One of my most admirable qualities is my ability to sweep things under the carpet for long stretches of time until they become big problems that can't be ignored, at which point many other people have to become involved in what could have otherwise been an entirely preventable problem if I had addressed it when I should have. I really excel at this. One time when I was in college I got pregnant and ignored it for seven whole months until I lovingly sprang it on my parents one day. Honestly I didn't really spring it on them. It was more like my mom looked at me and said, are you pregnant?! And I said probably. That was fun for everyone! And then there was the time I ran up credit cars bills and just kept hiding it from my husband until one day he came home from work and I said guess what I did - again!? That was also fun for everyone! There have been minor offenses too, like the time I swiped a mailbox when I was a paper carrier and my husband noticed the scratch marks on the side mirror and when he asked me about it I just said, huh, not sure how that got there and then I pretended I need to go poop and I ran inside. Or the time I gained 95 pounds when I was pregnant with Maggie because I refused to look at the scale for my entire pregnancy and even when I got to the point of nearly needing a forklift to get me off the couch I just kept saying, I will deal with this issue later, first I need another sleeve of Oreos. I haven't mastered the art of being a great person yet but I'm trying hard. I really am.
A month or two ago I was riding my bike in Tavares and my front tire caught the railroad tracks the wrong way and I ended up having a scary bike fall that landed me flat on my face. I was mortified of course. I spend half my life assuming everyone is making fun of me and then I give them opportunities like this. I lay on the ground with my head on the pavement a little bit longer than needed because I knew once I rolled over people would be standing over me laughing and pointing at the loser who still hasn't mastered how to ride a bike in a straight line. If you think I'm being hard on myself, I'm really not. This was the second fall I took on Lakeshore Drive in less than a month.
As it turns out people are nicer than I give them credit for and everyone wanted to help me, which made me feel even more stupid. The fire chief happened to be there that day and he came running over and told me I was bleeding from my mouth and asked if I had lost any teeth and I said no, I hadn't, I just cut my lip and that's where all the blood was coming from. He was nice enough to offer me a ride home. When he pulled into our driveway my daughter was outside and saw my bloody face and knees and shoulders and seemed quite upset, but I told her to just go inside and mention this to no one, I was fine, please just stop freaking out.
I took a shower and cleaned myself up pretty good and decided that I would just spend the next few weeks looking down at the ground, hopefully ensuring my fat lip and scraped up chin would go unnoticed by my husband. If he asked me why I was suddenly refusing to direct my gaze upward I would mumble and tell him I was in a pissy mood and he better leave me alone. It was a great plan, except for it only lasted for about two minutes, until I accidentally looked up at him when he walked into the bedroom. Then I had to confess my awful fall and he just kept saying that he couldn't understand why I thought it would be a good idea to keep my accident a secret. Mostly I didn't want to tell him because I knew it would lead to the inevitable talk about my obsession with riding and how I was getting carried away and really why couldn't I ride in safer places. And that is exactly what did happen. He told me he leaves for work everyday and worries I will get hit by a car and he and the kids would be devastated if anything ever happened to me on my bike and I just looked at him and all I could think was, oh wow Greg, how much more selfish could you be, but I figured I would keep my mouth shut and not share that thought with him.
I spent most of the day crying, not because I was in pain from the fall but because it had become clear that my riding needed to be altered and my entire life was now ruined and destroyed and I may as well just throw my bike in the garbage because I would never, ever ride again. I carried on like that for several hours and my husband just kept walking by me saying nothing. It was pissing me off that he wasn't caving into my nonsense and then it occurred to me that after twenty years of marriage he had worked up a complete tolerance for my bs. At some point over the weekend I had a moment of clarity and realized he was right and I decided to switch my routes up to include safer places and I have continued to ride everyday and keep up my miles and life doesn't suck and everything wasn't ruined and my bike never landed in the garbage.
But this story doesn't have an entirely happy ending. It took at least week for my mouth to start feeling normal again and for my lip to really heal and once it did I decided to kind of look at my teeth and touch them again and I noticed that my front teeth are just a teensy weensy bit loose. Nothing that anyone but me would ever notice and honestly it's almost imperceptible, accept for the fact that it is true, they are clearly just a teensy weensy ( very teensy weensy, trust me it's the teensiest of weensiest) bit loose. Do you like how I have reverted to using words that toddlers use? That's because I kind of act like a toddler and so it suits me to speak like one.
This is where denial and sweeping things under the carpet is getting me into some trouble. For weeks now I have been thinking I need to go to the dentist, but I can't make the call. I don't even have the name of a dentist I trust. My older kids go to a good dentist except for he's abrasive. My kids don't mind him because they have great teeth with no issues, but I do have issues, both with my teeth and my person. I cannot tolerate a dentist who is harsh. One time I was at the dentist and he was merely coming toward me with a mirror to show me something and I swiped his hand away. I apologized and he was nice about it but that is the kind of behavior I exhibit while I'm sitting in the dental chair. Maggie has a wonderful pediatric dentist but I'm pretty sure I couldn't fit into his teeny tiny cute whittle chairs, but really this is the sort of dentist I need because he has laughing gas that he gives Maggie and she likes it so much that she routinely asks when her next root canal/tooth pulling will be. I need to find a dentist who makes me that excited about jumping in the chair and getting my gums drilled and pulled and shot up with Novocain, but the truth is, the dentist has always been a source of extreme anxiety for me and my going is usually the result of me being in complete and utter pain.
I wish I could tell you that plans are in the works to call someone today or tomorrow or very soon but honestly I most likely won't take care of this issue until my teeth are dangling like a loose thread and who knows, that could be next week or it could very well be several years from now. Part of me is still convinced that everyone has loose teeth every now and again and they just have to sort of harden up a bit. All I ask now is for you not to leave horror stories in the comment sections. That will not help move me in the right direction at all. Don't even leave a comment telling me I really need to take care of this. I already know I need to take care of it. I mean it. Please do not tell me something horrible. I KNOW this needs to be addressed. Just do me this favor. It's simple really. Just pray that I get some courage. I have no greater fear than going to the dentist and no greater flaw than a complete lack of courage. My problem is always my lack of courage.
PS . To clarify, feel free to leave fawning comments on this post, just not comments related to how I need to call the dentist. To clarify again, I know, I really know I need to call the dentist. Courage! That's all I need. And fawning comments too. I need those too.