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Cashback [Sep. 28th, 2015|11:19 pm]
Bryan
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Cashback is the title of a gorgeous movie that's received two stars on Netflix. The story of a man who breaks up with his girlfriend and starts working at a supermarket where he learns to freeze time.

How curious that the concept of freezing time, surely at the interface of our normal passge through this universe, and an impossible reversal of time's arrow, could be completely a separate entity from either: The creation of a bubble universe in which one's own arrow flies while all else is held in stasis.

I had my Portfolio Interview today. It was the first day of my last rotation as a medical student. A delicious mocha from Two-Folk as I awaited the start of my final assessment. Four and a half hours of sleep after going to bed at half-past two to be up in time to print the Clerks I'd slaved over for the last week, while everyone else had been done, to still make it in time for Ward Rounds at eight o'clock. A case-based learning class that went for two hours and taught a beautiful amount of calcium homeostasis. A talk in the lecture theatre after everyone else had left that was unbridled in its expression of Truth, exuberant in our heightening physiological acuities: a gift of Sun's Warmth, the tilt of the Earth's axis leaving us ever that much closer to the Sun's rays (I'm trying to imagine the combination of the Earth's tilt and its position in orbit but can't quite seem to compute the requisite angles regardless). Spillover into dinner at Sawak's with the jumbo nasi lemak and hearty laughter and the wonderment at the people around us. Jack Greene's with new friends and a Skype meeting in-between every other word dropped-awkward pauses the continuation of lost packets-perhaps an expression of comfrotable friendship. Time salves all wounds, as distance draws us together.

I think I might be slowly catching up on the two months lost;

We all have superpowers did you know. Something we can do that no one else can. Local effects. Systemic presentations. Sorry, drift of medical.

A propos of nothing, non sequitor:

Lost
         Trains
                   
                          Will I find them again.
                                                            Doubtless the voice goes if it were that important it'll come back for sure

Is this return to normalcy? This sensation carried on the warmth of a sly-spring chill; how terrifying to be squeezed into a box, able to see the world cavortwhirlflowstreamdance-by and I only so many somatic axons plugged into a globulous mass of so many neuronal bodies-the linkages slowed, iced, frozen. Enzymatic degradations slowed, perfect preservation, a statuesque fo-. It occurs that there is some link here between the frozen perfection and the universe on that infinitesimal precipace. Perfection is only possible in the space spanned by a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of an eyelid? The time it takes a photon to travel the universe.

That we were photons travelling the universe. 
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Trainwreck [Sep. 9th, 2015|12:28 am]
Bryan
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I sometimes think: Wouldn't it be amazing if I kept a diary of the things that happened to me everyday. Obviously this is abit out of character for me, given the frequency with which I post to this Livejournal. It's not very alive sometimes (hohoho). But I was watching Trainwreck this evening with Chrissie. And somehow, I always enjoy Rom-Coms. Would you peg me for a rom-com kinda guy? I'll admit that I have awfully low standards, and that I am fairly easily entertained. Back home, I'd be watching movies three times a week if I could. (They're a lot cheaper there.) Besides, Amy Schumer? She was everything I'd hoped she would be.

the funny thing is, I wouldn't have expected a rom-com, especially one by Amy Schumer, to force me to confront one of the (countless) fears I've got quashed into the nether regions of my subconscious. I know they're there because when particularly massive ones lurk down there, it's fairly obvious the change in mood once that weight is lifted.

Anyway. I was gonna have some deep, poetic post, but I think I'll just leave it at this point. There certainly isn't enough psychic energy persisting behind this post to push it through. I've consumed fourteen episodes of Rick and Morty over the last twenty four hours. I feel strangely proud of myself for this fact.

Timelines in our universe are unalterable. The truth of the matter is that even if you could go back in time and change reality, your timeline-altered self would not be you. We have no way of transferring consciousness across universes. Thus we are trapped with the consequences of our decisions. Thank God there are other us's to enjoy the fruits of their wise decisions, and we are only trapped with the consequences of our own.

