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Something About Sunshine
Everyday and probably several times a day I think about writing a blog post. I can never make up my mind if I want to write about my life…. It’s certainly been eventful enough to muster up a best-seller! Or, do I want to write about whatever is on my mind at the time….I know that whatever is on my mind is always exciting enough to have everyone engaged!! So, like any great procrastinator, if you can’t decide what to do you just do nothing!!
In 1977, my mom left Kosciusko Mississippi with a very tiny me! She had no job, no money, no car and had to make it back to Central Illinois with a baby!
The man on my birth certificate isn’t my biological father (I’m not certain who is and I genuinely could care less) but my mom had 3 older children that she conceived with this peculiar man. However, he didn’t think she should take the other kids with her. The 2 of them and the children stood in the front yard, on a cold and snowy winter day, literally playing tug of war with one of my brothers!
My mom only made it back to Illinois with me. She started out hitchhiking but a good Samaritan bought her a plane ticket and we were off to Illinois!
This is where my own story loses the first 3 years because of course I can’t remember it, my mom can’t tell me because of a stroke she had several years ago AND there’s no one else around that can tell me.
So, we will just start with 3 year old Sunshine! We always lived as poor as I ever witnessed, of other kids were as poor I couldn’t tell. I realize that people had it worse but we always lived in higher crime neighborhoods, in very small apartments in broke down apartment houses.
I wanted to make sure I had my facts straight about the neighborhoods I lived in as a child so I looked them up! Well some are empty lots now but my favorite is the graphic showing all the high crime neighborhoods in dark blue and every street I lived on is in dark blue…
Have you ever read V.C. Andrews books? She is the author of Flowers in the Attack. When I was 15 years old I spent the entire summer reading books. Each book she writes is generally 1 of 5 in a series and I read 2 of her series that summer and I swore that my family must be like these folks in the books!
OK, maybe there’s a bit of an exaggeration, we didn’t live in an actual shack nor did we live in the mountains! I do remember my mom making “hobo stew” and I just assumed that meant throwing whatever you got on hand into a pot and cooking it up. As it turns out there is actually a recipe for it!
OK, OK, back to business. This is why I never get my posts published! I get to researching this that and the other thing and I get lost. So, now we know what my neighborhood looked like, what kind of food I ate and what my perception of it all was!
Although my childhood was filled with negativity such as: poverty, abuse, drugs&alcohol, mental illness and foster homes, I tend to look back on most of it with a sense of humor. I realize this may seem strange to some people but it is my own way of taking the power away from the negativity and enables me to focus on the positive moments!
Writing about my life story is important to me for a few different reasons. 1: It is important to me that I deal with my past so I can move forward. Many people may think there’s no need to “deal with your past or childhood” and I believed for the longest time that I had done a great job not letting my childhood “get to me”! Little did I know I had just become really good at compartmentalizing! 2: I hope that someone will read my story and know that they are not alone and that whatever negative feelings they are dealing with as a result of anything they have been through does not have to define them for the rest of their lives! Last but not least (I say this with a small amount of jest) Maybe one day soon this will lead me to writing a best selling novel and I’ll make lots of money!!
A year ago we brought home a Vietnamese Potbelly Pig: Edgar aka The Super Bestest Pig Ever! It’s been a learning curve ever since! Just like bringing a baby home you have to have your house baby pig proof and they are as smart as can be so they pretty much potty train themselves but they are much happier piggies if they have a schedule! They strongly dislike change and they will let you know in their own little way!
Edgar is now a year old! My Vietnamese potbelly was acting out, being aggressive, sleeping more and not playing “crazy pig” (running around the house or yard either from me or after me at a remarkable speed for a pet that weighs in at 150 lbs and is only 18″ tall) so like any good piggy parent I consulted the FB piggy group and they felt it sounded most like he needed a companion!
So 3 1/2 weeks ago we brought home a female Juliana pig and named her Esmeralda!! Like everything these days I researched all about pet pigs and even researched having more than one pig but it never occurred to me to check the difference in breeds or gender!! Esmeralda’s personality is completely opposite of Edgar’s!! He is a no fuss, no muss type of Piggy!! Esmeralda on the other hand she is sweet and sassy!!
