My first time at acupuncture and I am afraid. I’m sure it’s going to be agony. They’re going to poke an organ accidentally, pop something inside me like I’m made of bubblegum. But still I go in because everybody said I should and because it would be rude to run out of their office screaming. I lay back in a comfy chair and worry that it’ll feel like stabbing, that the calming track of running water will make me have to pee, that serenity will remain nowhere, forever.
I hear a rustling of needles. Oh shit, here it comes. I hold my breath tight, I lock it up, I put a gun to Oxygen’s face. Then I look around the room and see them: a middle-aged woman with a shaved head, tears streaming down her face, searching for a cure, she is believing in miracles. A man in a suit, eyes open, hands folded on top of his heart, he is needing help, he is humbled, maybe for the first time. A young woman smiling, rubbing her pregnant belly, she is shedding old fears, she has found her answer, and everything is about to change. Now I want this to hurt. I want to take their hurt. I want to grab at the vat of pain because there can only be so much, and why should they carry it all? I want my lastima to have meaning, and pins and needles might be the way.
The acupuncturist’s voice by my ears whispers, “Let go.” It is so very shocking, it is so very soft, it is so very the antitheses of my mind’s usual chanting, that I simply obey. She puts a needle in my ear, murmurs the word “sedation,” and my muscles and tissues are soothed into submission. It’s like the molecules in the air have turned that gun around on me, and I have no choice but surrender.
I barely feel the pins going in. I only feel a stinging like she lit a spark under my skin, like a tenderness has formed, like the channels are changing direction. And I feel lastima moving most of all. First as a slow, sad sway - the dance of powerlessness. But then it turns into a jig, a leap, a hoedown - the celebration of acceptance. After that it finally comes - a little peace.
p.s. When they put one in your forehead though - still scary!