Behind this smile…

This smile holds so many secrets. Behind this smile, is endless days of exhaustion and tears; the number of days I have gone to sleep crying. I force myself to be a lot stronger than I actually am, for the fear that if I start to expose my tears, everyone/everything around me will crumble.

I always tell myself, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to have any sort of emotion so long as we know how to process it safely and appropriately. Why do we judge ourselves so soon for any emotion we feel? Why are we so keen to label every emotion we experience? I can feel any emotion I want. After all, I am a human.

I just pray we are all kinder to each other. Judge less. Love more. Live more.

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Is it worth it?

I do not think my anxiety has ever been so bad. I’m currently on a FY2 rotation that is reminding me of how ego-centric some individuals in this healthcare world can be.

I can’t remember the last time I actually breathed properly. My breaths are so shallow and I constantly have a sinking feeling in my chest. I get stressed every time my name is mentioned in conversation. I am 5 days late on my period, which is freaking me out big-time. My skin is exploding with spots, even with clean-eating and skin care, which has never happened before.

I came into this profession in the hope of interacting with humans, and using the knowledge I have gained to help people. Instead, I constantly feel on edge that I’ve made a mistake. I am constantly judged by my seniors for what I do and don’t do. I was always seen as the most helpful individual; now I feel like I have shuffled to the bottom of the pile. I feel like I am a day 1 medical student, not getting the recognition I deserve for the hard work I am putting in.

I don’t complain that easily and I have a very high threshold to bullsh*t. For me to come to a breaking point where I can’t take this anymore, just shows me so much more that this particular specialty and its staff are not my kind of people.

I would like to believe that I am good human being who wants the best for her patients. I know I am safe doctor. However, I am being questioned left, right and centre for every single decision I take.

Enough of the stress. I am grateful for some of the lovely individuals I have met on this rotation who are genuinely the sweetest. I do not want the negativity of others impact my overall experience of this rotation, however difficult this may be.

Ever since the day I made the decision to be a doctor, as a child, I knew I wanted to be a GP. I was in denial all through medical school because of the stigma associated with being a GP. Those who decide to be GPs are deemed as lazy, not knowledgable and just generally boring. I, on the other hand, think GPs are one of the nicest group of humans you will find, who are so in touch with humanity and life, and they are so damn smart! They have a life outside of medicine which they are equally proud of, and that’s what I want. I strongly believe hospital medicine is the tip of the iceberg. All the hard work, to prevent the population from attending hospitals in the first place, takes place in the community by GPs and other community healthcare practitioners. Isn’t it something like 80 to 90% health consultants happen in the community? So for all those ‘stuck-up’ hospital practitioners (which isn’t everyone by the way, but there are few who think they are above all), it’s about time you stopped dumbing down community health-care.

I cannot wait for November! I will be so focused on my GP applications. And then from December onwards, I will be starting my GP rotation, which I genuinely cannot wait for.

Good things are coming Praveena. So for now, just be patient and remember to BREATHE. All the pain you are experiencing now is for you to appreciate the amazing-ness that is yet to come!

Situational Judgement – Do not trust too soon

So I haven’t blogged in a while.

I had a few incidences happen which has led me back to writing this time round.

For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Praveena. I turned 26 last Friday. I am currently an FY2 junior doctor, working on my Trauma and Orthopaedic rotation. In addition to doctoring, I am also a dancer. I have put some emphasis on my career in Medicine just now because what I am going to describe is to do with my job.

For over the past year, I have been a very hard working individual. I am may not be the most knowledgeable at all times, but I work hard and smart to ensure everything is done for each patient, ensuring patient safety is of utmost importance always. Not once has anyone said I am anything less than hardworking, motivated and enthusiastic. In fact I know this for myself.

Last week I was on my night shifts. There was a trauma call so I was in A&E Resus with my Registrar. After a while, my Registrar told me to go back to wards and complete any outstanding jobs left there, and that he will stay on A&E and sort anything else out. I asked him whether he was sure, he said ‘yes of course.’ Therefore I came back to the wards and made a start on outstanding jobs.

