Saturday, September 15, 2012

Own your space.

And understand I got the gift of speech
And it’s a blessin,
So listen to the lesson I preach
I talk sense condensed into the form of a poem
Full of knowledge from my toes to the top of my dome
I’m kinda young--but my tongue speaks maturity
I’m not a child, I don’t need nothin for security
I get paid when my record is played--to put it short
I got it made


I always liked the bravado of that song but I can't say that I always feel that way myself. There are days that I feel lackluster. Like my best isn't good enough or rather my best is in there somewhere but I haven't pulled it all the way out. A spiral of self-doubt sets in. I double-think my moves. Some insecurity sets in. The little voice goes to town and pounces all over me until I'm flailing on the ground.

Yes. This happens to me. More often than one might imagine.

But I have this mantra that I say in my head when I start feeling that way. I pair it with my "already enough" cheering section and then I put my dukes up and start that metaphorical shadow boxing. As I feel my pulse quickening and my face feeling warm from angst or second-guessing that's when I start shouting in my own ear.


Own your space. What does that mean? Well, I can tell you what it means to me. It means that I'm the only me that exists. It means that I have something unique to bring and am the only one who can bring it in this "me" kind of way. In other words, the space that I have been given to do me is mine. And I need to own it.

So I prepare. I self reflect and reassess and try to do my best. The old school rappers called this "show'n'prove." Sometimes you just have to show'n'prove to yourself that you got this. That you're enough. That starts with owning your space.

I was teaching in the clinic the other day. It was just one of those days where you feel like you're flying on one wing, you know? And that little voice started telling me that my teaching points weren't good ones and that I wasn't as great as I people thought. That's when I literally stepped out of the room and faced a window with my eyes closed.

You are enough.
This is your space. Own it. You are a great teacher. You are an awesome communicator. You're good with people. You have experience. You're the only you they can work with. So own that. Own it.
Own your space.

That took me approximately twenty seconds. But when I returned I had a different vigor. I felt good. I felt able. I was reminded of who I am.

I am not perfect. But I am an excellent work in progress of the only me that exists.

I also told these words to two different medical students this week. Simple advice that I give myself:

"Own your space."

So today I am walking in authority. Knowing that I am enough and that this space I've been given to live in -- this little circumference around me -- is my space. And, dammit,  I will own it.

The enemy is often ourselves. Even if others around are poisonous, we first have to drop our guards enough to let them in.  No one will taint your space without your access. That means we can't blame others when those doubts creep in and what it really means is that it's all on us to fight.

Fight! Rage against our own machines.

Does it mean perfection? No. Mistakes will be made. Revisions will be necessary. And that's fine and good and as it should be. You wake up to a new day. You shadow box. You show'n'prove.


What am I even talking about? I don't know.

You know? Something just tells me that this is a word someone needs today. Any time I wake up with something like this on my mind I've come to learn that someone else under the same sky is feeling the same way.

So today I will tell you the words I constantly tell myself:

You are enough.
You are the only you there is.
Walk in that authority.
Own your space.

Only you can decide what that means and how you'll use it to show'n'prove. And once you do, you'll have  it made.

That's all I got this morning.

Happy Saturday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .this old school hip hop cut always hypes me up.


  1. I am pretty sure that almost ALL of us needed this today.
    Thanks, lady.

  2. i sure need this right now. thank you, dear kimberly. it's an excellent mantra. i am the only ME there is. yes.

  3. Dr. Manning-
    I'm a longtime reader of this blog, but I've never commented. I'm a fourth year med student at Emory, and I literally sent in my residency application just before reading this. I needed these words.
    You. Are. Amazing. Thanks for all that you do and for sharing it with us.

    1. Way to go, Becca! Congrats on getting your stuff loaded up. Thank you so, so much for reading my blog. When I see you in person I will thank you with a big hug! ('Cause you know from reading here that I'm a hugger!)

  4. Replies
    1. We're all works in progress. Hope you had a perfect birthday, mi amiga!

  5. Ditto Becca! I just sent in my applications and have this queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since - What if I don't match? What's plan B? Where do I go from here?

    Irrespective of how this turns out, I'm going to own my space. Telepathy works Dr M, your posts have proved that time and again. Thank you, this meant a lot :)

    -- Tara

    1. Yay! Congrats to you, too, Tara. Hey--where are you in medical school? I've been wondering forever. And what specialty did you ever decide on?

    2. I completed med school in India Dr M - and here's a quick side story you should know - I first read your blog in 2010 and realized how alike Grady was to the government hospital I was interning in here. So after reading, I instinctively applied to Emory for an elective (you know what a gamble that is, esp for an IMG). I got the elective (at Grady - karma right?) and fell in love with the place. It was a surreal experience - realizing that despite the outward differences, we see the same kind of patients, go through similar experiences. Isn't it amazing the ways in which your blog has touched lives? I certainly wouldn't have known about Emory if it wasn't the Grady love you sent my way. :) I'm sorry this ramble of mine took up so much space - to answer your second question - Neurology. That's my baby :)

      -- Tara

  6. Dr. Manning!

    I just sent my ERAS in yesterday and was feeling all kinds of self doubt about "am I enough..." "will my application show these programs who I am and will they like me, will they want me..." Reading this the day after is like having my own personal pep talk from you. Thank you...for everything!

    MSM 4th year!!!!

    1. Hey Charisma!! Hadn't heard from you in a bit and am glad you chimed in! They will TOTALLY want you. You rock!

  7. I, Crystal Culver approve this message!!!!! Yes, I OWN my space! It took me a minute o get here, buy there is turning back! It's mine, it's my space!

    Thank you love bug!!!!!!


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