Last week I was scheduled to have a tooth removed and I was freaking terrified about it. It was a wisdom tooth that had grown in years ago and every now and then it would give me a hard time but then it would pass so I kept just shrugging it off and dealing with it. The fear of having the tooth pulled far outweighed the inconvenience of keeping it firmly planted right where it was until finally, it got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it any longer and something had to be done.
The day of my appointment I have to admit, I was being a giant baby. I actually almost backed out of it entirely, but I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I was cursing myself and complaining about this damn thing all over again. I wouldn’t say that I’m afraid of the dentist but I have only ever had 4 cavities in my entire life, the first one presenting itself at the ripe old age of 32, so I just never really experienced any dental procedure that made me uncomfortable till now and naturally, my mind automatically thought of the worst.
Funny how you mention getting a tooth pulled and everyone within earshot decides that NOW is the appropriate time to share their horror stories of their own dental experiences.
Like seriously Tina, it’s all fine and well that your dentist broke your tooth during your procedure and you ended up leaving with 2 black eyes because the tooth was rooted so deeply it was a nightmare to actually remove, but could you not wait until AFTER my appointment to share your lovely tidbits???
Anyway, hindsight is a funny thing, because as I write about this now, I don’t really even know what it was that I was so afraid of. Maybe the fact that I pictured a cartoon episode of a dentist standing on the armrest of my dental chair yanking and pulling as my head feverishly jerked in unison with his aggressive efforts to free my poor tooth. Or maybe it was because Tina carried on with her story later, mentioning that she was unable to eat solid food for a week and a half after her procedure, but likely, it probably was because my fear began to take over my rational mind and turn my inner voice into a complete and total asshole, combined with the first two scenarios adding fuel to its fire of course.
That’s what fear does, it creeps in like an extremely rational thought and then once you accept it as real and true it then builds on itself with a mother fucking vengeance.
The day of my “oral surgery” and please know I use that term lightly, I made sure my husband would be close by in case I needed him to pick me up after. Like, I thought the 3km drive back home might be so unbearable that I might actually need alternate transportation to get there.
You guys, it took the freaking dentist longer to explain HOW he was going to proceed with pulling my tooth then it took him to actually pull the damn thing out. Granted, I can’t give him ALL the credit, I did call on my team of guides and angels to be with me during the procedure and help him with pulling the tooth out with total ease, but even if you don’t believe any of that, the bottom line is it took him less then 3 minutes to yank the sucker out, and I didn’t end up with even the slightest bit of raccoon eyes. (sorry Tina, but your reality, doesn’t have to be my reality!!!)
You guys, this is what is so huge, I know you ultimately don’t really give a damn about my tooth or the procedure I went through to have it removed, but the reason why I’m sharing it is this, Fear will ALWAYS try to psych us up, psych us out, and mess with our minds to keep us exactly where we are. Wishing for change, praying for change, but too afraid to do what it takes to actually freaking change.
Whether it be a stupid visit to the dentist, or completely starting over in life, fear will try and fuck you every time.
Sometimes it shows up as worry, genuine concern, or even legitimate reasoning to stay exactly where you are right now, it seems legit, so you don’t argue it, but you know, deep within your soul, that you’re being held back from something great, and it’s going to take some seriously brave inner strength to tell that scaredy cat within you to take a seat and shuty for just a minute.
When I look back on my life I would say that most, if not all, of the most transformational times I have experienced have occurred after deciding to do something I was really really scared of.
I mean aside from the obvious ones of having a baby or deciding to get married, (or in some cases, deciding to not get married) I’m talking deciding to quit my safe job for one that didn’t make a whole lot of sense logistically but trusting my gut that it was the right move, or splurging on an expensive 5 day spiritual healing course and going all by myself because I somehow knew it would bust open my entire world for the better, or choosing to move out when I had no idea if that meant saving or losing my marriage but trusting it would work out exactly how it was supposed to, whatever that looked like.
I was terrified in all these circumstances and these only begin to scratch the surface, but funny enough, sometimes excitement and fear kinda feel like the exact same thing. The reason fear kicks in is because it’s how we are hardwired, we don’t know what we don’t know so our brains are naturally designed to keep us safe. This is a great part of the human brain when we are deciding to take a shortcut down a dark ally in a sketchy part of town, or wondering if ecstasy is really all that bad for us. In these cases, we can be incredibly grateful for our brains capacity to keep us safe, but when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something really brave and exciting, we need to tell our logical brains to step aside.
When it comes to making big life decisions, whether it be leaving a relationship or changing a job, we cant possibly fathom what kind of outcome we are going to create. Fear will remind us of all the possible things that COULD go wrong, but once we are able to recognize that is how our logical minds will respond it becomes easier to ignore so we can tap into our hearts and listen to what could go right.
Our hearts always know whats best for us, it’s our heads that try and convince us otherwise. When I called off my wedding to my sons dad 11 years ago I had so many logical outside factors that were trying to convince me not to. They were pretty legit reasons too, I mean, we were a family, I should give us another shot for the sake of my son, I had already put deposits on the dress, the hall, the caterer, and the DJ, my family from B.C. had already booked their flights to come out for the big day, we had just bought a house, money would be tight, I would miss his family, and ultimately, change is fucking scary. But my heart, my heart only had one reason for me to leave, and that was, “but are you truly happy?” It would have been so easy to listen to my brain, it made so much sense and had some seriously valid points, but I couldn’t ignore my heart, and if I had, it would only be a matter of time before it got my attention again.
I didn’t know at the time where my life would end up if I left, but I had a feeling I knew how it would go if I stayed, and sometimes it’s the fear of staying exactly where you are for the rest of your life that gives your the strength and courage to help you overcome the fear of change and taking that first step.
Change is scary, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s also exciting, and exhilarating and necessary for our own personal growth. And typically, in my experiences, if we allow ourselves to keep pushing forward, just beyond that fear, is where some of the best surprises lie.