Hearts.
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Calm As A Roaring River [Sep. 2nd, 2015|10:08 pm]
Bryan
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It's ridiculous how easily my mood can change. Has it always been like that? I don't quite know. All that I can be sure of is the undercurrent of anger that so easily permeates my moods these days. Long gone are the placid days of acceptance, where any slight was easily forgiven and forgotten. Doubtless I'll forget this quickly enough, as do all memories flit through the mind of the experiencing self, only to be forever lost to the remembering.

But quite honestly, the first time I've cooked proper food in months, and my housemate just makes himself a bowl without asking. Well, of course he asked. In the group chat, and didn't wait for a proper answer, before helping himself. And normally I'd let it slide, and indeed I have without saying a word to him, but this is really one indignity too far. Heaped upon helping heap of indignities. My life: shambles, ruins. Not even a mouse would want to inhabit my corpus.

I feel foolish. Stupid. Uncapable. Tired. The spring energy seems to have simply left me empty; the trip to Melbourne and Sydney but a distant memory. Three days since I arrived back in Hobart on Sunday night and already the future looks bleak and empty. 120-odd cases to type up; a portfolio interview in 16 days. Exam results in two. I do not know where I stand. I look back upon the last two months and all I see is wasted time, though I can intellectualise the concept of being depressed but the present self just sees laziness and waste.

Doubtless I was depressed in August. Doubtless. But still, what a lazy asshole I am to've just lain in bed without energy or motivation. I should've gotten up and done my work regardless!

Strange isn't it. To be able to see both sides of the coin.

I had an amazing time in Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne over the first weekend of the midsemester break; it was nice to be able to go for Tiff's birthday party and meet some new (and old, apparently!) faces. Met Eugene as well and he made me stuff myself. I had Sugarbun as usual, my everpresent addiction. Met Tricia as it was her birthday, and Semi who was on exchange from Singapore. Catching up with people and eating seem to be my only goals in life at present. Which is sad isn't it, I sometimes think to myself. Eating and drinking; I spend on my money on stuff that gets turned into piss and shit. And catching up with people; always chasing something in the past almost.

Anyway. We had fun, and I had fun, and it was nice.

And Sydney was great and the weather was warm and it was beautiful just to be in a city and be able to sit in a cafe or bar and just watch all the beautiful people go by.

Part of my rage is against the perceived injustice that Hobart has levied against me. Of course, the benefits of studying here, that is, that I'll hopefully in two months be getting a medical degree and be able to work as a doctor, are still somehow far too far off, and too many things standing in the way, to ever be happy about.

And I really do wonder sometimes, will I ever be happy? And doubtless the answer is always and emphatic Yes but as with all things happiness remains transient and an ever-ghostly dream. Like a whisper in the curtains or the first fucking snowfall in 36 years.

Can I save the world when I feel like I'm stuck in hell? There is the concept, and I am of course as partial to this one as I am that heaven does not exist, that hell is not fire and brimstone, but cold and ice. (You see why it's so appealing.) That far from being a land of punishment, Lucifer/Morningstar/The Great Pretender/The Serpant was exiled there for punishment, and the punishment lies not in the place, but in being forever separated from God.

How do days turn bad so quick, so fast. I spent the morning in oncology today, at St John's. The private hospital. And it was nice. I did a cannula, and watched a bone marrow biopsy, and got to talk to the patients about anything and everything, and it was a nice morning. And then I walked back into the city and met Sean and Saya and had some sushi and Chris bumped into us and then we went back to Menzies for the LGBTIQ workshop and then we tutored the third years and then I hung around for the talk on ageing.

