First, let this song below be your soundtrack to this blog post.
We are ready to begin.
FAILURE, BY DEFINITION, IS A “LACK OF SUCCESS.”
I believe that fear of failure creates more failures than anything else. Fear keeps us from even trying, and the best way for something to not be successful is to never try it. That’s 100% guaranteed. You see this inside and outside the laboratory.
You can set up an experiment, and it can fail even if you had a great set up. Believe me, I get this. Sometimes the experiments that seem like a long-shot and doomed end up working. No matter what the case may be, if you have a good idea, that experiment is usually worth it. Often scientists can think themselves out of a good question because they are afraid. This can keep them from being great.
Red blood cell or “erythroid” differentiation is actually a little finicky. It’s pretty easy to drive CD34+/CD45+ (blood stem cells) down the erythroid lineage to the orthochromatic normoblast stage (last step before a red blood cell enucleates).
But for whatever reason, it is really hard to get the cell to go from the normblast stage to the reticulocyte stage in a dish. ENUCLEATION IS TRICKY!
After trying again. Failing. Trying again. I’ve found a way to get this process to happen more often, and in these attempts and failures, I have acquired a lot of determination.
In September, I wanted to acquire a new collaborator. I won’t add too many details, but he was pretty skeptical of my data. At the get go, I felt I was fighting a losing battle. It did not feel good in the moment, but it was such an important experience. I walked a way feeling pretty defeated–especially because I’m pretty getting people to believe in what I am trying to do.
Skepticism and criticism can refine you if they do not break you.
At some point, you have to show and share your ideas with a skeptic. The peer review process exists because when we are criticized, we are challenged to become more rigorous.
Yesterday, I presented to him again and it was like night and day. The fundamental story I showed him was the same, but the combination of my confidence (I presented A LOT in the fall and winter) + new data reeled him in and convinced him. After our first meeting, I honesty felt like packing my bags and going back to Cleveland. I felt nearly convinced that I did not have what I thought I had. He had told me so. But, I picked myself back up. I tried again. Yesterday, he told me not to go back to Cleveland. But yeah, I gotta get this degree so NO. 😉
I have been learning over and over that failure is often not intrinsic to the situation itself, but the people involved. You can see this in a lot of broken marriages. It is really hard to forgive someone who has wronged you. It can be much easier to walk away. It is really hard to sacrificially love someone when it is inconvenient. It is much easier to walk away.
In friendships, the stakes are even lower. If you have no kids or didn’t legally bind yourself to you BFF, why invest? Just find someone more fun to hang with or forget people altogether!
Serena Williams, one of the best if not the best tennis player of all time will be making another comeback (post having her daughter) tomorrow. She has 39 grand slams (more than any other active player right now) I love this quote from her, and it’s been my Facebook cover photo in the past:
I started watching tennis seriously during my sophomore year of high school in 2008. Serena was at a lower point in her career. She was not well conditioned, suffered from injury and also was still clearly grieving the death of her oldest sister, Yetunde Price. One of my favorite moments of her career was this time–not just the “Serena Slam” period. It was this period because you can clearly see her processing and working through some of her worst moments. You can clearly see how a champion finds her footing on shaky ground. Watching her re-emerge again and again and AGAIN at 36 years of age (same age as Roger Federer FYI) has been beautiful and inspiring (she’s been World no. 1 six times). After every loss, she reformats and figures out how to make it better and tries again.
Let me tell you something you already know…. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! – Rocky Balboa in Rocky Balboa
I’m writing this post for whoever needs to hear it. What do you need to pick your self up to do? Are you afraid of failing again? It’s okay. Try again.
I’m about to try some new experiments. They may fail.
Anybody who has ever been has failed.
Anybody who has ever been great has failed and tried again.
If fairy tales are about anything, they are about the attainment of sexual maturity. More often than not, “the happily ever after,” especially in the Grimm’s Tales, is linked to a marriage or the union of a man and woman. The necessary event that makes this possible is attainment of sexual maturity for the female. Intriguingly, the road to this very important moment has surprising variation from tale-to-tale. Sometimes the girl is not ready to share her bed or is unwillingly devoured by a rouge wolf. In other instances, time slowly passes leading to the ripening of her beauty and the inevitable appearance of a suitor. What does this archetypical woman look like? Is she a silent, beautiful object waiting to be kissed or taken upon a king’s horse? Or, is she wild, needing to be tamed? Child psychoanalyst, Bruno Bettleheim, wrote in, The Uses of Enchantment, that fairy tales enrich the lives of children by “clarifying” their emotions and “stimulating” their imaginations. He believed that introducing children to fairy stories, better prepared children for their lives ahead of them. Here, I will discuss many tales dealing with the issue of sexual maturation. Although some tales may set little girls at ease or excite them for what is to come in their lives, fairy tales also show that the journey to womanhood can be violent, abrupt and change course against a woman’s wishes—exciting and sobering altogether.
Chapter 1: When They Aren’t Ready
There is something bittersweet about leaving childhood behind. It is this bittersweet-ness that is so apparent in the Frog-King and Little Red Cap. These tales tell of little girls either unwilling or not ready for the sexual maturation forced upon them.
The Frog-King, or Iron Henry is the first tale in the complete set of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It begins with the youngest daughter of a king playing with a golden ball near a fountain. She drops the golden ball into the fountain, and is consoled while weeping by a frog. He promises to retrieve her ball if she gives him her love.
“Let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed.”
Without giving a moment to think about the gravity of his request, and also underestimating the frog’s power to make her keep her promise, she consents, unknowingly ending her childhood.
The Frog-King is not truly about true love between a charming frog and a princess who sees his deeper beauty, but a girl pressured into an unwanted union. The King’s Daughter is disgusted with what she describes as an “odious frog,” and does not intend to keep her promise if not for the parental pressure from her father. She feared the touch of the cold frog “which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed.” At the climax of the story, the King’s Daughter does not grow accustomed to the cold frog or even love him, but throws him against the wall in a fit of rage. She wanted to remain a girl with her own bed, plate, and cup. Perhaps, there was something about that emotional release and his transformation that readied her to accept the prince with “kind and beautiful eyes.” Following that transformation they, “went to sleep.”
The King’s Daughter’s journey to sexual maturity was unwanted and even disgusted her. Her rage not only released the Frog King from his curse but also brought on her own sexual maturation. This is evidenced by a night with recently transformed prince. No more golden balls were needed for this princess. In the case of Little Red Cap, her sexual maturation was brought on not by the violence she performed but received.
Little Red Cap, also known as Little Red Riding Hood, is a tale of a little girl who takes food to her ailing grandmother through a forest. Red’s mother warns her to stay on the path, yet while on the path, she meets a wolf. The wolf first takes advantage of her naiveté and convinces her to veer from the path to look at the forest flowers. While straying from the path, the cunning “Old sinner” runs to Red’s grandmother’s house. This is where the story diverges in many of its’ retellings. In the Grimms’ tale, the wolf physically devours the grandmother and puts on her clothing. After Red Caps’ several questions about her “grandmother’s” physical appearance, she is physically eaten as well. Both grandmother and Red are only freed when the huntsman cuts them out in a cesarean section-like nature. Red is reborn, and when another wolf reappears, she wittily dispatches of him.
