Thanks for the memories STT…
Before moving to the Virgin Islands, I had all these plans to blog at least once a week, to be more consistent with posting on my social media platforms, and to make sure everyone stayed up-to-date with all my travel nurse adventures. I’m half way into my first contract and I’m unashamed to admit: I haven’t accomplished any of that because…I’ve been having fun!
Moving to the Virgin Islands has been such a liberating experience! There’s this magical thing that happens when you put everything you own into storage and buy a one way ticket to an island all by yourself….you feel like you can do anything! The work has been extremely tough, but the off days make it all worth it! I’ve been here for seven weeks and I think I’ve spent one day in the house. It sounds surreal, but I really do live on vacation. Everyday that I’m not at work, I wake up wondering, “What can I get into today?” And lol because the island never fails me. If you follow along my instastories, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been partying on boats, island hopping, brunching, hiking, swimming in natural pools, and climbing mountains! I LOVE this travel nurse life; the adventure never ends!
Our company provides housing for all the travelers. We live in a condo right on the beach, so it’s basically college all over again. Our condos are the dorms, work is class and our boat parties are just like frat parties…except we somehow get paid to live this crazy life! Maybe this is God’s way of saying, “Job well done” for those four years of college that I spent devoted to my studies. It was hard giving up my “normal” college experience, but if those four years of dedication gave me this life, then I’d do the same thing over and over again.
I’m learning SO much from being a travel nurse. I’m gaining independence, resilience, and the courage to do things that I never would have anticipated this early on in my career. As travelers, the hospital has high expectations from us. My second week on the unit, I was thrown into being charge nurse (with five minutes of training). While I easily could have told them that I’ve never been charge and avoided the responsibility, I didn’t…I just went for it! Charging has been the perfect opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone and into the unknown. All my snapchat followers know I call it “forced growth.” I don’t think I was 100% ready for it, but I’m killin’ it! It has been challenging but I’m excited that I get to walk away from this experience and add “charge nurse” to my resume! *Rick Ross grunt*
Now that I am half way through my contract, it’s time for me to start looking for my next assignment. Last week I received my California nursing license, this week I applied for my Georgia license, and I’m already licensed in twenty-six other states so yea…I have options. Although I’ve REALLY been enjoying life as an island girl, I think I’ll be ready for change by the end of my assignment. I don’t know where I’ll end up next, but I’m ready for the ride! I have about six weeks left on the island and I plan to blog more, but if I don’t, “I’m sorry for neglecting my blog… I’ve been having fun!”
As a black girl who suffers from undiagnosed anxiety, this quote hits all too close to home for me. Growing up, my mother always taught me to be strong, independent and fearless. As a black mom, she had to. She taught me to be twice as good as my counterparts to receive equal recognition. Those lessons have molded me into the fierce woman that I am today, but they have also caused me to silence some really obvious mental health issues. While I am still growing past the negative stigma associated with black women and mental illness, I have connected with someone who has mastered the art of taking lemons and making some pretty damn good lemonade…
In 2011, I lost my father to suicide. I was in San Diego, California visiting my father for the summer and we had a pretty good time together. His death caught me off guard and I was not expecting it at all. Now that I look back on the situation the signs were actually there. He was giving away possessions that were special to him, he randomly took me to the gun range and taught me how to shoot a gun, and he initiated all these random conversations with me about dating and men. It was almost like he was trying to teach me everything he could before he passed away, almost like he planned it. My father passed away on August 22, 2011 and I remember that day vividly. I remember how I had this horrible feeling leaving the house when he told me to go shopping. I remember my stomach feeling like a bottomless pit when I was driving back home and I couldn’t figure out why I felt that way. I just knew something bad happened. I remember the smell of the gunpowder when I walked into the house. Lastly, I remember finding his lifeless body with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the temple. I don’t really remember anything else. Everything was a blur from that moment until about 2013. Sounds crazy right? But that’s how bad my diagnosis took over my life. It’s like overnight I had to grow up. I had to plan his funeral and as the oldest, I had to be strong for my younger siblings. It was definitely a life-changing situation for me and that one single event shaped me as a woman. Before 2011, I was a hot mess. I was hanging with the wrong crowd, getting into many physical altercations, and doing many other things I had no business doing at the age of 19.