My shift finished, I was off for the weekend. Today, I was meant to go in for work, however I was taken ill so I had to take a sick day. I caught up with my work colleague after she had finished work. We were just talking about the job and how it is going when she dropped into the conversation that the Registrar I was working with on my night shift last week, was complaining about apparently how I lazy I was, and that he had to do all the work in A&E and that I wasn’t there to help him out. This took me by a massive surprise because he was the one who told me to go back to the wards.

At the time my colleague disclosed this to me, I was fairly fine. Now, however, the more I think about it the more upset I am getting. Why? Because I am so hard-working, and I know it. I’ve worked really hard all my life and build a very good working reputation. It breaks my heart to think that one false accusation can really destroy it.

I have made a choice to be nice to everyone. I have made a choice to bite my teeth through any hardship. However, there is a very fine line. I am not here to be trampled on, and I am not here to stand and listen to people talk lies about me. I do not accept people use their authority to throw whatever garbage that comes out of their mouth at me.

I do not think of this as a failure. It is a lesson. It is a lesson for me to be more alert and aware of others. It’s not my job to please others. My loyalty lies with my job and my patients; not with the seniors who look down on their juniors. I will continue to be the lovely and grounded human that I am, because that is the best version of me. Sadly, however, I am also forced to be on high alert of anyone who is quick to judge me. If I hear anything of the sort again, I will have a low-threshold to approach them and address this issue with them directly, or even better, escalate it to my supervisors.

No junior doctor should be made to feel like they are peasants ever; sad truth is, there is a small group of Registrars who treat us juniors this way, and it is not on.

Just had these thoughts on my mind, and I was crying about it all evening. Wanted to just write about and and let out my anger, frustration and sadness.

Looking forward to work tomorrow.

Period.

It’s so interesting that I come from a cultural group that celebrates a woman starting her period, through a ‘puberty ceremony’. Men and women in the girl’s family come together for this celebration, with no form of shyness, embarrassment or awkwardness.

Nonetheless, why is it that the generation in our culture which so religiously celebrates starting a menstrual period, then feels shy and embarrassed to talk about it after. There are many men, especially in my parents generation, who feel awkward and shy to talk about it, yet spend ounces of money on a puberty ceremony which serves no purpose whatsoever than to show off one’s financial status (especially in this modern-western civilization). How many of those fathers, brothers and uncles then openly talk to their daughters about her once monthly period? I have not yet seen it.

Did you know that in Tamil, the most civilized way to say that I’m on my period is this: ‘sugam illai’ which directly translates as ‘I’m not well’. Are you joking me?! Being on my menstrual period does not mean ‘I am not well’. The woman’s body goes through this process naturally. Why is it then so stigmatized/medicalised?

I am fully aware that we cannot change the ideals, values or behaviours of those in the generation above me, in my tamil community…sadly it is too late. I just hope both men and women alike can openly talk about a period in my generation and the generations to come. We need to socially and culturally normalize a normal biological function, rather than masking it in all our non-sense values. Period.

My understanding of the pain-body

I read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and I learnt something very interesting which Tolle introduced, called the pain-body.

From the moment we are born, we are being shaped by every experience, everything and everyone around us. These influences can be positive or negative. Those that make us feel a negative emotion feed into our so-called ‘pain-body’. This pain-body is an umbrella term to describe our negativity or darkness. During the course of our life, certain events/moments can trigger this pain-body of ours to resurface in the form of anger, hatred, bitterness, depression, anxiety. We need to become aware of this. The mere process of becoming aware that these emotions are not our conscious being, but the unconscious pain-body taking over, is the first step to stop ourselves from identifying with it.

I can envision the pain-body as being something negative. There are some individuals who carry a negative aura around them. I can now say that it is not their conscious self that is negative, but their pain-body which they carry with them as a dark cloud. The pain body is something which can easily be triggered. I have my own pain-body which comes to light every time someone or something triggers an insecurity in me. My negative response to that is my pain-body. It is not my conscious self. To be conscious is to be aware of this pain-body. It will crop up time and time again; every time it does, I need to become aware that it is my pain-body. This way I can stop identifying myself with it.