Charles Perrault’s version is much more overtly sexual. The wolf does not put on the grandmother’s clothing. He asks Red to join him in bed after disguising his voice. The virginal Red obeys, takes off her clothes and enters into bed. Again, after Red naively questions her “grandmother” about her appearance, the wolf “threw himself upon” Red and “ate her up.”
Perrault’s moral is very dark: pretty young girls should be wary of wolves which “are not all” of the same kind.” There is no happy ending for the girl who finds herself in bed with a wolf-no matter what he looks like. Another hidden message may be that roguish men will always seek to disguise their true nature, and if a woman does not see this, she will pay the price. Rape is often not the subject of stories for children. This is what makes Perrault’s tale especially sinister.
Both the Frog King and Little Red Cap illustrate a reality that women who are not “ready” may still be sought after. Their endings vary. Sometimes, she is forced to grow up, grows cynical; sometimes she is devoured in more ways than one. In these stories, the transition to sexual maturity is rapid, but other tales illustrate a slower passage of time.
Chapter 2: The Passage of Time and Sexual Readiness
From frightful, black beast to loving playmate to “King’s son,” the transformation of the bear in Snow-White and Rose-Red, is certainly of note. But, he is not the only character who changes. Snow-white and Rose-red, two daughters of a poor widow, have their own journeys to sexual maturation. The bear is the salient catalyst.
The evening when the sisters first let the bear in their little cottage, “Rose-red screamed and sprang back” and “Snow-white hid herself behind her mother’s bed.” Their (sexually mature) mother was unafraid when she heard him speak and beckoned the girls to come to him. Unlike the Frog King, the bear did not demand affection from the girls but won it as time passed, and they grew.
The day the bear left their home for the entire summer, marked change in the girls—especially Snow-white. She was, “quite sorry at his departure, as she unbolted the door for him.” Shortly after his exit, the girls were sent by their mother into the forest to collect firewood, and came face-to-face with the wicked dwarf that cursed the King’s son. They are saved from the cursing dwarf by the bear. When the bear reappeared growling, the girls ran away until they recognized his voice when he called out, “Snow-white and Rose-red, do not be afraid; wait, I will come with you.” As they waited, “his bearskin fell off, and he stood there a handsome man, clothed all in gold.”
In the forest, Snow-White and Rose-red did not need their mother to calm them and had finally reached the point of sexual maturation. In fact, from this point on, their mother is strangely absent from the story. Snow-white married the King’s son, and Rose-red, his brother. The freedom to roam the forest, away from their childhood home, was an important facet of their journey to sexual maturity—that and the passage of time. But, in other tales, when women lack such “freedom” to move, wander and be active, their maturation still is inevitable.
One such tale is Rapunzel. Rapunzel, whose parents exchanged her for rampion (rapunzel) plants, was the “most beautiful child under the sun.” Aware of the child’s beauty, Dame Gothel, who acquired the girl, wished to freeze Rapunzel’s innocence, blocking her sexual maturation. In renditions such as the musical, Into the Woods, Gothel wanted to keep Rapunzel with her out of Gothel’s own loneliness, but her motivations in Grimm’s 1857 tale are less clear. Gothel may simply be a predator that preys on the desperation of others, trapping her victims into undesirable situations.
Two years after shutting Rapunzel in the tower (age 13-14), the “King’s son” predictably passes by. Although he could not see “the most beautiful child under the sun,” this could not stop their inevitable union. He heard her charming voice singing from up high in the tower, and his heart was “stirred.” When, he tricked her into casting down her hair, and he climbed up to meet her, she was naturally terrified. But, the first man she had ever met made quite the impression.
“Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought: ‘He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does’.”
Something about Rapunzel made her accept this stranger, and perhaps it was her sexual readiness—even if she did not consciously recognize it herself. The time was right.
They plotted their escape, but Rapunzel’s own mouth betrays her when she tells Gothel that she outweighed the prince. Outraged by Rapunzel’s betrayal, Gothel exclaims,
“Ah! You wicked child. What do I hear you say! I thought I separated you from all the world and you have deceived me!”
Gothel then cut off her hair, a symbol of her beauty and sexual purity, blinds the prince, and casts them both from the tower. They are reunited years later.
Rapunzel’s revelation of the prince’s presence here differs, however, from the 1812 version, in profound ways. The earlier edition of the Grimm’s tales had more obvious mentions of sex and violence than in the later 1857 edition. Instead of foolishly speaking of the Prince, Rapunzel’s loss of virginity is clearly revealed to Dame Gothel. In the 1812 story,
“The fairy did not discover anything until one day when Rapunzel began talking to her and said, ‘Tell me, Mother Gothel, why do you think my clothes have become too tight for me and no longer fit?’”
Still maintaining some child-like innocence, Rapunzel was unaware of what was causing the changes to her body. Clearly, she enjoyed her meetings with the “young king,” but neither of them seemed to discuss the potential consequences of their unions. The celibate Gothel in this version may not only be incensed at Rapunzel’s behavior but disgusted with Rapunzel’s sexual adventurousness.
Another tale in which a mother abhors her daughter’s sexual maturation is the famous, Little Snow-White. The “patriarchal” mirror that hung on the Queen’s wall in Snow-White was the judge of beauty. Often the Queen, Snow-white’s stepmother, would ask the mirror for his opinion on the Queen’s beauty in comparison to the entire land. She was usually content with the response: “Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all!” But, when Snow-white reached seven years of age, the norm was destabilized. The mirror finally professed the painful words:
“Thou art fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen. But more beautiful still is Snow-white, as I ween.”
Envy consumed the Queen and drove her to seek out her stepdaughter’s death. Feminist literary critics, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, have endeavored to make sense of the Queen’s profound envy. They found that in extreme patriarchy women often turn on each other. Traditionally, the mother views the daughter as a threat with her “budding sexuality,” but the envy the Queen actions—numerous attempts at murder—seems even extreme for this view. Gilbert and Gubar posit that the Queen’s hatred stems from her very nature that counter’s Snow-white’s (Gilbert & Gubar 293). Even without the mirror, the Queen would have acted wickedly. On the other hand, even in death, Snow-white’s beauty was enough to capture the fancy of a passing prince. Similarly, the Silent Women in the Norwegian and German “Swan Brothers” stories were so lovely that passing kings put them upon their horses and took them home. The Queen, however, is active, scheming and thinking, and Snow-white with her “absolute chastity” and “frozen innocence” is destined to take the place of the Queen (Gilbert & Gubar 295).
