Monday, June 12, 2017

Why the kidney is a metaphor for life

These past 10-11 months have been a whirlwind. School has been amazing, but difficult at times. My program has challenged me academically and sometimes, even more so, emotionally. I've been forced to make sure that I run my day and not the other way around. I've been tested to control my own, longstanding vice of time-management. I've been impelled to transorm into someone who used to meagerly accept the status quo into someone who realizes that as a woman I am wildly disenfranchised and when I feel, hear, or see injustice I am motivated to speak up and not accept it. I challenge it as much as it challenges me. Most importantly, I've endured professors that span the spectrum of gifted and, well, not so gifted. I've met some great people along the way.

Today is the last day of my first year and last Thursday was my last lecture of the year. During our last lecture, my renal professor/course director presented arguably the most salient information of my entire first year. Below is a picture. I am lucky to have had her to look up to in both academic interest and poise as a woman in clearly what is still a man's field. She knows her field and knows it well. She displayed an enthusiasm for the field and owned her personal responsibility to bequeath that enthusiasm and knowledge upon us in the most honest and humbling way. ("I think the kidney is beautiful and if you don't think so too then I am not doing my job right.") I have never met a professor that has tried to learn as much from our questions as we do from her teaching.

I want to point out that I have only had a few female professors/faculty that we work with closely in my first year. It might be my own gender bias, but these women resonate with me not only by words but also by action. They have shown what it's like to maintain a career while giving birth. They have shown to hold their own when the men around them egregiously (and probably subconsciously) push them aside. They've done it with poise, grace, and intellect. I've learned from them. I've learned that it's not enough for me to know the craft to the fullest extent because I will be challenged by colleagues and superiors that assert that they *may* know more. I have to be able to articulate things at the right time and place. It makes little difference if these are afterthoughts because at the end of the day I will be responsible for someone's life and a misstep or lack of appropriate and prompt action can have a result that I won't be able to take back or redo.

I am grateful for my opportunities this year. I will embark on summer break after our exams next week hopefully a smidge wiser and vigilant and motivated to excel to the next level. I want to leave this post with some last words from my renal professor: "My whole life I have tried to set the bar as high as I can because I realized that if I even accomplished 50% of that then I am still better off than someone who set the bar low."



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Swimming Comes back!

Greetings fair viewer,

I have been at sea for quite some time, but I am alive and well and fully intend to update this blog on my life's happenings. Below is a post that I created some time ago. In the past year, I've experienced numerous maritime adventures (aquariums, boat rides, whale watching etc...) I shall post those piece by piece. I would like to say I'm going to bring back my segments: Etiquette Wednesdays, 21st century feminist, climate series, and I would like to try out a Medical Mondays post.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2017 is going to be great! (that is if I still have my health insurance....)


-Love,

Swimming 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Comeback: Swimming's Four Step Program for eliminating insecurity!

STEP I: Recognize the general problem. Swimming's first step requires identifying whether or not you are insecure/not confident in general or in a particular instance. We all have insecurities in certain aspects of our lives. Some people are social butterflies, but completely shy in school or at work. Others are the exact opposite and have no issue vocalizing their thoughts in an academic or professional setting but struggle establishing social connections with others in a non-business forum. The first step to eliminating insecurity is to identify when and where it occurs. If you're struggling with identifying it then check out if any of the characteristics of low self-esteem creep into your life/conversation and then back-track to specifying when/where.

STEP II: Identify the characteristics of insecurity. There are some tell-tale signs of insecurity.
-Body language: do you shuffle your steps and hold your head down and look down when you walk? Do you try to cross your arms and legs and make yourself smaller in certain situations?
-Language/conversation: what kind of language do you use to describe yourself? what language do you use to voice your opinions? Is it surrounded by positive language? Or does your language begin with apologies or uncertainty? Do you easily get defensive or yield to/conform with others opinions?
Here are some classic characteristics of low self-esteem:
Heavy self-criticism 
Hypersensitivity to criticism  
Chronic indecision  
Excessive will to please and unwillingness to displease any petitioner. 
Perfectionism, which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved. 
Neurotic guilt, dwelling on and/or exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes. 
Floating hostility and general defensiveness and irritability without any proximate cause. 
Pessimism and a general negative outlook. 
Envy, invidiousness, or general resentment

STEP III: Create an action plan. First practice, then create the habit, then transform into second nature!

