Arts and Poetry, Featured, When the Coat Comes Off
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I Am

I am a lot of things,
Seen and unseen.

I am a lot of things.

All the time,
I am.

Your joy is my business.
Your stories, my favorite to hear
Because you are my friend.

I oil your scalp, 

Massage your head.
Begrudgingly at times, sure.
But you and I, we are forever 


I speak and you hear me.
I hid and you sought me,
Your daughter never to be orphaned.

I vow to take of care of you,
To listen and think and fight until lost.
An oath awaits for me to take.

I think too much.
I talk even more.
I feel. Even. More. Than that.

I create the tangible
and the intangible.

I practice the good I know

As best I can,
Imperfectly, obviously.
The rest I am still learning.

This could go on and on and on
with not one apology.

I am a lot of things.
I always have been
these things and more… At times
these things and less.

But all the time…
I am a lot of 


All the time,
I am.

“I Am” is a poem inspired by both the search for identity and the discovery of it. Growing up, I had many people label me with an identity based on what they knew or perceived to know about me. Some were assumptions, some were lies, but most I found were just limiting. Not everyone gets to see or to experience every side of you and I began to notice that even if they do, some people are more comfortable around you when you fit a specific description or box. As an adolescent, I struggled immensely with this, trying to act according to what others already perceived about me or what would please them. As an adult, I refuse to ignore any part of myself for someone else’s comfort or for their convenience. This includes my medical school experience. I have been fortunate to meet physicians that put their whole selves into their practice and that is the kind of practice I desire to have in the future. This poem is about acknowledging all the parts of my life, all of my own boxes of which I would never only “choose one” because one is not what or who I am.  What I am is whole, a sum of many things.

Image credit: Self photograph of the author and her brother.

Alesia Voice Alesia Voice (3 Posts)

Medical Student Contributing Writer

Texas Tech University Health Science Center

I’m Alesia Voice, a third year medical student at TTUHSC. I’ve been writing for a long time, mostly personal and creative pieces. I began sharing many personal reflections and narratives about my life happenings and medical school experiences on my blog The Third Voice in 2018 and have since began sharing my poetry there as well. My goal in my writing as well as in my future medical practice is to tell the truth... the good, the bad, and the ugly.