The strength to be vulnerable

It’s been a quiet week on Kim Lloyd

And for good reason.

Josh ties a mean double knot.

Josh ties a mean double knot.

Last Friday I went in for what I had hoped would be a minor surgery on my shoulder, but came out with a full repair of my labrum which means I’ll be in a sling for the next 4 to 6 weeks and recovering for the next 4 to 6 months.


I was typing left-handed but recently discovered the value of talk to text. So I’m dictating this post as we speak... actually as I speak.

Pun intended.

I’ve got one week in the bank which feels really good,  but already this week I’ve discovered what I think the hardest part of being in this position really is. And it’s not just putting a sports bra on over your feet or plucking chin hair with your left hand.

No, the thing I found most challenging in the last seven days is needing other people.

Like constantly.

I can’t tie my shoes, can’t open a bottle of pills, struggle to dress myself and can’t do my hair. Listen I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal because I have a really short hair but actually it’s as annoying as sand in my bathing suit. If I don’t put gel in my hair I look like a baby bird.

My hair is so fluffy… just…so fluffy.

Tasks I haven’t thought twice about in the past, like pumping my gas or putting toothpaste on my toothbrush suddenly go a lot easier with a little help.

And that’s hard.

It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. I think it takes comfort in your own skin. And yes I think above all it takes strength.

I might be strong enough to deadlift 280 pounds but asking my coworker Josh to tie my shoes is really much harder. (Although next time I’ll ask him not to tie a double knot as it took me 15 minutes untie my shoes...)

I've watched the Brene Brown talks on vulnerability. I've got a pretty solid intellectual understanding of what it means to be vulnerable. But living in that space?

That's a whole different animal altogether.

When I was in college I had a wonderful mentor I worked with for two years before he developed cancer. One of the biggest lessons he taught me in the months before his death was how to let other people care for you. Not just that it's okay to need people. But that letting others help you and feel needed is a gift to those people.

What I couldn’t appreciate was how difficult it is to do. And yet he did so with such grace.

My mentor was keenly aware that students like myself wanted nothing more than to do something for him. We needed to feel useful. We just wanted to help. And he gave us the gift of allowing us to help him. 

I’m sure you’ve been in a position before where you’ve seen a friend or family member go through a difficult time. And all you want to do is help. But if the situation is reversed you might find yourself shrugging everyone off.

Nah, I'm good. I got this.

Or find yourself frustrated.

I'm fine! Stop asking! I'm good!

I’m not saying that I got this down pat. I think the next 3 to 5 weeks in the sling is going to be a challenge. But I also think the universe is trying to teach me some lessons here and I'm going to do my best to see what those lessons are and to listen.

And figure out how to deadlift with one arm.