Phase 1: Get creative on reminding yourself to be confident. I made cheat sheets to post around my apartment and posted positive words ("Fearless" and "Powerful" are two but there are many more) to constantly remember the mission. I also employed reminders on my phone throughout the day and worked with a few different affirmation apps for iphone along with power posing daily and being aware of when I'd slouch or cross my legs. Whatever mechanism you choose make sure you are constantly reminding yourself of what you want to be throughout the day and set that intention first thing in the morning. Fake it till you make it. 

Phase 2: Hand-in-hand with #2, be constantly aware of language that wreaks of insecurity. These are things that allude to guilt, self-deprecation/pessimism, perfection, appeasing others/yielding to others, indecision, overtly defensive. Create new vocabulary to speak positively about your position, yourself, and others. This is where the real legwork comes in. It's difficult to catch insecure language but it is imperative to change since anything you vocalize is physical energy that is getting sent out to the world and will eventually manifest itself in some way back into your life. I first started with reviewing the conversations I had with people each day, then listing everyday for one month all the things that fit the low self-esteem profile from #2 and then spent the following months attacking each to make peace and finding positive language to displace the insecurity.
-Be certain about what you want. It's infinitely more difficult to vocalize your opinions or thoughts if you are internally unsure of what you want. Be sure to establish real goals and sort out what you want for a certain endeavor and make sure that those things are measurable to some extent so that it can be quantified. (SMART goals!) This will help with indecisiveness.
-Be positive about others. I cannot emphasize this enough and this was something that came easy to me since I love giving kindness to others. In general, be kind, be interested in others, be positive about others. There are many ways to get ahead in life, but I believe that when all is said and done the kindness you share others is everlasting since it also inspires others to pay it forward. Make gratitude and compliments to others a habit to eliminate pessimism. I know many pessimists who masquerade as just being realistic. Truth be-told they may be buzz-kills but to cope with this I do the follow:
-If you find yourself getting defensive, the best strategy is to calmly ask questions and truly understand where the other person is coming from. The ability to empathize with others is important in life (but don't give up your own position on a matter.)

STEP IV: Employ action plan and hop to it!
A major aspect of this is being ok with constantly not being in your comfort zone. Where you are uncomfortable is where real growth is so embrace it. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Buongiorno!

Hello fair readers! I know it's been some times once I've posted-Swimming has been busy at sea whale watching, volunteering, working, and sorting out a tumultuous lodging situation.

I will post my maritime adventures later. For now, I would like to share a wonderful poem entitled 'Life Changes'. While volunteering at Healthcare for the Homeless, one very special lady gave me a copy of her poem after she told me about her battle with ovarian cancer and how she wrote this one night. She encouraged me to stay strong in all of my endeavors, to love greatly, and to laugh and be silly (she has been married 20 years and still plays pranks on her husband). She also gave me some wonderful words of wisdom to stand up for myself, be very discerning, and learn some Krav Maga to defend myself. I look forward to hanging out with her more. For now, enjoy her wonderful words:



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Deep thoughts by MB

I had a lovely conversation with one of my best friends today. Her eloquence reminds me of how lucky I am to have people like her in my life.



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Criminal Pig Leaves a Smelly Surprise for Police After He's Apprehended in Michigan

This has to be the best thing I've read all day.  This little piggy went all the way home


http://www.peoplepets.com/people/pets/article/0,,20927280,00.html

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Swimming moves again!

I am getting prepped for my move back to Boston. Today I graduate grad school (thank you Case for the wonderful opportunity!!) and would like to post some good quotes:





Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Who is the real champion?