Whatever happens to the girl after she has attained sexual maturity—when her “frozen innocence” has melted away? Is the little Snow-white destined to become “the queen” herself? Many of the fairy stories analyzed in this essay end shortly after the female protagonist reaches sexual maturity. Perhaps, the story of Snow-white shows us the dark end for our female protagonists, and the dangers of holding on to the past. The passage of time is inevitable. Just as the ripening of a woman’s beauty may be outside her control, so is its waning, and if women hold on to what they are sure to lose, they may gain madness in return.
Snow-white, Rose-red, Rapunzel, the Silent princesses and “little” Snow-white are all women to be desired. With time, they came of age with very little of their own resistance, but some women in fairy tales fight back against the inevitable.
Chapter 3: They Come Unwillingly
The King’s Daughter from the Frog King and Little Red Cap were to be pitied because they were not primed for sexual relationships, but sometimes women of the appropriate age are unwilling to progress into a marriage. The price for this behavior in such patriarchal societies is a time of suffering and shame. In King Thrushbeard and Hakon Grizzlebeard the princesses are haughty, immature, and pompous.
Hacon Grizzlebeard and King Thrushbeard begin in nearly identical ways. The first:
“Once on a time there was a Princess who was so proud and pert that no suitor was good enough for her… though she was so proud, still new suitors kept on coming to the palace, for she was a beauty, the wicked hussy!”
“A king had a daughter who was beautiful beyond all measure, but so proud and haughty withal that no suitor was good enough for her.”
These fussy princesses were old enough to be desired but refused to be sexually ready, mocking the beards (symbolic of manhood) in two of their most suitable suitors: Grizzlebeard and Thrushbeard. In these fairy tales, princesses with such “proud” natures were unable to be appropriate judges of their own sexual readiness and had to be tamed—each in different ways.
In Hacon Grizzlebeard, the rejected Grizzlebeard swears to himself that the princess will pay for her mockery and shames her. He masquerades as poor beggar selling golden objects. Much like the young King’s Daughter from The Frog King, the princess is also fond of gold. She asks if they are for sale and he replies,
“No; it isn’t for sale, but if I may have leave to sleep outside your bed-room door to-night, I’ll give it you.”
Unlike the young King’s Daughter in The Frog King, the princess is wise enough to consider the offer. It seemed safe enough, but alas, the beggar found his way into the girl’s bed. She gave birth, months later. The irony in the Princess’ situation is that she fought so hardily against marriage, but in the end received exactly what she feared: marriage. Her misplaced sexual maturation brought on her own disgrace. Fearing her father’s scorn, she follows the beggar home, is quickly domesticated, and humbled until Grizzlebeard is satisfied in marrying her.
In King Thrushbeard, both the princess’ father and Thrushbeard seem to work together in the taming of the princess. When Thrushbeard appears, also disguised as a beggar, the princess’ father proclaims,
“I have taken an oath to give you to the very first beggar-man, and I will keep it.”
Over the course of the story, the princess regrets her rejection of Thrushbeard and is also domesticated and lowered into service as a kitchen maid in Thrushbeard’s true palace. Once satisfied by her humiliation, Thrushbeard reveals himself to her. The tamed shrew weeps bitterly saying,
“I have done a great wrong, and am not worthy to be your wife.”
These women were guilty of wanting control of their sexual maturation processes. In the world of the fairy tale, this often does not work. All-fur is an interesting exception. When a widower-king’s daughter grew and he saw that, “in every respect she was like his late wife, and suddenly felt a violent love for her,” the princess, Allerleirauh fled. She is not characterized as a “wicked hussy” for her rejection, but her escape from the Electra complex is not easy. This time, she disguises herself in fur, and is mistaken for and hunted like an animal in the forest of another king. She works in the kitchen living in a new kingdom “in great wretchedness.” In the end, her true beauty is recognized, and she is married to the king of the land, safe from her incestuous father. But, her suffering is extraordinary. In piloting her own journey to sexual maturation, she still found herself in circumstances in which she was at the mercy of other men. These princess-taming tales, reveal that when women come unwillingly to the marriage bed, their lives will be all the harder for it. It may be easier to just come willingly.
Chapter 4: When They Come Willingly
“True love” is a phrase often used in the discussion on fairy tales, but I believe it is truly rare in the fairy tale. The King’s Daughter in The Frog-King violently threw her soon-to-be mate against a wall. Snow-white and Rose-red were both fond of the bear but only one could have him. The king’s son in Rapunzel was the first man she ever saw and a convenient marriage to him represented freedom from her cage-tower. Little Snow-white was dead when her prince saw her for the first time, and the taming of the shrew tales are so full of shaming that it is hard to regard either of these stories as “true love” stories. However, the beast tales, Beauty and the Beast and White-Bear-King-Valemon are some of the most-beloved stories of true love and sexual maturation. The women in these tales come willingly.
In Madame Leprince de Beaumont’s story, Beauty and the Beast, a merchant has three sons and three pretty daughters—the youngest, Beauty, the most beautiful of all. Beauty is her father’s favorite, and only requests a rose from him on one of his merchant travels. Unbeknownst to him, satisfying his daughter’s request of a rose brought about her sexual maturation. In a large forest, he plucks a rose from the Beast’s grounds. Bettleheim analyzed in The Uses of Enchantment,
“His doing so symbolizes both his love for her and also an anticipation of her losing her maidenhood, as the broken flower—particularly the broken rose—is a symbol for the loss of virginity”(Bettleheim 306).
The price for this offense is either his death or a daughter in exchange. Out of love for her father, and a brave determination, Beauty takes her father’s place. In Madame de Villeneuve’s tale, once at the Beast’s palace the following scene unfolds:
“Good evening, old man. Good evening, Beauty.”
The merchant was too terrified to reply, but Beauty answered sweetly, “Good evening, Beast,”
“Have you come willingly?” asked the Beast. “Will you be content to stay here when your father goes away?”
Beauty answered bravely that she was quite prepared to stay.
The Beast, pleased, sent the merchant away with chest of gold (a bride price).
Even though Beauty came willingly, she went on to gently reject the Beast’s nightly marriage proposals, still pining away for her father. Only after the Beast releases her for a week’s time to see her father, does Beauty realize her love for the Beast and how “she can no longer live without it and wants to marry it” (Bettleheim 306). The Beast nearly dying of heartbreak (since her wicked sisters detain her for longer than a week) is transformed into a Prince, and they happily celebrate her marriage.
As Beauty reached the point of sexual maturation she had to make a choice between childhood and womanhood. Although she initially wavered, she came to realize how satisfying it is to come willingly to a man she loves.
The White-Bear-King-Valemon illustrates the transformation of a girlish princess dreaming of her wedding day to a devoted wife and mother. The King’s Daughter dreamed of a golden wreath. In Norwegian culture, virginal brides wore this gold wreath. She pined away for the particular wreath she dreamed of so much that the wreaths her doting father had made for her (naturally) would not suffice. She was not satisfied with what her father could give her, but what a white bear possessed: the exact golden wreath. She wished to purchase it but “No! It wasn’t to be had for money, but only in return for herself.” The King’s Daughter believed that her life was not worth living without the wreath and giving herself to him would at least satisfy her in getting what she wanted.
