The Unedited Chapter ( a novel in progress )

I think you’d like this story: “The Unedited Chapters” by JoeiMD on Wattpad http://my.w.tt/UiNb/UsxyXpal9E

It’s the story of Dr. Tabby’s life as it is entered in her journal on a day to day basis. Take a closer look at depression as it is lived by an acute care physician, a wife and a mother of two young children. A medical drama, given to you in parts, written as raw as possible and in a manner where realistic thoughts are documented as they come along. It’s a very honest and easy read. 

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​Looking out from a porch, a story would just be a slideshow of beautiful things. Superficial like a cover of a book. A fairytale backdraft in a tragic play. Reality is bolder behind closed doors.
No life is picture perfect just as no person is without fault. Sometimes though, we kid ourselves by painting a happy mask to wear for people to look at, so that our darkness wouldn’t have to take center stage. We hide our brokenness because it is intimate, because it represents weakness. Like broken hinges that can’t be mended. No one wants to play the role of a loser, the one who dies first in a low budget motion picture. 
Who we are when no one is looking, behind closed doors when all the lights have been shut off, is reality; With our fears and our sadness, with our scarred skin mapping our journey, with the tears crashing down, and our pieces falling off and scattering around our bare feet, is the story behind the sunshine covers of most of our lives. A clown does not fall asleep a clown. 
We do what we have to do to cope. Some hold on to glitter, to mask the blackness surrounding who they are. Some immerse themselves with beautiful things, to forget the ugliness written somewhere in their storylines. There are some however, who ironically cope by befriending their demons, by remembering the darkness, by revisiting a tragedy. Different strokes for different folks. I write to continue living. I write to survive. And unlike those who try very hard to present an idyllic scene, I write about my darkness. I write about a tainted and imperfect life. By doing so, I am liberated from the distorted images I have of myself inside my head. It is a mirror from which I see who I am, because I am someone I never really got to know very well. 
I play many roles. Some I play well, some quite poorly. Some I am extremely proud of, and some I’d rather forget.  But who I am when roles are stripped off, and I am presented in my barest form devoid of masks and illusions is my unedited story. The stories I journal directly as my thoughts run haywire. It is the story I give directly to you. I am my only story.

I Am A Healer

I’ve walked these sterile corridors for so many years but not once did I walked it without my chest drumming like crazy. I remember April some years back when I first walked on these floors as a newly minted physician, proudly clutching my very first lightweight cardiac stethoscope ( I used to have the disposable kind that one can buy in drugstores for P250), amazed and frightened at the same time at the chaotic scenes before me. “I’m ready”, I told myself. It was not long after when I realized that no one can ever be ready for the battles a doctor faces. No one. Not even a dreamer such as I am. I witnessed how people I’ve been with in the starting line all transformed into someone unrecognizable halfway through the journey. I lost my idealism somewhere along the tiny spaces I tried to curl up in one night too many, to steal a desperately needed sleep; maybe I lost it somewhere along hallways where charts fly, and voices are raised, where hearts are broken and pride are pulverized; when my worth is challenged again and again, until I could no longer remember how it feels like to be secure in my own skin. It is only in Medicine where people are stripped off all pride and self confidence so that one day, they can trust their very own judgement. Ironic that doctors are broken in pieces before they can be trusted to heal others.

“Being a doctor is not just putting on that long white coat”, my Dad used to say to me. Being a doctor is that drumming of the heart before facing every patient, that fight in the soul every time we wrestle with death for someone else, and that stony façade we’ve been trained to wear when we wanted so much to cry. Emotion had always been a doctor’s great nemesis. It slows us down when there is so much work to be done. It taints objectivity, and it weakens the resolve to face more sufferings.

We can’t be healers forever, in fact, we can’t be healers for too long. Doctors die young, go mad or both. And the length of time to create a doctor (or mutate one) is simply too complex to compensate for those we lose along the way. Some die from stress related illness, a huge number commit suicide and more are murdered for mundane reasons. Is the long white gown still worth it?

My life may be worth more than the stale coffee I’ve consumed from the old hospital vending machine all these years; more than the blinding light of day after going on duty for 35 hours; more than the piles of census and case reports; more than the social media shaming; more than the accusing words from disgruntled patients and relatives who thought I had all the answers; more than the family holidays and birthdays I’ve missed; more than the money I could have earned; more than all the disappointments I’ve learned to collect one by one. But one life I make better is what defines who I am as a healer. The day I decided to walk the hospital floor, wearing the white long gown that represents the profession is when I ceased to be just me.

 

A Broken Hallelujia

I woke up not knowing what to expect. I cowered under the sheets, allowing a few more moments of forged security to calm my senses.  It’s a mean world out there after all, and I am just another grain of sand in the vast desert of moving mortals. Among the triumphant titans, I am just another broken soul, just another grain the rain washes over, just another useless body to use, just another name to forget.