My mom made me start seeing a counselor and psychiatrist immediately after I made it back to Texas because I wasn’t sleeping, but I really wasn’t receptive of the process. I was numb and I isolated myself. I personally reached out for help in March 2012. I realized I needed help because I was smoking like crazy, constantly having nightmares, and I dropped down to 84 pounds because I couldn’t eat. During the time I was also prescribed an antidepressant and Xanax to help with the symptoms but they really weren’t helping at the moment. One very sunny and pretty day I remember the thought of taking all my pills just would not leave my mind. I just wanted to die at that very moment and I felt like I absolutely had no reason to live. Then I thought about my mom and how hard she was riding for me during that difficult time in my life. I told myself that I didn’t want my mom or anyone else that loved me to experience the pain that I was currently experiencing due to my dad’s suicide and I decided to just pop up at my primary care physician office to see if he could help. I was a mess when I made it, I couldn’t stop crying and it was like I was having an anxiety attack. I told him how every time I closed my eyes I just saw my dad’s body and I couldn’t stop having thoughts about taking my own life. Then he admitted me into the nearest hospital and I stayed there for a few days. The psychiatrist there diagnosed me with severe post traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder, and severe major depression.
That’s a very good question. I experienced a little negativity but not as much as I expected I would. A lot of people told me I was brave, strong or that they experienced something similar. I do hear people speak negatively about mental illness and suicide in the black community often but when I share my story it usually gives them a different viewpoint. You know, we really don’t talk about mental health in our community so a lot of people think it’s courageous that I share my story.
During my darkest hour I thought that nobody loved me and I actually thought God didn’t love me either. I didn’t think anyone cared but then I thought about my mom. I knew if no one else loved me, my momma sure did. I didn’t want to hurt her. It wasn’t even about me at the moment. I saved myself because I didn’t want to hurt my mom.
Yes. I was in a mentally abusive relationship with a man during the time of my father’s death. My boyfriend at that time actually broke up with me about a week after my dad passed. A few months later he came back and me being vulnerable, I took him back. He would tell me he didn’t want to talk about the situation with my father when I was still trying to process things. He told me to just ‘shake’ off my depression and stop having nightmares. He also was not faithful throughout the majority of our relationship. I don’t hate him for it. We were both young and he didn’t understand what I was experiencing. Hell, I didn’t even understand it. He currently is not in my life at all and probably never will be but I still wish him the best.
Oooo chile! When I tell you yoga got me through this! It got me allllll the way through. After discussing it with my counselor, I decided to get off medication and find alternate coping methods. Yoga was one of those methods for me; hot yoga to be exact. I definitely did suck at it at first, but it was still my getaway. I learned how to meditate and escape. Yoga taught me how to breathe, how to let go, how to hold on, how to move on, how to love, and how to be me. This may sound weird but I really got to know myself through yoga. I learned my triggers. I learned how to calm myself down in certain situations. I also learned how take control of my life.
I’m not going to lie though, for a while I completely gave up on my faith. I was so angry with God and my dad. All I could think about was how could God let something so horrible happen to me? I slowly started back praying, then I started doing my daily devotionals and going to church again. My relationship with God is personal. I have my quiet time where I meditate, journal, pray and God speaks to me during that time or randomly.
I am a certified rehabilitation counselor and I’m scheduled to take the national counselors exam to become a licensed professional counselor as well. I would like to start my own non-profit where I can combine yoga and counseling.
