I find it really lovely when people who haven’t seen me in a long time ask me if I’m ‘still blogging because it’s been a while since your last one’. Though most of these encounters stem from drunken and slightly disinhibited conversations in a bar somewhere on a Friday night, they make me feel like maybe this hobby has evolved into something that gives me a minute presence in the lives of a few acquaintances dotted here and there and for that… I’m happy.
Thoughts bounced about several weeks ago about whether I should take this site a little more seriously. Write more. Release more. Give more of my heart to the internet. But then the sometimes-intense-sometimes-sporadic nature of this journey is what makes it interesting and real. I’m all about real.
Sometimes I write those sorts of ‘snippet posts’ if you will, where I get to reveal some things about my life. Insight tells me I’ve actually begun to master these curious techniques like masking truth with humour or writing lists where I alternate between something revealing and something funny. Sort of a blogging defence mechanism if you will. Nothing about blogging is normal. Nothing about telling people that you blog for a hobby is normal. Especially when the follow up question is ‘What do you blog about?’ at which point you crap yourself a little and go ‘Shit. What DO I blog about? Me? My shitty life drama? Well that’s not self absorbed or 14 year old-like at all. Tell them something interesting about your Huffpost article on bullying so you seem more normal’. That spiel travels through my head in fractions of a second and the actual words that come out of my mouth is ‘Oh… stuff. You know. Life’. At which point the sky above me poops out the ‘Most Pathetic Person 2017’ award and it lands on my head.
I truly envy people who are utterly authentic and unafraid to be themselves. The last few months have been a very interesting time where I’ve just let life wash me up on whatever shore is next up whilst I ride each wave with minimal internal reflection. (Argh I got called ‘posh’ at work by literally ALL my colleagues the other day and it’s definitely because I come out with sentences like the last one. The other day I looked at a job written in the doctor’s diary and when trying to make sense of it I said “This is a little… non contextual” and everyone looked at me like I came from outer space. How to Alienate People 101 by Gowri Nair.)
And this is it. This is what I do. I’m not sure if it comes from the whole thing where I moved to a different country and about 6 schools or if this is just normal behaviour but I go into total survival mode in new settings and said mode involves me being funny, sociable, extroverted, people-pleasing, super-intuitive Gowri. NOT Gowri who writes a blog and ‘talks posh’ (yes- because the phrase ‘talks posh’ is not at all abusive of the English language).
So let’s talk about things that have happened over the last couple of months. And no list writing snippet blogging this time. ”Tis time for the real talk, my friends. Get your brews and sit down. (Brew is northern for tea or coffee. Did I mention I’m a Lancashire girl now?)
So it all started when I moved out of my beloved Birmingham. 2017 was the year I realised that I am not the secure person I once thought I was and actually there is some real fuckery in my foundations. You all were with me for le grande breakdown suprème which was my finals. However, not many of you were around to witness le grande breakdown numèro deux which was The Move.
The Move was so much harder than I ever anticipated it to be. To me, it felt like a marker of failure. The first time in my life where Miss 11 A*s at GCSE failed to meet her own expectations of success and consequently I experienced some of the most enduring weeks of my life quite recently. I packed away all my things from my little house in Birmingham and put it all in the living room one sunny day in June and then my other whole came by and helped me load the car the morning after his night shift. I made him a bowl of porridge because it was the only thing left in the cupboard and it congealed pretty fast because we got a bit distracted on my bare bed in my bare room. I could’ve left that part out but including it is more fun. Then I went to medschool one last time to hand in a few bits of paper and with that, I drove down the M6 towards home. At that point, I felt very little. I was going to India the next day. I thought everything would be alright and in hindsight, I’m glad no one warned me how hard the next few months were going to be.
Following my return was the most conflicting limbo period ever. It lasted 3 weeks or so but it felt like years. I was neither here nor there. Living at home with my parents but spending every spare moment in Birmingham. Obsessed with the idea of starting a ‘new life’ but incapacitated at the thought of letting go of my old one. During limbo I graduated, went away with my friends, ate whatever I wanted and took a razor to my thigh and it wasn’t to shave. I’m not proud of how low my lows have become this year and it’s one of these things that I personally haven’t totally come to terms with yet. Hating yourself is horrible.
