Our interview with Anthony Chin-Quee covers episodes from the book, his experience after publishing and insight into his experience with imposter syndrome. There are also many lessons for leaders in how they prepare the next generation.
Anthony Chin-Quee’s ‘I Can’t Save You’ tells the struggles of a Black physician Anthony Chin-Quee captures the space between medicine’s all-consuming demands and its practitioners’ fallibility in a cautionary tale of his own mental and physical struggles as a Black physician.
Anthony Chin-Quee, M.D., is a board-certified otolaryngologist with degrees from Harvard University and Emory University School of Medicine. An award-winning storyteller with The Moth, he has been on the writing staff of FOX’s The Resident and a medical adviser for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. Google Books
Books: I Can’t Save You: A Memoir
Anthony on social: https://www.instagram.com/wheyouat/
[00:00:00] just tease this first time , the pager goes off. Yes. And you’re sitting there like, oh, I’m going in coach. And you’re like, I’m going to your likeube. I was like, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? It is not, it is not a joke. So just to set the scene, , it’s the begin, the first couple of days in July and new.
[00:00:20] Doctors straight outta med school, start in the hospitals July 1st. They’re just a couple weeks outta med school and they know absolutely nothing. Okay. But we’re supposed to start taking care of So I have been reading this book nonstop at night, and I, frankly, I am, I’m like, I skate to one song only and it’s non-fiction. This is, I think, firmly the most exciting non-fiction book that I have picked up in a very long time, written by an old friend of mine. I can’t save you. Is the book and we have Anthony Chin-Quee here.
[00:01:18] I know him by Tony. How’s it going, Tony? It’s going great man. It’s so good to see you. It’s been a while. Yeah. Yeah, it’s been a while. We went to high school together and so part of this book I was there for and it’s been really incredible to hear how you’ve become a board certified auto laryngologists with degrees from Harvard university, Emory university school of medicine. And by the way, an award-winning storyteller with the moth and writing staff of foxes, the resident, and a medical advisor for ABC’s Grey’s anatomy.
[00:01:50] Just just awesome. And building all of those parts into this. Memoir.
[00:01:56] I mean, quite a journey. And so maybe I can start with a cliche. A book really isn’t therapy cheaper. We could have gone that route. Right? Well, I mean, I. I mean, I feel like I’ve always, I’ve always been a storyteller. I mean, you know, I was in all the plays and stuff like growing up and I loved playing music and singing, dancing, all that sort of thing.
[00:02:20] And so, telling stories is my favorite way of trying to express myself. And, you know, it’s something that I thought I’d lost in the, in the journey, imposterthrough medicine and, you know, luckily found it partway through and realized, you know, telling the story of, of how I went through it. Thought I thought that might resonate with some folks.
[00:02:42] And I just did my best to do that journey justice and kind of give voice to some thoughts and experiences that we may be uncomfortable saying out loud a lot of the time. And see if I could start some, you know, reflection and conversation with, with folks who are, are reading it. I mean, the story combines so many narratives in a poetic, in a fun, in a painful, in a like, frankly page turning way.
[00:03:10] You know, we have elements of racism. We have elements of the, violation of the Hippocratic Oath, right? Like what it means to be a doctor in this country through like, you know, we just went through a little thing, the pandemic and, and then also, frankly, very intimate. Relationships that begin with your parents, with your father as a, as a figure throughout this and then mm-hmm.
[00:03:31] Trickle into your relationship with women. Mm-hmm. imposterthat frankly just make for a good read. Yeah. But also you’re just , wow. He said that. What has been some of the more interesting feedback? You know, I was reading just on like npr, no big deal, like NPR doing a little summary. What has been some of the most interesting feedback you’ve gotten here?
[00:03:56] Yeah, I think the most interesting feedback has come from people who I’ve known throughout the journey who’ve, imposterchimed in to, to kind of share how it made them feel. And this is people from, folks I grew up with and back in Brooklyn to, folks who I was in training with in med school with, um, have met afterwards.
