As I sit listening to another story of oppression and gender discrimination on this chat with other female physicians on Clubhouse I’m transported to a time when I was squished from all sides. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know how to ask for help. No one volunteered to help. People waited for me to cry before they’d help. I never cried. They never helped.
Fast forward seven years later when I’m an attending physician in an academic program and have the opportunity to work with many women. Somehow, the program in me changed along the way. Somewhere a woman was borne of sheer pain and rebellion.
But such transformation comes with a lot of imposter syndrome type of apprehension. I’m always wondering if I’m truly a reformed empath. May be I’m just reacting to what happened to me and this is not my real self. May be I’m still a privileged and arrogant snob who wants to keep up this new facade of feminism because this is the new thing that privileged people do. It’s hard, people! Believing in any type of activism is hard. It causes us to examine our own biases so closely that there are moments of self-hate also.
I also think about whether I am making any, if any, change in fellow women’s lives by speaking up. Is it possible that I’m subjecting them to my wayward ideas of emancipation and revolution at the expense of their own progress? It’s not completely inconceivable that they’d be more popular and better received if they conformed to the norm.
A man recently posted on a Facebook group a question about the purpose of life. He asked why some people quit at the top. I answered that it’s likely due to the fear of failure. They’re probably not ready to fail so they quit while still ahead.
His question made me analyze my own calling. Why am I here? What is my purpose that I’m achieving with so many doubts? Can I even achieve a purpose with feelings that alternate between my resourcefulness as a force of nature and my less than stellar presence as just another particle?
I slowly realized that the two states of feeling weak and feeling strong can be superposed upon each other. Quantum physics aficionados would know. I can be strong and powerful. I can also be weak and vulnerable. And it can all happen in the same moment. And it can all result in who I am, which is also a valid stable state.
So I can be Schrödinger’s cat. I believe in feminism with my core and my belief might have or not helped another woman who might have or not needed my help. So that’s the saving grace of my superposed state. That there is a chance that sometimes, in the history of mankind, in the struggle of feminism, in the battle of gender equality, my presence comes in handy.