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Missed Connections

Friday, December 18, 2020

 



Did you ever meet someone during your childhood and realized you and this person have an amazing connection that if allowed to flourish, would result in a beautiful strong friendship? I most definitely did. Looking at kids now, I wish I had a phone number I could have given these girls as they affected my life for a short period but their memory is still fresh in my mind. I wonder what they are doing and where they are now. Most of all I wish they are happy and thriving in this crazy world. 


    One of the girls I met in elementary school and we became friends in grade three. By the time I reached grade five, we were really close friends who would enjoy sitting and chatting by the sandbox and talking about everything and anything. My relationship with her was different than the dynamic with my other childhood friends and I felt as if I could pour my heart out to her and she would not use this against me. She made me feel safe in a world where I was unsure of who I could trust. I had such vivid memories of my mother picking me up during lunchtime once a week to take me for my weekly seasonal allergy injections. These were bittersweet days for me because I hate being poked but I looked forward to the Burger King meal I would get for lunch. Once I returned to school, I would run towards the sandbox and find my friend waiting for me there. I would sit there talking to her while mindlessly grabbing on to the warm dirt and squishing it between my fingers. I watched as it oozed out from the gaps between the fingers. There was something so soothing about the grainy feel running across my hands. I would continue to rake the earth until I reached the cooler, damp earth a few inches down. The cool earth soothed my fingers so I would clasp it tightly in my hand and squeeze it so it would burst out from between my fingers. 

Surviving a Pandemic

Monday, November 23, 2020

 



    After an utterly exhausting week that left my cortisol levels reaching new peaks in this interview season there was a long and hard crash. I felt exhausted and almost as if I would blackout from the sleepiness and nothingness filling my brain with black. So I let my body steer me in the direction it needed to go and succumbed to the fatigue. I slept for half a day and all night. But now, I am ready to take on what comes next. If I forced my body to continue in the condition it was, I would have crashed or remained in a state of perpetual exhaustion which would draw out my agony for a longer period of time and reduce my efficiency and motivation, anyway. I decided to take a break from everything to enable myself the chance to get back up on my feet and feel some semblance of rejuvenation or peace of mind. Alas, I feel that I will be unable to feel at peace until I hear some more news of any kind. But what can I say, I am going to accept that this is my life for now. During this time I pondered and mused over what I could possibly share with my readers in the midst of my mental crises. There is so much to say and so many more stories to tell but I want to wait it out a bit. Talking about the difficult periods in my life while undergoing a mental breakdown is probably not the healthiest of ways to cope at this time. So I started musing what could be motivating and inspiring to me in a time like this. Perhaps I need to branch out a little bit more in my desire to talk about everything. So much to think about indeed but let's start with a story from today.

Closed Doors and Open Hearts

Monday, November 16, 2020

 



This month I feel anxious and the sense of gloom and defeat washes over my senses as I gaze out into the gloomy, rainy weather outside my window. I am warm in my blanket cocoon, but my heart races, and I feel the cool clamminess of my feet as they touch each other under the blanket. My body is in fight-or-flight mode despite no sense of current impending doom. Yet it is all around me, washing over me. This residency interview season, already delayed due to the pandemic wreaking havoc over the globe, changed the rules of the game in ways that were both good and bad. My interviews this season will be virtual, good, and bad. The trickle of rejections weighing out the interview invitations seems to be crawling at a snail's pace, bad. I don't know what to do with my time and I hate not knowing. The wait until March will be filled with sleepless nights going over the mistakes I made during my Zoom interviews. There is no escape for my mind because the world needed to shut down for a while and slow its pace so that it could recover and breathe. But my breathing rapidly progresses and I pace across the room until I decide it is too cold to walk around without my blanket shroud. 


    My mind cannot stop reminding me of my mistakes during my recent interview. Why did I not mention my strengths more often? I wondered if the program director thought my excitement and pleading eyes bordered on desperation. I sigh as I continue to stare out into a grey world cut starkly with the green of the cedars and pines lining the front yard. The stoic serene quality of their straight trunks extending to the sky normally brings a sense of calm over me but today they loom over me with foreboding, blocking me from the outside world. The slow pattering of the rain hypnotizes me and I dissociate into a different realm of everything and nothing. I am transported to my past achievements and failures, failures mostly. I don't know what I would do if this doesn't work out. What if I cannot continue working on becoming a physician, what will I do with my life? Nobody would be surprised if I didn't make it, everyone already doubts I will match anywhere. My own faith in myself wavers and oscillates over the day, week, and possibly month. 

Self Respect and Battling "Log Kya Kahenge" (What will people say)

Monday, November 9, 2020

 



Sometimes, it is important to take things a little too seriously when navigating the quirks of life and  when the people around us are always reminding us that this life is no joke. Focus now, work now, marry now, the list is endless. Some of us are unable to enjoy the small moments in life because of the bigger problems we may face on a daily basis. We all have our whims and desires that are an offshoot of the personalities we desperately attempt to nurture in order to show and become who we are. Nevertheless, our culture and religion play a huge role in molding us and can define our tastes, subconsciously sometimes. From an early age, we begin to gauge our worth by what others think of us and behave according to what will make those around us happy. There are many people we encounter who influence us in our lives, directly or indirectly. They will have an impact on our decisions and the way we handle ourselves in situations in a subtle manner that builds over time. 


    Our parents are our nurtures and caretakers from the moment we enter this world until they take their final breaths. We look up to them for everything and imitate their behaviours so that we can become functioning members of society and learn how to interact with others around us. They teach us what is good and bad according to their beliefs and experiences. They become our first point of reference when we make decisions and lay our own foundations. Their influence on our actions and desires is inevitable and built into our system whether we like it or not. They hold the very fabric of our being in their hands and they have the power to shape us to their desires and wishes to a significant degree. Sometimes, their insecurities and worries become our own burdens because we watch them fighting their demons and internalize them so we begin fighting them too. Everything depends on our relationship with them. In my personal experience, our mothers can become entrapped in a cycle they have been a part of since their own childhoods. Submission holds more value in our society than outspoken and bolder behaviour. It still is a man's world in their eyes and the easiest way to survive and navigate it is by causing as little trouble as possible by diminishing our existence around the male figures. Although this is widely changing, there is a lot of pushback from women who are the mother's of sons. They want their sons to continue to enjoy the luxury of their privilege even though they know how painful it is to be the unwelcomed member of a family. This discord continues to breed the unhealthy lifestyle and integrate it in the next generation which grow up observing the toxic dynamics found within their homes. 

