I started ShirlyWhirl M.D. in my third year of medical school. At the time, I was still a bit shy about sharing my work (not least of all because my sense of humor tends to be… salty.) @linnliu practically forced my hand, but I still wanted to separate my personal identity from my comic drawing one. In large part, I think this was because some part of me still held on to ye olde idea of what it meant to be “ professional” in the medical context. But “professionalism” - which, in my opinion, is a concept that is mostly just wielded to threaten those lower in the medical hierarchy who might speak out against it - has never been my jam. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my hair in locs, I cuss like a sailor and talk to patients like they’re my friends. In my free time, I’d rather tell storytimes about my old flames and talk about anime than pontificate about studies. I’m more proud of my traditional publications than my academic ones. For a while, I felt like I had to hide those aspects of myself. And I’m not going to lie and say that that feeling wasn’t and isn’t constantly validated by the larger medical community (I still don’t feel very comfortable in real life talking about my creative pursuits in medical contexts… a lot of people just don’t understand it / me!)
But I recently decided that it was time to say “screw it!” All of this is who I am, it has always been who I am, and I don’t need to flatten or hide or adjust or code switch to still be valid in all of that. And with my book coming out in less than a year, I want people to see my real face off jump, no scrolling required. So… goodbye semi-anonymizing but cute logo! And hello face!
Pic 2: the OG profile pic, Dec 2016- Jun 2020
Pic 3: the upgrade, Jun 2020- now
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