Friday, August 31, 2007

one that won't make me feel too bad, one that won't make me feel too good

The 10-15 minute walk home may have given me heat stroke and a sunburn. That is not right. I just wanted my objection to be noted.

Lesson for the week: I like to say the words fascicles and phalanges. Sometimes, I like to say them with flare. Also, jejunum, although I always make it sound way more French than it probably should, which is rather hilarious given my absolute failure to grasp the slightest bit of French pronunciation.

The meltdowns I've been having are of the good variety. I mean, except the meltdowns that have to do with actually, physically melting because the heat is actually causing me to liquefy and lose all integrity. The other meltdowns have been useful. Some have spurred me on to study when I needed a stiff kick in the pants. Others have afforded me the realization that I need to calm down a bit. And still others have shown me that I need to join a gym, because some anxiety-related energy usually goes away with a good walk or a run at the gym- a good walk is not possible at the moment without IV fluids, an air-conditioned shirt and maybe a cabana boy following me around misting me with Evian. So, the gym may be a necessity.

Not all meltdowns are a problem. Some just need to happen, are a natural progression of figuring things out. So, I haven't likely had the last of my meltdowns, but I am not feeling one fast at my heels either. That is a nice way to end the week.

I have started to figure out which people accelerate and which people quench imminent meltdowns. And there too, both are necessary, in an odd way. It is a bit humorous to me that the big selling point that nearly every medical school boasts of these days is a non-competitive atmosphere. I hate to break it to them, but that shizz does not exist. Sure, people are not going to shank you when you turn your back. But on the other hand, these are people that had to fight and claw their way to distinguishing themselves from a pretty high-performing pool of candidates-- that shizz leaves some damage, and just having pass-fail classes does not magically transform them to angelic team players. However, that does not bother me. In fact, a little bit of it probably keeps everyone honest.

Man, I hope I'm not always this boring from here on out. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to find a bucket of ice and dunk my head in it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

don't want you back for a weekend, not back for a day

Ummm, y'all. It was 104 degrees today. And that was when it was starting to cool down. I know people talk about getting fried by the sun, but when you actually start to wonder if you are skewered on a rotisserie, that just is not right.

Back to being calm. No explanation, really. No rhyme or reason to why I get all unnerved and overly ambitious one day and feel totally calm the next. But I'm getting pretty accustomed to living life on a roller coaster. I collected more evidence today that I think completely differently from other students, and for no logical reason, it somehow quelled any anxiety that might have been developing. I should feel alienated, as if it was even more data suggesting that I am a square peg being jammed into a round hole. Strangely, I feel happy to still have my corners, to not be dulled and molded.

Another oddity- I pretend I have this support network, and that's why I am glad to be in California. I pretend there are all these people to turn to. It's not really pretend, in the sense that I could turn to them- there are really sweet people who would gladly take me in should I need refuge. But right now, I relish the fact that I am totally alone here, that I have the time and space to work out exactly how to do this in the healthiest way possible for me. I just hope they'll all still be speaking to me when I've sorted that out, and am in need of adult conversations that do not involve questions on an exam or whether so-and-so is going to break up with his girlfriend or not.


On a completely different and far more important note, I just wanted to observe a very sad two-year anniversary. As Maitri has pointed out, two years later, still so much needs to be done. In case you haven't been following it, NPR has been knocking them out of the park one after another with coverage of how the area is faring two years later. And it has been pretty balanced, and as such, I have to say that I grew more outraged every day this week. What does it say about our country that politicians think immigration is a more important issue than Katrina? What does it say about us that politicians think these are our priorities?

It is bad enough that the handling of Katrina was so deplorable. What's far worse is the notion that the nation grew tired of talking about it. Or worse yet that, even now, knowing everything we know about how this disaster was exacerbated by flagrant mishandling, do people choose to talk about the looting that occurred during the hurricane. I know it's wrong to make snap judgments, but when people find the first noteworthy topic about Katrina to be the looting, I immediately hold those people under deep suspicion and question their awareness about the world, the country, and the administration currently governing us.

