It all began when my car broke down in the middle of the night hundreds of miles from home.

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For those of you just tuning in, I’m a labor and delivery RN, and for the past year I’ve been working as a traveler. A traveler is a nurse who contracts out to the highest bidder a hospital of her choosing, typically for 13 weeks at a time.

The best part of being a traveler is FREEDOM! Anyone who has known me for long knows that I love me my freedom. I’m like the William Wallace of nurses, without the kilt. Personal and professional freedom are integral to who I am. I need it like I need air to breathe.

Being a traveler means freedom to choose when, where, and for how long I work. It means freedom from office politics, freedom from administrative banality, and freedom to care for my patients without getting sucked into the minutia that drains many nurses of their joie de vivre. But, best of all, being a traveler means that when my contract ends, my job is over. I go home and live the life of a lady who lunches until the next job.

The Price of Freedom

While I do love the freedom I have as a traveler, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there is a price for it; primarily, predictability, security and the ability to call someone to rescue me at a moment’s notice when my car breaks down in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, my husband had the foresight to get me roadside assistance insurance when I started traveling. One phone call had me fixed up in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Sort of. My car is still in the shop and I’m tooling around in a crappy little rental waiting for it to get fixed, but, overall, what could have been a catastrophe has turned out to be nothing more than an expensive inconvenience.

Life is like that, isn’t it? One minute we find ourselves riding high, the next we’re blindsided by some unexpected event that might be merely inconvenient or devastatingly catastrophic.

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

Living the life of a vagabond has made me think a lot about my mother. She also insisted on dancing to her own tune, and the older I get the more like her I become. This is both good and bad.

There was a time when I admired my mother’s refusal to be ordinary, but when catastrophe came in the shape of Stage IV colorectal cancer I ended up feeling very resentful that she’d left it up to me to pick up all the loose ends of her life. Damn, but I don’t want to do that to my own children. I’ve been wondering what I can do to make it easier for them.

The Circle of Life is One Cruel Bitch

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but seeing as I am a nurse and all, I feel it is my sworn professional duty to inform you, dear reader, that, you and me? We’re gonna die. Probably not today, hopefully not tomorrow, but definitely someday. All of us.

Many people–maybe most–possibly me–take this dire and depressing news of their impending demise and dive deeply into denial by pretending death will never happen to us. But it will. And more and more I’m left to wonder, “Will the people I love resent me for the mess I’ve left for them to clean up?”

How to Take Care of Your Family When They Have to Take Care of You

I come from a very superstitious people who believe that making arrangements is an invitation to disaster. But the truth is that you and me are going to kick the bucket whether we make any plans for it or not. By not making these plans we’re not holding off the dark angel of death; we’re just screwing over our loved ones who will be left behind to pick up the disorganized pieces of our lives.

Having lived the nightmare my mother created with her own piss-poor planning, I’m concerned about how I can help my own kids when they find themselves having to clean up after me.

Would Your Loved Ones Even Know Where to Begin?

When my mother got sick I had no idea where her important papers were. I didn’t have the passwords to any of her accounts. Hell, I didn’t even know where her accounts were!. So, as my mother lay in a coma in the ICU, my brother had to go on a wild drive hundreds of miles away to the courthouse in the county where she was born to get a copy of her birth certificate so we could secure her Social Security and Medicare benefits in the event she actually lived. Talk about stressful! It was a nightmare.

And that’s the truth of it. Our lack of planning doesn’t protect us from anything; it only creates a stressful burden for our loved ones. That’s why I was very excited to be asked to become a brand ambassador for a terrific new virtual safety box called Estate Assist Safe.

You and I both know that I do precious little sponsored work because so few brands or products are worth my time or energy. Estate Assist Safe is worth both.

What is Estate Assist Safe?

Estate-Assist-AmbassadorDoes your family know where to find all your important documents? Even more daunting, do they know where to find all the passwords to all your online accounts? If you’re anything like most everybody, you aren’t keeping all of this essential information in one easy-to-find place. Estate Assist Safe is that safe place.

Estate Assist Safe is an easy-to-use, terrific new online service where you can securely store all your important financial, digital, and personal information–including all your passwords to all your online accounts–that can be managed, and updated at any time. Not only is it a virtual safety deposit box where you can store both virtual and hard copies of your critical information, but you can easily share this information with trusted loved ones now, or when the unexpected happens.

Whether protecting valuable assets, or keeping your most important documents organized, Estate Assist is the life planning solution that helps prepare for tomorrow, today.

Is Estate Assist Safe Secure?

If you’re anything like me, your first question is, “Is Estate Assist Safe, well, safe?” All of Estate Assist’s solutions are guarded by proprietary Estate Guard Security technology. Estate Assist Safe uses bank level 256-bit AES security standards in order to ensure personal and financial data and documents are stored and transferred to and from Estate Assist safely and securely.

Estate Assist Safe1

And just in case, your Estate Assist Safe is also backed by a $1 million Estate Guard Guarantee. In the event that user data on Estate Assist is compromised, the company will spend up to $1 million for breach recovery

Why Estate Assist Safe?

