I have a thank you to write and it’s long overdue. It’s been a rough ride since the last time I posted- I’m in my foodservice rotation right now which means lots of early mornings (including one 2:45am wake up), tiring days and early nights. Not a whole lot of time for reflecting on the wonder that is life. It’s no joke, this internship business.
However, two important things happened to me in the last month and the response is worth talking about. First, I had an anxiety attack in front of my entire intern class, while being recorded on video. Luckily, the whole full-on hyperventilation stage happened afterwards in a back room, comforted by the older, wiser queen bee intern. Suffice it to say- it was not a great experience for me. Second, I posted to the whole wide world (or at least the ones who took the time to read it) that I have (have? had?) an eating disorder. One of these incidents was my decision and one was entirely out of my control but the thing I noticed after both of them is that people are nice. People are a lot nicer than we sometimes give them credit for a lot of times. Because no one laughed, no one made fun of me, no one ran away in embarrassment at knowing me or thought I was stupid or thought any of the ridiculous things I imagine people think. Instead, I was on the receiving end of a lot of compassion.
Compassion is a powerful little tool to have. In my opinion, it is a widely underrated and underutilized quality. But this is in my entirely biased opinion since I am, if possible, “overly” compassionate (and I think those who know me would agree). Last week, I spent a good 5 minutes trying to save a bug in the shower before realizing that it was a small piece of plastic. I feel bad for the spoons and bowls in the bottom of the drawer so you’ll often find me rifling through to the bottoms of silver and dishware in order to make sure the other spoons don’t feel left out. Anytime a tragedy happens, you’ll normally find me feeling just as sorry for the “bad guy” as I do for the victim because life is hard and can back you into some pretty dark corners.
But I digress. This is about your compassion, not mine. The two episodes I referred to left me wholly exposed and vulnerable. They lay bare some of my biggest secrets, things I never even considered speaking to anyone but my therapist about. I had a few people tell me it was “brave” to post about my eating disorder but I didn’t and don’t think about it that way; it was scary but mostly something I had to do for myself. To prove…that I could, that I was strong enough, confident enough, over it enough. I don’t know what I was expecting- some painful glances, some awkward topic changes, maybe some judgement. But I can tell you for certain that I wasn’t expecting to be met with so many kind words, full of love and support and tenderness and all that soul-enriching loving-kindness that Buddha talked about.
It’s a type of comfort that is hard to describe when people reach out to you and tell you that they understand, that they’re there for you, that they’re sorry it happened but that you made a difference. Being that person is the kind of thing that makes people beautiful really. All of you who read that and reached out to me, you raised my spirits, you filled my heart with gratitude, you made me happy that I did it; you’re beautiful people and I wanted you all to know it. Compassion is only a small piece of it really. I don’t really know what else to say expect thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has sent me positive messages and positive vibes. I might have some issues but I’m extraordinarily lucky to have you people in my life.