Conversations after a life expires have become only slightly less difficult, over the years and overall. More complicated still, when the conversation is with someone notably working through guilt processing issues, when they're stumbling through an unofficial hike of ego and awareness thereof. It's a series of corrective steps careening from an initial self-perceived misstep, and before too long I find myself comforting the other person, who has lost no one in particular, recently.
They entered the conversation out of some recognition that I might need to talk to someone, and I'm initially (and residually) grateful for the empathy. By the end of the discussion, randomly broke off because anxiety and divided attention prove more pressing than niceties in text communications, it becomes clear that there wasn't going to be a "break" in the first place, whatever that honestly could mean upon further cold examination.
I am an angry man. I was an angry young man, am still young, and still am angry, albeit not always at the exact same things.* My anger stems from passion, which gets renewed by an enthusiasm (and
almost certainly anxiety) towards the complexities of living and all it entails within what we perceive as The Universe. My [develop(ed/ing)] ability to further focus and channel it has mostly clarified and intensified said anger, made it directional enough that I've managed to stay [mostly] safe in the last decade among other humans that expertly rationalize exactly why this is apparently an inauthentic or inherently "bad" way of living.
Still, indignation briefly surges up in the midst of the farce that certain elements of the exchange has taken on. The very ego that I was managing for the sake of the fact that this really did not happen to me comes up in a brief moment of feeling like I'm being cheated on a deal that I shook on with basically no one, regarding even exchange on egos and emotions. If I hadn't had to suppress so frequently during medical school so far, it wouldn't have been so sudden or unexpected, this much I know.
I take a deep breath, I bring my heart-rate down, I take a bit more time than I would be allotted in-person, where I have to compress the whole process internally in-between seconds. I comfort and reason with her. I allow myself the internal joke (for defusing with humor) of being glad that I had to move, that we didn't keep dating and wreck it due to a difference in personal priorities. I make a quiet note of how that process transpires, what I can take away from it, in terms of how it informs the vast (and widening) difference between what I want and what I need from friendship or committed romance. I put the thoughts against how to explain this to that particular listener/conversational partner in a way that would resonate and satisfy the basic needs, as it will do me no longitudinal good (in this human relationship, or overall) to turn this into more of an Invisible Filing Cabinet situation than what I already feel like I've been pushed into.
Guilt doesn't really manage to enter into it for a measurably significant time. It might help some people, but it would be noise, in this case. It's simply not required to work through the situation.
Of course I have an ego. Of course I don't suppress it all the time. Of course you realize, I don't believe myself a victim of the egos and subsequent anxiety of others.
Somewhere in-between all the lines and mess of abandoned paragraphs, what I'm writing about is part of the difference between some kinds of interactions with what it is to become a doctor.
If there is any anxiety exuding from this entry, it stems from two things:
-This is part of the mechanism by which I both wrestle with and sporadically still feel alienated.
-I am slowly becoming better at functioning after someone dies, let alone someone I know. One day, I won't be uncomfortable with that fact.
*This is almost the entirety of some people's definition of "growth."
Tags: via ljapp