You know how you sometimes have those conversations with friends you haven’t seen in a while and you just kind of feel left out because you don’t feel the same way on various matters? And then it makes you start to question if what you’re feeling is for real or not ….
Well, I haven’t had moments like that lately but tonight’s dinner was one of them. My friend K currently is on her internal medicine rotation and clearly is not enjoying it. It makes it difficult to strike a conversation when someone isn’t feeling good majority of the time when she’s working. She has her reasons for not liking it and when I hear them, I give her credit, those are valid reasons to not like it. Yet …. they don’t seem to be enough for me to not like it …. I mean, does that make me a bad person for feeling so?
Gosh, this just brings me back flashbacks from first year of medical school. As K and I are two very different people, I tend to be more the boyish character, maybe not the most empathetic sometimes … I don’t know where that came from but I do feel that my masculine side seems to dominate over my feminine side at moments. K, on the other hand, was always the more empathetic one, I felt as though everyone seemed to give her the sympathetic vote while I was just tossed to the side because you know, I’m the one who could handle it so people’s attitude would be “she doesn’t need help, let’s go help K instead”. It was a period of me trying hard to figure myself out without hurting other people. And here I stand …. but the moments sometimes still return to me in waves.
It is never wrong to question myself every now and then but when it begins to affect my confidence, I know there’s a problem rising there. I’ve always been more of a tomboyish type of girl, not very good at dressing myself up all the way up till college. I was never very good at expressing anything I wanted for fear of embarrassing myself or “giving” myself away. And in a sense, I do find myself to be a little less empathetic in various situations but I strive to work on that aspect of myself …. at least enough for me to not feel totally uncomfortable with it.
Personally, I find these aspects of my character to define the type of specialty that I hope to pursue. For example, as mean as this may sound, when some patients come into the clinic that I’m currently working in, the first question that comes into my head is, really you came in for this?
Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe in the entire concept of expanding and improving preventative medicine to slow the progression of chronic illnesses. However, it is not a career I can see myself in. I need a field where I feel I’m living on the edge, that my efforts are bringing some form of a direct result. I need to be able to feel how I’m bringing about a change in my patients’ lives.
And this is how I’ve always lived my life. A bit on the edge, so that with every breath I really do feel alive and know what I want. Some people may describe something as “exhilarating, absolutely exciting” but to me that means nothing until I feel it myself.
So, despite people’s differing opinions about myself, I am determined to stand on my two feet for what I believe in. Despite the cynicism, pessimism, and lack of faith in others people may feel, I still want to believe. I also want to believe that people can still be trusted away from the picture they present up front.
As naive as I may come across, I still want to look towards things optimistically.