Listen to this while reading: Wiz Khalifa-Work Hard, Play Hard

"The real champion practices alone--bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when NO ONE else is watching"

 BE LIMITLESS

Below is a re-post that I absolutely love:

Excruciating effort feels amazing. I found this quote a while back from the abstract of the book Aquarium by Victor Suvorov about Soviet military intelligence. I feel it really captures my current attitude on life:


Man is capable of performing miracles. A man can swim
the English Channel three times, drink a hundred mugs of
beer, walk barefoot on burning coals; he can learn thirty
languages, become an Olympic champion at boxing, invent
the television or the bicycle, become a general in the GRU
or make himself a millionaire. It's all in our own hands. 
If you want it you can get it...
Success comes only when the training, of
whatever kind (memory, muscles, mind, willpower,
stamina), takes a man to the limit of his capacity. When
the end of the training becomes torture. When a man cries
out from pain and exhaustion. Training is effective only
when it takes a man to the very limit of his capacity and
he knows exactly where the limit is...
That's the road to glory. That's the path to
success. To work only at the very limit of your capacity.
To work at the brink of collapse. You can become a
champion only if you are the sort of person who, knowing
that the bar is about to fall and crush him, nevertheless
heaves it upwards. The only ones who have conquered
themselves, who have defeated their own fear, their own
laziness and their own lack of confidence

Monday, March 23, 2015

Swimming has returned (for some life things)!

Swimming has returned!! Just wanted to share this Will Smith video and my thoughts on the highlights since my head is spinning and I can't sleep: http://youtu.be/pfWGoLj1JCM

(1)  "I know who I am and what I believe and that's all I need to know."
-I will soon be leaving my 20s behind (~1 year from now) but not with a better sense of who I am necessarily. This is, in part, due to the fact that I am realizing that certain beliefs I've held are not my beliefs at all, but rather a byproduct of societal conditioning. I am now working to reframe those beliefs. This is immensely difficult; part of what I have spent my 20s struggling with is discovering that the ideology behind our current counterculture generation is actually not progressive and may in fact be detrimental. Our society may appear more progressive, but this progress has not necessarily begat any increase in happiness. (http://ftp.iza.org/dp3624.pdf). Many of our societal beliefs are actually completely unfounded: what we think is good for us is actually not good at all. (There are a plethora of examples here, but some major ones are our food culture among other social conventions. These are riddled with misconceptions). We blindly follow the norms without question to what it is doing to our health let alone our happiness. We are in such a hurry to keep up with the herd, that we rarely stop to investigate the truth for ourselves.

To cut this short--I am lucky to have awoken from this blissful ignorance. (PK has  significantly helped with this process and THANK YOU!!). I now attempt to seek the truth on my own and unveil the fallacy in certain beliefs. I do this by reading voraciously and constantly from numerous resources, but I also seek the truth by attempting to understand the human condition of others. Upon some introspective reflection on this information, I ultimately to reframe my beliefs. What I have realized is that going against the grain is never easy, but I am trying to develop the backbone to stand up for what I believe in anyway. The hard part is when you go against the grain in multiple aspects of your life. I still do not know how to deal with this. The outcome is to either give in (which for me would entail significant ramifications to my health and wellness) or to stick to my beliefs (all-the-while being malleable when new information should compel me to reconsider things). The latter has left me and some of my closest friends somewhat alienated from our age cohort. I guess stay-tuned to see how we ultimately reconcile this.

(2) "the separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts...skill is only developed after hours and hours of beating on your craft"

"Your talent is going to fail you if you are not skilled"

-I have ranted about this before I'm sure, but I refuse to buy into the myth of natural talent. I LOVE this article that debunks this societal fallacy: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

Basically, (1) our society loves to praise for natural talent. If you are good at something we automatically assume you should pursue that endeavor and not venture into something that will be difficult for you (2) our society believes that pursuing said natural talent will ensure success. Why? Because you won't have to expend effort. "Expending effort is stigmatized...it means you can't cut it on your natural gifts"

Anyone who has achieved excellence in any field knows that the above is nonsense. There are a few things I am certain of: (1) nothing worth having comes easy (2) I can achieve what I want by trying my best especially after any failure (3) what I want to achieve I am willing to put in whatever effort is necessary or die trying. 

(3) "you don't set out to build a wall, you say I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every day and soon you will have a wall"
-enough said

(4) "I want the world to be better because I was here."

(5) "if you are not making someone else's life better then you are wasting your time"

(6) "Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity."

(7) "you can't be scared to die for the truth. The is the only thing that is going to be constant"