Limbo ended. Work started. It started with induction and survival mode kicked in. Must. Make. Friends. I joke about survival mode but as long as it’s controlled, I have a lot of love for it. Generally, I find it easy to make friends. I grabbed the bull by the horns and I went from not knowing a soul in my junior doctor’s cohort to finding people with whom I’m utterly contented to hang out with in my spare time. Those people have no idea how much they saved me actually. During a time where I loathed myself and every decision I ever made, they gave me opportunities to be extroverted, friendly Gowri. I even got nicknamed the ‘social secretary’. If they only knew that almost every day for another month I thought hard about that razor.
Being naturally empathetic, sensitive and emotional, I have a habit of letting other people’s thoughts and opinions dictate elements of my being, even when I don’t want to. That’s why it’s especially important for me to surround myself with people (excuse the hippie nature of what’s to follow) who exude the sort of positive energy that spreads. I’m quick to doubt myself, my own opinions, worry deeply about whether I’m cool enough or relaxed enough or competent enough in any field and especially by those I care about.
My first FY1 rotation is in Psychiatry and it’s a city away from the main hospital and the nature of the job is unlike any other. It’s supposed to be more chilled out. Largely it is. Other jobs are busy and intense and there are lots of very sick people. Psychiatry is in a community hospital. The patients have illnesses but not the kind that warrant acute hospital admission so no… I’m not saving any lives at all. I didn’t struggle to settle in because of survival mode. Neither was it difficult to make friends with the other doctors even though they were so far away, once again, a result of survival mode. At times however, the job has been very emotionally challenging. About a week ago, I came home utterly mentally exhausted because one of my favourite patients fell and fractured three bones so I cried for about a day. Then there was frustration of short staffing and dealing with seniors who don’t care about their patients and only their pay cheque at the end of the month. The week was topped off by talking to such acutely psychotic patients that my own sense of reality got warped. By the end of the week all I wanted was to escape.
My next rotation is Respiratory medicine and I’m told by everyone it’ll be hellish and hard. I’m both scared and excited. But most importantly, the last few weeks where I’ve adapted to so much change in one go has instilled me with enough confidence to be able to know that whatever comes next, I can take it and I’ll take it well. I know I’m a good doctor now because I’m nice to people and I learn fast. And in a sink or swim situation, I’ll swim.
Moving back home was tough to start with. Not because being home was hard but because all I could think of was ‘Why did I leave the place I loved so much with all the people I love so much?’ Slowly it got better. Something to do with opening your eyes and seeing what’s in front of you. That being my ever loving and supportive family who treat me like a total adult. If you’d told me at the beginning of my final year that this is where I’d be in a year’s time I would have considered it absolute failure. But things happen in a way that just ends up working. And in true Gowri fashion, I’ve got a plan and am absolutely manipulating this situation to my advantage. More on that in two years’ time.
These days, I’ve got a reasonable working routine. I get up. I work out in my garage downstairs until I’ve worked up a sweat and stopped being grouchy. I go to work. I come home. I relax. I browse dresses that are bolder than I’d normally go for because all the morning exercising and meal prepping means for once, I’m feeling hella confident in my body. I wait until Friday and then I go somewhere. Usually Birmingham where I savour every minute I spend with the people I love. Then I get a train back some time on a Sunday and go home to more people I love. Having money is wonderful even though I’m more of a saver than a spender (though my recent discovery of online shopping has been enlightening). For the first time in my life, I have found myself living for a solid party on the weekend. Out of the granny pad and into the club, clad in bold dress.
When life gives you lemons, grab the salt and pass the tequila.
I’m still in a relationship that moulds me daily. Mostly it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. But largely it’s an investment that’s enhanced my life in ways I would’ve never imagined.
I genuinely don’t know what’s about to happen next. Life feels the most dynamic it’s ever felt right now and I think I’m treading those waters better than before. I’ve realised that within me somewhere, there must be a level of resilience that I don’t give myself credit for and I’m just happy I got through this. I’d like to get through it better. I’d like never to think ‘life feels pointless’ ever again. I’d like to love myself. But for those things to happen, more purposeful, intentional work needs to be put in from my part. But for now, to write a dissertation about my life and reflect just a little is encouragement that internally… I myself am moving. And generally, I’ll be fine.
If you stuck around until now then I’ll make you another brew because yours must’ve finished a while ago. You look parched, honey.
Until next time, folks.