The Girls Write Now Anthology 2018
My acupuncturist, Paul, sits across from me in a folding white chair and leans forward to examine the red rash on my throat.
“And my lips are so dry,” I explain, “they’re peeling.”
I’ve been around enough “alternative” healing modalities to guess where he'll go with this. It’s why I’ve chosen to see him for a second appointment instead of heading to another dermatologist. I want him to give it to me straight, but with a spiritual chaser. His eyes meet mine and he starts to grin. He knows that I know what he’s about to say.
“Throat chakra!” we squawk in unison, and I laugh, my hand reaching up to stroke the scaly skin in the hollow of my collarbone. It’s good to laugh with him. The last time I was here, I spent an hour fighting back tears. My body has been covered for months in red, itchy patches of various shapes and sizes from my neck to my ankles, and I refuse to accept that the only response is a shrug and a squash-sized tube of steroid cream from a doctor who can’t, or won’t, try to find the cause.
“So,” Paul says quietly. “Your throat chakra is trying to tell you something. What do you have to say that’s not being said, Amy?” I scratch at my throat and swallow the hot lump that has begun to form in the back of my mouth. Fire is one of the five powers that Five Elements acupuncture is based upon, and Paul has told me that right now, my fire is excessive. It’s no wonder my skin is dry and itchy. I need more joy in my life. My Qi needs balancing. Who isn’t in need of joy these days?
I think of everything I want to say—have to say—that I’m not saying. I think of the kids in Florida who were just gunned down in front of their classmates. I think of DACA and fracking and pervasive sexual violence against women. I think of the systematic incarceration of Black men and their deaths at the hands of police. I think of my uterus, and the choices I’ve had access to that might soon be outlawed. Fire? Yes. I’ve got plenty of fire.
“Everything,” I answer. “I have everything to say.”
Paul nods. “Good,” he says. “Let’s get started.”