Maybe I’m Meant to Be Extraordinary

When I received the phone call from my recruiter telling me that I landed my first travel assignment in the Virgin Islands, I couldn’t believe it! My mouth fell open. I was excited, and couldn’t wait to share the news with all my family and friends. But soon after, my feelings turned from excitement to doubt. I doubted how I would survive living in St. Thomas all by myself, how I would excel as a travel nurse with such limited experience and I questioned why God was calling little Tanisha from Missouri City, Texas to start her travel nursing career on St. Thomas, Virgin Island…

The following Sunday, I came to church with a heavy heart and was greeted by extreme confirmation. Our Sunday school lesson was titled, “Beyond Doubt”, and my Sunday school teacher spoke on believing beyond what you can see. I felt like the lesson was made especially for me. After class, my teacher pulled me aside and asked me how things were going. I broke down in tears and told her that I was feeling extremely doubtful about my upcoming move. She embraced me and reminded me that God is with me; it’s not my job to wonder why He called me, but to be obedient and walk into the new season of life with confidence that He will continue to provide. After church, she sent me a powerful message that got me through the next month of my life when I was feeling down, discouraged and extremely doubtful.

Those words spoke to me louder than anything had in the past few weeks of my life as I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed behind all the work I was putting into starting my new journey. This message provided reassurance in a dark season of my life when I needed it the most. Anytime I started to feel unworthy I reminded myself, “God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things that He might get the glory“.

As the days came closer to my departure, I became excited and eager to start my new assignment. When I finally arrived in St. Thomas, I remember having an overwhelming sense that I belonged there; that I was being sent with a purpose. I stepped off the plane and saw the following sign…

The first two months of my assignment were filled with partying, boat trips, cliff jumping, island hopping and living on vacation all while wondering, “What am I here for? When will it be my time to be extraordinary?”

The weekend of September 1st, we all received news that a major hurricane was expected to hit the island. Some of my fellow travelers grew worried, some began to frantically prepare and some even chose to evacuate the island. While “Hurricane Irma” was the talk of the town and everyone was in a complete uproar, I had peace knowing that THIS is what I was called for. Finally, it was my time to be extraordinary!

The day before the storm hit, I reached out to my closest family and friends and asked for their prayers. I knew I was being faced with a great task and that I needed all the support they could give. All of the island natives warned me that if the hurricane hit… it would be devastating. We were expected to lose water, power, phone service, and all means of communication. I warned my family that if they didn’t hear from me, don’t worry…I would be fine.

Tuesday night September 5th, I went to work fully prepared. I had a weeks worth of clothes, all my valuables, and food to last for a few days. That night as I made my hospital bed and laid down, I was comforted with tons of encouraging words from my family and friends letting me know that they were praying for me. My Instagram and Facebook were overflowing with messages from people who I didn’t even know; everyone finally got word that Irma, the category five hurricane was headed straight towards me and there was nothing left to do but pray.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up, prepared for work and walked to the unit to receive report. I was in charge that day and remember thinking, “Why me?” My mom texted me her prayer for that morning and said, “When the lights go out, it will be your time to shine.” I knew then that everything would be okay. I put my phone away and began my day. I rounded on my patients and made sure everyone’s needs were met. I looked outside and noticed that the rain and wind began to pick up. Everyone gathered by one big window on the unit as we watched Hurricane Irma begin her wrath. Things quickly escalated from scary to terrifying, so I decided to move my patients from their postpartum rooms to the Labor and Delivery unit for their safety. While transporting my patients I heard loud banging on the door coming from the emergency stairwell. I opened the door and saw other nurses transporting their immobile patients by their mattresses down the stairs to safety. I soon discovered that the windows on the floor above me blew out and the entire floor was forced to evacuate immediately. The hurricane was blowing through the hospital. From that moment on, things were in complete chaos. We were in full crisis mode transporting patients, administering emergency medications, making life-threatening decisions in split seconds and doing everything we could to keep our patients alive.

Out of respect for my company, my hospital and my profession…I choose to spare the details of what went on that day. The hospital was simply filled with, “Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.