(A short, ok sort of short, preview)
My early beliefs shaped so many decisions:
As a young girl I HATED my name. So much so that I always went by Sunny until I was in Junior High. Why couldn’t I have been named Kim? That was my dream name! So simple and not drawing any attention. That is the way I wanted it!
Poor People Have Poor Ways!
Causes of poverty
Poverty is an exceptionally complicated social phenomenon, and trying to discover its causes is equally complicated. The stereotypic (and simplistic) explanation persists—that the poor cause their own poverty—based on the notion that anything is possible in America. Some theorists have accused the poor of having little concern for the future and preferring to “live for the moment”; others have accused them of engaging in self‐defeating behavior. Still other theorists have characterized the poor as fatalists, resigning themselves to a culture of poverty in which nothing can be done to change their economic outcomes. In this culture of poverty—which passes from generation to generation—the poor feel negative, inferior, passive, hopeless, and powerless.The “blame the poor” perspective is stereotypic and not applicable to all of the underclass. Not only are most poor people able and willing to work hard, they do so when given the chance. The real trouble has to do with such problems as minimum wages and lack of access to the education necessary for obtaining a better‐paying job.
More recently, sociologists have focused on other theories of poverty. One theory of poverty has to do with the flight of the middle class, including employers, from the cities and into the suburbs. This has limited the opportunities for the inner‐city poor to find adequate jobs. According to another theory, the poor would rather receive welfare payments than work in demeaning positions as maids or in fast‐food restaurants. As a result of this view, the welfare system has come under increasing attack in recent years.
Again, no simple explanations for or solutions to the problem of poverty exist. Although varying theories abound, sociologists will continue to pay attention to this issue in the years to come.
Roughly 14% or 40+ million Americans live below the poverty line and depending on if you are Trump (250,000 Americans live in “deep poverty”) or the UN (18.5 million Americans live in “deep poverty”) Growing up I always subscribe to the belief that “poor people have poor ways”. This is certainly a personal belief based on personal experience as well as data compiled by many theorists etc. I’ve read some very offensive versions of this belief: “poor people are the way they are because they are lazy/ don’t care/ don’t know any better”. For me it’s clear that poverty is often a life cycle. You start out poor and it can become like a habit. You start to realise or believe that you aren’t worth an education or a good job. You are often looked down upon in a way that tells you to “stay in your place”. My counselor recently stated it very well. People living in poverty often feel isolated. Poverty puts you in a box! My point to all this is that my family seems to have been plagued by some pretty messed up choices for generations and most of these choices seem to occur most often in poor families. So yes, as television will tell you: drug addiction, domestic violence and child abuse doesn’t discriminate BUT these situations are much more common to families living in poverty!
The effects of poverty
The effects of poverty are serious. Children who grow up in poverty suffer more persistent, frequent, and severe health problems than do children who grow up under better financial circumstances.
Many infants born into poverty have a low birth weight, which is associated with many preventable mental and physical disabilities. Not only are these poor infants more likely to be irritable or sickly, they are also more likely to die before their first birthday.
Children raised in poverty tend to miss school more often because of illness. These children also have a much higher rate of accidents than do other children, and they are twice as likely to have impaired vision and hearing, iron deficiency anemia, and higher than normal levels of lead in the blood, which can impair brain
So, my point to all this carrying on is: I will start writing a collection of posts that will all be titled: The Book of Sunshine. My method has changed several times in the last few days and I already had the majority of this post completed as well as the post titled “Prologue” so I’ll officially start the story with:The Book of Sunshine: Chapter 1. I don’t believe I will have titles for each chapter yet nor do I have an exact plan for a timeline but I do have a brief outline from me being a toddler to age 16 which is actually divided up by who my mom was married to at the time.
I’ve been trying to get to a place in my life that brings me peace! I’ve made SO much progress year to year but this year I’ve made the most progress thus far! To have peace I feel that I have to make peace with my past and as it turns out, to make peace with your past you have to process it and as it turns out that includes a much more difficult task: You have to take a long hard look at what makes you who you are AND you have to be “OK” with it OR adjust accordingly. This collection of posts are my biggest and best attempt at processing my past and because that is a work in progress so are my methods of processing!