[00:04:18] It’s been interesting seeing the feedback from physicians. Especially kind of marginalized physicians, like female physicians and physicians of color. And they’ve just been so, it’s been so gratifying that, you know, me sharing some of my experiences have kind of given voice to experiences they’ve gone through and experiences they’ve tried to.
[00:04:40] Tell themselves, weren’t as crazy as, as they thought they were. And it just, seeing that, some of these stories really validated people’s experiences has been really wonderful. And, some of the folks who show up in the book, Actually reached out to me. And I, I mean, there’s plenty of folks I, I don’t expect to hear from.
[00:04:59] impostercause not, not everybody I think I know where like the one star rating, like I was looking at the ratings. I was like, I think I know who that is. But yeah, some of those I don’t expect earned You earned it. Yeah. But I mean, some of, some of the folks you know, even who I’ve had complicated relationships with, reached out to really kind of.
[00:05:20] Show appreciation and, and kind of, mend some, mend some bridges sometimes, which is, which is always really, really wonderful. That’s not, that wasn’t my intention, but it’s been, it’s been really nice to kind of, get close to some folks that I thought I’d lost, forever. So it’s been really a wonderful reception so far and I’ve been so, so happy about it.
[00:05:42] Have you. Have you thought about charging for absolving white people of guilt? That seems to be a theme. Is it? Like, what’s the fee? Can I Venmo you? , yeah. So talk to me about this as a business. I think that, imposterthere are probably some people who might take you up on that. I’m not that guy, but I think that, it’s, you know, I talk about.
[00:06:12] A lot of stuff in this, in this book, especially, you know, my relationships with, with white folks as I’ve, I’ve, as I’ve gone through different and more elite circles with my professional development. And as you do that, the, the diversity gets a lot scarr. And I’ve just learned how to navigate in those, in those circles.
[00:06:33] But, there’s, there’s so much that I’ve learned that, white allies should be doing or can do, but just choose not to because it’s the path of least resistance. , white people don’t have to think about racism if they don’t feel like it. You know what I mean? Um, which is different from how I experience the world where I have to think about it and experience it every day.
[00:06:57] And so, I would like for, for lots of white folks to, to do the work and be, be a little more courageous, imposterwith their position of privilege. But I’m not gonna be the one to teach you how to do that. I think there’s a, a world full of books that can set you on the right path. And then if you’ve done the work and the research and, and the put in the time, then I’m happy to chat, um, and, if, if it’s for a low, low fee of, there it’s 20 bucks a minute on the phone like that, you know. That’s fine. I’ll, I’ll, I’ll take that. But, you know, we’ll, we’ll work out the model and I’ll, I’ll of course credit George with, with the, with the idea. Um, that’s white guy over here came up with it.
[00:07:38] Oh, God. Yeah. Just like there’s a, there’s a white guy behind all this that’ll go Well, the fyi. Cut that. Cut that. Cut that.
[00:07:51] I, yeah. Look I think the, black Lives matter of movement of George Floyd. We, we’ve, we’ve lived through this and I think in the nonprofit sector especially, there is a danger of that, allyship leading to like, oh, Great. Every, let’s say black employee, black or brown employee I have is now the, the expert is my teacher is my, mm-hmm. How do I get my white guilt absolved? And you really drive a truck right at this again. Mm-hmm. And again, in the book, you know, we have a lot of social impact leaders that have, I will say, their hearts firmly and. The right place, but execution is lacking. Mm-hmm. Um, not so much advice, but I think this book and reading it with that perspective, just, it, it puts you just in your head, frankly, which is a weird place.
[00:08:42] Mm-hmm. Yeah. There, it’s a very strange, very strange place to be. But I think that, I mean, that can be, if that’s my gift, To, imposterto the movement, then, then that’s great. Because I just, like in the, in your sector, in, in, in medicine, you know, we ha we do have a lot of well-meaning white people there who are trying their best to You know, be allies.
