Yeah, but…

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Ups and downs and ups and downs.  You know the story.  Work is crazy but better than it used to be.  Life in general is ridiculous but better than the alternative.  <——– please note that there was a time not terribly long ago that I didn’t believe this.  Things are definitely better!

Spring is here and things are green and warm and wonderful, even with the heavy coating of yellow pollen everywhere.  I’m back on my steroid inhaler for asthma that I really do try to use twice daily.  Really.  And I realize that my plans for great core training and healthy eating during the off-season have turned into fantasies that continue on into the spring.  Profound thought from Janis Joplin: Tomorrow never comes.  Every night when I think “Tomorrow is the day I start getting back into being healthy by running and eating right” turns into the next day when I think “Well hell.  I just had McDonald’s and a doughnut for breakfast and I hit snooze too many times to run before work and I have to drive 2 hours home and there’s no way I can fit in a run and I guess I’ll just do it tomorrow.” But then “tomorrow” turns into “today” and… well, you get the picture.

I have eaten healthier the past two days though, so there’s that.  A super awesome friend at work made soup this weekend and brought me some.  It was delicious and much better than the Taco Bell I probably would have resorted to otherwise!  Another super awesome friend at work fixed the hot water in the shower so I can exercise before work or during lunch and shower away the sweat.  (The potential to do that is there, anyway.)

Speaking of work, the past few weeks have really opened my eyes to yet another issue I have.  (Geez.  I just never know where these stream-of-consciousness posts are going to take me!)  I had to discuss job stuff.  I have been interviewing for positions near our new town.  This sucks and I hate it.  I hate it because interviews are weird and awkward and you’re being judged and you’re trying to take in everything and judge it and decide if it’s a good fit and then you have to talk about money (oh hell, please let the other person bring it up. it’s their hospital.  don’t make me ask.).  But it has been eye-opening.  Turns out, I know more than I thought I did.

I have been a veterinarian for 12 (TWELVE!?!?!?) years now.  I am starting to feel like I might be fairly okay at it.  (I know this is not at all reassuring to my friends who are also clients who are reading this.  But your pets have survived so far, so that’s pretty good, right?)  And this is my issue.  I totally under-value myself and my abilities.

I’m not sure if I always have, but it’s been there for as long as I can remember.  People are always complimenting me and (like my incredible mother taught me) I accept their compliment gracefully.  But in my mind I am thinking, “Yeah, but…”

Yeah, but I wasn’t sure.  Yeah, but I mess up a lot.  Yeah, but I don’t sing as well as 99% of other people here.  Yeah, but it was luck.  Yeah, but I barely finished the race.  Yeah, but I missed that diagnosis on that other patient last year.  Yeah, but I could have done better.  And that is where it lies.  Yeah, but I could have done better.

My husband looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell him that.  He reassures me and lists all the ways I am awesome (because he is a saint to live with me).  And with each bullet point, I think, “Yeah, but I could have done better.”

I have some confessions:  I almost retook the ACT in high school because I only made a 32.  I almost retook the SAT because a 1450 wasn’t good enough.  I applied to vet school because it was harder to get into than medical school.  (And people are awful.  Bleh.)  I didn’t do a half-marathon until after I did a marathon.  I don’t feel like an Ironman because it took me forever and I had to go to the medical tent.  I’m not a runner because I’m slow. I can sing kind of good, but not great.  (I don’t even have perfect pitch. I can barely sight-read.  I could never be a professional vocalist.)  I am not a great mother because I work and I let my kid watch TV more than she should.  I am not a good veterinarian because I doubt myself and I don’t always just KNOW the answer and sometimes I even get things wrong.

Seriously?  Yes.

The thing is, if someone handed me a list of all the awesome shit I have done or continue to do, I would tell them they are awesome.  I would tell them how amazing they are and how tough they must be to do all this.  I would tell them that no one is perfect and everyone doubts themselves, but that they are doing great.  Better than great.  I would tell them that everything is ok and that life is hard but good.

But as soon as they told me this was a list about me, I’d say, “Yeah, but I could have done better.”

What. The. Hell. Is. Wrong. With. Me?

I don’t think I am alone in this.  And I am aware of it (Knowing is half the battle!  Thanks, GI Joe!!) so there’s that.  But it’s not so easy to change.  It’s been with me for a long time, and I’m having trouble shaking it.  I have to go into these interviews and act like I am worth them hiring me and worth X amount of money, while I’m thinking that maybe I’m not.  Ok, maybe I’m only worth X-Z amount of money.  Maybe I wouldn’t be a benefit to your hospital.  It actually really sucks.  But, like all character building exercises, I’m sure it will be good for me.

I researched this (because I’m a nerd) and it turns out this is not uncommon.  You all probably deal with it too and think I’m just a complainer, but this is my blog so suck it.  It even has a name.  “Imposter Syndrome”  I’m just waiting for people to figure out that I have no freaking clue what I am doing (even though I mostly do, but don’t tell that to my anxiety and my overactive brain…  shhhh) Those articles I read were really interesting, but they didn’t actually tell me how to fix it.  There is probably no cure.  I’m pretty sure it’s terminal.

So I decided that I would make up my own tiny attempt at maybe slightly improving my self-esteem.  Just a tiny bit.  Kind of.  Maybe?

I am going to make a conscious effort to replace one word in my weird internal dialogue.  Instead of “Yeah, but…”  I’m really going to try for “Yeah, and…”  One little word change.  It’s not even a big word.  Three letters.  I mean, that’s what I would say to any one of you.  If you told me your achievements and said, ” …but I would have done better,” I would act like you were crazy and say, “Whatever.  You did this AND you were also dealing with this,” or “Yeah, AND you even did this.”

This may be wildly optimistic, given my track record of failed plans, but I am going to try to catch myself in the “Yeah, but” part and start saying, “Yeah, and.”  It doesn’t even have to be a positive about me.  As long as it isn’t critical about me.  “You sang beautifully.”  “Yeah, and it was such amazing music.”  “Great job on your race.”  “Yeah, and it was such a pretty day.”  “You did a good job with that case”  “Yeah, and isn’t she the cutest cat ever?” “Your resume looks great.”  “Yeah, and I’m a motherf*ckin badass rockstar!!!”  Well, maybe I won’t say that last one out loud.  But, depending on the interviewer, I might.  (And that’s probably the place I would most like to work.)

It’s a tiny change but I’m hoping for at least a little impact.  Maybe it’s about time I try to treat myself like I would treat a friend instead of treating myself like someone might treat a red-headed stepchild…

“I think you’re great”  Yeah, AND I am!    <——- that made me cringe to type.  It sounds so arrogant.  But I’m going to leave it in here.  You all are great for sure!