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I did my physics presentation and the sky didn't fall. I didn't realize I was expecting it to, until the not-fallingness of the sky overwhelmed me with happiness. Golly, golly, golly. Where to start?

My physics presentation was a poster and accompanying discourse on the topic of seizures and electrical activity in the brain. Maybe not a big deal, except for the part where that area of neurology has fascinated me since I was four years old. (The other day, while working on this project, I had a thought that explained it quite well: I have the level of intense interest in neurology that most people do in sex. That's not to say it's a sexual interest, just... the intensity level; sex is the only thing I can think of that people are normally supposed to be that preoccupied with. And it's easy to have an involvement in sex, whereas brain skience is this rarefied thing you have to train for.)

When I was, oh, eight to ten years old, most of my interactions consisted of telling strangers about my obsessions. I didn't really see them, either; they were just there to hear about my interests.

And I'm an adult, and I Got Better, but some part of me is reduced to jaw-dropped awe at how fascinating this stuff is - and another part is always, always in "whoaaaa, dude, I can see the universe from here" mode, and if other people can't, I can almost never convey it to them.

In short, this stuff engages my id. I stare into the wide spectrum of human consciousness, and it stares right back. And I want to work in a field related to it. And I'm scared of being that obsessive person to whom the correct response is "that's nice, dear"; scared of crossing the streams, of having bad boundaries, of falling in. Conversely, scared of shutting off my intensity so that the interest drains out of it, because, c'mon. This stuff is cool, and if I didn't think it would stay that way, I wouldn't want to make a career out of it. I am in this for the sheer wow of it. I'm not sure if that's the sort of thing I can say in a med school interview, but it's true nonetheless.

Well, today I dressed up in my nice button up - black and grey stripes, doesn't exactly scream professional!goth but does sort of sing it out at a nice volume - dabbed a bit of Large Hadron Collider on my wrists to give off the crisp smell of science, and headed in to OMSI to present my poster. My physics teacher liked it and so did his TA's, and so did the general public types, young and old, and they all asked excellent questions, and I hooked people in by talking about deja vu, and everyone was fascinated and no one ran away.

And I was fascinated and didn't run away. And one person even Got It.

I can be that person who's happiest babbling about weird neurological phenomena and still be witty and comprehensible to others and employ my hard-earned social skills. And I've been wanting to prove this to myself my entire adult life, ever since I shoved this stuff in a box for a few years and slammed the lid on it because, at the time, I couldn't.

If you're in Portland, and want to see my poster, it'll be hanging up at OMSI the next few days.


Dec. 23rd, 2009 08:03 pm
amberite_archive: (into time... and SPACE!)
Via [ profile] paradox_puree: SSRIs work not because they flood the brain with serotonin, but by causing the growth of new neurons. I already knew the majority of the stuff in here, but the article goes fairly into depth - and on page 3 there's something I don't think I knew: they've got a drug in testing that may reverse Parkinson's disease. (This is something I've been worried about ever since I found out ADD and Parkinson's are both connected to defects in a particular dopamine transporter gene; my paternal grandmother had Parkinson's, which tells me I may be at risk, a few decades down the line. So it's great to know that someone out there is already cracking that problem.)


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