Your Only Story – #Blaugust Day 6

It’s been a whirlwind of a few days. I should have blogged about the last day of my residency, but it was such an emotional roller coaster that I started to feel like I was really thankful for the distraction of having my best friend available for me.

The last day of residency was a half day (or 3 hours long, 4 if you include the closing speech at breakfast). This is where the emcee asked how many of us were going home a different person than when we were all sitting there 5 days earlier. None of us at the table could say we were the same person we were 5 days previously, because we had to borrow 4 chairs from another table and squeeze in so that all of us, including our professor, were able to sit together at a single table.

We found ourselves in our respective classrooms where all of us participated in a pin ceremony. Starting with the person to the right of us, each person shared a word that they wanted the pin owner to remember once we all left Chicago. I held it in for a couple of pins, but lost it one person after me. When one of the ladies (I’ll call her M.R. for ease of keeping track) was being told the words associated with her she lost it. So I lost it. And then we passed the box of tissues around the room because we were never going to get through it without some.

There’s a word to describe types of families: Enmeshed. Enmeshed families are often too close and too involved. This is problematic when doing therapy because it’s hard to help people find where their family members end and they being (thus finding their own identity). We joked that we were enmeshed, but the truth of the matter is that we truly were.

We ended up at the Track 1 closing ceremonies. It was not a surprise that we were the last group to leave the hall. The last group to make the long trek back to our rooms to finish packing (for those leaving the city). Prior to leaving, M.R. came up to me, tears streaming down her face, and told me how much she learned from me and how much she admired me. I told her that I had been in her shoes and I knew how she felt.

But please don’t let the story in your head be the only story of your life. Remember everything we told you today and know that the value of your life is more than the negative things you say to yourself.

We cried. We hugged a couple more times. And I told her that if she ever needed a reminder to just text me.

That advice goes for anyone who ever feels overwhelmed with life. Or self-doubt. Your self-perception may not fit with the one you exude to others… and they may just see the beauty you fail to consider even exists.

This post is part of the #Blaugust series.