Artist’s Statement: First Position
As a first-year medical student accustomed to poring over textbooks and diagrams, I often forgot about the impact I could one day have on someone else’s life. Instead of meeting patients and learning more about their lives, I found myself cloistered behind a barrier of books, isolated from the very people whose stories had drawn me to medicine in the first place. But, a small peek beyond the library and hospital walls reminded me that the efforts of doctors make all the difference.
I caught a glimpse of the scene that inspired this month’s cover art, “First Position,” when I was in a ballet studio one snowy night. After a long day of reviewing notes, I dragged my feet into the nearby studio to stay warm while waiting for the bus home. The ballerinas twirled in time to a symphony and the soft “one, two, three” of a teacher’s voice. Of all the girls there, the one most enraptured by the music and most lithe in her movements sported a prosthetic hand. Hours and hours of practice showed in the coordination of her wrists and the deliberate grace of her steps. As the ballerinas’ choreography ended with a poised slide into first position, she flashed a small grin at me.
The little girl I saw that night was able to pursue her passion for dancing and inspire others with her prosthetic limb. Her performance and smile captured the unapologetically human side of medicine that I nearly forgot existed. She lifted my hopes and reinvigorated the “why” behind my pursuit of medicine.