Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Clotheslines and vulnerability.

On many days, I'll write something and get so into it. So into that I swear it feels like I'm reliving the experience. I'll ruminate over the details like how someone moved their hands or even the tiniest descriptions because I need that for the picture to be complete. Once I finish, I read it and then reread it. Then I'll laugh or cry or think or just sit in silence. And a lot of times I'll wonder how someone else felt when they read it, too.

This morning I was reading my friend Sister Moon's blog and smiling as she talked about hanging clothes on her clothesline--only to have to take them right down because the lawn was getting mowed. I smiled because of the community the internet creates--one where I can hear all about Sister Moon and the dust kicked up from the Mower-Guy. I have never hung any clothes on a clothesline. Or anything for that matter. Then again, maybe I have hung a few things out there. This blog is a bit of a clothesline, wouldn't you say?

This morning I was just thinking to myself. . .sometimes it feels a little funny to hang your emotions and thoughts out on that metaphorical clothesline. Your deepest feelings waving in the wind like unmentionables clipped on with clothespins. Moments of your life and the lessons nestled inside of it all at risk for getting covered with the Mower-Guy's dust.

It's kind of vulnerable sometimes.

Hearing from people sometimes takes a bit of that angst away. Sometimes.

You know what? Yesterday I read this post on a fashion blog that I read sometimes. It was literally a few sentences about a pair of strappy sandals and a sundress followed by several pictures of the author modeling them both. Within twelve hours it garnered 90 comments. Wow.

And at first I was like, "Really?" but then the more I thought about it the more I realized that this fashion blogger was hanging a bit of herself out on that clothesline, too. One thing she has to know for sure by now though is that those sandals were a good choice. Ha.

What am I even talking about? I don't know. I'm actually sitting in a hotel lobby at a medical conference. I'm waiting around and using the insanely expensive WiFi I paid for up until the last minute before I have to go and give my two lectures. Well, one is just a workshop and the other is a lecture. Hell, you get the picture.

Anyways. I hope you can see how much of my heart I put on that clothesline. I just want us to think and feel together and to be a bit of an empathic community of sorts. That's my goal.

I know, I know. Many of you are silent readers. I see the traffic which is steady and telling; somebody is reading and then coming back. And I appreciate that. But sometimes? I'd love to know what you think. I really would.  Not necessarily every day. But sometimes.

I'd probably be weirded out by 90 comments in 12 hours. In fact, I know I would. So on second thought? Just consider this a pathetic ramble. 

Oh and don't worry. I love writing enough to do it no matter what. But today? This has just one of those vulnerable days, that's all. 



  1. Dear Kimberly,

    I know about those vulnerable days. I love that you come here and write through them, because there is such humanity here, such love and goodness and spiritedness and pluck (a word my father used often!) that I would be sad indeed if I could not look forward to coming here every day. I read every post you write. I don't comment every day. Sometimes, I am left sitting and thinking about what you have written, unable to form coherent words in response, and not forcing myself to, because I am so immersed in the FEELING of what you have written, the life happening-ness of it, most of all the love and human compassion that infuses every thing you write here, every single thing. So that's what I think. I am glad you pin those words to that virtual clothesline, and I am glad I get to stand in the breeze that flutters your heart my way. I love you. I hope you'll keep writing and know that I am here, even when I'm silent. I'm always here.

    And I called you Kimberly!!!!
    Even though you are also Lisa in my heart. It's a love thing.


  2. Adore you, your heart, your family, your laugh. So glad you share with us!

  3. Adding my comment to one of the 90 you're going to get after this post! :)

    I comment from time to time, usually on the stuff that really hits home for me, but I'm always reading. Yes, my google reader gets backed up frequently (having 3 kids does that!), but I'm still a devoted reader and love hearing your stories, your insight, and your passion for life. :)

  4. Wow. I feel so connected to you right now. You took my clothesline and you built a post around it and you went on with it and you made more of it and it was perfect.
    I'm really, really glad you hang your thoughts out on this line. I am.
    Love you...M

  5. My very best friend and I were talking about how open you are in your blog. (We were also talking about how we can relate almost EVERYTHING back to "gradydoctor" hehehe). I love it here. This wonderful, thoughtful space! :)

    I also introduced my mom to your blog. When she posts a comment and you respond to her comment, she sends me an e-mail saying so. WE LOVE IT HERE! Yay! You rock!

