Tuesday, March 3, 2015


It's my seventh grade year and my family has driven up the mountain to our friends' cabin. "Time at their cabin" usually involves very little time at the cabin. Instead, we shimmy up rocks, slide down waterfalls, and roast dinner around a roaring fire.

But we haven't gotten to dinner yet. For now, we're streaking though the forest in our swimwear. Well, 7 of the 8 kids are. I'm wearing sweat pants tucked into socks, and a sweatshirt with the hood pulled over my face. The sky is summer blue, but I am wishing for an umbrella.

It's all Mrs. Payne's fault. Well, hers and whatever baby neuroses were incubating in my adolescent mind just waiting to hatch and grow into something Neurotic, with a capital N.

Mrs. Payne is my homeroom teacher. She has short brown hair that is always perfectly styled and plump lips which regularly sport a nice shade of mauve. She is actually a great teacher. The problem is she has just finished teaching a unit on parasites that has made me terrified of getting a tapeworm. I have officially decided to give up meat. Unbeknownst to me, this vegetarian phase will only last for three months. Because: steak. Also: growth spurts.

I'm also terrified of getting a tick. For this reason, I have vowed to cover as much skin as possible when walking through the brush during tick season. I seem to be doing okay with my sweatsuit ensemble, but an umbrella would provide an extra layer of protection from ticks falling out of trees.

This is just one of many fears I have developed this year. It has been an unparalleled year in the fear department. Must be the hormones. Shortly before the parasite unit, Mrs. Payne brought in an acupuncturist to demonstrate the process of sticking very long needles into people's bodies. There was a lot of lecturing — Chinese medicine, qi, meridians, etc. — and then we all watched while she allowed the doctor to stick a needle in her head. HER HEAD. The very top, where the scalp is very hard and very thick, and very hard and very thick.

Enter: Oh sweet Moses, I will never, ever, ever do acupuncture ever. I do not even need to write this in my 7th grade diary because I know I will never forget my commitment to needle safety and general sanity.

But here is the way life often works: I was the only child that fateful day on the mountain who got a tick, and fast forward 18 years to today, and I've just spent some time on a doctor's table with eight needles in my head. EIGHT, people. In MY VERY HARD AND VERY THICK HEAD.

And here's what I have to say about it: I would much rather have a needle in my head than a tick in my back.

Amen and amen.

I have decided to try acupuncture with the hope that it will alleviate my dizziness, nausea and tinnitus. The doctor said it will take a few sessions before I can tell if the acupuncture is working for me, but I've worked out a tentative verdict:

This stuff is not a bunch of hooey balooey. When done by a skilled practitioner, it can accomplish good, healthy things in the body. It hasn't lessened my dizziness and nausea yet, BUT my tinnitus is a bit better already and my neck, which has felt like it's been full of gravel for several years, feels like it's been emptied of gravel and oiled up with some serious WD-40. I'm hopeful acupuncture will do for my vertigo what it's done for my neck.

I drove home from the acupuncturist with the windows down and country music crooning. When I pulled into my aunt and uncle's neighborhood, a gust of jasmine perfume blew through the car. I breathed it in and turned up the music. And then, to celebrate today, I took another lap around the block, occasionally popping my head out the window into the oncoming, fragrant breeze like an eager puppy. Because it's not everyday you get to slay a 7th grade acupuncture dragon.

If I had a Humans of New York-type blog, I'd rally up all your seventh grade dragons along with stories about the times you've slayed them. I'd like reading through those stories. You should tell me sometime. 

Cheering for you, and hugs, and G'night.


P.S. Still working on slaying the tick dragon, but I can happily report that on my last traipse through the brush I didn't even bother to tuck my pants into my socks. So, two steps forward, baby.

© by scj

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