Friday, December 30, 2011

On Doubt.

I was unhappy for a very, very long time. The past couple of years of not-knowing, not being certain of any pathway that was available for me in order to pursue the career I wanted. Even with knowing what my vocation was, I still felt vulnerable, unhopeful, almost unhappy. Does unhappiness have to co-exist with uncertainty? When is anything certain?

I spoke to an old friend the other day, and caught up since it's been almost two years. Although we had so much to share, there were yet not enough words to exchange. We came to a discussion about how you just never know whether or not the person you may love, can leave at any one point. Disrupt the plans you may had in mind and question your self-worth. I should add that it was an ex-bf of four years. Weird conversation to have with a former lover. Let me tell you. Anyways, there seems to be this lingering doubt, until possibly one gets married, if that person you love now will stick it through the end. At any one point, love may depart. Which is fine and quite sufficient. Just painful sometimes, for both parties. So, goin back to the uncertainty, when you realize that this is [this, meaning life changing up on you] is all inevitable, then the real question is, what good can come from investing into something when the final outcome is not necessarily certain? When is it ever?

For the most part, these risks - this delving into the unknown has been good to me. Don't get me wrong, this jumping into the uncertain has made me semi-crazy. I write this with a tearful smile because it's taken me awhile to be here. Where, although I am not the most comfortable, I am content. Striving. Full. I have been wanting to feel like this for a very long time. After moving out to New York, I was so unsure about so many things. I moved without having a tangible future yet knew that what I had in San Diego was just not enough. I had to believe there was something at the end of the road, better than the life I had at the moment. Even now, I would have never thought that I would be here in Boston, in graduate school, in my own studio, single. Never thought I would be here but I am. And the scary part is - I am happy.

So even with all that doubt about where I will be, who I would be with, how it was all going to 'happen' - the outcome is still the same. I am grateful even though the ending result was not as originally hypothesized. Ultimately the energy to question was pointless. Because. Though life in itself is one huge ass variable, there was one constant. Me. As long as I can approach each circumstance, each decision, each relationship with my best effort, then I could trust that the "me" was enough. To doubt is predictable but not sustainable. Hope sort of finds its way through, even in the most skeptic. Now I'm not saying that  That even when you may not know the outcome, you still believe the world will work in your favor. Now, I'm not saying that you should throw your hands up in the world cuz the universe gots your back in everything or God is your homeboy, though all this can be true at times. I just don't believe that everything happens for a reason anymore. Because despite where you lie in favors with the world, you still need to put in your earnest labor towards whatever it is, with honest intention, and constant integrity. You. All you. 

People, decisions, plans, careers.. change often. And its a hell of a lot easier accepting that, even empowering to understand that those things constantly morph, at any one point, at times often what  deems as the worst time possible. The only bad thing you can do to hurt you is attach too much to whatever that is and so then when/if it flees, you are left with a lot less than expected. So, in my mother's words.. Do you first. When you have you, when shit hits the fan, that work you've put into yourself can't be 'taken away' by circumstance. Yet! 

To relish a little bit on my mother's motto of "you are the only one to take care of yourself in the end" as much as that is true - I would like to add one thing to it. Yes, you need to "do you" because there is this resilience to life that one needs to get/can get from within. But once that is 'down' - that strength of "yourself" is grounded. The only way it can be even more attenuated is when it (you) can extend beyond yourself and that world of y ours. When you use what you know, what you understand and be - with those around you - god it's just ridiculously awesome. Use those resources, those friends, use the support  - provide the support. For yourself and for others. The motivation, the core, of course needs to come from within, yes. But with the surmount of doubt that exists in the world, you need sometimes all the help you can get to stay just above water. Do you but mix it up a bit and mix it in with a little love from others. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the Psychic.

So today I met up with a psychic in Santa Monica when walking with my mother. Santa Monica, in general, has been a place where my mom  and I would walk around whenever I am in town. It's sorta our thing, even when I was a fetus. She'd walk around here during her lunch breaks when she worked in LA, still in her belly when she was pregnant with me. These trips to SM is our time where we share our most intimate conversations, and other times we may not even say a word. Today was more of those quieter walks but never less important.

When I went to get my cup of coffee during/after our walk, I bumped into this psychic reader. She turned out to be phenomenal and not just for her skills in reading either. She was loud, hilarious, and dare I say from New York. Which is probably why we hit it off so well. I asked her how much it would cost and she said, a cup of coffee. So I went back to the coffee shop, got a cup, and sat down with her.

She asked my first name, my birth date and horoscope sign. And we took it from there. Instead of it feeling like my palm was being read, it felt more like talking to a great aunt. Who knew of me well and my family enough to generate some words of wisdom. But the thing is, she was a complete stranger. And she acted as if she knew my whole story and even stories of the people in my life, so well. I can argue that she knew of me because I am an open book. Goodness, let it be said, for those who may not know me, you can know me by just reading my face :) She mentioned it was my 'face value' that made me so trusting. The only thing is, is that it also leaves me prone to too much exposure. I told her I open myself in hope for the possibility of reciprocation from others. I enjoy the exchange. The swapping of spirits. She said its my "cheerful vulnerability" that makes me so delicious. But it can also burn if I am not careful with to whom I share my goods to.

She also said how freekin sensitive I am. She tried to sugar coat it since obviously, I am sensitive (wah wah) but she eventually blurted it out that it is the best and the worst of me. She said my sensitivity allows me to approach others with an honest sincerity, which in turn allows people to trust me with their stories and be more receptive. I joked with her that it was because I was 5'2 and looked harmless, so it made it easier for people to trust me. She said I inherited it from my father; I agreed.

As much as I love to soak up the thoughts and feelings and stories of others, I in turn love pouring out my thoughts and feeling and stories, too. So here I am, pooping out every single emotion to anyone and everyone around me. Whether I just met you or been with you forever, I will - with no regard -  let you know how I feel, think, do at any one moment. Even if I tell myself I won't. I will. This I can promise you. The problem is: here I am enthusiastically moving full-force with heart open, mind not filtered, going around feeling every feeling and then! I would express each single emotion without any constraint. I justify that I am only being honest with the moment, but she said, 'Honey, you have emotions stalked up in you that can last for decades, for at least 10 people. Filter that shit out now." Don't act on impulse, use the intelligent mind of yours, and stop it. Just stop.

She finished up by saying that I am where I am now because I did not take into account the effects of how I distributed these thoughts of mine, to others. It made others feel responsible for those feelings because they cared for me so much. But in the end, was it worth it? Feelings are fleeing. And for someone with as much faith as I do, I was running on what was given to me that I can touch and hear. What should of grounded me was my rationale, my work, my intuition.

