Rumbling and The Bogeyman

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This week I have been a train wreck. I have been a train wreck and I’ve been feeling guilty, feeling at fault, like there is something inherently wrong with me, or bad about me for being sick.

For missing work and meetings and commitments I care about.

For letting others down.

Because then maybe I’ll seem undependable or irresponsible.

Because then maybe I won’t be liked.

Or loved.

Am I still loveable, am I now unworthy?

That thought process is insane because it’s so untrue. Sometimes my heart doesn’t believe it’s untrue though. I don’t know where these feelings always come from. From being a good daughter. From being an excellent student; GATE program in Middle School, Honors and AP in High School, graduate of UCLA School of Nursing (where it’s burned into your mind that the acceptance rate is indeed less than 4%, the damn most competitive nursing school in the nation). From caring for others as a career, putting their needs first for over 40 hours of the week. I don’t know the root of my inappropriate reactions; it’s probably a combination of all of the above and the selfish kind of thinking that puts unreasonably high expectations on myself. It’s one facet of my humanness, the presence of strengths and weaknesses and insecurities that surprise me. They don’t surprise me that I have them, they just surprise me because they pop up like the Bogeyman and say BOO! HERE I AM!

In a book called Rising Strong, Brené Brown talks about something called The Rumble. The Rumble is where we own our stories, the stories we tell ourselves and tell others. We become honest with ourselves about why we feel certain things and act certain ways, often digging into deep concepts like guilt, worth, and shame. I guess you could say that I’m in The Rumble today.

In this chapter Brené Brown refers to this place of rumbling as a delta. She describes the delta of the Greek alphabet, which represents the difference in mathematics. She then delves into the geographical term delta, where rivers and oceans meet in marshlands:

This is why the rumble is so important – many of use have go-to emotions that mask what we’re really feeling. Deltas are where rivers meet the sea. They’re marshy, fully of sediment, and forever-changing.  They are also rich and fertile areas of growth. This is where we need to do our work – our key learnings emerge from the delta.

So right now I’m smack-dab in the middle of a delta. This week I’ve travelled from the Emergency Room and many doctor offices to confinement at home. I’ve felt scared, shitty, anxious, guilty. Relieved as I’ve gotten a bit better, restful and hopeful for healing. I bounced back to anxious and guilty for not healing as fast as I anticipated. Now I’m down in the delta where I’m rumbling. A winding, difficult path just to sit here and feel so human. So ordinary and imperfect, but also so valued and esteemed. For the umpteenth time, I’m reminded of my unique worth which cannot be altered by sickness, by medical leaves from work, by others expectations of me or expectations of myself. I am reminded that I deserve rest and rejuvenation when ill; I deserve to be cared for and to care for myself with the same amount of love that I bring for my patients.

I’ve also been reminded of my friend in Panama. He used to always ask in a deep, slow voice, “Who…are…you?” I was younger then. I would say, “KAITLIN!” and laugh. He’d say, “NO. You are princess of God. Daughter of God.” He would use this same question to remind each of us of our unique, unchangeable position with God.

So today I am human. I am also His beloved daughter.

2 Replies to “Rumbling and The Bogeyman”

  1. Yes. I’ve been in those shoes countless times. When those thoughts come into my head I try to push then down, to repress them. But it doesn’t fail…they manifest themselves in some way or another. Yes we are children of the all mighty, but we are also human and have human tendencies. When we are in the pit of our thoughts we just need to be reminded that we will not stay there and we will overcome. Thanks for the post. I identified with it so much. I’ll be praying for you!

    1. Thank you Lucy, you are in my prayers also! I love this – “when we are in the pit…we just need to be reminded that we will not stay there.”

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