[00:09:07] But, ultimately it ends up just, just like it does in your sectors with, diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders who are the, one black person on your staff who gets this responsibility to educate everybody on how to deal with their, the racism that they’ve just lived with and embraced without really knowing it a lot of the time.
[00:09:29] And then it’s our responsibility once again. And most of those positions are not positions that get you more salary. They just get you more work, which is, awesome because we’re kind of, we’re kind of propping up some systems there that need breaking. But, I think that there’s so much.
[00:09:54] Work that white people can do with their position and their privilege if only they were energized and motivated to do so. You don’t need a black person to teach you that you’ve been messing up or that you, I mean, or that you walk through the world with blinders on. I mean, there’s so many resources for you to understand that on your own.
[00:10:17] And then, Once you’ve done the work of understanding that, then, then we could talk, and like, you know, I’ll let you into my head and, and help with, impostersome of the vocabulary that might be lacking. I mean, I’ve done this with, there’s a, there’s a character in the book who I went through medical training with who is just, we were the two guys in our year.
[00:10:39] He was a white guy. I was a black guy, and I, He, there were so many spaces in which he could have stood up for me or done the right thing, or, or, or, or made a difference. And he chose not to cuz he was nervous, he was scared. And we actually, after training, and this is post book, became really good friends because he finally, we sat down one day and he actually told me about all those moments that people were talking trash about me at work and he just thought, you know, the best thing for me would be to protect me from that.
[00:11:15] And so he didn’t say anything but just didn’t tell me. Mm-hmm. And meanwhile, I’m thinking I’m a lunatic. That I’m completely nuts because I think people are talking about me and I think this is going on behind closed doors, but there’s no way I can prove it and it’s making me lose my mind. And. You know, only several years after did I learn the truth and was validated in realizing like, oh, I wasn’t crazy.
[00:11:39] This was really happening and it’s really shitty. And so, he, I think he felt a lot of guilt about that, and I think he was looking for me to help absolve that, and I didn’t, and I just told him $20 a minute. Yeah. I mean, I wasn’t getting the check, so I was like, listen, listen man, like here’s the work.
[00:12:01] That I expect of you now that you’re, you’re finally awake, , this is the work I expect of you. This is the work I expect you to do with your children, that you’re, you’re raising white men in America. That’s a massive responsibility if you’re gonna make the world a better place like you would like to.
[00:12:21] And so, you know, we had those conversations and we still do. But It took, it took a long time for him to awaken to the dangers of like silent allyship. Yeah, I think that’s, that, that phrase, silent allyship. It’s sort of the first word, betrays the second part. I feel like a, a, a touch. Yeah, it does.
[00:12:46] And that’s, that’s like silent applause. Like if I’m getting silent applause. Am I getting applause? Exactly. What is the sound of one hand clapping Tony? That’s e That’s exactly what it is. I mean, you know, are you an ally? If I can’t see it or if I can’t feel it, you gotta figure that out. So we dip into, okay, we dip into that stuff in the book, which is super fun.
[00:13:12] This book, you mean? Right here? That book, that book that everybody that can be purchased on Amazon as I speak. imposterthere are some ridiculously intense medical moments. And if you’re watching this on your likeube, I want you to know if you simply search for how to like fix a finger and adjust, that could be considered medical training.
[00:13:34] I don’t know if you could just tease this like the first time you were like, the pager goes off. Yes. And you’re sitting there like, oh, I’m going in coach. And you’re like, I’m going to your likeube. I was like, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? It is not, it is not a joke. Like so just to set the scene, set the scene scene, you know, it’s the begin, the first couple of days in July and new.
[00:13:57] Doctors straight outta med school, start in the hospitals July 1st. They’re just a couple weeks outta med school and they know absolutely nothing. Okay. But we’re supposed to start taking care of patients, right? And so I had my first day on call, which means I was the only representative for my service in the entire hospital for 12 hours.