I'm so over feelings now and just want to work. I actually miss studying physiology. She said it's great that I think that everyone anyone is deserving of Love (she hasn't even read my blogs, yet she knew) but that not everyone needs to know and be a part of my life. This whole experience wasn't that I got so much insight about my future, she didn't tell me much to be honest, she said it was too early and not yet ripe for her to tell me what's up. But she gave me more of an understanding that the past ain't gonna do anything for me, the future isn't quiet defined (thank God!), and so the only thing that matters now, is now. Do the work and then everything else will follow. Word up, Psychic lady. I will do the do.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

On The Greatest Gift.

Today is Christmas! (FYI sorry for the mini-hiatus. Finals kicked in, then travel sans a computer. But luckily, my repertoire is full of drafts and thoughts that I have been keeping at stalk since early December. With time at hand, you bests be getting ready for a variety of mind dumps. And man, let me tell you, I have a lot to say.) Started it off well with church with two women, I love so dearly. My mother and ninang, godmother for all those that may not be Filipino. My godmother recently has been diagnosed with multiple cancers and is as far as I know doing well now. My mother, also striving, works  hard to maintain a life by herself here at home as a retired woman. I know she doesn't it mention it often but it must be hard to have a home with that amount of quiet time when living with oneself. I sometimes feel that I get a glimpse of it when I enter my studio but that's after a full day of interaction on campus, walking around in a city, and completing a robust agenda. It's not that a pity her but I can only imagine how it may not always be a comfortable feeling. Now, how is this all related to Christmas? Well, the priest asked what we would want from our 'Santa' today. With the wheels turning in my families head, I can imagine my ninang asking for better health. My mother, for financial stability. And myself, hoping for a sense of certainty about my future. Are we asking too much? Are we deserving of what we want? What limits us from getting what we need?

The priest shared with us a story about a time when he was a child and visited Santa. Santa always asks the two questions, "have you been a good boy/girl?" and "what do you want for Christmas?" He answered Santa saying the thought he did pretty well as far as his behavior, but did not feel like he deserved the gift he really wanted (a yellow Tonka truck). So, he'll settle for whatever Santa decides to bring. But the whole homily ended up being about how, yes we know that Santa has pretty pimply powers. He can fly around the world with his reindeer in one night, delivering gifts to children around the world, eating every cookie/milk combination he sees, successfully. But there is a much more amazing Santa version that lives in our adult lives now, not contained to a particular holiday or season. Without stating the blatant reference, my point is this. We believe in many, many things as people. Our interpretations of the Higher Power, God, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah and for those I have not mentioned, all exist on a very vast spectrum. Sometimes not even comparable. But the underpinning grounds of all faiths, at least from what I understand, is about Love. And if that is the case, if we are beings empowered by this sentiment, we are instilled with this indestructible force of compassion and forgiveness, that is not limited to any one person, at any one time, at any one place in this world.

Now, I know I speak about Love to ad nauseum, but it is because it is that important. And wonderful, and great. And the best part is that it is not limited to any particular faith, culture, people, religion, community, or country. Love's a hoe. It does everyone. Also, when I do speak of love, I do not only mean of that that exists in an intimate relationship. The love I speak of permeates from the deepest bonds within a family and close friends to acquaintances we meet in our days that we express kindness to and they to us.

I recently visited a number of friends mine back in San Diego and it just amazes me how much love can exist in a circle of friends, even after so many years have passed and the physical distance just seems to increase  between us. Yet when I am with them, it is as if time has not passed, we pick up from where we left off, and laugh the same way as before. These people hold a part of my life, my heart with them and theirs with mine wherever I go. They are more than just a passing friendship but a part of me that lives with me in whatever coast I call home. I am who I am because of this exchange of love that I have become blessed to be a part of. No one compares to these girls, and although I will meet a number of other people in my life and join various groups of friends, I want them to know that their love sustains me.

We (the collective 'we') can show each other such an overwhelmingly amount of love and compassion, patience and forgiveness. Even when we don't deserve it, after we may hurt one another with our words, actions, or lack of interest. You really can not underestimate what people can offer to one another in the name of Love. It really is the greatest gift we can receive and offer to one another, which exists in a form that is much larger than any pretty ass bow can tie in. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On Yesterday.

So I was a mess yesterday. Crying, sobbing mess. And when I thought it was one thing, I realized that it wasn't the obvious. It began last week, on December 1st Worlds AIDS Day. My dad passed away from this many years ago and is the reason why I am as involved in volunteering with it today. I mentioned this in a much earlier entry but nonetheless, the calling to exhume this message comes again since yesterday.

Our clinical lecture at Biochemistry was on a patient that was recently diagnosed with AIDS (the more severe extreme of HIV, which he had after a sexual interaction(s) in college) due to an opportunistic infection. The same one my father had passed away. Which I thought I was over with grieving after taking an "AIDS Science & Society" course in my undergrad. That course drained me. Outside of learning the biological mechanisms of the virus, the history of the pharmaceutical interventions for this disease, and the story of how AIDS came about - we also watched documentaries. Many, many documentaries that I found myself in tears after each one of them. Some were educational based like the National Geographic with factual information of those affected in Africa, while other documentaries were filming the relationship between a gay couple in San Francisco. With the latter one the most difficult to watch.

I wonder every day had I had the opportunity to have a conversation with my father again. I would do so much to have that moment, to hold his hand and tell him how much I am intrigued, inspired by his legacy. I want to be simply in his presence to have that dialogue with him that would fill me in so many ways. His relationship is the one I want the most. And I don't even know why. He was a stranger. I have no interpretation of who he is as an adult. My only few memories of him were as a child, sitting on his lap and playing with whatever "toys" were at his home. Which was not much since he was a professor. Books. He had many, many books. And art that he made himself. And cool clothes. That man had so much swag.

My god, knowing how he died really killed me. Just because, I wasn't there to experience it with him. Maybe it was for the best but I don't know how much I can agree with that even as the adult version of myself. I want to pretend it wasn't a big deal, that it was just something of part of my story. But its not the "story" itself that huts but the real loss is the obvious, he is not here. The real loss is not the how, the when, nor the why. God, how I wish so much that he was. I want to know what he would think of me, what he thinks of the people I love, my pursuit in Medicine, my ability to carry a conversation. I want him to like me and the woman I am becoming. I think of him every day and hope he has and is doing the same.

