Fake reality, face reality

She was so busy that even when she wanted to shut down everything and cry for a while hiding under the sheets, the phone would ring. It had no mercy. and mercilessly it dragged her out, made her pull up her sleeves and made her work, so she forgot what she was crying about. She hung on to random words of wisdom, that were out of context, she heard from patients. She grasped everything helpful so she could move on, one step in front of the other. She had become a high functioning, seemingly successful surgeon with self diagnosed dysthymia.

She had reached the lowest of the lowest rock bottom in her sense of wellbeing. Everything she ever believed in was untrue. Her sense of reality and her judgement of surroundings had been questioned to its core. She doubted her ability to understand people, and world in general. She used to be a business woman where everything is written, contracted and signed and connecting thread for workflow is mistrust. Then she became a surgeon, where relationships are sought based on trust and confidence that the person with more knowledge will not take advantage of the nativity and vulnerability of the less knowledgable about the disease or the situation.

Each rope she had held on to hoping it would somehow make her present happier and future brighter only dragged her deeper into water. She was falling apart inside. It was hard to keep her head held high and dust off her shoulders. Her only hope was to stop holding on to those ropes of desperation and learn to face the monster that was in her head. A monster that lurked in the pretense of a pleasant dream that paralyzed her rationality like sleep paralysis would do to muscles.
She woke up and realized that life is still beautiful and worth fighting for. She learned to fight back, just in time, just before she almost died in her own eyes. She walked into the real world again. As she tried to hide her scars, she decided never to confuse erudite intelligence for compassionate wisdom and sophisticated mannerisms for gentleness of heart because there is an equal probability that they could be masquerading signs of clever, manipulative, cold hearted narcissism. This was the lesson she learned as she transitioned from being a businesswoman in finances to a surgeon. She dealt with her struggles through her patients’ stories and was able to caress her wounds while sharing their pain and tears.

Her work had pulled her out of an abyss of dejection that was filled with grief, sorrow, loss, and regrets. She now has the optimism that her lost time can be gained back slowly but surely. She feels strong enough to keep her head high and dust off the shoulders. I know this is neither the end nor the beginning. But it is definitely a mile marker where she can pause and think, “I will give it a good fight”.

But I have to admit, the pain just hits her solar plexus once in a while, unannounced and her heart sinks for a second or two as she writes her journal about some medical facts that she needs to learn.

Advertisements

Another year in bitznpieces

One more year gone by, in the blink of an eye!

What if I have lived my entire life all wrong? All that I ever believed about anything in this world or in my life was all a delusion? like I felt I had all the right answers, but there weren’t any right questions.. This was such a year.

While all of us try to live our own ideas of enriched lives, we sometimes make a huge mistake of assuming that anyone different is not fortunate enough to have one.

My daily life brings me stories of such immense depth both in pain, joy, and all flavors of emotions in between, that my story seems so trivial and silly buried under the more magnificient ones. I have used these stories as oars to navigate my own life, by inspiration they induce and wisdom they impart.

But, as trivial a story as mine may be, I still believe to my own benefit that it is a unique life that I get to live and enrich in my own way based on my set of values.

This was a year I learned there will be people who sit down and watch when you are drowning in pain, even when they have the power to lessen it. Just because.. they don’t have to, or they couldn’t care less.
There are also people who support you, empower you, no matter how vulnerable and weak you are at times. They would do anything to get you out of suffering. The real challenge is recognizing who is who.

This was a year I learned you don’t have to make everything an emotional affair. Some things in life have to be dealt with like you do things in business. For that, your future self will thank you

This was a year when I not only recognized people who really feel happy for my success and hurt when I suffer, but also learned to appreciate them more.

This was a year I learned a few (more) life lessons I would like to pass on to my daughter.

This was the year my practice started coming together and I still had not lost all my sanity.

This was a year in which I have sobbed and wept in my car, while consoling myself aloud that I will be ok because I really needed to hear those words and there was no one around to say it.

This was a year I was able to declutter my life of many unnecessary things, thoughts, people, and anything that is not contributing to my well being.

This was the year I felt a deeper connection with my own self and was able to pause, reflect, and come to peace with my imperfections and mistakes and focus on self care.

This was the year I have lived through, to tell a story of hardships, pains, success, and peace.

I will not be arrogant enough to assume it is all going to be nice and easy going forward, but it definitely feels like a major milestone, my own sense that I am stronger than I assumed, that I can fight my fears and face my challenges.

If my dad was here he would be proud. For all those times I could not make him proud, I hope he understands…

Let every new year bring out the best in yourself!

Happy New Year!