[00:14:20] Um, and I’d been a doctor officially for like 72 hours. So I totally knew. You know, everything. Right. And then I, I got a call from the er to, to help fix a dislocated finger. And I was the expert on call in the hospital. I was the expert, right? And so had to weigh some things, you know, what are the chances I could really do permanent damage to this finger?
[00:14:45] Oh God. imposterif I just try, you know, um, You know, and, and other people had tried, maybe I should just try or maybe I should call and ask for help. So I decided to try which is a position lots of young doctors understand, and I went on your likeube and just looked up some stuff on how to do it and then, you know, to find out how that worked out.
[00:15:10] You can buy the book.
[00:15:15] Yeah. Spoil alert, you’re no longer a doctor. But actually, imposterI’ll, I’ll say through 75% of the book I was like, Anybody who’s gonna become or is thinking about becoming a doctor should not read this book. And then I got to, I think it’s the fatherhood chapter. Mm-hmm. And it, it was just fascinating because it is clear that you had gone through this sort of absolute valley of darkness and come out and suddenly were watching this next generation rise in.
[00:15:44] And knowing that I’m like, if. There are doctors like that, that are reading it. I was like, oh God, that is how to do your job because you saw how not to do your job. I don’t know if there’s anything that, you know, you can talk to about, like, all right, you’re about to go into this industry, especially if you were a black or brown person that, you know, this book can bring them.
[00:16:04] Yeah. And I, I, you know, thanks for, thanks for saying that because I, I, I don’t mean. With this story to discourage people from going into medicine. I don’t, I, I don’t want less doctors. I want more doctors who are taking care of themselves and, um, are taken care of by the system. And so when I think about the doctors like coming up behind me you know, all, and even in residency and training All I wanted was for them, not just to not go through what I went through, but to feel at just maybe a little more empowered with their, with their lives and their position, with their identity.
[00:16:43] Because it’s, it’s imperative that. Black and brown faces, women, folks of all genders, coming into medicine and really any of these high powered you know, industries where you are the other by a significant margin, it’s imperative that, you know, going in, that that world that you’re entering was not built for you.
[00:17:07] It wasn’t built to be hospitable for you. And, In many cases, it’s kind of built to be hostile towards you. And so how do you navigate that? And how do you maintain your own identity in the process? Where are there opportunities to change that culture and where are you going to take losses in the fight that.
[00:17:30] You know, are gonna hurt. You know, like there’s just, you know, there’s so many peaks and valleys to the journey, but, um, I felt so strongly about empowering the next generation to understand that stuff upfront so that they could decide how they wanted to fight a theme in here. Also, I think that probably disproportionately affects.
[00:17:54] Brown and black people is the imposter syndrome element. Mm-hmm. This imposter syndrome, like you were, I mean you were, I did a terrible job on the intro. Maybe I’ll try again. Maybe not. But Harvard, I’ve heard of it. Mm-hmm Medical school pretty good. And it just seems like there is an imposter monster following you around constantly.
[00:18:15] And I, I think that also exists a lot for, you know, many nonprofit leaders that are asked to take on. Incredibly difficult and dynamic problems without necessarily the like, mountain of training. Mm-hmm. And saying like, like, why do I deserve to be in this room? Why do, why can I apply for this, X hundred thousand dollars grant?
[00:18:35] Why do I deserve X? Like, I don’t know. Can you unpack your relationship with imposter syndrome a little bit? Yeah. I mean, I think it was, it was really kind of, A deep theme throughout the book and really throughout my life. But I think the deal with imposter syndrome and just, and just kind of taking the medical journey for example, is that I reali like, I felt like an imposter because I wanted to be doing the best I could at my job, but I knew I didn’t have the tools to do it.
[00:19:13] And nobody around me. Was making me feel like they were having the same doubts. We’re all, we are all conditioned, especially in medicine to. Show each other how bulletproof we are and how, I mean, I’m sure I looked to other people like I was fine. You know what I mean? Just like they, they appeared to me.
