This is a blue chair and would considerably be described so by the majority of people who are asked what it is. However, this chair holds a deeper meaning to me than just its hue. It is indeed a constant reminder of how a bad, lingering memory can change and by so doing its hold in our life no longer remains significant. This chair used to be a portal of such memory, and even though I had a chance to sell it off, I simply refused to do so. It will be a constant reminder of where we used to be, where we are right now, and hopefully where we are going. I am about to get a bit personal for a minute, kindly oblige me.

Between 2013 and 2015, the second Mondays in March were the worst days in the whole of the year. The days leading to that Monday were fraught with uncertainty and strewn with nervousness. My husband, who is as sturdy as an oak when it comes to his self-efficacy, suddenly becomes unsure and almost lacking in confidence. Etched over his face would be the frustration of a man that has tried so hard to play the game fairly and given his best to the system but was always losing or falling short of something. I hated seeing him this way, and even though I didn’t mind being the comforter in such scenarios, those actions took a lot out of me and often left me emotionally tired.

Every year, my husband like tens of thousands of IMGs (International Medical Graduates), wait for their fates to be determined in the second week in March (9 am CST to be precise) to see if they were ranked highly enough to be matched by a US-accredited medical residency program. The task of checking that email always fell to me given my ability to be able to confront things head on. And every year between 2013 and 2015, I had to look my husband in the eyes to utter the four words I have since come to abhor “Sorry, you didn’t match.” Every year between then, he would repeat the process for a total of three times before I had the chance to say a new set of words. Last year, I finally got to reduce the words from four to three “Yayyy, you matched.”

Until you have been through this process or lived vicariously through it, it is really hard to put into the words the emotional turmoil experienced. The disappointment, pain and the feeling of inadequacy can’t be adequately relayed with words. Seeing someone you love go through such myriad of emotions is really excruciating. It was even more challenging as I was advancing in my professional life and my husband seemed stuck.

A picture that remains vivid in my memory is of him sitting in this blue chair frantically going over a list of potential leads to contact for the next phase of a job application. So much so that the blue chair became symbolic of the stuck phase of our lives and for the longest time, I refused to ensconce myself in it. Things have changed since then. I have the chair with me and would most likely keep it till I get weary of it or it wears out (most likely going to be the latter). I am no longer afraid of the big blue chair, though I still have some other ‘fears’ that are preoccupying my mind nowadays.

Today, I have the chair in my living room beside Gitannae (my guitar), and I remember those days when it seemed like we didn’t have the best of luck in the world.

Today, I celebrate the tenacity of a man who never gave up on his dreams and has taught me innumerable lessons on how to be supportive of and happy for others even when nothing is going well for you. I look back at the times when my husband would come to all my events, encourage me to push myself a little bit harder, and be the best I could possibly be.

If there are any lessons to be learned here, they would be;

  • Never give up on your dreams, even when the odds don’t seem to be in your favor.
  • Life is a video and not a snapshot. Don’t get stuck in the unpleasant snapshots at the expense of losing the quality of the ongoing reel.
  • With time, the grips of those scary days will no longer have a hold on you. I actually forgot about that Monday in March of this year until my husband reminded me of it.

It gets better. Let time do what it does best. Just wait and see how things will change. Trust me, I know, and it is especially pleasant to experience the changing times and the movement of the video reel while firmly ensconced in a blue chair.

I'm ME: replete with the mien of a bard, scholar, Argonaut, Jesus-lover, funfinder, bibliophile, Koreanophile, partner, and wanderer!