We just cannot be important to everyone. Period. That’s the biggest lesson I learned from ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. We all know this, right? I do too. But how many times do I find myself secretly yearning for attention and recognition?All In vain. It gets quite on my nerves sometimes and then then I remember Hazel’s words to Guz, well not the exact words but somewhere along the line of ‘This is what you get, the whole world doesn’t care about you but few people do and that should be enough for you.’ This is just so true. Why do we fret so much about leaving a mark on every freaking being? This crazy obsession is futile, only subjecting you to misery and desolation. If only I could master the art of not caring about silly stupid things, life would be so much happier. If only I could be me for once.
I barely recognize myself anymore. In my pursuit of building myself for better, I have ruined myself for worse. What is it that I’m after? How do I stop myself from losing my identity? Do I even know where I’m headed? My conscience betrays my logic. I am enslaved by my obsessions and goals, I should not be but I am. Goals keep me focused but they make me forget some of the bigger realities of life like death. My goals won’t make my death better, my kind deeds would. So I should work on my goals less, and on building myself as a person more. I should be able to recognize myself. Things that were once bad are bad now as well so I should not be too flexible in adopting them. I should not ruin myself for the better. For the greater good that might not even see the light of the day.
We are on a surgery rotation nowadays. As third years, there is little that we actually understand in surgery. The complex surgical procedures clearly don’t make any sense to us. Take a flap here, suture it there, blah blah. Not that we are expected to know much either. At this level, we are just supposed to learn to take detailed, comprehensive history. It does sound easy but it ain’t easy. Especially when surgery is your first rotation and you are clueless to the very idea of talking to patients.
Third year also means that my empathic instincts are already deteriorating and I hate myself for it. I have certainly become less thoughtful of the sufferings of the patients, too busy to look around, too selfish to really care. But when I do, it is revealing in so many ways. Like yesterday I saw two women break into to tears, and the helplessness on their faces was a clear testimony to how devastating their illness was. (Both had dysphagia, a medical term for difficulty in swallIow) Imagine not being able to eat or drink, not because you don’t feel like it or have some dietary restrictions but because you just can’t make the food or water go down your food pipe. It comes out, just like that. Seeing those women sobbing uncontrollably made me realize that how disease is more than an abberation in our body and how it defies our treatment strategies too often. Disease leaves a person crippled and helpless and while we have devised so many ways to combat it, sometimes all we are left with is nothing. Like when the cancer has metastasized, or when the tumor is too aggressive. What do we do then? Words of condolences? Really? Do they suffice? I guess that’s where we fail. The sky might not be the limit but there is a limit after all. So there’s little to pride ourselves on. The ease with we which we achieve the complex process of swallowing is not some skill that we have wonderfully mastered but rather a gift of nature that we take for granted. And just because we have been given the power to manipulate it as we wish doesn’t mean that this power is supreme. Remember that power is limited!
I love the days of realization, the brief period of enlightenment when everything seems to fall in place, when everything makes perfect sense and when the road ahead looks clear. What a bliss! How markedly in contrast are these days with the days of turmoil, when sadness inflicts the soul, when everything is a blur. And ironically those days are not when I’m on the top of my game, it’s just that I feel sated and content. They make me feel worthy of myself, they help me embrace my weaknesses, they belittle everything crappy that haunts my soul during the negative phase. But sad enough, those days do not last, it’s not that reality sets in, and the dream is over. It’s just that I begin to break down. I try to believe that happiness and sadness is in my control, that it’s my perception that dictates whether I’m happy or sad. May be that’s the case. But why is that it’s easy at times and just plain difficult at others. But you know what, I’d never feel good at ‘good’ days if not for the bad ones. That sounds so cliche, right? I know but I need to remind myself of it as much as I can. It’s an effort worth making. Because it puts things in perspective. You’re going to have really bad days but as the author of ‘The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck’ would have said ‘having bad days is not bad’, you are not supposed to be ‘over the moon’s all the time. So just celebrate the fact that those bad days are always followed by the ‘days of realization’, which basically puts everything in place.
