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Design. Build. Test. Improve.

Ayesha, Marriotts Ridge HS, Class of 2020

The design process parallels the life challenges that Ayesha faces as she struggles with Palindromic Rheumatism.

Video Transcript

Design. Build. Test. Improve.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.
These four words had been drilled into my mind.
Line after line, page after page, my pen furiously scribbled these words over and over again.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.
My arm falls limp, it won’t lift.
I figure it was from all the notes I took.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.
Design. B--
Slow down, I can’t write.
My pen was stuck on design.

May 2015, it had been two weeks.
My arms were hurting. My feet were paining.
Right arm, left arm, right knee, left knee.
Each week introduced a new brace on top of the old one.
They thought I was faking it.
They thought I wanted sympathy.
I didn’t play sports. I didn’t run. I didn’t fall.
Little did they know, even I had gone insane pondering why.
Design. B--
My hand refused to write any further.
Like my hand, my life had refused to go any further.
It had seemed like I had become one with the design process.
I had to find the problem and fix it.
Design. B--

April 16, 2015, my best friend’s birthday party.
Spiraling infinities engraved her presence as she swept through the ice.
I, on the other hand, found victory in reaching my first few feet, to which the frigid ice had almost instantaneously made my face tangent with it.
The discomfort in my feet that followed that night was a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps that was the reason why everything hurt.
Yes, it had all made sense.
Design. Build.--
Wait, that was almost two months ago.
Surely it wouldn’t last that long.
Surely there was more to it than just that.
Design. B--

June 2015. I will never forget it.
June 2015, when I skipped school for an entire month.
June 2015, when every weekend became another trip to the doctor’s office.
Specialist after specialist, it had seemed like we were getting somewhere.
June 2015, when after weeks of testing, a final prognosis was found.
June 2015, when I was diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatism, a rare form of arthritis.
Design. Build.--
Just like my blood cells attacked my joints to be foreign invaders, my mind had soon been besieged by anxious thoughts.
What was next? Who do I go to?
Design. Build.--

June 2016, one year from being diagnosed.
June 2016, when I overcame the setbacks put in front of me.
June 2016, when I realized that nothing was going to stop me from doing what I do.
I ran slower than others. I jumped lower than others. Oh well.
Design. Build. Test. I--

February 2017, the onset of arthritis as an adult is likely.
February 2017, where it doesn’t matter anymore.
February 2017, where I have to write my story, not a story to gain sympathy, but a story to inspire.
Where if you fall, you get back up.
Where all of us are constantly in the infinite cycle of the design process and it's our job to figure it out.
Where no matter what problem is thrown at you, you keep going and cultivate that problem such that it is no longer a problem.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.
Design. Build. Test. Improve.

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