[00:19:37] And so, you know, even though we’re struggling and we want to be better, we just don’t quite know how to do it. And then once you get that in your head, then you feel like you don’t belong there. And then, you know, anytime you make any mistake, you’re just like, well, this is evidence that I, I shouldn’t have this position.
[00:19:52] You know, that’s very real. And so how do we navigate through that esp. Like for people in any industry, I know anybody worth their salt who is running a company or in any position, any leadership position has those feelings. You have those feelings when you care about what you’re trying to do. And so getting through that, I think.
[00:20:16] A great, a great first start is, is communicating it and talking with people about it. You don’t, you don’t have to be an island in any of these positions, and you should be able to share these feelings because they betray just how passionate you are about what you do and how well you want to do it.
[00:20:33] And I think that eventually, the more time you put in You know, the more expertise and experience you gain, you know that that pit of insecurity that initially was imposter syndrome can evolve. And you stop asking, you start asking yourself different questions. So instead of asking yourself like, am I supposed to be here?
[00:20:53] Once you gain the experience, you’re, you’re asking yourself, okay now why am I here? Am I do, and do I still love what I’m doing? Am I doing this to the best of my ability? Is am I making the impact that I want to make in order to be great in this position? And I think that stems from the same place as imposter syndrome.
[00:21:13] It’s just, you know, you’re 20 years down the line and you kind of know what some of what you’re doing. But I think ultimately, It’s something that we shouldn’t run away from. It’s something we should embrace, we should discuss and communicate about. Um, and I think it ultimately makes people better at, at leadership.
[00:21:31] There were incredible moments of vulnerability shown in this book, and as you grow into your position as a doctor and it’s clear that, there are moments where you’re just not scoring what you need to. The incredible pressures of hit this number or you’re done like, All that investment done like off a cliff.
[00:21:50] Yeah. And you have this inner monologue going that is also, by the way, dealing with a dormant racism that just sort of pops up like a little a-hole throughout the book. And you’re like, oh, that thing, ah, we’re already doing this other stuff. But this imposter motrum, imposterit also seems like when you walked into like just really intense parts of this book of.
[00:22:13] Like life or death. I think a lot of people use the life or death. You, you can not figuratively, literally say that you know, you’re performing, you know, tracheotomy type work. Mm-hmm. And actually that, you know, moment, you’re like, where did that imposter go? Like, you come in like a boss and you’re like, if I show doubt, if I don’t assess this situation, if the people on this team right now.
[00:22:34] Don’t have faith and can’t follow in. Like, it was amazing to watch that sort of like snap moment. I was like, oh shit, that’s a doctor. Mm-hmm. That’s not the scared college kid. Can you tell me what that, you know, was like, is that sort of what that looks like? You know, moments of leadership, moments of vulnerability?
[00:22:50] There’s time for both. Yeah. I think there’s, I think there’s absolutely time for both. I think that in those moments, kind of those high pressure moments even though I wasn’t always a hundred percent sure what to do or, or how exactly to do it I knew that dis no matter how loud the room is, no matter how many alarms are going and people yelling, you know, there’s always time.
[00:23:17] To slow yourself down. There’s always time to take a breath and just be like, okay, I’m not gonna get caught up in the panic of all this because it is panic that’s going on around you. And if I can just slow myself down and don’t join in the fray of yelling and screaming and rushing and dropping things then the people around me will slow down too.
[00:23:38] And they’ll, they’ll, they’ll see that, We have this under control. There will be a plan. imposterwe can, that, we can try and, on the inside, of course, I’m just freaking out. But I know, you know, I’ve seen enough stuff in my life to know that if you show people you’re freaking out, then they’re gonna freak out.
[00:23:56] And then it’s just gonna all go, go to hell. So, even in those early days when just the crunch was on and I was definitely in over my head I knew the value of. Of calm in a storm. And I tried to fake it until I believed it.