:)

Some random thought crossed my mind while driving back from my music lesson. My respects to my music teacher who believes more in me than I do in myself.  He knows and I know I will never become a performance singer or even anything remotely close to one. But that is besides the point. The 30 minutes I spend learning how naive I am at singing, and how much better I can become, are most productive 30 minutes of the week I spend for myself. Some days we don’t sings any songs with words at all, but the simple exercise of following the notes, chasing them, trying to hit right note the right way feels like I just had a therapy session. I have spent the past two years complaining about not being able to even listen to a song without being interrupted with a text or phone call, but at the same I have been subconsciously fearful that music would make me weak and vulnerable with my own emotions. I don’t know how that is possible, but somehow I convinced me to believe my own lies. Evidently, I am pretty good at it. Until, it suddenly dawned on me, happiness can’t be the goal, but it is certainly a tool to survive, to thrive, to live a little, even in bits and pieces. So here I am, back to doing things that are therapeutic to me. Cheers to all who attempt to crawl out of the imprisoned minds where we lead ourselves to believe we are too busy to do things to take care of ourselves.

A Toasty Morning

I was hungry for breakfast and I found some French toast in the hospital cafeteria. As I sat down in the lounge to devour it, a café staff members happened to enter looking for pepper and salt shakers. I tried to cut the toast with a fork (trying to minimize plastic) and it was not too easy. Not that I care too much about it. I said “hmm, this French toast is a bit hardened” more as a filler conversation than anything else. She noticed that I did not have syrup on it either. (Well, I am trying to minimize sugar too :P)

“Oh yes, that is looking stiff, and you don’t have syrup either. You should go get a fresh one.”

“Oh this should be just fine. But are there more fresh ones made?” I asked curiously, continuing to poke the bread on my plate that refused to break

“Sure, let me go ask the server at the service kiosk or whatever it is called.” She goes – comes back in a minute and says she spoke with the other staff & it is ok. After all that leg work she had done, I thought I should be nice. So I went ahead and got a fresher French toast and also some syrup, threw away the old and cold one.

“oh this is much better”

Then the staff member talked a few minutes about how public speaking is very important and we need to learn to speak up for ourselves. “Public speaking is something that is lacking in American education system.”

“Well, is it? I thought it was much better here. My early education was in India and there is not as much  emphasis on public speaking as for academia. But I have to agree with you it is indeed very important to be able to speak up. I was pretty bad when I came here to this country but now I am much better. “

“thanks for speaking up for me err.. about the French toast” I added, smiling as she wished me a good day and left

After she left, I wondered if I made her think I was suffering through the French toast breakfast so much, but did not have enough guts to go ask for an exchange, that she felt the need to help me get a fresh one. Not that I don’t get cranky about repetitive and boring (and not to mention unhealthy) café food choices, but today I was not. I appreciated her concern and compassion as a fellow human being. I was not eating that French toast because I had no choice or I had no voice, but mostly because I couldn’t care less. In any case, I realized, I had just created the right premise for her talk, I chuckled. I was taken over by her pampering, or should I say assertiveness and could not express that I did not really care. But I did have a better French toast and a very mused morning

Which brings us to evaluate the quintessence of assertiveness as a personal skill. Is assertiveness always a sign of individuality and confidence? When does it slip into an inconsiderate and snobbish territory? A squeaky wheel of no consequence in matters that don’t really matter.  An image builder of sorts to make oneself more visible and more heard, in which case it must matter- a lot- to some. Do people who are assertive about their French toasts have an advantage when it comes to speaking up against other kinds of ‘wrongs’? Something to ponder.

While making a post out of thin air and a thick French toast may not give me an answer, it limns the fact that even tedious moments are intricately woven, fun to tease apart, examine and write about

Wine train

Some old wise man said that the chaos of life cannot be conquered but should be engaged with, and embraced. Chaos works because it seems to be the natural rhythm of the universe. When things go wrong, they always seem to result not because of the chaos but a deliberate attempt to control it.

There have been other instances I can remember (like that one time I traveled with an expired passport or that one time I traveled with no ID with me. Or may be that another time where I waited for the plane in the boarding area while the plane took off right under my nose, literally) . I have a collection of such one time experiences. Life can be exciting in so many different ways.

The following will be narrated when I get old if I live long enough to narrate this as “once in a lifetime” experience. If not, someone might read this and that will be just as good.