So, here is a letter he wrote me for my pre-school graduation to congratulate me for my 'success'. I hang this letter over my desk to remind me of the work I have ahead of me. And God only knows the amount of work that is ahead of me. I embrace it now, though, much more willingly than I had ever before. I think, ironically enough, it is through my father that I know I can do this. He was able to do so much in his life and I think it is because, he wasn't limited to any specific notion of how his life was "supposed" to be. I would want to believe had I had this conversation with him, he would sat to me something like this:
You are good. You will be fine. Not because of the blood that runs through you or the legacy that I and our family has left behind but because you are conscious of what you dream to be and who you want to be in this world. You do not have to worry about the extraneous interactions that may bring you down. Do not feel obligated to entertain those that care less about you or do not see you as who you are. You are capable and strong. For yourself. Never think less than that because you are of my own ... I love you
I really wish there was a way that I could bring him to me. To have this sort of conversation or any conversation. I realize that this may more or less look like this self-pep talk thingy but it is not. This actually means a lot to me and I hope that sharing this with you today, about the yesterday, provide insight of my roots and story that I emerge from. I miss him and pray for him and for those in the past, present, and future that are affected by AIDS. Like any unfortunate disease, fatality steals those that we love prematurely from our present lives. I just hope that one day, one day, I can provide people more time, more leeway - despite some fatal disease like cancer, Alzheimer's, AIDS -  to spend with their families. So that, they can have that one more conversation with those that they love.

Monday, December 5, 2011

On Saying Love.

So the other night was the first night I got to say I love you, without indulging too much into my own. What does that mean? I did not have to say those words and feel as if I was giving more of myself than what I wanted to. I choose the intention behind my speech and mediated how much I wanted to give in my own terms. Not pouring more than what I needed to give.

The best part of that experience was that I did not have to explain myself. Which only proves that I never had to since the beginning. Realizing that I care of another person, yet knowing that I get to dictate the boundaries of what I can give, has made this exchange much more bearable. I thought that because I consumed such overwhelming amount of Love, so much in fact that I was choking on it that I had to do this Heimlich maneuver to get this love out of me. Forcing it with such abnormality. Thinking that if I did not, at that exact moment, I would die of some injustice to the emotion. This could not be so far from the truth.

This isn't a race, it isn't a competition. And more importantly, it isn't a game. When you love someone. We think responsibility. Work. But is it? Should it be? Relationships are. Holy shit they are. There are all these logistical matters that comes into play when a title exists, expectations build and if not grounded, can be easily toppled over by circumstance. But when you are reminded of what brought you two together, this simple feeling of Love that was the core of where that connection stemmed from, you realize that that was enough. All that frou frou that surrounded that relationship was not necessary. I want to believe that the longevity of a relationship is not solely based upon the work put into it but also the honesty intention of the sentiment shared between the two.

I think that part of the reason why we run away from love is because it is intimidating. It's inconvenient, it's uncomfortable. It takes so much out of you. Feeling like, every time you have to say these words, you have to give so much of yourself to be true to this responsibility. It was for me. I was exhausted, and I shouldn't have been. Love doesn't give a shit about the technicalities that come with a relationship that we often create for ourselves. It receives what it can and gives what it needs. There are no rules. It is self-sustaining, rejuvenating. Like its own little self-stemming cell. Self-replicating over and over again.

I think that is why I was so happy the other day. I felt satisfied with what I offered and I did not need any thing in return. I did not feel limited nor exhausted. I felt good. In the past, I always worked way too hard in my relationships. Thinking that at any moment, had I not had some control over it if not all, it would not exist. What little faith for someone that believes in so much. I think nonetheless that the core of my overcompensation was because I thought I was not enough (which now I know is not true). Luckily, Love does not care about what I think She is or should be. She exists whether or not I think She can. And She continues to tell me who She is, regardless of how fixated I am be. Telling me over and over again that what I think I need to do to love and be loved is less work than what I have made it to be. So with that I break all my attempts to control the expression of Her. Allowing Her word to be enough, way more than enough.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On What I Hope.

Finishing up with the 3 part series (changed it again from 12.1.2011). Realize I never published this sucker, so hear it is again. With a few edits, of course (12.19.11). An oldie but goodie.

So that was fun. With all that said and done, what I believe, what I deserve, now what I hope. And man do I hope for a crap load of things. Or rather, want a bunch of things. Realizing that these may be two different things is unfortunate. The fact that I can differentiate between the two, though, surprises me in a good way. But it sucks balls. I would prefer to believe that what I want is of all goodness and righteousness. But it's not. It is self-seeking and pompous to believe that what I want is inevitably good for me. Not to say that we cannot trust our instincts but rather, it is important to always know where these instincts develop from. 

When knowing the givens do not match the wants, I think that is when Hope comes into play. I just hope that "Hope" is much more gracious than Life is sometimes. I think what makes it so intriguing is that it is not limited to what a person perceives as vital, that Hope is not limited to lack of patience or insight. We forget that there may be something greater than what we may want in the present. I know I have. Then, if we are to incorporate what it is we believe in, with what we deserve, the recipe should be interesting. I want to see what could emerge from all of this, comparing what it is I hope for to what unavoidably will happen.

For example, I want to be a doctor. What I hope for is a career that allows me to care for others in the most intimate way. I know this sounds like a cookie-cutter reason but what I meant is, I want every day to be an opportunity where I can honor a life. I want others to look at me and trust that I have the compassion, the knowledge, the wisdom to take care of them and their loved ones. I want to provide hope, the window for others to have that second chance to a qualitative life. This is what I hope for. To be able to serve. We all do this, in almost all forms of careers. And for me, it is in the realm of medicine that I would want to do this. 

I want a family. Husband. Kids. The whole bit. The timing of this isn't as important but what I hope for is a home that I can build with my love and create a creative bond with my children. I want to laugh with them, bake a semi-delicious breakfast for them on a Sunday morning. I want to hold the hand of my husband on the couch and play tag with the kids after a long day at work. Dancing with them in the living room would be a plus. More importantly, I want to respect each member of my family as their own person and learn who they are each and every day. I hope for a man that wakes up with me and makes the choice to love me. I hope for children that I can unconditionally love yet not as a martyr. I hope that as a family we are committed and devoted to the work that each day brings, with love and honesty how ever best way we can. Life's a bitch and it is difficult alone. I want a family that will be there for me and I for them. To share in the joy and sorrow that life brings, one day at a time. 

I want to be happy. I want guaranteed success, title, security. What I Hope for is Gratitude. Presence. Wisdom. Dignity. I want to be able to stand on my own two feet as is and know that what is there is some good stuff. I hope I can enjoy the present, stop regurgitating my past and most importantly, stop investing into a future that I do not know. I hope for accountability and the guts to match it. I hope that when I share myself to people, it comes from a place that is honest, centered but not self-seeking. I hope that I can laugh at myself more often. To do so is so relieving. I take myself way too serious sometimes, as if I'm this old soul that has became decrepit and arthritic. Although, recently I do find myself laughing at me more, which makes the days go by faster. Last one (this is fun you should try it!) I hope that I can find peace within myself as I persevere through the life I believe in. I want to be powerful, courageous. A sexy lion. Or cougar. Depending on how much older I get through all of this. The nice thing about all this is that, I have put a lot of work to get where I am now. I have actually had moments where I can say there was pure happiness. So its been good. Hard work but good. 

