I was 17, or 18…it doesn’t matter. I woke up one morning, paralyzed. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of my own bed. When I was kicking a soccer ball around the pitch, I was the King-$#!+…but here in the dead hours of the day, I was lost.
Now, if I could travel back in time, I would tell my teenage self that everyone hates high school and things would improve. Marty McFly and Doc, those covetous bastards, they don’t share their time traveling Delorean.
The Dark Traveler held me by the scruff of the neck as I limply leaned into The Abyss. I hated myself. He laughed. My biggest strengths and talents made me a target, they were my greatest weakness. I can’t say I didn’t bring it all up on myself; but here I was, paralyzed. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to not have an extremely supportive mother. Could I blame fate? Could I blame genetics? Myself?
Nowadays I hear myself telling new nurses, “If you want it to get better, it will. And if it doesn’t, maybe nursing isn’t for you.” It felt similar, starting out as a new nurse full of ideals. The world doesn’t like ideals. It too often feels like it will do anything possible to knock us off of our cloud. “Be more realistic. This is the way it’s always been. Just wait, you’ll end up like the rest of us.”
My two year old daughter bursts into the room shaking a string with a big blue balloon on the end. Her toothy grin defies all the awful in the world. Had I known I was capable of creating something so amazing I would have never let depression get the best of me. Damn it I don’t want to be like anyone else, I want to be happy and strange. I kiss the top of her head.
In time I became more understanding of the dark side of myself. The Dark Traveler and I would constantly fight for control and far more than I’d care to admit, he won; the late nights, the recklessness, the self-deprecation. One day something changed, I started seeing other Dark Travelers. I was both terrified and relieved. They weren’t all mine. Had I finally out maneuvered that Dark Bastard and stolen one of his tricks? Had my greatest weakness become my biggest strength?