I don't mean to rant, but then again, maybe I do. It bothers me that there isn't still widespread ranting about this. It bothers me that elected officials can discuss that the war in Iraq was one mistake after another and claim it is now of paramount importance to fix that and turn the tide. Yet, those same officials are dodgy and shuffle their feet, and would be all too happy to pretend there is nothing left to be done in New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

sweet heart bitter heart, now I can't tell you apart

Y'all, I know I get all cheesified with the music gushing, but this shizz is just so twee, at just when I needed a little dose of it, that I automatically smile when I see it. I know the song's all played out, and some people think Feist's older work is tighter, but to you all, I must say, with all due respect and no offense intended- whatever. Me likey. Do you? Check it:

Other than that, I have been thinking about balance and extremes a lot, when really I should be spending that time more productively. But I've given myself this little pep talk. I always want to be at a baseline, to be unphased by whatever is happening in the day-to-day. But. 1) Life would be rather dull if I really felt that way. 2) The body itself does not do this. The body is always, actually, in conflict. When you contract one set of muscles, another set of muscles relaxes. When one part of your system is telling your heart to go for broke, another one is telling you to calm that shizz down. All these forces in opposition, this whole, beautiful mess- and the result is that, for the most part, every day, you wind up okay.

So I think I just need to get better about understanding that there will always be a push and pull within me, that I'll always be a bit torn.

Monday, August 27, 2007

while you debate half-empty or half-full

Sometimes I act my age, and other times, I regress in a frightening way. I've noticed this trend that, directly after my exams (which are a bit unnecessarily frequent at the moment, but do keep me in line I suppose), my spirits are in the mud. I feel lousy. I feel I didn't study enough, or I wasn't asked the questions I thought I would be asked, or I didn't get to really demonstrate what I have learned. Luckily, I don't talk about all of this, but internally, I feel like a failure.

Then slowly, I realize I have not done that badly, or even that I have done quite well, and, what's more, I remember that all of these f***ing classes are pass-fail, so slow and steady wins the race. And I feel fine for the most part.

When I was studying chemistry, in the really early days of my study of chemistry, this used to happen. But I was far more unbearable back then, being only 17 and a bit of a jacka$$. So I would bemoan my stupidity, thrash myself for bombing an exam, drink three shots of Peppermint Schnapps while toying with the notion of smoking a clove cigarette for effect. And after Test #3 or 4, my friends got really annoyed with this. Not just because it's ridiculous to get so worked up about a test, but also because I always wound up doing just fine, sometimes more than fine.

The extremes are not quite as extreme anymore. I get back to baseline much faster, and I don't teeter quite as high or low. But I still have the oscillation and it grates on my nerves, grating on me almost as much as my classmates who obsess about getting an extra point here and there. There's some whack logic in my head that needs to get purged, some logic that says- you love this, you went all out to get here, you must get. every. question. right. And as much as outwardly, I shrug it off and pretend I don't care, there is a pesky question from three weeks ago that is still sitting in the pit of my stomach, churning about, taunting me, driving me bonkers that I got it wrong. Ridiculous! But no matter how much you tell yourself that, it doesn't really make the churning go away.

What I have been trying to tell myself is this- don't be half-a$$ed. Know this sh*t, because that's why you're here. Know it and love it, or what is the point. But, FTLOG, let it go too. Don't obsess. Don't waste time in life worrying about that which cannot be changed. And don't, for one second, think you can't do it. As soon as those doubts start swirling through your head, game, set and match, b*tch.

Friday, August 24, 2007

it's just overkill

Blame maisnon, she started it:

brimful --



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Rather apt given my blogging this week, I would say.

Anyway, here's some more girliness to drive the last of the male readers away. I realized this morning that I have this entire matrix in my head for how I treat my hair:
  • If I just washed my hair, I let it remain wavy and unruly and totally out of control (my hair is naturally somewhere in between wavy and slightly, ever so slightly curly, and also, headache-inducingly thick).

  • If it is very hot, I keep my hair straight (but I don't use a straightener because those things scare me). Because my hair is both heavy and wavy, if it is too hot, that means my hair becomes almost unbearable. I've somehow convinced myself that drying my hair straight tends to make it slightly lighter and therefore, somehow less suffocating in the heat.