The King’s Daughter was ready for marriage, and when the bear came to collect her, her father sent his other daughters first. When her sisters sat on the bear’s back on the way to the wood where he lived, he asked,
“Have you ever sat softer, have you ever seen clearer?”
They childishly responded, “Yes, on my mother’s lap I sat softer, in my father’s court I saw clearer,” and the Bear-king returned them back to their parents. Only the “fair and sweet” King’s Daughter exclaimed in response to his question, “No, never!” The satisfied bear-king took her, and although a bear by day, he conveniently transformed into a handsome man at night to be with his sexually-ready bride. The story does not end there.
Over the next three years of marriage, she bore three children that the Bear-king took away from her promptly after their births. Depressed, she wished to return to her parents, and unknowingly, began a quest to rescue her husband from the curse that trapped him within a bear’s body. As she searched for her husband, the King’s Daughter was determined to find him—even when those she met on the road told her that, “You’ll never catch up with him again.” But, she does, aids in his escape, and reunites with the children her husband hid away so that they could help her find him. (Research this story! I leave a lot of details out!)
In both Beauty and the Beast and White-Bear-King-Valemon, the girls and their fathers realize according to Bettleheim, that through marriage to a “beast” they didn’t have to suffer some beastly experience. Bettleheim claimed that,
“The story tells that their anxieties are unfounded. What was feared to be a beastly experience turns out to be one of deep humanity and love”(Bettleheim, 306).
Growing up can be a frightening reality for children, but these beast tales demonstrate that all though relationships change, growth can also be beautifully satisfying.
German poet, Friedrich Schiller once said,
“Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.”
These stories have the power to introduce children to the realities of adulthood. In these posts, I have analyzed fairy stories about sexual maturation of females. Chapter 1, “When The Aren’t Ready,” elucidates the deep meaning concerning the frustration, violence, and cynicism of sexual maturation. In addition, the inevitability and futility of fighting against time and aging was explored in the second chapter, “The Passage of Time & Sexual Readiness.”Chapter 3, “They Come Unwillingly” described the suffering and shame women face in a patriarchal society when they are unwillingly to “progress” towards a life of marriage. The final chapter, “They Come Willingly,” tells of the beauty of true love and free will found in the “beast tales,” Beauty and the Beast and White-Bear-King-Valemon. Sex and personal growth take on varying forms both in reality and in the world of the fairy tale. Fairy tales do not always sugarcoat this matter, for, sex can be both lovely and violently unwanted. Through this analysis, it is evident that fairy tales, although fantastical, are grounded in much of what society considers a woman’s maturation.
What can I say? I’m a child of the 90’s and love Superman. It is my favorite superhero mythology–probably because I’ve known the most of about it for the longest time. (X-Men is a close second, and I adore Christopher Nolan’s Batman but not the mythology as much).
But, I must say that one of my favorite Superman spin-offs is Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. This ‘93 television show starring Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was a huge favorite of my three siblings and I growing up. And, I have recently discovered its greatness!
It’s a joy to watch Lois & Clark because it grants us a human perspective of Superman and Lois Lane. We see him primarly as Clark Kent. Not the geeky, weak klutz in Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie (although THE MOVE IS THE BOMB. CHRISTOPHER REEVE WAS THE ORIGINAL). In the 70’s film, Clark was not real. He was a cover, an act. The tanned, confident Superman was the true man, but in this show, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Clark Kent is Superman, and Superman is Clark Kent. He is incredibly passionate about his work as a reporter and saving lives, and never does the viewer wonder which man is real and which one is an act. He has travelled the world and knows plenty. However, there is still so much for him to learn about his origins and the world around him. His growth in knowledge gives him buckets of humanity. Clark is confident, kind, and smolders behind those horn-rimmed glasses which makes life even more complicated for Lois Lane. Kent is actually a contender for Lois’s heart, and she falls for him just as hard as she falls for Superman, thank goodness!
As for Lois, Teri Hatcher is the BEST Lois Lane so far. Period. All the others (especially Kate Bosworth in the woeful Superman Returns) just seemed like the archetypal “fiesty women” and lacked a depth and charm. You wonder what Superman sees in them in the first place. Not this Lois, however! She’s rocks the power suit, is intelligent, stubborn, beautiful, trained in self-defense, and his best friend. It’s easy to see why Kent is so taken by her. He isn’t in love with just a Superman fangirl.
Lastly, perhaps the best part of Lois & Clark besides the amazing chemistry between the leads is the constant presence of Clark’s parents, John & Martha Kent. Jonathan Kent is still alive, and they are the cutest and funniest couple. Instead of flying north to the Fortress of Solitude in times of need, all he needs to do is fly home to Smallville to hear wisdom from his folks.
You can watch online with iTunes and the works!
Get ready to be charmed by the Kryptonian and a snappy reporter!
Some movies should not be re-made–especially iconic ones.
I pray that people never remake Gone with the Wind, The Godfather, Rocky, Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur, Lord of the Rings and generally anything with Audrey Hepburn. She was delightful and it really is unfair for any woman to follow in her footsteps. Sabrina (1954) starring Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart is no exception.
For those who haven’t seen either movie, Sabrina is about a daughter of a chauffeur to a very wealthy New Yorker tycoon family on Long Island. They are called “by the name of Larrabee.” The family has two sons. Linus, the elder one, is a responsible business man, and David, the younger, is basically a lazy ladies man and general scoundrel. Sabrina has always been infatuated with David since childhood, but he pretty much ignores her life.
So, Sabrina’s father sends her off to Paris to Le Cordon Bleu cookery school so she can get skilled and get over David. She comes back from Paris knowing how to make a soufflé and also very stylish. Both take notice. David because she looks fabulous, and Linus because (she looks fabulous) AND because David (who is now engaged to a woman/heir to a wealthy company) is noticing. Linus doesn’t want his merger screwed up so tries to keep David and Sabrina apart. The rest…you should find out for yourself! Both are on Netflix!
This rant/post may be long overdue because the remake came almost 20 years ago in 1995 starring Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford, but I watched the remake this week and need a therapeutic release.
Let me breakdown the problems with the remake.
1.) Julia Ormond, Julia Ormond, Julia Ormond
Audrey Hepburn’s posh accident that you couldn’t appropriately place did not really both you because it was Audrey Hepburn. She was charming, fashionable and charismatic. Julia Ormond was just awkward and her “charming” Sabrina was just trying so hard!!! Also her ugly jerry curl…Lord have MERCY!
The 1990s were a bad time for fashion in many ways so I understand, but really it didn’t even look like they were TRYING.
The scene when Sabrina returns to the states is important because we see her new look. We are supposed to be wow-ed.
Here is Hepburn:
This, my friends, is iconic. She looks so natural with that poodle too. She also wore those earrings in several scenes and with different outfits, making it her “trademark” in the movie.
