Ok, I know it’s the title of a play, but it was my mantra last night…..all night.
If you’ve followed my blog for a long while, you’ll remember I have a terrible problem with my teeth. Bad nutrition for years set in a bad case of periodontitis. I’ve been told by dentists for years that I should take special care, and if I do, I’ll be able to hold onto my smile for maybe another 5 years. Maybe. Usually, once a year, my face flairs up, blows up to the size of a grapefruit. I take the antibiotics, whimper for a week, then when all has cleared and the dust settles, I’m able to go back to my daily routine, my life, my smile. And part of what perpetuates the problem is a terrible habit of grinding my teeth at night. Anyone who has ever slept anywhere near me at night will comment in the morning, “DAMN! That was LOUD!” I often wake myself up in the middle of the night. But, I get it. It’s related to stress.
Last I woke more than usual with an acute pain centered around my right upper molars. That’s the usual spot where my flair up occurs. Apparently, I had been grinding my teeth so bad that I had pushed one molar well up into my gums and the searing pain had me waking and moaning. And that’s when I started on my chant. “Lips together, teeth apart.” And it does work. An hour or two later and I was at it again, waking with a moan and a pain, but would rest my head back down on the pillow repeating over and over, “Lips together…..teeth apart.”
And the last time I did that was somewhere around 4am. I decided to sit up for a minute, scratch Mario’s back who was laying beside me, and pop on some old school. (“Murder, She Wrote”). As I lay there I decided to consider the stress factor, for that’s where the grinding teeth come from. It didn’t take an entire episode to realize where it comes from.
It’s not easy being an independent artist, or writer, or knitter. It’s not easy waiting each day to see if I’ve made a sale to see if I’ll be able to pay the rent, or eat. But, don’t forget for even a moment, that these were the decisions I made. I started all this when I was homeless. I used my hands and my talents with a set of knitting needles to get myself out of it, and it took a few years, but it gladly happened. Happily happened….but, something is missing.
And as I lay there, I realized I was focusing on the wrong stress. It wasn’t a fear of not selling and being homeless again, no it was more philosophical. It wasn’t a fear of failure….it was a fear of not living to my potential.
I have value, and thanks to all of you, I have purpose. I have a life that I never would have thought possible five years ago. When I sold my first bear, I was only hoping to buy a bag of groceries. Now? Now, I get to hear your stories, be a part of your lives, smile with you, morn with you, share ideas with you, I get to sleep in a real bed after having a nice bowl of chili stuck to my gut. And the real stress, I discovered, was that I could do more, but haven’t. I could do more for this community of knitters, but haven’t. So worried about surviving, I wasn’t thinking enough about thriving, and in turn, doing the same for anyone who comes across this blog.
I can do so much more for all of us. I know I can. And I just have to remember when I go to bed, that I’m no longer doing this for myself. I’m doing it for everyone that has read my work and felt a need to say hello, to email me, to contact me with kindness and joy and understanding.
I have all ideas I’m gonna sleep tonight with lips together, teeth apart…and the grinding will stop. I get it now. I get it now. Everything I’ve been working for isn’t just so I can pay rent and buy food….it’s something bigger. There’s something bigger that’s going to happen. And it won’t because of me, but because of us. All of us, side by side like a couple of knitting ninjas with needles in hand, not only surviving….but, all of us thriving. Finally, thriving….
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