I hear the long thin metal rod slicing though tissue and sinew till it glances off a bone, and then… I feel it. The pain is not new. I know in a few minutes it will melt back into the haze of emotions I lock in the back of my mind and the bottom of my heart. Till then it is my only focus. That’s how this works. Each rod is placed with surgical precision like the pins used to display a trophy Monarch butterfly, and between each piercing is the observation. The observations are almost worse than being impaled because it isn’t just to be endured. It’s active.

“Can she move her arms?” The shadowy man with the great round eyes might ask.

Then his bespectacled assistant will confront me with pen poised and ask/demand that I, “Attempt to raise your arms,” and I will be obliged to move.

I don’t know what happens if they frown because somehow I keep moving and they keep smiling, but each smile brings another rod and another observation. Part of me thinks, this is it this time I will surely break under this burden and whatever this is will stop, but I don’t because another part of me is silently betting they run out of rods.


As seen on deviantart.com all rights to owner joebananaz


So perhaps this story is a bit over dramatic, but it is how I feel lately. See… I work in research, as a sixth year graduate student, and my principal investigators work me like a mule, without gratitude or appreciation. My only reward for hard work well done is more work. I am convinced they have set out to wring each publishable ounce of science from me, or to watch me bend and break, which ever comes first. So far I have only shown a few cracks, but the desire to give in and break down is building. Here’s to hoping their pile of pins is dwindling, and that I survive this grand, and voluntary, experiment called grad school!

Wish me luck 😉