- Vicodin, Norco, Xodol (hydrocodone, acetaminophen) Drug class: Opioid/acetaminophen combinations. …
- Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid (levothyroxine) Drug class: Thyroxines. …
- Delasone, Sterapred (prednisone) …
- Amoxil (amoxicillin) …
- Neurontin (gabapentin) …
- Prinivil, Zestril (lisinopril) …
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) …
- Glucophage (metformin)
- Hepatitis C.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- A chronic or debilitating condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
|synonyms:||worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, inquietude, perturbation, agitation, angst, misgiving, nervousness, nerves, tension, tenseness; More
I’ve been going to counseling since I was 9 years old! Well off and on anyway. Any counseling before I was 20 was mainly court ordered due to being in foster care and/or related to resolving issues of abuse which looking back never was successful.
If you or someone you know has been abused:
GET HELP NOW
You are not alone – resources and support are available. Call to have questions answered or chat with a trained crisis counselor, 24/7 at no charge. All conversations are confidential.
Researchers estimate that 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually
abused.5,6 Of these, 40% tell a close friend, rather than an adult or authority.7 These “friend-to-friend”
disclosures do not always result in reports. This means that the vast majority of child sexual abuse
incidents are never reported to authorities, though research suggests that disclosure rates to authorities
may be increasing.
Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R., Turner, H. A., & Hamby, S. L. (2012). Child and youth victimization known to school, police,
and medical officials in a national sample of children and youth. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, (No. NCJ 235394). Washington,
DC: United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
I’ve always avoided discussing the abuse I endured growing up. I stuffed it down deep for years and spent my time perpetuating chaos subconsciously avoiding my childhood. I did have counselors that would elude to the fact that I wasn’t covering the root of all my problems but I was hell bent on putting out fires because that required less effort.
Finally I moved back to Decatur in 2013 and life started to be less chaotic and as a result I had more time for self reflection.
In 2015 I found an amazing counselor who let me avoid the topic of abuse for awhile but then started pressing me. That eventually led me to finding a counselor at Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center but not until 2017 and I only went a few times AND I verbalized what I had endured ONCE and thought I was cured and didn’t go back.
This situation is actually intertwined with another that I’ve been going through this year. I would not say at all that my childhood was actually the cause of my opiate addiction but after finally openly discussing some things with the counselor I am seeing now I can see a correlation.
People who misuse opioids often report extensive histories of childhood maltreatment, which include emotional and physical abuse, emotional and physical neglect, and sexual abuse……Authors:News Author: Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LSW; CME Author: Laurie Barclay, MD
Of course it started with a prescription here and there over the years (2007-2015) and then it occurred to me that if I took pain medicine then I could work more. The pain in my feet, carpel tunnel and back would be relieved which curbed the fatigue and enabling me to work more hours. After the scripts ran out then I found opiates on my own and of course justified it all with the above reasoning. This ties into the childhood issues because being sexually abused over many years by several men made me feel like damaged goods. If I could work more than I would be indispensable regardless of being damaged goods! If I could have identified these issues earlier in life it would have saved me a lot of heartache!
I started this blog for 2 reasons:
1: I was sure that writing this blog would be therapeutic
2: I wanted to help others
Point being, if there is anything that I would stress to anyone, DON”T WAIT! Don’t wait to take care of yourself!
I think it is safe to say that we all want some of the same things in life and just as I thought when looking it up the #1 thing was:
Biggest Challenge: “Not knowing what I want to do.”
Happiness is a choice folks. It just is, plain and simple. Every single day you get to decide if you are going to be happy or not. I think the main reason most people are unhappy is because they are looking for something outside of themselves to “make them happy.” Guess what, the new car, house, outfit, boyfriend, or girlfriend is not the answer. The only person or thing that will bring you happiness is YOU…….Kathy Caprino The Top 10 Things People Want In Life But Can’t Seem To Get.
