My open letter to Mayim Bialik: what I have learned

Hello people of the Universe!

We are the 11th and as every 11th, it is time to speak about Mayim Bialik! *clap clap clap* Are you excited? I totally am. Life comes rushing at me again after an awful year and I can’t help notice how words, advice and support were important to my well-being during that period, and even more now. Mayim is one of these helps and today, I wanted to speak directly to her. She kind of represents everything I love in Society — I am weighing my words –, and I thought it would be a good way to share with you who I am and how I easily find joy and hope in life.                                                                   Do you remember what my dad said when she liked my comment on Facebook? Mayim herself is going to call you to have a drink soon. Well, “soon” in English and “bientôt” in French certainly have the same meaning, but obviously Mayim lost my phone number… Thus, I have only one option: write an open letter. Is there a better way to interact with a writer? I don’t think so. So here we go. This is going to be very personal, very long, very honest, but very necessary. You are warned.

                                                                    

Dear Dr. Bialik, dear Grok Nation founder, dear Mayim,

Thanks to you, I have learned a lot so far. In the past few months, I started to write again after a long period of dry ink, I got interested in the history of Religion, I fall in love with Science again, and I shared my opinions more easily with many people, Grokites or not. Currently in my bed, under a soft blanket, I feel the need to hug you and tell you how much you are wonderful and give me hope in what could be our world if we all work together to make it a peaceful place to live in. I don’t know if it is the cup of peppermint tea by my side or the blue sky striped by orange leaves, but words are coming gently to my fingers and I think it is time to open my heart.

EQUALITY is at the corner

The first time I saw you was in a Top 10 list of “reporters asking female celebrities the damn wrong questions”. The feminist in me was very curious of the absurd and hilarious treasures I would find in it. And what I discovered blew my mind. Among singers and other celebrities, I had in front of me a beautiful actress that was also a beautiful neuroscientist. In one second, I felt like every stereotype could be destroyed by your own experience, Mayim. I immediatly went on my savior of all times, Wikipedia, and discovered the amazing person you are — actress, neuroscientist, mom, vegan, jewish, speaker, writer, feminist, musician, and my list is incomplete. I started watching interviews on Youtube, found Kveller, and read everything I could about your life-choices. But what I first concentrated on was how you speak about equality. I do feel like everything is possible when you speak. You have such a beautiful way to express yourself and defend your opinions. I also think you are a good role model because you don’t put yourself above people but by their side. They are too many people who fight for equality by showing they are better than others, it is a really weird way to defend this value. This is something I discovered thanks to you: how to treat people well, whoever they are. That’s certainly why I loved your post about Feminism.

 Acceptance, is there something more important?

Recently, I participated to the ImAmyProject launched by Emmy4Mayim for your nomination. To participate, we could send a picture and write a text about why we are Amy. Here is what I wrote:

I am Amy because I wear glasses. I am Amy because I never leave the house without a jacket. I am Amy because I always speak with hands. I am Amy because I study neuroscience. I am Amy because I am a good student. I am Amy because I had few friends at school. I am Amy because I was bullied until I get my high school diploma and go to college. I am Amy because I know things can change. I am Amy because I am funny when people don’t expect it. I am Amy because happiness of my friends is more important than mine. I am Amy because I don’t say when something is going wrong until I explode. I am Amy because I prefer simple moments. I am Amy because even if I am all of that, even if I lived all of that, I am proud of myself, different and inclined to learn again and again. I am Amy because I am strong.

To me, Amy is all about accepting yourself. I don’t say she doesn’t change, she is in constant evolution, but she is fully herself and it gives me hope. I love how you care about Amy and how you speak about her in interviews. I know you are not really Amy but through her, you transmit a lot of positive thoughts. I can read in Amy what you want to tell to girls who don’t dare to say they are interested in Science, to people who don’t know how to express who they are. You made me understand it is fine to be who you want to be, with your quirks, your passions, your dress codes. Acceptance is something I struggle with for a long time, but I am on my way.

 When Honesty AND CURIOSITY are precious

I love reading your articles for Grok Nation. I read them in the bus when I go to university or back home, I read them between two courses, I read them when I eat, I read them just before going to sleep. I read them at the instant you post them or when a friend tells me to, I read them when I am in the mood, I read them two weeks after their publication when I am not ready to handle the subject. How many times did I cry reading your articles? How many times did I laugh? How many times did I stop my chores just to think about what I read? I don’t count anymore. I tend to use two words to describe what is going on in my head and in my heart — my organs are so connected — when I think of Grok Nation and you: honesty and curiosity. I am such a curious person but I barely ask questions because of my fear of people’s reactions. Sometimes I do it spontaneously, like when I ask my brother if he is a feminist or how he could explain the increase of racism, but those moments remain unique. I feel like my questions are disturbing, not usual, and I don’t want people to take them badly. When I was in my penultimate year of high school, one of my classmates got cancer and I remember telling to my friends maybe I could ask him what he is going through and what it feels to have cancer. If you had seen their face! They were so shocked and told me not to do so. I felt bad and thought I was a monster. But I don’t think I am, I was just curious of his feelings and I wanted to understand. That way, I would have been able to help him, find the good words to make him feel better. Perhaps my question was not socially acceptable but I thought it was important. It was a way to face death, to make it more touchable and real. Something we could all face and carry together so that it would be less painful for our classmate. But at that moment, I understood some questions had to be kept in mind instead of being heard. I make this relation with your website because you don’t use a filter when you speak and I feel like every question matters and has to be asked, whatever its impact is. You arouse my curiosity and you speak your mind with your own words and feelings. Nothing is too dark, too joyful, or too unusual to be told. I do enjoy reading about what I didn’t know before and making my own opinion about it. Your honesty allows me to make the difference between what is generally admited and your idea, and I love your way to light up a flame in my brain without telling me how to use it but keep an eye on it. You don’t impose your point of view, you favor debates, there is so much respect in your words… I was looking for this kind of place for decades — well, I am only 19 so let’s tell it felt like decades. Now, when I speak about what I think, I try to be as me as I can. I can’t speak about something that touches me without being subjective and honest. I try not to please people but to present my real thoughts, even if we disagree. I am also trying to be more open-minded on sensitive subjects and to understand one’s point of view. It is tough sometimes but it makes the conversation evolve more easily and with more respect towards one another. And it opens small doors and drawers in my mind to put my new arguments and thoughts.

