There's this old saying that goes something along the lines of: "Want to see God laugh? Make plans" ... Almost 6 months ago, I'd done just that. I had what I thought was a well thought out, long-time in the making plan. It was my purpose, my life goal, the thing I was put on this earth to do! .... Until I realized one day, that it wasn't. Or at least ... not now.
Dissatisfied with my career and with a twinge of what I called "white coat envy," especially after drastically changing my major in college the 1st time around, I had no doubt that applying med school was the answer. As a child, if you were to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up? My answer would have been "a pediatrician." At 7, when my grannie had uterine cancer, and I stood at her bedside rubbing her chubby arms to soothe her pain while she lived with us from the Virgin Islands .... all these years later, I knew healing was my calling. Even my paternal grandma in Ghana, upon hearing that I wanted to incorporate herbal medicine into my future practice as an OB (obstetrician delivering babies), her reply? ... "Oh, nothing new, that's the work of your ancestors!" According to her, all of the women from her side of the family had all been traditional midwives, healers, & birther women for centuries. It all felt right.
And so, with one class left until I completed pre-medical course work, I was hell bent on following that all so certain path & applying to medical school. Yet ... right as I was about to walk through that door, I started to have doubts. Like a bride having cold feet, I started to backpedal. Did I really want to do this? ... Did I have the energy in me to bury myself in another 10 years of school ... only to emerge even further in debt, worn out, no time for entraining hot eligible bachelors or marriage, and still not getting any closer to the "free-spirited traveler who lives naked in the rainforest" life I've been dreaming of? ... Nope! ... Listen! A girl's got dreams!
As passionate as I was about natural living and health, medical school was starting to look more and more like what some call a "golden prison," where on the outside it may be super enticing and hold some of the things you want, but the cost of actually having / pursuing it was FAR too high .. at least for me at this point in my life. I was already what some would call a "career student," having done the dutiful list of things so many immigrant kids do, especially if it's been culturally ingrained since birth. Stay out of trouble, work hard, attended college (often times grad school) ... Then? ... Find that supposedly stable career that will lead you to the promised land of the so called "American Dream." The one thing your parents sacrificed nearly everything for. I did all of this. Yet FULL disclosure? I was exhausted from it all. With eyes full of bags, mounting mental stress, $100+ student loan debt, an endless tunnel of "next steps," and a bevy of cute dudes I never seemed to have time for ... I was over it. I wanted to LIVE, not just exist. I wanted to pursue something fun and personal, not just go through the motions. I wanted something that spoke to the creative person within, but had been long buried under sleepless nights filled with essays I couldn't give a dam about and exams on organic chemistry. It wasn't until one overwhelmed workday while sitting quietly, yet panicked at my desk, that the unmistakable message came to me ... "I can't do this anymore!"
I paused. The message was so clear, it was frightening me. I'd invested so much time into going back to school to achieve this goal, yet when I finally was able to admit it, I knew my subconscious rang true. I wasn't happy. I was stressed, sad, tired, and grouchy. My spirit wasn't being fulfilled. Confessing to my parents, even as a grown woman, brought confusion for them. I'd spent four years trying to complete these classes just so I could neatly place them on my med-school application. They couldn't fathom me just giving it all up. A close friend, who also happened to double as my boyfriend during the most hectic parts of this application process, initially told me to stick it out. He'd been there those early mornings as I dragged myself out of bed just after dawn to attend four hour chemistry labs on Saturdays. This, after even longer work weeks. "But your almost there" he'd insisted, eyes full of concern as we sat across from each other for brunch all this time later. Like me, he's a dreamchaser. More doubt. He knew me almost better than anyone. Did he see something I didn't? Was I making a huge mistake? ... Then, just as quickly he followed up and said, "Ang, If you're having this much doubt about it, it's probably not meant to happen." He sat back in his chair and just looked at me quietly. His last sentence resonating within me. Relief. Again, in my heart of hearts, knew the answer ... I just needed to hear it said aloud from someone I trusted. I later "took a break (a few months)" from my pre-medical school studies, which as we know with most breakups, a "break" only meant one thing ... the dream was over. I later grew comfortable in realizing healing will always be a part of me, but that there was more than one way to share my gift with the world.
I tell this story to say. Sometimes ...
I also tell this story to ask, are you brave enough to leave that open door and walk away? Are you strong enough to regain control over the things that may be spinning out of control in your life? Personally, this moment felt like pulling the breaks on a runaway freight train ... It was difficult, scary, seemingly impossible. After working full-time and taking classes for four years to get this far, it seemed all but a forgone conclusion, right? It definitely could have been, but choosing this path, I have yet to regret my decision. So many of us are living lives that are not our own. Lives that are routine. Lives based on personal and external pressures and expectations. All of this unhappiness yet we are so afraid to step back and/or possibly away! The fear of the unknown is all too real. The answers to the question of "so now what" are still working themselves out for me everyday and like Sway, I don't have all the answers ... And that's ok! What I will say? I've never felt more proud and fulfilled than I do right now ... Writing to you and flexing my creative muscles as a budding fashion designer and business woman. Life lesson? We make the best decision with the information we have at the time, but no situation is worth your internal peace ... And? ... No matter how out of control things seem to be moving, you can always put the brakes on. Those who love you before, will love you after. Again, sometimes, we just need someone else to come from a place of love and support to voice that we are so much more than our current circumstances.
The following is a great video I came across from Youtube vlogger Laila of "Fusion of Cultures." Here she discusses life, love, passion, and the physical toll on our bodies undergo when we are not living our true creative / authentic selves. I hope this speaks to you as much as it did me. Comment below and let me know what you think. Until the next journey ....