Doctor’s visits, the LSAT and adding it all up

Thanks to my coworkers for the positive LSAT vibes!

Thanks to my coworkers for the positive LSAT vibes!

Tiny poke, quick poke, little poke. The words and needle pricks add up after a while. I didn’t feel the needle on Wednesday as the nurse and I chatted about our mutual experience learning Arabic. It was a bizarrely normal moment; me rambling about Turkey and Arabic and calligraphy and writing right to left — with the needle in my arm.

In my fledgling days of life writing, I wrote exclusively about major, sweeping stories and lessons, the kind that fit nicely into a calculated essay. The past six months upended my still-lingering compulsion to write about the momentous, distilling reflection and learning into single moments — tiny, quick and little, like every needle puncture.

As I tally up answers and scores and sections for the LSAT (which is, terrifyingly, tomorrow), I can’t help but feel unsettlingly, briefly calm. I often cite the randomness of life as one of its chief merits, but here, it is beautifully analogous, each answer adding up to a test, a score, a new goal and path. 

I went to the doctor for my hematology follow-up on Wednesday, and I don’t have to go back until 2017. Finally, I’m done. I’ve been mulling over the tiny, quick, little moments from six months of sickness; I haven’t processed them in a comprehensive manner just yet (probably never will, but that’s why I write). Themes emerged almost immediately. Life lessons are tricky like that, catching me off guard like my own shadow when the sun peeks out from the clouds.

As I conquered tangible fears like getting an IV (or eight), going under anesthesia and giving up beer and whiskey, I confronted my lifelong battle with fragility. That it’s fine to admit and embrace that I’m not always in control. That I couldn’t simply power through my exhaustion and fix everything on my own, that I couldn’t will myself to feel better.

23 has been hellish in a lot of ways, but every poke (and silent “no” to my favorite beer) has instilled in me a new reverence for the minute and meaningful, the tiny, quick, little things that add up.

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