The days after the hurricane, I was forced to stay at the hospital because the roads were unsafe to drive home. There were huge trees, power lines and remains from people’s homes that filled the streets. I slept in the uninhabitable hospital and I began to wonder, “How would I ever survive?” Friday morning, the curfew that was placed on the island ended and I was finally able to return home. I feared going home alone with no water, no power and a limited supply of food; but I knew I had to. I had to get away from the hospital because it was no longer safe.

When I finally went home, I opened the door to my beachfront condo to discover that the roof caved in, and it too was uninhabitable. I packed everything I could and went to my friend Veronica’s house. We began discussing our options and realized they were slim. My company canceled my contract and booked my flight home for Sunday morning, only to discover that the airport was destroyed as well. I literally felt trapped on the island, and paradise was starting to feel more like my worst nightmare.

With no running water, limited food, no roof, no cell phone service, no internet and people robbing at gunpoint for necessities; my fear finally set it. I became fearful for my life and overcome with emotion. That Saturday night, I sat on Veronica’s sofa and asked God to make a way…

Around six o’clock Sunday morning, Veronica looked out her window and saw a boat. Without hesitation, we packed everything we could and ran to the dock! With a quick confirmation from the captain, we were welcomed onboard and told that we were headed to Puerto Rico. Veronica spoke Spanish and had family in Puerto Rico, so we knew we would be just fine.

(Veronica and I looking extremely rough but very happy to be making our way home).

Once we made it to Puerto Rico, Veronica arranged for her family to pick us up at the marina and I instantly felt peace that everything would be alright. Her family treated us like royalty; they fed us, gave us warm showers and a safe place to stay for the night. When we woke up the following morning, they served us coffee and breakfast sandwiches. They told us they arranged for a driver to show us around town and I couldn’t believe it! Our evacuation was starting to feel more like a vacation.

After rationing our food for days, we were finally able to enjoy eating out, exploring the city and staying at our five-star resort. I owe Veronica and her family endless thanks for their kindness and hospitality. They were there for us in a time of need and reminded me that God will always make a way. Three days after being in Puerto Rico, I was able to fly home to Houston and be reunited with my family. Looking back on my experience in the Virgin Islands, I am so grateful that God saw fit to give me such a task. I hope my testimony serves as a lesson to you all: Go wherever God is calling you, and trust that He will provide!

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To All My Girls Who Want to Travel…But

The most frustrating thing that I hear young nurses say is, “I want to travel…but” because I’ve been there! Before I graduated nursing school, I knew that I wanted to be a travel nurse. In 2015, I finally gained enough experience, my lease was ending at my apartment and I was feeling complacent at my current job. It felt like the perfect time for me to start traveling…but I was in a relationship at the time and he was not on board.

I have always been a persuasive girl and thought, “Surely I could convince him to join me.” We were both young, ambitious and nothing was holding us back. We loved to travel and had so much fun together. He was a nurse, and so was I. It seemed like the perfect saga. After first mentioning the idea to him, I could tell it wouldn’t be easy trying to persuading him. I spent the next few months extremely excited to start traveling but I knew that I NEEDED him to join me. I felt so dependent that I convinced myself, if we couldn’t do it together then it wasn’t meant to be. As time passed, I began to see that traveling was NOT in his plans; and I accepted that. I always told myself that he was such a good man, and I was such a good woman so I needed to stay by his side. If he didn’t want to be a travel nurse, then neither did I.

When he and I went our separate ways, my dreams of becoming this badass travel nurse resurfaced. I woke up one day and finally realized: I was young, I was single and I was in charge of my happiness. So I said, “F it, I’m doing this for me” and that’s exactly what I did!

Now that I’m a traveler, it kills me to hear other nurses say, “I want to travel…but“. But nothing, it’s all an excuse. Unless you are married or have kids (and they are not able to come)…I really don’t want to hear it. Because it reminds me of a time when I too felt so loyal to someone else that I was willing to put my dreams aside for something that wasn’t eternal.

Since I began traveling, I have never felt so much peace. I remember a conversation I had with my mom before I decided to start traveling. I told her, “I feel like I’m wasting time; I really want to travel but I have so much more to do too. I want to go back to school, I want to buy a house, and I really want to settle down so that men will know I can be a good wife.” And in her usual short-ended response, she told me, “Then you need to travel.” Without an explanation, I knew what she meant.