We want a shit load of things. And we're good at it. Wanting. It's almost in this imaginative world of desiring that pushes us to do the every day pursuit. We want a lot of things and we go each day trying to get it. We want love, we want money. We want a sense of belonging, to be 'happy' in the terms we define it. Yet are givens are the same. A functional body, the potential to care for one another, insight. What I want is clarity, but what I hope for is discernment. I need to open my eyes to what my givens are and make the decisions accordingly. It is just now that I am starting to see what may not be available for me. But despite those givens, what I hope for is something beyond me that can carry us through. Call it Love, call it God or whatever, I want to believe in us again. I hope that whatever I am supposed to do, to think, to feel, Hope finds me. May I never underestimate Hope but thank goodness Hope is not limited to my perspective. Or to all ours for that matter. Can I get an Amen!? Oh no, starting to preach. I think what we all hope for now is that I just stop. Now. hah good night!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On what I Deserve.

Part II of the III Series. Going off of what I believe, I also know now what I deserve. Thanks to my family and their gracious reminders. And although the unconditional is something not innate in us, I believe I know that we can get pretty damn close to it. With compassion, forgiveness, honesty. And all that other good stuff. 

Unconditional Love. What is it? I googled it the other day and got this:

Loving someone unconditionally does not mean that we must sacrifice ourselves for them, nor does loving someone unconditionally mean that we must have that person in our life. Unconditional love does not require one to love another, and want nothing in return. There is no sin in wanting to be loved in return. Wanting to share love, wanting to give and receive love is as natural as breathing. To suggest that we should love and want nothing in return is unrealistic. Love for the individual needs balance. We will not always receive love in return, which does not change our love, if our love is real. We can feel love, and not give our to another, but not giving our to another, does not change the love which we feel.

I know the word "deserve" and "should" are annoying. To say I deserve something comes with so much weight. But I do believe that we, as people that care for one another, are worth plenty. And so when we love, we should in turn receive love. Don't get me wrong, I do not mean that love is this score card that measures our quid pro quos - you gave me this, I should give you this. Love is and will never be that boring, quite the opposite. 

Like the heart, we should be able to receive the same amount that we put out. Our vitality depends on it. Every day our hearts modulate between the two to ensure a constant flow. Now if only there was something that can modulate me and my actions. My goodness, I love. So much. In fact, my output is tremendous and am surprised sometimes on how much there is of me to give. Makes me wonder what I am compensating to do this or if there is any compensation at all. I'd like to think that I am this bottomless pit of oozing love (heh) but recently, I am not quite sure. I might've 'accidentally' tapped into my end systolic self and it wasn't pretty. It's like one of those things where it was nice to say you did but probably won't ever do again. I was honored to do that but I also know I wouldn't be able to do it anymore. It left me a half-filled heart.

A one-sided affair is not sexy. It was actually pretty tiresome, this selfless kind of love. It was never love if you have to give more than yourself. Love is to be an exchange. A swamping of thoughts, love, ideas, fluids, memories. And the cool thing about all this is that we were meant for this, to feel this, we deserve to be part of it all. Whether we like it or not. And how do I know this? Isn't it obvious? Because when it does happens, it comes so natural and we become overwhelmed with this inexplicable joy. Reaffirming that that is good. Yes, barf away but I'm serious!

But here's the problem with this set-up. If we can only give what we have to offer, then what happens when we are limited in what we have. Not because you do not want to pump it up but because the resources around you is lacking. Let it be time, space, energy, etc. Are you then not deserving of love? No. Hell no. I think if anything, you may need it ever the more. But then I guess the next step is to define what is love. Is it counted by the number of phone calls or text messages we get through the day? No. Habitual tendencies in reaction to boredom are not expressions of love. Rather, I believe it is measured on how we feel when you have a conversation or when you are able to receive a hug from them. Like I said, Love is a much more interesting entity than what we've made it to be. The best part of it all, that I have come to learn, is that we get to define those terms, discern its significance, and distribute it accordingly. The best part is knowing that I have the choice. I've always had a choice. 

Love is meant to be reciprocated. More importantly sans conditions. I believe in this love that is uplifting, grandiose, extreme, honest, joyful, tearful and all the in-betweens. I don't mean for such a tall order but I know, you know it feels that good. And heck, I'm flexible in whatever form it comes in. It does not have to come of equal action but rather equal intention. I know we have different ways of expressing love, I know we all have different priorities, time constraints, energy available - all of which vary from person to person. I know this. And accept it. But in how ever ways it is given to me I deserve an equal flow of intent. As do all of you. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On what I Believe.

This is one of three of series for the Thanksgiving Holiday break. With the extra time for personal givings, food, and conversation, I thought this may be a good time to make this all happen. So as you digest your food, I too will be digesting some of my own sentimental meals. So if you find yourself bored of watching yet another rerun of the Thanksgiving Macy's parade. I'll be here hopefully as a light read. Bon Appetite!

They say the goodness in life belongs to those who believe. So, I believe. (Mos Def)

You want to believe in something. Let it be Love. God, gods, USA Government, the Sciences. Medicine. Anything. I cannot imagine a world without that something, which exists in real space and time but lives in a way that is bigger than ourselves. Without it, I find it so difficult to live. The world is large enough already - with all its guts and glory, bullshit and ideals - it is way too easy to wander around aimlessly without there being something to ground yourself when things get shifted. Believing in something makes what is, concrete. Preventing the tilting that inevitably comes around when things seem to go to shit.

This feeling that someone believes in you, and you in them is insoluble.  Whether it is to a single person or to an institution, it is uplifting. The act of faith is intrinsic. Believing in others, as well as ourselves, is what we do. I want to believe in people. In myself. This may be a lame reference but when I was watching a  Modern Family episode, where Phil was talking to his father-in-law Jay Pritchett (Al Bundy) about whether or not he should leave his current job for a new one. Phil was hesitant and doubted whether or not he was capable of leaving, but Jay told Phil that he should "Gamble on yourself. I'd gamble on you" and with that, Phil made the big decision. But it was the believing in him, in his capabilities, in his goals. This extra support of faith that sustains us. It's so fulfilling in that it pushes us even past where we sometimes view ourselves. After watching the episode, I walked around school that day with a pep in my step. It also could've been the fact that I was on my 5th coffee that day. But, nevertheless, it was a good feeling.

