Encore: Epiphanies in the Dentist Chair

Today I went to the dentist. Not something on my “favourite things to do” list. And as I was lying there, mouth absurdly agape, a masked stranger utilizing metal implements to “scale” my teeth and gums, I got to thinking

“this is one of the most precariously physically vulnerable position my body has ever been in…and I’m ALLOWING it to happen, no questions asked.”

Talk about trust.

And then I realized that we often find ourselves in such positions. Acupuncture. Lying sans clothes while someone sticks you with needles then leaves the room for an extended period of time, comes back AND TWISTS THE NEEDLES DEEPER INTO YOUR FLESH. On the surface it seems like a pretty stupid situation to get yourself into.

Again, huge trust needed.

And don’t get me started on the “yearly physical” at the doctor’s office where “invasion of personal body space” is an understatement.

It’s funny how we find it easier to allow strangers to prod and probe our physical being with nary a blink of an eye. Sure, it’s not as though most of these appointments are hugely enjoyable experiences but we take them in stride, schedule them appropriately and allow others to get “close” for the sake of our well-being.

But yet most of us are drastically more apprehensive to share our “personal emotional space” with others, even our closest family members and friends. We get all itchy and uncomfortable inside when someone asks harmless questions about our life and loves and hurts. Or our first response to “how are you” is the rote and non-committal “good thank-you” when in fact you’re not all that good, in fact you’re having a pretty crappy day.

And yet we find lying naked on a table with a stranger in the room less threatening.

Allowing someone you trust to enter the confines of your non-tangible yet paradoxically substantial emotional self is just as important as allowing the dental hygienist, or the acupuncturist or doctor to do their thing.

The key is to find someone you can trust just as much.

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