How important is why?

As if I don’t have enough of my life changing and contorting into something of which I have no concept, now I have to deal with my teeth. My teeth have always been bad. Since childhood. They were bad partly because I didn’t take care of them properly, partly because it is part of my genetics. Neglect was normal for me, so why should I take care of what nobody else was caring for? Yadda yadda and yadda.

So I have teeth breaking, and the dentist has more or less fired me. He sent me to a dentures and implants place. Lovely. I went there yesterday, and this guy – who is very nice but is obvious not a non-profit business entity – basically said that I’m done. I have already lost several teeth over the years, and he said the rest of them need to go now, because they will be going soon regardless. I did not count on that. There were tears, mainly because I have such shame concerning my teeth. Always have.

This guy’s ultimate plan will cost $17k, which even if I had that money I’m not sure I buy the whole sales pitch. I don’t have $17k, nor am I interested in having $17k for this purpose. Titanium implants that will allow me to snap the prosthetic teeth into place. Extraction of the remaining teeth. Parts and labor. Damn. This is like buying a car. It will take several months, possibly up to a year, to get all of this in place. It sounds like suffering to me, and I am not OK with that.

So, this is the latest crisis in my perpetuation of my childhood dysfunction. I could have done better, but I didn’t, so here I am. Bad teeth, morbidly obese, sloppy to the point of slob, underachiever to the max. My first instinct is to ask myself why. Why have you let things get so out of hand? Why have you squandered the investment of nearly four decades of dental work, only to wind up here? Why are you such a fuck-up?

I don’t know why, and that has always disturbed me. The model I’ve had all these years is that if I know why, I can change it. I am no longer sure that’s true, if it was ever true. Whatever caused me to make those thousands of small decisions that got me to here cannot be reconstructed. I cannot go back in time, which is a blessing in a way. So I don’t know why, and I’m not entirely sure I’m clear on how. And how important is that?

Knowing why and how doesn’t change the present reality. I always want to know why, as though even a bad reason would be helpful in my acceptance of reality. When people are murdered, their surviving loved ones often want to know why, why them, why did they have to be killed. Those surviving the loss of a soldier are much the same. In some cases, murder victims’ survivors meet the murderer, and ask that question of the perpetrator but does that help? The reality has not changed – someone important to you has left this existence, and that is painful. There is really nothing that can rectify those circumstances.

Perhaps, at least in my case, knowing why gives me a feeling of vengeance, gives me a target of blame, something to do with my shame and embarrassment. Perhaps that is what I have been doing all along, blaming myself for myself, for the underachievement, for the obesity, for the bad teeth, for the bad skin I had in my adolescence. For my anti-authority passion, for my neuroses, for my anxiety and depression. For my imperfection.

Imperfection is reality, and so I suppose I have not been willing to fully live into reality. Maybe this is the turning point, maybe – like Pinoccio – I have been trying to become real while not quite accepting that I wasn’t real? I dunno, but something has got to give. The part of me that is overly dramatic says this is the Beginning of the End, that I don’t have any more time to get this right, to do any of the things I want to do. It’s over, and you have thrown away the chance you had to be…to be what? Happy? Notorious? Successful?

A while back, in 2011, I asked someone who studied the Mayan calendar what happened when the calendar ended in 2012. She looked at me as though I had asked her to explain quantum physics, and her answer was, “Something else.” Perhaps that is where I am headed, to something else, whatever that may be. The why of it all really doesn’t change one thing about that. I can decide whatever I want to decide about teeth, about emotions, about making money, about obesity but knowing why any of that exists may be well beyond my pay grade. For whatever I do with my freedom of will and the choices I make will lead me to something else, and why it has all happened is irrelevant.

Knowing why simply makes me a little more comfortable in accepting the unacceptable. If I want to believe that I have shitty teeth because I am supposed to teach someone else something about it makes me feel a little better, a little more in control of my circumstances. It doesn’t change the reality. I still have to accept it, and go on. Or not. My choice. I know that I CAN do this, but I shrieked inwardly WHY? What am I doing this for?

While I am waiting for the answer to that question of why, my teeth will not get any better and I will not lose any weight or have a less cluttered living space. I am not willing to wait. for perfection that will never come. Then I really will have lost, and that is neither a requisite nor a desirable outcome of this lifetime. Instead, I am putting on the big girl panties so that I can get on with the business of something else.

The light always belonged to us. We just forgot.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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