I’ve been reading. I heard that a great way to prepare for medical school is to read. A lot. It doesn’t have to be science based. The idea is to get used to doing a good amount of reading every day.
I’ve already put a few books away. My current reading is a book called The Mindful Medical Student written by Bernie Siegel and Jeremy Spiegel. It’s a guide on how to deal with the stresses of medical school while maintaining your sanity.
The essence of the book instructs you, the student, to find yourself, your “true self” and to constantly make sure that you are living in harmony with your true self. It boils down to asking yourself, “Does this behavior/attitude reflect who I truly am and how I view myself?”
I’m giving an honest effort to follow the advice of this book, so I sat down with the questions that are suggested and really thought them over. I was not happy with my analysis.
I’m not unhappy with my attitude or behavior exactly. I’m as chipper and kind as usual but there are parts of myself that I’m not allowing to shine. I’ve been playing music, but my guitar playing is timid and uninspired, my piano playing is monotonous, my drumming is limited to throwing some beats on my girlfriend’s butt while she’s reading a book. I haven’t had a spontaneous dance party in ages. I rarely surf. My Muay Thai training is just an exercise that I do. I haven’t written a story in months.
I’m not expressing myself. This is a problem. Where did I go?
I’m afraid, that much is easy to see. I’m sticking to things that are very safe for me. I’m successfully avoiding embarrassing myself. But that is the heart of the issue. I thrive, grow, learn and create while I’m embarrassing myself.
I try to sing something I’m not sure I can pull off and my voice cracks and it is really unpleasant for all parties involved. I write a story that tells way too much about myself. I try a crazy kick and fall on my booty. I desperately try to get barreled in a wave and get smashed, my limbs being tossed out of the water like a ragdoll. I haven’t done any of this stuff in a while. It’s all been so safe. And I haven’t been growing.
My sister showed me a YouTube video called “People Are Awesome.” It’s a compilation of really incredible athletes doing amazing things. My sister said, “I don’t know how people can get to this level of athleticism. It blows my mind.” I know how they get to that level. They fall. Thousands of times. They push beyond what they’re capable of and wipeout horribly until, eventually, they do some unbelievable things.
I’m sure everyone has seen a video of a skateboarder falling crotch first onto a railing he’s trying to grind down or jump over. That sort of video is laughed at. Mocked. “Why would anyone want to do that?” Well, chances are, that same dude who ruined his crotch on a rail is also in the “People Are Awesome” video and millions of people are fawning over his incredible feat.
What I’m trying to say is, I have to rack my crotch on a railing.
Going out on that limb is scary and difficult. I’ve spent most of my life taking similar chances but I never really thought about it. I never had to force myself to do it. Maybe I’m officially entering oldmanhood. Damn.
If I want to go anywhere or achieve anything, I really have to get rid of this fear of embarrassing myself. My idea to start getting over it is to put myself in the deep end.
I’m not currently sure I’m capable of this one, but my idea is to line up an acoustic performance anywhere there are people watching and embarrass the hell out of myself. Sing off key, play an out-of-tune guitar, perform a song I’ve never rehearsed, half butchering a pop song and half making up my own terrible version. Really crash and burn.
I’m pretty convinced it would release me in a way that I’m in desperate need of. It’s a pretty extreme measure, but it may be necessary.
As for now, baby steps. Writing a diary entry and then posting it on the Internet is pretty embarrassing for me, so this is a start. If anyone reading this has a good idea for a way to embarrass myself, definitely leave me a comment about it. I can’t imagine the hilarious suggestions people will come up with.
Being honest with myself about this has been, well, difficult. It’s so easy to live while ignoring your true self. All I can say is that I’m willing to try, willing to be wrong and willing to change.
If there is a book you think would be beneficial for me to read in this time before school starts, please, tell me about it in the comments section.