Thursday, June 25, 2009

About a tooth

About a week ago, I developed a very sharp pain in my lower right molar. I quickly discovered that I had an infected nerve due to bacterial infection and required a root canal surgery.

For years now, I've had a missing filling in that tooth. And for years I had simply ignored the issue of getting a new filling put in. I was well aware that my tooth would eventually need work done, and that the longer I waited, the more likely that a problematic condition could develop.

When the pain started, it was almost unbearable. I had never experienced such physical pain before. Even when I was not eating or drinking anything, the pain would be there... and I would feel the pain spread from the nerves under my molar tooth up to my ear, and then up to my temple region. It was both a sharp and throbbing pain that is difficult to describe.

At one point, I had to confine myself to my room, lay myself down on my bed, and cry as I found the pain so overwhelming. Over and over thoughts and emotions flooded my mind.

"Why is this happening to me right now?"
"How could it hurt this badly?"
"Why must I be in such pain?"
"What did I do wrong?"

It was in that very moment that my questioning opened up a perspective for me that I had not considered before.

The infection in my lower molar resulted from prolonged neglect. For years I simply reasoned that it was not worth my time or money to get the missing filling replaced. I kept procrastinating and coming up with justifications for my inaction. I had completely and utterly abdicated my responsibility to it... and simply did not care any longer, even though the gaping hole in my tooth was a constant reminder each and every day when I had to constantly clean out bits of food that would get lodged in the hole.

How did this occur? How did I talk myself into prolonging this condition for so long? Where have I been? How could it be that I had accepted and allowed myself to succumb to this?

Still reeling from the pain, my eyes scanned the contents of my bedroom and took stock of piles of books that are partially or completely unread, stacks of notebooks for projects unfinished, and soon realized that all around me were evidence of things I had always intended upon doing, but for one reason or another simply gave up.

This lead me to look within myself... and it was not long before I recalled the many projects I had started and never seen through to completion... all the promises I had made to myself that have yet to be made good... all the things I've been needing to take care of that are still unresolved... all of the things I had begun with earnest intention still patiently awaiting a manifestation that may never come.

This was not a simple toothache that resulted from lack of proper dental care. This was a clear and present depiction of who and what I have accepted and allowed myself to become. For years, the tooth had been missing it's proper filling. For years, I simply adapted to the condition as it continued to worsen. Instead of actually directing myself to support myself practically, I chose to ignore it in spite of myself. I accepted and allowed myself to be a victim of my circumstances... all my life I have been prone to do this. All my life I have accepted and allowed myself to be directed by events and the judgment of others.

This has been a heavy realization. This is something I have always understood deep within me... but only now have I considered it's ramifications here in the physical... here where my life actually takes place. I have never truly been alive. I have never made a "choice" that was real. I have never accepted or allowed myself to be stable or trust myself... to such a degree that I am willing to abdicate my health... and my very life... instead of standing up for myself.

The practical solution in the moment was to immediately take care of the tooth problem before it got worse. I got myself a dental discount plan, went to the nearest dental office and scheduled an emergency procedure, and had the operation done within the next 2 days.

Through all this, the fears came up... of me not being able to find a good dentist, not being able to finance the cost of the procedure, not being able to keep up my financial commitments, not being able to get proper care.. etc. Yet instead of allowing those fears to deter me, I moved. I moved myself through and practically did what needed doing. And then... well... it got done. And I did it all on my own... which was always something I had trouble with.

So many times I have looked at my life and seen that I had "fallen behind" everyone else who was my age. Everyone else seemed to have gotten further with their lives while I had remained stagnant. Yet it was not fate or circumstance that kept me back... it has always been myself. I have never trusted myself. I have never stood for myself. I have never accepted myself as being worthy.

The circumstances of my life do not determine who I am. Who I am determines the circumstances of my life.

So... no more will I abdicate myself. I stop. I walk. For myself, by myself.

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