  6. I am one of those readers that comes back almost every day to read what you write. I am also in medicine and have been let down as of late by what I see health care becoming. You inspire me and make me feel encouraged that people still do care and want to put their best effort forward. You have such compassion. I have been brought to tears from reading what you write, not only because you touched my heart, but because I am laughing so hard. You truly are a gift. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  7. I definitely can tell how much of yourself you put on that virtual clothesline, and I think that is what makes your blog so unique and so heartwarming.

    I am a mostly silent reader, but I check in every day.

    When I read your posts, I always come away with things to think about. You touch something deep within me and help to make me a better person. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable, Dr M.

  8. Dr. Manning, I would comment every day if I had something to really say, but sometimes you just get me thinking, and sometimes your writing leaves me speechless, it is so true, or so beautiful, or so in-depth enlightening...and sometimes my comments get bumped off by that little gateway thingy that wants to prove I am not a computer...but I read almost every single one of your posts, and they always give me a lot of food for thought. You do let us see, and you do describe things in such living detail it brings it to life for us. You do make a difference. I am going to print your marriage advice out for my daughter to read someday...you just have a lot of experience and wisdom, and I thank you for sharing yourself so honestly. You made a big difference in my life, for sure!


  9. Well... as your sister who does NOT live in Atlanta with you (Could you imagine??? We would be a MESS!) Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, as your out of town sister, I appreciate your clothesline... even though I kinda already know pretty much what's in that brain of yours, I love that you share the Kimberly I know & love with perfect strangers.

    I love seeing my handsome, silly & wise nephews... and I love seeing my equally handsome, silly & wise BIL (aka the BHE)... and I love seeing Grady & your small groups. I love the Grady Elders, and I love the "Warning: Totally Non-Medical Post" alerts.

    I guess you could say that I love everything about this blog... which makes sense, since I love everything about you. (sense, since... that makes me laugh. I'm such a nerd.) You know what I REALLY LOVE??? The fact that my blog that I NEVER write on is what inspired you to start this blog. LOL! Even if I never post again, I feel like a little part of your blog (somewhere in a back corner next to a dust ball) is a little part of me.

    I love you, My Mizzle. Keep writing and sharing. Each blog post truly helps me miss you a little bit less... but just a little...

    XOXO, Biz

  10. I love everything you "hang out" on your clothesline, Miss Manning. I think it was Emerson who said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Well your life and those of the folks around you are examined everyday and your life is DEFINITELY worth living and sharing with all of us. Thank you.

  11. Keep writing. Keep being and sharing with us , who you are. I'll be here taking it in as long as you care to so. I swear, I am THE most jaded of them all when it comes to medicine and doctoring- you have chipped away, a bit, at some of that in me. Yup-right within the lines of this here blog.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

  12. Thank you for your courage and grace in hanging your thoughts and emotions out here. The kinship I feel with you and the inspiration I draw from your writing could never grow into the gift they are without your candor and vulnerability. The days on which I have not stopped by your blog (at least once!) are so few I have a hard time remembering them. I may not always have time to share my thoughts (you know my schedule is a bit crazy these days), but I send you my... would it be weird to say "love"... I've been stuck here typing and backspacing, trying to come up with a different word, but nothing quite captures the sentiment like "love".... (not in a creepy, stalker kind of way!) I wish so many good and wonderful things for you and your loved ones each time I am here, because you add so many good and wonderful things to this world.

  13. Your blog is often the best thing I read all day. I probably unfairly compare all of my attendings to you, especially now that I'm on my IM rotation. I would love to come work at Grady for a day or week or month and see in person the place you so eloquently describe every day... Keep writing and I'll keep reading. You are truly an inspiration.

  14. I'm a pre-med student and I stumbled upon your blog about a month ago. Now I check in once in a while before an all-nighter for BioChem or whatever else I'm studying for. Your heart shows through with every blog post, and strengthens my desire to become a doctor as compassionate and empathetic as you are! You inspire me to examine my life and my interactions with people more than I ever have. I really appreciate your honesty.

  15. I don't comment a lot but I read often. Your humor and honesty make this one of my favorite blogs, so thanks! :)

  16. I'm one of those invisible readers. I discovered your blog last year and read through every one of your archives as anatomy and MCAT study breaks. Your fantastic stories remind me what I'm working towards and are a bright light in the midst of the cynicism I sometimes encounter towards a career in medicine. I'm proud to say that I'll be entering medical school this fall and hope to become as passionate and caring as a physician as you are!

  17. I'm reading...and admiring. Albeit silently...

    I've told many about you though...mostly medical students. Showing and sharing with them that there is light at the end of this tunnel called med school. Yours shines so bright through this blog.

