How do you tell a story about something you don’t remember?
You can’t remember?
Can’t remember because you simply weren’t old enough.
But for some reason, the hurt and feelings of the past live within.
Almost like generational trauma.
An indescribable sinking feeling.
I felt it more and more as I got older, as people would tell me how lucky I was. Wanting to escape this past that I no longer hold onto.
Well, I’ll tell the story anyway. At least the way it was told to me: from my mother.
When I was four months old, I was aboard a big ship. The biggest of its kind: such a revolutionary technology.
But, as the story goes, it hit an iceberg and we started to go down.
Mothers and children were on the lifeboats first. There was poor planning, so there wasn’t enough for everyone. Many people didn’t make it onto a boat.
One of those men was my father.
The story of the Titanic is one that I have talked about my whole life. One that I have tried to avoid my whole life. I went through a defining world event that shaped the course of my life without even remembering it.
It’s almost as if I wasn’t even there in the first place.
And still, it is the only thing people ask me to talk about: What was it like to grow up with my father passing in such a historical event? What about growing up with a grieving mother? A scared sister? Do you have a disconnect to your family in terms of emotional trauma? Can you physically feeling it? Are you afraid of boats? Have you ever been on one? Can you swim? Are you afraid of ice? How do you feel about the on-screen adaptations? Are Kate and Jack real? I know, they weren’t real, but was there anyone on the boat like them? How does it feel to be the youngest survivor of the Titanic? Do you have any survivor's guilt?
I could go on.
All these questions and no one will ask about me.
So, I’ll tell you about myself; who I really am.
No boat included.
I grew up in a tiny cottage in England with my mother and sister.
My sister and I grew up as best friends.
She was the creative one and I was the smart one. Well, she was smart too but I didn’t have a knack for the creative side.
I would watch her paint watercolor flowers sitting in the garden, dance across the rocks near the pond, and write fantastical stories in her journal.
I loved that she could do so, but I was never quite jealous because I had interests of my own: science.
Loving the serenity of nature, I found that this is what I wanted to do-research it. I was already doing so, why not pursue this professionally?
It wasn’t until my third year at university that I truly decided what I wanted my scientific research to be reaching for. I had been majoring in botany with a minor in biology but didn’t know what that could attain.
What should my focus be on?
At the beginning of that third year, I had a friend, Madeline, who was speaking to me about various skin conditions; I know, seemingly gross, but it should not be such a taboo subject. Everyone has it! Well, Madeline was saying how her family is genetically prone to psoriasis and eczema. I had heard of it before but never realized how difficult it may be to live with such a condition; and that, at the time, there was very little you could do for treatment.
I knew it right then, this was just the thing for me.
Never did I think my research could be used for healing purposes. I understood all parts of living things but couldn’t find an outlet to apply it. And this was the perfect timing: I needed to begin my senior thesis, and quick! This is how many of my life-changing moments have occurred; with an instance of complete revelation.
I found my way to the lab every night after classes, trying to understand and combine these two facets of research that I had already been well-versed in.
By the end of my final year at university, I had come up with the first topical treatment for psoriasis.
And then began the hard part; getting it developed after I graduated. This is the part I didn’t love (and still don’t) which is the business side of things. I wanted to be in the lab or in the outdoors. Not in a meeting room filled with people asking me about branding. I’ll spare you the boring details of this all and simply have it put that my cream is still what many people use.
Because of this success, I was able to begin my own company in which I can choose to be in the lab, to always work on the research side of things.
This was also around the time when I met Collin, who had worked for one of those boring business companies. He knows I call them that. He calls them boring now as well.
And so, we ourselves found a little cottage with a nice botanical garden in the front yard, and a pond with stepping stones our kids could dance around; they’re more like my sister in that sense.
There are times when I feel panic for no particular reason. This may be caused by what we have spoken about earlier, but it doesn’t come around too often. Not as much as my sister or mother.
Most of the time, I am simply content. Passionate about my work, happy to be surrounded by my family, and no longer tethered to what everyone wants me to account for them.
And so I guess I told you this short biography so I could be remembered for who I really was.
Defined by an event but reshaped as a person.
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