Bodily Autonomy

In 2018, a doctor moved into the Bond House. As fiery Southerners, we had an immediate kinship. She had moved to Boston from New York to start her OBGYN residency program. Four years. Four years is how long it would take to get the stamp of specialization approval. Four years of late nights, no sleep, cups of coffee, missed holidays, painful evaluations, surgeries, births, deaths, social work, relationship strain, love, despair, learning, teaching, and many, many sketches of vaginas. On Friday, at last, she was 1 of 4 residents to graduate from a prestigious program. On Friday, the United States Supreme Court stripped women and people who can become pregnant of their right to bodily autonomy. Fifty years down the drain. Our grandmothers’ legacy? Forget about it. The states decide. Because that always goes so well.

June Writing Challenge

For the month of June, I've challenged myself to answer one prompt out of 642 Things To Write About. So far, so fine. Writing short form is hard for me, so I've focused instead on imagery and making interesting word connections. Only one of those things has happened so far, but the rest of June lies ahead. Thanks for being a part of this accountability project.

In response to Gustavo Gutiérrez

Nothing is more expensive than being poor. Those who engage in social medicine and social justice scholarship know this to be true. For many of us who grew up in those impoverished settings written about in journals, it is a lived experience that has made us crusaders for change. Perhaps what we know most deeply is that poverty is a choice. It is not a choice of the impoverished but a choice made and perpetuated by a capitalist society interested in our bodies for as long as they can perform “essential services.”

Examining Life

It’s easy to be happy online. You work to put together the filter, the caption, the hashtags, the everything, and the end product is this shiny version of you. Don’t get me wrong, life has been good to me these last few years, and so it is always with no shortage of guilt that I present a version of myself that is less than happy. But I don’t want to lie to you.

The Loneliness Epidemic & Other Stories

When I moved to Boston in 2017, I wanted to be a clinical psychiatrist. After working as a therapeutic writing facilitator, I was so intrigued by the thought of helping people heal that it became more important to me than being a novelist (plus no one was interested in a fictionalized account of the French Revolution, despite its cultural and political relevance). Add in my new job with Harvard Medical School, I realized there was a lot of growing I still needed to do before spending any more time as a student. My life had to start, so it did.

The Bond House: Seeds for the Summer

I don’t write much about my home situation anymore, but it’s not because I’m not happy. Quite the opposite. It just started to feel more and more invasive to write about the daily goings-on of my community. I moved from the observer stage to the participant stage. Any anthropologist will tell you that a loss of objectivity dulls your argument (but a good anthropologist might tell you that it makes you better at your job). Anyway, since there’s a baby in the house who is actively becoming a person, it felt weird to capture that growth. The facts? She's two, knows more Spanish than I do, is funny, her favorite color is purple, and she’s really into dinosaurs right now.

The Least

The young man who lives above the organ rents his room for ten dollars a day. It’s a good deal for a student in the city, especially for one who’s rarely home and doesn’t mind choir practice on Monday and Thursday afternoons and during Sunday services. He’s rarely home on Sundays, anyway, spending those moments instead doing rounds at a community clinic. Though his mother raised him Catholic, he doesn’t spend much time in the sanctuary. He sees God in the world, in the face of the sick, the poor, the forsaken. Being a Christian, he thinks, means that you are a servant as Christ was. To be a Christian, one with absolute faith, your life is in service of love, no matter how painful that love often is.

A Therapeutic Retrospective

It’s been a few weeks since I ended a year-long habit of going to therapy on a regular basis. The last time I ended my session, it was because graduation loomed and there was nothing else the counseling office could do for me. This time, though, I ended things because I felt that I achieved the goals that I’d set out for myself. For now, there is nothing else to unpack or dissect. Life can’t always be about introspection, sometimes it’s about living. That being said, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I learned over the last twelve months because maybe it will help someone else see therapy as a viable path to healing.