I am officially officially moved in! I now live with the sweetest puppy ever and a conservative white roommate, whom I actually really like. But here’s the backstory: we found each other last minute and both needed roommates and sealed the deal in ONE day. And I only found out later when my dad couldn’t sleep and browsed for public info on the web, that we had very OPPOSITE political views. I don’t think we would’ve naturally picked each other…but being quarantined together, having a roomie who is going to be a fellow survivor of med school, I’m determined to walk the talk. She is a person first. I want to give her a chance. I want to see her as a person. She is a person, and she is kind to me, and funny, and respectful, and possibly the best roommate I have ever had (our cleaning and study habits match so well that it’s freaky). Will we be friends? I hope so, but it’s hard for me. It’s hard because I hope we can agree on human rights issues. Part of me, selfishly, does not want to know what she has to say on politics at all. Living together in quarantine, trying to do med school together, means I NEED a peaceful living situation. But there’s a whole part of myself, a central part of myself, that is so tied to social justice, that I feel as though there’s an elephant in the rooms of my mind. She doesn’t feel the elephant, but I know it’s there, because it’s in my head, policing what I can and cannot say. Boundaries as an activist… are interesting. I want to love people without an agenda. It’s not my responsibility nor is it possible to change people. They get influenced/change on their own/with God. And yet… I can’t help feeling as though, again, I am the ambassador of India, representing all Indian-Americans in every interaction. I can’t help feeling as though I need to educate/inform/ share how important human rights are to me.
Otherwise, this place is beautiful. My room is a sanctuary, in a way none of my previous rooms have been. Because the place I’m staying in feels permanent this time. I know it’s an illusion, but I’ve never been able to fully settle into my room back home (I always consider my parent’s home my home, and I know I’m lucky to be able to say that). I was always ready to move my things if need be, ready to move and shift and change as required of me. Being adaptable is a nice skill, they say, but I wonder how innocent and sweet it must be to not have been required to adapt to so much change. I marvel at how people may have stayed in a place their entire lives; I love hearing about how they married people they went to school with or have college friends who were also kindergarten friends. I don’t know what that’s like. I still feel worried that it’s too much to tell anyone that I consider them my best friend; labels like that suggest permanence and I’ve lived in a reality that suggests the opposite.
I said goodbye to my family today, and I feel that familiar uncertainty grasping at my throat, making my breath in my body feel raspy. And yet, and yet, and yet. I am at total peace. I have a scrapbook near me that is so full of love letters from friends, that I am still STUNNED and don’t know how to respond yet. I feel God, the nearness of divinity, in everything around me– the plants, the animals, the atmosphere, where I am in awe of how loved I feel, a love that may be invisible sometimes, but is also knocking on the walls of my heart, asking it to open, even after it’s been broken. I feel the anticipation of adventure, of new unfilled pages, waiting to be discovered and shaped, co-created with God. Yes, there will be challenges during this quest to live out dreams, dreams that were nurtured in my soul for years. BUT. I. Am. Ready.