This post brought to you by 3 months of residency, 1 week of podcasts, and a painfully awkward Saturday morning.
With 3 months of residency under my coat, the inevitable question of “how’s it going” has begun to come up with increased frequency in conversation. The simple answer, because who really has time for long drawn out discussions, is that it’s going well. Naturally, there are good and bad days, but as a whole, I’m learning a lot and enjoying the experience. However, though this explanation is definitely true, it doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Okay, now.. where to begin?
I am awkward – which anyone who has ever experienced me in a social environment where I am unsure of my role can probably attest to. I hate my awkwardness. It’s uncomfortable – not only for me, but for everyone that I am interacting with – and so, I actively try to avoid any and all potentially awkward situations. This looks different by the day, but it can take the form of being the first person out of any meeting, avoiding parties/gatherings, and panicking whenever I see someone that I know outside of their normal environment. (Thank God that my poor facial recognition skills generally keep me from recognizing people in public.) In short? It’s difficult and isolating, but most days I prefer to run from the discomfort than to face it.
As of late, there has been a societal push toward authenticity and vulnerability. For most of my life, I have claimed to value authenticity – I do my best to say what I mean and mean what I say. Vulnerability, however, is a whole different story. Being vulnerable – taking down the shields, wiping off the facades, and simply being real, regardless of the consequences – is difficult, terrifying, and often uncomfortable. But yet, it is what we are called to. After all, what is love without vulnerability, and where is community without love?
This season, and especially this week, the topics of authenticity and vulnerability have been especially prevalent in my life. After 6 months of listening to my 419 song favorites playlist on repeat, I decided it was time to venture into the wonderful realm of podcasts. Interestingly enough, almost every episode I tuned into was discussing the value of authenticity and vulnerability, and how we must embrace the uncomfortable to truly grow.
One of the most poignant of these was a simple 6 minute episode on Before Breakfast called Embrace the Thrashing. It talked about how growth requires thrashing – that mental and emotional flailing of us fighting our fears, discomfort, and perceived inadequacies in the pursuit of something greater. We often search for an easy way out though, forgetting that the only things worth doing are worth doing well.
The metaphor of thrashing seems an apt description of my life and residency. There are many days where I find myself flailing about – doubting my abilities, hating my failures, running from my insecurities – just trying to stay afloat. But, I am reminded that it is in this discomfort that I find growth. This moment is not the end, but just another page in this journal called life. And so, let us live in the present, embrace the thrashing, and enjoy the journey.
‘Til the next time,