I’ve wanted to write something here for a long time but something’s always stopping me. In all honestly, I’m not surprised given how busy I’ve been recently.
15 days of material is a lot to cover and, as always, I have that feeling that I won’t be able to get everything down. But I’ll try!
I don’t know if I should tell you that things at the clinic have been getting better or worse. It’s ups and downs, of course, but in extremes. For some reason, it’s felt so, so difficult to adapt to this place. The navy was fine, Starbucks after that was fine, too, but getting my bearings in the clinic seems so utterly impossible. I keep making mistakes and feeling stupid and inadequate and embarrassed. I feel like I’m always walking on tiptoes, coiling up, calculating my every action. I’m really afraid to screw up big time or get on somebody’s nerves somehow. And I forget things, which makes me appear irresponsible. I just want to do well, but something’s hindering. I’m not sure what.
On top of it all, T seems to be giving me the cold shoulder and she’s been a real bitch. I hesitate to use that word because I don’t think I’ve ever been vulgar here, because it’s somewhat sexist, and also because I’ve praised her for being so nice before. But since I actually started here full-time, she seems to have something against me. I’m trying not to let this sort of thing affect me, but it all piles up. My anxiety gets so bad that I struggle to get to work in one piece. One time, I had to stop and sit down on a bench on the way home and cried in the dark. I just felt so utterly useless. And I keep considering whether I should stay or not. I’m still on probation, strictly speaking, and haven’t signed an employment contract yet. It’s exhausting to work six days a week and to have my mind overloaded 24/7, over-processing everything, cycling through every thought constantly.
I should persevere. The rational side of me says that. But the emotional (and dominant) part of my mind says I need to take a break and heal. I told myself I’d take things slow these few months, before university. Yet I think I’m strong enough to survive this.
Besides, I need the experience and the money. This distressing experience has made me question my career path – whether I’m right for this job – and I’ve felt so lost, so many times. I’ve cried and agonised a lot. But I want to survive, not give up. The number of contrasting conjunctions I’ve used just shows how conflicted I’ve been.
Speaking of university and money, I’ve also applied for a scholarship. It was extremely stressful and to be honest, it was my own fault for putting it off until the last few days. I think the procrastination was a result of the fear of rejection. I read somewhere that we procrastinate because we’d rather not try than try and fail. After finally submitting the application, they told me I needed to resubmit all the papers and documents even though I’d submitted the same ones for my university placement application. Then I had to get a referee’s testimonial. I tried to contact LKK after all this time, and couldn’t get through to him. RT helped me out though, and I’m so, so grateful to him. He was so chill about it too, even though it was so last minute.
Three for Three
Last weekend was quite tough.
I saw three animals die in three days. On Saturday, I went into work later, at 1.30pm, just in time to see a dog named L being put down. I saw them putting in the catheter and bandages and everything. They let her family have time with her, and it was all really serene but sad. Solemn. I was there until, essentially, the end. I struggled to hold it together and not cry in front of the clients and my colleagues. WC saw me cry a little, and I confided in her that this was my fear about becoming a vet. She was understanding and gave me space. Perhaps it’s also because we aren’t too close. I’m glad I managed to hold it together, though, and despite sniffling for a very long time and my voice cracking while collecting payment from the family – yes, I had to do that… – I was alright.
I don’t know if I’m glad I held it together or guilty. Through it all, I know that I have to harden towards this sort of thing if I’m going to stay in the field.
On Sunday, I woke up to a WhatsApp message in the family group chat mentioning a bat. Apparently, mom and my brother found a dying baby bat on the way to church.
It was in a small plastic container lined with tissue, on the washing machine, covered with a plastic box. By the time I saw it, it was dead. Mom and I buried it downstairs that night, under the cover of darkness so that nobody would see and stop us. I dug with a spoon and made sure the size and depth were right. I rolled the dead bat up in tissue. It was so light, it felt like nothing. I also had a plastic flower for it, cut from the artificial potted plant I have on my desk. We said a small prayer and buried it.
The next day, I went into the clinic and a hospitalised guinea pig had passed away. I think it went peacefully at night. But I can’t be sure. It had been in quite bad condition, but I don’t think it was in pain because it was always lying quietly. I just hope it hadn’t been suffering in silence. The body was left wrapped up until the owners came that evening. I didn’t feel much, and again, I don’t know if I should be guilty for that.
Death and dead bodies are just part and parcel of the field, I suppose. It’s stark and sad, but it’s true.
Nourishing the Soul with Words
Moving on to something less grim: my books from Book Depository came!
We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson came first. I was so overjoyed when dad sent me a picture of the parcel. Maybe I was a teeny bit disappointed that it wasn’t both books packaged together, but I was glad nonetheless. On the way back from the clinic, I bought a slice of cake from Starbucks, planning to lounge in bed with the cake and book and indulge. It was a good night.
Yesterday, it was Anything Could Happen by Will Walton. I’m not too much of a fan of the design, especially the back. It looks like it’s from the 1990s or a study guide for a literary work. But the cover has a cute guy on it playing with a sparkler. So I can’t complain, I suppose. I’m sure the story will be lovely, too. It’s a gay story, so how could I not enjoy it?
We are the Ants is breathtaking so far. It is beautiful in the same, cosmic way as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The tragedies and joys faced by the characters, the lingering in the headspace – it’s all the same kind of beauty. And Hutchinson does a beautiful job of depicting sexuality, sex, and sexual desire in the purest, mildest way – not vulgar or dirty, but surprisingly innocent. There are, of course, violence and the uglier sides of humanity. I’m nearing the end after just a few days of reading, and I’m dying to know if Henry stops the impending apocalypse – a decision in his hands alone.
While we’re on the topic of books, I’m hoping to get Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe in French. It’s out of stock on Book Depository currently, but let’s hope
(I did try to think of a better title, but honestly, I’m too tired and lazy to be smart.)
As the months go by, I’m coming closer and closer to university. I’m so excited to start learning new things. But it seems so precarious, like it could all just slip through my fingers. Sure, I’ve gotten a place. But I still haven’t secured funding and I’ll have to apply for accommodation too. Even when I start, I’ll still have to go through selection processes to get into the veterinary medicine programme. It all seems to unguaranteed and ephemeral.
I have to believe in myself though, I guess. I’ve grown up being told I’m smart and intelligent and all that stuff, that I’m struggling now, at 21, to come to terms with the fact that I’m mediocre at best. The only reason I’ve seemed smart is because I’ve had to work my ass off to succeed academically – to get grades. And if the past few months have taught me anything, the real world doesn’t operate on grades. So I’ll have to work ten times as hard to get anywhere, competing along side people who are actually smart and talented in all sorts of ways.
I try to visualise my future: going to university, flying off in two years to continue in Melbourne (the University of Melbourne campus is gorgeous), finding a boyfriend, reading books, raising bunnies, getting married, opening a clinic… not necessarily in that order, of course.
If I’ve gotten this far on hard work to make up for my inadequacy, then I guess I can get even further still if I continue the grind.
I’m gonna do some French, then read and go to bed.
P.S.: I’ve been having somewhat slow mornings: getting up at around 8, getting ready with at least 30 minutes to spare, and reposing in bed until it’s time to leave for work at 9.30. I like that. Is that considered part of the grind…? Nah. But I don’t have to grind 24/7, I guess. Gotta live too. Until next time.