Sunday, July 25, 2010

Confessions of a Trying Hard Workaholic

Obviously, I couldn't kill the blog. I just changed its address. It won't be long before it will die a natural death, however. Since I'm currently on the road to workaholic-hood (or workaholic-dom, whatever), my brain is empty of everything else.

Come to think of it, tonight is my 5th night of sleeping in the hospital. I go on 24-hour duties once every 5 weeks this year, which would have made all the other Cardiology fellows out there envious, but I'd rather spend my free time in my workplace. Where I work is now where I practically live. PGH should charge me a fee for board and lodging. But this is only step one.

My dream is to be a self-centered over-competitive bitch, who won't allow anything to get in the way between her and her career. I'll read Braunwald from cover to cover, memorize every page, master every diagram. I'll publish one at least one research paper every month. I'll make rounds even on the evenings, so the MRODs will consider me their favorite firendly neighborhood Cardiology fellow who's just a text message away. I'll be on-call 24-7. Got an interesting case out there? Com on, tell me about it. I'll devour it voraciously, as I would every new article in the New England Journal of Medicine or the Lancet.

Little by little, I'll have decreased need for sleep. I'll just read and read and work and work. Until I'm numb and no longer thinking.

Now that's suicide.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Waiting for That Inevitable Doom

I am contemplating seppuku. A very recent conversation with a new-found friend, who I encountered rather oddly and who, just last night, gave me a hand in the most extensive exploration of my psyche that I've ever done so far, made me realize that it's time for an honorable exit - a ceremonial self-annihilation reserved only for those who are dignified enough to deserve an honorable death.

My friend, if willing, would actually do a good job as my personal therapist. The good doctor, in a sinister manner, hits bull's eye almost all the time, as if our brains were similarly moved by the same perverse life-force that lord over our warped existence! We subscribe to the same bullshit, so to speak. Last night, after 8 hours of psychoanalysis and counter-psychoanalysis, my self-appointed shrink admonished me that this blog may one day soon, become my Achilles' heel - the crack to my well-established Bushido - something that might one day deliver me right smack into the middle of a pack of wolves. Before it is too late, I have to kill it - to avoid falling into enemy's hands, to attenuate shame, and to avoid possible additional anguish.

Basket-case as I was, I tried to justify this humble blog's existence to my analyst. I tried to quote some of my previous entries, written during the early months of this blog. Here goes...

This (blog) is a very self-serving, childish, almost histrionic attempt to organize my thoughts, so at least I could have a semblance of order in my very disorganized life.I admit I have a severe form of neurosis which is akin to paranoia, but which I'd rather call, for simplicity's sake, Trust Issues. It's hard to believe that someone like me can actually write a rather intimate and honest online journal. I am Ms. Solitude who can't sleep in a bed with someone else, who can't endure a relaxing massage or spa which most people find comforting, who gets irritated when someone joins me in my morning walks along the boulevard, who can't go to church with other people (because that's my most intimate hour of the week), who'd rather sleep under the stars than in a tent with someone because of claustrophobia. I have this bothersome, almost alarming need to keep a safe distance all the time. I don't think I can endure anything intimate for long. But here I am, pouring out my entire life and wearing my whole heart out in...(WTF!#$#%) a crazy blog!

At this point, my therapist told me I have issues. Yeah, right. Tell me about it, doctor. As if I didn't know that all along.

On second thought, however, I think this is a manifestation of Trust Issues in its most severe form. It's really easier to share your life's story to strangers. It's easy to show a part of your heart to people you barely know, to people who are distant, almost inanimate, than to people you most hold dear.

"Then why are you talking to me?" the shrink asked. "Because you're my therapist, and you are a weird exception, damn it! Anyway, doctor..."

This is why for some people, blogs are effective. They tell a story, but never the entire story. They tell the truth, but never the whole truth. That way, reality becomes masked. The blog becomes a story, and the blogger a storyteller.

This blog is nothing but a story. And in my vocabulary, fantasy happens to be stronger than fact. What is most important is what the reader gets out of all these.