In order for me to be an excellent grad student, I needed more clinical experience. In order for me to be a homeowner, I needed to experience what it was like being away from home. And in order for me to be happily married with no regrets, I needed to be a travel nurse.

So I urge you today, stop making excuses and start making plans. If you are in a serious relationship like I once was, then have that talk with your partner and share the desires of your heart. If he loves you enough, he’ll be willing to let you live your life or join along for the ride. Truth is, no one wants to marry someone KNOWING that they held them back from their dreams. If you are bound to anyone or anything and feel like you can’t travel because they NEED you, I urge you to let go! None of us are that important; there is ALWAYS someone who can fill your shoes. I hope you have enough courage to do whatever makes you happy; I will always be rooting for you!

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Hiking Chautauqua

What do you do when you want to go for a hike, but no one wants to join you? You pack your pistol and hit the trail one deep!

Today was a beautiful day to go hiking. I forgot how good it felt to say, “Whatever, I’m still going!” I think there’s a beautiful lesson to be learned from today’s adventure: Everyone is not always going to join you, but if it makes you happy…do it anyway!

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Triple T Takes D.C.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting my sweet friend Tiara in Washington, D.C. Ironically, Tiara and I became close friends this same weekend seven years ago in college, so it was the perfect weekend for us to reunite. Tiara is also a Black Girl White Coat; she graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from the prestigious Howard University and has lived in D.C. since.

I worked three nights in a row last week and had the bright idea to fly out immediately after I got off work Friday morning….learn from my mistakes and don’t do this unless you absolutely have to. I flew into DCA in Virginia Friday afternoon, was reunited with my best friend Tasia; and Triple T Weekend officially began!

Tiara had the perfect itinerary scheduled for us that included happy hour as soon as I arrived. We went to Agua 301 on the Navy Yard of D.C. and indulged in girl talk and margaritas. After being by myself in Denver for the past month, it felt good to be around Tasia and Tiara. I’m amazed that after all these years, our friendship has not changed one bit; such a blessing!

Saturday morning, we went to the Hirshorn Museum to get our fine art fix before the ratchet activities began… because #balance. For brunch, we met up with some of Tiara’s friends at Shaw’s Tavern. Shaw’s won me over with their bottomless mimosas, their cute patio, and their friendly staff. After brunch, we toured the city and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Tiara’s friends suggested that we go to Sugar Factory for the evening. I’d always heard about Sugar Factory and was pleasantly surprised they had one in Union Station! Sugar Factory is such a fun little bar; I highly recommend it if you are ever in Vegas, New York, Miami or D.C. (PS. I heard you should skip the food and just enjoy the drinks. I’m not speaking from experience, but I don’t like bad food so when people make suggestions, I listen).

We went out on U Street Saturday and Sunday night and I was very surprised at how big D.C.’s nightlife was! There’s so much to do in the city; D.C. should definitely be toured by day and night. Don’t plan on sleeping when you go, just sleep when you’re dead! #TanishaAdvice

Monday morning, Tiara went to work, Tasia headed back to Houston and I was able to enjoy my last day exploring the city solo! I have wanted to tour The National Museum of African American History since it opened. When they first opened, you had to buy tickets months in advance and stand in line for hours before getting in. I had every intention to buy my tickets before going but never found the time. Monday morning, I woke up and just prayed for the opportunity to get in with no ticket. I walked from Union Station in the freezing cold and stood in line with all the other tourist who had their tickets in hand. On a whim, I started a conversation with an elderly woman who was by herself. Mid-conversation she asked me, “So, you have your ticket?” I embarrassingly responded, “No” and she said, “Well baby…don’t worry, I have an extra!” She handed me my ticket moments before the doors opened and I literally felt like Charlie from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory y’all! I couldn’t believe it, this woman just gave me a golden ticket!

I was so extremely honored for the experience. Growing up, my parents and grandparents always stressed the importance of our black history and culture, so this was truly a dream come true! I met many people in line and inside the museum who were traveling from all across the country to be there; many were old in age. I was humbled to be surrounded by so much history and with so many adults who lived through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. What an experience. The museum was absolutely the best part of my trip! With my bags in tow, I left the museum and caught an uber to the airport just in time for my flight back to Denver. I was grateful to check D.C. off my bucket list and can’t wait to see what’s next for me!