Have you ever felt the sadness that creeps under your skin, reaches all the way to your mind, to your heart so all your body moans and groans in pain but no pill helps because who believes in the pain of sadness? The kind of sadness that doesn’t even have a valid reason. It just feels like a void in your existence, as if for a moment you get to look inside your soul and you find it all barren. What is that you have forgotten? Why do you feel so empty? It’s not because you are failing at your life or your work or your relationships. It is not rooted in the downs of your life. It stems from the lack of kindness and humbleness in your deeds. So you realize why it feels so unfathomable? Because it stems from this same inability of yours to understand: your tragic failure to appreciate and care for the people around you, your obsession with you. Move around, witness and acknowledge the struggle of just one living soul other than you and see how the sadness slowly oozes out of your own. See how the void is filled!
Falling apart? Crumbling under the pressure? Doubting your own existence? Your life keeps tossing back and forth between dark days and good days. So after some time, even when the hope and lively spirit is there, all you have is despair for the darkness that lies ahead. Why does the hope go away? How do you cling to it? You see, the more you think about it, the tougher it gets to cling to your faith. And no one, me ,he, she whoever it is, none of us can help you out of your self-invented misery. No, you are not going to get drowned by it either, you’ll be afloat, heading wherever the wind leads you. Some days you end up in the brightest waters and other days you find yourself in the darkest of places. And you know how the dark takes over you, so that the bright, no matter how bright isn’t enough to dispel it. ‘The gloom beats the glee. The despair is all you see.’ They tell you not to dream big, they ain’t kidding. Dreaming big only invites more trouble, more despair. ‘Be sated, be content,’ they say. Agree with them’. Tell them ‘Working on it’. Until then ‘Despair is all you see’. ‘The gloom beats the glee’.
So sometimes I go into this strange mood, when all forms of human relationships strike me as selfish and mean. And I get really really negative and that negativity makes it hard to breathe and I have to try so hard not to judge people all the time. Obviously I hate this phase. I don’t know why I go through this. There are things though that make me feel better and help me get through it. Grey’s Anatomy, for example. Now it might seem counter-intuitive but this show has made me learn so much lessons, more about life than medicine . Whether other people look upon this show in that way is not very clear to me but I feel there is this originality and genuineness about it that can make your life, literally. There are so many tiny moments hidden in every episode that convey messages of pure love and joy and that revives my faith in love and humanity. Another thing that truly helps beat the negativity are books. Books that tell tales of love and heroism and sacrifice. Again it does seem a bit of fantasizing, but I guess there is a lot of fiction out there that portrays reality in its true essence. No one writes fairy tales anymore, I guess. So you see, that period of despair of mine slowly subsides and I even feel like ‘I’m on the top of my game’ when it’s over. I wish the optimistic spirit were here forever but it doesn’t really happen so I’m just going to keep trying. Sometimes I think I’m a freak, but then I remind myself that may be we all are freaks, just pretty good at hiding it.
We are the Supreme beings. We are born free. We can conquer great things. We exercise full control on our lives. We are humans, we think, we decide, we act. As simple as that.But here’s the reality: We might have a lot of potential but the limits are always there. There’s only so much that we can do. And how painful it is to accept the fact that some things are just not for you? How appalling it is to come to terms with your ultimate fate and accept it as such? It might take forever to bury the wishes of your heart, to shut thsoe voices in your head, to go back to that shell, to be able to even dream again. You never recover from it, you just keep on pretending that you have moved on, but the wishes denied are not wishes forgotten. They nestle in the deepest recess of your heart, your mind, apprising you of that hollowness that was never filled. Yes, you don’t die when you have to give up on your dreams but you don’t live either!
Why do we pursue excellence? Why do we want just the ‘best’? Why is mediocrity not the norm? Why is the ordinary not okay? Why is standing out so important? Why is leaving a mark so essential? Why is giving up not fine?
Tired of running, sick of striving and afraid of failing. Still not resting because the world is hostile to those who give up?
Don’t you think excellence is overrated?