Maybe it’s the fact that there’s less than two weeks left, finals lie ahead, and I have a class presentation
tomorrow today…or, just that the light from this gorgeous full moon is stirring the cauldron of thoughts. Whatever it is, I just couldn’t sleep.
So in a moment of what I’m sure I’ll think of as brilliant decision-making later this afternoon in pharmacology, I silently padded out of the bedroom around 3am and into the office and pulled out some of the post-it’s that have been stuck in my planner. (I’m a post-it gal. I especially love those little square ones that fit perfectly in my daily planner columns, and with so many options, I can color-code to my heart’s desire.)
On one little post-it was a note to check out Brené Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability that came out in 2010. i’ve seen it passed around on Facebook this summer, but “just didn’t have the time” to watch it. I’ve been so consumed with all the transition this summer that I haven’t really been in the space to spend twenty minutes watching a video on vulnerability. Unless you’re a counselor/social worker/psychologist what-have-you, I imagine for most people this topic doesn’t really sound…fun. Count me among them. Plus, these kinds of videos often come across as a bit preachy, which is always a turn-off.
What a lovely twenty minutes.
It comes at a time when I’ve just been feeling so…full. Things are falling into place with school in a really awesome way. Today (yesterday) in clinical we reviewed where we’ve been this term and where we’re going next term (chronic care). It was a bit stunning, really, to see just how much we’ve learned in 9 weeks. I left with clinical with that tingling anticipation that comes right before confidence, thinking, “Ok, I’m doing this…I’m actually going to be in the clinical setting next term.”
You know that feeling where life is so full and it’s mostly amazing, everything feels aligned, and sometimes you just start to randomly cry at the beauty/chaos/joy of it all? Yeah, that’s about where I’ve been. So, to watch this video in a moment in which I’m feeling so open was…well, awesome. There are so many layers of the experience of vulnerability that Brown unpacked that are relevant in different arenas of my life: as a student, a life-partner, a daughter, a sister, a peer pregnancy-options counselor, a teacher, a nurse and midwife in formation…
As a new nursing student, I know that I am not alone in feeling a bit of the “imposter syndrome.” We put on our scrubs, wrap the stethoscope around our necks, glance through our checklists and pray hard that we’ve remembered it enough to pass competency tests. And still, we feel like we’re pretending. They must have sent the letter to the wrong person! It’s an uncomfortable feeling, sometimes, to know how little we know and how soon we’ll be directly involved in patient care. I wish I could say I sit with that discomfort a bit more gracefully than I do in real life (sorry, honey, for some of those cranky evenings this summer).
But I’m learning to sit in that discomfort, to linger in the vulnerable places. And when I’m really honest with myself, I kinda like it here. I can try on different ways of being a nurse. I can observe my teachers and try on their hats for size. This fall I can be the one who says, “Um, I’m a student…can you explain that?” and not get too many dirty looks for slowing down a rushed report in the morning (well, I hope, anyway).
So, here it is. Nothing new, for sure–vulnerability is a core element of the human experience and I’m pretty sure we’ve know that for a long time. But perhaps this presentation of it will stimulate something your heart/mind/body as it has for me. I’d love to hear about it if you’re willing to share.