  • If I am running late or if it is getting too hot, the hair gets pulled back. But this can only be accomplished if my hair is either wet or has been blown dry. If it is in its truly natural state, it's actually too large and thick at that point to pull back- I have lost many an elastic (and possibly some people behind me have suffered ocular injuries) testing that one out.

And that's leaving aside what's happened since school started, because now my objectives for the day have to be factored in (test= hair pulled back, lab= hair pulled back after drying, etc). I should probably be using these neurons on studying, but I haven't figured out how to stay quite that focused.

Then again, I probably should be using that portion of my brain on thinking about what I'm wearing instead of my hair. Today, we were given feedback on how we behave in team settings. Given my inner monologue of late, I thought I was in for the riot act, but instead, the instructor was all sunshine and rainbows. Except that he completely stalled out halfway through the discussion because he was distracted by my t-shirt. I had not even realized what I was wearing, but it turned out it was this (in light blue):

Oops. You can scratch any thoughts you may have had about how I'm so much more mature than my classmates right about now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

but it's just a little piece of me

You guys kind of rock my world with all your indulgence in my rantings and ravings. I want to note a few things:
  • It turns out that age has nothing to do with it-- I won't go into the details, but I had an encounter today proving it.

  • It's also not nearly as bad as I made it out to be. It's just that something boiled to the surface yesterday and I just let it all out. But there are actually a number of tolerable people. And actually, it wasn't the people that were really bothering me.

To that last point, there is more to add, really. There is a certain reflexive action I always have, invariably, when someone tries to coax me into doing something by saying that it's what is done. I buck like one of those mechanical bulls in seedy bars. I immediately recoil. Peer pressure has always had a negative effect on me. If people insist that we should all find this unmanageable and impossibly difficult, I am skeptical. If instructors tell me I'm going to have a new set of best friends so I won't miss my old best friends, I am skeptical.

Also, I don't like the judgment that comes with it. I do not make friends the way some people make friends. I'm from EBF on the East Coast, and there, you remain aloof, you wait. You don't just befriend every friendly face. Maybe that's not a great thing, but there's also nothing wrong with easing into friendships. And I don't like people exerting pressure for me to act a certain way that is against my nature.


Anyway, this is awfully boring. It's funny the things that I love though. Like doing a load of laundry. Like coming home exhausted and chopping up vegetables and roasting potatoes for my week's lunch. Like walking to class while reciting the muscles that make up the rotator cuff. Little, stupid things. But things that tell me I am happy to be here, and, more than that, that I know what I need to keep me happy here. And let me tell you, it has nothing to do with building relationships.

In other news, when the hell do the fall television shows start up? If I'm going to waste time slacking off, I'd like to do it with 30Rock or Friday Night Lights, rather than my current brain-numbing fare of The Hills and Top Chef.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

maybe below the cockles

I have figured out the one, nagging thing that is really bothering me about life at the moment. It can be boiled down to this: I perpetually feel like an a$$hole, though I don't feel that I actually am an a$$hole. And then getting annoyed with being made to feel like an a$$hole just makes me feel like an even bigger, well, a$$hole.

Sorry for all the expletives. But I don't know how to say this without being an a$$hole. And that's the problem. I feel like all the thoughts in my head are a$$hole thoughts, and, worse than that, I don't feel like not having such thoughts.

I wish everyone would act like adults. I wish everyone would stop complaining. I wish everyone would stop talking about their feelings- we have all known each other for less than 3 weeks, I do not feel like we should be that comfortable with sharing intimate details of our lives. And most of all, oh, most of all, I wish people would stop saying that we are supposed to build deep and meaningful relationships with each other.

Maybe that's not the answer. Maybe it's like a protein folding. A protein has certain parts of it that have an affinity for water, and other parts that do not (I know I'm simplifying, biology geeks, ease up). But water outnumbers proteins, so water wins. A protein, so as not to ruin the state of water, folds itself up, tucks away the sides that water does not care for. All that water sees is the surface of the protein, the parts that it likes, and so the protein goes unnoticed.