The shades here are a nice touch though. I will say that. BUUUT This is an ugly interview suit and old-lady-at-church Sunday hat. Honestly, they could have done a variation on Hepburn’s with 90s shoulder pads, and I wouldn’t have complained. I promise!
3.) The dialogue
Hepburn’s Sabrina challenged Linus (Bogart) to live life to the fullest in the most charming of ways. Example:
Okay, Sabrina why don’t you just come and save us all since you get life so much. *eye roll*
I don’t want to be a complete “Negative Nancy” so I’ll also include some things the movie did well.
1.) Removal of suicide attempt
So the night before Sabrina is supposed to go to Paris in the 1954 version, she tries to kill her self using carbon monoxide car exhaust because she is so depressed about David. That’s really extreme so I liked how in the 1995 movie she just goes up to his room and does something embarrassing.
2.) Larrabee mom was in charge
In the 1995 movie, Maude Larrabee actually build up the Larrabee empire not Oliver Larrabee (the father in 1954 film). That’s kind of progressive and cool!
3.) Harrison Ford wasn’t too bad
Yeah, Harrison Ford is always playing grouchy men so he was well cast to play Linus.
4.) I like that Sabrina goes to Paris to study photography.
She has a skill independent of serving people. However, the point of her becoming a cook in the earlier film is to the cement the difference between her and the Larrabee brothers (she being “the help” and them you know…“richies”).
Okay, back to “Negative Nancy”…why is David ever considered by Sabrina? He never looks THAT good, and she saw him constantly with other women.
Check this quote from the 1995 movie. Please forgive the horrible dialogue.
Sabrina: You’re very photogenic.
Linus: It’s because I’m handsome.
Sabrina: No, that’s not it.
Linus: But not as handsome as David
Sabrina: Nobody is as handsome as David. Even David. [WHAAAAT DOES THAT MEAN?]
Actually Harrison Ford, I don’t think Greg Kinnear was that much better looking than you.
And William Holden doesn’t look that good either…better than Humphrey Bogart, but Bogart had that old man swag/“gravitas.” Fun fact: Holden and Hepburn were once an item and it started around the making of this movie!
Sabrina (1995) wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen, but it shouldn’t have been made because it didn’t contribute or improve upon much from the first movie. In fact, it is worse.
Ormond’s Sabrina told Linus that, “Sometimes more isn’t better. It’s just more.”
If you do not think you are strange in any way, you are in trouble.
In fact, you are definitely trying to do what many of us (more self aware people) are doing as well–trying to be normal.
When I look in the mirror, the reflection I see is not just of who I think I am, but often whom I strive to be.
A laugh, the way we wear our hair. The shirt chosen for the day. Are choices made to craft a persona. A persona desperate to be loved.
I endeavor to be meticulous about what I wear or how I carry myself not only because of the conscious desire to be liked but out of a conscious desire to like myself.
The fear is that by “letting loose,” or sharing my true opinion, or saying what I hesitate to reveal, people may not like who I am.
They may reject me.
But, something just hit me AGAIN. I know it is cliche, but I have to let someone know this.
Unabashedly be who you are.
Someone may like you for it.
But most importantly, you may like yourself more for it.
It is tempting to wonder if a modified wardrobe, look, or even personality could garner the acceptance we yearn for. But, the crazy thing is that many times we do not know what we like. And other people do not either. We live in a world of manufactured personalities and looks.And by putting on a mask, we not only project our artificial selves, but do not give others the opportunity to see someone genuine. With this, the opportunity for others to genuinely assess us is lost. How can someone like the real you if you never show it to them?
We try to change ourselves to be liked, but in the end we are not the ones liked or disliked. Something manufactured is–and it is not us.
I love to make people laugh without even thinking about it. To see that the words I say, uncalculated and authentic, make people happy. It is in these moments, I especially appreciate who I am because I am showing my true self to others.
There is the chance that what I may be off-putting or undesirable or bring upon conflict. But, is not it better to understand this part of yourself, grow and change instead of falsely being something else?
Trying to be “another” is tragic because the world deserves better.
After I left Black Panther over a week ago, I was filled with joy and pride. What I and many black people felt may be something similar but even more profound than what American viewers experienced after watching Richard Donner’s Superman: The Moviewith Christopher Reeve 40 odd years ago. Superman is a great film and first real superhero blockbuster with a John Williams soundtrack to boot. Here you have this wholesome alien from the destroyed planet, Krypton. He’s handsome and conveniently white and fights for “truth, justice and the American way.” It’s a very awesome, joyful film that I still enjoy today. As expected, there are very few black people. A few caricatures. But no real characters. I’m sure the only spoken line by a person of color in the film is a black man exclaiming, “Woo that’s a bad outfit!” when Kent emergences in his red, blue and yellow garb.
The tenor of that film is so joyful unlike the annoying, modern and brooding portrayals of Superman. I’m sure many people emerged from the theater excited in 1978 like I did 40 years later. They felt a sense of how the best and most beautiful of themselves was on the screen–fighting for good and truth in a dark world.
When you never see yourself represented in areas you would like to see yourself–whether its the screen or the stage or the operating room, it’s very lonely.
Few films capture the extreme loneliness of having black skin in white spaces like Jordan Peele’s Get Out. You are the exotic other viewed with both wonder and fear in these spaces.
In Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, I saw, and the world learned that black people can be super on every scale. We do not have to be the devoted side kick or the comic relief or just the henchman to a way more evil white man.
We can be heroes. We can be villains. Men, women, all of us. The narrative can be fully embodied by us. And the power of a story set in Africa, Asia, and Europe can appeal to everyone–just how a story about a white man in tights appealed to a 10 year old black girl living in southern Illinois.
We see beautiful black people who are not slaves or maids in their own story. But even more than that, we see a film that is sending a powerful message. Black Panther speaks to the opportunities for growth in our own communities and relationships–especially between those who are Africans/Africans of the diaspora.
Black Panther dares us to imagine what Africa would have been like without colonialism, the realities of our past, and a potential for the future.The black world, has often been shattered by colonialism, slavery, racism and socioeconomic depression. This disharmony has played a key role (but is not entirely responsible) in much division between continental Africans and Diaspora Africans as well as within the subgroups in those communities.
And, can we look at the records that Black Panther is breaking? There was this myth (now shattered in Hollywood) that movies with a predominately black cast could not be as successful as those with a predominately white cast. UPDATE: John Williams-esque music is not necessary to sell a blockbuster. Kendrick Lamar can do it too.
A super story is universal.
I’ll close with this, white Americans leaving Superman four decades ago, maybe knew that they had the potential to be super themselves. But, for many of us outside that demographic, we have been constantly told explicitly and implicitly that that potential and beauty is not within us. Black Panther’s very existence challenges that notion.
You can be wise and strong like T’Challa. A world-changer like Nakia. A genius like Shuri. A warrior like Okoye. A radical like Killmonger.
William Goldman, author of thePrincess Bride wrote in his book that “True love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.” That book I read in high school and the beloved movie (in which he ALSO wrote the screenplay 31 years ago) is all about true love. It never dies and you should never give up on it according to Wesley and Buttercup, “Not even death can stop true love—it can only delay for awhile…!”
