Sunday, September 25, 2005

What I Want: Part 2

Throughout high school (and college), I never stopped to rethink my aspirations. I think many of us set goals without honestly re-evaluating them over time. The danger in doing so is that when you begin to itch for a change or rethink what you truly want and need, you feel like a quitter and a failure. You start to seek out therapists to explain where you went wrong, to figure out what in your life caused you to veer off the Right path. I'm beginning to believe that goals should always be made out of clay but never fired in the kiln. When you turn clay into a hard, permanent finish, all you can do is wait for it to break.

Once Upon a Time,

I turned 13. My father got a new job, and the county raised teacher salaries. We built a house (next to our trailer that still sits there, but that's a different story), and we began to be a part of that "middle class" so lacking in today's economy. Although money was an issue when it came to "fitting in", it slid off the radar with respect to my career goals. Money became something that I didn't really think about again until much later--I had actually forgotten that it was how this all began.

It was during high school that I learned my family was crazy. Not the "Everyone Loves Raymond" type of crazy that we all identify with in a "tell me about it" kind of way. No, this crazy is more like a "hold a gun to your head and kill yourself before you're twenty" kind of crazy, a "I see dead people, for real" type of nuts. It's the crazy explaining why my grandmother isolated herself in her home, ordering vast quantities of expensive, random objects through the mail for no reason. It explains why she NEVER opened the boxes when her orders finally arrived. For a long time after her death, they just sat there in immovable piles.

I decided that because I was going to be a scientist, is was my duty to study mental disorders. Because genetics was the thing to talk about at the time, I would become a molecular biologist and find the responsible, offending genes and kill them. I approached it the same way I began to approach those who abused and stigmatized people like my family, in a "Napoleon knocked up Einstein's mom, and I'm their kid" kind of way.

I guess one could say that my "wanting to save the world" took on new meaning...

9 Comments:

At 7:33 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

I like the idea that goals should be made of clay, but not fired in the kiln. I think that makes a lot of sense.

It's interesting that you have personal history and passion underlying your current career choice. I keep feeling like I'm "supposed" to have more of that than I do have. I don't have this strong personal narrative supporting my line of research like I think I'd like to have.

I'm interested in this story line. How many parts will it have? I'm imagining more than 2.

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

With a story like that you could run for office, then you could vote more money to NIH or legalize federal funding for stem cell research.

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger trisha said...

I want to hear more....

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

B* Our passion can come from many sources and for many reasons. If I didn't have a personal connection to my career choice, I think I would have jumped around a lot without ever really landing on anywhere solid. I'm the type of person that has to have a connection with what I'm doing because I get bored easily and because I'm interested in everything novel. I need that thing that helps me maintain focus when there are so many interesting things unfolding around me.

Murky: Don't jump ahead of the story;)

Trisha: It's coming, I promise.

I think 2 more parts to this story for now--sorry, but I've got a lot to say this time, and it's taking me a while to put it all together.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger BrightStar said...

no need to apologize! I'm enjoying it.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Edie said...

I don't think anyone can follow through on such an ambitious and honest session of self-reflection and wind up a patriotic god-guns-guts American. I am looking forward to the forthcoming broader analysis of your adult life.

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger trisha said...

I am unbelievably impressed by this, Rx.

I wish I had lots to say about anything. Anything at all.

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

Just to warn you, I don't make political contributions online.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger sue said...

I find it interesting how your background drew you into wanting to know more instead of just running as fast as you could the other way as most of us do. Looking forward to the rest of the tale...

 

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