The world is suffocating from the smoke of burnt offerings. It had gone blind from the glitter of fake gems crowding the altar floor. It had gone deaf from the roar of pretentious praises. I have nothing to offer but my broken soul. My pockets are empty except for the pieces of my being I tried to keep but failed to put together. My feet are muddied because of the puddle my tears created. Will the altar accept my fears and nightmares as offering? Will it be willing to take my dark memories? Maybe not, so I’m walking on.

The clean congregation mocked me. I have soiled their sacred ground with my careless mistakes. It is sacrilege to come with my sadness, my shadows misfitted among the crowd of the enlightened. I am a sinner walking along the clean floors of the baptised and the chosen.

Some dreams are created in dirty alleys. Some hearts are born along infested gutters, like colorful confettis left by a grand parade. Some souls scavenge garbage bins for a bit of kindness, a drop of compassion. Often though, this world is fast to sing hallelujah, but too stingy to give love to those who need it the most.

I am my sacrifice. My life is my offering to God, along with the shadows of my past, my mistakes and my weakness; my fears and my confusions; my broken dreams and my endlessly bleeding heart. I have nothing that glitters, for I am a black hole. I have not memorized scriptures but I can recite what I often tell myself when the devil wants me to end it all. I can tell you the names of the people I cried with, people I allowed into my hiding place so that even for a moment, they will not be alone. I will tell you the story of my life, grit and all, for it is all that I am, and it is all I have to give, in this makeshift altar among the outcasts, the lepers, and the lost.

Your Name

You walked this path before I did, unfrazzled and innocent to the dangers that we seem to attract. You built your home before I did, and weaved your dreams like an unsinkable ship. That was your mistake. You trusted the world too much. You had no idea, not until you were snatched out from the comfort of your bed and hanged upside down from a tree. Not until you were burned at stake, by the very people you tried to protect. I still don’t know your name.

I woke up drenched in sweat from a nightmare that should no longer frighten me because they were mere repeats of every night’s interrupted slumber. Nightmares that are no match for what reality has in store.  Yes, reality is more threatening, because it’s logical. Because the evilness isn’t just weaved from distorted imagery and besieged memory. 

Are you buried somewhere in this lonely earth undiscovered and forgotten?  Will your bones suddenly turn up in one excavation too many, like a story reaching out beyond centuries, and beyond a hundred lifetime? Maybe then, you can tell me your name.

All I know is that I’m not alone. Not in the face of betrayals and not in the face of broken dreams. You’ve faced them before I did. Made the mistakes I should have made. And each night as I awaken from another disturbing dream, I’d sigh because again, I’ve forgotten to ask your name

Haunted

It would have been my folly, a consequence of not thinking straight, that there were too much upturned earth in our midst. The signs of indecisions, the epitome of a collapsing life. That warning sign that says, “You have no idea what you’re up against”.
Time had not weathered most of the scars. The dead birch tree still stands on our backyard, like someone refusing to move on. Of course the roses have all died a long time ago, perhaps the same time we both started dying. Before the very essence of our union started its short journey towards decay.
The child’s swing still hangs. A sad reminder of a dream that’s never meant to come true. A thing so misplaced, it distorts the very essence of its existence. It’s all been a gamble, and we lost big time. Like planting a rose in our backyard in the middle of winter, foolishly hoping it would survive to see spring. 
The house resonates a sad whimper each time the wind blows. Old houses and sad memories, of dreams and defeat. We once had a life, and it perished within these walls. And the evidence of the catastrophe marks every corner. 
And so I walk in it, day and night, haunting, remembering, retracing the steps of a life that had once been mine. Touching the walls that only knows the past and never the future. The floors creak, and the old beds sag. The photos on the walls look on like windows to a twilight zone. The old grandfather clock strikes midnight, and I continue my walk around and within the house, that once hid my body and now imprisoned my soul.

Touched By A Monster

When you’ve been touched by a monster, you’ll never forget. The scent will forever haunt your waking hours, and uncertainties will always be nudged  in to your dreams. 
No one wants to be a victim. No one wants to be labelled weak. Justice sometimes come many years too late, and the damage had taken root, obliterating everything you once  believed to be true about yourself.
This world is full of victims, and monsters alike…, of predators and prey. And no one is like what they seem to be. A world overtaken by disguises and masquerades. A world swallowed up by the sheer need to dominate or survive. 
There are those who fight back. Those who simply refuse to be taken down by circumstances. Those who hold the memories like torches against the black nightmares that permeates the night. 
When we’ve been touched by monsters, we never forget. We learn to acknowledge the fact that life is a series of breaking and rebuilding. That absolute justice only happens when we brave to stand once more and make something out of life, with the monster’s reek and all, we struggle to live a significant existance nevertheless.
I’ve been touched by monsters. And I carry their marks on my soul. And because of that, I have become immune to their seductive lure.