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February 2, 2012

on fear.

i'm sitting in one of my favorite places to write: a tiny, usually quiet coffee shop near my apartment. today, it's transformed into a hub of people and noise. i don't like when things i love and rely on change on me. the volume level is at a 10 and i'd like it at a 2. why are all of us so unaware of how loud we are? 

i had an "emergency" dental appointment today. over a week ago, i ate a granola bar and a piece of it got lodged under my gums. since that day, one part of my gums became swollen, irritated, red, and sore. it's hurt ever since. when i finally admitted to myself advil wasn't doing the trick and benadryl made no difference whatsoever, i called dr. ericson's office on tuesday. she was somehow able to see me today, which required me to take off work, borrow anna's car, pull myself together, and drive my scared self to downers grove. the dentist is at the top of my anxiety list for reasons i won't get into right now.

i got there forty minutes early. brilliant, rhiannon. the receptionist was short with me; i was short right back. i was in no mood.

when i got called into the exam room, before my doctor came in, i took out my iPod and listened to eminem. he calms me down, go figure. he calms me down because i force myself to sit and listen to the words. his words make me feel empowered. my breathing slowed. i stopped shaking.

she walked in. through tears, i said, "if one of my teeth falls out in your hand, what are we going to do? what's the plan? i need to know what you're going to do. i can't leave here without one of my teeth."

she laughed and rubbed my shoulder.

"i don't like to worry about problems unless there's a problem to worry about," she said.

amen, sister. i'm trying to to work on that one.

i go to the worst case scenario, with every situation in my life.

she looked. she calmed me down like she always does. she complimented my shoes and my sweater. she was wonderful.

"i'm pretty sure it's just gum trauma," she said.

gum trauma. from a frigging granola bar. she said it's likely nothing more than that, but she mentioned maybe seeing their gum specialist; i had to push for this.

she said, "if you want to see him, dr. cunningham is great,"

yes, i want to see him. good Lord, i'll pop in his office on his lunch break right now if he can give me thirty seconds.

"i'm getting nervous that you aren't giving me more bad news. what aren't you telling me? that every one of those teeth you x-rayed has a cavity? just tell me, please," i said.

i really do hear myself in those moments and i think, "rhiannon, stop. just stop. close your eyes. take a breath. you are here. you are taking care of yourself. stop spinning."

i need to keep a soft diet until i see the specialist, who isn't available until the 22nd. oy. i actually got a bit happy when she told me that. i thought to myself, "i could maybe lose a few pounds eating only soft foods."

(works out that i'm already in therapy.)

bon iver just came on and suddenly it's quiet. thank you, barista.

i sit here with an internet connection that keeps timing out, people that keep bumping into my table, a sore mouth, and a million things to finish for my classes. i have a prescription waiting to be picked up, medicine that will make my mouth feel better, which will make me a more pleasant individual to be around for the next few weeks. whatever the specialist tells me, i will deal with it at that time. i will follow my doctor's orders for the next three weeks.

it's easy to speculate and worry about things while waiting for an answer to all of your questions. it's even easier to assume and prepare for the worst.

this is poison. and it's robbing me of valuable time and energy. i rob myself of time and energy.

all i can do is reconize when i do these things the moment i start to do them and tell myself to stop. i will do this as often as i need to because i don't want to be this person anymore. i want more than this.

i am better than this.

this begins and ends with me.

i will try and breathe more.

i will go home and brew a pot of coffee. i will organize my mail, feed ruby, and do my work. everything will get done.

i will wake early, run two miles, go to work, and breathe there too.

one thing at a time, rhiannon. one thing at a time.

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