A couple months ago I had a medical procedure done, and it threw me for an unexpected loop.
I was way more affected from the experience than I thought I would be. Just shaken up.
I couldn’t pinpoint if it was the fear around the procedure, the anxiety of the results, the COVID atmosphere, being alone through the entire thing, being foreign to most medical experiences, the fact that there were no pink sugar cookies to take after like there usually are, the pain, the bloody scalpel the doctor thought I’d think was “cool” to see after the procedure (lol), or just a culmination of it all (probably).
There was a lot of anticipation built around that appointment. A lot of built up emotional pressure. The procedure was more intense than I mentally prepared for, and was just a lot to take in. So I just focused on each breath. Being totally honest, I fought back a few tears mid-procedure from just being overwhelmed and so unfamiliar with anything like that. After the procedure, I felt embarrassed for how I had felt and how I was feeling. So embarrassed that I felt weak and unable to process the experience better, even though I probably seemed unfazed (that was the goal) to anyone else around me. Afterwards, I walked out and b-lined to the nearest bathroom just to decompress for a second. And as I set foot into the stall, tears came down my face. I was processing all the emotions I had just masked: fear, anxiety, discomfort, pain, unfamiliarity, embarrassment. I was embarrassed I felt these emotions. I felt weak and pathetic. After composing myself, I finally walked back to my car, and as I closed the door, it hit me all over again. I felt even more embarrassed the second time around.
For years and years, I’ve let myself pretend things are a rose-colored version of their reality. And finally, I took off the rose-colored glasses and let myself see and feel things as they were. I let myself recognize that something was scary, uncomfortable, painful, stressful, overwhelming. I let my guard down to being “weak” or “soft” and let myself just call things as they were and feel things as they came. I didn’t try to sugar-coat or soften the blow or even see the “bright-side.” I gave myself permission to call things as they were.
“It’s ok if you’re scared”
“It’s ok if this is scary to you”
“It’s ok if this hurts”
“It’s ok if this is overwhelming”
“It’s ok if this is a lot to process right now”
“It’s ok to cry”
It’s what we do with that permission and those validations that matters. It’s giving yourself permission to fully process as you need, to begin to process all that you’re feeling instead of stacking each emotion up in a flimsy wall that will eventually come crashing down. It’s ok to process things as they come. To call them as they are. When we identify things, and call them for what they are, it disarms them.
“I’m intimidated, and that’s ok”
“I’m nervous, and that’s ok”
“I’m scared, and that’s ok”
“I don’t like this, and that’s ok”
It’s not an excuse to back down, it’s recognizing something for what it is, and then knowing you’re still ok in it and through it.
My emotions, my feelings, my thoughts - were called out.
I called them what they were, so they were no longer looming dark, heavy, ambiguous shadows causing me to act and feel a certain way.
When I identified them, I understood and knew I could process through those things.
Call things out as they are. Identify them. Feel them. Process them, and grow. Don’t back down. These experiences are just expediting and chiseling who you’re becoming. Lean in.