And that is fine and good. I know I have been air-dropped into an ocean right now, and that trying to unfold in this environment is just not going to happen. I don't even care if no one here ever finds out about my hidden, hydrophobic residues. But let me have those. Let me feel it is okay to seek out some other proteins that have some hydrophobic shizz going on, and hang with them.

Don't tell me I actually have to become water to swim in the ocean. Because I call bullsh*t. And you see, that makes me an a$$hole.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

when all logic grows cold and all thinking gets done

The more I find myself studying, the more mindless the fare I seem to attack when I have a spare moment. Last Friday, feeling it was time for a break, some peeps and I agreed we needed to go see a movie. And we also had no argument that The Bourne Ultimatum should be that movie. I mean to tell you I have no special love for Matt Damon. In fact, sometimes I find him a bit smarmy and self-important. Also, it really annoys me that his Boston accent is so quickly deteriorating- heaven help us all if he has to actually pull off an accent from elsewhere (remember Kevin Costner in Robin Hood?). Also, I have a special sort of disgust for the blank, blah Julia Stiles. Still, 2-2 cancel each other out: give me David Strathairn and Joan Allen, and I can dig it.

Now supposedly the movie had some deeper points, which I might have caught at a different time, in a different frame of mind. But on Friday, my brain was not in the mood for any sort of machinations. Instead, I just sort of watched all this speeding about and beating of various thugs into pulps and suspension-of-disbelief outsmarting of the bad guys, and was glad to have my brain distracted for two hours.

You could say it was simply temporary, but I have to tell you that I have also watched Derailed, a movie no one should ever really see. Within the first fifteen minutes of the film, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Did that matter? Not one bit. Clive Owen? Yes please. I should be angry with Clive Owen for forcing me to sit through two hours of an absolute disaster of a movie. I should have been yelling at the television, "Screw that, Clive, you are not good at playing gullible." But me, I have trouble getting cross with Clive. He knows he can get away with appearing in nonsensical films and I'll sit through them just pleased to see his face for an hour or two. That's the kind of relationship we have.

It's like there are only two types of thoughts running through my head these days- these kinds, these hi, I'm a thirteen year old schoolgirl kind, and the other kind, the kind that would be mind-numbingly boring to anyone not in my exact predicament. So, you get the adolescent babbling instead.

It should be noted that everyone is starting to freak out now, and some people's sweet exteriors have cracked. And I feel like coming into class tomorrow humming, it's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. It's not that I'm not overwhelmed. I'm just as barely keeping up as the next person. But I don't do freaking out. Freaking out I save for real emergencies- people dying, severe hurricanes, someone stealing my car, or Clive Owen announcing he's retiring from the movies.

Friday, August 17, 2007

hooray hooray

Wouldn't it just figure that the moment that I say I am putting the song of the week on hiatus I encounter a song that would have been perfect to post? Maybe you have all heard it already, but I have been listening to the new Rilo Kiley tune, Silver Lining, constantly all of a sudden.

See, unlike some people, I really and truly am a child of the 80s, much as the 90s were much more formative years for me. And I will have you know that I also think the 80s were not a decade devoid of anything worthwhile, as was hinted somewhere by someone. Oh yes, I know, I know, I know we had fluorescent colors and jelly shoes and Wham (don't hate!). But we also had ****ing Depeche Mode, New Order, the Cure, Michael Jackson back when he was not insane, Prince when he was a straight-up freak. And oh- can you imagine what it is like to be an adolescent and hear a new album break that turns out to be the Violent Femmes' first?

So you know, I am pretty okay with being a child of the 80s. For example, yesterday at lunch, some children of the 90s were reminiscing over the Power Rangers, while I was reminiscing over Voltron. Sorry, but I win.

