Okay, maybe not, but she is my hero! If you have never seen Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” I highly recommend it. I was 31 years old, with a one year-old and a new job, when the movie came out in 2004. I remember admiring Edna Mode, the half-Japanese, half-German designer of costumes to the superheroes of her day. “Ultra-diminutive” in stature, as Disney describes her, yet towering in confidence and disdain for whining. ‘I want to be like her,’ I thought.
11 years, two kids, three jobs and a fair bit of experience later, I dare assert a likeness to EMode that makes me proud. The parallels to physician work here may seem a bit far-fetched, but I invite you to suspend disbelief and allow me to explain:
Bob Parr, aka Mr. Incredible, seeks his old friend E for a ‘patch job.’ He needs his torn supersuit repaired so he can use it doing covert hero work behind his wife’s back. Edna, ever forward thinking, proclaims that he cannot be seen in this ‘hobo suit.’ “But… you designed it,” he protests. She retorts, “I never look back, dahling, it distracts from the now.” She vows to make him a new suit—“bold, dramatic, HEROIC!”
You are an old patient of mine, and you haven’t seen me recently. But we have history. We’ve been through some things together. Now you want to take on a new project. Exercise more, eat better, lose weight, manage your stress. It’s nothing we haven’t discussed before, but now you have new motivation, you’re inspired. I sense the resolve in you, and it inspires me, too. Over the years I have continued to study my craft, integrating tradition with innovation. Now you invite me to apply it all in the name of making you better, and I leap at the chance!
Bob anticipates the swank style of the suit—the cape, the boots–“No capes!” E exclaims. She proceeds to enumerate the multitude of superheroes thoroughly done in by their capes: Thunderhead, caught on a rocket fin. Stratogale, sucked into a jet turbine. Dynaguy, snag on take-off. There is no arguing with the evidence. No. Capes.
Safety first! I am open to a lot of things—we creatives often are, after all. New trendy diet? Sure, I’ll take a look. Internet device that will help you lose 50 pounds in a week? It’s your money. I can withhold judgment long enough to review the data and, when appropriate, stand back while you try different things. But I have my limits, and I will tell you straight. I will be clear about my rationale, and give examples when possible. This honesty and boundary setting helps you trust both my openness and my expertise. We can proceed together because you know I am always discerning what is okay and not okay.
Bob’s wife, Helen, is also a retired superhero. She breaks down when she realizes Bob has deceived her. She dissolves into tears, lamenting to Edna that she let it happen, that she is losing him. Edna (recall disdain for whining): “What are you talking about? You are ELASTIGIRL! My God, (thumping Helen on the head with a rolled up newspaper) pull-yourself-together! ‘What will you do,’ is this a question? YouwillshowhimyourememberthatheisMr.Incredible, and you will REMIND him, who YOU are. …You know where he is. GO. Confront the problem. Fight! WIN! …And call me when you get back, dahling, I enjoy our visits.”
So there will never be newspaper thumping in my office…most likely. This scene is known as Edna’s Pep Talk, and I do a lot of that! We all forget our strengths sometimes. We are allowed to crumple, temporarily, under sudden severe stress. I am here to remind you what you are capable of, to restore your confidence. Clearly, Edna trained in the School of Tough Love. Fortunately for you, I have also studied empathy, compassion, and motivational interviewing. I can help you persist. I have patience for your journey. I can be your pillar of consistency. Edna is nothing if not consistent!
Five foot-two, straight black hair, glasses. Expressive. Self-confident. Loyal. Yes, I am Edna Mode.
For your viewing enjoyment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IatFRC06ROg
[Second photo found at https://www.google.com/search?q=edna+mode&biw=1239&bih=562&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlkKqW_YfLAhVIGB4KHSp5B54Q_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=edna+mode+go+fight+win&imgrc=mc8H4XBEvmJRCM%3A%5D