Burn Bright: Burn Loud
Today’s been a wonderful day. 🙂
When I gave my mother my diplomas (Behavioral Sciences degree + CPC in Substance Abuse) for her birthday today, she gasped and then clutched them to her chest and just wept. It was so precious! I wasn’t expecting that kind of a response. I also told her that if I’m half the woman that she is when it’s all said and done, I will have succeeded in this world. I’ve never known a sweeter woman than my mother. She has a greater capacity to love and forgive than most people.
I know quite a few people who feel that their moms are critical and will even make them feel bad or ashamed of their appearances or what have you: my mom’s just the opposite. I’m working toward buying her a home over the next few years. I told her (back when I was 16) that someday, I’d buy her a home. Now I can see the outline of it taking shape.
After I graduated, she asked me if I was able to add “those little letters after my name”- ha. Cute.
“No. I don’t have any little letters after my name. But after I’m a doctor, I will have,” I said.
The thoughts and realizations of becoming a doctor are now within my grasp. It’s no longer a wild notion that I can work toward and obtain my Psy. D in Psychology, which is one of the highest levels of doctorate for psychology that one can receive.
The reason my fight is so intense, is because in my family, we women have always been little more than glorified toilet scrubbers, wives, moms, nannies, care-takers and sitters. I’m the first female- for literally generations- to receive my college degree. It’s just not something women in my family do-ever. This is why I took both of my nieces under my wings and encouraged them to get their degrees. One of them enrolled in college, but dropped out shortly after she was married- never to return. The other (I hear) is now working really hard in a nursing program, taking after her Aunt Birgy- making A’s and doing very well. She’s had some private struggles which have stacked the odds against her, so the fact that she can overcome these obstacles and pursue her degree is really quite profound. I think she’s going to make it. 🙂
In my family, this type of thing is huge! She wants to be a nurse, but really, there’s nothing stopping her from going all the way and becoming a doctor. We’re all quite poor, and I’m doing all I can to change the infrastructures of the (hush hush) sexism that has held back the women in our family for many generations. When a person or family unit comes from a very poor upbringing and goes on to earn a good salary and improve their lives economically, it’s called “upward mobility”, sociologically speaking. When a person comes from money (whether old or new) and ends up in a shack with little more than a few coins to rub together, it’s known as “downward mobility”.
I want to be an example for the women in my family and I’m raising the bar high. I won’t settle for going to work and going home- multiply that by many years- and then “simply dying”. What will it all have been for? I want to burn bright and loud and show them that they can achieve anything that they set their minds on. Mediocrity is not an option.
Another reason working toward a doctorate in psychology is so important to me is because my maternal grandmother died with dementia. It’s not a stretch to assume that my mother could end up like her mother. I’m working toward becoming a trained professional so that I’ll decrease my Mom’s chances at getting dementia. It’s an inherent disorder, and you can do little to alter DNA, but it can be warded off, or even diffused altogether if given the right nutrition, and treat any early symptoms aggressively and proactively. I will not let my mother become a statistic and in some home somewhere.
She gave me life! And it’s the least I can do to spend the rest of mine dedicated to making hers better.
I’m off to play a Nancy Drew game. I’m having such a great time in life these days: Every day is a vacation. 🙂