So corny! I ask myself: “What kind of syrupy love are they even talking about?” For a moment, I withdraw into the recesses of my mind to usher forth my definitions of love—to challenge this notion. One I constantly go back to is this one:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away…So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13).
Hmmm perhaps these notions are not so dissimilar…
Whatever love is, it is an extremely abundant, overwhelming thing, and sustaining it in and of our own human strength seems pretty impossible. You can see this in relationships. You can see this in how we “love” people, things and what we do.
Whatever love is, it is not simply a feeling because feelings come and go. Modified by the weather, how busy we are or reactive to what someone says or does or doesn’t. THIS kind of love is active. It is alive and driven by decision, by choice. It’s more than a feeling *turns on song by Boston*
I’m thinking about love these days—not just because it’s February, but I’m at an odd place in many ways. Passionate and driven, I believe feelings and emotion are VERY powerful motivators. I love my calling to make an impact as a physician-scientist one day. But some days, it is just really hard. I’m learning that my motivation when it’s based on how I feel is not sustainable—even for something I like so much. SICKLE CELL RESEARCH IS THE BOMB. I know this.
I’m at this place in my research where I can see my constructed finish line–but not very clearly. I’m in Boston until August and have made decent progress on my project, but it’s just really hard right now to stay motivated. Especially when the standard now is: what can I put together for a paper? When does this narrative end? This entire prospect can be so overwhelming that it is hard to get out of bed sometimes—for a project I do know I care deeply about (note: knowing and feeling are not the same). No one cares more about my project than me, but I don’t have a squad of people motivating me to push it forward. It’s just me. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt paralyzed about the amount of work left for you to accomplish/not quite sure how to go about it! It can be crippling, right?
After the highs of last year with ASH and all those meetings, it was a slower start to 2018, and I just feel like I’m beginning to find my rhythm again. I also am reminding myself that it was ME who decided to take two years away from medical school. I decided to love this, and I can keep on loving what I do. It’s really up to me. And honestly, by the grace of God, I’m encountering some joy that is giving fuel to the love I know I do have.
PERSONAL STATEMENTS. I’ve been applying for some summer funding, and it’s been a wonderful way to reflect on my journey until now. Here is an excerpt:
When people ask me what it is like to have siblings with sickle cell anemia and to also pursue medicine, I oftenrespond that I am compelled, inspired and excited to be the best hematologist possible. My introduction to sickle cell disease (SCD) was not academic—SCD appeared to me as a personal and seemingly mystical force. A force that can transform outwardly healthy-appearing and joyful people into those overwhelmed with pain and illness—a shadow of who they truly are and can become. Those who manage sickle cell patients understand this image entirely and have words to articulate what may be happening with their patients. As a young child, I lacked that vocabulary and sought to find the words to describe what I saw and the ability to change it.
Sickle cell disease, like many other ailments, is the enemy of potential and wholeness. Over the years it has garnered some attention, but in my opinion, not enough as our exposure to it’s basic pathophysiology over the past century is inappropriately disproportionate to the number of therapies and cures generated and available for patients. As a future physician-scientist and leader in sickle cell disease, my goal is to investigate ways in which we can make SCD cures safer and more accessible for patients. Currently, my interest lies with the use of patient-derived stem cells for cell therapies.
Who is this passionate woman? Can I find her again?
WRITING A TEXTBOOK CHAPTER. Since the early fall, I have been working on a textbook chapter about sickle cell care in the intensive care unit with some other physicians at Boston Children’s and Dana Farber. This re-integration into clinical thinking was more than just a “thing to do” for me. It was a labor of love. I’ve had family members in the ICU for many of the problems I wrote about in my chapter. This was an opportunity for me to tangibly contribute to better care for people I love. It was also a wonderful way for me to once again consider why I do what I do from another perspective. It’s not just about publishing and the glory therein. It’s about making a difference. It felt so good to finish that chapter this month.
TIME WITH FRIENDS. Black Panther was everything. Read more about it my sister’s blog post. Seeing it with friends was a beautiful way to find renewed love for myself and people of the African Diaspora.
OPERA. If you know me or have read any of my blog posts, you KNOW I love the opera. I joked with my older sister once that to me, OPERA IS LOVE. And, this year I have been sharing this experience with the people I really care about. For my sister’s birthday, we saw Turandot, my favorite opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. For my friend Hana’s birthday, I took her to the Met for her first opera there. We saw Madama Butterfly, a tragic story about a Geisha romanced by an American man. He marries her, leaves her for three years and goes back to America. ROUGH. But the music? SUPERB. PUCCINI. #getontheboat #dontgetleft
My parents celebrated their 34th anniversary this January, and I am treating them this weekend to I Puritani at the Lyric Opera. It’s also their first opera together, and I’m so excited for them to experience it. Their marriage is a testament to true love in spite of true hardship. It always overcomes.
Another song on my mind these days has been, You Give Good Love by Whitney Houston. Even when I may not *feel* for my work or for others in the moment. I have to remember— you have to remember that you can always give it.
I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal–as we are!“ – Jane Eyre
Doesn’t that just give you chills?!
With a strong, female lead, complex themes involving proto-feminism, wealth, love, passion, propriety, hedonism, and purity, the gothic, 19th century romantic novel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte,is my favorite work of fiction.
It is so layered and beautifully complex, and as a lover of both books and movies, it is only natural that I have looked for a good adaption. But, I must say folks. It is painstakingly difficult to adapt this book! And, there are so many! The most popular are probably 5 non-silent films from 1934-2011, 2 mini series from 1983 and the other in 2006, and a direct-to-tv movie from 1997.
In this blog post, I am going to simplify your Jane Eyre viewing experience. I will rate these adaptions in these areas:
capturing the spirit of the novel accuracy the Jane the Rochester the cast in general the chemistry between the leads
Lastly there will be best proposal scene, best/worst Jane and worst Rochester awards. Jane Eyre fans, are you ready?! Let’s go!
1. Jane Eyre (1934) – Starring Colin Clive and Virginia Bruce
Now, this was the first talkie Jane Eyre adaption! I have not seen this version (the only one of the ones I have mentioned) so I cannot rate it. Please go and see this for yourself and report back. I am not too interested in seeing this version because I have read that it has omitted several key parts from the book, and generally isn’t that great. Judging from this picture, the movie was all wrong.
I don’t know what the standard of beauty was in 1934, but a major point in Jane Eyre is that Jane is PLAIN. This woman is beautiful! #confused #no. ONWARD.
2. Jane Eyre (1943) – Starring: Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine
Running time: 1 hour and 36 minutes.
This is a QUICK movie. Definitely the SparkNotes version of Jane Eyre, but I enjoyed it. It was adapted in part by Aldous Huxley (author of that book you read in high school) and based on a radio series of Jane Eyre. Great if you want to watch in a hurry.