Mistakes

Friday, November 6, 2020






My life a mess of endless mistakes
Yet every step proves to be
The mistook adventure 
Of the perilous side of me
Unforgivable,
Is the design to
Which a human fate
At times, must resign to
Unforgivable,
Is the world to
One who behind falls
Untouchable and diminished
Where only solitude calls
Take me where I
Must go for I
Know no more where I
My face can show 





Handling the Unexpected

Monday, November 2, 2020


 


The year 2020 really took us all for a roller coaster ride. Any plans I may have had this year washed away with the tide of pandemic frenzy. My anxiety rose steadily as the year went on because of isolation, uncertainty, and mental exhaustion. I made so many plans for the beginning of a new decade. My to-do list filled with goals I wanted to achieve and places I would visit. My life never followed the timeline or sequence of events I planned for it. Something would always take me by surprise when I set my mind to a certain task. I used to look at my peers and friends and wonder how they could easily follow their wishes and whims when mine enjoyed taking me down complex winding paths on which I never know where I will end up. 


    In situations like this, the best approach is to learn how to handle changes because the destination might be better than what you intended for yourself. My life is an example of how to navigate situations when luck is not on your side. Nevertheless, I would change nothing if I knew it would lead me to where I am today. If you asked me during high school where I wanted to end up, I would have excitedly told you I wanted to graduate as a doctor by the age of twenty-five and marry by twenty-seven with kids at thirty. Knowing what kind of headspace I was in during my early twenties, pursuing such an intensive degree would have been very difficult for me even if I got in then. I failed one year of my courses in undergrad because of the stress I was facing at that time. If I failed out medical school because of my problems, I could never forgive myself for not giving myself the time to heal. What I didn't realize at that time was I needed that time to relearn how to focus and put myself first. I did not anticipate any of the delays, even though some of them were consequences of my own actions. 

The First One Part 3

Friday, October 30, 2020

 


**Before I begin, I want to display a warning that I will discuss suicide in this post.**


We talked in secret for three months before we had our first fight. I cannot even remember what the fight was about, but I know I felt very disrespected and I told him I don't think I could be with him if he was going to treat me this way. This is the first time I swore at someone and he replied back in the same manner. I felt he was not giving me enough time or cared enough about me as a person. It was as if he just decided one day that he wanted to give me a try and see how things went. Apparently, he had overheard my grandfather speaking to his father mentioning my name and saying it would make him so happy if our two families joined through the union of marriage with one of his favourite granddaughters. I felt as if he remembered that when he saw me and thought "eh... that'll do" and decided to start speaking to me. It only took us three months to realize we were very different. 


    Despite the warning deep pit in my stomach, I messaged him after not speaking to him for three months. I missed my friend. He replied back as if nothing ever happened and picked up from before the fight. I didn't see anything wrong with this although I should have been warier. How could he just forget about the pain he had caused me and keep moving through with our relationship not having apologized even once. I was the one who desperately wanted to keep him around. Eventually, we fell apart again after another fight and I decided we are unable to make this work and I felt as if I lost a part of me when I said goodbye to him at that time. I was devastated and confused. I did not know how to handle this emotional fury, and the feeling of loss welled up inside me. A short while after this, my parents introduced me to another marriage proposal that occupied my life for two years and ended in disaster when this guy sabotaged my life by interfering and messaging my ex-fiance and spilling the details of my past to strangers he did not know. My world crumbled around me and I was furious, embarrassed, and anxious. The wrath of my family weighed down on me. I messaged him angrily trying to portray my anger in words that would not come out coherently. I told him I would never forgive him. 

Innocence and Cheerful Ignorance

Monday, October 26, 2020

 


When growing up, I viewed the world through such innocent and ignorant eyes. I was unaware of the immensity of skeletons I was constantly surrounded by and the struggles my parents and other adults around me faced. The world seemed bright and promising despite all the setbacks my parents were shrouded in. Looking back, I did not always realize I grew up in a poor home with struggling parents. I was unaware that my parents were barely making ends meet throwing newspapers, studying, and working other odd jobs they could find. I did not demand much and maybe it was easier where I lived because a lot of the people around me were new immigrant families. We lived in co-op housing for eight years until my father received his first job as a veterinarian after passing his licensing exams. 


    Despite all this, I felt I had it all. I didn't care about clothes, fashion, designer brands. I did pine over the new toys coming out that my parents couldn't always afford like the Tamagotchi or the massive dollhouses at Toys-R-Us but they tried their best to give us not only what we needed but wanted as well. The small space we were confined in did not bother me, it was as much space as I needed. It never occurred to me that we were living in cramped conditions or that we should have more than this. Every year, I would receive a new Barbie for my birthday and other random accessories to adorn her with. My father was always looking for the next magic box that would give us unlimited channels for a cheap price, so we watched a lot of movies and shows at home even if we couldn't afford to go to the movie theaters.

Education, Careers and the Journey of Life

Friday, October 23, 2020

 



 A girl I knew once was a straight-A student with so much potential for her future. She was doing so amazingly well in high school, especially excellent in math, that I was in awe of her. Where I could barely concentrate on reading my textbook, she would burn through her work with a steady focus and drive. Once she set her mind to something, nothing could stand in the way of her accomplishing her task. She decided she wanted to become an engineer during her IB class years and set her mind to it. In grade twelve, she excitedly told her parents she wanted to attend a prestigious university known for their engineering program. Her father waved her off saying "engineering is a boy's job, pick something else, I don't want my daughter butting heads in a male-dominated career." His decision was final and her world shattered. She was lost. She did not know where to go from there since she was so sure of her purpose and understood where her talents lay. Her parents did not want her to go outside the city for university, so she dismissed her dreams and joined a college near her home. She flitted from one subject to another, distracted by everything around her, slowly losing her confidence, her drive, and her passion. She began focusing her energy on finding something that would make her happy. But there was nothing around her that sparked joy in her heart. Even studying advanced mathematics and calculus became a challenge for her because she knew spending so much effort in learning this subject will not lead her anywhere anymore. Slowly, depression began clouding her journey and she began giving up. The indecision and exhaustion of living a life that was not truly hers broke her down. Fate brought her another chance to delve into a career that she enjoyed, but it was also short-lived because she became pregnant. Once again, she left her interests behind so she could focus on her child and she became an amazing mother but this was not the life she picked for herself. No matter how well she did with what she had, I could not convince her that it was enough. For her, nothing was enough and she continued to feel empty. She began to believe she was never good enough at whatever she did. That beautiful, confident girl became a shell of her previous self as her life became a self-fulfilling prophecy for her of failed attempts at getting back on her feet with all the responsibilities she continued to bear. But I still consider her so strong because she continued to fight despite it all. She stood by her sister's side when she picked a challenging, male-dominated field to study in and make a career from. She fought with her father for his support, and she won that battle. This woman became my greatest supporter and strength during my challenging years when my own mind faltered with all the pushback I would receive in pursuing medicine.