I’m so proud of you Amma

Today you are starting a new chapter. A job. Yes after 19 years of not working, you have decided to enter the world of employment again.

I’m so proud of you, for standing up for yourself and your freedom.

You inspire me always.

This is just the beginning and it is never too late to start anything. You are a prime example of that.

Nothing is as sad as superficiality

Positive vibes. Spirituality. Positivity.

These terms have been become so overused and meaningless in the past few years.

I merely see them as fancy hashtags for Instagram posts. The recent trend.

Don’t get me wrong, I was following this trend as well. However since the beginning of this year, I started to go through a whole mental, emotional and spiritual change. My whole way of thinking began to evolve. I can feel that I am vibrating on a whole new frequency. This shift is scaring the hell out of me, but the more I become aware of it and talk about it, the more I am accepting and embracing this new me.

I just feel like so many individuals are living a life for a very superficial and monetary purpose. Money. Status. Please others. Please self on a superficial level. There is deeper sense of being, which I strongly believe in. We are born for a higher purpose. This higher purpose is short of being easy. On my route to finding my higher purpose, to serve others, I have been becoming more and more aware of myself. This awareness is scary as hell. You start to realise that there is a lot more to our creation.

What we are currently experiencing is a mere illusion. It takes a lot of courage to delve deep and figure out where we sit in this world. What purpose we are going to serve to make this place a better place…because guess what, that is what this messed up world needs more of. Humans who have built a life to serve others and help create a better generation of humans for the centuries to come.

A weekend in Bath

I took a very private trip to Bath with my boyfriend this weekend.

My definition of ‘private’ is that I did not tell many people I was actually going. Not my friends, my family. I basically did not make a big fuss. My boyfriend and I wanted some alone time without the distractions of being in our ‘normal’ environments.

Honestly it was such a beautiful time. My boyfriend and I had some quality alone time where we truly got to enjoy our own company. I felt like we both spent a lot of time with each other in London (where he lives/I come from) or Birmingham (where I currently live); but we have never really taken time out to travel together, which is something we both wanted to do. Living in different cities, where both of us work on different full-time work schedules, with our side hustles, does make that much harder to sort any time to meet up, let alone plan holidays haha!

It was a miracle that we managed to find a weekend where both of us were free so we made it happen!

Bath was amazing and we are both into learning so we made the most of it. We went to the Roman Baths and spent a good half of the day taking a tour around the site – learning, discussing and teaching other what we learnt. After a beautiful lunch, we then had the best time at Thermae Bath Spa. We both needed detox time. We spent a good hours, without our phones, not taking photos, and just enjoying each other’s company relaxing, unwinding and feeling grateful about the life we had.

After the beautiful spa afternoon, we brought the evening to an end with Indian Fine dining (so our style!). We spent time talking about our peaks and pits of our day and what we were looking forward to. Our day came to an end.

Now for those who know us well, would know that my boyfriend is very into cars. As a result I have become more clued up about cars! So on our second day, we went to car showrooms and managed to test drive some cars in Bath! What an experience.

The reason I wanted to share this is because by reflecting on how much of a wonderful time we had, I am able to feel that much more grateful about the relationship I am in. From the outside, not many people understand the relationship between me and my boyfriend. We have been judged by many for numerous reasons. Nonetheless we have stood strong by each other. I am so grateful that he has been by my side no matter what others have put us through. And taking this time for us and appreciating why we love each other so much has made me more aware of how amazing of a human being he is.

I am a good person

I recently shared with you my insecurities. One of you guys, read it and wrote me a beautiful message on my blog. It was in short about taking time to focus on the positives I have as person, because as women we have the tendency to focus on our flaws, than champion our strengths.

I took a moment, after reading the message, to think about my strengths. Damn was it hard! How did I find it so difficult to think of my strengths, yet within a blink of eye I could list out all my insecurities and perceived negatives?

