Author: Coach Stephanie
“I have OCD,” she said.
“I know,” I said, “Lots of people do. Leonardo Dicaprio has OCD, too. You know, Jack.”
She gave me a long side glance, “Jack Nicholson?”
“No,” I laughed, “Leonardo Dicaprio. You know, Jack that dies in the end.”
“Oh… Does he take medicine?”
“I don’t know, you know, lots of people have it. We all have struggles, and we do things in our lives to help us with them.”
She looked at me for a moment. “Do you have any struggles you have to overcome in your life, Stephanie?”
I let out a nervous breath. Do I ever, I thought. My instinct toward self-preservation wanted to chime in with a definitive “No,” but there was something else pulling at my words. This woman was asking me if I had struggles, and I sat speechless for a moment because I knew what I had to say. Day in and day out, I require that she push herself onward and upward toward self-improvement. I push her to a place of vulnerability by asking her to change her behavior and probing why this demand is so difficult to enact. When she says she can’t do something, I constantly tell her just to try once because I believe in her, and I want her to prove herself wrong. I monitor her behavior, scoring and assessing her every move, yet through this process over these months, there has been something deeper growing.
You see, when she breaks down because she just feels so discouraged when she doesn’t earn her reward, I remember how disappointing it is to work all day for something and see it slip through my fingers at the last second. When she sings “My Heart Will Go On,” weeping uncontrollably because Jack dies in the end and it’s just so sad, I tear up too because such raw emotion is impossible for a friend to ignore. And when she storms out of the room because she didn’t get her way, I remember all the times I have acted the same in my heart, even if my physical body didn’t follow. So I breathe in, rejecting the impulse to maintain a façade of perfection, I instead attempt to meet her with the same vulnerability and honesty I require of her daily. “Yeah, I do. I have struggles, too.”