Identity Crisis

Who am I?

is the question I have been grappling with – consciously and unconsciously – since the beginning of my second year in medical school. It came upon me in one of those jeepney rides on my way home. Who am I? 

I remember looking at people’s description boxes on their social media profiles: med student, tigtimpla’g kape, mother, a Biblical man athirst for God’s heart, commuter, singer, owner of or artist at (insert company name), MD in the making, child of the One True King, etc. These were carefully considered words people chose to describe themselves and took pride in. And then I looked at mine and found nothing. When I think about how to describe myself, I find myself somewhat at a loss for words.

Not that I have never written a description of myself before, I have. In fact, in my Twitter, I wrote in my description box regaire which meant ‘late-night rumbler’ and in my Instagram, ‘chasing sunsets’ (I had a huge thing for sunsets before). And a few years ago, when I was burning with passion for the violin, I described myself as a ‘fiddler’. From elementary to undergrad, I had excellent grades and was what you would call an achiever and though it wasn’t something I outrightly took pride in, it was such a huge part of who I was. In the first few weeks of medical school, I proudly wore and relished the ‘medical student’ identity along with my ‘being the smart one’ only to embarrassingly tuck those descriptions away after failing exams and realizing my classmates were smarter than me and crawling my way through freshman year. I no longer felt confident of the title – it was a source of pressure, a lofty identity I had to live up to (and am failing miserably at) – and more so when some people started calling me doc. It is a question from my mentor in a conversation about my frustrations of not earning good scores in school that haunts me until today: who is Jaddy without her good grades?

Let me rephrase that question. With no music, no talent or skill, no good grades, no title, no cause – nothing – to take pride in, who is Jaddy now?

In my frequent rumination of that question, I hear a humble answer: a student.

A student at life.

A student in medical school.

A student of theology.

I am a student in every sense of the word in every aspect of life.

Well, it isn’t much in comparison to what others are and what I used to identify with, but it is as accurate a description as to who I am at this season in my life. Ah, the many times I have been humbled in the past year until now is too much for my precious ego to take but I’m beginning to realize that perhaps that crushing of my ego is exactly the point of it all: to strip and reduce me of the comfort of my achievements and turn me into this lowly and pliable student willing to learn and be taught.


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