Okay, let's be honest. What I wanted to really talk about is how much I believe in Love. So much in fact that it barfilicious. If only I put as much faith in myself as much as I put in this "in love" business, I'd be rich with arrogance. The good kind of course. When I look back at my old relationships, leaving some or having some leave, I always believed that there was this much higher power in Love that, as long as it was honest, it will find its place back in my universe. From my last relationship, my whole justification was that even though it was the end of a very long-term relationship, there was an evident love that was loss and that we did not have enough to sustain the connection. So, that it was. Grief but gone. This time, though, it is much more difficult to trust the end since I believe that our love is still sustainable, just the circumstances and schedules make it impossible to practice. So, is that how Love exists? Only when convenient. For all the times I have had a brief encounter with real love, no. So then how do I justify the ending of this story? Does Love still have my best interest in mind? Do I believe that Love still loves me? Agh so lame. 

For me, my love exists in a way much more intimate than a friend. So what do I do. Love but not.. I want to believe that the circumstances and priorities were main culprits here but then if that is the case, where does the love go? Is there a place where I can tuck this all away? I know that the conditions are so apparent and will not change anytime soon. But what am I supposed to do until then? Or is there even an 'until then' to wait for. No, there is isn't. I have always believed in Love. But now, I have evolved to this unfamiliar of becoming a skepticAt this point, I don't know if it'll ever return or come back. Not necessarily the person, but Love. Whether as a new form, a new person, a new anything. I just don't know what to believe anymore.

I always did believe that with God, whenever faced with what felt like the most difficult tribulation, I could sit in it and believe that although it was as tortuous and unbecoming, there still lies this underlying benevolent intention from the universe. And with that, I could trust it more and allow it to do its thing. But this time, my heart lacks the faith. The weird thing is that I am where I am supposed to be physically, with my career, friends, heck even Boston. But this place where I sit now in my heart- is foreign, uncomfortable, sad. 

I want to believe. I want to practice this act of faith. I think the beauty of believing, particularly anything beyond the definition of you, is that more often than not, it is in the process of this faith, that we evolve into something in turn bigger than yourself. Something unimaginable tangible. I want to believe in something again, something beyond my limited perception and know how. I want this entity - may it be the institution of Love or faith in myself again, to consume me and bring me back to what is familiar. Where I am happy again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Seesaws.

From my last entry on the Greatest Commandmentit made me think more about this balance of Love. Like a fat kid on a seesaw, I find myself sitting heavily on one end more so than another. The balance, that is, between loving one self and thy neighbor. I sit of course at the oh so familiar altruistic end of the seesaw. Neglecting the very necessity of loving one self. 

I do this a little bit too often. I am a people whore. I tell myself that I'm this closet introverted individual but for all those that know me, this cannot and will never be true. I enjoy far too much the conversations I share with people. Whether the interaction is with a stranger or a lover. People matter so much to me. Call it compassion, call it martyrdom. I would do anything for those that I love. And heck, even for those that I don't. Part of it in hopes to gain favor. Other times in fear of losing them. The majority part of it though, I would to believe, is purely for the exchange that comes from sharing our selves. My father made a living of studying people. This was easy for him because he attracted everyone and anyone he came encounter with. His charisma was contagious. I'd like to believe that some of his spirit and curiosity of human behavior in part runs through me. This love for people. It's fascinating. But is it healthy? Depends. On the level of permeability. 

I know that, although we may share in these enticing interaction with others, there is an importance to the boundaries we make for ourselves and understand that my identity is of my own and separate from those I am with. I just think I may be a bit more permeable than others. While others are fenestrated, I may be a bit more discontinuous. 

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those that are so engrossed with what stares back at them in that mirror. Narcissism isn't as cute as much as it may be as it is to the beholder. Arrogance is even uglier. This notion that "if I am to survive in this world, this would be of my doing. And mine alone". We tell ourselves that we must be able to do everything and anything on our own. Yes, I agree with you that it originates from within. But it does not sustain with us alone. Arrogance can only protect us from so much from the failures and distractions of others that may come from involving others. In a weird way, it this M.O. is actually very responsible. Trying to find mechanisms to protect one's emotional and mental assets. Yet, so shortsighted and unbecoming at the same time.

This used to be my life mantra. My mother raised me to think only as this. As a single mother, single person. She believes, as do I to some extent, that the only person that can 'save me' is me. This is true. To some extent. We can survive on your own but life shouldn't be about trying to stay above water. There is something about the process of extending ourselves to another or with others that make our existence mean so much more than about mere survival. I believe that knowing and accepting our shortcomings and this process of sharing these with others to help strengthen, challenge, support, and evolve to be the best forms of ourselves, is [life].  

It's all about balance. A balance between solitude and solidarity. Between courage and arrogance. Between the most superficial and more profound. There exists a yin and a yang for everything and for good reason. I found myself recently pushed and pulled in both directions. Favoring of course the act of loving another. This unfortunately begets failure when or if that love flees. And without a sustaining substance to anticipate the loss, we are empty. On the other end, there is also this emptiness that we feel when we attempt to protect ourselves from the world alone. I believe it is in this balance that we both need: the love for ourselves and the love for others to sustain. If only there was this homeostasis to the soul that can mediate the imbalance between the two. Baroreceptors of the soul would make this life so much easier, balancing this seesaw we always find ourselves at.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the Sacred.

These past couple days, I've been trying to navigate through this idea of the what it means to be sacred. I should add the disclaimer that I do not necessarily mean in terms of a religious context, though I would gladly extend it to that, but more on this idea of regarding something or someone with this loving reverence. 

I recently had a dear friend of mine that had something happen to her that was just, despicable. A man (I use this term, rather loosely - I would rather call him other names but he's not worth my vulgarity) had behaved in a way that was so cruel and short-sighted. He defiled the love that he and my friend shared. He cheated on her.

Now, I am not saying that I am a saint in all of this. God no. I did the same thing. At one point in my life, I thought overlapping love/sex endeavors was natural. Of course, it was easier to say as the culprit but that did not mean that my actions were not a complete disrespect to the man that I thought I loved. It was a complete, utter sacrilegious act that I did over and over again. But here is the thing. Did I love this man at that time? Yes I most certainly did. I indulged in a four year relationship with that man, lived with him for two, did everything and anything under the sun to make sure our relationship was intact every time we had a moment of separation. He was my everything. I loved him. But I did not adore him.

The difference? I think it is easy to fall in love with someone, just as easy to fall out of love with someone. Heck, you can even love someone when you are not in a relationship with them. My life story. But, here's the thing, to adore is like an act of worship. Something more deep, more profound in Love. There is no superficiality when it comes to this pure adoration for a person. Now, there is also a fine line between adoration and obsession. You can adore another human being, while sharing that same admiration for yourself. Just never at the price of your own self. This delusional adoration evolves into an obsession that becomes self-debilitating.

