Oprah retweeted something that spoke to me today. It was from Will Williams and it read, “Once you tell your story, it’s time to move on.” I’m moving on. So here is my story:
When I was five, I wanted to be Whitney Houston. She was beautiful, sung like an angel and seemed simply amazing. My favorite song was the Greatest Love of All. I truly believed the children are our future (not really thinking that I was one those kids). I would sing that song all through the house. Then I was told that I couldn’t sing… that never occurred to me, that I might not be Whitney Houston when I grew up. I realized I needed to change my career path immediately. At the age six I dabbled with being Dr. Huxtable. He was a great parent and physician. He saw patients at home and played with the kids and had a supportive loving relationship with his wife. What a great life!
Then when my grandfather passed away in that same year and I thought about how doctors play such a significant role in patients' lives. My goal was solidified, I wanted to help people. I was going to be a doctor. I spent the next two decades focused on that goal and living to that end. Excelled in math and science, and made the honor roll every year and did extra-curricular geared towards building my scientific and social abilities showing that I was not a just a science nerd, I was well-rounded. I rarely dated because guys are so good at side-tracking us good girls. My desire was so strong that I had no back-up plan. It was doctor or bust!
Getting my acceptance letter into my first choice medical school was the greatest day of my life. By the next week I was on the campus doing everything I could to prepare for my entrance into the class that August. To say I was passionate about being a doctor is an understatement. I was obsessed and my first experience with sunburn down in Nicaragua doing a medical mission was proof to me and my family that it was my everything.
So when that obsession began to dwindle I was thrown for a loop. It wasn’t until my 3rd year of medical school that I realized my passion was not what it used to be. It was strange. It wasn’t so much the amount of stress and work (and there was a lot of work, but it was doable). It wasn’t the fact that many patients become sick, lose function, or even die from diseases that can be avoided or reversed from basic lifestyle changes (although that is frustrating too, but hey I know doctors that smoke and I used to be a fat doctor topping out at 240 lbs). It wasn’t even the fact that my passion had become a never-ending job and zapped my energy on a daily basis. It was the fact that I had done very little living, and I realized that if I kept going the way I was I never would. I began to resent medicine and I was angry at myself for letting it happen. Yet I had no back-up plan and I was in too deep, I resolved to stay on the grind. But my heart ached and I felt empty.
A few weeks later, something miraculous happened. I met a man. An amazing man. He was handsome, intelligent, accomplished, cultured and exciting. And I thought, this is God’s plan! This man would fill that emptiness and give me a reason to continue in the medical field. I created a list of things that I would buy him with the money from doctoring… new car (he was a huge car fanatic), pool table (one of his hobbies), tickets to see Nascar, UNC basketball games, and NFL football games, and anything else he desired that I could afford. And then anything that he wanted for our future family;hmm, what sort of house would he like? Making him happy made me happy. He gave me a life. And we were happy for a little while.
And since living happily ever after would have been too easy, one day he told me that I didn’t understand him and that I didn’t really love him. I told him I was certain I did. He said it didn’t feel right and that I wasn’t truly there for him. I was appalled. I gave him everything that he wanted. I was making it work. Plus I was an overachiever when it came to taking care of his wants and needs and being a medical student then physician. And he had the nerve to say it wasn’t enough!
Unfortunately he was right. I couldn’t love him the way he deserved to be loved. That’s because it was never about him. It was about me. I needed him to be there for me and in turn I gave him everything he wanted except for the one thing he really needed. I was angry at him because he didn’t get it. If I wasn’t his woman, then I was nothing because I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be a doctor anymore. It wasn't his fault.
The truth was I never worked on who I was after accepting I needed to be more than just a doctor. It’s something that we heard a lot from our mentors who say things like you have to continue your hobbies and have a life outside of medicine because it can consume your life. But my plan was for it to consume my life first (it was my top priority), then I would branch out and do all the things that I had put on hold. However, my life had been on hold so long, I didn’t even know what I liked to do. I had almost no hobbies and no goals past being a doctor. I was unhappy and felt stuck.
Therefore soon after the guy and I broke it off, I took a serious break from doctoring. There were a number of things that happened in succession that led up to my decision to leave the hospital, but the bottom-line was, I was unhappy with almost every aspect of my life and I couldn’t go on living that way. I needed time to think and reboot.
They say you have to do things you have never done to have things you’ve never had. I wanted to get a life. I needed to save my life. I began to do things that I hadn’t done before. I started traveling a lot and doing things that I would normally say no to, not because it was dangerous, illegal or immoral, but because I was much more comfortable saying no than yes to new experiences. I found out I enjoy many things that the closed-minded me of the past was certain I would hate. I’ve eaten exotic foods, done some unusual activities, and meet some interesting people. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. I have a new reason to wake up in the morning fulfilled and it’s not because of a job or a man or even goal I am trying to achieve. It’s because I did wake up. I am thankful for the time I have and grateful to be able to live each day. I haven’t arrived. I’d like to never feel like I have “arrived” again. I want to continue on this journey of exploration. I hope to keep moving on.
Through the Crystal Violet company, I aspire to aid others along their journeys, as they take down the walls, become more self-aware, and save their own lives. We can gain all we deserve as we remain open-minded, develop new passions, and create new challenges. We can have it all.