After days of long and hard deliberation here is few things I believe are my strengths. I’ve split it into the same categories as I did my insecurities, just so I can see for myself that in every avenue I have my strengths:

> Physical: I am beautiful, and I am so confident in my natural God-given beauty, which does make me feel so empowered and one with nature. Here are some of the favourite physical features about myself: my eyes, my cute beauty spots across my face, my healthy looking hair and my booty! Yep, you read that right.

> Relationship: It is a blessing to be in a secure long-term relationship. No matter how hard things get, we always seem to power through and find ways to become even closer. It is that much more tough when we have been living in two different cities for the most part of this relationship. Being in a long-term relationship for as long as we have been, and keeping that relationship alive and so beautiful is tough. Things were a lot easier when I was a student; I would just drive down to London as and when I wanted so to spend time with him (I was a bad university student so just bunked off my classes!). However, in my final year, I cut it down to weekends predominantly, and now with work we hardly see each other. We both work on different schedules, and we both have other commitments, individual to us, outside of work. He travels a lot for work and his performances. My weekends are taken up with my wedding dance business. Nowadays, we would be grateful if we could spend at least 1 hour, every two weeks, together. It is tough, and we have had so many difficulties as a result of it. Nonetheless, we are only coming out stronger. I pray God blesses us with more such happiness and strength, for which I am always grateful.

> Career: I am a doctor. I have a small yet significant wedding dance choreography business. And now, I am taking blogging a lot more seriously, and maybe in the future, I can make a career out of blogging as well!! Why the hell am I being so tough on myself?! I have worked so hard to build a life that I have dreamt of. There are few more things yet to do, but that will come with time. I am so grateful to be in a position of such responsibility. I am so grateful of the people I meet daily through my career. I am grateful for how my career is shaping me into a better person day-by-day.

> Travel: I need to accept that I currently do not have the travel bug. And that’s okay. I am on a mission of my own, and travelling does not fit into that picture at the moment. I just need to accept that be more loving to myself. On the contrary, I am instead saving some money. It is not a lot, but something is better than nothing right? I believe the savings will come to use at one point in the near future and I am proud that I am becoming a more financial aware person, because of my savings.

In addition to the above, for which I am forever grateful for, I have some great qualities as a human being. No one has ever really applauded me for them, but why wait for them, when I can applaud myself.

> I am a great listener. I spend more time listening that talking, and I believe that is a very important quality to have.

> I am very understanding. Whatever you throw at me, I will actually take time to think about the situation in your shoes. This has cost me my own feelings at times, but that is a conversation for another day.

> I am quite organised, disciplined and dedicated. If I set my mind on something, I will do all I can do to ensure it gets done.

> I am a loving human being. I am not good with regular messaging, and regular meet-ups. If you understand that and accept me for that, I will shower you with so much love always. If you do not understand that, and judge me for my decisions and the way I am, I will just step away. When I decide to love someone, I do so with my whole heart. Love rises above all.

It is so refreshing to look at how beautiful of a human being I am; and I am proud of myself for it.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Just as we are uncovering our weaknesses/insecurities, we need to become more aware of our strengths; that balance is what will keep us in a state of mental and emotional balance.

Satsumas are so under-rated

When I was a child/teenager, at secondary school, this is how my average week looked:

> Mondays – School, an evening for home-work/study/I sometimes had tuition on monday evenings
> Tuesdays – School; I finished at 3.30pm; I came back and then had some time to shower and eat before I had 2 hour dance practice at 7pm.
> Wednesdays – School; once I finished, again I would rush home, shower and eat and then get ready for singing and veena class for 2.5hours
> Thursdays – School; again 2 hours of dance class after this
> Fridays – School; I would come back, shower and eat and then go to the temple with my family
> Saturdays – I would have to wake up at 7am, because I had dance class from 8.30am to 11am/12pm. I would then eat the food, my mum packed for me, in the car as she drove me to swimming lessons, which were from 1 to 1.30pm. I then came home and had the whole evening to chill and catch up on movies, TV or home-work – unless of course I had a dance show, in which case that was pretty much a zero.
> Sundays – I had tution in the morning from 10.30 to 12.30pm, and then had the whole evening to myself after that.
> Back to Monday again.

