Monday, March 30, 2009

Because Love Matters

I tend to have a weekend rituals of studying while brunching. It is one my treats to myself while at the same time an attempt to make progress and get some work done. I have a favorite spot in town where I go, the Bakehouse. In all honesty I go here because they have free wireless and bottomless cups of coffee, but the staff also knows me by name, which is an added perk.  Yet, this weekend my studious sanctuary turned into more than I could have ever bargained.

In life I am one of those people who always sees the glass half full, but this weekend I started to doubt this belief and wondered if I had become cold and frosty. As I was infiltrating my brain full of  knowledge about leukemias and lymphomas, I couldn't help but notice the world around me. To my right was a young couple sitting across from each other ka-noodling over eggs and hash browns. I couldn't help but watch as the man with his elbow on the table held his palm in the air and instantly his girlfriend placed her hand in his. They just sat and looked at each other hands intertwined as if they were talking through their eyes in complete silence. Quiet honestly, I was looking around the restaurant to see if anyone else was witnessing this scene. I don't know why it struck me so, but what I do know is that I felt something very real and it was love.

Now don't get me wrong I might be one of the last supporters of the old romance; the kind that sweeps you off your feet and intoxicates you until you are so inebriated that you can't tell which way is up or down. Yet, sometimes I wonder if this kind of love exists, and if it will ever find me. Still perplexed by my right-sided visual, I glanced over to my left for a breath of fresh air to see a handsome blond headed man. He had these gorgeous eyes, the color of sky blue.  I kept looking over between my multiplying white cells and cancer markers, to observe this most debonair man.  To my surprise he started a conversation with me. His voice is deep with the rich accent of European descent. It was then that he explained to me that he was from Germany working for two months in Bloomington while living with his girlfriend.  He then told me that he met his girlfriend while she was studying abroad in Germany. The two met and he said they instantly fell in love. Normally, I would have rolled my eyes or maybe even laughed at how sappy and icky romantic this was. Perhaps it was the accent or maybe it was the tone in his voice, but his story just made my heart melt. It wasn't until his girlfriend arrived that I realized that love truly exists. If two people half-way across the world can find love..... anything is possible. 

As I got up to leave, I left asking myself "Is this for real?" It was at that point I realized how the powers of love and  a little oxytocin can cause people to do things they could have never imagined. Love forces us to mature, to think of others more than ourselves, and places us in a place  of vulnerability. My best example of this was a conversation I had this weekend with a guy in my class. He is pretty much the closest thing to innocent and harmless as you can get. Yet he has one love, his forest -green Camaro. He talks about cars like I talk about shoes, thus you can understand the extent of his love. Yet, what he began to tell me about knocked me off my chair. With his big grin he announced to me, "Jen, I am selling my Camaro for a Subaru." It was at that moment I realized that my newly engaged friend was trading his bachelor car for his baby-go-getter. I literally had a moment.  Is love really so powerful that it can change the things we once coveted so dearly?

If anything this past week I learned that love matters. I feel that when times are hard and the world looks dismal love can often color it with a bright new palette. While at times I have seen love as suffocating and binding, I do believe that love holds the possibility of taming the wildest of hearts. Thus my hope for you this week is to give love a chance, in your work, your home, on the streets, and in your cars. Because love is not just an emotion displayed between two people but is also evident in the things we do. And trust me .....because love matters.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Identity Theft?

So the most unfortunate event occurred to me three months ago at the BMV. With my quarter of a century celebration also came the responsibility of renewing my license. First off, I am the least photogenic person you could ever imagine. I am always the girl with the stink eye or looking in the wrong direction so I was not super jazzed about the photo on the brink. All morning I got ready and perfected my look, I even spent a good twenty minutes working on my smile so that I could get it just right. When I arrived at the BMV I knew things were on a downward spiral when the rude and hirsute woman said, they were implementing new policy; no glasses, no hats, no headscarves, and no smiling. In horror, I sat and waited learning that all of this was to protect me from identity theft. As I was called up to the picture, I will never forget the way the man sighed in disgust as he told me my hair was way to big. I wanted to ask the guy what he wanted me to do about it? But instead he blew my face up the size of a basketball and cropped out all my hair so I look like the fat girl with leukemia. I mean really is he protecting my identity or just creating a new identity for me?

This caused me to have all these questions about identity swirling in my head. Who am I really?Is it merely just the distance between my facial features that define me? I think not. As I walked out of the BMV mortified by my new license, I began to look deeply into the many ways we define ourselves. Some believe their identity is made up by the DNA that populates their cells. Yet, many find identity in the family they grew up in, the color of their skin, or their family origin, while others are defined by profession, possessions, and hobbies. Life has a shocking way sometimes of just showing you who is boss. This year I learned some of the most life altering and shocking information I could have ever imagined. It changed the way that I look at identity forever. Identity is so much more than the DNA that created our inner being. Yes, as a future physician it would be hypocritical for me not to believe that genetics plays a role in development and disease. But, I definitely believe that we are creatures of our environment, shaped and molded by the people around us. Where did you get your smile? your personality? Your passion? For me I learned at the age of 25 that one of my parents is not my biological parents. Shocking, yes, but in no way did it change the way I feel about both of them. If anything I stand in awe at the depth of their love. The fact that I was brought up in a house where I had two parents that loved me and supported me, I feel truly blessed. A product of in vitro, I have thus been stripped in some way of the identity I once had. There are so many unknowns and variables I have been left to ponder.

Yet, I ask myself does it even matter? I have convinced myself that it does not. If anything it is another life experience to chalk up. I have learned over the last couple of years the most important parts of my identity are things that others will never be able to take away. I am a daughter, a friend, compassionate, driven, and vivacious. I want to be defined for the person I am not the profession I will lead, the car I will drive, or the shoes I might wear. Our identity is ever changing constantly evolving to better describe the person we are today. So perhaps one day I will be a wife, a mother, or a Bostonian, but for now I am just Jen a single white female, blue eyes, brown hair, organ donor, any other questions?

My blogging Sabbatical

While I have been on a blogging sabbatical for the last 5 weeks it has only left me with many things to ponder and ideas to share. I have been so rapped up in school, marathoning, and persistent pain that I have lost touch with the things that bring me such cathartic release. I am astonished at how easily we are distracted and absorbed by the hectic lives we lead...However, I am back oh faithful readers....and ready to blog baby blog.....