I've been single three years, which is far too long, I think. And it is crushing. To feel unwanted, undesired, unneeded. And intellectually I know that this is not a state that will persist forever. And intellectually I understand that surely I couldn't be wholly undesirable, and sometimes I might even think, well I'm going to be a doctor and I might be good-looking and I sort of take care of my body and I might be a jerk but I hide that decently well, why doesn't anybody want me. And the answer eludes and this place depressed me and all I want to do is go home where it's warm and sunny and the food is cheap and my family's there and my friends are there and I can go out any hour of the day and not have to worry about freezing to death and be able to find a nice prata or some milo bing and just sit on the roadside and chill and laugh at whoever the laughing stock of the day is and talk about the politics and how we could make Singapore a better the place or the world a better place and. Just. Be. Happy.

You know, I thought I knew what I was doing when I decided I would choose the difficult path, the narrow gate. To be the lone wolf, eschewing happiness and the contentment it brings. Because of course, contentment breeds laziness and unmotivation. If you're contented, then why would you change anything.

But it feels so difficult right now in this moment in this place. And it has been feeling difficult for so long. And I want something different. A change. To be whole again. To be who I am.

I still have a memory of being at one of the Healers' Art sessions, talking about possessing different masks, and each mask being a part of my true self. Nowadays, it just feels like a front and whoever I really am is buried far, far beneath the surface, locked in a casket, buried in ice, at the bottom of the deep, blue, sea.
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August Tenth [Aug. 10th, 2015|09:48 pm]
Bryan
I've been seeking new ways to address my winter-induced depression, and I think I've settled on a couple more self-destructive methods. The first of which, is taking up increasing alcoholism. Granted, it's nothing compared to my usual weekend binges, but I've never been one for a glass or two of wine a night. But here I sit, with a glass of wine beside me. Certainly it seems to be the poison of choice for many people here in Australia, and even my friends here.

That's probably a strange place to start but I didn't quite know where to begin. As usual, I've got a multitude of things I would love to talk about but no idea where to begin or how to address them. My insecurities overwhelm me. My fears loom larger with every day. Sometimes it seems as if the winter-cold is the one pressing me beneath the blankets but I suppose the question uncovers itself with repeated scratching: Am I depressed? To say that this is seasonal-affect disorder feels like a cop-out and a diagnostic non-answer. Ultimately we want to have a plan, we want to know what to do, we want to know how to fix it, we want to know how to feel better. I want to.

To not feel tired after hours of sleep and have a brain that feels as if it's functioning at not even half capacity. (Although the alternative fear to that one is that my brain is already functioning at full!) To be able to wake up in the mornings and get out of bed without any trouble. To be conscientious in my work and put in effort and learn and prepare for my exams and do all the things that wonderful brilliant medical students are expected to do; that wonderful brilliant Me should be able to do.

And that's the other side of the coin isn't it, that this cold, antisocial, down individual is really all that I am. That the Bryan who had gone before is no more than a memory. That this a permanent transition to a person useless.

My final exams are in a week and a day. Twelve OSCE stations over two days; six a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. After that, I won't have any more assessments save my usual rotation paperwork and a portfolio interview at the end of the year.

I bought the clean-skin Sauvignon Blanc from Hillstreet Grocer, the new one, when we were exploring the place. Mel and Cathaya bought their groceries; I bought this bottle and some bananas to cover up. I've never felt the need to hide my alcohol consumption. This time it seemed slightly ignominous to purchase the bottle and nothing else. It is quite tasty by the way, dry and fruity. Rough.

I didn't apply to Singapore for my internship, although I applied throughout Australia, save the Northern Territories and the Administrative Capital Territory. I was afraid of embarrassing myself; I knew the people from MOHH and I didn't want to have to reject their offer when my Australian one came through. Such surety. Now, I'm not so sure, and wish I had covered all my bases. What is abit of embarrassment for the guarantee of a job.

I feel like ultimately I am torn. Very often we are told that the difficult road is the better one to take, that down the easy road lies idolatry and failure. I doubt I worked very hard when I was in high school, that I made my decisions with any insight into perceived challenges and perceived rewards. Always it was about what I enjoyed and what I found fun; strangely, by a quirk of God and the Universe, these things were the ones you could happily jot down in your CV and discuss in interviews. (Not that I've had interviews of any import save my most recent job interview mind.)

