Do you remember your first day of grad school? I remember mine like it were only yesterday. I remember the cadaver on the cold metal table, and the stares.
Most importantly, the stares.
I stuck out like a sore thumb, so I tried very hard to blend in. I was painfully aware of myself and my flaws, all magically modified like crazy, because I was in a whole new place. I’d never lived away from my parents before and going to live in one of those hostel things was very uncomfortable at first, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate. Now that I look back on those days, I realize that I’d only gone to med school super far away from home, to get away from the bubble that I’d been living in all my life. An overprotected bubble, I might add.
The people were mostly from upscale metros. I was the only one from the Podunk tiny town. Sigh. I felt so uncomfortable there I thought I would die of anxiety just from walking into class and have people make fun of me. When you’re a kid, you don’t understand what’s happening, and sometimes you don’t understand what bullying feels like, until it’s too late. I got made fun of my crooked teeth, my hair and my stoop (they called me that), and I was overweight on my first day of college and I was made painfully aware of that. Usually people come up to you when you’re new, make conversation and that’s how you become friends – but when it came to me, nobody really ever approached. Except for this one girl who became a good friend – she was just as gorgeous on the outside as well as on the inside – and although we’ve lost touch, I’m forever grateful. Bless her soul. I honestly hope she’s happy wherever she is because I’m sure she’s slaying it out there. She was badass. Truly.
So that first month passed by pretty fast, and I noticed myself losing weight. The food wasn’t very nice – it’s normal when you’re eating in a mess – and at some point, I got bitten by depression so hard, I stopped going to school. While the other kids maintained a routine, I would stay in my room and only go to the classes I enjoyed, and ended up alienating myself further. That was also how I ended up losing six inches off my waistline. Go me. That was also the start of my tiff with things like anemia and vitamin D deficiency, both of which were self-induced. While the other kids were busy studying, getting into relationships with classmates, and having artists do their anatomy projects, I was busy drawing my own anatomy diagrams. And I loved it. I’d forgotten how much I loved to sketch, and funny as it may seem, drawing the model of the heart from Cunningham’s manual actually calmed me down.
At this point I also discovered eyeliner and tight-lining, and went ham. That was how I created the illusion of smaller eyes. The stares and the comments eventually stopped and I finally achieved what I’d been trying to since day one – I became invisible, successfully.