I was certain that there was a moment in which I screamed at the top of my lungs “That’s it!” and picked up my pitchfork to make a change in the world. But I couldn’t really come up with one such instance. I could probably come up with a different event depending on the day and circumstance….What I know for sure is that it was born out of an intrinsic calling for social justice. But not wanting to miss out on a good story just because I have a bad memory–I surveyed my friends and asked them what my turning point was. They described me as sort of having a slow consciousness raising period during my college years which led to me choosing women’s health as my grounding point. I read a lot of books and shadowed a midwife. I went to nursing school became a squatter of sorts at CHOICE—whose midwives taught me so much about the breadth of women’s health and choices we make as clinicians. But there were also international experiences that shaped my ever-growing understanding of the trials and tribulations of the system in which we hang our hopes to save us. I went to Crow Creek moved to Colorado and Maryland, did health fairs and witnessed births and deaths and peri-menopause.
After some discussion, I began to wonder if it matters so much that I don’t remember a dramatic moment. Maybe my Turning Point was comprised of a million small observations about how women are both carved out of the larger health system (OB and peri-menopause) and constrained in a health system that generates lower health outcomes for women compared to men (heart disease, mental health, drug-reactions among others ).
Now that I think of it, my Turning Point is fused with what keeps my pitchfork raised. I read about all of these things (good and bad) and thought—there must be a shortage of people who are willing to help. I am a do-er after all. My pitchfork is not simply outrage but rather something to channel my force—my energy—my call for change.
Over time my Turning Point in awareness led to a devotion to the work. My devotion to making the system better.