No longer in the friend zone: How the Vet Confessionals project led to love
Frequent Fetch dvm360 speaker Dr. Hilal Dogan practices medicine in Denver, Colorado. She started the Veterinary Confessionals Project as a senior veterinary student at Massey University in New Zealand.
An anonymous poem led these two veterinary professionals to find each other.
About a year ago, a very sweet love poem was submitted to the Vet Confessionals Project, an anonymous effort that allows veterinary professionals to express themselves freely.
We are meant to be just friends, but I can't help loving you. When you sit close to me, my heart always stumbles just a little. I want to bury my face in your jumper, to feel the shudder of your chest against my cheek. Your smile is soft, like the dog-eared pages of my favourite novel, Your voice a warm crackling hearth. You make me feel safe. But I can't look at you for too long, For your eyes draw me in like the whisper of rain. Every time I meet them I feel each layer peeling away, But I don't quite have the courage to bare my shaky soul.
And just recently we were given an update:
I submitted a poem in November last year about my best friend who I had fallen in love with. I finally summed up the courage to “bare my shaky soul” and tell him how I felt, and he told me he saw the poem online and knew straight away it was from me. We have now been together for just over half a year, and I am as madly in love with him as I was the day I wrote that poem. I really do think I've found my special person, and despite the stresses of Veterinary medicine, we both find so much comfort and support in each other. Thank you so much VC for giving our industry a voice and allowing us to expose our emotions in all their fragility, rawness and beauty.
Well, what could we do but reach out to Vet Confessionals Project founder Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP, for her thoughts? Here's what she thinks of the new development:
Sometimes people question why we post Veterinary Confessionals not immediately relevant to the career. Well, this is the reason. Our ultimate goal is to help people find a way to speak their truth, and though those truths may at times be difficult or painful, in time this process will bring healing, happiness and harmony back into their lives.
Yes, we focus predominantly on professional situations, but is it completely strange to acknowledge that things like being in love, or falling out of love, affect your professional life as well? Full disclaimer-I'm a romantic at heart, so I have a bias toward these kinds of stories. Yet I'm also a scientist who believes in logic and rationality. Matters of the heart are not matters of logic, yet they can lead us to places logic and scientific thought can't take us. If we are to find true harmony in ourselves, we must also open and grow the parts of ourselves that are unscientific.
When I shared the first Confession above, I was secretly rooting for the sender. I was hopeful that this poet would be able to find a way to bare their shaky soul, regardless of the outcome, and submitting that secret was the first step. Of course, the fact that this is not a story of unrequited love makes it even better. The fact that the sender sent us a follow-up almost a year later is pure gold.
Want to read more confessions about love?
We've rounded up submissions that focus on love both for veterinary medicine and other humans, here.
We always wonder how things end up turning out for each person who shares a secret with us, and trust us, we do read every single one. The fact that the project is anonymous makes it difficult to follow up. But that's not the point. The point is that once you're able to articulate and share your truth, that brings you one step closer to living in harmony with yourself.
Secrets such as these are the ones that give me hope and make me not want to give up, even if it seems illogical. We need stories like these to remind us that even when all hope seems to be lost, love will find a way. Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can't understand it. (Yes, I stole that line from Interstellar.)
Need to get something off your chest? You can submit an anonymous confession here.