Hangry

I felt anger towards the man who asked me for a handout, then scolded me for hesitating to give him my last dollar.

He said, ‘I’m homeless and hungry’

I used to be homeless and hungry too, but I never did how you do

I was too busy surviving to ask other people to be responsible for my life

I ate food scraps out of the trash and sold my body for cash

I lived without a home and walked the streets alone

I didn’t tell him- I kept quiet, as I always do

I am angry though

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

Please don’t judge me for being a sex worker in order to make ends meet
You taught me how to dissociate from my body, how to put other’s wants ahead of my needs
You were my first violator and my first pimp
Remember molesting me at night throughout my childhood and adolescence?
You opened the floodgates for countless rapes
Remember forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do my whole life?
Pimping me out to abusive children who you ‘felt sorry for’ because they did’t have any friends
The reason why they didn’t have any friends is because they weren’t good friends. Like you, they were trapped in abuse
Oscillating between abuser and abused
Remember commanding me yet never asking or listening?
I told you I was depressed, you told me I was not
The middle school guidance counselor called you to pick me up from school because I was suicidal-
All you did was yell at me
You found out I was a sex worker by violating my privacy
You yelled at me to respect myself
Yet you never respected me and actively taught me to disrespect myself
How can you expect me to fly when all you ever did was drag me down and break my wings
You raised me in poverty
Gave me no financial resources, no guidance
I was hungry, I had textbooks to buy and rent to pay
You want to take credit for my success
I became who I am in spite of you, not because of you
Though I see the crucial role you played
At the end of the day all I can say is namaste

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

Pockets of Bliss

Pockets of Bliss

Hard-scrabble
Uphill battle
Stoically strong
All my life long

That was my marching song

Yet if I let myself unwind a bit
I find myself basking in pockets of bliss
Soaking in satisfaction, abundance, gratitude
It feels like the ultimate kiss
As I both receive and radiate
The generous glow of the sun

My mind usually tells myself that I don’t have time
For such indulgent, frivolous nonsense
That I’ve got to push push push
And forever rush rush rush

I fooled myself into believing
That I didn’t deserve the luxury of deep breathing
That rest and relaxation were only for the privileged rich
Such was my justification for prioritizing everything else                                                       Before my own needs

For too long I wrongly bought into the ideology
That my life was not to be enjoyed
That I should run hungry all my days
As if pursued by a ravenous wolf in all kinds of ways

But today I re-realized that I am the wolf
And also the prey
Only I have the power to say,
‘Enough of being tough.
I am ready for ease!’

If only in pockets to start
Because old habits are hard to break,
Just ask my heart

So it is with patience and persistence,
Guided by gentle wisdom
That I fill my pockets to overflowing
With bliss bliss bliss