The First One Part 2

Monday, October 19, 2020

 



After that initial exciting encounter in Pakistan, I flew back home with my heart all aflutter with this new connection I had made. My mind became focused on just him. I couldn't concentrate on my schoolwork or anything else. I began shirking my duties and finding ways to sneak and use the computer at night or very early in the morning because of the time difference. I would be waiting impatiently on MSN Messenger for him to sign in and that we could spend the next few hours talking about anything and everything. I didn't even realize how weird our conversation was back then. I accepted it all without any hesitation when I should have taken the time out to notice the red flags from right in the beginning. 


    Before we started a romantic and exclusive relationship, we became really close friends. In fact, he became my best friend. I only had one other close friend at the time and I would meet her a few times in the year since she went to a different school and lived in a different city. I did not have anyone around who I could confide everything to. Even my other friend, we didn't talk often enough at that stage for me to feel like she was someone I could run to when I was down. There were many things going on within me at that time. My parents were working and unavailable. My mother worked night shifts as a nurse and needed to take care of my youngest sister at the time who was a baby. She was barely sleeping two or three hours during the day so she was eternally exhausted and frustrated. My father didn't make life any easier and he was working during the day. They were having marital problems while trying to raise four children. There was no time for me there. When this boy entered my life, he gave me his full attention and let me share all my woes without complaining. I was so happy and grateful to have someone like that in my life. We shared similar tastes in music and movies and loved to talk about life in general. He appeared as someone very mature for his age in my mind and I looked up to him. I was content with having him just as a friend even because I wanted nothing to ruin the special bond we had built. I needed him in my life with all the teenage angst built up inside me. He had many opinions and a lot to say as well. He was also having his own difficulties in life because he was unsure about his future, where he wanted to go, and what he wanted to do. I would listen to his worries and talk it out with him so that he felt better. In those moments it was as if we had unlimited time to figure things out, and yet we were both so stressed about the future. 

Loneliness

Friday, October 16, 2020



Being alone is both a freeing and slightly terrifying concept. It really depends on an individual's comfort and acceptance of what they are able to do in that situation and their experiences. It can put someone in crippling anxiety or provide a sense of peace and freedom. The only difference between one way or the other is the individual's coping mechanisms. Nevertheless, we are social creatures and at some point in our lives; we do want someone who we can share our experiences with, dote on, be friends with, and feel loved with. Sometimes we may even define our worthiness with who we keep around and how they treat us. This is a very complex behaviour and one with so many factors. 


    Culture can really impact the way we perceive living or being alone. For example, in my culture and even religion, there is a huge emphasis on being married, bearing kids, and having a family. Culturally, in Pakistani and Indian culture, extended families are preferred. This can significantly limit alone time, privacy, and independence. We eat together, relax together, and spend the majority of our time in the company of others in some form or other. Even at work, we are usually surrounded by coworkers. During my childhood, we were a family of four living in a small two-bedroom apartment. There was no escape from my parents who can choose to barge into the bedroom I shared with my sister at any given moment. I found time to be alone when they were at work and I would babysit my sister and brother. You may think living in such a way most would crave their alone time. Yes, this can motivate those living in such conditions to enjoy their alone time but usually, it is for small periods of time. A lot of my friends who have grown in such environments do enjoy their alone time but cannot imagine living on a day to day basis all by themselves even in adulthood. This is true no matter what the situation at home is like and how constricted they may be there. When given the option, they would choose to stay with others over being completely alone. Even when they moved out, there would be constant calls home to the parents because they believe they don't know how to survive without consistent advice from their parents even though they could manage just fine without it. We become conditioned to wanting an elder at home who will continue to guide us in our lives. 

The First One Part 1

Monday, October 12, 2020


When I was fourteen, my mother, my siblings, and I flew to Pakistan to visit family and friends. On the flight there my mother turned towards me with a stern look on her face and said, "we will be visiting a family friend's home and they have a boy who is nothing but trouble so stay away from him okay?" 


    Confused and slightly uncomfortable, I nodded my head while thinking in my head that I had no intention to fall in love right now especially with a boy living in Pakistan. Little did I know these words would haunt me for the rest of my life. We visited my family friends in Lahore and when I saw this particular boy, my heart stopped. His aloof, distant personality drew my imagination and heartbeat into a frenzy I never experienced before in my life. I was shaken to my core and in trouble. I observed him moving around the house and talking to others while I sat stoically in an armchair with my mother and aunts. I wanted to walk over and introduce myself, and I was worried he will notice me blatantly staring at him. I decided I was going to behave as if he did not exist. This was torture for me of course, since I did not want to miss a second of him. Even when he walked by my chair, the air moving around him sent electric currents down my arms from the close proximity. I wished for time to stop right then and there so I could catch my breath and savour this moment just a little while longer. Even though I was ignoring him all evening, I was upset that he did not notice me at all. I became annoyed even though I was doing the exact same thing. My mother's warning dissolved so quickly in my head as if her words were never spoken. 

Friendships

Friday, October 9, 2020

 



I am blessed with a few really beautiful and strong friendships over the years. One I have known since I was three years old and some others are newer, but just as precious. But navigating the world of friends can be difficult and testing at times. 


I made my first couple of friends at the age of three or four within the building we first moved into after arriving in Canada. We fought and we played together for several years up until the age of ten. Being in a trio could be a little challenging though because one person ends up taking a side in the fight and it would switch over time creating little rifts. As I mentioned in some previous posts, our parents pitted us against each other competitively from a very early age. This probably did not help the situation either. Our trio broke around grade six when my cousins came in the picture. One of the cousins became closer friends with my one member of the trio and started an all-out war against me. They united and decided it was time for mutiny and disbanding. From this point, we drifted apart, and I moved to a different city. Until the initiation of Facebook, I could not reconnect with any of my friends who weren't in my city. The other third of the trio and I remain close friends to this day. 