[00:24:14] Part of me hates fake it till you make it. Mm-hmm. It just, it rhymes so humans say it, but it was more than that. You know, there’s, it’s like, it’s like courage until you make it is what I saw in your book. It wasn’t faking it, it was showing up responsibly, being like, my pager went off. I’m the person doing this.
[00:24:37] And actually one of the more, there’s a lot of powerful points, but one of the more impressive points was when actually you were standing in the back of the room having previously coached. Somebody reporting to you. Mm-hmm. I’m using layman language, obviously. Yeah. Yeah. It’s perfect. Yeah. You’re doing great.
[00:24:55] I don’t write for Grey’s Anatomy. Sorry. I think doctors should always have a stethoscope around their neck, because that’s how, you know they’re doctors, Tony. Mm-hmm. But the, the, there’s this beautiful point as you’re, you’re moving and you have coached somebody, and I wonder if you can talk to, Leaders that are trying to get that next generation, that a player to show up in the room, and you just, you stood back and you just watched it unfold, and you’re like, she’s nailing it.
[00:25:22] She’s nailing it, and you got her head in the right place. And I was just like that. If I could just bottle the, that I would pay $20 a minute for that shit. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, it’s really, it’s really about Building, building folks confident, build, just building them up. Because so much of training is being torn down and being told what you don’t know and that your answers are wrong and all that sort of stuff.
[00:25:49] But you need opportunities to shine and show what you can without, without knowing how much of a safety net you have behind you. I think. In an educational scenario, you should always have a safety net. And that’s what I was trying to be for the folks who I watched from the other side of the room.
[00:26:09] Like I knew the extent of their abilities. Like I knew when it would get too much for them. Mm-hmm. But I needed them to get up to that point. And so, in a life or death situation, like to be able to get to the point where you can watch it unfold and you can know that, okay, they’re nailing everything that they’re supposed to do, but also know like if this patient is a lost cause and they’re gonna die anyway.
[00:26:39] You know the outcome. And, and I think, you know, in one of the, in the story you’re talking about, like I knew what was gonna happen, what had already happened. But I needed, oh God, that’s devastating the next generation to have that experience to both know that they were doing the right thing and know that sometimes that’s just not gonna be enough and know and then learn how to process.
[00:27:04] Those moments because we’re not taught how to do that either. I think that’s just part, I mean, I love teaching. I love education. I was a teacher at some point in my journey, um, and I take that stuff really seriously. And, those, those moments, I’m not just, you know, making Guinea pigs out of, out of my junior residence.
[00:27:22] It’s just, they’re doing their job. They’re doing their best. They’re doing a great job, and it’s my job to be there to support them, protect them when necessary. And, be, be a counselor, afterwards when it’s time to decompress,
[00:27:37] you know, as a leader. I think at the top of my list is never put somebody in a no win situation. My job is always to put somebody in a position to win, put the team in a position to win. Mm-hmm. And to think of it in the inverse of like, if there is a scenario where it is no win, cuz we’re dealing in the real world.
[00:27:57] Mm-hmm. I think a lot can be learned, but it’s tough. It’s, it’s really tough. And that’s like I had to. You know, in those scenarios where, I knew the outcome for the patient was gonna be poor. I was thinking, okay, but how, how is this gonna be formative? How, how do, where’s the, how, how does this mean something?
[00:28:18] Yeah. Going to happen? How does this, we gotta understand that there is a win in, in having had this experience, and how do we get to the core of that afterwards and not just have you walk around with the trauma of losing It’s a tough, it’s, it’s a, it’s a tough question. I think it’s something that, we as leaders should be asking ourselves.
[00:28:37] I don’t think there’s a sing, maybe one medical scene that might make it into Grey’s Anatomy, but I was like, well, that wouldn’t make the cut. That wouldn’t make the cut. There’s like, I’ll just look, here’s the disclosure. Like, don’t read this directly before bedtime. Some part’s fine, but Oh gosh. Mm-hmm. No, George had, George had bad dreams.