    I'll speak up more :-)

  18. Thanks for writing. I never comment but ALWAYS read. You're absolutely my virtual "mentor". Thank you, thank you for being a source of inspiration during the not so inspiring times in med school. 'Preciate you. -EUSOM 2013

  19. I love your blog and read it regularly. My work is the isolated, confidential 50-minute hour and it helps me to have fellow healers to listen to (and occasionally chat with) around the (virtual) water cooler. It helps reduce my sense of isolation.

    I love your affection and connection with your patients and students. It restores me and reminds me how very connected I am with my people as well. Thank you.


  20. I absolutely love your blog. You put your heart and soul into your words which makes every post a powerful testimony to the amazing woman physician you are. I check your blog everyday, I'm addicted to your writing. You are simply awesome, keep up your strong work.


  21. I think you ought to get lots of good comments. I really enjoy reading what you have to say. You are fun, insightful, interesting, kind, knowledgeable, and you seem to have a good balance in life :o) I've been SO busy lately. I miss reading your blog regularly. It's almost tomorrow and I just HAD to read one post from you. I'm glad I did. Good night!

  22. I'm not sure if I've ever commented here, but will say this: your blog is in my favourites, and it's because your entries make me feel, think, and sometimes cry. It's nice to know there are people like you in the world.

    So, thank you. And I hope you never stop blogging. :)

  23. I'm a bit of a science nerd which makes me love your medicine posts. I'm a mom, which makes me appreciate your parenting posts. And I'm a regular ol person, which makes me appreciate your everyday stuff posts. Just thought I'd pop out of hiding to share the love.

  24. I check in multiple times a day just to see if anything new has shown up. I'm a recent reader but I'm hooked, and definitely always trying to learn from what you have to say.

    I love that you personally respond to every comment - it really just adds to the wonderful good feelings around this webspace. :) Thanks for all you do! Keep it all goin'.

  25. Dear Dr. Manning,
    Like several others today (I'm guessing), this is my first comment. I just want you to know that you are truly one of the most inspiring women ever! I can't remember exactly when or how I found your blog, but I know that you have provided me a strong, wonderful and beautiful person to look up to. Thank you for being so awesome :)

  26. Hi! I started reading your blog last year and I've never commented...but this post prompted me to finally put something in writing (actually typing I guess). I love reading what you have to write! Thank you, Sincerely, one of your faithful readers in Northern Virginia

  27. Angella, I can really relate to what you wrote, because sometimes I feel like my comments don't convey the depth of what I actually get out of Kimberly's posts.

    I read a lot of fashion/home decor blogs, and wondered at the numerous comments on both good and mediocre postings. But, I've since learned that there is a lot of "blog politicking" going on in the comments section which accounts for at least some of those large numbers. I know that I already feel like I'm a part of your blog community, because this is the ONLY blog a comment on, and I read many. So just know that you've managed to convert a major 'lurker' :) with your virtual clothesline. I'm so happy I found this blog--I feel like I've found this gift that everyone else hasn't found yet (but I'm sure that will change soon, if it hasn't already). You're such a good person, and I'm glad you share your life on this blog.

  28. I never comment, but read daily. I only recently discovered your blog and find your writing to be so inspirational. Yours has become one of my favorite blogs and even though I probably won't comment, I will keep reading until I can't.

  29. You are my window into Grady and my daughter's world and I love you for that. I also have the great privilege of being a part of your children's lives so whether your posts are about work or home they always resonate in my heart!
    Coach B

  30. I read regularly and love your blog, though I'm not the commenting type (except for now)! Thanks for sharing so much. :)

    -a young pediatrician

  31. Your blog makes me a better patient.

    I'm a chronic case. My toddler has multiple complex chronic medical issues. To be honest, my natural instincts with doctors suck. I used to be an awful patient - I just wanted to run everything (it's my health!), and I just couldn't figure out why I had horrible relationships with the doctors I dealt with (except a couple of saints).

    So I started reading "doctor blogs" to figure out the "doctor psyche". I wanted to know what was going through the head of the people on the other side of the desk/computer screen/bed rail so that I could interact with them properly.

    Your blog was one of the first I stumbled upon, and it has been so incredibly helpful. The first thing I noticed was that... wow, my doctors care. I didn't know that. I thought they forgot about me the minute I left the room. Second, they want to help. Third... doctors are people. And they're actually really nice.

