I was recently in the hospital when I heard someone mention calling Dr. Howard. They weren’t referring to me, of course, but to a real doctor with the same name. But at that moment it hit me. In a few months, I’m going to be Dr. Howard.
I don’t feel like a Dr. Howard, much like I didn’t feel like Mrs. Howard after my wedding. It took forever for me to remember to write my new last name, and even longer to remember that my initials had changed. For those of you who don’t know me personally, my last name used to be Chloupek. I liked being a Chloupek. I felt like Emily Chloupek was a good name and really suited me. It served me well for 22 years.
Of course, now my name is Emily Elizabeth Howard, (the same exact name as the little girl in Clifford the Big Red Dog), and it seems to suit me as well. But making the jump to Dr. Howard has me a little on edge.
I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. At one point I remember practicing how I would sign my name. (I give up, it’s not going to be legible.) I only have two months left as Emily Elizabeth Howard. In two months, nobody will ask for Emily, they will ask for Dr. Howard. I feel like 99% of the time people will be expecting me to be man – not just becuase that’s a common assumption of doctors, but because Howard just sounds like a man’s name.
And then I’ll show up. This short little blonde girl who has the same name as the little girl in Clifford the Big Red Dog. And somehow, I’m supposed to be a “Dr.” In many ways, I feel like it’s going to be a long time before anybody really believes I’m a doctor, much like how I still get carded when I try to buy cough syrup.
And I think it’s going to be a long time before I don’t feel like an imposter. Before the “Dr” before my name doesn’t sound sarcastic. I’ve always looked up to doctors. It’s a profession I have great respect for, and it’s a group of people who I don’t feel worthy enough to be a part of. Being Dr. Howard is going to a very humbling (and probably at times, humiliating) experience. And I truly don’t feel worthy of such a title.
So I will leave you with a short clip from The Three Stooges which I think is incredibly fitting for this post. 🙂