Diary - October 17, 2020
Hi everyone, it's me!
Last time we met here was about two years ago, although it seems more like it was in a different life to me. What I'm about to tell you is a whole chunk of information, so I invite you to read this article at a quiet time, whenever you feel like it and have some time for yourself.
A lot has happened over the past two years. However, in my opinion I haven't changed a bit. Maybe I might have slightly different standards now ;). I think it must have been Winter 2018, when I made the decision to invest more in my studies. And so, inevitably, less in this blog sorry. I started a really busy but enriching intern year in several fields of medicine. I got to discover what I'm really good at, and developed more self-esteem to master this serious job of 'being a doctor'. I had the opportunity to live abroad for 3 months and realised I am the happiest when in the mountains and relying on solely myself to make things happen. In the meantime, I have returned so many times that I might have to seriously consider getting an Austrian passport. The glow-up I've experienced back there is one I'll forever pursue and hold on to. On my journey, I met new people. Some of them meant to stay for only a short amount of time, others whom I now proudly call family.
But it wasn't all fun and games.
This year I said goodbye to a love that didn't serve me anymore and robbed me from personal growth and happiness. I don't blame him for anything, and am infinitely grateful for everything I have learned from him, us. He was the greatest love I have ever known - and perhaps will ever know, although I know I'm still too young to say things like that. Without going into details, since I want to respect his privacy; we still have a good understanding and therefore are able to only take the beautiful memories with us.
Just after our breakup, I was on the eve of what was going to be the most important period of my medical career. I started my residency in Dermatology, which unfortunately got a little ruined during the whole pandemic. I even ended up helping at the COVID Intensive Care unit for a little while. Anyway, I don't think I ever went through a more stressful period, but nevertheless I enjoyed the rush immensely and learned a lot about myself. On the job, I connected with extraordinary people who helped me to believe more in myself at times I cracked and couldn't. Unfortunately, my many efforts were to no avail, and I was not accepted into the assistantship. But you know, that's the game you play.
I'm not gonna lie, the rejection was a bitter pill for me to swallow. Nevertheless, I refused to let the disappointment crawl too deep underneath my skin. After all, I still graduated from med school with distinction and that's something I'll always be really proud of. As a result I allowed myself a weekend off, picked myself up right after, gave up my appartment and started applying at several clinics, as well at home as abroad. I went for it like a mad woman. I carried a backpack bulging with ambition and I knew -I still know- I would be alright. What kept me going is the firm belief that positivity is the key to making your dreams come true.
But that didn't quite go as expected. I wasn't really prepared for the many negative responses I received in return, if I got one at all. In my head, doubts arose as to whether I would éver succeed in realizing my dream. I felt empty and my ambition just pointless. Fortunately, fortune really favors the bold: I eventually got the chance to do an internship at the Dermatology department in Brussels. Whether this experience will lead to a real training place there or not; it'll undoubtedly help me in my quest for the place that's somewhere meant for me.
But here's the thing: I have so many dreams, so many goals, and so many interests. My second love next to helping and connecting with people is writing, shooting and getting inspired by anything lifestyle-related. And while real life was in extreme acceleration mode, my digital life here was on the decline. I chose to live more 'under the radar' since I felt like I needed to focus more on the 'main goal': becoming a doctor, graduate with high grades, preferably not by giving up my busy social life ànd stay a picture perfect version of myself. I wanted to become one of the best, and in the process I lost myself. I downgraded The Sacred Closet, a personal project I've seen to grow bigger and bigger over the years, to nothing more but simple background noise. Nowadays there's not a day that goes by where I ask myself: oh Nelly, but why?
The past few months have really got me thinking. Maybe we shouldn't get right away what we've always dreamed of, despite the effort we put into it. Maybe we are meant to fall hard first, just to be able to get up stronger. And maybe we shouldn't at all give up the things that we love and make us really US, just because it wouldn't fit our scheme of priorities. Today, I feel more of a free spirit than ever. I have so much work and love left to give and I refuse to suppress it all any longer. Probably, deep declines and disappointments are yet to come, but they are no longer outweighed by the prospects of growing and standing taller in the woman that I am to become.
It's with babysteps, but I know where I'm headed. Plan for now is doing what I love, and doing a lot of it. The rest will follow. And it's true what they say: when one door closes, there are dozens of others waiting for you to open.
Lots of love
Pictures by Annelies Schrevens.