Both of my children are grown; they no longer look to me to take care of them. But they still expect me to take care of myself. One day, hopefully in the far distant future, they’ll find themselves worrying and wondering how they are going to take care of me, and it’s important to me to make that time as easy as possible for them. Using Estate Assist Safe is one way I’ll still be able to tell to them “I love you” when I’ll no longer be there to say the words.

#EASafe

I hope you’ll join me, along with the rest of the Estate Assist Safe team, for a Twitter Chat every Tuesday in October at 7pm PST, as we explore this important issue of planning for the unexpected. You can RSVP here. There will be prizes. You like prizes, right?

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The point of blogging for me has always been that I write something true, because, the way I see it, there’s already enough bullshit on the internet that the world certainly doesn’t need me adding more to it. The problem is that I just don’t know if it’s healthy for me to blog anymore; if it ever was.

It’s not that stuff isn’t happening in my life that I wouldn’t love to write about. Oh, my gosh, is stuff happening! Wonderful stuff. Hard stuff. Scary stuff. Exciting stuff. Which leads me to think that if you are living a boring life, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

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It’s just that I don’t know if I want to put my truth out here anymore. I’ve been wondering, “How does my blog serve me?” versus “What does it cost me? Emotionally? Financially? Socially?”

Is blogging good for me?

There was a time when I would have answered that question with an unequivocal yes—my original tagline was, “Blogging is cheaper than therapy”–but now I’m just not so sure.

But when I think I’m done with this blargh of mine, I read something someone has written that resonates, and I think, “Dang it! I wanna write like that!” Or I get an email or comment on a post I’ve written that reminds me that being a creative human being is important for the soul.

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So I sit down to write something true, but end up playing Candy Crush for two hours instead.

Excuses, Excuses

Sometimes I tell myself the reason I’m not writing is because, “They can’t handle the truth.” But the truth is that I’m the one who can’t seem to handle other people’s reaction to my truth. The worst thing in the world is guilelessly laying your truth out here and having people reject you over it. That shit fucking hurts.

I know.

It shouldn’t matter.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

And if I were a full of shit blogger I’d write a bunch of faux enlightened crap about how amazingly self-actualized I am, and how what people think about me doesn’t matter.

Blah, Blah. Blah.

But it does matter to me. The loss of relationships should always matter. Well, to people who aren’t sociopaths, anyway.

So I don’t write. Well, that’s not true. I do write. Draft after draft of my truth that will never see the light to day sits in my draft folder, because, it seems, I’ve developed an aversion to public shaming.

Slide 7

Shame on Me?

For example, I write my truth about my sexual experience in my marriage, and the next thing you know somebody I’ve known for centuries is taking me to task on my Facebook wall about how I’m risking the fiery flames of hell, and dragging poor, unsuspecting GOOD CHRISTIAN WOMEN right along with me, by my crazy, heretical notions that God created us to be blissed out in bed–no holds barred–with the person we’ve vowed to love, honor, and cherish, until death do us part.

Geez Louise! Not just unfriended, but chastised publicly, and privately I might add, for talking about having the most satisfying sex of my life with my lawfully wedded husband of 28 years?!?! How is that in any way, shape, or form unbiblical?

Or I write my truth about my experience caring for pregnant women, and that I have, in fact, delivered a six month old dead baby killed by a botched abortion with my own two hands–which was HORRIBLE, and I never want to happen ever again as long as I live, which is why I’m more pro-contraception than Planned Parenthood–and the next thing I see, I’ve been unfriended by my own brother. Oh, brother!

Fine. Maybe I should just stick with pictures of cats. Or maybe I should just not say anything at all until I can come up with something that will please everyone.

Slide 17

The Sounds of Silence

I’m pretty sure I’m not portraying anything close to my reality on social media.

Case in point?

I recently received a sweet DM on Facebook from a thoughtful individual who is worried about me. She said that my FB posts about being a travel nurse sound “lonely.” She then generously offered to set me up with an opportunity to get into some sort of MLM business venture that’s the answer to my sad, lonely existence.

While I am guessing her heart is in the right place, I laughed when I read it because I don’t think there exists a level of loneliness that would compel me to ever go into business again.

Talk about lonely.

There is nothing on this earth lonelier than finding out that people you love are just using you–under the guise of friendship–for their own financial gain and pseudo-fame.

Besides, I’m not lonely. I’m happy. I just don’t write happy as well as I write agonal.

I also know that nobody wants to read about other people’s happiness. Where’s the self-satisfied sense of superiority to be had in that?

For instance, who wants to read that I’m having the best sex of my entire life, and the reason for this–I’m certain—is that I’ve made a conscious decision to tear down every barrier that I’ve ever allowed to stand between my husband and myself, up to and including forswearing my lady-boner killing imaginary God of vengeance who is always looking for ways to condemn and shame me?

Because that’s what I’d like to write about. And I know from my stats that that’s what you’d like to read about.

