December 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m trying to translate the future into words. I’m trying to say, within a painful 500-word limitation, what I’ve learned about myself in the last 23 years, and how those experiences have transformed how I see the next 23.

I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I want to tell you why I do.  I want to tell you why I would be great at it. But I’m hesitant to commit to any one message because I could miss another point, and I’m so afraid of saying it all out loud, of putting it into words.  For me, the action of turning thoughts into words has always been a method of realization — in this case, of making something real. Now, before me, there is this question, and I am not ready to give a final answer, because writing “it” makes it real, and I don’t yet know what “it” will be.  And I might never fully know why I want and why I could.  I just know that I want this and I can do this.

I don’t mean to say that I’m afraid of jumping in and making this my reality. I am taking the leap of faith, but I feel so weighed down when I try to qualify my wants and my possible contributions to this field. I feel that, with every word, I might miss the real point.  I might fall one sentence short of illustrating who I am and what I’m capable of.  And I don’t want to make this real without doing it right, without doing myself justice.

As I grow older, I might change the way I do things; I might feel differently about medicine; and I might contribute in a way I had not foreseen.  But I do know that I want to contribute, and I know that my impact on individual lives can be immense as a doctor.  I know that my life’s calling is to serve others, to leave this world better, to do my mother proud.  And I would try every day.  I’d never forget what civic duty means to me, I’d never give less than what people deserve, and I’d demonstrate commitment and compassion in everything I do.  I will be a great doctor.

In my life, I have always felt pressured by the words I lay in ink, because making it real is like making a promise.  But this time, the promise has already been made.  This time, I am pressured to create words that will live up to my name and to the person I will someday become. This time, the words have to be good enough for me.

a reason to do good.

December 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

“The only real nation is humanity.”

— Dr. Paul Farmer

for fear of losing.

December 7, 2009 § 3 Comments

My experience with love is marked by heaviness. It fills every empty space. It grows into something larger than just emotions, and it swallows me up.  When in love, I become a hopeless fool who comes to the frightening realization that she has something great to lose.

I’ve lived my life doing two things: first, going against my mother’s sound advice, and second, ultimately proving that she was right.  Often, her lessons stick, but there’s one that I can’t seem to fully absorb. It’s that I should avoid becoming totally consumed by the experience of, the agony of, the mere thought of love.

To my brilliant mother, there should be boundaries, there should be realism, there should be focus — on myself, my career, my family and friends, my passions and interests, my responsibilities — and there must be some mechanism set in place for my own survival.  Some kind of method for self-protection, self-preservation.

No matter how many times I remind myself to, well, remember my Self while in the throes of love, I have always, always, always wholly surrendered myself to it.  And, when it ends, or when I think of the possibility of its conclusion, I always hesitate and recall my mother’s words. And I wonder whether I should’ve limited the ease and the depth of my vulnerability. To guard my Self for the fear of losing what could be so amazing — amazing enough to want to keep it forever, amazing enough that, when it is gone, a part of me is lost too.

Having felt the bitterness of love’s disappointment in the past, I tiptoe around the edges of the dangerous type of love, fearing the forthcoming fall, fearing the sound of “forever” on our lips. Because, this time, with this lover, if “forever” is betrayed by happenstance, then what would be of what’s left of me?


December 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

A few shots taken in a vintage shop in Owego, New York, last year.

I promise to get those weddings pictures up soon.  I’m afraid my MacBook will crash under the weight of 500 files at about 5-6MB each.  I am planning on purchasing another external hard drive for my Mac, and still trying to figure out how I’m going to edit these.  I need Adobe, but I am poor.  Sorry, family!

endless dorkiness.

December 4, 2009 § 3 Comments

So, I was supposed to meet Paul Farmer on Monday, and I was — excuse my language — literally shitting my pants.  I am a slow reader, and I was trying so hard to finish Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, which chronicles Dr. Farmer’s journey to becoming one of our generation’s most important physicians, researchers, anthropologists, humanitarians, heroes everrrrrr.

And, today, I found out that this event has been postponed.  Sheiza!  On the bright side, at least it hasn’t been cancelled.  And at least I have a little more time to finish Mountains Beyond Mountains. At least I have an event on reproductive rights to look forward to instead!  Excitement.

Yeah, just say it:  I’m a dork.

i’m eyeing you, short stuff.

December 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m currently obsessed with “short” literature.  Essays, poems, quotations.  I recently purchased Harold Bloom’s The Best Poems of the English Language.  Though Bloom can be seen as a crabby member of the critic literati, his selections are wonderful, and his commentary is useful for anyone who hopes to learn more about reading poetry — whether you ultimately agree with Bloom or not.  In regard to my knowledge on poetry, I deem myself unassuming and not learned enough to ever thoughtfully disagree with Bloom, but at least I can try to appreciate the handwork of some of English’s best poets.

I’m not one to write poetry myself (anymore), but I have always found real satisfaction from writing essays.  I need to start writing more of them, more developed short pieces, and I hope that, as I progress as a human being, a woman, a friend, a lover, a doctor, a leader, whatever, that I will continue to use writing as a lens for learning.  Like a focus on a camera, the written word has always helped me see things more clearly. 

Here’s a book of essays I’m hoping to buy soon.  (Is it dorky that I get excited every time I use my Barnes&Nobles member card?)

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