Posts Tagged ‘anything under the sun’

Many of us have probably already watched Katy Perry’s music video, “Part of Me.” In that one particular scene after confronting her cheating boyfriend, she went into a public restroom and started chopping off all her hair in a fit of tearful rage.  After that, she signed on for a tour with the marines in Iraq and began a grueling training to become one of the meanest fighting machines the world has ever produced.

Although most women do not necessarily join the marines after going through a major life-changing experience, it is generally a truth that the desire to control that which seems to be uncontrollable becomes so great that we try to control that which seems to be feasibly controllable – our hair.  Of course, other women have enough vanity in them to not actually try to raze their own hair so they solicit the help of a professional hairdresser.  However, something more drastic than just a trim is bound to happen like coloring it from black to blonde or getting a perm or having it chopped off from waist to ear level.  Others who are less adventurous would just stick to cutting their own bangs just to feel like, “At least that didn’t turn out to be such a disaster.” If the purpose is merely to show off and not to change something in her psyche, then a woman would generally not do something so immensely drastic to her hair.  It was after all Coco Chanel herself who said, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” The bottom line:  women have a very special relationship with the hair on their heads.

I was asking my brothers if they felt the same way about their hair and, of course, they did not.  My younger brother does apply some blonde streaks to his black hair from time to time but it is more of a show-off thing rather than a control thing.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the socially accepted concept of feminine beauty appears to be directly related to none other than a woman’s hair.  I heard a group of guys talk about how pretty one of my female classmates’ hair was and one of them said in a loud, obnoxious voice, “Well, that’s what she uses to flirt and play around.” Not cool, bro, not cool.

A male friend was once put on the spot by a group of girls who were asking him questions about which girls he found more attractive – the long-haired ones or the pixie-haired ones.  He told them that he found long-haired girls to be more feminine because the long hair showed him how different the girl was from him – a guy who preferred to keep his hair close to his scalp.  On the other hand, he also said that what he liked most about pixie-haired girls was that he could see their pretty faces without them hiding behind long hair.  That last one, I’m not sure if it’s complete bullshit but, at that time, it sounded so freaking good to female ears.  His point though?  To each his own; whatever floats his woman’s boat.  This is one guy who knows better than to come between a woman… and her hair.

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Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

I keep having these weird dreams, dreams that take me places I’ve never been to.  I was swimming in a deep, blue ocean, submerging once in awhile to see fish swim around me underwater and I particularly remember thinking, “Thank God this is a dream for, in real life, cowardly me would not swim deeper than what my legs could reach.” I was thankful I was alone in that ocean… until a saw a baby swim right past me.

Yes, that was not a typo.  I saw a baby – a freaking infant of about eight months old – swiftly swim right past me towards shore.  What is this, lamaze?!  In that dream, I actually almost drowned in shock at the sight but, thankfully, I was able to wake up.  So weird to die in a nightmare of seeing an eight month old baby singlehandedly swim in a deep blue ocean… and him/her not even bothering to help drowning adult moi.  I have no idea where that baby came from… hopefully not from me!

Now, one would say that was probably my biological clock tapping me on the shoulder but I sincerely believe there is not yet that burning desire at the pit of my stomach to bear a child and hold him/her in my hands at this age.  In fact, both the miracle but indignity of childbirth (and breastfeeding!) is scary.  I was telling my mother the other week I was going to be a surgeon and she went, “You’ll be too old to marry and bear children when you’re done,” to which I said I’d adopt on my own and she quipped, “You’re never sure if their genetics have looneys in the family,” or something to that effect.  Very supportive, my mother.

Got me thinking though, that maybe, babies who were born spontaneously from vaginas and breastfed probably have an advantage over those who were not.  I mean, my granddad was your regular tough man from the block in his heyday with all the vices the world could provide at his hands.  He used to smoke like a chimney and could finish two cases of beer in one sitting.  He was born to a poor family of eight kids in the 1920’s, delivered vaginally with no complications and breastfed because there was no money for formula milk.  He’s now 89 years old and, ignore the catheter dangling from his leg, he’s still spry.  He has the most unbelievable immune system… although I’m not saying you should leave your kid/s with their vices, gosh no.  Your brand of parenthood is uniquely your own.

Moral of the story?  Embrace the natural course of motherhood.  Vaginally deliver your baby and breastfeed.  It’s good for him/her and for you.  Although… I honestly wish I could practice what I preach when it’s my turn, insert dreading-it icon here.

