It was an entire month- a whole 31 days.
I was counting, and i was definitely keeping count. Each time i saw any one of them, i’d share with them what the count was, my eyes beaming a little at the tiny victories that i was winning. They celebrated with me too, and they cheered me on, never imposing their expectations on me to keep the count going. And it was just like that. Right up till the 31 days, I could actually hear my inner voice, and none of Nina’s. I harboured this tiny little hope that perhaps this was gonna be it. They kept it coming too: “Good on you!”, “Well done! Good job there!”, “Alright!!!”, and they validated my thoughts of it being difficult, and the effort i’ve been putting in to come so far.
They were right. It was sure as hell difficult, and it was a conscious and concerted effort to keep going. Nobody could see any of it, because it couldn’t be seen at all. It could only be felt, and they understood.
They called it strength. They told me it took a lot of strength on my part for me to have lasted that long.
“You mean i was strong?” I told them. “I guess i didn’t have much of a choice, and i was just so sick and tired of living like that.” My sentiments exactly for having stayed ‘out in the wild’ for as long as i have now. A huge part of all these were out of desperation.
And then it dawned upon them, that perhaps i really am desperate.
I am desperate to live.
On hindsight, i agree with them, and they later agree too. The thoughts that always come to mind first are my thoughts, and these thoughts are always that of lucid and rational ones. Not Nina and her self-serving thoughts. She always interjects and interrupts later on. That says a lot.
Hitting the reset button exactly on Day 32, i felt so utterly defeated. Defeated by myself and my ‘lack of strength’, which is weakness really. And defeated by Nina through and through. It was never the same then on. Hearing it for myself much later, that they thought i gathered a lot of strength from within for that 31 days, and that it wasn’t for naught, i felt very gratified.
But no. Nina spoke to me soon after to tell me that i was weak for letting all of it fall through. That i am inherently weak for ending the count and letting it all become futile, and for not being able to start counting the days once more from then on. Strength? What strength? You’re fucking weak!
I look at myself and how far i’ve come. I’ve not accomplished anything whatsoever, and in fact i’ve fallen behind in nursing school and perhaps in life. There’s no denying in that, and i know i am perceived by many to be weak and/or loserish. But i’m not. I am strong and there are so many victories that i’ve won, and no one can take that away from me. It’s only when you are at rock bottom that you start acknowledging the little battles that every new day brings. It’s only when you are at rock bottom that you actually have to gather every single ounce of strength you have to fight everyday’s many battles. And be ok with all of that too.
I think i’ve grown too comfortable with having Nina’s voice drown out mine because it really takes no effort on my part. But it can’t do. It just won’t do. I want to start counting the days again, and i want to keep it counting. It’ll take every single part of me to do that, but nothing’s worth it if you don’t try right? Right! And i know it’s worth it. It is so fucking worth it.
I go back to work next Monday, and i will be the nurse that i know i can be to my patients. It’s only fair that i care for them when i can care for myself in all the right ways. And i expect that of myself and nothing less.
If i could do it then, i can do it again. Even better too.
I just need to find gather all that strength in me again. For good.