But I guess I’m no longer so keen on enduring the public slut-shaming that comes from being real about sex.

Yes, I’ve come to accept that some people think my attitude towards sex makes me a shitty Christian–or no Christian at all–but do I really need to lay my heart out here for miserable, holier-than-thou, nattering nabobs of negativity to publicly pick apart?

Good Things Come to Those Who Work Hard

I’m also making more money than I ever have in my entire life at a job I love, but I can’t really write about that, now can I? Who’s going to read that?

Bloggers want to read stories by and about bloggers who’ve made it big, not bloggers who’ve admitted, “This blogging for dollars is smoke and mirrors, and I’d rather wipe asses for a living than kiss them.”

Nurse Chloe

Travel Nursing is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

Far from feeling lonely, I like almost everything about travel nursing. It’s good for me in more ways than I can count, and I don’t think it is coincidental that this is the first autumn in almost 10 years that I haven’t contemplated suicide. Also, my husband and I both think that our unconventional lifestyle is partly why we’re living like two people who’ve just fallen in love instead of the old married couple we really are.

Letting go of blogging for money, and seeking a legitimate trade that actually pays the bills, has been berry berry good to me. Financially, things couldn’t be brighter. Looking at our retirement accounts, I think Jeff and I might actually retire someday in a style somewhere above living in a yurt next to the freeway eating government cheese. (Although, with sex like this who cares where you live, or what you eat?)

Real Life v. Virtual

For the first time since I joined the Sonlight Forums in 1998, I am happier with my real life than my virtual one. This is a huge blessing. And one that deserves to be written about.

If only I could.

But every time I sit down to write about my real life, the critical voices in my head sing their soul-sucking, creativity-killing song, while the dulcet tones of Candy Crush croons out its happy, carefree tune.

Geez, who will unfriend me next, or decide that I need a lecture on my Facebook wall or, even better, a public diatribe on their own wall, about what a shitty human being I am?

Shake it Off

I know in the very pit of my being that this place where I’m at right now is just part and parcel of growing as a woman and as a writer. Writing one’s truth has always come at a high cost, which is why it’s so rare. And it’s also why I think we’re so drawn to honesty and vulnerability when we read it, even if we disagree with it.

Two things that I’ve been doing a lot lately–in lieu of wasting my life chasing money and fame in the fickle fishbowl of Facebook–is listening to music and reading. And while I’m a little old for Taylor Swift, I’ve got to say that she nails it with her song, “Shake it off”. Ultimately, that’s what you have to do if you want to create anything true.

So, here I am.

I’m just shaking it off, baby.

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Dear David Cassidy,

I know it seems a bit silly now, some 40 years after the fact, but once upon a time I had a mad crush on you, and I’ve decided that it is high time I tell you. Why now, you ask? Why have I kept this secret, lo, these past 40 years, that, alone in […]

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Are Bloggers Exploited? Well, that Depends®.

A few weeks ago  I was contacted by Dr. Phil’s people. According to the person who contacted me they were shopping me to see if I’d be a good candidate for an upcoming show about female urinary incontinence. Not that I’m biased or anything, but I know I would be a great guest on this […]

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Youth is a Woman’s Most Important Asset

Geraldo Rivera created a tempest in a teapot when he said during a recent interview on Fox News that women should not agree to short term trial marriages (called beta marriages) because youth is a woman’s most important asset. Here’s what he said: …I think [what] a woman brings to a marriage more than anything […]

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BlogHer 14 Recap. Is this the End of BlogHer?

I just got home from the grandmommy of all blogging conferences, BlogHer14. I could say a million things, but I’ll limit myself to just these few words. I’m $till Standing Unlike years past–Blogher11, BlogHer12, BlogHer13–where I sort of wondered what the hell I was doing going to BlogHer, I absolutely had an agenda this year. […]

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Pulling the Trigger on Inner Kill

In my 20s, I believed that by the time I was in my 50s I’d have my life all figured out. So color me surprised to find myself 52, and not only haven’t I arrived at a destination, I still don’t exactly know where I’m going! Who Hid the Road Signs? I’m not alone in […]

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Bellman, there’s a naked man in the hallway.

 “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” -Tennessee Williams, Author Thanks to some accumulated United Airlines frequent flier miles, Jeff and I flew off to New Orleans this past February to celebrate Mardi Gras in style. Mardi Gras literally means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French, but the party starts […]

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Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex Life

I’m sending this one out to all my Christian sisters. I can hear you already. “That Chloe!” “She’s leading all the nice Christian women astray! Again.” No, I’m not. I’m here to help a sister (and my brothers in Christ) out. I could just as easily have titled this post, “Why I politely asked God […]

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My Writing Process: How the Magic is Made

There’s this thing going around Bloggertown where bloggers are writing about their writing processes, and Carol Cassara from carolcassara.com invited me to participate. Carol is a rock solid blogger who has been a writer all of her life. She brings a discipline to her blog that I envy. Carol posts nearly every day. Her posts […]

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