at the boiling point

 

a plague that lingers near

a shadow without light

a cauldron filled with fear

a feral in the night

these sinister whispers

they root me to the ground

they left me in the waters

they left me here to drown.

 

 

I thought that I was stronger

I thought I could fight this war

but really you can’t know

when you haven’t done it before

I guess I learned the hard way

that just because you can

doesn’t mean you should

just because you’re not bad

doesn’t mean you’re good.

 

150 – Mortality, Strength, & Perseverance.

I know it’s been a while. There’s so much that I want to write about, but the words seem to constantly escape me. But today, I refuse to run away from my own inability. These feelings are important. This is real. And writing will make me stronger.


The world seems different today, filled with a certain harshness I guess I had never truly felt until now. Mortality feels ever present, weighing upon everything I have ever believed in, and forcing me to re-evaluate where I want my dreams to take me. I think about what really matters to me and conflicting signals send my mind in turmoil. I am crushed. But I must not falter now.

It never occurred to me what the consequences of a stroke looked like. When I first heard about the incident, I thought to myself, Oh, he’s at the hospital, they’ll fix him up in no time.” It didn’t occur to me that even the most brilliant people could succumb to the physical aftermath of such an incident. Doctors aren’t miracle workers. They can’t fix everything no matter how much we all wish they could. Sometimes, doctors can save lives, but not preserve functions. Sometimes, people’s health conditions deteriorate and there’s nothing medicine can do but try to slow it down. These are all realizations that I came to understand while reading Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. Yet these realizations did nothing for me when I came to face to face with a loved one changed so drastically by something so unfortunate. I was shocked.

I wasn’t around when it happened.  Half the country away, in fact. I wasn’t here for the worst of it – when the world came crashing down around my best friend’s family. Her father, not mine, but I feel it all the same. I always looked up to him because he always did what a real father should while mine was ever absent. It’s irrational for me to feel so devastated when he’s come so far from where he was. I know rehabilitation takes time, that all one can do is hope for the best. Things like aphasia and memory problems are tricky – there’s no telling how and when they might improve. I know I should stay positive, but just the thought that he might not ever be able to see how far his daughter has come leaves me in tears. I think of how I might react if my mom was in the same situation. I can’t comprehend it. My friend and her family are so strong. I’m in awe of how well they’re handling it. I’ll be praying for continuous recovery even when I’m far away again.

This train of thought digs deep, finding weakness in my life-long dream. I want to be a geriatrician. To help elderly individuals and their families as they deal with the consequences of aging. Dementia, stroke, cancer are all very much possibilities for this population. While I know that I am still very far away from being in that position, I think it’s important that I steel myself now, rather than later. I don’t want to detach myself from future patients, but I also cannot afford to be emotionally taxed every time someone I have come to know and love encounters devastating situation or nears the end of their life. I have to think now, if this is really the right path for me.

I guess I just have to do a little bit of soul-searching right now. Find optimism when all I can feel is despair. Be kind and strong, to help those that I love even when I feel paralyzed by fear. I need to find this strength and to become a better person. Hopefully, I’ll find just that in the next three years from medical school.

 

walls of gray

broken down by my inadequacy

I don’t know how to face it anymore

they say nothing

but I feel it by exclusion

I no longer pretend to feel welcome

beyond those doors

though I struggle to accept

this hollow state of mind.

 

I keep on pushing through

just a few more months

one week at a time

but it’s really all too much

even my best efforts

to numb these currents down

are fruitless

I lie shattered

broken and weathered

unable to pick myself up

unable to hold on

to that sliver of hope

and so I find myself engulfed

entranced in inhibition

privy to these crushing thoughts.

 

I cannot see the horizon

beyond these walls of gray.

I miss you, my monster.

It’s funny how in some of my darkest moments I do not seek comforting words nor kind embraces, but instead yearn deeply for a fiery anguish that I once fought against. I never wanted to be by your side when I was forced into your hands. I never did like you all too much when you were the biggest thorn in my life. I’m still not quite sure I like you now. Still, strangely enough, I miss you.

I’ve always thought of you as a monster: dark, and filled with all the frustrations I compounded within you; hollow, with no possible understanding of all the sorrow that I was consumed with; terrifying, because I always running away. So I’ll continue to call you monster.

Without me, you were worthless. With you, I was the one that felt that way. I felt like there were impassable barriers  – that I just didn’t have the talent to become your master. There was so much I wanted to express, but I never found the right notes to do just that. Always, always, I felt an insurmountable desire to give up. Always, always, I was forced back into your hand. I despised the redundancy of repeating the same melodies over and over, memorizing the movements as if I were just a machine. I just wanted to play new things all the time, but I knew that would get me nowhere.

