This past week has been an odd duck.
Earlier, I listed four things I was anxious about this week. The first one was the biggest – going to the dentist for an exam/cleaning after two years without. It was a new dentist and a new hygienist. So I had to go in there and try not to say too much about myself as I usually do, so that they could figure me out on their own without my strange input getting in the way:
“I don’t like jelly.”
“My body doesn’t know how to vomit, like a horse doesn’t.”
“Sometimes my gums bleed as if they’re crying.”
“I’m not afraid of needles, or sharks, or bee stings, or the worst kinds of physical pain. I’m not afraid of singing Hebrew to 400 people, or being in love with two. I’m no longer afraid there are certain things that cannot be moved past, for they can be grown against. Or around. We can hug our pain, and learn to bend with its sharp curves. We can soften the parts that stick out.”
“I am afraid of being here, at the dentist (or any doctor). I’m afraid you’ll find something wrong, something ominous, something permanent. I’m afraid I can’t take direction when you tell me to relax. I’m afraid the freckle on my lip is skin cancer. (oh, it faded ages ago) I’m afraid the mosquito bite on my back is a tumor. I’m afraid they’ll figure out that I’m not strong. I’m afraid of being the weaker one, always. I’m afraid they’ll love their father more. I’m afraid of disappearing. I’m afraid it’s already started. I’m afraid every day of anyone telling me that I can’t be here all of the time, for a very long time, with these two”:
And what happens, when I listen to them? Des cries my name out when I walk out the door and crawls into my arms when I’m back. He says, “I lub ye.” (I love you too) Scarlet lays next to me and tells me she wants to snuggle with me for no less than two million hours. I go for days, weeks, and even months, in which I forget that I think I’m a fraud. Even during odd duck weeks, I forget. Maybe I can forget I think I’m a fraud with lip cancer, and a tumor, and fears as vast and wide as the sea, with kids who so clearly love their father more than me, and with people who pass me on the street and know I’m a no-talent with one glance.
I can forget these things because they aren’t true.
And at the end of the day, sometimes, often, all of that ridiculous junk just goes sailing out the window on a fall night breeze. Every morning I wake up and my first thoughts are never about what’s wrong. They’re about what is so right. Nearly every time.
Two other things I’ve been anxious about during the past week followed more smoothly, since I had more of an “I got this” attitude. It was good anxiety, if that exists. It was a photo shoot for large family I had never met at a place that is nearly oppressively sunny. It was seeing long lost family members, and jogging up memories of old losses. I got this. I had that.
Next up: a potential roadtrip. To see a very long lost family member. My brother.
“Peekaboo!” See you soon..