But back to the point. I am truly convinced that some of the coolest music I have heard in this particular decade came directly from influences from the 80s. If it weren't for the 80s and all those crazy video game sounds and wacky synth-y music, there wouldn't be a Killers. And that would be a shame. I'm also convinced there would be no song called the Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley. That would make me very sad, because it is the little, slight, gentle sound of pretty. Hmmm. That sentence makes no sense, which is what happens when I try to write a blogpost in two minutes. But you see what I am saying.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

high up on my toes

Can I be completely shameless for a moment? Feel free to just ignore this post, because it's all gushy and gross, and this is what I usually try to keep to myself.

It just occurred to me today, and I wrote it to one of my closest friends when explaining how I have been feeling- for the first time in years, in ages, I feel like me.

I know this makes no sense. If I wasn't me all these years, who was I, some fraud? I should hope not. And stranger still, feeling like me does not mean that I feel like I am the same, exact person I once was. On the contrary, the whole impulse to even make this comment had to do with realizing that the person I was some ten years ago was not equipped to do what I am now doing.

Because, see, at the end of every day, even on a day like this, when I have just sat through six consecutive hours of lecture, something will occur to me, some flicker, some spark. Every day, it occurs to me how this all fits, how it makes sense and is important to know and how every part of it is intertwined and, more than anything, how lucky I am to be part of it.

Lucky that I had the chance to do this. Not lucky that I sneaked into it. That, I think, is the strangest, most wonderful thing about coming at this whole strange trip from this angle, that key distinction.

And having said all of that, it makes no sense to say I finally feel like me. But I do. It has something to do with things that were at my very core, things that I thought I lost so, so many years ago, and thought would never return. There was a hint, a few years ago, a little echo whispering inside of me, that gave me hope. It is not an echo anymore. Now it is real, and I am pleasantly shocked that reality, for a change, has surpassed hopes and ghosts and daydreams.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

knots I've got yet to untie

Hello peeps. It would be a simple thing to say that I have not had time to post. It would be a little white fib and you would have no proof I was lying. But I would know it was a lie and it would slowly eat away at me, and I would feel badly when you maybe passed along a comment or two of very well-intentioned support.

School means busy times, yes. And I had my first quiz on Monday, which meant busier times. But not pulling-out-my-hair-holy-sh*t-how-shall-I-survive busy times. I am just not sure what to write. I could write about my little quibbles, but that would seem awfully disingenuous. And I could write about how great and right this all feels, but that has this tone of ha-ha-my-life-is-so-the-shizzle which I do not care for one bit.

I guess I could tell you this: drinking Stoli (yes, dudes, I just felt bringing a bottle of Grey Goose to a party would be too pretentious around people who do not know what a jacka$$ I am about my vodka) and kamikaze shots the night before Anatomy lab is something I will probably not do to myself again. Don't worry, y'all, I'm old and sh*t, so I know how to keep myself in check, but also, since I'm old, I know that I don't need to subject myself to that feeling again.

Also, I could tell you one other thing. Most of school is a lot of by-the-numbers stuff right now- facts, concepts, file them away, get them stored and ready to recall for a test. But there's also a component that is very touchy-feely. Now I know this is part of medicine, and this is something that, to some extent, I like. But sometimes it makes me roll my eyes.

But in the midst of all that eye-rolling, one of the instructors leading the session asked us how many people we could count on, how many people we could turn to for help if we felt in need of it. My number was less than 10, but, when I thought about it later, it really should have been less than 5. After he'd asked us this, he told us that, as you progress on through training, that number drops down even lower.

I could see that some of the younger students were totally in disbelief of this. On the other hand, I was sort of wondering if I'd even be able to say that I could count on 1 or 2 people by the end of this year. Already, I have been shocked at how, just between the time I left San Francisco and got here, so many people have slipped away from my life. Stranger still, unlike some of my fellow classmates, I really cannot imagine fostering deep and meaningful relationships with them. Certainly, I will make friends, have made friends, but friendship in such a simple form is a rather transient notion really.

Oh- since I have been really irregular about posting lately, and since I don't know when I will get it together and start writing with anything vaguely interesting to say, I am putting the song-of-the-week gig on temporary hiatus. Not that many people were grabbing the tuneage anyway, so I doubt there will be a big outcry.