Reach out for help sis. If you know your mental health is suffering, get some help! There is no excuse. There are FREE behavioral health insurances where you can get counseling and antidepressants for FREE! All you have to do is call your county’s crisis line and they will get you linked in. If you do not get help you will continue to have unhealthy cycles in your life. Once you do get help, remember it takes time. It’s 2017, and I’m finally at the point where I’m genuinely happy. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments though. Mental illness is similar to being addicted to drugs. You will relapse and have episodes, but the difference is after you start getting help you actually know how to deal and cope with those episodes. Your coping method may not be yoga, it may be kickboxing or taking an antidepressant may work for you, whatever it is just make sure you do it. Make sure you take care of yourself first and love yourself first because nobody else can do it for you!
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please seek help. The Mental Health Crisis Hotline and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are available 24 hours a day for anyone in need.
I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. The girl who cried when she moved thirty minutes down the street and out her parents house is actually moving across the country to a place she’s never visited?!…Okay! My friends and family keep asking me, “How does it feel?” Honestly, I’m still in complete shock but I feel 100% prepared. I have no idea what adventure awaits me when I get off the plane in St. Thomas, but I know that I’m going to kill it! I have peace knowing that God has laid the foundation for my life and that He did not bring me this far to leave me. I am nervous, I am excited, and I am scared; but most of all…I’m prepared. I was made for this!
Q: Why did you decided to become a travel nurse?
A: To be honest, I didn’t know travel nursing was a thing until my last year of nursing school. Since learning about it, I knew it was something I HAD to do! This summer, I realized my lease was ending and I was tired of paying rent but not ready for the commitment of a house. I had no attachments, and I love to travel, so I figured, “why not?!”
Q: How did you get started?
A: I’ll need to write a whole blog with step by step instructions for you all, and I will. But the short version is 1. Find a company 2. Choose a recruiter 3. Decided where you want to go 3. Apply to your hospitals of choice 4. Interview 5. Get an offer 6. Negotiate your offer 7. Finalize your contract 8. Begin your on boarding process
But have no fear; your recruiter will act as your personal assistant and make sure everything goes smoothly!
Q: Why did you choose to go to the Virgin Islands?
A: Ha! I didn’t choose the VI, it definitely chose me! I applied in Utah, got an offer, and God said, “dream bigger.” I applied in Colorado, got an offer, God said, “dream bigger.” I applied to NYU (which was #1 on my list) got an offer, God said, “dream bigger”. At that point, I grew frustrated with God, like “How big do you expect me to dream here?!?” The next day, my recruiter called me and suggested I apply to an opening in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I literally said, “I guess.” I applied, interviewed the next day, and received an offer within 30 minutes of completing my interview. I couldn’t believe it!
Q: What about housing, do they provide it?
A: My company offers housing or a stipend for me to find my own. Since this is my first assignment, I decided to let them handle it all.
Q: Will you have a car while on the island?
A: No. I had the option, but I hate driving! So yay! Public transportation here I come! Or I may decide to get a cute pink moped when I get there, I don’t know y’all; I’m making this all up as I go!
Q: Where’s all your stuff?
A: All my precious Z Gallerie furniture, Louboutins, and other designer labels are in storage. It makes me kind of sad to part ways, but I’m excited for this low maintenance lifestyle I’m about to live. I need it.
Q: How long is your contract?
A: Contracts can range from 6-13 weeks, mine is 13 weeks.
Q: Do they pay for your flight?
A: Yes, my company pays for my round trip airfare.
Q: What’s the pay like? Is it really that much more than you currently make?
A: All the offers I received were more than I accepted in the VI. I believe each assignment will have different perks, I accepted this offer knowing that I could have made a lot more money. But I couldn’t put a price tag on working my dream job…in paradise! But to answer everyone’s question: Yes, I make more traveling.
Bonus: If you’re a NICU, L&D, or ER nurse, congrats! You are working in one of the highest paid specialties. You’ll have financial freedom wherever you go. And if you’re not in either of those specialties but want to make big bucks, just go to California and thank me later!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’ve always tried to plan my life. This experience has taught me that I should just give it up. God has exceeded all my expectations and is planning things far better than I ever could. So from this point on, I’m giving it to God. I don’t know what’s next, but I know it will be great!
