were a part of.  How I will always remember the fruit trees and your warm hug and kisses, even as an adult.

Grandma, I miss you so much.  I have so many mixed feelings of guilt, sadness, understanding, and relief.  But mostly guilt.  Thank you though for alleviating that by showing me you were proud of me.  In the very end, you were proud of all of us.  You left your mark, and the things that you endured are all over now…

Fly free, Love.  I’ll see you when I fall asleep.

- B