Hey there, I am Michelle (she/her/hers). I am currently an undergrad at UC Berkeley major in Physics and Math. I am deeply passionate about High Energy Theory and hope to have the chance to spend all my life researching it. As a result, I have been spending most of my time reading books on related topics and I am looking forward to research opportunities in HEPT.
Hometown: Suzhou 苏州
If somehow I am gone forever,
it might be explained here, and
it would be the place if anyone still wants some memory of me.
When I call the suicide prevention line,
they say that if you kill yourself, he wins.
I have never cared about winning.
And I know that you have never lost.
I'll float down from the mid of the air like an angel.
I'll give the hard earth a big hug with my soft flesh.
Open eyes or close eyes.
See the wonder of flying or
Feel the power of gravity.
I got so much harm.
But even speaking about how much harm I got hurts me.
Even a person put a knife against my neck,
I would be sad if the person would be punished for killing me.
My greatest weakness is trusting others too much.
Too many people could easily grab my neck and crack it into halves.
Last Message in My Life
Introduction: For people who do not know what happened, here is a summary of all events. Andres had been my Physics Directed Reading Program (PDRP) mentor since the start of Fall 22. I arrived at Berkeley as a freshman on the evening of November 6. On the evening of November 7, Andres asked me to pick up Nakahara and said he liked me and started to date me. It was my first time ever dating/being in a relationship/making out and making love, and I just remembered on the first day I felt breathless. On the first day, I was only baffled and surprised, but later it became the day of my best memory. But I also sadly found that I had been treated more coldly since that day, though there were back and forth. In the good times, he said he would be happy if I kiss him in his class, and asked if my parents would like him. But more were the worst times in which I had been suffering from an imbalanced relationship. Only he could allow me to see him but I could not ask for that. And he had told me about his experience with many girlfriends before and four at the same time etc. The start of forever down was at the time that we just finished watching the entire Evangelion series, and when it ended, he mentioned that it might be the last time would be like this. I naively asked that but also probably when spring came, it can be returned like this, right. But it was not. I cried the entire night. It was the first day of my first RRR week. I did PDRP Presentation two days after that on Tuesday, and I remembered that I was working on it the entire day to rush it to be done. Andres found my presentation which I did not know that I should explain the physical meaning funny. My nickname on messenger was changed to Ms. Alpha Beta Gamma Mu Nu. On Thursday or Friday (the naked run day), it was the sex after breaking up, and the first time without a condom, and thus the first time taking Plan B also. In the winter, it was chaotic. Andres was living with his ex-girlfriend and also brought her around while teaching me physics. Andres blocked me at Christmas. Those seven days and now are both the global maximum of the darkest days ever in my life. I was unblocked and was invited to go to the gym with him later. Later, on his birthday, I got blamed for the gift and then Andres said he was not going to talk to me for two months again. Then it changed to week and it ended up like 3 days. I was motivated by the new semester and I had hope that life would get better because my college life had been almost all online so far. I was productive even though I spent time being sad and crying every day. The first day that I had not been crying is the day Andres asked me to his home and we had sex again. It was like many other times later. He asked me to his home for giving me a lecture on some physics and he looked at me several times and I asked what. He said that I had been losing hair because I was tying my hair up like that, and he asked me to untie the hair. And he said our life had been so intertwined and then asked me to come to his bed (he had been in his bed before). Several times had been the last time. Several times taking Plan B. I got on Plan A. The midterm week was chaotic. On Sunday, before the Special and General Relativity exam week, I asked if we could have a more fixed schedule of meetings. It became one of the many schedule conflicts. Andres told me then we should not meet at all. I got so sad in front of the physics building. Andres told me that if I kept up like that he would withdraw me from PDRP, and I complied. I got withdrew from PDRP still later. A Thursday between the midterms. He asked me to go to dinner together for a talk. He split so much criticism on me. He also sometimes said we were going to study some physics topics during spring break. But it didn't happen. He moved into the new house with more housemates and several people in Strings. And he told me he might get married in 2 months to some random friends for some reason. We had sex in May. Several times until I was back in China. It was also the best time. Probably November 7 was not the best day, but the best day was the last day I was in Berkeley before I flew to LA and went back home. Yeah, it was the best day indeed. November 7 was too abrupt that I was asking myself did I want this, did I get to be liked, and then I did not want it, etc., which I was just feeling suffocating because I was too dumb and inexperienced to know how to breathe. But the day before I left Berkeley in the summer was the best day ever. I only like good interaction and hugs. Sex is always painful. At