It’s day 15th, the half way mark, of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It feels like forever. I’m counting again. Today we are talking about adversity. It’s a topic that I’m sure all of us are familiar with. It’s the running mate of stress. We encounter it as soon as we step out the door. It is defined as:

Adversity is a state of hardship, difficulty, or misfortune that one deals with in life. There are six types of adversity that one can face, and facing adversities in life can break or make a person. It may lead one person to improve their life by finding ways around their challenges, or it may lead another person to turn to drugs or alcohol to lessen the psychological toll that their hardships cause.”

The 6 types are physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and financial. I’m sure I’ve gone through the whole lot. I would like to think adversity made me instead of broken me. Breaking may be the first step in mending and healing. And who is to say we aren’t the stronger for it. I met physical adversity very young, at age 2. I suffered severe burn to my left arm up to the elbow. It took a long time to heal ending in a huge scar. I remember my memory of the incident and bicycle trips to the doctor. But I do not have memory of the physical pain. I have full function of my arm but suffered body image pain in my adolescence. I wore long sleeves even in the heat of summer. I got over it when I went into nursing.

I guess I can lump the mental, emotional and social aspects into one. I can see how all those things developed. I never ‘saw’ my father till I was 6. And I was a stranger in a strange land at age 8, having immigrated to Canada. There were only 2 other Chinese families in our town. Then my parents moved to NYC and I decided to stay and start university in Saskatoon. I felt a deep loneliness even though I had 3 roommates, 2 from my hometown. I don’t think adversities are all ‘bad’. It is just how life developed and was. They added textures to my life. They are giving me something to talk about for this post.

I did suffered depression in adulthood and sought medical and psychological help. Who haven’t? Life is f**ing hard. Nursing is a hard profession. We do eat our young. Women do not always make good managers then. At least not some I’ve encountered. They did not help nor have compassion. Rather they slice you open and cut you off at the knees. I’m only speaking of my own personal experience. I’m none the worse for wear though. I stayed in it for over 30 years. I know I loved my work. I would not have stayed otherwise, not for any amount of money.

Have I told you before that I almost flunked out of nursing training? Well, I almost did. I was going through a bad marriage, worried about money, had a part time job and was not cutting it on my clinical. I can’t remember what I had done wrong but on an evening shift my instructor told me I was flunking. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I told her I quit. I had to stay behind after the shift. We had a long talk. She had to give me a ride home that evening because my ride was long gone. She told me I still have time to pull up my socks but I had to quit my part time job. The school would help me get a loan. I pulled up my socks and graduated.

I’m proud to say that I don’t lack in spirituality. I’m tenacious. I’ve always had the faith in myself and the world. Adversity have fortified rather than broken me.


End of July. End of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is my last post for it. It is after 4:30 in the afternoon. I’m sitting in the kitchen. There’s a nice cool draft from the two opened windows. I was relaxed but not anymore. Intrusive thoughts, phone calls, Sheba panting at my feet and the sound of traffic through the window. I’m feeling annoyed. I do my 4-7-8 breathing exercise.

Not much better. I lose count of my counting. Sheba is whining at me. The traffic is still so loud and distracting. We head outside. I kick Sheba off the deck with a rawhide chew. It is warm but not too bad. I can hear Sheba chewing her rawhide. At least one of us is settled. I do another round of 4-7-8 breathing. I listen to the traffic. I listen to the kids play at the daycare one house over. I don’t wish or fight for quiet. I accept what is.

I’m a slow learner in life but I can still learn. This month has been all about  learning the things that will make life easier for myself. I’ve been doing the same things over and over, expecting different results. I hadn’t known before that was what I was doing. I really worked on being mindful and seeing things objectively. It has changed how I see and think. It has removed the personal and emotional from many situations. For the first time, I see many things as they really are.

I was very proud of myself earlier in the day. I felt intrusive thoughts working their way into my mind. I saw what they were. I willingly and easily changed my thoughts. I felt smug about it, thinking I’m some kind of saint. But then, later, they came again. I took them personally and emotionally. I became irritated and annoyed with myself. So here I sit now, telling you about it. I think I must accept all my feelings, the good and bad. Otherwise, the bad will cause self-hatred. And no one is a saint.

Now it is almost 8 in the evening. I’m trying to finish my thoughts. July has been a good month. The weather has been volatile, changing day to day and within the day. Maybe we need that to remind us how precious our earth is. It reminds me how precious life is. It is not to be taken for granted. I have to take care and tend to it like my garden. The month and the challenge is over, but I will still come to this space to sort out the weeds in my thoughts. I will continue to learn and discern what is nurturing from what is noxious.