I've found one bad thing about moving home: having to get a new doctor. Specifically, having to get a new "lady doctor".
Yeah, we're going there today. But not in the way you might think....so please bear with me.
I'm sure there are way more vulnerable situations one can find themselves in on a Wednesday afternoon, but for me, going to the "lady doctor" was it. I realize I'm 32 years old but yes the "lady doctor" still makes me nervous, anxious really. Having to divulge all that personal information to someone I don't know, answer ALL the uncomfortable questions....among other things......ugh, it's so awkward.
I had a knot in my stomach all morning leading up to my appointment. I walked slowly into the office and reluctantly stepped on the scale (did not like what it said, in case you were wondering)....and then I waited. And waited. And waited.
......and then I waited.....again.
IS IT JUST ME OR IS THE WAITING THE WORST PART!?!
By the time the doctor walked in I had worked myself up into a full-blown tizzy. I hate this part, the "hi my name is Ashten here are all the personal things that only like 2 people know about me" part. She pulled out my folder and started "getting to know me". Nervously I played with the gown, quietly answering each of her uncomfortable questions to the best of my ability. With each answer I felt myself getting smaller and smaller on the table, my legs swinging nervously back and fourth, my eyes darting back and fourth. It's an uncomfortable thing; being so vulnerable with someone you don't know. You find yourself wondering what the other person thinks about you; whether their opinion of you changes the more questions you answer. Being vulnerable makes you feel "oily"; like you want to slide out of your own skin....like it's not yours and it doesn't fit all of a sudden.
I think the doctor must have sensed my nervousness (it was incredibly obvious) because suddenly she asked: "so, do you have any pets?"
"Yes ma'am," I said, glad we had something else to talk about, "his name is Gatsby and he's a Lab/Great Pyrenees Mix."
Want to make things less awkward? Ask me about me dog.
And then she started telling me about her pets: two cats and three dogs, to be specific. We started talking about my cross-country move, how she's moving into a new home after a break-up and how stressful moves and break-ups are. Suddenly, I wasn't the only one being vulnerable. Suddenly, the appointment wasn't as nerve-wracking and awkward anymore because I wasn't the only one sharing uncomfortable, personal things.
No one ever wants to walk into a "lady doctor" appointment (if you're me) or an uncomfortable situation feeling alone. No one wants to feel like they're the only one going through something or the only one who is scared. Sometimes, having someone there to say "here's what I'm going through, and sometimes I'm scared too" can make all the difference or bring some light to someone in darkness. I've learned that not everyone can relate to my struggles, and sometimes I can't relate to theirs, but I can be the kind of person who listens and empathizes, just like my new doctor did for me. I've learned that sometimes, just having another person say "me too" is all the help I need.
Vulnerability is best met with kindness, understanding and a whole lot of empathy. It thrives in "me too", it grows in love and thrives in whole-heartedness.
So, when someone gets vulnerable or shares something hard with you, be kind.
Or, if you're me, just ask me about my dog.
I guess I could have called this post "Gatsby Saves the Day". Damn it, another missed opportunity.