    I've been working really hard at mending bridges and being, well, nice, and now I actually have decent relationships with a lot of our doctors, and low and behold, our care is way better, and appointments are great. We're all much, much happier.

    Thank you for helping to teach me how to be a better patient. It's really made an impact.

    There. That's my clothesline comment.


  32. I'm a silent reader. I'm a Physician Assisting student in my didactic year right now. I want to make sure I keep my humanity when I start seeing patients, and I feel I see that humanity in you. I hope I get preceptors like you!

  33. I'm a female primary care physician who stumbled on your blog via Oprah and now visit nearly daily. You help me remember why I chose primary care and why my senior patients are so important. Your blog and your stories remind me of the Kahlil Gibran quote, "Work is love made visible." Never doubt that you make a difference in more lives than you know. Thank you for what you do.

  34. Hey Dr. Manning, I check your blog almost every single day and really enjoy your posts. I'm a twenty-something African-American woman IM intern at a hospital similar to Grady. Right now I'm in that period of my life in which I struggle between trying to find myself on top of navigating through residency. So I really really really appreciate your blog because it helps me to see there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And that it is possible to be happy and balance it all while glowing in that light.

  35. dearest far away soul friend- like you need another comment- but if it makes you feel better, i rarely get a comment- i mean for reals- most posts have none (unless from the creepy saudi prince- but i don't post those) but it's okay! we write because we need to. xox

  36. Wow. All I can say is. . . .I appreciate you all so much. Inspired again by the great Sister Moon, watch me as I attempt to respond to every last comment. . . .

    Angella -- You are one of my mentors. Thank you for these words, for reading, and for being a friend. I mean it. Love, Kimberly/Lisa

    NOLA -- Thank you for your insights and for bringing Liberia to me.

    Court -- And I appreciate you.

    Sister Moon -- You = The Truth. Believe that.

    T. -- Yay right back at you! YOU and your mom rock!

    Anon -- 'preciate you.

    Karen -- Silent readers are wonderful. Thank you.

    Lena -- Here is a hug your way. Knowing that you're reading is enough.

    BumbleBee-- Yep! You deserve full credit for me starting this blog!

    Mary Alice -- I love that quote!! I never heard that one. Thank you so much.

    Anush -- You could possibly be one of the most thoughtful people ever. I appreciate you. You know that, right?

    Spicegirl -- Just email me when you get to ATL. You can totally round with me, sister.

    PreMed -- Keep pushing. I am so happy you find insight here. I appreciate you.

    nurse8 -- You rock!

    Kelly -- I appreciate my silent knights of the round table. Thank you, sister.

    Charisma -- No pressure, my dear. Med school is hard enough! :) Hope to see you around Grady soon!

    EUSOM '13 -- 'preciate you even more.

    Barbara-- Being connected is what it's all about, right?

    Dee -- And you are simply awesome.

    SarahD -- My friend who loves her husband just as much as I do! Thank you for always reading!!

    Sharon -- I'm so honored to be one of your favourites! Especially with it spelled that way! :)

    AllisonI -- Let's hear it for science nerds! And also for regular ol' people!

    Kelsey -- I need to do better with responding to every comment! But thank you for noticing and for reading!

    Nicole -- I am so glad you're here.

    Mary -- Hey there! I love Northern VA and also love hearing from you. Thanks -- I appreciate you!

    STACE!! Hey mama! That's real talk about the blog politicking for reals. Thanks for that insight. You know our chance meeting was one of the best days EVER!

    Anon -- *sniffle* Thanks.

    Coach B -- I love knowing the that you and your daughter read. I love keeping you company on your lunch breaks, too. It makes me want to write more.

    Young Peds -- It's okay to not be the commenting type! I'm happy to have you.

    Cassan -- A better patient? Wow, wow, wow. I am so honored. You will make me try to be a nicer doctor.

    Pamela -- PA students rock! I love working with you all and trust me, there are many WONDERFUL preceptors just waiting to teach you!

    Anon -- "Work is love made visible." That's what I'm talking about!

    Anon 6:57 -- Happiness is a choice many times. I appreciate you being here and remember to always represent!

    Kris -- Oh dear heart, you know I read every word you right. You reminded me to be reflective on this Maundy Thursday and on many other days, too. I love you so. And yes, we do need to write. We do.

  37. Waving at you between the sheets on your clothesline! My google reader backs up often, but I'm here and reading. I try to comment at least once a week, but know that I truly appreciate the heart and soul you put into all your posts. I always FEEL the love that you have for your husband, children, family and Grady family. (((Hugs)))


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails