Getting Uncomfortable Week 4: Healthy Things Grow

Growing things go through uncomfortable but necessary stages, but there is reward on the other side.

5 minutes
Haley Stomp

This past week, I noticed all kinds of opportunities to be uncomfortable. Some of them just happen like mold on bread and others you purposely sign up for. Overcoming the uncomfortableness can be a triumphant transformation and other times it's just necessary to continue to be a reasonably functioning adult.

Warning: The blog gets real this week. It’s not as fun as Zumba or traveling.

Brain Health For Pre-Teens: Mission Not Impossible

If you have kids, congratulations — you’re uncomfortable on purpose! Every day is a chance to grow from your uncomfortableness.

This week was brain health week during my son’s church class. Parents were asked to sit with their pre-teens during a brain health presentation and then attend a parents-only session with a child psychologist.

I learned a few things, including:

  1. Pre-teens do not want to sit next to their parents during a brain health class.
  2. Pre-teen boys are not big on singing together.
  3. Parents can learn a lot during presentations for pre-teens, including how well their kids behave in church group.
  4. There are typical post-trauma recovery cycle stages and time frames for disasters, but experts say the “C word” pandemic broke the mold. We are all out here going blindly and bravely forward together.
  5. Breathing deeply and slowly during times of stress helps metabolize cortisol.
  6. Can you imagine this type of a presentation in the 1980s?
  7. Good reminder not to stand next to, hug or talk to your pre-teen in front of other pre-teens.
  8. No matter the age, we are all works in progress.

Because parenting is hard, we heard from a child psychologist at Magnolia Connection ( on tips to help navigate pre-teen/teenage relationships. Let’s be honest, these tips apply at any age, and I’m sure there was some spousal side-eye during this discussion. Here’s what I heard:

  1. Practice active listening
  2. Collaborate on solutions
  3. Stay calm
  4. Model growth
  5. Model boundaries
  6. Offer grace

No parent is perfect at any of this. However, I concluded if you’re a train wreck, it’s going to be hard to model how not to be a train wreck to others. It can be very uncomfortable to admit you’ve come off the tracks, but a train running into the ditch is no use to anyone but those writing media headlines, so find a way to get rolling again.

Author’s photo Singapore National Orchid Garden

Smooth Move, Ex-Lax

Look, let’s just keep diving into the uncomfortable stuff. If you got through the brain health discussion, let’s move to digestive preventive care. I received a notification this week of a note to my doctor from the digestive center saying I never responded to the requests — electronic, snail mail, carrier pigeon, Harry Potter’s owl — to schedule my first colonoscopy. It was the adult equivalent of a scolding. Thanks in part to my uncomfortable challenge, I have now filled out and sent in the paperwork that’s been sitting on my desk for two months.

Why did I avoid this? I was scared and didn’t have enough information about the whole thing. To overcome my fear, I googled colon cancer and colorectal cancer screenings, diagnoses, treatment and recovery. After reading about it, I have concluded that finding something early is the best possible situation for me, my family and my friends.

For what little solace this offers, I want my beautiful friend currently going through post-surgery recovery and my awesome aunt who has now recovered to know I see how brave they are. I’m not sure when I would have filled out the form without being able to model their bravery. Wish me luck drinking all the stuff.

Kids Are Brave

While we adults are adulting, kids also have to be brave every day. Can you imagine being told puberty is coming and wondering what the heck is going to happen to you? Who would like a time machine to re-navigate the friend drama of middle school and junior high? No, thank you.

I would like to give a shout out to the checkout girl at the sporting goods store who asked me, after bagging my purchase, and because her coworkers had all said no, if I had an extra feminine hygiene product. Yes, I’m sure some of you are uncomfortable reading this, but can you imagine the bravery it took this young lady to ask a stranger for help? She made my day by trusting me to help her, and I’m so glad I was able to. I see you, girl. Time for your employer to have some emergency supplies.

Author’s photo Singapore National Orchid Garden

You’re Never Too Old to Learn How to Use Your Electronics

I’d like to end the recap of last week on a lighter note, although reality is some weeks are just heavier.

As part of my get-uncomfortable-by-learning-new-things challenge, I signed up for two photography classes to learn how to use my “fancy” camera in a way that’s not auto mode, which is kind of like using your iPhone just to call people. I am happy to say that, even though I totally forgot about going to the beginner class I paid for, I did make it to the intermediate class, managed not to reveal my novice status and learned a lot I can put into practice. You can be sure I’ll be checking out light diffusion at whatever wedding or event I’m at next, and maybe I’ll finally take a good bird picture. If you need me, I’ll be over here happily reading my camera manual and watching how-to videos on YouTube.

Here’s to being brave when being a human is uncomfortable and here’s to finding ways to get uncomfortable on purpose to be a better human.

Author’s photo Singapore National Orchid Garden