It’s been exactly 12 weeks since I have posted.
I am still studying for the MCAT, so I cannot promise weekly Monday posts at this time, but I felt as if I needed to share what I have learned these past 12 weeks with you.
Before the word vomit you are about to read, I just want to thank those who still check Monday after Monday to see if I have posted anything new and those who have actually reached out to me through/about my blog. I check my stats regularly, and to my surprise I still have so many readers every week. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Where do I even begin?
In a nutshell, somewhere between my last blog post and today’s blog post, I have been absolutely ripped up into shreds, stitched back together in the most unflattering way, scarred, bruised, and battered mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Somewhere along my hiatus, I hit rock bottom.
Let’s start with an MCAT progress update.
Everybody knows that the MCAT is hard. But only those who truly care know that the MCAT is a monster. It’s a monster, not because it’s an 8-hour exam that covers 8 subjects (Biology, Biochemistry, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, and Critical Analysis). The MCAT is a monster because it makes a monster out of you. I don’t know if I can speak for everyone who has taken this test or is in the process of taking the MCAT in the near future, but it really did make a monster out of me. I let it make a monster out of me.
I stopped taking care of myself. I stopped doing the things I love most. I have forgotten why I was doing this in the first place. I have gained a little bit of weight, a few pounds of healthy weight, and a few pounds of toxic weight – enough to where I had to buy new pairs of leggings because they kept ripping at the thigh. My acne came back, and so did my nightmares and casual midday panic attacks. I underestimated this test because I thought that if I revolved my world around the MCAT and put my life on pause just until it was over, I would beat this game, but I was wrong. Thinking this way brought me nothing but self-loathe. Life does not simply stop for anyone.
My days turned into a broken record, playing the repeated melody of “I just have to get through this week.” I wasn’t helpless; I knew my mental state was taking a toll, so I made efforts to turn it around. I accepted a once-a-week internship with a director of GI surgery and oncology to remind myself what I do this for, and as soon as I thought I was mending the pieces of my life, the universe proved me wrong.
I am currently in the Philippines as I am writing this, mourning the death of the woman who raised me for the first nine years of my life, my great-grandma, Olivia M. Morales. My family and I flew home the day after we received the news, and this has been the hardest week of my life. I buried the woman who gave up her life to take care of her family, and I will always remember her as a woman of grace, elegance, compassion, and unconditional love. This is the kind of pain that resembles wildfire- the kind that swallows you whole and burns everything in its way, feeding on whatever it touches. I have been at war with this pain, ready to give up on the MCAT, on medicine, and the meaning of life altogether. Life had played a cruel joke on me, stripping me of everything I had left to continue, and kicking me at rock bottom.
For weeks, I prayed for clarity, and today is the day I found that clarity. I share this only because as destructive as fire can be, I realized that it also releases a good energy, called light. Before and after the passing of my great-grandma, I have been in and out of the hospital for more reasons than one, coming in at every angle you can think of – as an intern, as a guest, as a companion, as a family member, and as a patient – all in the span of 2 weeks. The clarity I was looking for is in my recent meetings to medicine themselves: no matter the angle I came from, I found peace in the house of medicine. I found peace in every clinical space, no matter what country, and I realized that this is where I belong. I belong with medicine. I belong in medicine. It’s in my blood, my bones, and everything in between.
I have risen from the ashes of a new day. I am new and constantly evolving and adapting – something that I have never been able to do comfortably before.
I am hurting, but I am also healing. And, I want to help others do the same.
I’ve come to realize that at the end of the day, it comes down to grit.
Life will knock you down with its curveballs over and over again, hitting a home run on your plate each and every time, and life will continue with or without you.
Do you have what it takes to keep on struggling? Can you fail better? Are you able to get back up again?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the key to success.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”