The First Proposal

Monday, October 5, 2020


 

I received my first proposal when I was fifteen years old and did not know who I was or where I wanted to go in life. It was the time I should have spent focusing on what I needed to do to achieve my career goals and dreams, but somehow that fell on the back-burner for a while. My mother walked into my room one evening after a lengthy phone conversation to talk to me. She did not know that I was eavesdropping during her phone call and knew what she came to talk to me about. I was not ready for this conversation. I am too young; I thought. There is no way she would spring this on me before I even graduated from high school. But here she was, standing in my doorway with a slightly sheepish smile on her face, knowing she was throwing me into deep waters with the first sentence she uttered. 


    "There's a marriage proposal for you," she said, grinning. "They want to see a photo of you so we will take one this coming Eid," she mentioned hurriedly. 


    "What do you think?" she asked, slightly concerned with the look of panic on my face. 


    I laughed nervously because I do not know how to handle serious situations without bursting in laughter sometimes. She knew I did not want this, so why ask me about it, I thought. It is not fair to put me on the spot like this, as I have no clue if considering this would be a good idea. I shrugged my shoulders at her, feeling embarrassed and awkward having this conversation with her. I know nothing about these people, who they are, where do they live, and most importantly, why are they interested in me. 


    "At least talk to the guy and see how you feel," murmured my mother before she walked out of the room.

Chrysallis

Friday, October 2, 2020


 

I hate thinking about my flaws or exposing myself and announcing my vulnerability. But here I am creating a space where I discuss those topics in great detail. I hesitate because I am still terrified that someone will recognize me and find out who I am if I reveal too much. However, if I don't show you who I truly am, how can I ensure you this is a safe space for you as well. So with small steps, I continue. I don't have many readers anyway, so it feels like I am writing in a journal that only I will ever read. But that is okay too. Interestingly, I have been more committed to this page I have created than any diary I have ever owned. In some ways, I am still hiding it from the world out of fear of rejection and pain. Although, this time, the worldwide web is hiding it for me amongst the sea of thought and the spoken and written word available. I am not even sure if people enjoy the simple act of reading anymore amidst the sensory involvement now available in the form of video and audio. This is but a simple text.


    I sit here and think about what I offer and it isn't much since I am no expert. Even the fact that I am not a resident doctor inadvertently holds me back from discussing medical subjects with you because the voice in my head reminds me I am not there yet. I am not where I need to be so I should not talk about it. But life doesn't work that way. If I keep waiting for the right moment in time, it will never come because there is no true perfection in this life. At this moment, there are many things I "should" be doing and achieving, such as having a career and producing children. I am doing neither because I am stuck between two countries and distanced from my husband. Not to mention the fact that I have fertility issues that I am trying to deal with at the same time. Sure, there are steps I can take to accomplish my career goals, but I cannot bring myself to. 

Nani Jan

Monday, September 28, 2020

 


My Nani Jan (maternal grandmother) was a beautiful soul with who I was lucky to spend a few moments in my life. Although I left Pakistan at the age of three, I was always in my Nani Jan's thoughts because I was her spoiled and ever loved granddaughter. She held on to the special bond she formed with me because I spent a lot of my early years around her before we left for Canada. She was one of those special humans who left a lasting impression on anyone who met her. 


    I wish I had taken out the time to truly understand how strong and deep her love and attachment towards me was, so I would have valued her time with me even more. I wish I could dig up those memories of my early years and bask in those precious moments that I took for granted one more time. As a child, my mother would put me on the phone and my grandmother would just repeat, "I love you my daughter and I cannot wait to see you once again. When will you come to see me? I am counting down the days every day praying for your quick return to me." Her yearning would leave my child self speechless as I did not understand why she loved me so much because I did not have any recollection of our time together. Sometimes I would even run away when I heard my mother on the phone because I knew she would insist I talk to my Nani Jan, who wanted to hear my voice. Unfortunately, I did not know any better, and I let those years slip by without strengthening my relationship with her. This has become one of my greatest regrets because she was a treasure I realized too late I had lost. 

Beautiful Creation

Friday, September 25, 2020






Do you realize what an awe-inspiring creation you are? It is in the way you contain unlimited potential in the depths of your mind that metamorphoses into reality with the palms of your hands. The way your body can reproduce life that contains half of your chemical blueprint into a complete being whom you nurture and grow in your womb for nine months. The ability to feel immense emotions, yours and others, and accept the energy hurled at you by the world around you while emitting a unique resonance that attracts others towards you. The way you can set goals and achieve them when you set your mind towards them, whatever they may be.

    You become an amalgamation of strength and courage to fight the battles you do every day in a world in which equality is still a budding concept for which you need to fight for. Now and then your feet falter with the burdens placed on you by the responsibilities you tow, but still you continue with every ounce of energy remaining within. Just when you believe there is no more left within you to give you unlock a new pocket hidden somewhere in your depths and once again you drag yourself forward hoping to find the momentum to carry you ahead just a little more. There is some hesitation, regret, pain, in your truth encasing you out of which you are desperate to build some walls to protect yourself from the never-ending onslaught of life raining on you. It becomes difficult to differentiate from among those around you who will help lift you up and who really wants to see you fall out of spite, jealousy, or their own personal pain they do not know how to handle and instead project. 

Impostor

Monday, September 21, 2020


 

I have never been the best at anything, and I am not well versed in any one particular subject, nor am I athletic enough to be considered good in any sports. Do I enjoy the competition? Yes. Since I was seven years old, my mother enrolled me into religious classes which offered a healthy form of competition. To encourage the girls to learn religious scripts from the Quran or memorize Hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet peace be on him), they would hold competitions based on the age group to provide motivation to learn and make it a fun event. I enjoyed taking part in these competitions even though I have performance anxiety. It helped me learn how to speak in front of an audience and write speeches or speak impromptu on a certain subject in front of a large group of people. There was also a lot of memorization involved, which helped me with my formal public school education. It became easier to learn and memorize things in school because I had trained my mind to gain knowledge and secure it away. But I was rarely the best at something specific. I do not deny that I could hold my own and could excel in a certain subject when I wanted to but I could never be the best. 