On capturing the spirit of the novel :4 out of 5 stars! This is a black and white motion picture, and I think that medium really captures the brooding, dark nature of the novel! My biggest issue with the movie was that there wasn’t more of it.
Accuracy:3 out of 5 stars. They cut out when Jane goes to see her Aunt Reed again, and also the giant St. John Rivers subplot for time. If they included those parts, this may have been my favorite adaption. They kind of compounded the St. John character into a new doctor character at the Lowood School called Dr. Rivers, but he isn’t really a romantic interest for Jane. Key, passages from the book are retained in some of the dialog although the American accents kind of threw me off.
the Jane:4 out of 5 stars. I really like Joan Fontaine. She was a bit elegant for the role, but she captured both of Jane’s steeliness and also kindness.
the Rochester:5 out of 5 stars. ORSON WELLES was bomb. Perfect! Possibly my favorite Rochester. Strangely (not classically) handsome and it grows on you. Thundering, deep, voice, brooding and a bit scary. Fabuloso.
the Cast: 5 out of 5. Brocklehurst was so delightfully wicked and ELIZABETH TAYLOR starred as Jane’s childhood friend, Helen. That woman was beautiful from the start.
the Chemistry: 5 out of 5. Look at this picture. The end.
OVERALL: 4.3 out of 5 (very good!)
3. Jane Eyre Miniseries (1983) – Starring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke
Running time: nearly 4 hours.
Yes, James Bond was once Edward Rochester! With 30 min episodes, you can find this on Netflix or on YouTube. Great if you want the most complete version.
On capturing the spirit of the novel : 3 out of 5 stars! It’s in 80s color which is bit less charming. TImothy Dalton is WAY too good looking to play Rochester but he acts well.
Accuracy: 5 out of 5 stars. This version is super thorough because they have the time to do it.
the Jane: 4 out of 5 stars. Zelah Clarke is a bit boring next to Timothy Dalton to be honest with you, but at least she looks the part. She acts well!
the Rochester:4.5 out of 5 stars. Timothy Dalton kind of steels the show with this one.
the Cast: 3 out of 5. A bit forgettable.
the Chemistry: 4out of 5. It’s pretty good. Their height difference is a bit distracting, tho!
OVERALL: 4.08 out of 5 (good!)
4. Jane Eyre (1996) – Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (whoo woman first billed) and William Hurt
Running time: nearly 2 hours.
Really beautiful looking movie! But overall, a bit meh.
On capturing the spirit of the novel : 4 out of 5 stars! Franco Zeferelli does a lot of the artistic design for Metropolitan Operas so he has quiet the eye for detail I think.
Accuracy: 3 out of 5 stars. This version condenses and eliminates major parts of the novel. It is generally accurate, though. It spends a lot of time in her childhood.
the Jane: 2.5 out of 5 stars. This Jane almost seems angry. A little too severe for me. I do like how she seems about the right age.
the Rochester:4 out of 5 stars. Hurt is of the right age to play Rochester and definitely looks the most Rochester-esque in my opinion!
the Cast: 4out of 5. Good supporting cast. Anna Paquin was a great young Jane and her time in Lowood was well done.
the Chemistry: 3out of 5. Not too hot, but it works for them. Lacking a bit of passion.
OVERALL: 3.4 out of 5 (okay!)
5. Jane Eyre (1997) Made for TV – Starring Samantha Horton and Ciaran Hinds
Running time: 1 hour and 48 minutes
Least favorite! Too much time spent in Jane’s head. The language is a bit too modern.
On capturing the spirit of the novel : 3 out of 5 stars! Costumes and etc are on point, but the language and the removal of key lines from book are a bit confusing to me.
Accuracy: 3 out of 5 stars. Two major subplots are removed. Good job to them for making St. John good looking like in the book, but his characterization was all wrong. He was too amiable and not severe enough. So many important details were left out of this version.
the Jane: 2 out of 5 stars. Least favorite Jane. She is too mopey and feels a bit too sorry for herself. The thing about Jane is that she endures so much but does not give into self pity!!
the Rochester:3 out of 5 stars. I like Hinds in general but that uggo mustache was not a good idea. He generally looked the part. He was a bit manic (which I suppose is like Rochester) but in bizzarre ways. He was also too nice to Adele (Rochester’s love child). I liked how Rochester sang in this version.
the Cast: 4out of 5. Good supporting cast! I loved Mrs. Fairfax played by Gemma Jones (she also plays Bridget Jones’ mother!) and Blanche Ingram was very good too!
the Chemistry: 3out of 5. Their proposal scene is a nightmare…don’t watch while eating or just after eating.
OVERALL: 3 out of 5 (basic) We have A&E to thank for this mess.
6. Jane Eyre (2006) Miniseries – Starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens
Running time: 4 hours.
A definite step up from the last few! BBC knows what’s up.
On capturing the spirit of the novel : 4.5 out of 5 stars! Beautifully shot and more thorough.
Accuracy: 4 out of 5 stars. Pretty accurate but with definite bouts of artistic license. Some people like this, but if are a purist when it comes to adaptions, that may not be for you. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z6CAvY4_pA
the Jane: 5 out of 5 stars. Ruth Wilson is an excellent Jane! Pretty much how I imagined her. She actually makes you a bit teary!
the Rochester: 5 out of 5 stars. Evenly matched with Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens is very charming although possibly too handsome to play the role.
the Cast: 4out of 5. I particularly liked (SPOILER) Rochester’s wife and the flashbacks. Adele was also pretty good!
the Chemistry: 5 out of 5. Some of the best chemistry out of the adaptions!
OVERALL: 4.6 out of 5 (very, very good!)
7. Jane Eyre (2011) – Starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender
Running time: 2 hours.
Probably best feature film although I enjoyed the 1943 version better.
On capturing the spirit of the novel : 3 out of 5 stars! Really beautiful film, although the end erks me a lot. SPOILER ALERT but Rochester is blind but regains his sight in the end! That is left out maybe to make it seem like some kind of tragic romance?
Accuracy: 4 out of 5 stars. Includes most important things while omitting others. It is hard to fit it all in 2 hour movie, which is understandable. I also was not a fan of having the movie kind of start at the end and then have flashbacks, but that’s a personal thing. I think Bronte wrote it linearly for a reason. This adaption is for those who have definitely read the book backwards and forwards and those who just wanted to see Michael Fassbender.
the Jane: 4 out of 5 stars. Mia really held her own again Fassbender (whom can really do anything). She is also the right age to play Jane.
the Rochester: 4 out of 5 stars. Fassbender is DEFINITELY too good looking and too charming to be Rochester, but he is so natural at playing brooding people that can’t be ignored. When I saw this in the theaters, there was a scene when he tells Jane to stay put and not go to her room or else he will come fetch he, and an old lady behind me said, “He can come fetch me any day!” Need I say more?
the Cast: 3out of 5. They are a little forgettable even with Judy Dench as Mrs. Fairfax.
the Chemistry: 5 out of 5. It’s actually gorgeous.
