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Andrea Anderson Polk’s Blog

Clinically Practiced, Biblically Informed

  • Writer's pictureAndrea Anderson Polk

What I Learned About Feeling Embarrassed

Updated: Jul 12


A striking photo of Andrea Anderson Polk wearing all black and sitting in a white chair.

I hate traveling.


There, I said it. To all of you.


It really upsets my nervous system.


Don’t get me wrong, in the last few years I’ve traveled with my husband and have enjoyed very memorable vacations together. The sacrifice of travel to arrive at our destination was well worth it.


Since then, I’ve been in a season where I have absolutely no desire to travel. I guess what I really mean to say is, I do not want to be away from home. Because…


I. LOVE. MY. LIFE.


Each morning, I wake up happy and excited about what’s before me. And each evening, I go to sleep with a grateful heart. While also lying next to an eager, adoring husband who is trying to respect my introverted bubble. Even after having talked about our day for hours – I’m finally falling asleep and he whispers, “can I just tell you one more thing?” How can I resist that!


This is my dream home. In my dream neighborhood. With my dream husband. Having my dream career. The rhythm and routine of everyday life is blissful for me right now. I don’t feel like “I need a vacation” or “to get away for a while.”


I deeply appreciate the joys of my everyday life. Like today, I had a slow morning. My tea ritual. An uninterrupted quiet time. I received a grocery delivery from Whole Foods and I’m excited to make the Jennifer Aniston salad. It’s also cherry season, my favorite. I’ll read a new clinical methodology book that I’m totally geeked out about. Then later, sit with my therapy clients in my beautiful newly decorated office that I can walk to from my house if I want to. Afterwards I’ll go on a run in my childhood neighborhood watching the sunset with a full heart because I love my career. I'll ponder how the little girl Andrea who used to walk these same sidewalks would be so proud of how far she's come. Then be with my husband tonight and watch our favorite show while eating popsicles. I’m living my best life.


I personally don’t have any desire to be traveling all over the world.


When I see people post about their trip to Paris or Italy and the amazing meals they ate and the breathtaking historical attractions, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I really don’t care. Those things just don’t do it for me. Food and landmarks don’t inspire me or get me excited.


Sitting here writing this email, doing what I love, next to who I love, and looking at our fresh spring flower boxes outside my window is what makes me happy.


But when other people ask me, “Where are you all going on vacation this summer?” or “Any upcoming travel plans?” – I find myself experiencing a tinge of embarrassment. I feel like a weirdo when I tell them no. In typical Andrea style, I’m like, well, what’s that about. I feel confident in knowing who I am and what I want, but why do I feel embarrassed when I tell other people?


I got curious about this, and I realized that I’ve felt like a bit of a misfit my entire life. I’ve never liked anything traditional or conventional. I like to do my own thing. I only like to be with my people. I’m socially selective. I say no a lot. I love deep, meaningful conversations and intimate group settings where I can talk to people one-on-one. I can also be alone and not feel lonely.


I don’t want what most people want.


For example, I never had the desire to be a mom. I did have a desire to make a difference in the world, to care for people deeply, to change lives, and to leave a legacy for the next generation. But not as a mother.


I also didn’t want a wedding. I never dreamed of my wedding day. The whole seating-chart napkin-ring, picking out flower arrangements, sending out invitations, choosing a wedding party, selecting a venue/ caterer/ table settings – it all seemed obligatory and manufactured. Dare I say dreadful, even if I had a wedding planner. All of that for a few hours of celebration? Nope, not for me.


I did want a marriage. A great love. You don’t have to have a wedding to get married. Sharing this for those of you who feel embarrassed if you don’t want a wedding or didn’t have one for whatever reason. You also don’t have to have an engagement period after a proposal. You can just get married. When you know, you know.


I met my husband; we started talking and never stopped. I wanted someone I could be myself with. Someone I could really talk to. Our conversation chemistry is insane. Magnetic. I’ve never seen another couple who has what we have. And for those of you who know our story, I waited a long time for God to bring me a husband.


Dan’s my favorite human. Thankfully, another thing we share is that he doesn’t care to travel either. He traveled a ton before we got married and now that he has love, he says, “I just want to be with you.” There’s nothing better than mutual obsessive attachment. Says the therapist.


