MonoChrome Part One

Dr Acquaye, so what do you think of this X-ray?”, my consultant asked. What a way to start a career, I thought. I could count 1000 eyes focused on me – those of my two consultants, countless medical students and nurses. This was my moment! But eerrrhh..there was a problem. Truth was, I had no idea what I was seeing on the X-ray. My pupils dilated as a response to fake the” I-know-this thing” vibe but nothing clicked. And with what felt like an hour, I snapped into a trance.


Beautiful Trance…Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Recreating a scene from Pirates of The Caribbeans: On Stranger Tides; here I was on the Carribean Island with a naked wife and a bunch of beautiful babies running around leaving little footprints in the warm beach sand. The feeling of coolness in my throat as I sipped coconut juice to the sounds of birds chirping high up in the countless tree canopies was so peaceful.

“Charles, Chaaaaarles! We are waiting!” Snapped out of my trance only to realize I had been sweating so bad, my lab coat was soaked. What followed next was intense bouts of laughter. I bowed my head in shame, I was a loser.

In that month, I will go on to have several gaffes in using the X-ray to aid my diagnoses and the cycle of disappointment, ridicule didn’t stop.

I was going through my pain period!

A Tale Of Seduction One

I discovered pick up lines somewhere in 2015. It was fascinating how people made rave comments on how a couple of quirky structured sentences could get a woman laughing so hard enough to make her want to bang your brains out. I surely wasn’t going to let this experience pass me by. I had to try it out someway somehow. But there was a problem – I never had the courage to walk up to a woman, stop her and worst of all, spit out a canned pickup line. This time I had learnt enough, 50 of them under my sleeve was a sure banker. I was finally gonna have a girlfriend I thought. Life laughed.

Ever walked up to a girl( you know the bombshells of beauty queens?) and felt your heart beat faster than an Ethiopian athlete on the last mile of a marathon? All of a sudden, your respiratory effort begins to fail, your palms all sweaty with drips of sweats rolling down the corner of your eyes. Then you hear voices in your head, “Hey brooo, she is out of your league!” .”Ha!, you think you stand a chance? Your nose is deviated at an angle called disgusting…”

Then your biggest fears comes to pass, few meters to her, you stop right in her personal space and deliver the golden line. You are expecting a reaction- a laugh, a giggle. Nothing! She stands there watching you in utter shock. Your thinking is all over the place. What do I say next? Then she says, ” don’t ever waste my time!”.

The walk of shame is like a journey of a thousand miles. You are within the focus of everyone, every laughter is about you. I will go on to have remarkable gaffes in starting conversations with random women including those in my social circles. I was in my pain period.

The Pain Period

The pain period represents the unforgiving demoralizing phase experienced on the journey towards achieving a goal or mastery of a skill. Trying to get in shape? Learning how to write good blog posts, mastering a new recipe, learning a new language, trying to figure out all the crap on an x-ray? Chances are you are going to struggle, fail a lot of times, question your confidence and abilities. It is a phase of maximum resistance and comes with its emotional baggage- vulnerability. No one likes to feel vulnerable. What if I fail? What if it never works out? Will I recover from the embarrassment? What if, what if, what if? Don’t forget we are supposed to be mirror images of a perfect Creator, right? The feeling of knowing you terrible or suck at something can be terrifying and uncomfortable. That is your pain period.

How do most people beat this phase? They give up! Never try or avoid this phase altogether by procrastinating and rationalizing themselves out of it.

A guy overthinking when to go in for a kiss. His pain period.
.Me on the right, thinking of all the painful scenarios that could pop up if I tried.
Photo by Courtney Clayton on Unsplash

Do you still remember all the emotions you felt going in for your first kiss? Hell! That took me two weeks of rationalizations, procrastination and several check-ins with the dentist. Yet, the moment before the kiss was still painfully nerve-wracking. I feared the worst but the only way was…

Beating The Pain Period

I know this is the part where you pull out your pen and paper waiting for the magical lifehack in beating the pain period.

Sorry buddy. Only way is through the Pain. You’ve got to love being vulnerable.

This means accepting you have to suck to get better. This means accepting disappointments, regret, fear is part of the process in achieving goals or mastering a skill. Burnt recipes, failed interviews, failed investments, bad dates, bad relationships… Uncomfortable yes, but swallow the bitter pill.

It is the only way you are ever going to beat this phase and get there.

DRC

I recognized this, stopped being hard on myself and this happened!

Tale of Seduction Two

Here I was sitting in a job interview. The mission was simple: impress the panel, get the job. The thing was I knew and hated two members of the panel way back in medical school. On my left was a notorious Pediatrician with a track record of burning out a lifetime’s worth of self-esteem in seconds. To my right, a renowned eccentric Pathologist who never scored me 55+ on an exam. The last on the panel was a random woman busy typing God knows what.

Few minutes into the academic interview, I was asked a question. Out of my mouth came a massive brainfart. The atmosphere was tense. The random woman stopped typing, pushed her spectacles up to have a better look at me. Paediatrician scratching non-existent hair and the Pathologist with a dropped jaw.

This scene looked familiar. It was just like the gaffes I had with countless women on the streets. But there was a difference this time, I had gone through my pain period with aplomb and developed an invaluable skill from the countless failures. I had learnt how to think on my feet to diffuse terrible social scenarios. Out of my mouth came words of beauty and wits, within seconds the whole panel was laughing. The Interview went from an academic one to “tell us about yourself”. I leave the interview with the sentence, “you have been our best interviewee, we have to confess!” Did they know about my pain period? Hell no, but I had been through mine- the rewards, fucking amazing!

Monochrome Two

I know you are itching to know if I saved the world from a nuclear explosion with an X-ray film. Zilch! However, I have gotten so better at X-rays, I never snap into trances. Inevitably, I might run into an X-ray that will surely zap me straight into a trance. I bet this time, it will be a scene from Wakanda with me being Thor making an epic entrance. Cue that!

Will I feel the disappointment? Yes but I know the liberating truth.

You’ve Got To Suck To Become Better! The only way is through the pain.

(Got triumphant pain period stories to share, do so in the comment section below, Cheers, DrC)