I’m so lucky to have such good friends! I put out a tweet for a guest poster or two the other day. One of my BFF’s offered. Do you know Melisa with one S from Suburban Scrawl? If you don’t know her, you should. I love her. She is one of my oldest blog friends…and I don’t mean her age. We’ve known each other since I was Such Simple Pleasures. I’m so honored that she wrote a guest post for me! She was going to write about something else, but she had a little something she was doing today that scares the piss out of her, too. So…she wrote about it!
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes; chances are likely that what I find scary might not be the same as what scares you. Some fears are huge. In their worst, most paralyzing form, these can prevent someone from moving forward in life, like getting married, applying for a job, having a baby, or other things like that. There are lesser fears too, of course, like fear of bugs, test-taking, or getting a totally new haircut.
All of the life coaches and experts I’ve ever seen on tv (or read about) agree that facing your fears directly is the best way to make them go away, and as I’ve advanced in age–and especially since I turned 40* last November–I find that I have been doing a much better job of staring down my own scary situations until they aren’t quite so scary. I’ve had several phone conversations with Melissa (with 2 s’s) about our fears, and I thought that today, since I have the floor here at Rock and Drool, would be a great day to give the two of us virtual pats on the back because we are both grabbing some fears today, putting them in our mouths, chewing on them, spitting them out on the floor, and stomping the hell out of them.
You already know that she is flying to California today. She is terrified of flying. In fact, she had flight reservations to the BlogHer conference here in Chicago but ended up finding someone from her area who she could carpool with. They secured a loaner vehicle and made the trip on four wheels. Recently though, California came a’calling, and though I’m sure she attempted to calculate the mileage from Michigan to Los Angeles and then check the cost of rental cars and then figure out how many nights she’d need to stay in a hotel on the way there and back, she quickly realized that she’d have to convince herself that the only reasonable option in this case was to fly the friendly skies. I have no doubt that she will be TOTALLY fine. Sure, she’ll be nervous and crawling out of her skin a little bit, but her inner voice of reason will kick in (or hopefully, she’ll think of all of us cheering her on and WE will be her inner voices!) and she will realize that before she knows it, the flights there and back will not only be uneventful but quickly a distant memory–and probably a great blog post (or two, ’cause you know how she can squeeze ’em out).
And then there’s my fear. This particular fear is relatively minor, but is justified because of a past experience. As you read this, I’ll be in the chair at my periodontist’s office, having a third round of gum graft surgery. Please don’t google that if you are squeamish, because there are pictures of the procedure out there and, well, they’re not pretty. I’ll tell you all about it in as basic a way as I am able to.
About seven years ago, my dentist told me that he was concerned about my receding gums, and sent me to a periodontist who he highly recommended, for a surgery consult. Receding gums can be caused by brushing your teeth too vigorously (or with a hard bristled brush)j or by having braces. BRACES! I know, ridiculous, right? Anyway, if you find out that you are having gum recession problems, you don’t have to do anything about it at all. You can just let those gums erode away. That is, you can do that if you don’t mind that your teeth will eventually fall out because there won’t be anything there to hold them in place.
So if you’re fine with that, you don’t even have to consider surgery. Me? Well, I like chewing meat and such, and I happen to enjoy the look of my teeth. So off to the perio office I went! My periodontist (Dr. P) is awesome. He’s been in practice for years and–not that this is what I look for in a medical professional but it’s kinda cool–has been on Oprah and Good Morning America and featured in lots of national magazines. He has a great personality and his chairside manner put me at ease immediately. After my exam, he told me that I had two large areas in my mouth that needed to be fixed, and they had to do it in two surgeries, six months apart. Why? (Squeamish alert! Use caution when reading the following sentence!) They get the tissue for the graft from the roof of the mouth, and because of the size of the grafts, they needed to let the tissue up there regenerate for six months to finish the job. Eeew, right?
But it was fine. The first surgery was…FUN. I kid you not. The surgical technician told me to bring a music CD if I wanted to, to put on during the surgery. I brought “Rock Steady” by No Doubt and during the procedure, Dr. P and the two surgical techs were dancing, telling jokes…I actually laughed throughout most of the procedure. I shocked everyone I know by telling them that “I had a great time” during my surgery. How many people do you know that can say that?
The second time? The CD I brought wouldn’t play for some reason, which was disappointing, but not the end of the world. (It did suck though, because it was P!nk, whose music I find very empowering.) The procedure was going fine and Dr. P was involving me in the conversation he was having with the two assistants–yes, it’s even harder to take part in a conversation during dental surgery than during a regular cleaning appointment, as you can imagine–and then it happened. As he was making the–err–slice into the roof of my mouth, though it was numbed and I didn’t feel pain, my brain went on overdrive. I started to actually think about what he was doing, picturing it in my head as if I were watching one of those totally creepy (to me) surgery shows that you can find on the Discovery Channel. I started having a panic attack and must’ve lost all color in my face and stiffened up, because Dr. P said, “Are you doing alright?” I gave him the thumbs-up, because, frankly, what else could I have done since it was a brain problem and not a pain problem, and then proceeded to use every piece of energy I had in my entire body to get the image out of my head and attempt to relax until he finally finished. I was so very happy that I was done with gum grafts. Yippee, and a Wooty Woot Woot!
After all of that Wooting, you can imagine that when, two years ago, Dr. P examined my mouth during a normal check-up and told me that it looked like there was one more small area we needed to keep an eye on, I was not thrilled to say the least. Every six months when I’ve gone to his office I’ve said a little prayer and crossed every available body part that he would continue to tell me that “we’re still good”. And it was still good, until last month, when he told me that surgery was imminent. The woman who scheduled today’s surgery told me that if I was super-nervous, they could prescribe a sedative for me, for before the procedure. And I was going to do it…until last week when I decided against it. I’m not trying to be a martyr about it as my family would tend to believe; for me, I feel like I need to prove something to myself. I’ve been through this twice already, and frankly the area he has to fix this time is miniscule compared to the last two times, so I feel like I need to face this fear head-on and just be done with it, without a sedative. Well, mostly. Sure, I’ll be nervous and crawling out of my skin a little bit, but my inner voice of reason will kick in (or hopefully, I’ll think of all of you cheering me on and YOU will be my inner voices!) and I will realize that before I know it, the surgery will not only be uneventful but quickly a distant memory–and probably a great blog post (but probably not two, ’cause nobody wants that).
As I write this, it’s Sunday night and I bet that Melissa (with 2 s’s) and I are having some of the same thoughts. We’re scared. But by flying, she gets to speak publicly about something she feels very, very strongly about. By having surgery, I get to enjoy a long life of being able to chew meat whenever I want. It’ll pay off for both of us, I’m sure. Right?
*deep breath in, deep breath out*
We’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna be fine….
So tell me, what fears have you faced? Please comment vigorously; not only does Melissa (with 2 s’s) love the blog attention, but I’ll be on the couch all day today, looking for stuff to read.
*Turning 40 does wonders for your self confidence: I highly recommend it! It’s an undescribable feeling, not giving a rat’s ass what others think, you know?