Love, a relationship between two individuals, is sacred. There is an honest. grueling. exposing part of one's being that is shared in a relationship. You can not replicate that with any other individual. A peace consumes you when you are with that person, this almost erupting joy that when you see their face, a very deep part of you, smiles. It's as simple as that. Now, do not mistake that this fleeing moment of a visual cue of someone you love, as an act of adoration. It's not. Too superficial. But more of, when you see that person, there is this exchange of this over pouring love that emits from them to you and from you to them.

So I go to adoration at my church about once a week. You literally sit for an hour and stare at the Eucharist, which sometimes can seem boring. But boredom occurs when you are not engaged in the process of worshipping. If you withdraw from the noise and enter this internal prayer, you find yourself lost in this Love. This pure love that comes from an honest adoration. It's overwhelmingly beautiful. This is what I want. I want this all-consuming adoration with a person and then in return receive it as graciously and humbly as I give it. I had a conversation with my aunt about this. She told me, which I would love to share with you:
"We have something so sacred within ourselves. What is sacred within us isn't necessarily synonymous with self-worth. And with this sacredness, it must be honored by people by those around you. Those that do not, that can not, or do not want to - are not worthy of sharing that sacred love that you have to offer."
This is what happened to my friend, where this man forgot how sacred it is that they share. I believe if he had only seen her and what is sacred about her, I doubt that he would've done what he had done. Or at least handled it the way that he did.

I want that despite all the business that life brings, that despite all temptations and distractions, despite all that is warranted from social norms, that one day I may indulge in this sacredness with a person that grounds me, showers me, adores me with a love and practice that is honest and pure. Which I shall return so gladly with the same humility and joy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Myopic Vision.

Just halfway through the semester of this program, my eye sight is deteriorating. This is full-blown, blind as a bat, must sit at the second row. Or else. It is not even at the point when things are slightly hazy. This is "I can't tell you who you are unless your standing 5 feet in front of me" ordeal. Story of my life. 

The funny, though not so funny thing, is that my physical degradation of my eyesight is analogous, yet opposite to my own internal decay of my insight. The problem with my eyes is that I cannot see anything of far distances. But in my own life, with my optical soul, I could see everything but what was in front of me

What I could see, or rather what I choose to see, was of things or circumstances that were of far, far distances. And I mean, faaaaaaaaaar. Quantitatively, I'm talking about the next five to ten years of my life. I put all my energy, my love, my thoughts into the intangible things of my 10 year plan. I never thought I was that kind of person nor would I ever would have wanted to be. But I was. And it was disgusting. The result was as painful as the epiphany, and I regret it as such. 

I kept on trying to fill in the blanks: where I will live, what career I will have, who it will be with - doing so in this daydream fashion. What I forgot to add in the equation is: the work, the sacrifice, the hours, the decisions that need to be made that are essential for these speculations to come to existence.

Nothing that I could see then or would want to see was the, now. I failed to see what was vital for, now. The decisions and sacrifices I need to make, now. Not who I want to be with but rather who I want to be. What character and soul would I need to develop to make my goals a reality, now. The reality of what I would need to make my life become, all of it a blur.

I lost many a things because of this very hyperopia vision. 

Pretty much, I focused everything - my time, energy, thoughts, love - and threw it (rather, shoved it) into the irrelevant and inadequate. This make-believe future. What is important, the heart and brain of this endeavor was and has been in front of me this whole time. Staring at me, waiting for me to make my move before any further damage can occur. I need a prescription of glasses for my soul? Preferably before the Christmas break. I have lost more than just my sight in these past 2 months and too much of it.

Instead of being able to see and appreciate the meaning behind my actions of the moment, I lost prudence and made a frivolous life out of it. I have not been able to see the bigger picture on many, many levels that. I am not sure which was more skewed. My ability to not understand the responsibilities of my life or the inability to see why those responsibilities are so significant. The only things I could see was what I wanted to see. My shutters were blared outward. Useless and unproductive. The focus must and is from within. What was I doing. What can I do. It's so blatantly obvious that it's sad that I didn't see it earlier. 

If you may not have time to read this, I highly recommend this RSAnimate Talk. He is far more eloquent than I. Plus, there's cool pictures:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On Romantic Films.

I love romantic films. It's actually an obsession of mine; I watch these romantic comedies not only once or twice or three times. But many, many times. Then after doing so I watch the movie with director commentary. I think it is the familiarity, the music, the conversations I find comforting. I even like the ones that end so tragically. Everything in a romantic film is so graceful and artificial. 

So enthralled by romantic films, I thought it would be a good idea to create my own last week. Got on a plane, flew to see the person I loved and failed with such ease. What they do not show you in these films are the waiting in layovers. The quiet moments in the hotel. The buying McDonalds for food in the hotel. Its just not as cute and much more expensive than what we see on the silver screen. Of course, I am embarrassed but a part of me laughs every time I think about it. Just because I would do something like this. That is a full expression of who I am. Crazy but ideal. And as I make these decisions, I am realizing I am much more braver than I thought I was. 

I actually attempted this little adventures the week prior but changed my mind last minute. The same hour I was about to jump on a plane, was also happened the same hour I found myself back on the T. It was a whirlwind of an hour, let me tell you. I realized that the person that would've been at that door would have been the weakest version of me. I wanted so many things, needed words, affection, love. All the things that should never be warranted from no one else other than yourself. You cannot convince someone your worth if you cannot answer that on your own. And even though it was only a week that had passed, I felt like I was ready to jump on the horse again. Just this time it would be for me. And only me.

I wanted peace, I wanted dialogue. But more importantly I wanted to take care of myself. I wanted to create movement through a conversation and was waiting too long for the inevitable. Many of my loved ones were against my little voyage, not wanting this to be a part of my memories but because of this, I reached an euphoria that has only taken me forward. I do not see my story as an inspiration to a film anytime soon, but it was honest. Something that actually was very sweet. It may not have been the greatest thing to happen but there was still so much love even in the end. Happy Ending, not so much. Happiness? Possibly.

My real life story is, I do not know where I will be in the next year or so. God willing I will have options when I apply to medical schools. So until things become more real, I do not have choices to make. I am sad now but I also know I would die if I do not live the life I want that I've wanted for myself. Love, or rather more so, relationships are fleeing and less tangible in comparison to a beckoning career. But here is the thing. I don't think real love can ever really flee. Relationships can. But if Love is in its most purest form, then I don't think it can be easily disposed with time. I thought life was much more dynamic than this. That we can multitask in the different roles in our lives: as professionals, as lovers, as parents, as children, as women and men. I hate that there is an ultimatum between the roles we play and for this need for compartmentalization. 

