Welcome to the comments and discussion of Chapter 5: The Rumble of the book, Rising Strong by Brené Brown! Catch up on Chapter 1: The Physics of Vulnerability, Chapter 2: Civilization Stops at the Waterline, Chapter 3: Owning Our Stories, and Chapter 4: The Reckoning.
Let’s get started! Chapter 5!
Cancer has brought about so many needs to Reckon and Rumble in my life. I’m sure this is true of people who have not experienced cancer as a young adult but many of my own, personal examples involve cancer. Brené Brown talks extensively of the initial stories, conspiracies, and confabulations we tell ourselves in a moment of distress or discomfort. The stories we first use to explain a situation. A therapist of mine, when talking about situations where she recognized her tendency to self-harm with her internal dialogue, where her initial story was to blame herself, would instead say, “I could hurt myself with that,” and then redirect her thinking to a mode of curiosity. I continually attempt to adopt this in my everyday life. Some days are better than others, I assure you, but it is a simple and easy trick to try and start becoming curious about your emotions and feelings before any self-harm happens in that initial story telling.
A good, yet very simple, example is when I was feeling sick after a chemo treatment. I was tired and had spent much of the day watching dumb reality television on Netflix. When I started thinking about the dishes that could be washed, or the laundry that could be put away, or the research paper that could be finished, I immediately started with the internal name calling. I labeled myself as lazy, useless, and several other names. Then, thinking back to a session with my therapist, I said out loud, “I could hurt myself with that.” It was almost like a challenge, with the unspoken assumption that I could hurt myself with that, but I am choosing not to. I could choose to not call myself names that had very little footing when one looked at the rest of my day-to-day habits or accomplishments, and see what my body was telling me that today I needed to give myself some space for relaxation and recovery. Dealing with the vulnerability of my body needing this time of doing “nothing” was hard for me. It was scary and frightening and so calling myself lazy was a method of self-protection. It was easier telling myself that I was lazy, than dealing with being sick.
This is what the rumble means in my life. I stop, think, “I could hurt myself with that,” and use the opportunity to become curious and ask the other, hard questions. Brené Brown offers many, wonderful insights into how we look at those initial stories. This chapter is a gem.
P.S. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Boo!
If you’re just joining us, here are some logistics:
We will talk about a chapter each Monday until the book is done. Then, we’ll use one more Monday to talk about general feelings from the book and anything else you’d like to discuss. Join in, in the comments every week! At the end, we’ll have a book club discussion via video chat! Also, there will probably be spoilers. Read along with us!
How are you enjoying our young adult cancer book club?