Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exams Make You Smart and Sassy

I'm not sure why I don't write about acupuncture school more often. It takes up a lot of my time. It has helped change my life in amazing ways. It has healed me and ripped me apart. It washed my brain in a good kind of way. A friend from acupuncture school gave me the name Sassy Queenpin Mama. The funny thing is, they don't even know me as a mama.

Every month for five days in a row I hop in my car, sans kids, and drive almost 200 miles to acupuncture school. I'm in class from 9 - 7 for those five days, but I am also surrounded by like minded adults. The couple who runs the boarding house where I stay feed me amazing home cooked meals twice a day and deal with any cleaning that needs to be done (I do have to shower myself. What a hassle). It's pretty amazing to have such a break from responsibility. During those 5 days I am allowed to completely focus on acupuncture, and surprisingly in that time, I've also been able to focus on myself and who I am. I have found the Queenpin. During those days when I don't have the little beasts to distract me, or the ghosts of my pasts from the small city where I live try to define me, I have found that I really like who I am as adult.

Last week I had exams. The weeks before I had been spending most of my free time studying. If I said, "I'm sorry kiddo, when mommy is done with exams......" one more time I think a beast would have put a cap in my ass. I was worried!!!! The whole time I have been in school I keep thinking that eventually my teachers and classmates are going to find out that I have no idea what I'm doing. That I somehow have gotten this far but, really, I'm an impostor, some stupid woman who just ended up in this school surrounded by all these smart folks. The stress and fear of it was locking me up inside.

When I was packing my car for school I noticed that my kids had left their Nerf guns in the car and I thought, "These will be fun on breaks." I grabbed some bullets and threw them in the car, along with my blue bridesmaid dress that I am damn well gonna get my money's worth out of.

Then began a week of hilarity. I decided to take the Nerf guns into my first class, and use them. Here is something I have learned about myself in the past 4 years of acupuncture school. I am a good reader of people, and being a good reader of people I know how far I can push it. I have practiced pushing the limits for a long time, and in that time I have perfected the art of going right to the limit and them backing down. When I was 14, I knew that I could smoke on the church canoe trip if I kept my canoe 50 feet from the leader and mocked him slightly with that. He laughed at my brashness and berated me at the same time. Rebellion with a smile can get you pretty far.

The first shot of the Nerf gun sailed down the back row where I always sit and stuck nicely on the class pained cabinet door 20 feet away. By break time, my teacher had grabbed a gun and tried to take me out. He was forced to take a student as a body shield to protect himself from the onslaught of Nerf bullets I threw his way. Don't fuck with the Queenpin.

It was amazing to watch stressed out adults go from leeriness of this crazy woman who was packin', to picking up the guns themselves and unloading right onto the white board. A look of glee on their faces, a little wicked glint in their eyes. Supervisors from the clinic downstairs came up and got into the game. One of my friends assured me he would be purchasing an automatic Nerf gun when he got home. We laughed and laughed and laughed, and that made the immense stress of exams a little better. Another thing I've learned about me is that there is only so much intensity this mama can take, then I need a break. I need to find a way to lighten the mood and sometimes that means a Nerf war. Sometimes that means shaking my groove thang in the kitchen. Sometimes it means making smart ass comments.

I have a friend who was pissed at her boyfriend for playing with a remote control helicopter while she researched medical information about current test results she had. I laughed and said, "I totally get that. He needed a break from the intensity. He couldn't take anymore." That's how I felt about exams. I couldn't take the intensity anymore. I needed a little break from the waves of stress that were coming of all of us at school. I needed to laugh. So I did, and then I passed all those damn exams. Yay me.

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