I was secretly grateful we got married during the pandemic because I didn’t have to explain to every single person why we weren’t having a wedding. Being married so I could be quarantined with my best friend was nonnegotiable. Maybe one day we will have a vow renewal with our closest friends and family and make it one big marriage celebration party. Any volunteers to coordinate this gathering so all I have to do is show up in a fantastically stunning white dress?


Anyways, back to misfit – Andrea who feels especially embarrassed about not traveling. Who doesn’t like conventional, traditional things. Who doesn’t want what most people want…


I don’t want to be busy. I do not want my day busy with a zillion tasks and things to do for people. It’s not for me. I don’t like it. Yes, I absolutely love working with my people. But I also love an open calendar. Some people prefer a full calendar. They like having every minute accounted for. God bless them. I don’t want a booked solid day. I don’t feel obligated to fill every single second. I really like having space. This is part of the reason I don’t need a vacation to escape stress and to rest.


I also don’t like holidays. I appreciate the meaning behind the holiday, but I find the commercialization, exhausting preparation, and high expectations annoying.


For example, for the 4th of July last year, the golf club my husband belongs to hosts a prominent celebration with professional fireworks. It’s spectacularly catered. It’s kind of a big deal. Members look forward to this event all year. I felt like we should go. We did. We made the best of it. The truth is, I don’t care about fireworks, and I don’t want to be with a crowd of people and have to stand around and make small talk and do a bunch of social engineering.


Although, I did wear this amazing red outfit and a woman came up to me and said, “if they were giving out a best dressed award for the evening, I’d vote for you.” We had a delightful one-on-one meaningful conversation, and I loved hearing her story and connecting with her on a deeper level.


All to say, this year we won't be going back to the club next month for the 4th.


And we also won’t be traveling for vacation this summer either.


And I don’t feel embarrassed to say it anymore.


I’ve learned to accept this about myself and feel confident in how God created me. In fact, now when people ask me about holiday plans and traveling - it’s opened up honest, vulnerable conversations that inspire others to embrace their weirdness and not feel embarrassed for being different. Whether it’s their unique personality, unconventional life choices, or deepest heart’s desires.


I’ve also learned to be open to the suddenly shifts that happen and to expect the unexpected. So, who knows, next year at this time we might be in Paris or Italy celebrating the 4th and I'm that person posting all about our trip on social media. Never say never, right?


My experience doesn’t need to be your reality. Hopefully this email will inspire you to take some time to think about who you are and what you really want without feeling embarrassed.


What’s that thing for you?


Let’s be weirdos together.


P.S. What are your vacation plans this summer? Kidding.


Ciao for now!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrea Anderson Polk is a licensed professional counselor, nationally certified, registered clinical supervisor, and certified professional coach. She has a private practice in Northern Virginia with nearly 20 years of clinical experience helping hundreds of clients on their healing journey.

She is driven by a deep calling to help ambitious women of faith experience healing and breakthrough so they can live each day with peace and purpose. 

Andrea believes healing happens through relationship. The wounds that occur in a relationship must be healed in a relationship. Andrea invites you into a life-altering relationship.


Work with Andrea one-one- by contacting her here.

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Andrea has spent her career studying the human experience and has developed a fascinating analogy that compares cuckoo birds, nature’s master manipulator and imposter, to situations and relationships that leave us feeling drained, confused, lost, and empty. Her new book, The Cuckoo Syndrome, helps us fend off the cuckoos, the unhealthy relationships, toxic thinking, and self-sabotaging behaviors in our life that never truly satisfy the deep longings of our souls and the desires of our hearts. 

Andrea’s clinically proven, innovative method helps us recover the lost pieces of ourselves, discover meaning in suffering, and transform our pain into purpose by teaching us to uncover the truth of who we are and who God is so we can be healed and live free. 

Purchase the book Andrea’s clients call “a life-changing breakthrough” for yourself and the people you care about today.

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READY TO TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK?

 

If you….

Feel internal pressure to do all things well. 

Tend to neglect your needs to please others and search for validation.

Continually attract toxic or one-sided relationships leaving you drained. 

Want to build a life that is unashamedly true to who you are and what you want.

 

Then…this is the time to reclaim your JOY, ENERGY, AND TIME so you can live each day with peace and purpose!

 

Curious to know how?

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