I’m a medico preparing for my residency entrance exams. For the last three years. I have an exam in two weeks.
My common sense tells me focus is key in these final critical days. My brain doesn’t seem to understand though. In the last few weeks, I’ve been distracted, disenchanted and completely disturbed.
Why? Because there are other things that I want to be doing. Because the one thing I’m supposed to do, studying, is the one thing I’m unable to do. Because I’m becoming increasingly unsure that this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.
But, the question that haunts me is: Am I giving up?
A little bit about myself: I’ve always been a good student. Academically sound. Well on my way towards the scholarly path of a doctor. Nobody doubted my ability to accomplish what I had started, least of all myself. This branding of a “Good Student” is so ingrained in me that it’s become a part of my sense of identity.
“I’m not good at sports. I can’t sing or draw or play an instrument.
I’m a good student. I have other pastures to explore.”
That’s what I’ve been telling myself all these years. Then, all of a sudden, I can’t study anymore. And if I can’t study anymore, what can I do? My extremely limited repertoire is already out of options. There is nothing I’m particularly good at. How am I to live? How am I to think of myself? What’s my identity now?
So, I begin to write. I write everything I feel, everything I want to say and everything I’m scared about. I write because if I don’t write, I will drown in an identity crisis that has no exit strategy. I write because every time I want to give up, I feel ashamed and that keeps me slogging, plodding my way through words that seem to make sense one instant and nothing at all in the next. I write because I can’t yet bring myself to confess that I’ve lost the ability to do the one thing I was good at and because the thought of my future depresses me.
I write because I feel like nobody understands me even while the practical part of my brain tells me that there are people out there who will; that there are people out there whose job is to understand; and most importantly, that to be understood I need to speak up in the first place.
I don’t have the courage to do that yet…and so, I write.