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Tag: Being Different

A Daughter of Vietnamese Refugees

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

I am a daughter of Vietnamese refugees.

I wear my identity so proudly that I often reflexively lead with this when, as a medical student, I’m introduced to colleagues, professors and supervisors. It is my response when asked, “How will you contribute to diversity?”

I feel honored to be different. In fact, when I meet patients who have never encountered

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Hot Water Cures (Almost) Everything

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

If, like my parents, you had immigrated across the world to America with only $200 to your name, feeling hesitant to speak whenever you needed something for fear of people doubting your intellect, you might develop a certain degree of wary self-reliance.

My parents have had to fight for everything they’ve achieved here, including voices that would be heeded despite their accents,

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Many Shades of Different

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

Having stage IV cancer at twenty-one made me different from my peers.

I was already different: By the eighth grade, due to my mother’s quest for greener pastures, I’d attended twelve schools, many of them outside of the US. I was a Yankee when my family lived in Australia, but also when we lived in Florida. I was a gringa when we

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The Visible-Invisible Divide

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

Most days, people don’t see my disability. I don’t generally wear a brace or use a wheelchair or even crutches.

“I would never know that you’re in constant pain,” a kind professor once said. “When I see you, you’re always smiling.”

“You don’t look sick,” friends always tell me.

I’m twenty-three. I want to be like my peers, but for me, every

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Nontraditional

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded an honorable mention in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

I have always been different. As a nurse I was a late bloomer, though I’d always felt passionately drawn to the profession.

I was born to nurse. This was evident even when I was a young child; I bathed my grandmother’s amputated leg while the other kids played in the yard. Although I had planned to go to nursing school

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A Puzzling Impulse

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded an honorable mention in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

My mother has always advised me that it is good to be “different.” She herself, growing up, wanted to be different in both her personality and her fashion. But her wish to be unique is not something I’ve inherited.

Beginning in elementary school, the last thing I wanted was to be different from my school friends—in fact, I wanted to

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Being Different: My Struggle and My Motivation

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

When I was in elementary school, I was bullied by my peers into believing that being different was bad.

I grew up thinking that speaking my mind was undesirable if my thoughts didn’t mirror those of others. To my peers, liking the “strange” foods of my parents’ Haitian cuisine, such as tripe or oxtail, was weird. I wore my older

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The Quest of a Lifetime

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded an honorable mention in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

From a young age, we’re encouraged to stand out—to be who we truly are and to be proud of that person. We strive to understand both our strengths and our weaknesses. In doing so, we’re driven to move forward, knowing we’re doing our best. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and can’t find our way. That’s where my story begins.

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The Nightstand

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

Poverty has many ways of marking a child.

Growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s in a Southern cotton-mill town, I was the fourth of six children of a single mother who did the best that she could; but her job as a hemmer of washcloths in Plant #1 paid little, and six children had many necessities that shut

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Blacker Than Bald Eagles

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded an honorable mention in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

In the 1990s, having grown up in Texas and spent the summer before college playing semiprofessional basketball in Australia, I went to medical school at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, in Mexico.

While there, I experienced a striking and unexpected sense of safety. Although the people there normally never see Black people, they treated me differently from the way

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A Weird Fit for Medicine

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded an honorable mention in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

Whenever the most recent piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation passes, the silence is a familiar song.

In November of 2022, we had the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs—soon to be followed by a nonstop onslaught of legislative attacks on the LGBTQ communities’ right to exist. After each one, the silence blared.

I remember walking into work the day after the Club

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Finding Freedom in Difference

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded third place in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

It was 3:00 am on my third night shift out of five, in a busy inner-city hospital in Sydney.

Having just reviewed six suicidal patients back to back, I felt tired and frustrated.

If I have to see another suicidal patient tonight…Why don’t they go and be suicidal somewhere else? I wondered wearily, then felt ashamed at the adversarial

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