Rejoicing at the Loss of Teeth

“I don’t dream. At least if I do, I don’t ever recall the dreams once I wake up.”

I said this to a friend who was rattling off one random dream after the next, vivid dreams complete with smells and color and sound. While it is true that I don’t normally dream, I do have two dream memories stored for safe keeping. One that has repeated itself now and again over the last couple years is a dream in which I trip and fall, knocking out my two front teeth. I don’t remember noticing blood, just a feeling of panic as I see my face in the mirror, wondering how I will ever fix this and what people will think or say. Then with a grasping breath, as if coming up for air, I am awake.

Funny thing is, when I was about 14, this very thing happened to my brother. He was riding his bike, recklessly, because that is his way, down our unpaved 45 degree angled driveway. Although I was not there to witness this event in real-time, I can imagine the bike’s front tire catching as it threw him over the handle bars, leaving a trail of blood from the point of impact, in reverse up the driveway to the puddle in the garage, where I imagine he got our mother’s attention and a ride to the dentist. He had chipped both front teeth in half. Leaving jagged edges and pain, waiting for the caps to cover up the damage.

I had been babysitting down the street, when it happened, and when I walked home I was greeted by the bloody trail. No note. No real answer for the “what happened?” question running through my mind.

The past few days the issue of teeth has been in the forefront of my mind. My mom broke a filling and ended up at the oral surgeon for an emergency extraction. My best friend’s visit got delayed when she arrived to the dentist for a quick cleaning and they decided to start working on her crown. Even during an episode of a sitcom the hubs and I were watching, one of the characters roller skated into the wall and knocked out her two front teeth, which turned out to be fake teeth anyway, but, weird none the less.

I believe in the universe, God, sending messages and there was no doubt something here. So I asked Siri, “What does it mean when you dream about your teeth falling out?” She replied, “Here is what I found: Dreams where you lose teeth are typically associated with feelings of powerlessness and loss of control. They can also mean that you’re worried about losing something, like a job or a relationship.”

Well played, God. Well played. I had been feeling unsettled, out of control, powerless and it all steamed from a place of scarcity and loss, over both a relationship and a job. For over 10 years I have been in the same job, with a lot of the same people. For the last decade I have basically been keeping busy. I have been the same list of things, both nouns and adjectives.  I have done the same list of jobs. I have gotten up, with little or no sleep, and made it happen, whatever it may be. I have been a robot and the main objective? I didn’t really know. What I did know is that my lists were aimed at pleasing others. Making other people happy, doing things that are pleasing to them, isn’t always a bad thing, however, in my case, I realized that pleasing others was a holding pattern. A vicious cycle that kept me safe from decisions. If I did what others, needed, wanted and expected, I would be too busy to be still. Without the being still, I would never truly know what is it that my heart desires. My head and heart would remain overwhelmed and I would not hear the voice that had the answers.

It is a hard thing. Knowing. Even harder than the unknowing. Being sure, confident, secure, and looking ahead without any temptation to turn around and wonder. Knowing when to hang on, stay the course, persevere, and when to walk away, it is a hard thing.

I admire people who can make a choice and stand by it, unwavering, chest puffed out with certainty. Good or bad their stance means something. I have found in recent months that I am a good pretender. I pretend that I know, in the center of my being, that my choice is the right one, the best one. Not just for me, but for those who it affects. Pretending is draining. The questioning and downward spiral of “what-if’s” that it invites leaves the voice inside the does know the right answer, silently screaming to be heard above all the racket of worry.

I love variety.  Adventure.  Visiting different places, having unlikely experiences. I love newness. The fresh, clean pages of a blank notebook. The sterile soles of running shoes right out of the box. I love the smell of a new novel, the pages taking a little extra effort to fall apart from one another. These things are open and inviting the world to make a mark, find the path, tell the story. These are the kind of changes I welcome. Slight and serene, full of possibility. It is safe to say that these minor changes will bring mostly excitement and happiness. These are the chest puffing moments for me, my answer always, yes. It is the changes that ask us to lay down something that is no longer in line with our values, no longer serving our purpose, a change that brings with it great loss in order to gain, these are the changes that are testing. These are the decisions that require time and

Fast forward to our move a few months ago. Introduce a clear schedule. Enter silence. Add loneliness. An ache that begged for me to listen to the voice that knew. It was time for a change. More than a new hair cut and color. Greater even then a new home, in a new state, surrounded by new faces.  It was time for big girl panties and a loud sigh, letting all the heaviness and stress fade. It was time to breathe in possibility. I had to realize the things I was trying to revive where already gone. Like the trees in the fall, I have been letting the dead things go and its been beautiful. This new adventure that is calling me is one of imperfection but it is also one of joy.

It has been awhile since joy has been a word on my lips, so I asked Siri to remind me. Without missing a beat;

Joy, noun. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. A thing that causes joy.

Verb (literally) rejoice.

 

Yes, I think I will.

 

 

 

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