In 2013 when I started this blog, I was going through an incredibly difficult time professionally.
The reasons for that can probably be guessed by the topic of my first substantive post here, and after months of flailing and feeling feeling resentful and losing sleep and getting sick, I decided to make a place for my ideas of which I was the undisputed owner. I didn’t contribute for long because, thanks in part to the blog, things started getting better. I gained back some sense of ownership and personal direction in my work, and experienced a powerful lesson in how to choose activities that nourish me when I’m down.
That feeling of purpose, and of always having a personal project I could return to when I wanted, helped me get into grad school and find work in the field of public health. I completed an MS in epidemiology in 2016. I am now at work on a PhD in cancer epidemiology, while also working in the evaluation of a public health research program and on a research project related to cancer surveillance. My personal research interests focus on racial inequities in non-communicable disease, especially as they affect African Americans; spatial epidemiology methods; and the effect of place-based environments and policies on health.
Although five years have passed and my involvement in health research has changed, the experience of writing for the blog stayed with me and I never considered the project abandoned forever. I was reminded of it whenever I experienced a personal or professional challenge and remembered that I knew how to transform that pain and confusion into something good. When things are hard, it helps me to go back to myself– hopefully not out of solipsism but to try to understand how my pain can be used as a mirror to better know others, to find empowerment in the choice to be kind, to show love.
That’s why I’ve picked the project back up today. I’m being stalked. Continue reading