Wait! One more thing. One really important, monumentally awesome thing- did you know that J is back on the blog scene, giving it a much needed boost of hilarity? If I could do cartwheels, I would totally be doing them in my living room right now in celebration. It's amazing to me that J's writing voice is exactly the same as it was when she last blogged (which feels very long ago because I've missed her every day since then). So, go welcome her back, beg her to stay awhile, and never let her leave again.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

but we climb steps every day

Lest you all think I'm spending all of my days buried in the books, I am taking a brief break tonight. Frankly, I take some kind of break every day. Thing is, when I get into my groove, I take my breaks, but I usually take them for myself, as in I spend them blissfully alone doing something I enjoy.

But you can't do that all the time or people start wondering if you are one of those people, so earlier this week, upon the urging of some troublemakers, I took my first shot at the climbing wall. Granted, it's a little pathetic that this is the first time in my life that I've even attempted the climbing wall. However, I did it. Sort of.

So, at the particular gym we went to, you have to get trained to belay and pass a belay test to climb with your partner. So first I had to learn about all of this, which, interestingly, heightens your concern and dampens it at the same time. There are all these things you must do or some bad sh*t could go down, and the outcome of you screwing up could be someone getting severely injured. But, on the other hand, there are a sh*tload of failsafes in place designed to protect against your stupidity. You know, basically the same as medicine.

Climbing was alright. The first attempt, I did quite well. The second attempt, fatigue set in and I paid for my bad form. During the first attempt, I could rely on using my arms primarily and my legs only when my partner yelled at me. The second attempt, my arms were toast, and my legs still didn't have the hang of it, and I had no choice but to admit defeat. It was embarrassing, but hey, it was my first time, and I was the only one out of everyone invited who even showed up to give it a shot.

Belaying, when you're the one actually making sure your partner doesn't fall to his/her death, came a lot more naturally. Granted, it's a lot easier, but I also feel like I took it more seriously. I'm a lot better with being relied upon than I am with relying on others. What's more- I'm a lot more likely to push myself to avoid letting someone else down than to avoid letting myself down. I've already let myself down too many times, with very little consequence. Admitting my limitations is not a problem, but strangely neither is pushing my limitations for some useful purpose.

However, for the record, when you have to carry a 20-pound box a half a mile on a hot summer day, it's probably not such a wise idea to try climbing a wall the night before.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ain't that a kick in the head

One of my professors introduced the concept of homeostasis this week in this way- "all hell could be breaking loose outside, but inside you've got your shit together." It sounds even more bada$$ when uttered with a British accent. It seems like the simplest notion, but I have been thinking about how important it is to model what your body can do internally.

Because you're quite susceptible in school. This is medical school, also, which means being surrounded by overachievers and teacher's pets and stress junkies. These are the people who spent an hour after an exam asking whether you chose A or C for Question 35. These are the people I spent my college years avoiding, and now, what do you know, they're my classmates. Not that I should be saying any of this- no one has exhibited any of these signs. Yet. But it seems inevitable.

However, what there have been signs of: freaking the f*** out. And you know, I get it. Some people have seen this stuff for the first time in their lives. There is also just a sheer density of knowledge that must be jammed into one's brain. But it has to be done. And what's more- we all want it, or wanted it. I think it's easier to forget that when you haven't taken the insane route that I did to get to school. Every time I get the slightest whinging itch, I immediately throw up a little in my mouth, because what the hell are you here for if not to learn this stuff, there are a hundred other people who would have gladly traded spots with you, jacka$$.

That's my way of maintaining homeostasis- a swift and sharp blow to the neverending wave of self-pity that is always lurking, waiting if only you'll feed it. I'm not going to feed it. Even if that means shrugging when everyone around me has suddenly become very quiet and nervous.

Of course, on the other hand, when I think about it, this technique might not work for everybody. I'm sure its the very enormity of wanting something so badly that further exacerbates the freaking out condition in some people. But even that, I feel, is part of the process of acquiring higher education: you have to learn to believe you can learn. So maybe it's just that I was hazed like I was trying to join a frat house when I was in graduate school and that's helping me out now. Drats- I guess I owe those jerks after all.

