In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt Futures Past: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be the first female astronaut. I had read a lot about Amelia Earhart and admired her tenacity. I decided if she could fly, then I could somehow make it to outer space. I studied the constellations in the sky and read lots of books about space. I still remember watching the first man land on the moon. It was hard to make out what was going on because there was so much static on the television, and the whole thing didn’t seem real.
My dad worked for the space division at GE at the time and used to bring home lots of memorabilia, which further fueled my desire to become an astronaut. The other motivating factor for me was the drive I’d always had to be able to do anything that guys could do. My feminist tendencies started at an early age.
Don’t go searching the internet to see if I ever made it. The closest I ever got to a NASA space craft was visiting the Air and Space museum on multiple occasions when we lived near Washington, DC. You see, in my adult life I became extremely claustrophobic and was prone to panic attacks, and unfortunately I had trouble even riding a subway or boarding an airplane for many years.
Gradually I worked through my anxieties and did a lot of things I never thought I could do, like flying to Africa to work with a medical team. Nonetheless, I have completely lost my desire to go floating around in space in a vehicle the size of my bathroom.
The closest I can say that I’ve come to achieving my dream of becoming a space explorer is to say that rather than venturing into outer space, I have become an inner space explorer; both as a medical researcher searching for ways to heal the human body, and as a mental health blogger connecting with others who are on a quest to heal and understand the human mind.