So, thanks to a very nice and very dedicated social worker who I knew back when I was 12, I had a meeting with the head of the CF department at Duke Medical Center last week. Hopefully, I will be able to work with them in some way soon but that isn't the point of this post!
When I was leaving the room, saying my "thank you"s and "we'll be in touch"s, the last thing I proclaimed as I left the room was "Thanks, Guys!" They gave me funny look and I went on my way.
When I got to the parking deck, I thought back on that moment. That was inappropriate familiarity, wasn't it? They are DOCTORS and possible future employers--should I refrain from being so casual?
I know where it comes from. I have spent so much of my adult life feeling less-than because I don't have a degree, certainly don't have a PhD, and processing all of what that means in this society. During my last terminal illness, I came to understand my value and that it has nothing to do with a degree.
When I went back into "The Well World" the feelings of inferiority came rushing back--I was immersing my self in a world of high degrees; doctors, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists etc... Over time, I have gotten to know many of these people that I had once intimidated me and I no longer think they are superior. I think I am just as smart as them, usually less trained, but no less intelligent. So, now I am unsure of my boundaries.
If I see you as vastly "better" than me I will be awkward and shy. If I see you as equal to me, I will be casual and more relaxed. I suppose I need to find the middle ground between "I'm not worthy" and "See ya later, dudes!"
It's a weird world out there and, in many ways, I'm still feeling my way through the basics.