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".  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On How to be Sexy.

To be sexy, is very hard. Takes a lot of time and conscious energy. I don't mean the obvious. It's not about the hours at the gym, or the cost of a boob job or nose job or something job that makes someone sexy. You don't have to have tons of money to become sexy. Surprisingly, it is already a part of each of one of us. This 'swagger' or confidence. How ever way you want to put it. Something we all kind of know but forget. Blame it on the media, short memory, lack of personal pride. But once you remember why you're the shiet, [life] gets pretty fun.

I almost believe that if each one of us carries a sense of self-love, we would be a lot nicer to one another. Because we would honor each other so much better, acknowledge each life with respect since we hold ourselves with the same mutual respect and love.

When did I get to this epiphany or rather, when was I reminded of how cool we already are? In Church. It was pretty awesome. I came across a scripture about how we should love God with "all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds". Now this isn't an entry about some evangelization or Christian-love God thing (though I do believe His love is pretty sustaining). But the reading continues on saying that we should also love our neighbor as ourselves. Not above ourselves, not below ourselves. As ourselves. So, with that said, our relationship with ourselves reflect on how we treat others. If there is something lacking, within or with others, we compensate. Sometimes to the point of deterioration on both relationships. There is a balance. A large ego of oneself can push others aside, while a social-martyr sacrifices self under almost any situation. There has to be a balance, a respect for one another's gifts while simultaneously honoring one's own.

So, to answer the 'how to be sexy' conundrum, it's all about love. Self-love. People-love. All the sorts of love you can think of. And, of course, not literally in that I am encouraging to "hoe out" and love all the people you can get your hands on, because then that's just.. Sex. Rather, love comes in many forms, sometimes in the form of adoration, others it is simply mutual respect or accepting each other's differences.

After a run, I came across a written chalk message that said, "Love Yourself". Yessir.

Friday, October 14, 2011

On the Mistress.

Seems like the past couple weeks, the theme has been about numerous loves or lovers. Is it possible to share an equal amount of love and quality of affection with multiple people? (or things or passions, what ever you want to term the third party. Can you share a part of who you are without compromising other relationships? Is there ever such a thing called, monogamy?

Our hearts are pliable, accommodating. Haven't covered the cardiac physiology in my classes yet but from my experience, I've known the heart to be pretty boundless. There are very few limitations to what we can fill in our hearts, particularly when we speak about love. Note: I'm not trying to be a romantic here. Rather, I'm trying to defend that loving one thing does not discredit the love for another. But the bigger question is, can we use this same logic to relationships with people? Actual, living breathing people with feelings? I'm sort of uncertain to answer this myself, but I will attempt to see if this may be true.

I have a dear friend that I've known for years that believes that love can transcend to different relationships, simultaneously, without compromising others. I argued quickly with her that this can not be true, that love in itself - in its most crass description - can take a lot of time and energy that we, as humans, are always restricted by. Therefore, if we have multiple relationships, would we not eventually face the fact that the more 'loves' that we have, the less time and energy we have to share amongst them? 

Or is it, with multiple loves, it all can be compartmentalized. Separate, yet significant. Is that a justifiable solution? Each relationship, standing in its own way, not necessarily taking one from the other. I want to believe that we are capable of falling in love with anything, and should not be restricted if that may be more than one person or dream. I want to think that by doing so, by loving endlessly, it's almost is God-like. Can we not open our hearts to love all, are we not capable of approaching this boundless form of love. If I was to love one thing, can I say that I love another as well and as equal? Can this logic transcend in the context of what we label as an exclusive, intimate relationship? Is the only reason why we restrict the boyfriend-girlfriend/husband-wife/girlfriend-girlfriend/boyfriend-boyfriend/wife-wife/husband-husband.. is because we simply want to feel a sense of belonging? Is monogamy just another form of security? 

I always applaud myself for my receptiveness to new things and new ideas. But, when that all gets challenged, it makes me smile. A little frustrated, but nonetheless, open for the challenge. I'm still trying to figure this out this whole thing, multiple love, mistress like life. So, if anyone has an idea, thought, proof, a strong opinion. Please let me know what's up.