Of Root Canals and Skyscrapers

First things first.



After much poking and prodding from my very near and dear and far and pleasantly unsurprising support system, I have returned to one of my sources of true and infinite joy–writing!

Life lately has been a bit of a doozy to say the very least–and I have finally–again, with quite a bit of support and urging from my mirrors–found the inspiration to view it all as the blessing and grand adventure I needed to bring me exactly where I need to be.

I recently experienced one of the most unnerving horrors of adulthood in the form of a ceaseless toothache, complete with a swollen gum. Which I tried to ignore until my darling fiancé gave me the number to his dentist (because up until a week ago, I’d been avoiding my dentist like the plague–convinced that I’d chosen the Dr. Orin Scrivello of San Diego).

Not so long story even shorter, I ended up needing a root canal.

Being the strong, mentally and financially stable, young adult that I am not yet, I was calm cool and collected as I found myself barely listening to my dentist explain the process of drilling down through my tooth to clean out the roots and only he knows what else he said, while my mind drifted back to that scene in Little Shop of Horrors when our sadistic Dr. Scrivello is going to town on his poor unsuspecting patient. I flashed back to all of the other conversations I’ve ever heard from real adults about root canals, and couldn’t recall any of them being told in excitement.

The deafening thump of my nervously beating heart and endless buzz and hum of the drills lulled me into a peaceful state; and I began to reflect on the past year and a half, and all of the stress, TRAFFIC, and mayhem that until very recently (read: this week) made me feel as if my life were spiraling wildly out of control.

So many times over the past year or so I’d felt as if I’d hit rock bottom.

That time I left my dream job in my dream city for bumper to bumper traffic and a cubicle with no windows; that time I nearly stalled in the middle of a four way intersection; that other time I wrecked my car in 4AM traffic–that’s not a typo–TRAFFIC at 4AM; that time that same car got towed after I searched for an hour in the middle of the night looking for a legitimate parking spot; that time I left my wallet in the McDonald’s on the corner where the drag queens knew me by name, and learned that the person attempting to use my card was embarrassingly close to my limit; that time I returned to my dream job in my dream city and it wasn’t nearly the same; etc. etc. etc.

My ever hopeful (somewhat naïve) spirit thought, it couldn’t possibly get any worse than this–only to be shown that it absolutely could and would. Rock bottom kept getting lower and lower until I found myself explaining to my mother that my default emotion was pure anger.

Sure there were moments of joy and excitement, but for some strange reason, my thoughts, my world, my existence were poisoned with all of the stresses and unfortunate events of recent history. It was as if I were in an endless free fall towards a rock bottom that was so far below me, I could no longer look back to the light above.

As I was lay back in the office chair, mouth propped ajar, gloved fingers drilling away at the treacherous #30 molar, I had a thought:


Beautiful. Majestic. Physically defiant. Seemingly endless structures, reaching all the way up to kiss the sky.

Skyscrapers aren’t built on just any ol’ foundation. One can’t be built on a slab on top of the dirt. You have to dig deep into the soil to begin the foundation. And not just any ol’ soil, it has to be the right kind, or you have to mix in the right materials to strengthen the soil to support the foundation. The foundation must be deep enough in a soil that is strong enough, and mixed with the materials that are just right, so this regal structure, reaching high enough to kiss the sky, can withstand the pressures of the wind, the natural shifts and changes within the earth, the ever unpredictable and unyielding wrath of the weather. The foundation must be deep enough, in just the right place…like life, like growth.

I guess root canals aren’t so bad. I get to keep my tooth, my gums feel much better, and I’m actually not in a ceaseless downward spiral towards rock bottom after all. I’m digging deep and cleaning out the roots of negativity, and adding the materials, the experiences I need, to build my foundation. This life, these moments, these experiences are the very things helping me to withstand the forces of the world around me. They’re allowing me to stand beautifully and majestically, despite the unexpected shifts and changes in my world.