I'm Afraid of the Dentist
No one I know enjoys the dentist office. I apologize up front if you make your living in dentistry. And I think the reason is obvious: we’re afraid of pain. There are so many plausible outcomes involving pain that accompany any normal trip to the dentists. Cavities, cavity fillings, root canals, braces, spacers, retainers, and x-rays are only several of the many painful dental possibilities. But although so many equate (i.e. I equate) the dentist with pain, and therefore fear, I realized it isn’t infallibly fair. Most of my visits have yielded nothing more than the admonishment to brush more than I do, to floss (at all), and the small package of dental hygienic supplies. But despite the facts, I still sweat on the drive there.
I was young when I developed the habit to fear the dentist. Maybe around 9 or 10, I remember having to have a tooth pulled. It wasn’t painful before hand; my expanding adolescent mouth just needed room. But this tooth didn’t want to come out. Even the dentist himself commented on the size of its roots, its initial unwillingness to budge. And though I would claim then the over-conservatism of my anesthesiologist, which was most likely false, the memory is coated with a layer of pain.
And it occurs to me my fear of the dentist is passed down through my years. I’ll most likely carry it through many more harmless dentist visits (or at least until I actually start flossing regularly). This isn’t a big deal, until I realize there are other fears that I carry that have the same small amount of validity but an equal foothold in my heart. And I think this is universal to an extent. You probably have a friend with a deathly fear of dogs who won’t go near your Chihuahua because she was bitten by a Pit Bull at six. Or a brother who never goes in the ocean after watching Jaws at too young an age. We seem to all house fears and insecurities that our youthful minds were too young to decode as irrational, but rather they saved them into our emotional data banks.
And I wonder what it takes to rewrite the code.
The Mountain releases June 28th
Listening to Emmet Franz’s “Lucy Grey”