the time, I was in LA. Andres was a bit sick and somehow he was also very nice than ever those days, probably not seeing was making things a bit nice, and also people being sick was a bit soft. Though, of course, I did not want him to be sick. I was so worried instead. There was the only time of zoom sex when was in quarantine. Things were okay, but since scheduling was things that could never last. In the middle of June, the promised physics discussion got delayed and delayed and eventually disappeared. And then, it returned to be on Friday after about one month and a half. But it was too hard. It was just sad and angry. I did not understand I was letting myself into this sad trap. I did not understand why he started in the first place. Returned to Berkeley, I was again sad. It was a bit better in summer actually. Summer was the time to have some self-esteem from the courses, etc. Back in Berkeley, it was disastrous. I want to die. Andres called the police. Andres told me that we will suppress things down and be friendly and the police were going to check things medically. I was never stoned to say any words against him actually I talked about him to other people. I liked him that I did not know how to tell the real bad part. But he was speaking against me. And he told the police he wanted me to never talk to him. It was just like today. Then later he found a few excuses to my place several time and had sex. And then he said he had headaches after sex one day after sex. He said it was him but today he blamed me today. And today was kind of the repetition of things a few days ago. Between this, he had blocked me for a week because of the Wednesday schedule which I did not want. And now he got the school police to not let me talk to him for an indefinite length. He said it was their decision but I also knew that he was kind of the opposite personality I am. I am the person who talked about him nicely when talking to other but before him, I pointed out the part which I thought was his problem. He was the person who commented nicely on me but spoke against me before others. The official block of us talking marks the end of my life. I knew that the people were never on my side but all of the help from them was only harm. But the skilled and experienced would be fine. But I like Andres. So it is fine that I am suffering. It is just that I do not want the long-suffering but the short quick end. Thank you to all who have helped me. The following is the real last message. I am sorry that I could not write one for all who helped me and cared about me.
Last Message (Final Edition)
Dear Andres Franco Valiente,
Goodbye forever, Andres.
Thank you for letting me know how happiness and sadness can be. Thank you for letting me know what love and hatred are. Thank you for letting me know what ecstasy and jealousy mean. Thank you for letting me know what being liked was and being disliked was. Thank you for letting me have so much more experience with things that I never dreamed of. Thank you for telling me your story I knew worlds can be different. Thank you for teaching me physics. Thank you for letting me what high energy physics theory is like. Thank you for letting me know that string theory is actually something one can study. Thank you for letting me how bad an emotional state I can be in. Thank you for letting me know how badly I can deteriorate. Thank you for letting me know how my world can crumble entirely. Thank you for letting me know that emotions are a huge trap. Thank you for letting me know that the dangerous thing is to love anyone. Thank you for letting me know that they are so many things more important than life itself.
And I think life is about the experience. You cannot reply to me but you can still have access to what I wrote about what life was about before. Life is about experiencing. Experiencing good and bad emotions is the most important part. I have gotten more than I expected. I have gotten the firework-like glimpse of several days of what being like is like. It is so much more than I expected.
Learning is not about learning itself. Learning is experiencing. I have learned so much about how interesting high energy theory can be. I have also learned so much about why all literature and theater were so much on love even though people also see it as stupid all the time. I have experienced the amazement of how physics can be. I have experienced the surprise of how like a person is like. I don't have any regret in my life. I have what I have.
I don't like things ending like Kafka. Kafka's characters diminished slowly, deteriorated slowly, were forgotten gradually by everyone, and starved to death on their will or their feeder's will—
I hate Kafka's story, that's what I told everyone.
Instead, I like those big epic ends, so glowing and so tragic. I like postmodernism, dark romanticism, and satire in realism. Postmodernism is just like me now, so chaotic but also open-ended. Dark romanticism is things not making sense, things that hang there forever. "Raven" is the most well-known dark romantic poem. I'll be raven. Satire in realism, the funniest harsh criticism, the criticism that is happy to read—
My life is just like a combination of them.
I am not gonna be dealt with Kafka. I don't like existentialism. I know whether my life is going to be the existentialism one or my life is gonna drew a circle like what I like in happiness. Existentialism is just about being outcasted, isolated, alienated, forgotten, unable to be productive even required, unable to meet expectations so high, and one day die with nobody knowing or cares or whatsoever. The last thing is to be an existentialist, but I like Borgia/Borja's family's sentence—
"Aut Caesar, aut nihil," either Caesar or nothing.