When I was a kid, my parents enrolled me and my brothers into a lot of classes.  For learning and improvement, they said.  My mom tells me now it was their way of making sure that their kids would be able to achieve all of their potentials in life.  Thus, from my childhood to my teenage years, I had taken classes in piano, ballet, karate, taekwondo, landscape sketching, portraiture, acrylic painting, guitar, typewriting, computer technology, swimming and First Aid, declamation, theater, and journalism.  My older brother got enrolled into a summer course on automechanics once.  He was ten.

As a result, there are a lot of things that I know how to do.  The problem is that I’m not sure if I’m that good in all of them.  As such, each one of them is a hobby that I don’t share with a lot of other people, simply because I don’t think they’re at that level of share-ability.  This desire to know or maybe to learn was probably the one thing that my parents had painfully but successfully instilled in me because of the constant barrage of diverse information during my formative years.

Speaking of the constant barrage of diverse information, which sounds suspiciously like medical school, perhaps the downside to being enrolled in an MD-MBA program is that it can be a bit confusing sometimes.  Sure, we know we are here to become clinical doctors but how can you focus on becoming that doctor when you also have to put aside what little time you have to become a public health practitioner, a quick-witted businessman and a social catalyst all at the same time?  Excuse the whining but I’m simply wondering, in earnest, how can you compete, clinically speaking, with other medical students from other medical schools whose only concern is to become the best clinical doctors ever?

It makes me think sometimes that, to have an MD-MBA attached to your name, you have to become sort of like a jack-of-all-trades –you have to know how to do a lot of things but you can’t be so sure if you’re that good in all of them.  Not unless you get the balls to try them all out, all at the same time – now that’s some serious balls.  However, these days, whenever I feel the urge to complain about the work load, I think about Daddy and Mummy and how they used to (irrationally) bombard me with diverse information that are so unrelated, I sometimes thought they were torturing me.  Yeah, my parents were very loving people.

The point though was that I learned how to do many different things and, in a way, I was able to achieve the potential to achieve.  I don’t care that I cannot readily define Ashermann’s syndrome or that I do not know what to call lub-dub-click-whoosh when I auscultate a cardiac patient or that I still cannot pinpoint the parts of the basal ganglia.  I mean, I am doing a lot of things here, okay, I am trying to be a lot of things here so chill, okay?

That is the reason why I am still slaving away right now, not for the MD-MBA titles (although, of course, they are still a major reason why I’m doing the shiz nits I’m doing right now, haha), but because I want to learn something new everyday and, these learnings may not be totally related to each other but they will help me achieve all of my potential – as a doctor, as a social catalyst, as a businessman, as a person.

Boom, we just had a pseudo-mature monologue right there.

Grey's Anatomy (season 7)

House MD is great. It’s hard-core medicine. It’s irreverent. It’s sarcastic and I love sarcastic humor.  However, this series? It’s kind of dark.  Sometimes I feel the doctor lacks respect for life.  So, screw the hard-core medicine because hell would freeze over before I would allow myself to turn into the kind of doctor – maybe even the kind of person – that House is in that series. He’s a great a doctor but I’m just gonna go hit my books and hit them hard to be a good doctor.

On the other hand, Grey’s Anatomy is full of drama. It’s exhausting – the drama and the complications and the personal lives spiraling out of control and people dying and getting cancer.  So messy (which is why I have no personal life whatsoever).  However, the one thing that makes me like Grey’s Anatomy a lot is how it presents the human condition.

Okay, I just made Grey’s Anatomy sound philosophical when it’s basically all about sex.  I’m kidding, haha.  For me, Grey’s Anatomy shows what life is like as a person practicing medicine but is also completely immersed in an uncontrollable world. Ergo, it shows me that doctors still have a life and it’s as messy as anyone else’s.

You see, what I’m trying to understand and look forward to is the life with the medicine. I’m already expecting the life of a workaholic. The hospital is a really small place and, as a clerk or an intern or a resident, that is going to be our world.  What a small, constricting, suffocating world.  It excites me.

The thought of waking up at 3 in the morning to go to the hospital while everybody else is asleep and be good at what I do excites me. The thought of myself in an O.R. with a scalpel in my hand just standing for eight straight hours fixing a stranger up excites me because that’s just so hardcore. The thought of travelling to other countries and treating people by the millions excites me.  Yes, it’s exciting to think about the medicine but I want to understand not just the medicine but the life that we are to live while practicing medicine.

