We met up with one of mom’s clients yesterday. She’s a professor at a reputable university in the country. As I sat on the table, opposite her, she asked me where I was going for medical school and what year I was in. I answered — it was my last year. I’ll be an intern come July. She then proceeded to tell me her youngest daughter was already doing sub-specialty training/ fellowship in OB-GYN. She told me I should go to the school her daughter went to and train there for residency, and for good reason — experience. Her daughter was all she talked about. I know she has another child, a son, whose work I do not know, because her daughter was all she talked about. She was the youngest of her children, and I got the feeling she may have three kids or more. I wouldn’t know. I asked her if her daughter always wanted to be an OB-GYN. I had an idea about the stressful nature of the job. She said it was her dream to become a doctor, but since she wasn’t able to fulfill it, she convinced her daughter to do it. She said her daughter eventually wanted to pursue medicine. I wonder how the story would go if I heard it firsthand from her daughter.
Three years ago, I was in a flirt-ationship with a guy. I cringe as I type that makeshift word out. It’s gross. But that was all there was to it. I did not flirt much, thanks to my lack of experience. But I knew he was semi-actively pursuing me. I was not that stupid. I say “semi-active” because I know he was on guard. Guys these days don’t give themselves the way our grandfathers used to when they were pursuing our grandmothers. Anyway, I remember being told that this guy was thanking his father because his father pushed him into law school even though he hated it at first, because his title as a lawyer makes him more attractive to women.
… Why? Now I know why I was never fully attracted to him.
I can only imagine how sad it is for my brother, how he senses that our family is proud of me, but our family only looks at him as black sheep, because I am about to finish med school, and he still is not stable with his job. My brother’s not street-smart because we’ve been sheltered our whole lives, but I know my brother’s a lot more intelligent than I am. He just does not have the capacity to fulfill requirements to gain a title, which this world is obsessed with. I, on the other hand, want to pursue a title, to open the door for my dreams and what I want to do in life.
I detest how parents are keen on talking about the child they are most proud of because he or she has achieved the most. The 3rd child or the youngest who did not pursue medicine or law does not get talked about, as if his interests and dreams don’t matter, as if who he is as a person don’t matter. I am proud of people who have managed to pursue their dreams and advance their advocacies without hiding behind a title, people who have been empowered by the mere love of their principle or craft, and have managed to make a change for the betterment of people’s daily lives. People who don’t need a master’s degree to help fishermen with their livelihood, people who don’t need white coats to go out to mountainous areas without electricity or the internet to deliver healthcare. I believe I’m not one of those modern martyrs, but I personally love to hear more about you as a person, your feelings, your aspirations, your relationships, rather than your title, or rather than you talking about other people.
We were on a drinking session one night, and I noticed we were starting to talk about people, people I don’t really care about. Gossip — it was just gossip. I called my friends out, saying something along the lines of, “Why are we talking about person A and person B? I don’t care about them. Why are we talking about people?” And I got something like this, “Because it’s fun to talk about people.”
It’s not fun to talk about people in that sense. I like to hear about people, but only if that story comes from himself or herself. I don’t want to hear only things about your love life, things which came from other people’s mouths. I like to hear about your family. What’s your family like? How’s your sister now? She must be all grown-up. You’re moving to a new country? How do you feel about that? What do you plan to do about it? I believe these stories make people seem more real. They put puzzle pieces of a person together, and I believe they are fascinating.
I told myself the way to know how I truly love what I’m doing is if I’m not pursuing the white coat, or the title which would go at the end of my name, but if I would wake up every single day, still choose to say ‘yes’ even in the midst of exhaustion, and end up sleeping 36 hours after with a thankful heart for the privilege I’ve been given.