Medicine- it's a Give and Take

Stepping in as gently as I can with some words that most aren’t speaking on. These words have been in me for some time. They have been shifting and morphing and figuring out who they are. They have been formed from ideas that have been swirling for months at a time in my head. Influenced not only from books and education, but primarily through my own direct experiences lived in my 29 years old on this Earth with all of you. And so, dear one, I want you to know.

That it is not your fault. Your distrust is not your fault. Systems that govern not only your life but the lives of the people you love most, were developed before your eyes ever peeked open to see the bright light of the sun. As I am stepping in now, we have all stepped out of certain systems we do not resonate with, where our beliefs have not aligned, when our health does not align. Something is for certain that I need to share, I would not be alive with Western Medicine. I know, many of us wouldn’t. I wouldn’t have made it to my First birthday. It’s funny isn’t it, the paths we take and how they circle back. 9 months old, being torn open by a doctor, a cast at age 5, yet for years I shunned its science. In fact, I didn’t have a Primary Care Doctor for 6 years when I was on both of my parent's insurance (the things you take advantage of). Health is a right. And its big, and scary, and complex. It’s up to us, to learn our own, and yet, we all don’t get that privilege. I’ve been in such a weird spot. I’m used to it. It’s what happens when your equal parts athlete and artist, when you’re a hippy gone grad student, a Pastor’s kid to a spiritual leader, all of these me and yet none. Having one hand in and one hand out is familiar for me. In 2012, I made some changes. I stopped wearing bras, stopped shaving. I started doing yoga daily and meditating. I watched tons of documentaries and went vegan. I stayed vegan for 6 years and I healed (ish) my prior resentments to food from early teenage years of hating myself. Food turned into a wonderful hobby. I started making my personal choices for the betterment of the world around me and became a voice for the voiceless. I created my own path towards health so that I didn’t have to rely on others. I truly thought I knew it all.

But, Western Medicine saved my life. For some time this fact was almost like a nagging thought in the back of my mind that I didn't want to accept. Most people have to make efforts to take their health into their own hands, I went through a journey a different journey. I took all the responsibility out of my own hands and learned to trust others.

Medicine is tricky. The mind is tricky. Literally. Most people need to reclaim their health, I had to give it back. I had to let it be shared, and I’m still in this process. There’s something freeing about not doing it all on your own. There’s something freeing in knowing that during a public health crisis, doctors and scientists are giving their lives to formulate ways to ease this immense burden that society is facing and has been for 1 year. There is freedom in knowing that I don’t have all the answers, that this is bigger than me. The government doesn’t have our backs, it never did although it’s trying. It confuses me why people use this situation to convince people not to trust the government when I’ve seen ample reasons not to trust them my whole life, and guess what, I don’t think this is the right time. The pandemic is bringing infinite pain to the surface. Most people have no recollection of what being healthy means. It’s not their fault. Now is the time for health leaders to make a difference, to help others learn. Be sceptical, ask questions, but please, don’t think you can do it all alone. We need each other. We need to integrate systems. And as much as I pretended for years that I didn’t, I need doctors, I need scientists. I need to know that people’s ideas including my own, are being researched and not easily taken as Truth. I have journeyed so far. A couple year ago I was posting anti-flu vaccine info, Now I’m urging everyone to trust the science. Because, I wouldn’t be here without Western Medicine. I have a 3-inch scar on my belly that constantly reminds me of this fact. I can grow my own food, I can eat herbs and drink tinctures, do yoga everyday and depend on my community, but at a basic level of functioning and necessity, I need Western Medicine too.

I see Western and Eastern medicine as a spectrum, but I see all things in life that way. Sometimes they over lap, sometimes they seem the furthest away from one another. It’s frustrating to convince people to care. To convince people that older adults are just as important as younger adults, that the way a society reacts to an opportunity to protect their elders is a defining moment. The older I get the more I realize that not everything is a duality, most things aren't. Some things in life that contrast each other co-exist harmoniously. The minute we define anything, potential is lost. The minute we close off- the less open we are. Why do we take and choose, only with what relates best to us?

Our place is that of a fallen petal, missing when absent, but nothing without connection. Nothing without the others. You don’t need to negate something else to prove your own ideas. Let’s figure out the process of taking our health back while also learning to appreciate and trust the feedback of others, using discernment along the way, utilizing everything that both health worlds have to offer, without closing the other one off.

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