I am thankful for you. I am thankful for my family, my mom, my grandma, and my dad. They love me so much and they are basically people who will die for me. I am so worried about my grandma, she is basically sacrificing all for me. They are so nice to me. They want the best of beat for me. They spend their lives entirely for me. I am thankful for all who helped me. I am thankful for my palm-leaf weaving teacher who taught me so much voluntarily and who taught me just to think I am a talented student and hope I can inherit the arts. I am thankful for my best friends Naomi, Hallie, and Jenna, which had been supporting me tremendously and without them, I had die thousands of times. And there are so many random nice people to me. I am thankful for all those who helped me. I am thankful for my great summer program Summer Science Program (SSP) which had let me meet the best people of my year who are all so passionate, intelligent, and friendly. I am thankful for a lot of friends which I could not have space to put them all, some really recent one, some long ago in the past. I have thankful for all that think and appreciate me as a person who maintains my self-esteem. I have thankful for those stages. I have thankful for those musicals I like.
I am thankful for meeting you and getting to know you. You are a genius and your life experience is magical. I have told you I felt your life is kind of like Hamilton (if you have time, check out Hamilton's musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, probably on Disney+ or somewhere else). But I am also similar to Hamilton. I am 19 just as Hamilton is in one of my favorite song "My Shot." Hamilton actively gave up his life in the dual and died young. I am probably just Elizabeth from the musical, I want that "Ich gehör nur mir" (I belong myself) but Elizabeth loves death and only at the moment of death she really became herself. I did not expect to get a few days than Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, I could not reach to the second round. The cat has nine times to die ("Lady Lazarus", Sylvia Plath), and I have already died inside more. After all, your experience is like Odysseus, me being around is going to end like people traveling with Odysseus. After I am a human, even Hercules went through 12 labors and still had to be sacrificed. C'est la vie.
And Andres, thank you for all your help. Thank you for letting me know about physics. Thank you for letting me know for the first time what is dating like, what holding hands, kissing, hugging, having sex, etc. are like, what watching movies, playing and singing songs, having lunch and dinner and ice cream, etc. with people you like are like. I had always just felt unbelievable, a bit confused, a bit wondered, a bit amazed, a bit electrified. when I am hugging you. I am always like what, why I am holding a man in my hug and feeling the heat. I never understood those things.
I never understood it was so weird (in a good way) because after all, we are human or because after all we are animals. Is that we are human which we got so many rules, laws, and conventions, and we are human that we can study so much complicated physics and math, that the things that is endowed by nature and held true for billions of year felt weird to us. Or if it is after all we are animals, nature is just strong than anything, that even though we study so many things and control so many things, yet we are still just some foolish animals. Or is it that all the conflicts and pain exist because the human side of us and the animal side of us could not co-exist peacefully? I'll never know and it doesn't matter.
Because I believe things are not in black and white. That is why I would not study classics which humans at that time judged things as black and white. That is why I don't want to research comparative literature or other fields related, because I don't want a black-and-white answer supported by so many arguments. Arguments, rules/laws/conventions, right or wrong, this side or that side, etc. are after all human-defined and illy defined.
Physics and math what the heck they really are, are they created by human, are they discovered by human, are they both, are they neither, whatsoever. I don't really understand why academics are so important to me. I don't know how is that giving me happiness and how is making my life my life, making my life worth or not; I really don't know. The only thing that makes me feel truly existent is love.
The only thing that makes me feel my life and wants for my life is love. But it is the only thing I don't have. Because life is a satire of realism, the category of literature I like a lot, which contains hyperbolic irony.
I love you, Andres. You are the love of my life and you'll always be the love of my life. I hope my decision could be understood. Thank you again. Muchas gracias. Goodbye, Andres.
Best of all best,
Michelle Dong 董菁
Evening of September 9th, 2022
I love you.
1. Peskin & Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
2. Das, Field Theory: A Path Integral Approach
3. Fecko, Differential Geometry and Lie Groups for Physicists
4. Munkres, Topology
5. Polchinski, String Theory
6. Di Francesco, Conformal Field Theory
7. Lee, Introduction to Topological Manifolds
La Vie est Belle! : DDD
I am a fool.