Thanks for the memories Washington, D.C. 

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True Life: I’m a Free Agent

After the devastation of Hurricane Irma, my contract in the Virgin Island was canceled. 90% of the island was destroyed, including the airport. I was forced to evacuate to Puerto Rico and fly home to Houston. Sadly enough, I’ve actually written the blog about my experience in surviving a category five hurricane. I wrote about spending four days and three nights in the hospital with limited resources, how I safely transported patients off the island, how I came home to my beachfront condo to discover my roof caved in, how I survived with no running water, no electricity, no cell phone service and just a mustard seed of faith. But…my heart won’t allow me to post it. I am still recovering.

Coming home was the best feeling in the world! My parents picked me up from the airport late Wednesday night and I was greeted with the warmest hug. My mom is a frequent flyer and she described it as, “The best trip to the airport ever.” The following morning, my mom told me she was planning a trip to Philadelphia for the weekend and invited me to join her. With no job and no real responsibilities, I agreed to meet her in Philly after visiting my friend Hannah in New York City!I’ve been to New York numerous times, but this was my first time going in the summer, so I was extremely excited. Hannah is such a perfect host; after I booked my flight, she took care of everything else! I flew into Newark, NJ and rode a train to NYC. The train ride alone deserves its own blog, but I’m too embarrassed to share that experience. Once I arrived in NYC, I dropped off my bags and we went straight to Mr. Purple, a rooftop bar in the city with breathtaking views of the concrete jungle. If you’re ever in the city and weather permits, I highly suggest you add Mr. Purple to your to-do list. Hannah and I spent the afternoon sipping Rosé and catching up on girl talk. The views and the vibes confirmed my decision… I am absolutely taking an assignment in NYC and need to start working on my license STAT!
That evening, we met up with some of Hannah’s girlfriends at an Italian food festival and probably did more drinking than eating, but that’s not the point. Afterwards, we took a quick nap and went out for the evening. We went to The Delancey, Los Feliz, and Hotel Chantelle. If you don’t remember anything else, just remember Hotel Chantelle.

Sunday morning, we stopped at Birch coffee before meeting some of my girlfriends who were in town for brunch. The coffee was delicious, and I rarely give credit to any shops other than my beloved Starbucks, so you should probably take heed. We enjoyed brunch at Cask Bar and Kitchen. They had fresh muffins, eggs benedict and pitchers of mimosas…need I say more?After brunch, Hannah showed us around the city via subway; we went to Prospect Park and walked the Brooklyn Bridge. The older I get, the more I appreciate sight-seeing and bucket listing. Doing it all with friends is usually the icing on the cake!

Monday morning Hannah went to work and I headed to Philadelphia. Once I arrived in Philly, I linked up with the original Black Girl White Coat…my mom! After the traumatic experience I had in the Virgin Islands, a mother-daughter trip was certainly in order! My mom is such a carefree spirit; she renewed my strength to continue travel nursing. We flew back from Philadelphia to Houston and on the plane ride home, I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to get back on the horse”, to continue my love for traveling and set sail for my next adventure!We arrived home Wednesday night and I had a phone interview with Denver’s premier baby hospital Thursday morning! During the interview, the director asked me to describe a time when I was forced into a position that I didn’t feel prepared for. I shared my story of being charge nurse the morning that Irma hit the Virgin Islands and how I was forced into helping life flight our patients off the island. She was blown away and I was in tears. She said, “Well, that was the best answer I’ve ever received.” The interview was over and three hours later my recruiter called me and said: “Congratulations, you did it again.” I got the job!

It was then that I realized, I took no L’s on my assignment in the Virgin Islands. The islands made me stronger, more resilient and the experience alone helped me stand out among other eligible candidates. The Lord turned my test into my testimony and I am forever grateful.

 

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Sorry for Neglecting My Blog

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 halfway 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. Every day 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 with 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.

I’m learning SO much from being a travel nurse. I’m gaining independence, resilience, and the courage to do things that I would never 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 challenged me but I’m excited that I get to walk away from this experience and add “charge nurse” to my résumé! *Rick Ross grunt*

Now that I am halfway 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 a 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!”

