• Jan. 6, 2021, 1:46 a.m.
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I dare say that nobody likes injections,  not even for their own good. The tough may claim that they can take any shots.

However, that doesn’t mean they like them. There’s a difference.

I remember Ma’s story about the time I was a three-year-old child and received one of my vaccination. She said that I’d been pretty brave for a little girl back then. Most kids that little cry when they get their shots. According to Ma, so had both my siblings.

Then, what about me? I don’t remember, but Ma told me that she’d been there. She saw me frown when the nurse injected the needle into my arm. Really frowned, but without crying.

I looked down at my arm where the nurse had shot me. After that, I glared at the nurse – who was just doing her job. Slowly I looked at my arm again, before turning back to the nurse. It didn’t take rocket science to know that I’d been angry at that time.

“Whoa, you were a tough kid!”

Thank you, but I’m afraid you’re missing the point here. Just because I didn’t cry doesn’t mean I liked it and it didn’t hurt.

For too damn long, I’ve learned to hide or suppress that emotion. I sometimes fail, other times I succeed. Such is life. I’ve grown up in a world where crying in public is still seen as a weakness – and girls get branded as such for doing that more often, even before society seems to allow them more to do so.

That’s why when I do fail, people can usually see that I’ve been holding it back way too long and too much. Another reason would be the wrong people I’ve revealed my real feelings too.

“Oh, my God. You’re such a cry-baby!”

Do you know what I do to so-called friends like that? I simply stop sharing anything with them. They’re no longer worth it.

Based on my experiences, those who often mock you like that are also those who enjoy playing ‘double-standard’. They think they’re always so tough, which is impossible. I know that they secretly cry too. They just don’t want to admit it. They’re too damn proud. That’s why they’re embarrassed when they get caught doing the same thing.

It could be worse, though. They could feel so self-entitled about this, treating this like a stupid competition. It’s the “I have bigger problems than you do, so I get to cry!” attitude.

Anyway, at least you’ll never catch me doing drugs. That’s just how much I hate needles. I don’t even wear earrings unless they’re clip-on.

I hate IV drips too. Having a needle stuck in you for a long time is another source of annoyance. Having been hospitalized twice is more than enough for me, thank you very much.

However, since my blood type is O+, I can never say no to blood donation. So, when I have the chance (and I also happen to be in a good physical condition), I still do that. I know O is universal.

That Damn Rapid Test

Oh, Covid-19. Thanks to you, the entire 2020 has been ruined for most of us here.

Never have I felt so scared. These days, even the slightest of symptoms may alarm you. Dry cough for a week is just one example.

“Clench your fist tightly.”

I obeyed and quickly glanced away. I didn’t have to look, but I could feel the nurse patting and pressing the back of my hand.

“Hold still. This is gonna hurt a bit.”

Of course. I sat very still, almost rigid. I stared blankly at the parking lot before me. We were at the back of the hospital building. I was still feeling her pressing the back of my hand really hard, tapping for visible veins. I felt my skin being stretched.

This time, I didn’t glare at the nurse. I didn’t even shut my eyes. I simply let my mind wander – back to much simpler, happier times:

Talking, laughing, and singing on the phone with my distant best friend back then… traveling with my hazel-eyed best friend or solo…watching rock concerts with the girls or alone…hanging out with Ma…hugging my nephews and niece…writing stories…singing or reciting poetry on stage…karaoke with friends…hunting books with Dad…listening to heavy metal with Little Brother in the car with him driving…

“There. We’re done.”

My train of thoughts brought me back to reality. The back of my hand was already covered in a tight band aid. No spills, no blood. Clean.

“Thanks.” The nurse just smiled briefly at me before moving to her next patient. The result would be emailed.

Wow. Was I really that tough, almost cold?

Ha-ha. Gotcha. All the while I’d been thinking about those beautiful moments, I could still picture my blood being drawn. I could visualize the huge needle being inserted into the back of my hand…probably like the bigger version of a mosquito when sucking my blood.

Still, I barely blinked. Just like when I was three years old and with the nurse – and also like when I was four. A cat had scratched my hand in defense when I wanted to take it home, but I didn’t know that I shouldn’t have pulled it by the tail.

Just like when one co-worker in the past had accidentally splashed steaming hot coffee at my hand. He’d freaked out, babbling an almost incoherent apology – while I was just staring (blankly) at my supposedly minor burnt hand.

Just like…one late uncle who hadn’t been aware that the burning cigarette in his hand had come in contact with my wrist. I’d been paying attention to something else, silently wondering that it must’ve been some insect at the garden that night…

…until it started to sting and burn…

When we both realized what had happened that night, he quickly dumped his fag and apologized. Unfortunately, a dark, round spot had already formed on the surface of my wrist. That burnt scar had taken a while to disappear.

Once again, my first reaction had been just a stare at it…

No, I wasn’t brave. I’m not always like that. It’s impossible because nobody can be that all the freaking time. I just know how to fake it – at least for as long as I could take it.

Waiting for the result after the shot had been scarier, but thankfully I’m still safe so far. These days, being sick feels like a daunting fate – no matter how minor.

“You can take a lot of physical pain, from what I can see,” someone I’d rather not mention here once told me. “It’s the heartbreak that you can’t stand.”



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