Friday, March 9, 2012

An Odd Duck's Squeamishlessness

When I was a kid, maybe in 4th or 5th grade, I was fascinated by my mom's soft contact lenses. She hardly wore them, though. When I had a moment to sneak into her bathroom, I'd unscrew them out of their cases and simply stare at their über gelatinous magnificence. 

I read the instruction booklet on how to put them in over and over again. One sneaky afternoon when she was napping, I put them on.

(I know. I am an odd duck. So be it. Odd ducks, unite!) 

Of course, my vision was blurry. And later on in life, as the ultimate, in-your-face Karma, I wore contacts for about 23 years until I got laser vision surgery recently.

BUT. My point is, I possess a sort of squeamishlessness. (Ooh. Say that really fast and it could make you drool by accident!) I'm not grossed out by discussing vomit, stool, snot, pee, or the color, smell and consistency of said bodily excretions. We doctors happily use adjectives like "currant-jelly" and "rice-water" and "soft serve ice cream" or "hard and pellet-like" with happy aplomb when discussing these things. Sure, I throw in a colorful Ew and *hurl* during my Medical Mondays.

But in truth, it takes a lot to make get me nauseated. Hence, I was sort of made for a career in healthcare.

HOWEVER. I did not think I was built for fiction writing. Only after years of trying did I realize I could take a tablespoon of talent and a pound of hard work and turn it into something.

What about you? Do you have a natural talent for your calling, be it writing, or your day job? Or did you have to fight to get where you are? Maybe a little of both?

45 comments:

Jai Joshi said...

I think that no matter what your talent is, or whether you've got talent or not, you always have to fight for what you want. Just having raw talent isn't enough. You have to have the determination and drive to make it happen.

I do believe that writing was my calling and that my temperament is a writer's temperament. I'm always curious about things, I like to learn, I interpret everything from the perspective of storytelling. The inner world of characters is always the most fascinating thing to me no matter what the situation.

Jai

Nancy said...

My three primary loves, beyond the family of course, are practicing psychotherapy, acting, and writing which are all three studies of people. I think I am honored to be gifted with the ability to see through pretenses in most cases to motivations which may just be good listening. I always hope that shows up in my writing.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've definitely had to fight and learn to write. I never thought I'd want to be one so had to learn the rules of writing through doing it.

I definitely had to learn my job as a lawyer. They don't teach you in law school. But I'm pretty good about it. We'll see how my new career goes in 2 years.

Emily Rose said...

You're a *lucky* duck! I'd love to not be a squeamish as I am....but there's not much I can do about it, eh?

SA Larsenッ said...

Lydia! I'm so glad you took that talent and made it work for you.

I love how realistic you made this post. (I was fascinated as a kid by my Dad's hard contact lenses. I never tried to put them in my eyes, though. lol)

Over the last few years, I've been taking the raw writing talent I have a working hard. Your recent success proves to me it's worth it. It's only a matter of time.

Happy weekend!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I couldn't do what you do.
I'm a detail person with a knack for tech, so only natural I'd work with computers. Like you though, I had to work on the writing part.

Richard said...

I wore hard contact lenses for about a year when I was in college. It was too much of a hassel. A grain of sand beneath them was painful, and one would fall out at the oddest times. I got tired of it. I guess the soft ones are better.

Louise Bates said...

Writing is, in fact, the ONLY thing in the world (well, besides breathing) that comes naturally to me. When one of my college professors tried to persuade me to pick a major besides English, because he was worried I'd never be able to support myself, I just stared at him blankly. There was (and still isn't) anything else at all I could even fathom doing for the rest of my life.

Of course, my main job description these days is "mom," which brings its own huge set of challenges along with it, not the least is trying to balance my family's needs and my own need for writing!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

At one point I wanted to be a physician, but I would never have lasted. The smells would have done me in.

Nothing comes naturally to me. I have to work at it all. But that's what I enjoy about all the things I put my heart into (my writing and my photography): the challenge to do better.

Shelly said...

