“Last november I was at a conference in Arizona
And I saw a man speak
One of the best neurosurgeons in the world
A leading scientist at the mayo clinic
He's saved hundreds of lives
He immigrated from mexico, illegally at first
Ended up at harvard medical school
They're making a movie about him.
When I heard him speak
He said that he worries every day about
Dying without making a difference.
HE worries. Dr. Q, who performs 300 neurosurgeries a year.
Who has directly impacted hundreds of families
Who not only conducts surgeries,
But leads a team of the best researchers in the world
I worry about dying without making a difference.
I worry that every achievement I've had
Every award I've been given
Was a mistake,
And they'll stop coming anytime now
When people realize
That I don't deserve it.
I constantly fall short
Of the potential I know I have
Even if no one else knows I have it.
I know when I haven't given my 100%
I've never given my 100%
So just imagine how that keeps me up at night.
I don't KNOW what I'm capable of doing.
I burn and burn and burn with a need to help.
I toss and turn
Because I don't know what form that will take
But I will help.
my life has been a twisted tale of circumstances,
A fire that I have chosen to force to refine me
Instead of consume me.
People talk about the challenges of grad school
"oh, are you sure you'll be okay when your experiment fails?"
"what if your PI doesn't put you as first author?"
"oh honey, I don't think you understand the long days in the lab."
"sometimes (gasp) we even have to work weekends."
Do you think any of this registers with me?
When I have been told to grab the wall
And been beaten 39 times because 40 would be cruel?
With a belt, with a steel rod, with a fishing pole
Because we were on a fishing vacation
And it was the first thing
Immediately within his reach.
When the time between beatings is spent tiptoeing on eggshells,
Following every word of every command
Only to face his wrath again when
I signed "clean room" on my daily chart,
But there was a BOBBY PIN on my floor.
I usually laid on the floor afterwards
Because walking immediately was too painful.
But that was nothing compared to the pain the next morning
Once the welts and bruises had a chance to develop.
Can you imagine how it felt
To then have to ride my bike the 4 miles to school?
In short, I wouldn't recommend it;
Try to avoid the bumps.
Do you think I am dissuaded by working 50+ hours a week
When I moved out of my house at 15
And fought the world tooth and nail
To simply EXIST since then?
I faced a monster of a man for 15 years
And then I grappled with foster care
With lawyers and courts
And then with far scarier figures:
I almost emptied my reserves
In a two-three-four year battle against
Eating disorders, depression, anxiety.
Over 1000 days I woke up and viciously didn't want to exist
I hated the vessel placed on this earth to carry my organs
I refused to look in mirrors.
I wrestled with a pain so immense
The only way I found to deal with it
Was to physically slice my body open
So some of it could escape.
I bled and I hurt and I cried, for months.
Sometimes I'd run into the woods and just scream.
Those years were the fire.
And still I lived.
Honestly? I don't know how.
There are days when I cannot tell you
What kept me on this earth.
There is no reason I should be alive
But I think there must be a reason
And that's why I have to make a difference now.
I know the cliche rings true
"it gets better".
Because I'm still here
And I never imagined
Life could be as better as it is now.
I am free.
And I'm still afraid
Of dying without making a difference
But I spend every day
Making sure that doesn't happen.”