I told myself that I was going to construct my Sunday series chronologically, so today SHOULD be about picking roommates while prom dress shopping, but that feels like a story for a different time. It’s a good one, I promise.. and I still love her and her mom dearly. But today, today needs to be about crushed dreams.
I’ve published 9 blog posts so far and I think I have mentioned in every single one that I spent years 3-19 telling everyone, including myself, that I would be a doctor. As I have mentioned, I am NOT a doctor, so now feels as good as ever to talk about the downward spiral of that one-time goal. Then I promise, we can drop the topic, for good (maybe).
It started the way it does for everyone. Failing classes, or at least, almost failing classes. You know- those weed out classes? They. WEEDED. me. Very effectively.
To be fair, I did myself no favors. As stated, I DOVE into college, headfirst. Chemistry, calculus, biology, anatomy. It was a nightmare.
Have you ever been SO committed to a dream that you can’t see anything else? It wasn’t lack of effort (as soon as I learned that they actually expect you to follow the syllabus in college), I tried my best. I joined the study groups, I studied all the time, I got all the tutors. It simply wasn’t clicking, at all. But, it also wasn’t clicking that maybe my dream… wasn’t REALLY my dream.
After a year and a half of struggling through the classes, all it took was one, itty, bitty, but extremely specific incident for my dream to come crashing down. It was a small thing, probably considered a non-event in the majority of people’s life, but at that specific moment – 2:05 p.m. on a random afternoon in November, my dream changed.
It started as physiology lab experiment and a frog. Not even a cute frog- it was one of those monster bull frogs, with the big, watery eyes, and the throats that bubble out when they breathe. His legs were about as long as mine and he was incredibly ugly. I hated him.
But I also named him Dill Pickles. I’m not even sure it was a boy to be honest. But the name felt right.
The experiment was a semester long. We were to pick a certain diet for our frogs and then monitor the effect the diet had on the frogs. The idea was that different diets changed the internal biology of the frog; making some more active, more lethargic, fatter, etc.
So I did the damn thing. I fed the damn frog everything to help him grow into a strong, massive, slimy, creep ALL semester long.
Then… came finals week. As our final, we were required to BEHEAD our frogs and harvest their STILL active tendons to do final tests to determine the effect/detriment the diet had on the muscle/tendon health of the frog.
The PSYCHO lab-leader was ALL about this event. She was losing it, practically peeing her pants in excitement. She was grinning from cheek to cheek as she demonstrated how to use these gnarly machete scissors to swiftly decapitate your frog and then move quickly to the legs, to harvest those bad boys.
She may be the equivalent of a female Ted Bundy. I don’t trust anyone that gets that excited about decapitation.
SO ANYWAYS. Ms. Bundy was all kinds of excited about this particular step of the experiment and she was not hearing me, in the slightest. I was explaining, in great detail, between heaving gags, that I would not be beheading Dill Pickles. My explanation was going in one ear and out the other, attaching to absolutely nothing in between. Lady Dahmer could hardly contain herself, volunteering to do it herself, moving closer to Dill Pickles’ stupid square container, as his eyes bulged even bigger. She was wielding the machete scissors like ordinary, boring salad tongs or some other kitchen utensil in front of his ugly face, and her pride was palpable. She was ready to kill the frog. Murder was quite literally in the air. Apparently none of my classmates were as disturbed by the sudden turn of events, as they were all just CHOPPING AWAY.
It was that moment that my dream died. It was a dramatic death and Dill Pickles was only part of it. But not the way you think, I promise.
Without hesitation, I grab Dill Pickles from his plastic, square container, yanking him away from her maniacal, murderous rage. Mind you, I NEVER touched Dill Pickles before this moment. Looking at him grossed me out and the thought of actually touching him still makes me squeamish.
But I’ll be damned if I didn’t get that ugly frog, carry him out the door, carry him across campus, and deposit his ugly ass in Potter Lake (a pond on KU’s campus) to live out the rest of his ugly days.
With PRIDE, I called my dad and told him that medical school simply was not for me. I was not going to kill the frog. I was done. Oh, and I failed physiology lab.
I kid you not, as I’m on the phone, telling my dad about liberating Dill Pickles from his square container and liberating myself from a dream that simply WAS NOT working, a hawk swooped down, grabbed Dill Pickles in its sharp talons, and carried him away. (A real hawk, not to be confused the the mythical Jayhawk – 🙃 I had to, I’m sorry).
The dumb frog was meant to die that November afternoon. I tried to intervene, and he STILL, presumably, died.
That day, I truly thought my future was carried off in those nasty talons, alongside slimy Dill Pickles, the frog I hated.
I have to be honest, that was a tough day, a tough lesson. But let me just say, like Dill Pickles was meant to die that day, I was never meant for medical school. That dream, while ambitious, was not practical for me.
The day I liberated Dill Pickles from his square, plastic container, I liberated myself from the burden of doing something that my heart wasn’t committed to and yet, was forcing myself to endure, simply because I always said I would.
It was not all downhill from there. I was going to be a wedding planner (I hate weddings and planning and organization). I was going to be a teacher (kids are REALLY not my thing). I was going to be a novelist (creative writing is fun.. until you realize every single setting has to built word by millionth word). I was going to be a psychologist, but the only person I was diagnosing was myself (hypochondria is a real bitch!). Then, I was going to be an English professor, Shakespearean studies, specifically.
Ultimately, I am an attorney. I’ll let you deduce how I ended up here. Being an attorney wasn’t my dream. Hell, sometimes I’m still not sure it is my dream. But I KNOW that medicine wasn’t my dream. I’ll forever be grateful for the ugly, slimy, big-eyed, long-legged frog. My Dill Pickles, the frog that saved me from myself.
Sunny daze ahead friends, I promise. 🐸