You can’t be happy if your anxious or depressed and the only way to beat anxiety and depression ongoing is to get rid of your baggage! The sooner you get rid of it the better! You can’t just ignore it, shove it down, alter your mind to avoid it….you have to take it step by step. You have to actually put in the sometimes long, tiring, frustrating, no immediate gratification work to boldly acknowledge your baggage (each piece individually) take it out, unfold it, see where it came from, why it is keeping you down and after you’ve gone through each one (like steps in the grieving process) you can then and only then fold it back up, put it in the bag and let it go!
October 19, 1994 (2 weeks after my due date, 1 day after a failed attempt at inducing labor and 4-6 hours after the Dr assisted my water breaking) came my 2nd bouncing baby boy!
The next day we took him home and unlike his older brother he started sleeping 4+ hours at night within the first couple of weeks. He was such a calm baby (especially in contrast to his brother) that I called the pediatrician concerned something was wrong! After a handful of questions the pediatrician assured me that Zach was just fine and just a good sleeping baby!
I’ve mentioned this in a past post but I like to remind my kids that they are so smart and healthy because I breast fed all of them and Zachuery for the longest. I’m sure there is a direct correlation to his good health and generally good decision making!
As the boys were growing up we always told them Zach would be president and his older brother Sean would be his bodyguard. That’s not quite how things have turned out but it gives you a feel for their personalities.
Zach did great in school and starting in 5th grade (due to his distain for daycare) he started watching his little sisters before and after school. He was always so responsible and fairly meticulous. We realized at one point that he had been folding his dirty clothes and when we would eat out everyone would be done eating but Zach would just be done cutting his food into perfectly even pieces!!
A review of over 200 birth order studies found that middles are characterized as sociable, more faithful in monogamous relationships, and have the fewest “acting out” problems…..
For some reason I’ve forever obsessed with the thought of normalcy. It is a constant measure in what I do. Having said that I often delight, no relish the idea of doing things that I perceive are not normal. In an effort to convey these thoughts that I have I thought I would start out with the definition of normal! Well guess what? There are so many definitions given : normal as a noun, technical normal, legal normal ( I was once told that it is considered normal if more than 50% of people do it) my favorite is social norms, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it because it just said that normal isn’t really possible because what is considered normal is always changing depending on time frame and location.
So now we have established together (or maybe you already knew) there really isn’t any such thing as normal! I’m always in great shock when I find someone other than my family that agrees with me! So I’m thinking there is just a bunch of groups of people that have similarly crazy thoughts running around in their head and the most similar just gravitate toward each other. (and that, ladies and gentlemen is my man theory)
On any given day (Google has no consensus) we have bet ween 50,000 & 70,000 thoughts!! I’m sure mine is double that but in addition to all these thoughts you have to add in ideas
“Difference Between Idea and Thought. … Idea refers to a plan or a process that occurs in the mind in relation to the completion of a work or duty. Thought on the other hand is a mental process that keeps on going in the mind unabated. This is the main difference between the two words idea and thought” -Scribd
I am full of ideas, plans, and lists all day (especially in the shower , solution: whiteboard in the shower!) in my head but I rarely write them down! So I am constantly driving myself crazy trying to remember them. At any rate I have discovered the real issue for me is action!
“As important as creativity and idea creation are, they require action before any idea will have real value.”-innovationsolutions
So I’m on a quest to figure out how I can get my ideas past the idea phase
I’ve read several posts about having posts in backup for when you can’t/ don’t write. The only issue I really have with that is that it doesn’t feel like I write as genuinely when it isn’t in the moment. I can’t remember the last time I felt like writing. I go to enough counseling sessions these days that I should have plenty to write about. I’ve learned so much about myself recently but it all revolves around 2 things that I can’t discuss (an ongoing issue I’ve hit on and abuse I endured as a child)……..where do people get the strength to tell their stories? Like really, I am so exhausted each and everyday I feel like doing NOTHING!! Certainly not discussing my shit childhood!
I have a long list of things I’d LOVE to write about:
- Prison Reform
- Recent GOD encounters
- My Potbelly Pig
- My 1st middle son
- More nursing home honesty
- Childhood abuse
The Great Fight: 9/27/18 (Me vs. my most recent demons) All of these are actually related and it is strange to me that it took until I was 31+10 years old to figure it out.