PS. If you have any suggestions on what I should do or where I should go while in the Virgin Islands, I would love to hear your suggestions below!
As I mentioned in my previous post, June has always been a busy month for me; this year was no exception. I have honestly been dreading June 2017 for the past six months. I moved June 1st, my sister got married to her college sweetheart June 10th, I flew to Cabo San Lucas June 11th to celebrate my birthday on the 15th, and I flew back to serve as a bridesmaid for one of my best friends who got married June 17th. Whew! (Please don’t ask me what I was thinking in planing that one.)
In preparation for all the events of June, I took three weeks off from work. As much as I love my job, my time off has been a dream! I have been present for all the recent celebrations and was able to spend some much-needed quality time with my family. My birthday always falls in perfect time for my dad and I to celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday together. Every year on my birthday he asks me, “How does it feel to be another year older?” I usually respond with some generic, one worded answer; but this year felt so much different. I said, “It feels really good. I may be getting older, but I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Growing up, I always envisioned this perfect life for myself where I would go to college, have fun, meet my soulmate, get engaged at graduation, get a job, get married, buy a big house, and settle down all by the age of 25. BOY WAS I WRONG! This past year has shown me that I’m nowhere near where I expected to be, and that makes me so happy! I laugh at the thought of living that life I planned for myself. Like yes, I WANT ALL THOSE THINGS IN THE FUTURE (just in case my future hubby is reading this), but I have so much to do until then that I could never imagine settling down at tender age of 25, I am just getting started; I have barely touched the surface!
Since returning to the states on my birthday, I’ve had an array of feelings. I am tired, I have lost my voice numerous of times in the past two weeks, I have bruises that I can’t explain, and I think I may have broken my foot in Cabo; but most of all, I am feeling eternally grateful and BLESSED! Spending my 25th birthday in Mexico with some of my favorite girls taught me so much about life. On our last night, as we sat and had dinner together, I couldn’t help but just stare around the table and feel so extremely loved. I may be biased, but I think I have the best friends in the entire world! My life can get really crazy sometimes, but they always keep me grounded.
In addition to all the madness that June has brought, I have been working relentlessly behind the scenes for my next big project. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that the Lord saw fit to make me the beneficiary of these blessings. My next project keeps me up late at night, I’m constantly researching how I can excel and completely immerse in the opportunity, I’m always on the go in preparation, and I’m literally bursting at the seams holding in the news from you all. To my closest friends and family who have been praying for me, thank you. I can’t wait to share this adventure with you all. I love you all like crazy!
The months of May and June have always been busy for me. May was filled with graduations, engagements, bachelorette parties, promotions, housewarmings, and gender reveals. I didn’t have anything exciting going on in my life, so naturally I felt like I was being left behind and everyone was being promoted except me! After much reflection, I realized two things: 1. The people I surround myself with are LIT! 2. I need to trust in God’s perfect timing.
I pride myself in the success of my friends, and it makes me SO happy to see them living their dreams! I truly believe, you are the company you keep. I much rather be surrounded by beautiful women who are living large and inspiring me, rather than women who are…not. I am constantly reminded of God’s word in Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. In Tanisha translation it goes on to say: there is a time to work hard, and a time to relax; a time to stay down, and a time to come up; a time to celebrate your friends, and a time to be celebrated; a time to be young and single, and a time to be happily married; a time to be selfish, and a time to be selfless; a time to be the student nurse, and a time to be the HNIC (Google it).
Ultimately, I am so grateful that through my season of uncertainty I am able to celebrate other’s success. As women, we get so caught up on numbers thinking, “Wow, I’m 25-years-old, I still live in my parents house, I’m not working my dream job, and I’ve been single for X amount of years.” I encourage you to stop listening to those voices from satan and start trusting in the promises of the Lord. Grow where you are planted and allow God to use you in your current season! Maybe the Lord still has you in your parents house at 25 because He wants you to save for your mansion that is to come. Maybe you’re not working your dream job right now, making all that money you want because you’re not being a good steward of what He has blessed you with #ouch. Maybe you’re single because God is protecting your heart from a man that would emotionally drain you, cheat on you, and take away the time He needs from you to achieve your purpose (*cough cough* Tanisha Terry).