    This might not seem like a big deal to many of you, and it would be fair for you to ask why this was so important for me. Being raised in a competitive atmosphere where I was continuously pitted against my friends and other girls in my age group, it really gave me a sense of where I stood in the scheme of things. But most of the pressure came from my mother, which internally transformed into pressure from me. Anything other than first place would be a disappointment in her eyes, despite the long hours I spent memorizing and preparing for an event. The added pressure became overwhelming sometimes when they were announcing awards and my heart would race while the little voice in my head reminded me to prepare for the look of extreme disappointment in my mother's eyes. She would not have to utter a word. Just her stance would change or her eyes would avert from my direction, I would know I had disappointed her. 

It's 2 A.M.

Friday, September 18, 2020

 



I lay awake at night pondering over the idea that maybe this life is not meant to be any one particular thing. What if all this life is to me is what I make of it and nothing else? Life is evolution and progress, but it is also stagnant and ever-present. I am still searching for the meaning of this life. There is however one concept that continues to circle and burrow its way inside my busy mind. No matter what the meaning of life is in the wide scheme of things, I make an impact every day with each decision I make. From the moment I wake up to the second I lose temporary consciousness within a twenty-four-hour period, every single action or non-action played its part. Isn't that fascinating yet shocking?


    This is not something I think about every day because I become wrapped in the small nuances of life and find myself caught up in just focusing on how everything around me affects me instead of considering the other side of the coin. What I do does not just affect the surrounding humans, but I also leave my mark on each piece of earth and living being I touch or interact with. I do not consider myself as significant as the butterfly whose flap of the wings can induce a hurricane a thousand miles away, but there is still some form of impact. Once I think about life this way, that everything is not just about me because I am the self-proclaimed principal character of my story, the narrative changes. We are in this fishbowl together, swimming around and unable to escape, yet. With the advancement of technology, I can now alter the emotions or mood of somebody I have never met who may stumble across my online avatar or webpage and be affected by what I have typed on my monitor either in real-time or during an uninhibited bad decision at two am ten years ago. Somehow my actions are forever ingrained somewhere and their energy continues to flow in forms I do not even register. 

A Distracted Yet Absorbent Sponge

Monday, September 14, 2020

 


I was never the best student in class or the apple of any teacher or parent's eye for my academic prowess. It was that in my childhood best friend trio; I was the one with the lowest test scorers and performance in class, endlessly entangled with them because all of our mothers were highly competitive and determined that their daughter surpass the others. I went to a school filled with migrants and minorities wherein which the white students were actually a minority themselves. This filled our classrooms in colourful ways. 


    Being in a consistently competitive atmosphere brought its challenges for me since it was difficult paying attention in class. It was an arduous educational journey through the grades of one to twelve as I attempted to focus in class and make sure I completed my homework. However, I could not achieve it most of the time. I always waited until the last moment to complete my projects, unless the subject interested me enough to be invested from the beginning. Because of this behaviour, most of my learning occurred while I was in class and I survived through the year with average, yet unacceptable grades. 

    

    Some of you reading this may recognize the signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and you would be correct. In girls, the signs and symptoms manifest a little differently, resulting in a late or missed diagnosis. While boys portray more signs of hyperactivity, girls may display more signs in the attention deficit category where they cannot pay a focus for long periods of time. I shall discuss this more. 

Wildfires

Friday, September 11, 2020

 



My husband and I were driving home in the evening exclaiming how clear and beautiful the twilight sky was with some remnants of the sunset moments ago and the twinkling blinks of some stars, Venus and Jupiter were making their appearance. As we stepped outside the car, I needed to take a moment to stand there and breathe in the fresh air and the gentle warm breeze caressing my hair and skin. The night was momentous in its calm beauty and peaceful silence. We slept with our windows open that night because the valley within which we live embraces the wind through the summers so the night refreshes us from the heat of the day with its natural air conditioning passing over the mountains. 


    This morning we woke up to what I initially thought was a cloudy morning but the breeze was bringing in a nostalgic smell that alerted me to the unique nature of the hazy appearance outside my window. In the afternoon we stepped out for our weekly grocery run and stood outside shocked at the change from last night. Ash floated in the smoke scented air transporting me immediately to the warm dusty smoke-tinged air of a busy city in Pakistan. The atmosphere reminded me of a dust storm blowing in painting everything in a burnt orange shade. 

Thrills and Broken Bones

Monday, September 7, 2020



Some of my most memorable childhood memories interestingly enough are the ones that were not recorded on my parents' camcorder. It’s those memories of playing tag in the building, stairwells running from level to level with my cousins in the evenings, and screaming. The moments when I was in the middle of running from one end of the corridor to the other to reach the opposite staircase. That adrenaline rush of being found out and knowing there was nowhere to hide unless I escaped the corridor quick enough and got lucky to make it to a different level before the person who was “it” caught up to me. At that moment,  I would normally pick going downstairs because I would jump down several steps at a time so quickly I could have potentially broken records for speed racing down several stories. That shaky rush and a thin film of perspiration that would coat my body were the only signs of the intensity I felt in that moment. Since the building was fairly new I the faint smell of fresh paint would be ever-present in my senses as I flew up and down the steps. I was the stairway gazelle. Unfortunately, I was a loud gazelle and would get caught in the hallways by some auntie who would lean out from her apartment door and sternly demand I go back home or she would call my mother. That would be enough to end the game for that evening unless I was feeling rebellious. 


    I also remember a makeshift bike path on the grounds of an abandoned school building that was walking distance from my home that I would ride my bike on because it was a dirt circuit with mounds that felt like hills. I would transform into a professional dirt bike champion and try to catch some air after furiously pedaling up one bump. It was such a thrill at the time that I eventually convinced my friends to come to join me on the circuit for some dangerous races. Luckily, no one got hurt. I felt invincible.

Immigration and Culture Shock

Friday, September 4, 2020

  



There are so many demands set out before us which brings the burden of various responsibilities on our shoulders. Living in North America, especially in the United States, means being constantly entangled in a neverending rat race in order to provide a better future for our children. This is exactly the culture shock that many families go through when they immigrate to the Promise land brimming with hope. Even though some are prepared, there is really no way to experience that feeling of stepping into a brand new country and all your education and experience is diminished so much that you are practically starting all over again. There are very rare circumstances or specific countries where this is not the case but if you are arriving from Pakistan, your past means nothing.  


