Have I overshared? Have I been stupid to be vulnerable with my classmates, I wondered as I hurried through my presentation, wanting to end it asap. You see, we had to give a short presentation to our classmates about ourselves or hobbies or anything that was important to us . The girl before me had shared images of Switzerland’s mountains, just pictures after pictures that resembled google images(she took them herself but I could have easily googled to see similar ones). Another gave a philosophical lecture on identity. Another talked about a conservation project they had done. Then, there I was, telling them of how I had migrated from India and how the patriarchial community had almost prevented me from studying. I told them of how my father’s stubborness was the only reason I was here in med school and of how he had been labelled an arrogant man among our relatives. I showed pictures of my family, pictures that any google image cannot resemble. Then, I chided myself for oversharing.
You see, in med school, I happen to be the only weirdo who is comfortable with expressing her stories, her difficulties in aceing tests and in keeping up with the fast pace of the curriculum. I commented that this test crushed my self-esteem and I would work double hard to master this topic. My classmates kept mum or smiled in reply. Everyone had crafted an impenetrable fortress that could withstand any stress and they held out strongly. I felt stupid and as though I had poor capabilities. My classmates talked at ease about facts but never their stories. It’s these personal suffering and experience that moulds you, that breathes humanity into you and that which opens your eyes to see your patient as a person just like you. However, no one was voicing out the pressures they were facing be it being financially dependent on family in your mid 20s or having to forgo time with friends to sit hunched at a desk. They had an armor that withstood the beating and I seemed to be the only one who was breaking apart.
However, I knew deep inside me that this wasn’t true. I was not the only one facing challenges but I hoped there was greater vulnerability displayed among us. Till that happens, I know I have to continue being the fool who is willing to wear her heart on her sleeve because after that presentation, one friend opened up to me to say she had to fight for her basic education rights too and that my presentation strongly resonated with her. She saw solidarity in me and I felt less regret at having given that presentation.
No one benefits from putting up a facade that everything is fine. No one benefits from not addressing problems. You don’t become stronger by building a thicker wall, you become stronger by building bridges. (pardon the cliche, I had no other pretty words to substitute)