Blind trust. It never came easily to me. I’ve always relied on questions to have a better understanding of any situation. I think: it’s an innate need to be in control of uncertainty and also have a better grip on my anxiety.
I was scared of dentists and the dark
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Oh, all my friends are turning green
You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams– Vance Joy (Read more here)
I’d been delaying a visit to the dentist for a very long time. I could relate to every word of Vance Joy’s song. In hindsight, I wish I had plucked up the courage to make that appointment sooner. Basil had already spent a good part of the year getting his teeth extracted and treated. I knew I would be running out of excuses to make. By the end of May, I knew it was time.
“When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.”
― Neil Gaiman
I’ve never had pleasant experiences (especially as a child) with past dentists. One might argue: who really has a pleasant experience at the dentist? Most used my fear to get the work done rather than treat the fear itself — for future treatment. My last dentist was kind enough to talk to me and that helped me overcome a part of my fear of dentists. I’ve just never liked the sight of injections, the drilling sound, and those sharp objects that are always in your field of view. Waiting in a dentist’s chair is akin to a lab rat waiting to be experimented on.
I wasn’t surprised by my new dentist’s diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. I kind of anticipated the amount of work that I needed. But, I still had to get over my anxiety to sit through those long procedures. It would be hard to give up control and trust someone else’s instinct. Just as it would be hard to sit in the back seat and trust the driver through those winding turns. And that’s why I’m particularly grateful for the mis/adventures that we had on our travels. I’m grateful to the incredible drivers (& some guides) who taught me to have faith (not necessarily blind) on their instinct — based on experience and skill.
We survived AMS on our first high altitude trip in Sikkim and found kindness in a local house — when we skipped the trip back to the city — after discovering the driver had been drinking and driving. Our next adventure in the Himalayas was a crazy 2-day journey from Manali to Leh. The driver was such a rockstar and I knew he’d see us through those high mountain passes. When we got lost in a Mongolian forest, I knew I wanted to ‘survive’ and overcoming my fear was the only way out to the clearing. Over the years, we’ve had drivers, guides, and helpful locals show us how a little ‘trust’ can go a long way. And if I could get by those difficult times; surely a dentist’s drill isn’t that scary.
Okay– Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd (Read more here & here)
Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more, ah
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on it’s time to go
Have you ever wondered why doctors say, “It’s just a pinprick.” Clearly, no one’s really afraid of a pinprick. It’s just the sight of that needle that makes you woozy. Back in the day, when I found my brother’s old cassettes (a magnetic tape) of Pink Floyd; Comfortably Numb was my favourite song. Roger Waters had a different take on it and a simple search will reveal a gazillion different interpretations. I, listened to it, to get over the difficult years of early adulthood. To feel numb to the turbulence around me. But, when the dentist stuck the needle in my jaw, and soon enough, I felt ‘nothing’ — that’s when this song got a whole new meaning.
There is no pain you are receding– Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
My new dentist is pretty chatty when the procedure isn’t technical or too complicated. He also figured that I’m more calm when he talks to me. Honestly, it wasn’t always easy to hear what he was saying through that drilling or reply when my mouth was stuffed with instruments. He had visited my home country and was surprised by how different we were.
It’s never been easy to have roots linked to a religious minority that accounts to approximately 3% of a billion. Within familiar borders, I’ve always found a need to find similarities and ‘prove’ why I belong in those borders. Beyond those borders, I have to prove why I’m different — even if my origins lie within those borders. Acceptance has never been easy on either side of the line. I’ve also realised: people who get scared easily are considered to be the lowest common denominator. Ironically, some of the the brightest minds I have come across, are the ones that let fear get the better of them. I’ve also never understood why should everyone deal with the same situation — in the same way. Isn’t diversity what makes us more interesting as humans and has resulted in the contributions we make?
During the past 2 months, I’ve felt very lost and that explains my long absence from blogging. I had good days in the ‘chair’ and some very anxious moments too. But, I also knew, that I was the only one who could control what’s in my mind. Sometimes, I tried to visualise the image above, and imagine I was under this gorgeous waterfall — when spurts of water splashed on my face.
You got a fast car– Fast Car, Tracy Chapman (Read more here)
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil Gaiman
This year has been difficult for everyone. It wasn’t the best idea or time to get dental work done when I was fighting a rather difficult battle — emotionally and mentally. New rules have made it harder for us to visit ‘home’ unless there’s a vaccine. Friends have had to leave, some returned to Seoul, and the news rarely lifts one’s morale. Basil’s complicated implant surgery had given me many sleepless nights since February. It finally went through a couple of weeks back. The stress, uncertainity, and emotional as well as physical pain was too much. I found myself at breaking point — not knowing how to get back to who I was.
“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”
― Neil Gaiman
“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
― Neil Gaiman
I’m towards the end of my dental treatment plan. I still have to get my wisdom teeth extracted and consider some other treatments. But, I’ve decided to take a break. I want to write. I want to smell flowers and feel the rain. I want to be grateful for what I have rather than dwell on what I don’t have. I want to accept me for who I am and hope (or move on) that others would do the same. I think it’s okay to have weak moments. It’s okay to feel like the world is imploding and life is tightening those nuts and bolts around you. Because that’s when you’ll find the strength within and know that you’d be able to get through anything.