    When she first arrived in Canada, my mother would have been dressed in traditional attire most likely a "shalwar kameez" with a long "chadar" or throw covering her body and I would have been wearing a dress with pantyhose. Around her, she would observe a sea of varied faces and dressing styles and smells that would have overwhelmed her senses and mind. The new sights and sounds would blur in the midst of the exhaustion of a long flight and travel time so that her mind would become numb from the novelty of everything. But there would be that glimmer of hope amidst the challenge and fear of leaving her whole world behind several thousand miles away. 

Forgiveness

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

 



I am not who I was ten years ago and I may not even be exactly who I was one week ago. I needed to learn many lessons so that I could upgrade to the person I became. At this point in time, I am not perfect but I am proud of the changes within me despite the scars that came with the battles I have fought. There were two big lessons I needed to learn to achieve the peace I have acquired today: time never stops and I need to forgive myself and accept my past. 


    The past is a messy place with several pockets of darkness within its walls. There are many memories or thoughts that keep me up at night because I spend my time analyzing and revisiting the moments and imagining what I could have done differently and what may have been the result of that. It is an endless cycle of anguish that I am unable to remove myself from and the skeletons continue to haunt me in my present day. How do I peacefully lay down my past so that I can continue to move forward and use my past as lessons that sculpted who I am today instead of wearing them as a burden? 

Mistakes

Monday, August 31, 2020

 



This life really challenged me in several ways and navigating through it really made me traverse difficult terrain. I made countless mistakes. The difficult part for me is remembering every single mistake I have made up to this point and trying to move forward and live with them. These are the kind of memories that keep me up at night for hours as I fall into a spiral of anxiety thinking about how I could have done things differently. My worst mistakes are the ones in which I hurt others intentionally or by accident. Those are the ones that really haunt me. 


    I think back to when I was younger and my sister came into my life. I was not very nice to her for several years because she became my competitor for attention. That is a story for another time but the way I treated her as a child haunts me to this day. I would not want to play with her and would not include her when she wanted to be with my friends. I felt so vicious for always trying to push her aside. As the years went by she distanced herself from me and I fear we have permanently damaged our relationship. Her ideologies are different than mine and that tension continues to exist to this day. It is hard to distinguish what part was my fault and what wasn't from that time. I do understand all of it wasn't my fault and that based in my situation that I cannot be blamed for everything I did because I was a child but in my head, it was all me. I chose to behave that way in that time whatever the reasons behind it might be. It is difficult for me to not accept the responsibility for my actions. This is also not made easier because from an early age one of the ways my parents disciplined me was to tell me that I am old enough to know better and I cannot blame anyone else for my actions. In some ways, they are absolutely right but on the other hand, I have been hearing this since I was five or six years old. I don't think this helped fix the situation. By the time I became cognizant of the damage that had been made in our relationship, it was too late to mend. Although we are cordial with each other there will always remain a canyon over which the bridge is permanently burned. 

Prague Part 2

Friday, August 28, 2020

 



We woke up early around eight am for the start of our tour of Prague for the day. A shuttle picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the entrance of Prague castle. It was a chilly slightly damp morning with a light low fog rolling through the silent city. It was around this time I realized that my jacket would probably not be enough to keep me warm today but it was too late and would hope the body would have enough energy reserve to work a little harder in maintaining some amount of sustained heat. Our tour guide was pointing out points of interest along the way but I was still in the process of waking up so his words jumbled in my head in a sleepy haze. I was excited but it just took my brain a little while to rev up. 


    As we arrived at the entrance of the castle, the sheer size of it brought awe. It was beautifully perched on the top of the hill overlooking the land surrounding it. I imagined with what pomp and circumstance the kings and emperors would have lived during the peak of its splendor and what secrets must be hidden within its walls. Our guide explained to us that this is the largest palace in the world which made the structures even more amazing but also provided a tiny reminder that we would be walking a lot today. 

Happiness

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

 


Sometimes there is this overwhelming feeling that the world requires me to present myself as a happy and cheerful person in a constant and predictable matter to the point when that isn't happening, it can upset those around me. This demand to be a stable, patient, and ever-smiling human can be an exhausting task because it is just not humanly possible to be presentable at all times. But based on my upbringing, I learned that it was easier to not show any other emotion other than this particular one because it will unsettle them. I am not just talking about strangers or coworkers, this includes everyone, especially family and nosy aunts. 


    Somewhere in my early years, the grooming had begun. Children were meant to be seen as pleasant sweet faces that would be able to recite whatever the parents wished on command to impress the relatives and family friends. They were always meant to look presentable and greet all their elders in a calm and respectful manner never raising their voices or eyes. I was told to not talk too much unless a specific request was made so that I did not embarrass my parents over my antics. I could not voice my hunger, fatigue or any other issue which if by mistake I did would be met with a silent but piercing glare from my mother which would squash any intentions I may have wanted to present. It was a very confusing time actually. Sometimes an adult would give me a gift and I was supposed to politely refuse it but if they kept insisting, my training had taught me to eventually comply and accept whatever the adult was requesting of me. My parents however would not be pleased with this behaviour and it would be termed disrespectful to have listened to the other adult in this particular moment. But I was also taught that it was rude to say no or be upset over being given something. How does one proceed in such a situation? 

Studying Abroad for Medical School

Monday, August 24, 2020

 


Depending on where you go to for medical school, if you plan on returning back to either Canada or the USA, there are some strategies that will help you manage your time better and help you start preparing for your return. I realized that a lot of the American students at the university were well prepared right from their first year. They knew what books to use, what programs would be helpful in studying and preparing for the USMLE, and how to balance their time between studying for local exams while also continuing their preparations for the USMLE board exams. 


    I realize I went into studying abroad without putting much thought into it or preparing myself for what I may need to return back. I was quite lost for a long time and did not know how to ask for help either. Also, at the start of medical school, I was pretty certain I would be returning back to Canada until my husband walked into my life and changed everything. So if you are considering studying abroad and returning to the USA, here are a few ways to be extra ready for the journey ahead of you. It's always a good idea to talk to some of the senior students in your program and acquire some tips and tricks for how to do well at that particular school because each school will present with its own unique challenges and methods. 

Who Am I

Friday, August 21, 2020

 


    Even after surpassing the third decade of my life, I find it very difficult to answer this question without the help of others. I don't know why I don't see anything when I ask myself this question. I could answer any questions regarding who I wish to be or who I am supposed to be according to the way I conform and bend with the relationships and expectations formed around me but I don't know if that person is truly indicative of me. I feel as if there is a continuous conflict deep within me to strive for perfection where there is none and since I will never achieve that, I refuse to even acknowledge the person I am with all my imperfections. 


