that summer haze

by ann

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Happy Sunday, you. Today’s a day for reflection. Tomorrow is the start of D3 and, even though I’m already in clinic (!) treating patients (!!!), there’s something about 8 AM classes every morning that screams the start of a new year. But before these past few months disappear into that summer haze, let’s just indulge in a little navel-gazing.

This past year has been wild.

I broke up with my boyfriend of eight years, took a board exam, jetted to Europe for two weeks, bodysurfed in the waters lapping Fire Island, and camped for the second time ever. And those are just the things that happened. The thoughts have been racing: how does dating even work now, what should you compromise on in a relationship, I need to travel more, I miss my friends back home, why are plane tickets so expensive, what makes people be so horrible to each other, how should I cover the tacky insulation pipes in my room, what are with these headaches I keep getting, I need to drink more water, budgeting this year is critical, school school school, I need more coffee. And sleep.

Despite all that’s happened, my mind often drifts back to that first: the breakup. I started this site because I wanted to share about my life here in dental school, in a new city, to experience with you all the new things I’ve tasted and drunk and done but I also made this for me and him. I didn’t really know what to write after the fact.

One thing I learned from a long distance relationship is the art of suppressing emotions. The ache of missing someone is very tangible. It burns your throat with wordless cries. It rocks you and leaves you hollow. So you push it aside and focus on something else, anything else. It can be your schoolwork, your friends, the minutiae of everyday life until you become a rock. You think you’re strong but it’s a deceptive shell.

I know now that you can’t just push your feelings aside. It doesn’t make you a better partner. It will wear you away. So I’m learning to feel it. Feel it all. There are times you may need to put your head down and plod forward (because life is tough, for real) but stoicism is the opposite of strength.

I’m opening myself to feel that pain as much as I am to feeling the joys. And I will continue to write and share.

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“If it’s painful, you can learn to hold your seat and move closer to that pain. Reverse the usual pattern, which is to split, to escape. Go against the grain and hold your seat…if it’s painful, you become willing not just to endure it but also to let it awaken your heart and soften you. You learn to embrace it.

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If an experience is delightful or pleasant, usually we want to grab it and make it last. We’re afraid that it will end. We’re not inclined to share it… Share the wealth. Be generous with your joy. Give away what you most want. Be generous with your insights and delights. Instead of fearing that they’re going to slip away and holding on to them, share them.”

                                                                        Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron

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