I was driving cautiously on a dark evening in one of the heaviest rainfalls my town had seen in years. Making a left turn to cross the highway which ran parallel to the wine train tracks which had to be also crossed before heading across the highway. Staying too close to the highway would be risky on a rainy night (a skidding car on the highway would be dangerous). Staying behind the tracks would be too close to the service road. Call it a combination of diligent indecisiveness about where to stop and careless overconfidence that a wine train cannot possibly be coming down exactly that minute on a rainy evening and I was hurrying up to the hospital to finish up some pending work. What are the odds? Turns out pretty high.
Sure enough, I saw it coming down the tracks, southbound while the gates closed and bells rang ceremoniously. In a moment of disbelief, I said to the universe, “you must be kidding me! I am not ready.. ” well, I had to save that conversation with the universe for later. Right now, I had to get out of the train’s way that was a few blocks away and approaching me slowly.. Or just slow enough for me to be able to write about it today.
I took the car back in reverse and realized the gate has closed behind me and could not get behind far enough. Then I changed to ‘drive’ mode and went across the tracks to almost enter the highway. I stayed there, stunned, not able to determine if I am still in a ‘wrong spot’. Then I notice the train had come to an emergency stop behind me and the front end of the train was way beyond where my car had been. I will be really brief abt the rest of the story- because you know after this incident each second of my life counts (twice) The police arrived. No license! White coat and hospital ID to rescue. Phone calls made. Police followed me to hospital (and then I crossed a red-light, you know, just because… . Now how many people dare to do that and not get a ticket? ) Husband delivered my purse. Policeman was too kind. (You don’t hear that often these days. But it is true there are many kind policemen). Report done. No one in train injured (sigh…)
Vented out to a friendly nurse, got a hug, Tried to weep while coming back home, no tears, finally able to pull out two drops. Wanted to hug a teddy bear and lay still for a minute or an hour or until I felt better. Chatted with a few of my favorite people and then felt better after I got enough attention or more like when my daughter started getting bored of the repeats.
Now time for mulling over it.
If I did die, It can’t even be said I died doing what I liked. (Waiting at a redlight on a railroad track can’t be anyone’s favorite thing to do). It would be nicer if it was  while dancing and singing with my kiddo on a lazy weekend, while doing a kidney biopsy, or at the finish line of a race or during happy family time, or while chatting with friends drinking wine., It wouldn’t be death from wine, but death from wine train. both would be equally pitiful and tragic – can’t decide which is worse.

Now I know that intersection like the back of my hand and know exactly what to do if happens again. And I also know it will not happen again because I will never ever stop on the tracks.
“experience is a lesson you learn after you really need it”.
But now I get to blog about my first experience with the wine train (filled with fear, confusion, shock, regret, solemnity, joy, peace, and humor). I have heard the wine train is quite expensive. I think mine is the most expensive so far! 🙂 and not worth it.

Drive safely and Happy holidays!

Birthday Party

The big birthday was here! 7th birthday for our 7/7/7 born daughter! special day for us!

Birthday was on 7th but we decided to celebrate a day before on a Sunday. Still not sure of the number who would come to the party, I erred on the side of safety and had too much food than too little. Pinada was ready, balloons were waiting to be blown up. Egg puff pastries, southern indian salad in endives, dill flavored mini idlis with coconut chutney, cheese and crackers, olives and dates, condiments, lemonade, juice for kids, pizza and cake!  Bean bag toss, lawn bowling, clay art for kids. Boxes laying around unopened. Floors ripped off to be re-done.

I called the bakery to confirm the pick up time, hey had a pick up time for tomorrow!. After much begging and pleading with them, they agreed to make it happen. The decorator came back and did it for us! Husband was supposed to home at noon, but he ended up coming after all the guests arrived. (sigh.. life of doctors) . So the balloons were not blown up, the table was not ready, the plates and cups were missing. The children were having so much fun no one seemed to care. The white board which I planned to frame after people wrote birthday wishes on it- did not happen. Pinada – did not happen. Sewing machine broke- just in time. The little kid aprons I was trying to make as an item in their party favor bag – did not happen. The clay art I arranged for kids to make tiny charms – they did not know why there is so little clay- so we had 4 big items- they got burnt in the oven. The aroma of the food was replaced by smoke from the oven. Cake time came, and went. Being with daughter and cutting the first slice of cake with daughter and also getting a chance to take that picture – cannot happen at the same time! 🙂 I am just too greedy or may be just desperate trying to take it all in while I still can as much as I can for I do know the fleeting nature moments in the passage of time.  

Friends and their kids came, enjoyed the evening, they seemed liked they had a good time. We enjoyed having them over. It was too short! Finally, a tender moment when my daughter said, I was the best mom ever and she does not want to grow and wants to live with me forever 🙂 . I said “me too”. On reflection, we might say many of these little experiences give us a glimpse of how really life happens. Most importantly, grab them memories and put them in the chestbox

It sure was a memorable one. Everything was planned elaborately, though most of it did not happen, whatever happened was fun! 🙂 will keep looking for more

Happy 7th birthday to my little one!