I want to believe that love can transcend these sort of things. I would want the kind of love that can sustain on faith, forgiveness, foresightBut until then, until this obscurity clears, I just have to trust in it and work with it. So maybe this isn't the end to my love story. Maybe this was just part of the bigger story line. Or a giant pause in it. Whatever it is, I will trudge along. Working hard, loving hard. All at the same time.

So moral of the story: Being romantic is expensive. Just kidding. But seriously.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On the Heart.

I have always been a brain person. I liked our thoughts, our ability to know things, to learn things, to be able to be conscious or non-conscious of our environment and then internalize that stimuli of our world into some sort of intangible but tangible material in our brains. Amazing.

Yet, I have come to adore the organ of the heart more and more recently. I find joy in the fact that the beating of the heart, the steady state pump, exists without any innervation of the brain. It happily does its thing, pumping along, incessantly each minute of the day, each hour, each lifetime. Even when we may not want to endure yet another day, the heart pushes us on, one beat at a time. This remarkable stamina lives within us. This is how we exist. Relentless.

Another reason to heart the heart is the heart's ability to "handles its shit". Not literally, of course. But rather, the heart is not only capable of assessing the pressure it receives but is also very efficient in quickly accommodating to it, then responds with what it was given in a heart beat. Pun so intended. The heart will work, with what you give it.

Pretend you found yourself or put yourself in this horrible situation, you are 'thinking' that this may be one of the worst ideas ever. You are frustrated, scared, exhausted. Something I have experienced rather recently. Nonetheless, the heart does not care what you think or feel. It does not judge, it does not criticize. It just does its function without hesitation and supplies you the necessary force you need to go on and do your thing. The heart provides you the means to do what you need to do, at that exact moment. To function.

When we age, the heart may less compliant (also described as more "stubborn") that ultimately  compromises the output of our hearts. The less compliant, the more work, more pressure is needed. But we already know this from personal experience.

The one downfall of this glorious organ is that, it cannot rejuvenate itself. Our brain and our muscles, to some extent, can heal after experiencing trauma. There can be stem cells or mechanisms that mend away after the damage has been done. Except for the heart. Surprisingly our heart does not have the capability to replace the dead cells with any spankin new ones. A localized injury to the cardiac muscle results in complete morbidity of that one section. Instead, we find what once were cells with a purpose and function, instead lies a "fibrous tissue" in its place.

Is that what happens, physically and figuratively, to our hearts when it may be broken? Torn apart, dead? When part of our cells die, pieces of our soul dies as well? You've felt it before. After losing someone, losing a job, losing hope. There are times where I feel a pain in my chest from an experience that has no physical matter. How is it that some arbitrary experience can transcend into a physical form?

The idea that that part of me cannot rejuvenate upsets me. Who would want to think that that such a vital organ cannot 'fix' itself. Not in my body nor in my life is this notion acceptable. There is some hope. It was observed that with those who have received transplants, were able to - at a very small, small percentage - regenerate some growth of new tissue. You just need a new heart, I guess.

Side note, in regards to at least the elements of the heart. I donated blood today and would like to think that not only did I give a physical part of myself, but also I'd like to think that an extension of my heart provided a medium for one or technically, three lives live a little easier. Okay, okay I know blood comes from the marrow but eh you think heart, you also think blood. My nerd is bulging out - I think this entry is really the reflection of my guilt because I should be studying the heart more so than writing about it. With that said, I leave with a quote from Mark Twain:

When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Reactions/Relationships.

So, I spent my day studying biochemical reactions. Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, fatty acid oxidation & synthesis, ketogenesis, synthesis of cholesterol, synthesis of triglycerides, different shuttles to move things from one end to another. SO full of reactions, I am gushing out of my ears with ways on how to produce ATP. It's kind of gross. 

But as I am willfully submerging myself in this material, I can not stop my mind from wondering about  these reactions as one giant, romantic analogy for love. One would be surprised that even amongst the most rigid, almost catatonic subjects, you can still find that even within its own language, there is much to say let alone learn from all these biological mechanisms that relate to love, life, and relationships. Heck, if these rules and pathways work for cells, it must work in our context with our day to day lives. Right? 

For example, there are points in a reaction where it enters a point called the "rate-limiting step". Once the reaction commits to this one step, it is committed. It can't turn back. Too much energy has been invested; there is only one direction at that point. And it is forward

I am at a point in my life where I can commit or not. I am already far too deep in my own shit that I've created for myself that I now have to make a decision and trust in it. Head first, jumping through heaps of fire, staying put in this decision as a whole person. Because. At this point, my decision is unidirectional. Whether this commitment is to my career, to my relationships, my faith, my being I am in at a point where almost everything matters. There is no room for complacency. I have already done the field work and fought with the consequences - that I just do NOT have enough energy to be apathetic. 

The "rate-limiting step" is also where there many points of regulation that can occur. Meaning, outside contributors may influence the outcome. These factors can activate, inactivate, enhance, suppress, modify- a number of things. Like everything else in life, there are many, many things that can contribute to the growth or death of something alive, active, well. Externally, internally. You just have to hope that these avenues of  intervention come with honest intentions and worth it. 

Lastly, there are also pathologies that can occur in a reaction. Any reaction, come to think of it, is vulnerable to some kind of malfunction. Malfunction in either, a receptor (the receiving end of some cell or entry), amount of substrate or enzyme available (energy, content, etc), or it may be just even a single mutation that changes ev-ery-thing. In the result of some obstruction, a build-up occurs where there will be too much of one thing. It just builds and Builds and BUILDS until.. mayhem.

I was the obstruction. the gallstone, the mutated gene. I brought this pathology onto myself. I am learning though, and I will probably continue to learn from this every day. Fortunately and unfortunately. This was all inevitable, yet simultaneously necessary. What my hope is, is that a more evolved, more developed organism will arise from all of this. 

I am at my rate-limiting step. So be it. What I can only hope at this point, is that the path that I ultimately choose may enhance the final product. Amen to that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the Greatest Commandment.

"with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind."

The Greeks knew what was up when attempting to define Love. They knew that the word we may use to express our adoration for others, for ourselves, or for a God, can not be shared with an admiration for things like a certain object  or hobby. I doubt that when we say we love someone, it is the same love that we have for our favorite food. Although, there are some ice creams that I would trade for certain people. (Just kidding, I would never put myself in a position where I would have to choose between the two.)

I do not want to believe that love is the act of self-sacrifice. I've done that before and got results that we're not sexy. He says it isn't too. Rather, He says that Love is loving another person as yourself. A pretty tricky balance, I do have to say. But it is the only balance vital to a more perfect Love. Sitting on one end of the balance more than another, gives what I believe a less, whole person. 

