Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! The quote that serves as the title of this post is an excerpt from a poem I discovered earlier today. Simple in its construction, the poem has great depth. I want to share the poem, “Honest Toasts for the New Year” in its entirety before I dive into the rest of this post.
New Year’s Eve and we are all
holding flutes of cheap champagne,
with people we don’t know
or don’t care for, or we wish we could
just leave behind with this year
and we are all toasting,
glasses raised above crooked halos.
Here’s to the friends we lost,
the friends that left us behind,
the friends we haven’t met yet
and the friends that are bound
to be more than.
Here’s to the knives wedged
between shoulder blades
and blood slick ribs,
grazing our hearts as we breathe.
Here’s to the pain
that made us stronger.
Here’s to the resolutions we didn’t keep,
the ones we will make again
and again and again,
but habits are hard to break.
Here’s to consistency.
Here’s to the lips we kissed,
bruised, bit, lavished
and all the lips we will come
in contact with in the future.
Here’s to love.
Here’s to the scars
and the pieces of ourselves
we had to cut off to make it,
the fractures of glass that we are leaving
in this hellhole of a year.
Here’s to the unknown,
the smiles and the tears and the laughs
we haven’t had yet.
Here’s to next year, the New Year,
hopefully it will be better
and we will learn just as much.
Feel free to read the rest of O.L.’s poetry at this link.
2016 was a big year. I just re-read the resolution post that I made at the top of the year. So much has changed since that point; so much has been learned since that point. Before I launch into my hopes for this upcoming year, I want to start with a brief reflection of 2016.
What Happened in 2016:
- MS2 year – on the books.
- Caught a coveted Muse shoe during the Muses Krewe Mardi Gras parade.
- Assisted the catch of 3 other Muse shoes.
- Stood close enough to Solange Knowles that I could touch her – I didn’t!
- Survived dedicated USMLE 1 study period without much duress.
- Passed and fell within my goal range for USMLE 1!
- Travelled to Philadelphia, New York City, and Princeton as a post-exam trip. I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my closest friends while I was in the northeast. I also had a chance to hang out with my senior thesis advisor (yes guys, I still talk to him!)
- My dear friend Jasmine made her first visit to New Orleans. We met an aspiring Swedish pop artist on an alligator bayou tour – we still talk! Hi Hampus! Miss you!
- MS3 year – started.
- I lived and worked in four different cities between May – December.
- Survived internal medicine clerkship.
- Lost my first patient.
- Survived family medicine clerkship.
- Counseled my first suicidal patient.
- Survived surgery clerkship.
- Counseled my first transgender patient. Ze cried in my arms.
- Realized swiftly that I am not built for OR culture.
- I attended the Drake x Future Summer 16 concert (at the Smoothie King Center) in New Orleans.
- I attended the Beyoncé Lemonade concert(at the Superdome) in New Orleans.
- I attended the Tritonal concert (at the Metropolitan) in New Orleans.
- I dated a 1st grade teacher.
- I had the best donuts of my life!
- Thoroughly enjoyed the pediatrics clerkship.
- Decided that I’m going into pediatrics (but let’s be honest, we all sort of knew that was going to be the case).
- Said “YES!” when my best friend asked me to be her bridesmaid (she sent me the cutest letter and rainbow bagels, guys!). We both cried.
- Started hip hop classes at Dancing Grounds NOLA.
- I was featured in my first podcast.
- Received my first paid writing opportunity!
- Registered for USMLE 2.
- I tried oysters for the first time.
- Travelled to the Dominican Republic for the first time.
Things I Learned in 2016:
- Sometimes people hate you because of the way other people love you. Sometimes people are so blinded by their pasts that they’ll interpret your kindness as “disingenuous” and your compassion as “fake.” Not everyone will find you witty and charming. Haters are not a reflection of your value. My friend Sarah reminded me: “Even Jesus had haters. Who are we to think that we will not?”
- People will tell you anything when you wear a white coat. It’s important to act appropriately with the information disclosed.
- One of my patients shared with me that ze identifies as a male; ze had never told anyone (in real life; ze was active in a few online blogging communities) that ze identifies as transgender. When I asked ze why ze felt comfortable sharing that information with me, ze said that ze felt safe. This encounter reminded me how important it is to be a safe space and advocate for my current and future patients.
- Even the most caring people can have ideologies that espouse hatred.
- There are appropriate ways to discuss politics. Insults are never necessary.
- You shouldn’t share the details of your personal life with anyone who views your life as a source of entertainment. Real friends hurt when you hurt. Fake friends relish in your trials and resent your triumphs. If they need more drama in their lives, direct them to Bravo TV.
- Unsolicited advice is not received as “wise words.” Unsolicited advice is rude. Refrain.
- It is an amazing and strong thing to forgive even before someone has sought forgiveness. It is a beautiful thing to strive to be the bigger person. Forgiveness does not mean you have to maintain the same level of closeness. If you are constantly forced to be the bigger person, you should walk away. Giants do not associate with ants.
- If someone disrespects you, that’s not your fault. If they repeat the behavior (after you give them a second chance), the onus still lies on them. There’s no shame to being hopeful.
- You probably should not seek out dating advice from your single friends. Some (not all) single people are bitter and want to keep you around as a single / going out friend.
- The most important thing is that you like yourself. Everyone is a critic these days. There’s no way everyone will like your new favorite pair of shoes. Some people will think you look terrible with pink hair. If you like it, rock it.
- There’s a good chance that you’re somebody’s role model. Remember that whenever you want to give up.
Two days ago, my family spent the day in Higuey. We had the opportunity to see La Basilica de la Altagracía. In the center of the basilica is a gorgeous painting of the Virgín María and a golden crown brought as a gift by Pope John Paul II. It’s impossible to describe how at peace I was when I had a chance to pray in her presence.
My prayer (for all of us) is for: the opportunity to grow into more self-aware individuals, the strength to leave people and situations that we find non-enriching or incompatible with our goals, the discernment so as to properly identify the afore-mentioned people and situations, peace of mind and heart, the optimism of a child (for bitterness has never improved anyone’s quality of life), the ability to soothe souls with compassionate words, and the opportunity to enact change.
Here’s to being inspired by and not envious of the success of others. Here’s to dancing through 2017!
Wishing you and yours an amazing 2017. Thank you guys for reading the blog and sending me your words of support on Instagram and over email.