The First (Originally Posted: September 4, 2013)

April 17, 2014

I had lunch with one of my mentors and committee members, Camara Jones, last week who suggested that I write my reflections at least once a month on my project, where its going, where my head is, what I think some next steps might be.  Even though it’s before anything has officially started in-country and is the fourth, I want to put something on paper.  On screen?

Tonight my heart is heavy in thinking about Syria, in remembering Trayvon, in thinking about the black Cuban doctors who were booed and harassed once they entered Brazil to aid the poor and rural by white elite doctors.  So much trouble in the world.  As I’m getting ready to depart for field-work, I know I’m not the first or the last who has felt anxiety about what’s to come.  But I have heaps of it.  I have received so much support for my project and for me and I have in general been on the receiving end of SO much love.  I feel it.  I accept it.  I marvel at it really.  All of this.  This journey is so much more than me.  I say it all the time.  What I’m doing and where I am, who I meet, and where I end up is bigger than me and bigger than what I can see.  So why do I feel so anxious?  GAH.  Maybe because I just had to write a brief bio and choked when I tried to describe me without using “health scientist from the centers for disease control and prevention.”  Time for a new identity, Melissa.

Sigh.  I am not a title by any means, but boy how much of that title helped develop who I am as a woman, a scholar, a professional?  A bit.  What I’m going to focus on is the long-term vision.  The leap of faith.  The reminder that its bigger than a title.  And we forge on.

But for realz though, 15 days left in Atlanta and the timer goes off.  EEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Alright, the point of this post was not about a freak out.  The point is to reflect about where I am in the process.  Well, I still have a lot to accomplish.  I won’t go through the September to do list.  Its massive.  But it will get done.  It’s not like Brazilians do anything in advance.  I’ve got time.  Right?  I’ll keep telling myself that.

Let’s hope for a proper “First” post on October 1st…or thereabouts.