Though sometimes, nowhere was okay. Nowhere was a safe place to be. I would slam the keys and cry my heart out, realigning the hard-pressed edges of my life. I would release every angry thought in a flurry of chords played fortissimo, pressing down the pedal so that everything meshed into one amalgamation of harshness. It was best when the house was empty, when I could immerse myself in some desperate melody. Though sometimes I just didn’t care, even if everybody outside could hear this disgraceful use of an instrument. Maybe a part of me wanted everyone else to see you for the monster that you were. The monster that you still are in my mind – because the memories never fade.

As much as I hated you then, I miss you now. I miss the sensation of release, of mindlessly pouring out my emotions as if you could absorb all the terrible things that I was feeling. I wish you were here in this cold, callous city to warm me with frenzied passion. I wish you were here to allure me to sleep with the gentle lullabies I always liked to play. I wish you were here to I could go through a stack of music and find solace in something more beautiful than I will ever create.

I…I have nothing more to say,

but I miss you.

Daunted

my heart trembles

my thoughts race

as I’m trapped in turmoil’s

bitter embrace.

 

your words brim

with ignorant distaste

as they penetrate our fondest memories

shattering brilliance

without a trace

and I

I can’t breathe

this is not what I wanted

not what I foresaw

and I don’t really believe it at all.

 

my muscles tense

paralyzed in fear

as I watch the end of our friendship

become resoundingly clear.

 

no one’s to blame

in this misery game

so let the ghosts that haunt us

burn in the flames.

broken pieces on the ground

it’s been a long, long time

but I feel your return

a shadow rising from my past

a dreadful defiler

 

you’ve poisoned my heart

into feeling worthless and empty

but I know that is wrong

I know that every life is priceless

and that this feeling too will pass

 

but the numbness feels inescapable

and I’m anxious every moment

triggered by my own inability

I’m lost and left behind

 

every attempt to break free

from this isle of desolation

seems futile from the start

and thoughts that never got to me

are echoing in my ears

 

my confidence has shattered

broken pieces on the ground

and I fear for the worst

I fear that they’ll never again be found

 

I feel stupid

weak

incapable of doing well

in the things I’ve always loved

and slowly

I’m suffocating

in thinking that

I’m just not good enough

 

I’m trying my best

to build myself back up

but damn is it hard

to look at the shining face of happiness

when it seems like something I don’t deserve

 

it’s going to be okay

like the hundreds of times before

it’s going to be okay

I’ll make it through this once more.

142 – :(

Feeling really down right now. Seems like drowning in a state of depression is inevitable despite my desperate attempts at plugging the holes on this sinking ship.

I just feel really stupid. So damn irresponsible. And not good enough.

Turns out that the 4th year research course application deadline was three weeks ago. It’s something that I really wanted to do and was looking forward to doing. Didn’t hear about the deadline from emails or from classes, but that’s no excuse for being uninformed (I could’ve checked the website more regularly). Didn’t even know I had missed it until my friends were talking about it today.

Took me a good minute to process the fact that I had missed it. Shocked, really.

Then I did the only thing I could do – run to the undergraduate advisor and ask if there was any chance I could hand in a late application. Although he initially was going to say no, I think he felt bad for me and let me hand one in anyway.

The application was a single page and took literally a minute to fill out.

But I just didn’t know. And I hate myself for that.

I probably would’ve had a pretty decent chance at getting accepted into the course if I handed the application in on time. But now, I’m much more likely to be rejected if considered at all (Why would you want a student working in your lab that can’t even follow deadlines?)

I guess the odds are now kinda like my chances at getting into med school. Small, but possible.

There are probably other opportunities I could look for in the new school year.

But this was the easiest, most structured, and reliable option.

And I just fucked it up.

It just feels awful. And although I know I don’t have the time to be wallowing in my stupidity, I can’t stop myself.

I just can’t help feeling this way.

I suppose if there’s one good thing about this incident, it’s that it’s given me a taste of what missing a grad/med school application deadline would be like – something I definitely want to avoid in the coming months/year. There’s a 0% chance you’ll get in if you don’t even apply.

Sigh.

I signed up to retake my MCAT in light of these events – turns out registration opened Feb.10 (strangely early this year). I need to do well.

Going to try to put this unfortunate lapse of awareness behind me as I have two impending midterms this coming week.

But I don’t know.

All I really feel like doing right now is curling up in bed and crying.

I know it’s not the worst thing in the world that could happen and in hindsight it’ll probably be “no big deal”, but right now, I can feel its weight crashing down on me.

And it hurts.

And it’s triggering emotions that I haven’t felt in a long, long time.

And I really don’t want to go there.