Last night, finally, I brushed my teeth with my new sonic toothbrush and didn’t cry.
I held out for years, even as I insisted my sons be equipped with today’s tools for good dental hygiene. I have been the only one in my family using elbow grease to clean my teeth for a few years now. But the last time I went to the dentist, she gave me a look when I admitted I was still using the manual.
“You’re scrubbing away your gum tissue, you know,” she said.
I love my dentist. For one thing, she’s a mom with three kids about the ages of my kids and we commiserate. For another thing, she is firm in her convictions and tells me exactly what to do. And so, I got myself a sonic toothbrush.
And it was . . . problematic.
Every time I used it, I cried. Just tears—there was no emotion involved in my reaction, it was purely a sensation equation. And I had to focus very, very carefully on breathing while that thing was in my mouth. And I couldn’t have anyone else around me while I brushed—though honestly, there is no brushing action involved with this thing. Instead of brushing our teeth, we are simply touching our teeth with this grinding tool of horror.
After a few days, I mentioned to M that I thought I was getting used to it—I didn’t cry the whole time, just at the beginning.
“Are you using the initial setting? The one that lets you get used to it?”
“That’s a thing?”
I know, I know, I should have read the instructions, but my dentist had done this whole demonstration and I figured, how complex could it be? And by the time M revealed that there was a process, I was already too far along to go back to the wimpy initial setting. Power through, baby.
That’s what I did.
And it’s better now. It was hard, and now it’s easier.
Just about everything is like that. Except maybe writing, and parenting, and being married, and dealing with the fear of death, and imposter syndrome, and changing habits to allow for a better world. All of those things are still hard.
But the little things, those get easier.
So, at least we have that?
Dearest b, your word for next week is feet.