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Hello out there
Don’t let yourself be defined by your limits. Good luck.


February 17, 2007

I don’t think that I’ve ever done anything this retarded before, wide awake at 5:14 am and with a huge exam to take in 5 hours and 16 minutes.  But I can’t sleep.  I already knocked myself out twice this week with Benadryl, and I’m not about to take another two or three for just as many hours of drowsy insomnia.  I get up every morning, or afternoon, and I walk to school, where I spend most of my day in class, or studying. 

This and the times that I walk back in the evening are the 40 minutes or so of fresh air that I get on a daily basis, and cold as it is, it feels different and better than the rest of the air that I breath throughout my day.  I pass over a golf course that has been under construction since the end of the warmer months, and I wonder how much it costs to maintain the videogame-like environment of varying shades, shapes, and heights of green, and before I know it, I’ve arrived.

Lately, I think a lot about my life, my family here and there, now and then, the one I love, Iran, the genocide in Sudan, basically anything and everything that doesn’t have to do with medical school.  I am totally drained emotionally and mentally, and the eight to twelve hours that I have spent every day over the past few weeks on nervous system pathways, slides of tissue, electrical signaling and graphs, neurotransmitters, hormones, illness, and other medical lore has not helped alleviate my mental state. 

Worse, I can’t help but put everything against the backdrop of death, destruction and transience.  Or is that backdrop really just there, pure reality, or is it actively being put there by all these current events?  Terrible thoughts: one day, the people I love most in this world will be gone; one day, the US will send jet fighters over Iran’s airspace and carpetbomb cities and countryside with laser-guided precision, and a big, fat missile will land right in my grandmother’s room; one day, the genocide will be billed as officially over, and everyone will say, “Never again”, again; one day, it’ll be the way it’s been for a long time now, every day; one day, I will wake up and know without a shred of doubt that I have successfully fooled myself.

I have a million desires, as well as a countable number of paramount priorities in my life which never change, yet never seem to be adequately addressed or fulfilled.  The process of realizing these things has made me feel incredibly mortal, human, limited.  There is a popular saying, something along the lines of: “Don’t let yourself be defined by your limits”.

Yet everywhere I look, we are living within the confines that life imposes upon us, and whether the limitations in our lives arise from the outside world or form from our own consciences, sacrifices are constantly being made in order to carry on.  I know all that I am saying is what everybody already knows.  Life is a struggle.  But lately, every day that I get up and walk to school, I feel like there is more to it.  Something is not being said.  Something remains withheld from its rightful owners.  And a stunning injustice is being done to -- and sustained by -- all of us.  I feel it in myself and throughout the world that I know.

“I was not capable of discussing this with anyone because I felt, though I could not explain why, that my reasons might be valid only to me.”

What is valid? Comment

Maziar Shirazi is a graduate from Rutgers University and holds a B.A. in Spanish. He is currently a medical student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey. Features in

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Maziar Shirazi

Maziar Shirazi



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