When people compliment me, label me as #goals or whatever else, I smile on the outside but cringe on the inside. Because truth is, YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE! You are only envious of this young and successful black girl that I portray myself to be; you don’t know what I had to do to get here, the things that keep me up at night, or the skeletons in my closet. We all have a chapter of our lives that we don’t read out loud. So just enjoy where you are NOW and stop focusing on where you aren’t. Whatever season you find yourself in, learn to seek for what God is trying to reveal to you. Often times, we can only gain clarity of God’s will by being still and quiet before Him. So, if you are in a “stagnant” season of your life, be grateful; it’s easier to hear from Him. Learn to prosper in whatever season life has you in. Remember that seasons change, it’s not your time right now… AND THAT’S OKAY!
One night at work, I was drawing newborn labs when I had a realization. Newborn labs are a mandatory procedure that we do on all babies where we stick their heel to obtain a blood sample. While most babies usually let out a little cry, they are normally easily soothed. However, on this particular night, my baby was screaming to the top of her lungs! All the other nurses were looking at me like I had done something wrong and looking at the baby wishing she would be quiet. I continued drawing the blood while she continued to kick and scream. I thought I’d comfort her by saying, “It’s okay baby girl, it helps to cry it out sometimes.”
I instantly stopped what I was doing and realized I was talking to myself. I realized that I was pressing through life so hard; I was stuck on being this strong, unemotional, black woman that I had portrayed myself to be for so long that I was numb to my own needs. I had given so much to other people that I was loosing myself. Those that know me know I cry over everything, but rarely over myself.
That morning I came home, sat out on my balcony and allowed myself to cry it out… and it felt so good! I was able to be vulnerable and get real with myself about all the things that I had been holding in. The older I get, the more I am starting to realize that suppressing emotions is NOT healthy! I’ve recently started seeing the negative effects of holding on to emotional baggage and I vow to never do it again. As I reflected on all the things that life threw at me last year, I realized I never gave myself time to cope with them. Last fall was rough for me, but it was also very busy. I was working relentlessly behind the scenes for my blog release in January while preparing to step out on faith and start my new job in February. I never gave Tanisha time to work on Tanisha and my life was starting to reflect it.
So I did what any #girlboss would have done; I took control over the areas of my life that I could and let go of the things that I couldn’t. I took one month off to focus on myself and it was BEAUTIFUL. I was able to spend some much needed time alone figuring out what I needed to do to make sure I was happy. I worked out more, I got more rest, I drank more water, and wholeheartedly practiced self-love. I no longer allowed negative situations to harden my heart, I simply dismissed them.
Taking a step back from life gave me clarity on the ugly characteristics of myself and the strength to work on them. It also allowed me to fall back in love with the beautiful characteristics that I almost lost in the process of pleasing others. The biggest lesson I learned was that it’s okay to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time!
I was recently sharing some of my NCLEX tips with one of my girlfriends who’s in her last semester of nursing school. Midway through our conversation, she was extremely engaged and paused to say, “Umm Terry, all the things you’re saying are great, you definitely need to mention them on the blog”. Honestly, it never crossed my mind that people would actually want to hear from ME (the girl who almost dropped out of nursing school), but nevertheless, here I am! I’m sharing my tips on how I went from potential dropout to passing my NCLEX in 75 questions, flat!
1. Change Your Mindset and Victory Is Yours!
Seriously! Passing the NCLEX is 90% mental. First, you have to willingly accept that your life is on PAUSE until you pass this test. I graduated, celebrated for one weekend, and the following Monday I got right back into my books like nothing happened! For one month I didn’t go out, I didn’t do brunch, I didn’t go on vacation with my friends, I didn’t do anything because I was focused! In reality, what is one more month of no social life for a lifetime of credentials? Okay then.