On one end, in order for me to extend myself, to share myself, to love another human being, I have to be whole. I need  to be able to answer the questions, why would anyone love me, by myself before I can expect anyone else to answer that exact question. I must represent a love that is honest, within. And if I can't do that, and I wasn't able to for awhile, then I fill this part of me with a void, a 'love' that is half-hearted and unfulfilling. As great as I would want to belong to people, I must be able to sit with myself and have that same joy without them. Lately, I've had the time to sit and I fidget a hell of a lot. Yet, the outcome of this uncomfortability is strengthening. I'm falling in love with me all over again, and it's pretty fun.

On the other end, I also believe that the process of loving another person is as empowering, challenging, and self-gratifying as with yourself. Whether intimately in a relationship, with your family, with the stranger on the street, we contribute to one another in a way that can be as soul-fullfilling. It's like a muscle fiber in parallel (yes, I'm bringing it with Physiology in this). Muscle, in series, generate the same amount of force when just side by side. Developing a force independent to one another. The end result is as if there was just one giant sarcomere, like a chain. No difference in force capability. But when a sarcomere is in parallel, we are able to generate a greater force together than just one. Life is a bitch. We need the added support, the extra love, the extension of ourselves from one another from time to time, to become a greater "force" than what we are on our own. I know this to be true because I would not be here had it not been the summation of other people's love for me. I would like to think that it is the same for them, for those that I was able to share my love and compassion as well.

The best part of all of this, the beauty behind what makes love Love is that this can all occur simultaneously. Love is dynamic and can not be compartmentalized. I think it is in this push and pull in our lives that we can create a more a complete image of ourselves. Love is in its own, His image. He is Love. It says so, on my ring. It must be true.  And if that is the goal, to love Him, ourselves, and others synchronously - to make it just one big ass dance together in this party called life.  Then, I believe everything else follows :) He said so himself. 
"This is the greatest and the first commandment.The second is like it:You shall love your neighbor as yourself. "

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Losing Someone.

Today, my best friend's ninang had passed away this morning. It is ridiculously surreal on how fast a life can be taken away. She was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer just shy of about 6 weeks ago. The family thought that, if anything, they would at least have the holidays together this year. To think, that this is no longer feasible must be overwhelmingly painful. Even though holidays may be tedious and sometimes a burden, I can't imagine how it must feel for them to want just that hour with her, that day, that moment to create just one more memory.

Funny thing, though there is nothing funny about death, is that I've been thinking about death lately. Or rather, my thoughts have been towards those that have passed away in my life. My mother recently came back from Hawaii, a place where there are strong ties with my father and his passing. I have actually been thinking about him more, simply because I'm back in school again (after a number of years) and there are so many questions I'd want to ask him. My father was a professor, and I would love to have a conversation with him, extracting any words of wisdom, listening to his own voice. I miss him today as in any other day that I think of him. Mourning is all relative.

The one unique thing about when you loose someone, though, is that their impression on you never leaves. It's like a perfume that just lingers on you the whole day.  For all the good and the bad, what they meant to you when they were alive and when they were not, changes how you perceive the world ongoing. I am who I am because my father is not here. One thing that has come out of losing my father is that, I worry sometimes that I can loose anyone at any one point. I think people can leave, can die, can just go anywhere, at any one point. Call it as you will, though the word co-dependeny makes me nauseous nor would I ever admit this to myself. But I just think, if it can happen with my father, with my friend's godmother, it can happen to anyone. You just don't know.

Now, I don't suggest clamping your claws to every person that you love and care for, thinking that at any time they could die or leave you, that in itself is a serious problem. (Something I'm figuring out, rather unfortunately). But I do suggest for those that have have loved ones that are alive and well, to not take any moment for granted. Live every moment, consciously, with them. Okay, enough with the cliches. Back to studying, I'd like to think that's what my father would say to me right about now.

My prayers are with the San Buenaventura family tonight. I am so sorry for your loss.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Second Chances.

After what feels like I very, very long day, I came to my weekly volunteering here as the Hotline. A place where I was looking forward to very much so today. [Quick plug, if you may have any questions about AIDS/HIV, Sexual Transmitted Diseases/Infections, or just general sexual health questions, please feel free to call AIDS Hotline at 800.235.2331 Mon-Thur 9-8p or Fri 9-5].

Explained in a past entry, there are a number of calls that can come through in a single shift. Some call for information or a quick referral, while others call for more serious inquiries in which we assess the situation together and then proceed to any available options at hand. Today, however, was a little bit different from the norm I have ever experienced.

Today, a man found out he was diagnosed with HIV. Today. HIV positive. And I am the first person he has spoken to about this and simply wanted to talk. Now, I have spoken to a number of people with HIV before but the difference then was that they already knew (and relatively, accepted) their diagnosis. This man, on the other hand, just found out about an hour ago. Let's just say, I did more listening than talking with this call.

Minus the details, a man who sounded like an intelligent person, a person that I would be friends with in my own life, a good head on his shoulders, and with every intention to do well and do good things, for one reason or another had a moment of slipped judgment and is now dealing with those consequences - this overwhelming, life-changing diagnosis - because of a succession of wrong decisions.

He just kept on mentioning on how he wish he could just get that 'second chance' where he could've done things differently and ... "how can it be, that the decision [he] made in that moment can potentially affect the rest of [his] life". He told me that before that point, he led a rather straight path. He had a stable upper management job at a business firm, had a stable relationship with a woman and was happy. But then a series of anomalies happened in his life that when things changed so drastically, he found himself imbalanced and resorted into behaviors that inevitable harmed him.

Though many of us may not or will not share the same grave outcome from a 'bad decision', I know that we can all relate to the sentiment of when we have done something wrong, the desire for that second chance to redeem ourselves. To be able to fully express the way we've envision ourselves to be.

We've all made mistakes. I've made many as well as many recently (-_-) and it seems as if it is always after the damage has been done, or when we are caught, or sort of consequence presents itself in response to our poor decisions, that we come face to face with our shortcomings. Why is it always in retrospect that we can reach these epiphanies? 

And because it does take time and certain circumstances to see this revelation, are we/should we/deserve to be granted a second chance? I would like to think so. We are not perfect human beings and because of this, if it wasn't for forgiveness or the second chance, or third chance, or fourth chance, we would go nowhere. For example, I wouldn't be where I am now with school, had someone not given me this second chance to pursue my dream. I'd like to think that in the field of medicine, I could provide for people that second chance to live a life more functional, more healthy, and more content by providing them an opportunity to reach the image of how they envision their lives to be.

Life shouldn't be so unforgiving, especially for people that are so imperfect.

I pray for that man tonight, and I hope that he can receive some form of his "second chance".