Thursday, November 29, 2012

note to self:

this "here i come to save the day" complex needs to be laid to rest.

as much as you feel compelled to have all the answers to your friends' problems, you don't have those answers.  maybe they're in too deep, maybe they're hurting.  sure, you can listen to them, be there for them...but there's a difference between being a good friend and trying to rescue them from all of their problems.

the latter is impossible.  telling yourself otherwise will only leave you more emotionally drained than you can handle.

the only job that you have is to realize that you are no one's savior.  figure out what that means.  cling to that distinction when you find it.  everyone will be better off that way.  including you.

a mile-high rant

one might ask why this simple image makes me furious.  just keep reading.

i am roughly 6 feet tall.  if you've seen me in person, you may not have realized this--i think i slouch a bit (which some people say is a mark of a tall person's insecurity.  in my case, i don't know).  as such, i deal with not being able to find clothes that are long enough for my arms and legs, having complete strangers ask me, "do you play basketball?" as if it's supposed to be a compliment, and yes, feeling like smaller girls will always be "cute" and i'll always be "intimidating."  

no, i have nothing against those of average height or shorter.  but if you've ever been called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, The Green Giant, or "freakishly tall" by people who say they're your friends and they're "just kidding (geez, lighten up)," you start to feel like there's something wrong with you.  like you're a mutant or something.  like you'll never be asked to a formal or get that attention you claim you're strong enough to not need but seek anyway.  all of the pep talks in the world don't fully eradicate the feeling that you're not worth as much as someone who's 5 or so inches shorter.

this seemingly harmless image, which equates "cuteness" with "shortness," is a reminder of all of these negative thoughts that i still fight against.  and no, the smiley face doesn't soften the blow one bit.

*drops mic*

Thursday, November 22, 2012

things i'm (mega-/giga-/hella-)thankful for

i realize this year more than ever that the word "thankful" isn't big enough.  i almost want to put a prefix on it like it's some quantifiable SI unit, but the only thing that would do is provide comic relief and not really get to the heart of the matter.

and i usually don't make lists of things i'm thankful for.  most of the time, they feel enormously cliche.  but i just scrolled through the Happy Thanksgiving posts on my Facebook news feed and thought, "why not?"

non-exhaustive and in no particular order--
  • free music
  • friends who are willing to talk you through a problem (academic or otherwise)
  • federal loans (even though i have to pay them back one day)
  • God's omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience
  • black people
  • teachers, whether it's your job description or not
  • bass (as in music, not as in fish.  although that's pretty good too i'll bet)
  • choreo videos on youtube
  • spoken word
  • Japanese food (well, ethnic food.  well, food)
  • laughter
  • dancehall
  • means of long-distance communication
  • some form of dancing ability (at the very least, having rhythm)
  • long hugs
  • mistakes and failures (in retrospect at least)
  • dubstep
  • late night conversations 
  • going places with people you care about
  • cleansing crying sessions
  • smiles from attractive strangers
  • blankets
  • older and wiser mentors of all kinds
  • post-party debriefing sessions
  • reggaeton
  • natural hair--this includes my current obsession with (well-kept) dreadlocks
  • medical school (fun times and challenges alike)
  • my senior year of college
  • mental breaks
  • the book of Psalms (feeling Psalm 140 right now)
  • prayer warriors
  • late night snacks
  • forgiveness
  • human resiliency
what does your list look like?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

the affirmative action kid? i think not.

Unless you live under a conveniently placed rock, I'm sure you've seen the opinion article about affirmative action that was recently published in The Harvard Crimson.  If not, take a couple of minutes to read it here.  I'll wait.

You're finished?  Great.

I'm not going to address most of this article.  Because a lot of people have done that, including a friend of mine and even the site Jezebel (this one probably counts as fighting fire with an even hotter fire, but that's beside the point).  I'm going to focus on the following line very briefly, because as a black, female medical student, it strikes quite an unsettling chord:
How would you feel if you were assured before going into surgery that your surgeon was the beneficiary of affirmative action in medical school?  I do not see why higher academic institutions should lower their standards for admission.
Quite frankly, I doubt anyone's desire for self-preservation would allow her to entertain that question for even a second if she required immediate surgical attention.  It would be ludicrous of someone to decline the help of a surgeon of color because the presence of affirmative action makes questionable his or her ability to do the job.  The patient would still want that surgeon to stop his bleeding, or excise his tumor, or put in his stent to keep his arteries open.  Even if he or she did still refuse to be treated by that particular physician, it is important to remember that every physician could potentially make a mistake while performing a procedure--even if affirmative action didn't exist.  Opting out of treatment provided by a beneficiary of affirmative action does not magically erase the possibility of error, that uncomfortable reality of the medical field.

Sarah--Miss Siskind, if you like that better--I will be honest with you.  I've never met you.  I know next to nothing about who you are, where you come from, why you chose Harvard, anything of the sort.  And I'm sure you're a nice girl.  But your article made me furious.  After I read it, I probably called you some names and celebrated the bashing you were beginning to receive from all corners of the internet.  I could apologize for those actions and ill-feelings toward you, but I'm not sure how sincere an apology would be, seeing as how the words that you wrote (and that many people seem to agree with) still sting me and many of the people I care about.  All of us--my peers, my classmates, you, I--worked hard to be where we are, and we will go on to become fabulous physicians, lawyers, i-bankers, actresses...whatever we decide.

But I suppose I should thank you.  You've inspired me to lay aside the jokes about how Harvard and Vanderbilt must have picked me to meet a minority quota.  Your article gives me motivation to work hard, just to make sure I'm proving you wrong every second that I'm in medical school.  And I'm sure that others like me feel the same.

The bottom line is this: I deserve to be where I am.  And in a weird, twisted way, Miss Siskind, you've opened my eyes wide to that fact.