Medicine Woman Walking January 2008

Posted by on 01.10.08 | 1 Comment
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This is the first of what we hope will be many blog posts by a new voice on the VTH: Holly Holbrooks. She is an Americorp-HOPE volunteer in Bend, OR and on her way to medical school. She is an inspiration to everyone whose life she touches. I am DELIGHTED that she wants to share her Walk to medical school with all of us–stay tuned for her voice…it’s one in a million… Beth, VTH Host

Holly’s voice:

This is, in fact, how I feel. I know where I’m going, barring any miraculous twists of fate. But I’m not there yet, and I can’t really conceive of how it will look or feel. Because I’m somewhat terrified about my future, I have resolved to just say yes this year, to all adventures, friends and challenges that come my way, including this very Virtual Teahouse experience. Today is the first time I have ever written in cyberspace. I feel naked and vulnerable. But this is something I feel I must do, kind of like going to prom. I was invited, so I need to come downstairs when the doorbell rings, even if I’m feeling fat and don’t really know if I’ll have that much to talk about.

In the 20 years I’ve been able to write full sentences, I have consumed journals like chicken wings- breathlessly gobbling up their pages, chucking the remains into a pile. Writing has always been my safest and most fluent form of expression, exposed only to my own evil eye… which is so evil it makes me go back and edit my journals, for grammar and even content! Example: May 6, 1990, age 10. “I really like Rodney.” Weeks later, I decided that these words were neither wholly accurate nor sufficiently dramatic, replacing them with “I truly love Rodney”. Lest I forget in my adulthood exactly how I felt about this person.

It’s shameful, the self-critics we become. But perhaps I’ve been writing for an audience all along, honing my people-pleasing ability to simultaneously confess and entertain. Maybe the only audience I should be concerned with is me. But I think there are times when you need to practice the art of laying things out on the line. We all struggle with vulnerability. We have a hard time accepting it in ourselves, and in others. Countless times each day, we walk the line between honesty and silence. And when the big stuff happens, we purge and then regret. Or we repress and then suffer.

Anyhow, seeing as my closets are getting full with my self-indulgent ramblings, here I am. Wailing along with Tammy Wynette as snow blows outside, my sleeping cat’s paws tucked under me and a glass of Pepperwood Grove Syrah in hand, I am reveling in my very first Real Literary Moment. I am also feeling thankful for the ability to read and write. There have been times in my life when I have felt so achingly, brimmingly full of joy or sadness that I have been unable to speak about them, even to this day.

My 2008 New Year Resolutions were to ride my exercise bike every morning, and to not have a crush on a 22 year-old. So far I’ve failed at both, so I have a kernel of doubt about my ability to blog reliably. However, I think someone wise once said that if you never try blogging, you’ll regret if for the rest of your life. So, hi. My name is Holly, and I have exactly 8 months left until I leave the cradle of Central Oregon to sleep in my big girl bed- Medical School. I hope to reflect on these precious months, truthfully and out loud, lest I forget in my adulthood exactly how I felt… about being 27, about being a woman, about being me, now. And to you, my first Virtual Teahouse date- don’t worry, I’m a pretty good dancer, and I’ll try not to overuse metaphors and self-deprecation in an attempt to make you laugh. Thank you for inviting me.

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