Losing is a concept that is formidable, foreign, distressing and perhaps even depressing. I do not aim to appear arrogant, egotistic or haughty, but the emotions surrounding losing have been, until now, unknown to me. Health difficulties have, if anything, provided a driving force, a motivation, an impetus to succeed. Illness has most probably been, throughout my teenage years, my catalyst. All the necessary chemical ingredients have always been present, good education, reasonably well-functioning brain, supportive parents, etc., and yet hospital or the threat of hospital has either initiated or accelerated the reaction without itself being affected. My life is dictated by a desperate need to overcome any health imperfections and still be successful in my endeavours, pursuits and dreams. Regular, uncontrollable inflammation and tightening of my airways never acquired the privilege or right to fully disrupt my academic or social life. It is unfortunate that my lungs have still not realised that all their attacks have been thwarted, or they may have ceased their incessant attempts to cause chaos, complications and commotion.
This spinal situation is my first encounter of losing anything much more than a game of scrabble. In scrabble, you spend the entirety of the thrilling, exasperating exploration of the possibilities of language concentrating on, arranging and finally placing your limited letters. Of course, one contemplates the potentiality that they have misplaced or misused their letters, but hopefully one is also fairly confident that they have played some of the better, higher scoring and more aesthetically pleasing combinations. The difficulty arises when all your seven letters are vowels or all are consonants. In any assortment an impressive score is nearing impossible, too many good letters or too many bad. In many respects, scrabble is a microcosm of life. My spinal problems are akin to having two Vs as part of my small selection of letters. I am no cruciverbalist and therefore despite my greatest efforts I was unable to play my two Vs. I had no choice but to exchange letters, miss a turn and take a year out of university. The joy is, once the terribly troublesome decision to exchange letters is reached, the probability of once again picking two Vs is infinitesimally small. New tiles are selected, new opportunities are seen and winning is once again attainable.