    Even if I were to ask others about myself they will paint a portrait of me through their eyes based on what they have seen while with me but rarely have they observed me when I am fully exposed and raw. I can count on one hand those special individuals in my life who have walked with me through all the ups and downs in my life and the moments where I wanted to hide who I had become or what I was doing. I have been down many paths and not all of them were cheery straight paths with colourful guiding fairies. 

Let's Talk About Mental Health Part 2

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

 


One of my relatives was studying abroad for his master's degree and doing well overall until two months before his thesis was due and graduation, his computer crashed and he lost two years' worth of research and work. This loss hit him like a truck and he was in a state of extreme stress and anxiety because his work was unrecoverable and he did not have any backup. Being a naturally cautious person, he could not figure out how he let this happen and devastate him. Everything was out of his hands. He slowly started to withdraw from his friends and family, stopped meeting with people, let go of his activities, and eventually, started hearing voices in his head that told him others were trying to hurt him. With the help of his sister and mother, he did graduate from the university but not the same person he used to be. He visited a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with schizophrenia and started him on antipsychotics but because he was alone, he did not trust the medication prescribed to him by the doctor and refused to take it so his condition continued to worsen. 


    He returned back home to Pakistan after graduation but was unable to work towards the bright future he was supposed to have and instead became a recluse in his room. He soon was unable to complete simple daily tasks and would even refuse food at times when he suspected someone was trying to poison him. His father tried to help him find simpler office jobs in hopes he would be able to become independent but the culture in Pakistan did not tolerate his unusual behaviour and anti-social nature. He had nowhere to go and no programs available to help him rehabilitate into society. The doctors kept prescribing him pills despite the fact that he refused to take him and there was a delay of several years before he was put on an injectable antipsychotic. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing fight for him now in a country that does not tolerate or accept people with mental illness. 

Prague Part 1

Monday, August 17, 2020

 

Prague Castle with view of St. Vitus Cathedral

One of the trips I took during medical school was to Prague, Czechia during Easter break. With a few other friends, we booked a bus roundtrip ticket and stayed at a Marriott a few tram stops from the city center. The bus ride was eight hours long, the longest bus trip I have ever taken. Our bus was full of students headed to different parts of Europe. Looking back, the bus ride was an interesting experience and very cheap compared to flying but the flight would have been only two hours long and on a trip of a short interval, that would have given me more time to explore the city. 


    Nevertheless, we were on our way in a double-decker bus full of colourful people and varied scents lofting through space. There was a washroom on the bus but I have an aversion to using cramped smelly washrooms in spaces where there is a possibility of getting stuck and extremely strong odours. So as you can imagine, I held my bladder tight until we reached our hotel. One of the pros of long drives is watching the scenery change and transform as the landscape and cities change. This constant motion drifts my mind into different mazes of my imagination in which I get lost as I daydream and conjure up thoughts that I feel based on what I observe outside my window. The music I am listening to on long trips is always on random shuffle with the hopes that it helps mould my thoughts and musings to match with the scenery before me. In this way, I traveled through Europe with the melancholy of Bollywood love songs, the mesmerizing sounds of ATB, punctuated with varied rock and pop music. The takeaway from this is that having a window seat is a must. 


The Feminine Divine

Friday, August 14, 2020

 


The feminine being is an alluring and immaculate creation that harbours the nurturing essence because the womb is the nucleus of creation. She provides strength and belonging to those around her and is gifted with the patience and strength of a warrior, the problem-solving of a scientist, and the compassion of a caregiver. Basically, she can be whoever she wants to be. But why is it difficult for most of society to embrace this power and strength of the female nature? 


    The girl and the woman as they continue to grow undergo a lot of pain and suffering that they bear with incredible strength but are meant to be kept hidden from outsiders. The birth of the female child, in some parts of the world still is not celebrated because she is a burden to the family. In fact, in South Asian culture, the birth of a girl in a home could mean bad luck or instead of celebrations welcoming her into the world there is grief and anger. A burden because her sexuality and phenomenal ability to bear children must be carefully controlled by the men around her so that her choice to proliferate and procreate is by the ones who want their genes to be the ones that are passed on. It is the paternal lineage that matters yet the man does not have control over whose child is actually born unless that watchful eye is ever vigilant on what enters his woman's womb. However, it is the woman's body that suffers monthly because of her menstrual cycle and undergoes incredible changes to bring life into the world. The immense pain and permanent changes that she undergoes to procreate a being are not celebrated or appreciated to the extent they should be. 


Let's Talk About Mental Health Part 1

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


One of my uncles was working abroad when he received the news that his mother passed away. Unfortunately, the announcement reached him pretty late and he was unable to return to Pakistan in time to attend the funeral and say his final goodbyes. This incident affected my uncle greatly to the point he stopped going to work and shut himself in his bedroom refusing to speak to his wife or anyone else. This behaviour was met with shock by the rest of the family and nobody understood what was happening. My uncle was eventually diagnosed with depression but he refused to take medication at first. Family members would come to visit to console my aunt and try to interact with my uncle to try and help him out of his "gloom" because forcing him to sit and talk should help him recover. He refused to meet with anyone. The news spread like wildfire through the family and everybody offered their opinions and advice but nobody truly acknowledged that depression could possibly be so severe. His major depressive episode lasted at least a year before he accepted any form of treatment and slowly started feeling better. His recovery still required a year's worth of therapy before he became a functioning adult again. Even now, discussing what happened is taboo within my family because mental illness is an uncomfortable topic for everyone. 


    In my culture, mental health is swept under the rugs like a dirty secret that cannot be shared because it will ruin the reputation of the entire household. This fear is generally warranted as well because when others in their community find about it, the family might have difficulty finding marriage proposals based purely on the connection. The knowledge punishes everyone. In this toxic environment, finding and receiving help becomes a tricky journey due to the fear of being found out. The suffering is considered a trial of God and it must be done with patience and silence. 

Life Begins Now

Monday, August 10, 2020

 

Walter Mercado

It is ten minutes past midnight and I have just finished watching "Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado" on Netflix with my husband. I absolutely enjoyed this documentary and I feel inspired by Walter Mercado even though I did not grow up watching him. But his words flow with determination and truth. "If you don't adore and value yourself, you can't love anybody else," he said. "Love starts with yourself."