I would also like to write about the following positive subjects:
Sports: Dallas Cowboys, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods
Those 4 items are the things I use to get my cheap thrills. I intentionally seek out anything and everything (#1 should be FOOD) that will fill up my love cup and take my mind off this awful and hideous fight that I can’t tell anyone about openly and honestly until after Thursday Morning!!
I did just remember however that I do have a few very delightful events I want to share!!!!
1: My daughter text me a week ago to tell me that she knew about inexpensive Taylor Swift tickets (typically I would say I am a part time/ closet fan) so some how we were able to put things together quick enough that we got to go! I have to admit I really enjoyed her music and the show she put on!
2: Thursday I visited a little town close to us: Arthur, Illinois. They have wonderful little Amish shops. Where I had a delightful time! Just leisurely walking around and enjoying the old shops. In particular I found a little store that had it’s own little library/books for sale area and fell in love!
The most important items I found and purchased are the entire reason I have loved pigs my whole life and have collected pig everything and led me to having Edgar, the Super Bestest Pig Ever!
3: I have been a Football/ Dallas Cowboy fan since 1993. I have been to see them once a few years ago in St. Louis before the Rams abandoned the area and they won and it was the best thing since sliced cheese other than all the other things that I said were!! Anyway, during a series of very FORTUNATE events I was able to buy 2 tickets with the BEST view of any event, to see the Cowboys play against the colts on December, 16th of this year which so happens to be my birthday!!
This first picture (I’ve used elsewhere on here) is me , my Mom and Melissa. This 2nd picture is since my mom had a stroke. In 2002 she had a stroke, spent 6 weeks in the hospital and then 6 weeks in a rehab to home program in a nursing home. I thank God that this was before I was a nurse! I genuinely think I was clueless about nursing homes at the time. In 2015 my husband had a diving accident and spent 3 weeks in Carle clinic a ‘trauma center/hospital”. I noticed E V E R Y T H I N G the staff did whether it was right or wrong and I acted a fool several times when they did something I didn’t like.
So imagine that feeling for your loved one!
Better yet imagine a nurse (and their are many) that take their job personally, to heart, wearing their heart on their sleeve! It is emotionally draining to be a nurse no matter what! Then to add 30+ human beings to it and 2 med passes in 8 hours and then threats if you work over, threats if you don’t, threats on your license you caused and didn’t. 30 human beings with a past, with a heart and a mind and a family that sees them how they were and wants you so badly to see that person the way they do so that you never forget that YOU are the person they are counting on to take care of their Mom who raised them fearlessly, or their Dad that never let them down and they don’t want to let him down. Being a “nurse in a nursing home” whether you are a CNA, LPN, RN (Rob Good you are my super hero) is no easy task and it is so very hard to be present in their everyday life and then go home and pretend like nursing homes are equipped to take care of someone’s loved one in a way that will ease your mind enough that you can go to bed and sleep without a heavy heart!!!!
They say nursing is one of or the most trusted profession, well let me say a couple of things about that! 1: I know how to do nursing by the book and anyone that tells you that nursing home nursing can be done by the book is a big fat liar! You can’t take care of 30 resident’s in a way that follows what “the state” claims they expect and what the very same people know is the reality!! 2: The thing I heard most or the compliment I held nearest to my heart as a nurse is/was: “Sunshine it is obvious how much you genuinely care for your people” I believe that more often than not nurses want to do a good job for their patients/residents and many nurses have varying ideas on what that is!
Every nurse has their thing they are good at, something they aren’t good at, something they stay away from at all cost (I am terrible with phlegm) and of course it can never be at all cost because nurses take care of business. That is our job under any and every circumstance!
What does it mean to be a “good nurse”?
“There is something about a good nurse. Having a nursing license and job doesn’t make you a good nurse. Working for 30 years doesn’t make you a good nurse. It’s not about being a good IV starter or being best friends with all of the physicians.
It’s so much less defined and measurable than that. It isn’t measured in letters after your name, certifications, professional affiliations or by climbing the clinical ladder.
It’s something you feel when you see a good nurse care for their patients. It’s that security you see in their patient’s eyes when they come in to care for them. It’s that nurse whose patient’s family member will finally go home to sleep and shower because they know their loved one is cared for with that nurse.