Also helping to maintain my equilibrium: someone complimented me on 'how pretty' my salad was today. This made me burst into joyous little bubbles, because one of my little activities on Monday night involved cooking up a batch of potatoes with rosemary and oregano, shredding carrots and fresh parmesan cheese, and using all of the aforementioned things in my salads this week. I told you it doesn't take much to keep me feeling chipper.

Monday, August 06, 2007

in this world of plenty it is easy to forget

I can say with some confidence that I will never wax romantic about my current place of residence in the way that I mooned over San Francisco. The strange thing is that I haven't felt the slightest inclination to visit San Francisco since returning to the west coast. It's as if I can't imagine experiencing that city as a visitor anymore, and so would just assume keep my distance.

But until now, all I had really done was complain about the blistering, sunstroke-provoking heat here and that was about it. As some structure slowly starts to creep back into my life, so do the words. I'm normalizing (as much as I ever can). There's still a lot going on, but I know I will not survive it if I get so frenzied that I can't carve out a bit of something of my own.

This is the thing about medical school and perhaps other professional degree programs- while the programs love to profess their great attraction to individualism and are looking for people that have set themselves apart in some way, the program focuses on trying to mold you into exactly who they think everyone ought to be once you begin. Some of that is undoubtedly necessary, but my gut reaction is to always, always balk when pushed or prodded into a different state of being.

But that's because there has been some intense togetherness the past few days, so intense that I really didn't get a single moment alone until Sunday. Granted, intense togetherness is likely going to be a hallmark of school, but this was exaggerated. Sunday, however, I did get a little time to myself and it was delicious. Delicious. Yes, that is exactly the word for it.

Delicious. Because I'm never going to love this town. But I've already found the things I need to get by. I scoped out a few independent record stores, the Trader Joe's, and places I could get to by foot. Yesterday morning, I ferreted out a farmer's market and as I walked by the stalls, I involuntarily remarked to SP (who was visiting), "oh, it's going to be just fine here."

San Francisco has everything and it's easy to get lost in that. The interesting thing about resettling somewhere less perfect is realizing what is essential for you at a particular point in life. For me, I realized yesterday that I have the things I need here. I admired the fresh (and reasonably priced) produce and fruit yesterday, and did something I find incredibly luxurious- washed my clothes in my very own washing machine inside my apartment unit. My standards might sound low, but I realized in that moment yesterday that I was going to be happy here. And then, after today, which is best left for another post, I was even more certain of that.


Hey look at this though- I did get my act together, sorted out my technical issues and managed to get a song up this week. I decided to go all the way old school, but it still fits, in a way. Even though the people I spend most of my time with these days have probably never even heard of XTC, I remain steadfast in my conviction that this song is up there in the musical canon. Besides which, I do feel like my senses are working overtime at the moment, not because I've been floored by work, but because of the bizarre environment and the way I'm slowly further defining myself among my strangers. If there was ever a band for such oddballs as me, it's XTC, after all.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

even the words they fail me

It occurs to me that I actually wrote something today that turns out to be true, even when inspected later from a different angle. See, I have been falling off the face of the earth with alarming frequency of late. And while I've sort of developed that habit over the last few years, this is the first time in my memory that it's become this acute. When writing to a friend today, I noted that this is the first time in my life that I've felt words are not infinite.

Let's face it- most of the time, I take ten times the amount of words most people would to get to a very simply point. But all of a sudden, all of an arresting sudden, the amount of words I have in me has become finite.

My fingers are crossed that this is just to do with transitions and adjustments and adaptation, that I'm just temporarily speechless. And I do mean that, that my fingers are crossed, that I am really hoping. There is something about writing (especially here in the blogosphere) that is so selfish that it feels indulgent. But more than that, much more than that, I've somehow convinced myself that writing is part and parcel to my wellbeing.

I've been speechless before, but for very different reasons. In the past, speechlessness has meant that actually I have a lot to say. A lot that cuts too close, that is raw and exposed. It's not that there weren't words- it's that I was deliberately stuffing them back inside. This is very different. But even so, I still find this silence problematic.