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Struggle is Beautiful

August 8
by
Tiffany Arnett
in
Overcoming Challenges
with
.

(Written by Tiffany Arnett)


Have you ever had one of those days where regardless of what you do, or how positive you try to stay, nothing seems to want to go in your favor? Literally the only thing you can ask yourself at this point is can this day seriously get any worse?


This was how I felt every day for the majority of 2014.

Adversity, by definition, is defined as misfortune. While this definition is true, the word adversity has a larger meaning to me. While looking back, misfortune seemed to be the theme of my last year. However, I am grateful for the adversity that I went through to get to where I am today.

Without struggle there would be no progress, and without progress there would be no success. I am living proof of this.

I was never really good at college. Nursing school was one of the biggest and hardest challenges of my life, I was the underdog. At one point my Dean even sat me down to tell me she didn’t know if I’d be successful in this field, because I didn’t test well. She was right; I didn’t test well, however, clinically I excelled. Although for some, grades are the only important thing.

Fast forward to the end of July 2013. I was finally finishing up nursing school with only one week left of the madness that had been my life for the past two years. My high school sweetheart and I had started looking for a house and were talking about “our future” together along with the next steps we would be taking.

We went on a beach trip with some of our closest friends and he proposed to me!

Now everything in my little world seemed utterly perfect. I had my degree and a fiancé—what else could a girl want? I was so excited and amazingly content with my life and where it was taking me.

I began to concentrate on wedding planning and studying for my NCLEX to get my nursing license. Regardless how you look at it the two combined is a terrible idea. My stress level was at an all-time high when studying for boards, all I could ever think was the fact that I knew how badly I was at testing. I struggled with passing my NCLEX. I walked out knowing I failed it the first time I took it.

I began to question whether or not this was the career for me, and whether or not this was God trying to lead me down a different path. I decided to give myself a little more time before taking it again, enough that I could pull myself together and clear my mind. Fast forward again to March of 2014.

All was well in my little world (except for having no nursing license). Everything, for the most part, seemed perfect, or so I thought. I had finally settled into being I guess what you would call a housewife, all the while working a full time job managing at Chick-fil-A and studying for my boards.

At this point my wedding was completely planned down to every last detail & wedding invitations were waiting to be sent, now the only thing I needed was May 10th to arrive so I could marry my soul mate.

One night, my fiancé approached me only to tell me he did not want to get married anymore and on top of that bomb he followed up with “I do not love you anymore.”

I thought this was a sick joke, I did not know what to do, how to react, what to say. Could this really be happening? 

A surge of anger rushed through my body as well as an overwhelming feeling of sadness. How could he let me plan out our whole wedding, only to tell me he didn’t want me anymore? I begged for him to let me try to fix things, we could work this out… right?

I am from that cliché small town where everyone knows everybody, and the ones who don’t know you, still think they can talk about your personal business like its their own. Staying at home was what I thought my only option was after my breakup. I didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to be that girl that everyone pitied.

I didn’t want to face the “sad eyes”, the whispers and the stares. I literally didn’t leave my parents house for easily two months. People’s sympathy wasn’t what I wanted, nor did I want to hear the remarks of “you deserve so much better.” My whole world was rocked in the span of a week. All I wanted was to be alone. I just wanted to deal.

I could feel myself spiraling, my anxiety was at a new high and I couldn’t stop thinking and rethinking the situation out in my head. I had no control, no power, I felt helpless and hopeless. I blamed myself; I didn’t understand how my best friend of eight years could walk away like I never mattered at all.

Rumors started flying around town, nothing out of the ordinary when something like this happens. However, it would have been nice for most of them to actually stay rumors rather than hidden truths, finally boiling over and coming out.

It seemed like every day I was finding out about another girl that he had been with behind my back, or something else negative. My life just felt like one big minus. There were rarely any positive moments, and when there were positive moments something negative always had to overshadow them.

My friend base shrunk exponentially. I was sad all the time.

I had mental battles over what I did wrong, and was I really that bad? Was I not pretty enough? Did I not clean or cook well enough? Being cheated on leaves very deep wounds that take a very long time to heal.

By the end of July, beginning of August, I began to see a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. Don’t get me wrong I still had my days where all I wanted to do was sit alone and cry, but those days were few and far between. I started to feel like I could breathe again. My perspective began to change. I went from thinking how could this happen to the thought of “this happened and now it’s time to move on.” I told myself that I could hold my head high and come out of this stronger, or I could let my past engulf me and continue to tear me apart.

I chose to not let who I was four months ago dictate who I was going to be.

It was time for me to grab the reins of my own life and steer myself in the direction I wanted to go.

That’s exactly what I did.

Studying was now my first and only priority. To better myself I needed to better my career, better yet, I needed to start my career. I knew this was the path God wanted me to take, and I set out to achieve it. Come November it was time to take the dreaded NCLEX again. Test anxiety still present, however I knew it was different this time. It was my time to shine. This was my moment. I took my exam, able to walk out knowing I passed it with flying colors. This was the turning point of my year.

Negativity was no longer the outstanding feeling in my life. As soon as I got confirmation of my nursing license I began the job search. I didn’t exactly know where I wanted to be, I just knew it was time for a new adventure and Cordele wasn’t that place for me anymore. I applied all over Georgia as well as Tennessee. I knew God would place me where he felt I needed to be, so I let my faith guide my job search.

I had applied to Level One trauma centers and been turned down because of my lack of experience, so when applying to a position in Savannah, I was sure that I wouldn’t get it. However, a few days after applying I was notified that I had gotten an interview set for December.

Walking out of my interview I was uncertain of whether or not my job in the ER was attainable, there were so many strong candidates around who were way more experienced. I had even signed up to interview for a different department just in case the ER didn’t work out there. I went to lunch waiting on my second interview time when I got the call.

I was hired and was set to start January 26th.

Last year was my learning curve. I learned a lot about who I was, who I didn’t want to be, and who I wanted to strive to be. My story has a lot of difficulty, but I chose to not let that define me. Instead I let my hard times be my motivating factor to better myself, to prove to those around me that I was better than my misfortune. I learned not to act or speak through anger, that sometimes silence is the best fix for anything, as well as that not every situation requires a reaction. I learned to respect myself, to look at myself through different lenses and to realize that I was not perfect, nor would I ever be.

We are the writers to our own stories. Who you are and what you want to be is completely up to you. What you do with the lessons you learn and how you grow from them is a decision you have to make for yourself.


The only person standing in your way from bettering your life is usually yourself. Learn to genuinely appreciate the bad times, because they make the good times that much sweeter. Your past does not define you. Push forward, move forward, and don’t stop until you are no longer chasing your dreams, but rather, living them. I could not be more grateful for my less than ideal year last year.

My story is not perfect, but that is what makes my journey beautiful.

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