2. Pick ONE Study Guide and Study It…. Religiously!
I swear by the Hurst Review. It provides a condensed manual for everything you need to know to pass the NCLEX. After I paid the $250 to sit for my exam and $425 for the review, I was left with a whopping $6 to my name, and I would do it time and time again. My school offered the live review for those who paid for the course, but honestly I didn’t learn much in class. I just watched the videos religiously! While watching the videos, I followed along with the Hurst review book and paid attention to every little detail.
3. Get a Solid Study Group
I cannot imagine passing nursing school or the NCLEX without my girls Cece and Tamara! The three of us complied an informal “study guide” of which chapters we would study individually and we met weekly to REVIEW them. We did not study together, I really don’t believe that’s effective to anyone; we simply reviewed what we learned every week. We quizzed each other and got on each other when we were slacking. I appreciate those moments and miss those hot summers days sitting outside of Starbucks studying for hours on end. Those days made us.
4. When In Doubt, Pull Out Your Practice Questions
After you finish the content portion of studying, quiz yourself until you are nauseated! Pull questions from any creditable source that you can find: Hurst, books, apps, classmates, anything that is up-to-date and credible! In the last few days leading up to your NCLEX, you should only be doing practicing questions and reviewing your areas of weakness. Waiting at the doctor’s office? Practice some questions! In line at the grocery store? Practice some questions! Waiting on your ex to text you back? Practice some questions!
5. RELAX Girl, You Got This!
The day before the exam, I took one sheet of paper and put everything that I still didn’t know (but thought would be vital) on ONE side of that sheet of paper. The morning of my exam, I drilled those last minute things into my head. I walked into the exam feeling like a champion and I walked out feeling like the dumbest human to ever roam the planet. When the computer cut off at 75 questions, I KNEW I FAILED! I instantly started thinking of how I would explain this to my parents, how disappointed I was in myself, and how I would loose the job I had lined up. A few days later, I was browsing the Board of Nursing website and my heart sank when I stumbled upon the words: TANISHA TERRY, REGISTERED NURSE! Looking back, I regret all the anxiety and pressure I put on myself. The best advice I could give young Tanish is, “Relax girl, you got this!”
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to comment below or contact me directly. Please know that I am sincerely praying for each and everyone of you. Congratulations in advance, I can’t wait to celebrate with you!
I pay tribute to my grandmother, my mom, my sisters, and other influential women in my life who have taught me the importance of resilience and the beauty in bouncing back from every situation! I have friends who have shared stories of losing family members in the worst of times, dealing with abusive relationships, and seasons of depression. While I am completely inspired by their triumph; I am not surprised!
We were birthed from adversity, our ancestors were slaves, and we were made to be resilient! I repeat: OUR ANCESTORS WERE SLAVES! We overcame slavery, segregation, and oppression! Who does that?! I’m not saying that other races aren’t capable of being great. I’m just saying, there’s something extra special about black girls and I’m happy the world is finally starting to realize it! Black girls have been lit before being lit was a thing. The world did itself a huge disservice by telling us what we couldn’t do; because that’s exactly what we’re doing! We are breaking through glass ceilings and destroying every limitation that was ever placed on us.
It’s a beautiful thing to overcome every obstacle that was meant to destroy you. People who wanted to see me fail have been given front row tickets to watch me succeed. I have faced adversity, I have been pushed to my limits, but I never quit! I am so grateful to be at a point in my life where are all my setbacks are adding up. Every time I receive new blessings, I gain an understanding of past mistakes.
This blog allows me to admit, “I’VE MADE MISTAKES AND MY LIFE ISN’T PERFECT,” but I’m making the most of it because the world wants me to stay down; but I refuse! Once you become a diamond, you’ll see why life had to pressure you. So I encourage you to keep fighting through whatever you’re going through. Keep grinding, keep shining, because we’re resilient black girls and…