Welcome to Chitty Wok

What a shitty month. Excuse me for a moment as I indulge. In these posts I usually try to find the silver linings, or the freedom exposed in our wounds, or the compassionate reasons why hardships are in our lives.

But, right now, it’s just been a really shitty month.

There has been lots of crying – almost every day now – which just makes me feel worse about myself. I don’t feel strong, I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel like a good person because I have been making everything so dramatic. I don’t want to be dramatic. I don’t want to hurt other people. I don’t want to be doing this right now.

These feelings just follow, one day after another, since January 1.  I have tried so hard to stop it. I have tried so hard to accept it. I have tried so hard to not try so hard. I haven’t tried at all.

I got sick, I got a tooth pulled, I got into yoga again, I got through the first few weeks at a new job.

I have no reason to feel this way.

It’s cold, it’s bare, it’s brown.

That’s usually a good thing.

A Space to Heal

        

My body heard the roots crack as the dentist turned the tooth one way, then the next. The Vaseline on my bottom lip helped the cold tool angle where it needed to, left and then right and then left again.

The crown popped off, as expected, from the second root canal the tooth underwent a year ago. That’s when the pain really started, after that second root canal.

The first root canal was when I was in High School, when my braces maneuvered my jaws so only two teeth touched when my mouth closed, killing the tooth with too much contact, too much pressure, too much expectation.

In trying to do something good for myself, something bad happened.

And it happened again with the second root canal. At a routine teeth cleaning a few years ago the dentist told me I would have to get another root canal eventually in the same tooth – number fifteen.

So lots of money was spent doing something good. The first dentist had missed a root, which continued a low grade infection for the next ten years. The second root canal packed the root, tickling it’s tip to the edge of the sinuses.

But then the sinuses started hurting, and other new pains never seemed to quite go away.

The dentists agreed that the next best course of action would be to pull number fifteen.

“Do you want to see your tooth?” the dentist asked. He showed it to me, with three strong roots of bone and one root of bloody flesh, limp and infected.

I’m babying that side of my mouth now. But the sinuses still hurt. And the tooth next to number fifteen cries in sharp pain when it hits its lower mate, the shock breaking me into tears. Each time making me afraid this isn’t over, that it might just get worse from here, again.

But if I let it, each time the pain could remind me that as much as I think I have control, I don’t. That even though I think this is my fault, it isn’t.

That, maybe, healing doesn’t always look like healing.

New Years

It’s already been a seemingly tough year. New years generally start with a lot of hope and a first journal entry that encouragingly expounds on possibility and intent.

Not this year. The first journal entry this year started with: “The dream of myself then is not the dream of myself now.”Some may call it growing pains, or some kind of life transition moving to Kansas and living with a man for the first time. But, now in the bleak midwinter with below freezing temperatures, this upcoming year is going to be scary.

I dreamed myself into a certain image when I was young – smart, beautiful, strong, traveling adventuring journalist – but it stopped at the point when I met someone I could see my life with. I thought everything would effortlessly fall into place after that. I stopped fantasizing about myself beyond that point.

And that’s where I am now. I don’t know what happens next. I can create a new image for my future self to find arbitrary worth – perhaps as a teacher or a mother or a writer or whatever I think I want to be.

Or, I don’t have to.Instead of designing a new expectant identity, that separates me from humanity, I can reach into the fear of not knowing in 2014. I can trust, and open, and sit with that soft vulnerable spot in our hearts that connect us all.

I can just be. I can appreciate that I don’t know. And, kindly, that I never will.

You might be rough and scary, 2014, but thank you for it all.