[00:28:58] Cause it’s, imposterthere’s not, there’s a little bit of nightmare fuel in it. Like, that’s that’s absolutely true. Yeah. But, you know, we’ve talked about, so if you’re, you’re looking in the medical profession, it’s just interesting. It’s there, right? If you’re, be a leader, if you’re moving into a, a world that your work impacts.
[00:29:15] Others in the social impact sector, like there were elements for you. And then the other big one for me as, as a parent, and now I know that you are a parent after, and, you know, writing this book, I wouldn’t mind have seen an extra epilogue on, on that, but I’m sure the, the ink was dry by that point. But, you know, your final line, and this is not a spoiler, but is is a bit of a forgive or an understand for your father.
[00:29:38] And now as you are a father. I wonder as you look at this book, As a dad how does, how does that change at all the, the narrative that your father plays throughout this? Hmm. I think that,
[00:29:54] I mean, I.
[00:29:56] I think my father you know, he’s a, he is a big figure in this book. And I think that his, my experience with him who he is, how he affected me, it, it looms large in, in, in every decision I make and thought I have, you know, as regards my family and, impostermy child. And, you know, I spent, you know, a lifetime.
[00:30:19] Getting to the point where I can understand that his mistakes didn’t have to be my mistakes. And the fact that I think so hard and, and work so hard to be. Someone who others can depend on and can express love in a very clear and, and nont transactional and non-toxic way. The fact that I a, am constantly asking my myself those questions, I think means that I’m on the road to, to, to doing it, doing it well.
[00:30:54] Even though I didn’t have that, that example Throughout my life. And so, you know, getting to that point where I could just appreciate my experience, my experience with my father for what it was and how formative it was for me in the end. It took a, a long, a long time to get to the point where I wasn’t just angry all the time.
[00:31:19] Well, it took the entire book. It was like it took the, yeah, it took the entire book and the book spanned some time, but like, yeah, you know, it’s just, just to, to let go of anger and let go of the desire that, that he’d, he’d suddenly someday act the way I always wanted him to and put myself. imposterin the driver’s seat of that relationship for the first time, you know, instead of just reacting to what he does and doesn’t do, you know, you realize the power that you have yourself to define your experience and define that that, that sort of to define that relationship as well.
[00:31:53] So. You know, I, I don’t think like the ghost of my dad has ever gone, it’s kind of with me a lot, but it’s on my terms now. And, and it’s in a way that I think makes me a lot more powerful and a lot more positive and a lot more effective in my own family. And I think, reading this also as a, a.
[00:32:16] Parent or any parent has high expectations for your child, and you, you sort of map those out. You’re like, yeah, no, I, it was clear that my family expected we go either go become a, a doctor or a lawyer, or a, you know mm-hmm. Fill in the achievement blank. And that’s like, you’re like, why did you become a doctor?
[00:32:34] You’re like, I could give you many answers. Like, yeah, well, let’s be clear why I became a doctor here. Yeah. Yeah. That The pipeline, especially when, it’s, it’s West Indian immigrants. But, imposterfor a lot of first gen kids of immigrant parents you know, it’s so funny, like they, like I said in the, in the book, your pa you have these parents who.
[00:32:54] We’re risk takers who went, took the biggest risk, took the biggest adventure of their lives to leave their home and come someplace else and carve out something new. And they did all that in hopes that you would never have to take risks like that. And so, you know, if you can achieve, they’re gonna kind of funnel you into these, these occupations that are, you know, prestigious but safe ultimately.
[00:33:19] But the thing is, We’re a parent’s children and that adventure gene doesn’t go away. You know, they gotta know it’s gonna come out at some point. Remember how, how we got here? You remember that part? Yeah, exactly. So, you know, I don’t think they should be super surprised when we kind of have our own ideas about the adventures that we want to go on.
[00:33:38] So I thought that was a realization I came to, as it was Ryan, that I thought was, that I thought was pretty fun. The other thing that was definitely put in, in the back of my mind, as you can see, like we’ve touched on so many different topics, because this book just, and it goes and you’re like, suddenly like, oh, I’m reading spoken word poetry.