I think I do have a natural talent for my full time job, teaching. About writing, I do know it's something I have a deeply embedded need to do. So whether I have talent for it or not, it's something I have to do.

(That was too funny about the contacts. I know someone who did the same thing as a child.)

Liza said...

For the 23 years you were wearing contact lenses, I was working somewhere that denied me the opportunity and focus to strive toward being a better writer...but when that job went away, I finally got to pursue it! As for my contact lenses, well I wore those for about 28 years, before my eyes dried up and the doctor told me I am not a candidate for surgery.

Tracy Jo said...

I am stuck on "currant-jelly". Lol! Ew. For me...my photography comes pretty naturally. With writing I feel like I do okay and it is going to take some hard work to accomplish what I want. Have a great weekend!

:-)

Julie Dao said...

I so respect people who are unfazed by body parts/functions that others consider "gross"! Eyes freak me out. I've been wearing contacts since I was 14 but sometimes I still get squeamish. I'm definitely not doc material (took me years to figure that out) but writing is what I love for sure! Whether I will get anywhere with it is a different story, but I'm willing to work hard and learn!

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'd say a little of both. I've accidentally put my husband's contacts in twice and both times freaked because I thought something was wrong with ME!

He needs to get a new case.

Have a great weekend.

Barbara Watson said...

Teaching is something I never saw myself doing when I was growing up, and when I first started, I probably wasn't exceptional at it. It's a craft that takes time to develop--balancing kids and what they need with the material you're helping them through.

But writing...that's REALLY something I didn't see myself doing. Or something I thought I was very good at. I'm still amazed that I'm working on a book.

Connie Keller said...

M'kay, you must have had brothers. :)(I'm often appalled at what my sons think is appropriate dinnertime conversation.)

Old Kitty said...

I have a natural talent for daydreaming!
:-)

Take care
x

Ghenet Myrthil said...

That's so funny. You really are made to be a doctor. :)

For me, I think it's a little of both. I've always written so it comes naturally to me, but I still have to work hard to get to where I want to me.

Meredith said...

Ha, I'm way too squeamish to be a doctor! But I've always loved reading and writing, so maybe I am made for this whole writing business. :)

Jax said...

And that's what makes you a great doctor!! I'm thinking about the laser eye surgery...what are your thoughts on it? I heard it reverses as you get older...

Rachna Chhabria said...

There are many days I struggle to find the time to write and during other days I struggle with the story;it doesn't move the way I want it to.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm not really sure. I've always loved words and language, but being a novelist is different from being a writer.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Maybe a little bit of both.

Chemistry was NOT my strong suit and I even remember asking one of my teachers if he thought there was a lot of chemistry in pharmacy. He said no. WELL HE WAS WRONG!!!! 5 YEARS OF IT. LOL
But I graduated (with excellent grades, I might add) :-)

Krispy said...

While reading this post, I kept thinking, "You're a perfect fit for the doctoring thing." LOL. My friend is finishing up Med School and while she finds many of those things gross, I think she's become so jaded to them that she mostly just takes joy out of telling us her disgusting stories and grossing us out. :P

I don't know that I have any hidden talents, except that I apparently retain random information like a sponge. My elephant memory made me an excellent student / test taker, and I think predisposes me to my expansive geekdom. Passing interest always leads to hours of wikipedia article hopping. Hah.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Haha! I love this post!

I think I had to fight a little. Or a lot, really. And I totally respect your squeamishlessness.

mooderino said...

I'm much more squeamish when I'm alone than when people are around. Blood and fluids don't really have an effect, but skittering things out of the corner of my eye do.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino
The Funnily Enough

Kelly Polark said...

This is gross (but it won't gross you out :) , but I used to gag very easily when it came to vomit. But after having kids, you do get used to it. I was very proud of myself the last few weeks while a few of my kindergarteners threw up and my son also got sick (all on different days) and I handled it without blinking an eye.

Angela Brown said...

I wish I weren't so squeamish. I was getting a little antsy just reading the listing of bodily secretions. Sad but true, but I'm a bit squeamish about all these volatile things our bodies can do, if properly prompted.