 

 

 

 

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Meet Devyn Walker

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…

Meet Devyn Walker; independent, college graduate, yoga instructor, counselor, diagnosed with major depression, generalized anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder…
What life event(s) preceded your diagnosis? 

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.

When did you realize you needed to take charge of your mental health and seek professional help?

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.

As an African American woman, have you experienced any negativity from the black community since speaking out on your diagnosis? 

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.

In your darkest hour, what were some of your thoughts? How did you overcome them? 

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.

Have you ever been in a mentally abusive relationship with a man? How did you cope with the issue?

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.

As a yoga instructor, you take pride in how beneficial yoga has been to your mental and physical health. What benefits have you noticed?

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.

How has your faith helped you overcome your illness?

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.

You truly made the most out of life with the cards you were dealt by becoming a certified counselor. What are some of your long-term career goals and what do you plan to do with your certification? 

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.

Through your blog, you inspire women to be the best versions of themselves; physically, emotionally, and mentally. What do you want any young lady suffering from mental health issues to know? 

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.

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Thank you Devyn Walker, shine on!

 

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Black Girls in the BVI

Some people might think it’s crazy that I met a stranger and decided to island hop to the British Virgin Islands with her, but I just call it trusting my gut and having fun…

Meet Michelle: 
Michelle is a fellow #girlboss from Houston, Texas but raised on Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Two weeks ago, I walked into a store to purchase a bracelet from Michelle and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was the designer and owner of the very successful jewelry store!
Saturday night, I was on the phone with my friend from home telling him how badly I’ve been wanting to go to the British Virgin Islands. When Michelle texted me Sunday morning and offered to show me around the BVIs, I couldn’t believe my fate. I jumped at the opportunity!
Since being on the island, I’ve met many new people. Some have good intentions, some are questionable, and some are bad. As a female traveler, I’m learning to follow my gut and trust my intuition. I’m really growing closer to God during this season of my life; He’s making this intuition thing easy for me by showing me the hearts of strangers during our first interactions.
Michelle and I took a public ferry to the island of Tortola and then island hopped to Jost Van Dyke.
I’ve seen A LOT of beautiful beaches in my lifetime; but none compare to the beaches on the island of Jost Van Dyke… 
The water was crystal clear, the sand felt perfect between our toes, and the sea animals swam right up to us; they were just as friendly as the people. 
Throughout the day, several people kept asking how Michelle and I knew each other. Some thought we were sisters and others thought we were long-standing friends. When we told them I was a travel nurse, she designed jewelry sold all over the Virgin Islands and we just met, they were completely shocked and fell in love with our carefree spirits.
Just like a #girlboss, Michelle seemed to know people wherever we went. Within 5 minutes of being on the beach she saw Mike, a former business partner of hers. She told him how we were late arriving to the BVIs and we were disappointed because we would have to leave by 4 o’clock to catch the 5 o’clock public ferry back home. Without hesitation, he offered to give us a ride back on his private boat. 
I’m usually not the type of girl to accept ANYTHING from people, but this just felt right. So after a 2 minute discussion, Michelle and I agreed to tag along with Mike and his crew (both male and female) to continue exploring the islands. 
Once aboard, we instantly felt like family. We blasted the music, poured the drinks and set sail for our next destination…Saint John, Virgin Island. 
Saint John was more upbeat than the tranquil island of Jost Van Dyke. The beach was full of bars, the food was good, and I finally had cell phone service so I was a happy camper! 
Just as planned, I made it back safely to my condo on the beach by sunset. Michelle and I had a great time and it was undoubtedly my favorite day on the island. I’ve been working REALLY hard the past two weeks, so it was nice to have a day off to enjoy. I’m clocking back in as Nurse Tanish tonight and serving as charge nurse for my next few shifts. The work has been tough but I’m having the time of my life living on vacation. I really can’t complain when I work three days a week and relax in paradise the other four.
Until next time,
Stay safe, trust your gut, and if you ever have the opportunity…be a travel nurse! 

 

 

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Surprise! I’m a Travel Nurse!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.” 

 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!

 

 

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