I want an exciting life but I don’t want a messy one.  Constantly thinking about people you care about who are dying on you – well, it’s exhausting and that’s inevitable. People gravitate towards drama because we feel. We get hurt. We want to hurt others. We get angry. I just want to do my job well. People make it so hard to do just that because, honestly, it’s not the work, no matter how heavy or how seemingly unending the load is, that makes everything exhausting. It’s the people.

Which means that I do like watching Grey’s Anatomy and the series and the messiness it depicts never fails to entertain me.  In essence though, I don’t want to be House but I want to learn way he handles his life as a doctor practicing medicine because he finds ways to make life less messy.  How ironic is that?  Does that even make sense right now?

Maybe I’m better off in Pathology. Dead people can’t be that exhausting to be around.  Or maybe this is exactly the reason why I want Surgery. People can’t talk in my O.R.  The person on the table sure as hell couldn’t when he’s heavily sedated and I’ve my hands full squeezing his heart, his kidneys and his bowels. Now, that’s exciting.

Bullshit Ahead warning in style of warning roa...

It is not (that) difficult figuring people out. I am of the belief that we, as human beings, inherently wish to be understood by those around us that, even though we would like to seem mysterious and unreadable, that innate desire to be understood is reflected on our faces, on our body language and even on the simple physiological processes (i.e. sweating, increased blinking rate, body position and even the occasional smirks and eye-rolling etc.) that reveal the emotions that are boiling within us. Yes, I am a big believer of body language reading. However, although observation plays an integral part in showing the realness within us, intuition plays an even greater role in how one is able to gauge the character of another human being. This is what we call getting vibes or testing aura and, in my case, this is how I gauge the level of another person’s genuineness.

Genuineness is (personally) an important concept because having surreptitious agendas or putting on a mask of overt plasticity for no productive reason is, admit it, somewhat a waste of time. A mentor once said that the only way you will be able to spot bullshit is by being completely honest with yourself. Her point was this: how can you tell if another person is being honest with you if you are always lying to your own self? An argument could be that constantly bullshitting with yourself will make it easier for you to recognize other people’s bullshit but that would probably lead to a slap at the back of my head so I just keep my mouth shut.

It is a difficult endeavor, this being honest to self thing, which is why I truly appreciate people who have the most transparent faces. It makes spotting either bullshit or genuineness easier in the sense that there is no need to be paralyzed by analysis. There is no need to try to sift through their childhood and what could have gone wrong and the motivations that make them the way they are and how you can possibly help them and, damn, would prayer be enough to yield change in these people? Don’t hate on the effort at Psychiatry – I’m trying to make myself believe I didn’t flunk that exam. In short, it makes life easier… and why does life need to be easier at this point?

Because we do not have time for bullshit. Just kidding. Life needs to be easier because we are here to work, boo, not to produce, um, stool.

But what do I know anyway? There is a land called Denial-asia and I am their top monarch… and I bet I’m ruling this kingdom with several other monarchs.


My mom noticed my dad on the first day of their post-graduate medical internship program. My dad swaggered into the room and unknowingly sat on a chair with a broken leg. Because my mother was a fair woman with somewhat Caucasian features, when he looked up, he immediately saw her. Later on, he pursued my mom relentlessly. Effort could have been my dad’s middle name.

My mom has a very funny story of how my dad used to make his moves. He told her one day he was going to take her to a posh restaurant for a dinner date. However, he claimed they had to pass by the college where his sister taught so that he could introduce my mom. When they got there, he introduced her alright but, when my mom pretended to look away, he quickly whispered to my aunt that he wanted to borrow money for his date! When they were already seated down to dinner in said posh restaurant, my dad gallantly ordered an expensive plate of pasta for my mom… and water for himself. Apparently, the money my aunt gave him was only enough for one expensive meal.

My mom still laughs whenever she tells this story. They married right after they passed the Medical Boards. He was my mother’s first boyfriend.

On their third year of surgical residency, they were earning less than Php 3,000 pesos each and already had three children, delivered roughly one year apart from each other. They decided to sacrifice residency and enter government service. It was a move borne out of necessity but my dad, I think, liked it. He was a passionate man. My mom used to say, albeit not too happily, that he was a man who firmly believed he could change the world. He served as Chief of Hospital in several district hospitals in a span of nine years. My mom, on the other hand, grew up kind of well off. She was a city girl through and through. She never wanted government service and never liked going to the mountains. She stayed as Municipal Health Officer of a mountainous municipality for close to twenty years. She, who had abhorred going to rural areas, pursued a Master’s degree in Public Management and in Public Health.

