When I was finishing up residency, I was working with some medical students. One of the students was absolutely gorgeous. She had this wavy, brunette hair that seemed to flow like water. And she had this scent to her that was so intoxicating. I found myself following her unconsciously, completely entranced by her smell.

She had a crush on me too. Sometimes, I don't know these things. My social skills are poor at best. But with this girl, I knew. Her gaze would linger a little too long. She would look down when I was talking to her, afraid to make eye contact. She kept her head tilted slightly, in that kind of daydreaming pose.

I think about this girl every now and then, and the long string of girls like her whom I have met briefly, and then have left my life. Either I was going or they were, never in those ideal circumstances you see in the movies. And so we meet and we part, with the vague notion that maybe we could've done something, but for the timing.

And I realize now that the problem was never the circumstances or the timing or whatever else. The problem was the choices I've made. When you can appreciate the choices you've made in life, it becomes very difficult to avoid reality. I've made some choices, some of which were terrible. And it became clear to me that as unhappy as I've been, it was from my own hand.

People make fun of the second Matrix movie, but there was an extremely profound line in it. The Oracle tells Neo, "We can never see past the choices we don't understand... you've already made the choice. Now you have to understand it."

When I heard this line in the movie, I thought this was so trite. But looking at my own life, I can see now that my life is composed of the decisions I have already made, and the most anxiety, the most angst is tied behind decisions that I have made and never understood. And as I shed light on them, it becomes clear to me the effects of these choices, and how terrible it truly is that we can't change the decisions we've already made.

Because for the last 15 years of my life, I have chosen everything over love. I was scared of love, and I still am. And it scares me because everything I love leaves me. And gazing with a critical eye, I can see that I have made some remarkably poor choices, in order that I could wake up in the morning and not shoot myself, but exorcising all joy from my life.

Now, understanding the choices I've made is all very enlightening, but it doesn't answer the very simple question: will I choose to love? I don't know. It's one thing to see the gears. It's another thing to be a clocksmith.


mj said...

have you found your answer? if not, i hope you find it soon...

or better yet, i hope you find her soon...

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I'm just going through your blog now, and I know you've been told this so many times...but what you say is so poignant, yet resonates so deeply, profoundly with my own emotions. As somebody else mentioned, you talk about melancholy with a kind of beauty, the workings of a poet.

Also, you remind me of me. That emptiness, the regret, the fear of love... I don't know else to say to that...

And a suggestion. I really think you should write a book when you get the time. It doesn't necessarily have to be about medicine. Or it can. But whatever you write about, I'm sure many people will enjoy reading...And maybe that will fill *some* of that gap. Writing is therapy (as im sure you're aware), and doctors of all people need the healing. :)