I am real crappy at taking a compliment. I am not the type to argue if you say something nice; I will politely listen to your kind words and thank you. The issue is that I rarely if ever take the words to heart. I can't translate them into improved self-image.
I do have a few areas where I feel I have some skill and when it comes to most forms of communication I feel somewhat gifted. This weekend was the resident's graduation and it is always a night I enjoy. Everyone gets dressed up and grins from ear to ear with pride and accomplishment. You meet all the beautiful families that you have only heard about. It was this night that I was completely taken off guard. An ultimate compliment was given and I couldn't pull it together to even do my typical polite thank you.
|The only photo I have from the night is this pre-award ceremony obligatory car selfie|
The residents collectively vote on the best teachers, best person to call at 2:00am with a question, intern of the year, and etc. I have amazing partners at both hospital sites, but honestly I had all but given up on ever getting the most prestigious award of the night, the teaching award. The same two brilliant physicians won it every year, every.single.year. This is the award that I had built up to be the pinnacle of my educational career. On this particular night, I heard my name called softly into the microphone as the winner of the "Teacher of Year" Award. I took a beat, threw up a little in my mouth, and stomped awkwardly to the stage. I snatched the plaque from the beautiful resident who handed it to me and scurried away like a rat after finding a delicious morsel. I hugged no one, I didn't even walk all the way up the steps and before you knew it I was back in my seat. My husband later said, "I didn't even know you had left."
I cry thinking about how much it means to me and how terribly I accepted it. I watched others come and go with their honors jealous of how they took their time hugging and shaking hands. They snapped photos with proud smiles. What is wrong with me? This is my moment; a moment a career in the making and I hustled away from it like Quasimodo.
I know in my heart of hearts I feel unworthy of the honor. I know I need to get over that. The next day at work a critical care fellow joked with the resident I was working with that he was in the presence of greatness, "Did you know your attending is the attending of the year? The resident's reply, "I am not surprised at all about that, of course she is." Tears pricked my eyes again. I often wonder if it is just the fact that I make them laugh on rounds that tricks them into liking me and thinking me smarter than I am. On this night, I couldn't deny that my humor has very little to do with how they view me as a teacher, they think I am a good one. Surprisingly the hardest part of receiving this honor was simply owning it.
God help me.
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