    His message to everyone before he departed from this world was very clear and he lived by his words until the very end. This might seem like a reminder arising from a strange place but there is a very unique energy that even you would embrace if you felt it emanate from someone. In many ways, I have lived by his philosophy too, and will continue until my very last breath. For those of you who might be confused as to what I am talking about, let me explain myself. 


    How many times in your life did you prescribe yourself happiness in the near or distant future? How many of you are always looking into tomorrow to feel fulfilled because when you reach that goal then you will truly know joy? For example, I have heard that "when I graduate from high school and am admitted into my top choice university I will be so happy," or "when I get married then I will be happy." What about you today? Why make happiness a distant dream that you may or may not reach and why do you only deserve it after you have accomplished something? The journey should be just as meaningful and fulfilling as when you finally reach your goals. Finding that balance, however, is one of the mysteries of the universe. 


Eccentricity

Friday, August 7, 2020





Will my wrinkles 

in time come to be 

from an endless bombardment of paranoia 

or wisdom of life? 

one or the other 

soon shall be seen 

mark of a warrior 

or the psychotic toxins in me 


Although I initially wrote this poem in 2008 as supposed satire when I was still in my twenties, I feel as every year passes, this poem rings truer to my reality. At this point, I am just hoping it is the wisdom creeping up on my face as some fine wrinkles make their grand appearance. I do believe I have learned a lot over the years and made peace with reality in a way that I can help my future children navigate their lives. If I had kids in my twenties I would not have been able to provide the steady hand that I have today because I would still be figuring a lot of things out while also trying to raise them and so in some ways, maybe for me, this later marriage is a blessing in disguise. 


    

    As life continues to move forward, as I know it will, I just need to remember that my strength is founded on the challenges that were presented before me and the steps I took to push myself out of my comfort zone. When I look back at my life, the moments that stand out the most are the struggles that I overcame. I so clearly remember that when I was going through them I thought there would never be that light at the end of the tunnel and I would remain forever ensnared in my current gloom. But life is never stagnant and even when I chose not to move, life still kept moving. 

Fantasy vs. Reality

Wednesday, August 5, 2020



The great timeline. In my teenage years, I had my whole life planned out regarding when I would get married, where I would go to school, who I would become, and when I would have kids as well as how many. There would be a happy ever after and I would buy a house with a picket fence and life would be perfect. By the age of 25, I would complete a family medicine residency and get married so that I could have kids by 27 or 28 living in that perfect house with my perfect husband. It was a beautiful fantasy perpetuated by all the older women around me encouraging me to dream this dream into reality. 

    I find this fantasy of mine even more entertaining by the fact that my life up until that point was anything but perfect so why did I so firmly believe that my future would fall into my lap just as I had planned? The optimism of a child is ever abundant. I blame my wild and colourful imagination and reading too many novels to the point of perfected escapism. This was my vacation from reality because everyone seemed to tell me things would be better once I am an adult. All the fun things I wanted to do would be done with a husband without any mention of responsibility. In our culture, there is a very common saying among mothers when they don't particularly agree with a certain activity or want to see their daughters traveling or spending time with friends that "you can do all this after you are married to your husband." In an indirect way, they mean that your antics will not be our problem anymore and once you are married your husband and in-laws can decide whether you are allowed to do these things. However, being young and wild, I interpreted this to mean that once I am married, I will be able to do whatever I want whenever I want. 

Unexpected Discovery

Monday, August 3, 2020






I must admit that I was initially reluctant to marry the man who eventually became my husband. My mother was also hesitant to bring him up with me and procrastinated for a few weeks before deciding to tempt fate and ask me if I would once again consider a "Rishta" (proposal) because of the previous disaster. One month before my mother asked me, this man had already seen my photos and accepted he would talk to me if I was interested after he returned from his boys' Vegas trip.

    I was in Europe in my third year of medical school and was just beginning the second semester when during one of our video calls my mom introduced the subject to me. I am not sure why, but at this point, something inside me nudged at me telling me I should talk to him and see where it goes. I told my mother to not have any expectations regarding this matter because I was going to take my time and approach this very cautiously because by this point in my life I had zero faith in the male sex. Therein me lay a pile of disappointment from boys I had considered and courted in the past along with some of their families as well. Before, I would have tolerated the pain they would dish out in hopes for a better future but I learned, albeit slowly, that people do not change by being kind or patient with them. There was no "killing them kindness" going on in my life. This time if someone hurt me, I would walk away quietly with my head held high because I did not have the time, energy, or emotional capacity to allow that to continue in my life. And so, ever so cautiously, with a few hesitant palpitations, I sent my very first text message. 

Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation

Friday, July 31, 2020



When I was growing up, we lived in a subsidized housing apartment on the eighth floor but since then, I have not lived in a high-rise and miss some aspects of it. Living that high up provided my sister and me an unusual source of entertainment as well especially out in the balcony. My mother used to decorate the balcony in the summer with multiple baskets of colourful annuals and plastic grass carpeting so that our imaginations could transform the place into our secret garden. We enjoyed countless tea parties with our barbie dolls and other stuffed toys while imagining we were princesses of distant lands gathered there that day to discuss important political events between our kingdoms. Our discussions would range from who would host the next Barbie horse races and how to defeat the evil queen who was always preying on our lands. 

    It was also exciting looking over the railing at the vastness of Greater Toronto before us and the CN Tower off into the distance. The world seemed so massive to the little self that I would sit at my window and ponder over its size and life. I could gaze out in the summers and watch the clouds rolling in ominously with the low rumble of the thunder warning us of what was about to happen. Then just as suddenly, there would be flashes of lightning and the show would begin with a sudden downpour of a wall of warm water that would drench you down to your toes. The lightning would be both terrifying and awe-inducing especially when I would curl up on the top bunk bed beside the window and watch the powerful display before me while letting the energy of the storm absorb into my ever wild imagination. 

But our world changed and became even more exciting after an unusual circumstance. My sister and I were fighting for a few days because she recently developed an obsession for ripping off my Barbie doll heads and chewing them. As we were fighting, she ran out into the balcony and tossed one of the heads over the rail. We both stood there watching the doll head drop all the way to the first floor in silence. For some reason, we were mesmerized. We were so mesmerized we decided to throw other things off the balcony just to watch them fall including the rest of the detached Barbie doll heads. 
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