There is this theory in relationship psychology, which I firmly believe to be the foundation of any healthy relationship. It’s called Matching Hypothesis. On an extremely shallow level, of course, physical attraction still rules. However, on the level below that, outsiders would say that opposite personalities attract. But, for me, sharing the same set of beliefs, principles and values on a deeper level is what truly makes any kind of relationship work. There are certain non-negotiable values that we subconsciously look for in a partner or even just a friend. Perhaps because we know that we have to have that similarity in our belief systems for us to actually agree and coexist harmoniously. Or maybe because we know that a partner’s exemplary belief system could influence us to better ourselves. Or perhaps because we want someone who knows how to have a decent deep conversation because, come on. If you enjoy talking to a person, why would you not want to spend a lot of time with him or her?

But what do I know anyway? I’m, like, the most active fellow of the medical association, FSJAI – Forever Single, Just Accept It.

 

Ever wondered what it is that distracts people so immensely that they find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand?  In medschool, the most challenging part is not the intense studying per se, although that in itself is quite challenging already, but the crux of the challenge is more the actual studying.  By that, I mean the actual process of sitting down, opening the books and transcriptions and keeping at it for the next six hours or so without having one’s attention diverted.  Don’t kid yourself, by the way – bathroom or coffee breaks are considered unnecessary diversions.  Thus, after much reflection (because we, medstudents, are philosophical creatures), I have come to the conclusion that there are four categories that contain the many distractions that make medschool kind of hard, well, for mere mortals such as myself.

  • Personal obligations.  I’ve lived in dorms for the past six years so, for me, family is not much of a physical problem or distraction.  Only when they text me or come see me do they become a distraction and, boy, what a distraction they can be.  It’s because you simply cannot say no to family, especially family you haven’t seen in months.  Even friends – especially friends – whom you see day in and day out that you consider them family already, when they ask you to go to lunch dates and such, it’s difficult to say no and, oftentimes, you don’t even want to say no.  Whoever said people are what matters should be kicked in the ass.  Obligations are already difficult enough to handle as they are.  What more if they become personal in nature.
  • Hobbies.  This and, I mean, this – what I’m doing right now – is a hobby and a distraction.  It’s two in the morning and I should be sleeping but what do I do?  I think about crap and I write about it.  Wattahabi.  However, hobbies are just stuff you need to do because they’re no-brainers that you actually enjoy doing them.  I enjoy studying, honestly, but my neuronal circuits often feel like on fire when I’m studying.  So what do I do?  I start thinking about crap and write about it.  What about you?
  • Extracurricular activities.  Oftentimes, even extracurricular activities become personal obligations, especially when you’ve invested so much time (and often emotion) in them.  In medschool, I’ve met and mingled with some fascinating people known for their passion for service and public health.  There comes a point when you realize that, when you’re a full-time student immersed in a curriculum that tends to drain you for and of all your worth, grand plans at the beginning of the school year become burdens when the requirements start piling up.  Then frustration creeps up on you.  Screw passion, right?
  • The opposite (or same, whichever you prefer) sex.  In all honesty, I think emotional investments are messy.  But, sometimes (and, I mean, in the rarest of occasions), you just have to admit that the human heart… is a freaking slut.  Imagine yourself in your favorite study corner in school, with your laptop open and your highlighted transcriptions before you.  You’re so into the topic that you feel like you’re on fire!  Then, for whatever stupid reason, you look up and see someone from afar.  Even if you don’t see his/her face but just recognize that trademark strut, you feel your heart jump to your throat then stop for awhile then start beating again like you’ve run a marathon.  So, tell me now, how is that not a distraction?  Don’t fret though, I have a solution for you right here.  Find out he/she is dating someone else – that’s sure to extinguish the slutty fire out of your extremely human heart.  That’s what you get for cheating on Med, boo.

It’s very sad to think that medschool tends to take up so much of our time that life becomes so unbalanced.  The things that are supposed to matter, like family, friends, non-med talents, passion, relationships, don’t – can’t – seem to matter anymore.  Do you know what they are right now?  They simply are… distractions.