Workaholic

I went into medicine partly due to heartbreak

The exhaustive training of medical school and residency was a welcome albeit ineffective distraction from my sorrow and loneliness
24-hour shifts are a convenient justification for not keeping in touch with loved ones
Even though the real excuse is my social anxiety and sense of inadequacy
Living within hospital walls, I suspect that I am not the only physician who became a medical doctor to try to forget unrequited love, to escape the world of human relationships
My older colleagues work far more than they need to to make ends meet, far more than any reasonable person would work in a week
Who needs friends or feelings when you have patients and science?
Our skin grows pale under fluorescent lights
Our vision becomes shortsighted as the screens stare unblinkingly
Our hearts forget how to feel carefree
Our muscles atrophy as our brains hypertrophy
Our minds become boxed in with facts, our mental filing cabinets overflow
I am a recovering workaholic working alongside workaholics who do not appear to be in recovery
Perhaps they suspect the same of me
Heads down in the trenches, none of us can know another’s heart
We can only know our own heart, if we listen
We carefully administer medications, surgeries and therapies
We measure progress in numerical metrics of lab values, calculated scores and vital signs
We arrive early and stay late
We work day and night without a break
We always have too much on our plates
We deprive ourselves of sleep, fresh air and food
We know why we have irritable moods
Practicing medicine is an unhealthy, imbalanced lifestyle and we know it
We can only ever heal ourselves
I’m ready to show it
I am finally healing my broken heart
I found that I had to begin at the start
Childhood wounds tangle and bloom
Trauma begets trauma until we change our thoughts, words and actions
Breaking old patterns even as we hold traction
I am love itself, I am the source of what I sought
My cup overflows, it was not all for naught

Love Languages

If you want to show me that you care about me

Be gentle

Be non-judgmental

Don’t bully me or pressure me, manipulate me or coerce me

Don’t try to imprint your paranoid delusions on my mind

Don’t ever tell me what to do, when, or with whom

Control is not my love language

My love language is freedom

Acceptance

Shining light in darkness

Healing and growth

Leaning through the veil of illusion

Not argumentative protrusion into the autonomy of others

You asked me if you were ‘other people’ to me

Absurdly

Like a child wailing from ego injury, I reassured you that you were special, that you are important to me. You are, but for different reasons than you think you are.

Though we are separate, we are also not separate

We are one spirit

You have forgotten

May you remember

Until then, you babble on

Rambling brook

Carrying messages in bottles

Smashing against the rocks of my enlightenment

If you want to win the game, you have to play

To play, you must be playful

Stop making everything so serious, so grave

Stop pretending that you care about oppressed people

As you actively oppress me

You shout for the voiceless, marching with your fist in the air

As you silence my voice without a care

If you care about me, let me be myself, let me live my life

You have your own life to live, your own love language of anger and jealousy

To communicate, we must learn each other’s languages

I think I’m learning your language of anger when I want to shout at you, ‘Leave me alone, I’ve always wanted you out of my life, I’ve had enough of your abuse’.

I refuse to be controlling and jealous like you.

Perhaps you will learn my language and say, ‘I accept you as you are without judgment, I love you unconditionally, I support you as you follow your heart’

Blue Glass

I am not OK

I’ve spent a life time lying,
Sticking to the script, saying that I’m fine
I learned as a child to be truthless
Because honesty only got me neglectful rejection
And beat-downs, ruthless
I was trained to be out of touch with my feelings
For a decades, I’ve been reeling
Coming home to my body, battered and bruised
Healing deep emotional wounds
In my family, failure was not an option
I prayed, even as an adult, for adoption
Periodically I stumble through patches of suicidal ideation
Homicidal visions to destroy all of creation
Just to find peace
Do you know what I mean?
I make ends meet, though I’ve stolen and cheated
Swimming upstream, never defeated
I don’t trust anyone with the truth about my life
I don’t want to rehash it, don’t want to unravel it
As a teenager, I used to beat off to Gravel Pit
I am not Ok, and I am Ok with that
I should probably ‘get help’, but the thing about people
Is that they make me uneasy
Can you blame me?
You can shame me, but whatever you are thinking,
I’m sure I’ve done worse
I seem Ok, like a high-functioning addict
Storing up empty bottles in my attic
Just to see sunlight shine through blue glass
Behold the beauty of my realized potential at last

Rain Dance

I see gray sky outside my window
Heavy on my eyes and in my heart
I want to stay hidden away
Don’t want to get rained on today
Stubbornly, the world outside waits for me

I can’t stay inside forever
I can’t avoid the ever-changing weather
After futile resistance, I accept that I will get wet
As I have countless times before, even when I felt like I was drowning, I will have nothing else to do but breathe through it
Until I breathe myself dry

There are tears yet to cry
I will get wet again
And it is ok to get wet
It is ok to remind myself that it is ok to get wet
Water is life

Every day I am thrown into the river
Swirled and tumbled against rocks
Yet I survive
And come out of it better yet

Afraid as I am of getting wet, I’ve gotten wet many times before,
Downright drenched
Soaked to the bone and far from home
Yet I was all right
I’ve made it through even the stormiest of nights
Inside me burns an eternal light
I have nothing to fear
The rain of life only brings personal transformation near
I am grateful for inner growth, painful as it can be
I am grateful for the rich soil beneath me
Formed from the detritus of my life’s trauma
From which I burst forth, a green herb
Holding infinite potential
I am earth and rain and sunlight transformed
I am young and sweet and nourishing
I am life

I see the gray clouds outside my window
And know that beyond them, the sun is shining through the brilliant blue
I see the gray day
And rise to meet it
Welcoming all that comes my way
So go ahead, rain down on me
I can handle even hail, snow and sleet
I’m keeping the faith
For my mind is learning all the time
That I can dance anywhere
Today my dance beckons the heavy clouds
Let it rain

The Emotions of Objects

The Emotions of Objects

I’ve heard it said that you should give away
Any object you possess
Which does not bring you joy
I agree with that, however

I have some objects which do not bring me joy
But the feelings they bring
Are worth learning from

For example,
I have pajamas which remind me of my mother
She was my first pimp, my original smotherer
I look at the faded yellow cotton and have flashbacks of the guilt-trips she would send me on, furious that I was never good enough
She still terrorizes me, even when we are far apart
To counter-balance the emotional storm stirred up by my unassuming nightwear,
I practice compassion and understanding
Adults are only hurt children themselves, but larger-sized

I also have a stained mug which reminds me that I was second-best
Allowing me an opportunity to practice humility

And a cracked bowl which resulted from an escapade of breaking the law
It reminds me to make wiser decisions now

I have some clothing
Which reminds me of letting down those most deserving of my attention
I breathe deep and remember
That it is OK to let people down
I accept that I cannot please everyone all of the time
Try desperately as I might

In my closet hangs a thread-bare scarf that I wore on many adventures
With an ex-partner who treated me, I realize now, like my mother:
Mandating, controlling, throwing fits if I hesitated to grant their every wish, spoken or unspoken
I practice self-forgiveness when I see that scarf
Because I was doing the best I could at the time

Now I do better
I practice compassion, understanding, humility, wisdom, acceptance of my limitations and self-forgiveness
The objects I own remind me
How far I’ve come
And encourage me
To continue on
My healing journey
Appreciating joy
Among many other colors
Of the emotional rainbow

Don’t get me wrong,
I’m still going to donate those items…eventually
Give them a new life
Throw them back in the sea
There is plenty of buoyant joy available
For you, me and everybody