I am not totally like you, Mayim. I sometimes disagree, and I love that. I most of the time agree, and it is so comforting because I feel like someone is fighting by my side, someone is fighting as a higher level and has a powerful voice to make mine heard. And sometimes I just don’t understand what you are talking about, and it is fine! Fine because you arouse my curiosity. Fine because I know I am going to look for more information right after. Fine because nothing is less remediable than ignorance. So thank you, Mayim. Thank you for representing honesty and using it in a beautiful way, and thank you for making me even more curious about what surrounds me. And thank you for answering questions people don’t dare to ask.

 Keep faith in your CHOICES AND DREAMS

I tend to be very obstinate when I have something in mind and it is exactly what happened when I had to choose my future studies, two years ago. For the first time, I received bad comments from my mom and my teachers because of my choice, because of my dream. There is a sentence from a teacher I will never forget:

“If you had been my daughter, I would have prevent you to start those studies.”

What studies? Studies to become a psychologist. Studies to help people. But studies that don’t fit with my abilities, according to them.                                                               I have a complicated relationship with Science. I can’t tell you how much I hated it when I was a teenager, how many times I wished it didn’t exist. Science was destroying my dreams, preventing my freedom and my happiness. It  was preventing me to be myself. Science was my written destiny and I couldn’t support it. It was my written destiny because I was a good student, because I passed IQ tests that confirmed my “abnormal” intellectual abilities. People wanted me, the abnormal person, to fit in a mold of standards respected by an elit. But I didn’t want to be described only by my IQ or my good grades. I also had the capacity to feel people, to be compassionate, but it is not valuable — nor lucrative — in our society. According to their words — my mom’s and teachers’ words –, I would have been more useful as a doctor. I would have been more helpful in medical research than in the field. And of course, I would have been more paid and got a better social status as a scientist. I hated Science because it was my drawn path. I started to reject everything about it because I didn’t want my mom and teachers to think I could love it. But I deprived myself of its amazingness. After several months of fights and cries, I maintained my choice to study Psychology. Even today, after a year at university and great grades, my mom still comes to me and say oh, I met Mr. X, the doctor. He, like me, thinks you should have started medical studies but whatever, you do what you want. I can’t tell it doesn’t hurt because it does, but I am pursuing my dream and this is priceless.                           When I think of this period of my life, I can’t help thinking of the inspiring speech you pronounced at UCLA in 2011. I even printed it and know some parts by heart. It is the kind of thing I want to keep and pass down to my friends or to those who fear the future.

The point that I want to make is that you get to choose your life. In this great country, the family you come from, the language spoken in the bedrooms of your house, the amount of money in your or your parents bank account, none of that determines what your life has to look like. You get to live your life, however you want to. That qualifying exam that I failed had right answers and I couldn’t figure them out. But there are no right answers in how to live your life. It is a series of decisions and lessons which all qualify you, to become who you are as a person.

We need to hear more people who succeeded to pursue their dreams, all of them, as you did by being an actress and a neuroscientist for example. And we need more people who succeeded but admit they failed and got back to their feet. We need hope but we need to stay in the real world too. I am proud to say I want to become a psychologist. Do I want a Ph.D? Maybe. Will I pursue my studies about Neuroscience? Of course, yes. Do I want to work in cancer department? Yes, too. Do I know how all of that will end? Nope, but hey, I am living my dream.

Mayim, thank you for your honesty. Thank you for everything. And thank you for having made me meet a Belgian Grokite, Aurélie. We are creating a beautiful friendship.

Love,                                                                                                                         Marion, 19 years old, born twice, still in evolution — like a pokemon. My humour is in evolution too.

                                                                   

Ps. Do you want to thank someone today for what he or she did for you? Leave me a comment about it so we can share our experience! And I highly recommend you to text or call this person right now if you can, he or she will be very happy to feel your love.

Ps.2 You can check Why I think Grok Nation is groundbreaking, Digital detox: my experience, and Do you identify as a feminist? for more information about how I integrate Grok Nation and its spirit to my life. You are very welcome to our community.

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