It’s been some time I have been volunteering here at the charity hospital. I’ve been recording daily images a lot. Images inspired by the abundant nature of Kkottongnae, the community members, my developing perspectives, and my daily reflection.
Thinking back, I regret a little when I refused my first commission on leaflet design. A Sister wanted me to take on character design and the entire design of a leaflet including format, font, images. I had some confidence in character design part, but I wasn’t confident about the entire format design of leaflet and was worried about the request of having it made within just a week. I kind of gave neutral response and she kept encouraging me but, she didn’t ask me further in the end. I feel bad that I missed that opportunity now. I don’t have confidence in my outcomes. I think the main reason behind such feeling comes from pursuing some kind of perfection, that I must create something that would be appreciated by everyone, something that would show off about my capabilities and something that could put people in awe. I feel like that useless thing creates stress before I start anything. Now that I think about it, what could have happened if I took that commission and saw for myself? Even if the outcome was messy and no where near to my satisfaction, I still would have gained a good experience.
I was really shocked recently when M.H showed me his progress on what I had only jokingly asked him to do. A few days ago after learning about his wooden craft skills, I asked him to create something for me in hope to observe and learn his practice. He had his wood prepared already, How could he put into immediate action of what he has in his head, in such a short timeframe? Where does he get his motivation and confidence in his decision from? Whenever I plan to create something, I struggle with the smallest decision. I get scared that I’ll run into things too big to deal with. But M.H knows what he wants, he finds what he needs and eagerly asks for help from surrounding people. That’s another scary factor for me. Asking people for help. All these seem like such a long process and for me, each small step brings in a huge amount of worries and hypothesises. It’s frustrating but powerful. I need more grit and diligence. The amount of work and activity people could take would differ by nature, but it definitely could enhanced if I have the will to try and improve
I usually record my daily images at the end of the day. During daytime while working, I try to constantly communicate with patients. I ask them how they’re doing, then I wipe their saliva off their face, I clean their eyes. Being really honest, none of the scenes I see here inspire me pleasant drawings. Everyone’s lying on the bed, some with open eyes and some with closed eyes, some with their mouths open and some closed. Nothing pretty. The patients I usually talk to are limited, and it’s a very biased selection. Those who manage to talk to some extent, those who are young, near my age. Those who don’t throw tantrums. There’s one patient that I often try to talk to, and I usually ask what’s on his mind that day. Sometimes he answers “pretty thoughts”. Sometimes he just repeats my question.
Patients aren’t dumb. Some tend to smile more, some tend to show no reaction, but they’re all aware. It’s unbelievable that I’m talking about something so obvious in such an assuring tone. Seeing them barely moving and talking makes me think of the patients like thoughtless babies. And the patients know that I see them this way. They know that I’m unwillingly talking to them and forcing a smile. A few patients used to avoid eye contact with me.
Through my volunteering here, I wanted to learn how to apply my practice into something practical, something people-friendly. I wanted to get busy, I wanted to make myself of use. As I find these images of myself, it gets me to think more earnestly about the position of nursing and the fellow nursing department members.
It brings joy that I could offer things to those who cannot offer me back. But as that joy comes from having less of me and sacrificing myself, we naturally tire. It’s not always smiles we get in return for our offering, many times we get frustration and anger even. Then we easily come to a conclusion that what we do doesn’t have much meaning, because we aren’t offering genuine kindness or love. And it makes us forget what we actually do.