OVERALL: 3.8 out of 5 (pretty good!)
I would definitely recommend: 1943, 1983, and 2006 versions. I would tentatively recommend 2011 version. I would say that die-hards should watch 1996 version and say that all should avoid the 1997 version like the Plague!!
Best Rochester: Orson Welles 1944/ Worst Rochester: Ciaran Hinds
Best Jane: Ruth Wilson (close runner-up: Mia Wasikowska)/ Worst Jane: Samantha Horton
I’m still waiting for an adaption to have it all, but this has been fun! Watching them all has really enhanced my appreciation for my favorite book! What do you think? I encourage fans to watch the adaptions and decide for themselves! What is your favorite book? Has it been adapted? Go and make a comparative study of your own.
If any film makers read this post, please remember to be thorough, avoid stream of consciousness (major blunder in 1997 version) and cast Benedict Cumberbatch as the next Rochester!!
I mean it, and I did not expect it. When the year began, I found myself in a general sadness about the state of the world as well as many aspects of my own life. Hurt and disappointed by the tail-end of 2016, I almost could not hope for things to be better. So many people helped me through this time–(shout out to my DNA group at Heart Change Fellowship!)
2017 has gotten a bad wrap. It almost seems unfashionable to look at this year with fondness, but I cannot help but do so. What I have learned is that even when things are dark, there is always space for joy to see its way in.
This past Sunday at church, I heard a sermon that really struck me.
A year is an arbitrary demarcation that appears real. It is only real because we have ascribed meaning to it.
But not everything that is real is made up of matter. Our minds and our souls–these things are real, and they can be renewed.
So a new year cannot truly be new, unless we are.
I decided that month to not really have a new year’s resolution but a change in mindset. I had to change. I decided to make 2017 my year of yes! To go for opportunities and create moments I had been afraid of pursuing.
It began with a crazily amazing and beautiful trip to LaBoheme at the Met, visiting the new Smithsonian African American History Museum in DC, and visiting the HHMI Headquarters.
I had lunch with Irv Weissman, the father of hematopoiesis and also participated in the Women’s March in Boston.
With my poster
At the MLK memorial
At the Daley Lab Retreat, George asked me about staying on for another year, and I was forced to evaluate my commitment to my project and say YES to an amazing opportunity to stay for another year.
I saw, Get Out, one of the best films of the year, celebrated Match Day with two of my wonderful old housemates, had Emi visit me, and celebrated Scott & Amara’s wedding!
Jess’s Match Day!
Sis in Town!
Beethoven’s Pastoral with Emi
Amara and Scott!
My lovelies at the Wedding
In April, I celebrated my dear friend, Linda’s thesis defense and presented my research at the American Society for Clinical Investigation meeting in Chicago! I also visited Cleveland as well as had my friend, Melissa, visit me! Jen also joined the HHMI family!
Thanks for the visit, Melissa!
My co-fellow, Jerry!
Heba and I
As you already know, I’m a huge opera fan. So I was ELATED when I won tickets to see Marriage of Figaro at the Boston Lyric Opera with my friend, Otana AND Don Giovanni with Soton at the Met! Emi also graduated in May, I ate my first full lobster at the Stem Cell Retreat, saw my friend, Hana get her master’s degree, learned how to ride a bike and watched the Sleeping Beauty! May was a fantastic month. Bike riding was huge for me as I had always wanted to do this, but somehow thought it was too late to learn for a good long while. Something changed in 2017, and I did too.
With Leontyne Pryce
Inside the Met
In our box!
The Cast of Don Giovanni
I have climbed a few mountains figuratively, but Mt. Monadnock was my first literal mountain I hiked! Soton and Monika visited as well. I attended my first ISSCR conference and turned 25. This was the first birthday I was not excited for. 25 — solidly in the middle of my twenties– gave me a little bit of a quarter life crisis. I thought about what I have accomplished but also experiences that I was still waiting to happen. It was bittersweet at first but then became sweet with the involvement of many dear friends. Also of note, I SAW JOHN WILLIAMS IN CONCERT.
My birthday in the lab!
My lovely housemates!
Birthday lunch with lab buddies ❤
Karaoke with the best people
Flowers from Jihan
Soton and I in Boston Common
Fantastic present from Otana
Out top of the world!
Lu and I!
My summer was taken to the next level when I went to Paris, Split, Barcelona and Lisbon with my sisters. I knew I would fall in love with Paris, and I did. Lisbon was a wonderful surprise, and Split (aka Meereen from GOT) was so restful!
August brought a dear friend to Boston, Motolani. More hiking in Acadia, Maine (first time in that state!) and an interview for a new documentary on CRISPR.
Hiking Cadillac Mountain
With Charis and Tolani
What a view!
In the fall, I began to question a lot of the data that made me feel comfortable taking a second year off to do research. Some confirmations from a hematopathologist filled me with gusto, and things began to look up. I wrote a grant and it was FUNDED! First time! Woo! Lost my wallet in Longwood and it was FOUND. And, I gave my first real talk at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
In October, I entered what I called, “Meeting Season.” Over the course of 2017, I have attended at 10 meetings–the majority of them fell between October and December. One of the most exciting moments was attending the International Achievement Summit in London as I detail in this post. I also presented at the New York Academy of Sciences’ “Towards Transformative Therapies for Sickle Cell Disease” meeting and received the F1000 “Outstanding Presentation Prize”! It was the first award I have received for my presentation/research . My friend, Jason, also visited and housemate, Lu, defended her thesis!
Visited the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester with Jason
Jackie O outfit!
World Trade Center where NYAS meeting happened!
This month, I spoke at another meeting in DC attended another in NYC again (a real treat!) and MOST IMPORTANTLY PARTICIPATED IN THE ROCKY RUN!!! (Huuuuuuuge Rocky fan here!). Soton joined me in NYC as well as Philadelphia for the race. Chloe also visited this month!
Brunch Bunch! Chloe visited Boston!
December brought me back to the HHMI headquarters to present my research once more, the Boston Ballet for the Nutcracker with many friends, and to ASH to give an oral abstract presentation.
Presenting at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting was an honor. I did not think I would receive this honor for a few years, and it was an amazing testament to God’s faithfulness. I always feel uncomfortable when I think about my achievements or share them. I still fight the imposter syndrome I experienced when I joined my lab over a year and a half ago. I question my success, and if I am worthy of it. But, then I have to remember, that I did not get here by myself. My successes are not an accident or mistake. I give God all the glory for these things. I may not be worthy, but He surely is worthy.
HHMI Headquarters reunion with Gloria
The Nutcracker gang!
I’ll be honest, I’m apprehensive of 2018. 2017 ended so well, and I’m afraid that 2018 will bring some harder, challenging circumstances. Every time I experience a good moment, I always wonder: how long can this last? I need to stop thinking this way. As I wrap up my time in Boston and return to clinical training in 2018, I must remember that true joy, a state much more profound than happiness, matures even through hardship. Joy creates positive circumstances. It is not only born out of them.