[00:33:57] Oh, I’m reading like I. A modern day Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I’m reading. Like, it just, it was just so interesting. I was like, well, what are we getting tonight? Um, kind of for me going through it though, from what I remember in high school, like you, you were, it was like, just sort of like the idea of perfection.
[00:34:18] I was like, well, that’s perfection. I’m glad I can see that. It was just, everything was so buttoned up, perfect execution of, head of the play, super athletic perfect grades. It was just, I think the, the wind was always at your back somehow. I was like, well, that’s delightful.
[00:34:34] And it was amazing that you’re like, your inner monologue is like, it has to be perfect. It has to be tight. It has to like, because of that echo of your father in the background. But, you know, I, I just sort of now put in the back of my mind, wow. It’ll be a bit of a note, I think when I see people that are putting that.
[00:34:52] Version of themselves on nonstop that, like, I may, it’s worth having a second conversation. And then I don’t know if you could roll back the clock and have a coaching session with yourself, if anything would change, or if you’re just like, no, I, I survived and that’s what I had to do. I had to put on that version of me.
[00:35:08] Mm-hmm. I think if I had this talk with myself you know, back then, I wouldn’t have listened. And I would, I would, I would get it, you know, I don’t think it’s healthy to, to live that way. But I understand why folks do it and I understand why I did it. It’s how I understood the world to be at the time that, failure on my part wasn’t.
[00:35:33] Wasn’t an option because I could just, you know, everything could just go away. I was just on a tightrope is how I felt all the time. I was just nervous all the time, and, yeah, you can manage to achieve, in that way. But holy cow, when you. You take a minute to stop and, and, and allow yourself all the, all the feelings that you’ve been hiding away.
[00:36:00] You know, there’s so much pain there, there’s so much fear. You’re so scared all the time. And I would encourage myself, I think, to try to feel those things. Just to, just so that you have some sort of balance. The world may not be fair, and if you feel like this is the face you have to put on, I hate that the world makes you feel this way, but I understand.
[00:36:22] But please take care of yourself. And that is, that’s a lesson that a lot of us, I think. Would do well to learn. And it’s hard to listen to. It’s hard to believe that, that, that taking care of ourselves in that vulnerable way is, is one of our most important jobs. But it, it really is. It was a real gift to get to read this.
[00:36:45] And I feel like I, um, at the end I was like, I kept turning the pages. I was like, all right, next, where’s the next chapter? Where’s the next part? Although something tells that the next chapter of fatherhood will be different, but more interesting. I you know, I’m sad we’re coming to an end here.
[00:36:58] I’m, I’m curious, how do people find you? How do people help you? Give us the, give us the rundown. Where can we get this book? Mm-hmm. How can people contact you for what you’re doing? Yeah, absolutely. So once again, books called, I Can’t Save You. I’m Anthony Chinwe, and it’s available anywhere you get books.
[00:37:17] If you do it on Amazon, Barnes Noble, or you know, imposteror, imposteryour local independent bookstore, which I say always try to support. You can get it anywhere. You can also get it as an audiobook. If you’d like to hear me narrating it. Oh, I, oh, I’m excited. I, I got the first copy of I’m gonna have to have that happen.
[00:37:38] Yeah. I, I’ve heard, I mean, I can’t listen to, I can’t listen to myself talking for 11 hours, but I’ve, I’ve heard from folks that it’s, that it’s a good experience. So, definitely do that. If that’s your vibe. You can find me on. On Twitter, you can search for my name or I’m at, imposterCQ underscore underscore md, and I’m also on Instagram.
[00:37:57] imposteryou just type in, you know, Anthony Chin-Quee, you’ll find me. And feel free to chime in, tell me how you like it, share with, with other folks everything you can. Well, there’s a lot of conversations that come from it. Thank you for taking the time with us and, and talking through the, the points. imposterwhat a gift.
[00:38:17] Thank you, Tony. Thank you.