I started this blog to uncover a quiet but integral part of who I am — a writer. As such, it is extremely satisfying to see the little numbers next to each post that shows how many times the page was viewed. Even better is when someone responds to what they read. And best of all, when someone I love and admire talks about how my writing struck a chord for them.
This happened recently with my friend and fellow oncology massage therapist, Lucy Allen. She shared a paper written for a course she is taking, and in it she quoted a section from one of my posts. Here is what I wrote back to her (with a link to the referenced post):
I am humbled and grateful that you chose to include something I wrote in your paper. Thank you. It’s wonderful to know that what I write is helpful in any way.
I have a reflection on what I wrote — reading it again through your eyes, what strikes me is that I could have done a much better job of letting that client have all of her feelings. I think I was maybe too quick to go into the “You will be empowered!!” space before she had time to really sit with her guilt/shame/whatever.
And this is another great thing about writing and sharing — I get to see my blind spots. When I first wrote that post, I was all hopped up on a self-acceptance kick, ready to take down body-shaming in all its vile guises. What I failed to notice: maybe my own crusading was taking away a moment for my client to really have and sit with her emotion. Instead, I swooped in, biases blazing.
I am savoring the process of becoming aware of this. Like most humans who sometimes do clumsy things, I was trying to act from a place of love and compassion. I forgot to also act from a place of supporting and serving my client in her moment, rather than supporting my own agenda. So, my dear friend Lucy, thank you for the compliments, but most of all, thank you for sparking the lesson.
In the words of the incomparable Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”