What a fantastic January thus far. Truly.
Shonda Rhymes, creator of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and more, released a book last September called, Year of Yes. To be honest, I have not read it, but I know the premise. She coaches her readers on how to “say yes” to more of what they experience and how it will really take life to the next level.
When I went on a little dinosaur fossil excavation in college with paleontologist, Paul Sereno and other classmates, his word of advice for us was, “never say no to a good opportunity because you never know where it will take you next.”
I’m going to get real for a moment.
I am an EXTREMELY cautious person. Usually before anyone convinces me out of something, I have already convinced myself out of it already. Because of this, I am pretty wise and deliberate in my choices and have avoided a lot of mess. Perhaps, this is due to my very strict upbringing by busy parents. I’ve learned when to pick my battles and to assess when things really were not worth asking for.
For example, I REALLY wanted to take ballet classes when I was 6 or 7. At that time, my parents were both in residency, and even though I didn’t really know what that was, I had a sense they did not have time to take me. So I just never asked.
But, who knows, if I caught them at the right time, maybe they would have?
Instead, I decided to read the books on ballet my older sister checked out from the library for us. (This is truly a symbolic beginning of my general theoretical knowledge vs experiential knowledge on most things in life…!)
I have mixed views on New Years Resolutions, but I usually try to move into the year with an intentional mindset. For 2017, I want this year to be my year of YES. And, by saying yes to more things–big and small, perhaps the life I live will be more courageous and beautiful.
First Test: La Boheme
I LOVE opera. My love of opera really began with Cher’s Moonstruck.
This operatic romantic comedy is centered around a woman’s scandalous relationship with her fiancé’s younger brother and the music of La Boheme. When a young Nicholas Cage and Cher finally consummate their passion, O Soave Fanciulla plays on a record player. It was sweeping. Passionate. Dramatic. Powerful. Provocative. And, like that scene, Opera is entirely all of these things.
In the movie, Cher and Cage see La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera, and since seeing that film, I have always wanted to do the same! It had been showing at the Met this season since I had moved to Boston, but I kept on putting off until I realized at the end of December that it would be ending the second week of January. I kept thinking: “Wait, who will come with me? Will they like the opera? Where will I stay in NYC? How much should I spend?”
But something happened. When 2017 started, I just decided that I wanted this. I could make it happen. YES.
I bought a ticket to a Friday performance, packed one of my old homecoming dresses and got on a greyhound by myself! It was everything I had wanted. A dream had come true.
I had a whirlwind trip to NYC and returned that same night back to Boston. A few days later, I was off to Washington DC to present my research at the January HHMI Investigator’s meeting.
HHMI Investigator’s Meeting: Poster or Not to Poster?
This is a really fantastic opportunity presented to us Med Fellows by HHMI. At these meetings you have the chance to meet absolute STARS in science, hear them discuss their research and much more. The meeting was outstanding. Leading up to it, I was not sure if I wanted to make a poster, however. I was worried about not having enough to present so I just put the thought out of my mind until one of my co-fellows suggested we make a poster together. After reflecting on how hard it is to make one by yourself, I figured it may be even harder to combine two projects especially since we don’t work together. And, I really should just say YES to this opportunity to grow/learn.
Words of wisdom from the meeting:
I also had the opportunity to visit old friends as well as see some memorials/museums in DC! It was a fabulous trip. The museum of African American History and Culture was a particularly powerful place for me to visit.
Yes to Marching
As wonderful January has been for me personally, it was a very sad week for many of us as a new era of American politics began. This will forever be a stain on our history, and I decided to be a part of the women’s march. I will preface this with, yes I know that 53% of white women in the country voted for Donald Trump. I will not forget that, but as a black woman, I know where I stand. As a Christian black woman I know where I stand.
I choose to stand with the marginalized and to grieve with them and fight with them.
I chose to have my body be one of the 125k bodies in Boston and over 3 million around the world demonstrating that she would NOT tolerate a president like Donald Trump.
I considered staying in and sleeping a bit longer. I hoped that some friends of mine could join me, but they could not for their varying reasons. But instead of waiting and saying, “no.” I decided to say “yes.”
You do not need people to come with you.
You can say yes.
You do not need to be affirmed.
You can say yes.
Do what is right for you. Do it in wisdom.
2017 will be my year of yes. How about you?