I also wish I could say that I had a pound of talent and only needed to add a teaspoon of hard work. The truth is I scraped up some talent that I think someone might have left behind, not realizing I, the poor talent peasant, knelt nearby. So I've taken this scraping and have been working and working and learning along the way. It would be wonderful if I got a chance to share a little something of what I've learned with the world.

Shelley Munro said...

I love your medical posts and I'm usually totally in sync with your yucks and hurls. When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet, but realized cutting into animals and dealing with blood wouldn't work. The writing thing came quite naturally though, so I play with my strengths and just write about dead bodies and wounds.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

It's good that some people aren't squeamish or there'd be no-one to patch us up when we needed help.

I have a natural flair for creativity, seeing how things can be improved upon and design, which I love.
Being an empath I find it hard to cope when someone is injured, but I am good at diagnosing.

DL Hammons said...

There is no substitute for hard work! Talent makes it a heck of a lot easier, but talent without hard work results in squandered possibilities! :)

lbdiamond said...

I understand people. It helps.

Catherine Stine said...

Squeamishlessness, ooh, yeah, good word!
The idea of putting in contacts actually makes me squeamish!
My special talent? probably thinking up really whacked out plot-lines and inventions.

Carrie Butler said...

You definitely have my respect!

When I was in college, I had a brief identity crisis. I dyed my hair and decided I wanted to switch from business to radiology. (To this day, I'm not sure why...) Anyway, I passed the program's aptitude test and had to complete two weeks of hospital observation hours before I could apply.

My first day of observation, an elderly woman peed on the floor. During a chest xray. She just started peeing everywhere.

The rad-tech went to clean it up, and I was all, "Look at those colorful stars..." Yep. Almost fainted over pee. That's when I realized I was never meant to work in the healthcare field.

I ran back to business/marketing the next day. ;)

Belle said...

I would say my calling was raising children. I raised my own, helped raise my grandchildren and babysat many children over the years. I loved it and I'm good at it. Now, I'm blogging and thinking of writing a book.

Sarah said...

I'm not too squeamish, except when it comes to toenails. I can't stand being near anyone while they clip their toenails. Finding rogue toenails on the studio floor is the absolute worst.

Oh wait, that's not what you were asking?

I think I've always had a talent for artsy fartsy stuff. As a young kid I wanted to be an artist. That vision changed over time to include actor, writer, dancer, fashion designer, musician, graphic designer, choreographer, etc. So, my inclination has always been for the arts. However, that doesn't mean that the act of creation is always easy. It's taken a lot of hard work for me to get where I am, and it's going to take a lot more for me to accomplish my goals.

Al Penwasser said...

I'm not sure if I have a natural talent for writing.
But, I DO have a natural talent for getting the old "soft-serve" machine cranking after I've eaten a bowl of raisin bran.

Sarah Pearson said...

I don't have any natural talents, but if I let that put me off I'd never do anything!

shelly said...

My doc uses words such as milkshake and chocolate pudding to describe certain things. Know wht you mean.

Munk said...

I appreciate amalgamations like "lung-butter" and "eye-cheese". I have no opinion as to whether this leans me toward any vocation.

Heather said...

It sounds like you definitely have natural talent where the medical profession is concerned. And, with your 'voice' I'd say you have a lot of natural talent in writing as well. :) I've been writing novel length works since I was 12. I'm not sure if I'd call that natural talent or sheer determination. ;)

The Golden Eagle said...

I wish I was as squeamishless as you are! I can handle a little goop or gloop or what-have-you, but beyond that I back away. :P

Leslie Rose said...

I started out in acting and ended up in teaching where I perform to a captive audience every day. I'm not squeamish either unless it is a live fish. That's where I draw the line.

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BECKY said...

Lydia, I found this SO funny! When I first got contacts, I was at least 25 years old. I got the soft kind and almost PASSED OUT, just trying to put them in my eyes!! Talk about a squeamish person! I swear to God...I was at a Sears (not the best place to get contacts in my opinion!) and remember like it was yesterday. I had to put my head between my legs and everything!! ROTFL!!

 
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