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.