Now this is all excluding the extra hours I had fit in for school plays I was rehearsing for, school show rehearsals I had to put time into, external dance shows I did with my dance school; and some time for friends and family.

I eat the Tesco satsumas. So juicy and sweet. Yum yum yum.

My life at university looked something like this:

> Mondays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Tuesdays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Wednesdays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Thursdays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Fridays – university which normally finished at 5/6pm followed by dance rehearsals
> Saturdays – dance rehearsals for at least 8 hours, if not I will be at home!
> Sundays – dance rehearsals in the morning followed by catching up with my friends or myself haha

This is excluding studying, assignments deadlines, societies I was involved in (Tamil society, Hindu society). I also tried to make time for family and friends, partying, getting drunk and recovering from hangovers, being in and out of relationships…in my last 2 years of university I was in a relationship which I am still in, for your information – woohooo go me! Hahaha, I was such a crazy person and do not know how I managed it all. (I am not going to neglect the fact that I was a terrible university student, hardly being present at any of my teaching sessions, unless there was a register. I basically just focused on doing enough to pass; this was particularly the case in my final 2 years of university).

I managed to get through a whole bag of satsumas this weekend.

My life now looks something like this:

> Mondays – work; come back, shower, eat and chill
> Tuesdays – work; come back, shower, eat and chill
> Wednesdays – work; come, shower, eat and chill
> Thursdays – work; come, shower, eat and chill
> Fridays – work; come back, shower, eat, drive back to London
> Saturdays – day for wedding dance rehearsals where I usually schedule 1 client at a time convenient to them, for however many hours they want (unless I have prior commitments)
> Sundays – morning and afternoon of rest; drive back to Birmingham
> Back to Monday again

Maybe I should buy a satsuma tree. Does that even exist?

What happened to me? When did I become so lazy and uninteresting? When did I stop taking interest in doing things I love and things which help me grow and learn?

Have I become that person who says ‘work is so tiring.’ Bullsh*t. I can understand 12-hour on-call shifts being tiring, but an elective day at work cannot be tiring. I have been that individual who has gone through the craziest schedules at school and university. I came out so strong. I need to bring back that fire.

Writing this made me reflect on life. Many of us who are doctors now, were engaged in a whole host of fun extra-curricular activities as children and teenagers, to help with our growth and self-development. We got to university and that started to narrow down slightly. We started working and then it all became non-existent. The most we do is go to gym (or hula hoop in my case) from time to time; go out partying and getting drunk, to numb ourselves of the monotone lives we are living; or travel around the world to escape from the mundane lives we have built for ourselves.

Here are things I want to do and I am determined to start weaving it all into my life:

1) Learn a new language – I want to improve my french (which I stopped practicing after my A Level French). I also want to start learning Spanish. I am going to find an online which I can use to start learning both. If I can get a few cute qualifications, even better haha!

2) I want to build dance into my weekly schedule. At least once a week, but I can do it twice a week, it would be ideal.

3) I want to try something new. Something like pole dancing/acting classes. I have always loved acting; I did drama at GCSE and did three/four school plays at secondary school as well. Why did I stop? I would like to believe I was pretty good. Maybe I need to rekindle that fire.

4) When I am in London, I want to start making use of the Veena my parents bought for me. I loved playing the veena and I want to get back to taking lessons and learning again.

5) Of course I want to travel. However, I want to travel to learn and immerse myself in other cultures. I do not want to travel to escape from my life. This may be why I do not feel ready to travel yet. I am working on building a life which is amazing in itself; that way I do not need to look forward to going abroad, but instead embrace the fact that it is just another fun aspect of my already fun life.

6) I want to do small courses here and there. I have a particular interest in nutrition and skin-health so it may be something I venture into, on the side.

6 months down the line, I want to be able to read what I have written above and say that I have commenced at least 2 of the above. It’s all in my hands.

PS: Satsumas are so under-rated…oh crap, I’ve already made that point very clear.

PPS: This piece was nothing to do with satsumas, as you have probably clocked already.