Here though, the edges seem firmer and the decisions harder. I yearn to go home but I've filled my head with the idea that God wants me to be in this country, to pursue a purpose higher than the warmth and comfort of family and home. Is this true? That I must pursue the hard life forever? My mother wants me to come home and I would gladly to do in a heartbeat.

Although, I feel changed, different. Too different? Would I fit in back home? Would I survive in the Singaporean healthcare system. The answer is, probably yes.

But I've burned my ships behind me, and can do nought now but face the enemy with my back to the water. Sun Tzu said, 知己知彼,百战不殆, know thyself and know thy enemy, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles. I know neither myself nor my enemy. Although perhaps my greatest enemy really is myself.

In which case, I have everything to fear.
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Infinity and a day [Jul. 23rd, 2015|02:07 pm]
Bryan
This was a post I wrote on my way to Brisbane last month. Obviously I'm a lazy bastard and never put it up till now:

Date 18th of June 2015

Time 8:24 pm

Location: On an aeroplane flying from Hobart to Brisbane

It seems that I spend so much of my time trying to distract myself from the reality I live in. I bury myself in reading articles on the Internet, watching Youtube videos, playing my games, listening to music. Now that I find myself without those avenues I am bereft of distraction. Even then, there has been stealing over my heart the sense that even those were no longer distraction enough: the videos not as entertaining as they used to be, the music not as calming or compelling.

What has wrought these changes I do not know, but that there is a deep-seated dissatisfaction lingering within my soul that I know not how to exorcise. I feel distant, an alien among friends. Relating is difficult, talking hard.

I can’t quite remember where the last post left off in the story of my life. Being on a plane makes it difficult to check these things y’know. Going with the usual time-estimates, it must be at least two weeks since my last post. Certainly it feels longer than that. Also, as if I’ve done so much less.

Job applications were in and done; I managed to squeeze out my Western Australia selection criteria along with two cover letters for Bendigo and Ballarat. I quite honestly am not sure what my chances of getting an internship position at either of these places are, or of in Perth, or even of in Queensland. Doubtless, it would be amazing, a miracle, if I were offered something in any of those.

I haven’t applied for Singapore though, though my soul yearns to go back home. It should be a clamour, but instead it yawns like the abyss beneath my feet. It would be foolishness to not heed the wisdom of my elders, as so many of them, almost all of them have warned me not to, at least not so soon. So I try my best to make my way outside, for a little while more.

Teaching block was the week after, the monday a public holiday. I missed a few days after that as well, attempting to finish my reflective essay. As always it was late, as always a struggle. In the end, I sent in a scanned copy of my written piece. I only really got around to typing it up last night. And this worries me and I wonder: Surely assignments and work had not been this difficult when I was in high school. But always it has been a struggle here in Tasmania.

It was a good week though, and I took much rest. And then another week, and this week. Winter break. Likely my last. It is strange I think, how quickly it has gone past. Normally I’d be halfway to somewhere else; I’d only dicided to travel to Brisbane a month ago and booked my tickets then. For half a week, leaving Wednesday night and back Sunday afternoon, so really, not very long at all. So most of the start of this week was spent thinking about typing out my reflective essay, and not really doing it. I’ve started again on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, and it is still an amazing piece of fiction.

And of course, I missed my flight yesterday. The traffic too snarled, unexpectedly. The rain and dark mofo and the fates conspiring to present me a flight that left too early! Who’d ever heard of such a thing.

But it was a blessing in disguise, as these things inevitably are. More so this time. I finished my essay (finally), and got a little something else besides. But let us leave it at that.

There is a certain amount of catharsis in imprinting my thoughts upon a page. With the essay I had attempted to reflect on five years of medical school. Doubtless the negative elements stood out like sore thumbs, the positives more difficult to discern. It was a short piece and definitely incomplete, and I will have to try my best to give them something they can work with.

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