What you make out of your own reality, regardless of how other people perceive and describe theirs, that's what matters most. After all, stories unfold, whether they are written or not.

"Hmmm...", Sigmund Freud said. "Your clock is ticking..."

"So doctor, should I commit blog-suicide, then?"

With an evil smile, "Hmmm, I don't think so."

Rebel as I am, because of the simple reason that it is against my shrink's recommendations, I decided on the affirmative. Blog harakiri is an excellent proposition. This blog has to go. Like the rest of the junk in my brain, it has to be flushed down the toilet, along with the trash I furiously believed in and hoped for which i vomited out last night. Good girls should write a nice travel blog, or a photo blog. A food blog won't be too bad. Even a nonsense blog would do. Or no blog at all may actually allow me to pay more attention to my social responsibilities and help me forget the petty troubles of my mind.

This blog will disintegrate in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6... Hmmm, wait, let me think about this again. Even an outcast samurai has the right to pick the best time to die.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oh, Fortune!

O Fortune, like the moon you are changeable, ever waxing and waning.

Hateful life first oppresses and then soothes as fancy takes it.

Poverty and power it melts them like ice.

Fate – monstrous and empty, you whirling wheel, you are malevolent!

Well-being is vain and always fades to nothing, shadowed and veiled,

you plague me too!

Now through the game, I bring my bare back to your villainy.

Fate is against me in health and virtue,

driven on and weighted down, always enslaved.

So at this hour, without delay, pluck the vibrating strings.

Since Fate strikes down the strong man,

Everyone weep with me!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Trouble With a Good Thing

Among all the good things in life, the following are on top of my list: old friends, cold beer, fresh breeze on a calm and quiet evening, bursts of uncensored laughter, and good conversations.

Ah, good conversations – they are extremely rare these days. In an age of perfunctory relationships and shallow interpersonal connections, where most of our interactions with other people are shady and self-centered, finding someone you can truly talk to is highly improbable it’s almost like winning a P200M lotto jackpot. In today’s superficial universe, intelligent people who may not necessarily agree with you, understand or condone you, but who can empathize and connect with the workings of your twisted mind, is an endangered species, perhaps more scarce than the African Black Rhino or the Chinese Giant Panda.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to encounter one of these endangered kinds. As it turned out, Luck is a strange thing. While the universe runs on strict principles of cause and effect, sometimes we find ourselves caught in odd circumstances - those ones that do not make sense at all. Take Randomness, for example. In a universe where entropy is the law, and even the smallest of molecules have a tendency towards disorder, it escapes my brain how two molecules operating on Brownian motion can actually collide and result in some kind of an atomic interaction that leads to a boom, whatever that is!

Blame it on Randomness. After all, it doesn't really matter who and what we collide with. What matters is who or which of those we collide with can join us in this perpetual Brownian motion of our existence. I don't mind being a victim of Randomness once in a while. If the random connections we make result in thought-provoking conversations over doses of cold beer that would have normally knocked the consciousness out of you, well, that isn't too bad, is it?

Anyway, last weekend was a rare one. I exceeded my limit for words spoken in a day, surpassed my liver's capacity to produce alcohol dehydrogenase but surprisingly stayed sane despite the nausea, and was totally unaware that the clock has struck 4:30AM - the first dawn that I was ever by Manila Bay without my running shoes on.

After the alcohol was out of my system, I was still lightheaded and floating. My legs felt like lead and it was impossible to work. I was sick. Right then and there, I knew what it was all about. I was having symptoms similar to my dreaded but recurrent Post-Travel Depression Syndrome. Psychologists say that people who travel may suffer from post-vacation blues after returning to a normal routine from a journey, especially if it was a pleasurable one. The longer the trip, the more intense the blues will be.This time, I didn't travel. But what I had was so much like it.

And then I knew. I'm not changing my mind about the beauty of a good conversation. But the trouble with having experienced one is this - everything else you hear around you becomes small talk, and you realize that the language of the outside world is plain gibberish.Going back to the real world takes a lot of getting used to, huh?

The trouble with a good thing is that you will never get enough of it.