This Valentine’s my husband gave me something far more useful than flowers.
I could wallow forever in the dirty water where the fish won’t go. I could never get up again. I could say to myself, how can I live. I could rake over and over the past, looking for a possible way things could have been made different. I could cry forever and it wouldn’t change a thing.
I did everything I was able to do at the time. I remember us both going to the dentist in New Zealand and me buying us electric toothbrushes to use out there as we’d left ours in the UK. He was fifteen. Everything was okay then, teeth wise. But not long after, I stopped being able to make him do anything he didn’t want to do.
Since he’s been an adult, I have watched his teeth deteriorate, and no amount of encouragement from anyone in the family was able to persuade him to go to the dentist. Realising nothing I said made any difference, for the last few years I have stopped saying anything in case it actually makes him even less likely to go, and also because I don’t want to spoil the times we have together. But every now and again I’d think, am I being remiss, am I copping out, am I wasting opportunities… all the time they are getting worse and worse, and I am not saying anything.
But of course he has mirrors, and eyes. And as I write this I’m thinking, Oh my God, did we do this? Did we make him dig his heels in more by trying to encourage him to visit the dentist? But would a person really do that to themselves, not brush their teeth, not go to the dentist, just to be oppositional to their family?
I don’t talk about any of this to anyone but the night before Valentine’s Day my son messaged my husband and said he was finally ready to go through with the required treatment. This will involve sedation, anaesthetic, and because things are so very far gone, implants. So I ended up talking (and crying) about it until way past my bedtime and the conclusion I arrived at was that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever I can do. A person needs to psych themselves up to face dentistry, blood tests or open heart surgery themselves, no one else can do it for them. They need to be brave and they need to be a grown up. My son is 28 years old and anxiety or no anxiety, the only thing I can do is think of him as an adult who is capable of facing this.
It is time for it to cease being my problem.
The next morning I felt a little better, like the day after an argument has blown over, still a little fragile, but recovering. I still have CDs to go through so I put on The Jesus and Mary Chain album Stoned and Dethroned. Track one is above. It felt like the first day of the rest of my life.
Today, in an ironic twist I went to the dentist, which meant I got to sleep in and go into work late. I came out into the warm sunshine and felt… happy. I bought a birthday card and a box of vegan chocolates for my step grandma, and new spare cat name tags as they keep losing theirs. Getting these things off my list and not having them to do on Saturday when we are already busy gave me a sense of elation out of all proportion.
Walking back through the town, thinking, yes, the post office, the chocolate shop, the pet shop, the cute alleyway, yes, they are all nice, just as dressing nicely for work is nice, but, it isn’t everything. It should have been easier to walk away from our last place which was not pretty and was boring, but it’s been being in this lovely place that has inspired and propelled us to give up everything. Is it because we needed to be happy in order to be able to dream, whereas before we were just surviving?
We have both been unwell for what seems like ages, colds etc, plus last-minute wobbles re vaccinations/not, water purification options, malaria, plus a long to do list, a house to clear and work to finish.
But as I said to my husband, I’d feel really good right now if I wasn’t feeling ill. I had my bloods done and my doctor put my thyroxine up, which feels like it did when I first went on it, like the clouds clearing after a storm, everything shiny, wide awake, excited.
I said re our to do list, it seems as though simplifying our life is actually really complicated. That’s because the matrix doesn’t want you to do it, my husband said. The matrix wants everyone hooked into the complexity of everything, that is why it makes unhooking yourself feel so difficult.
See you on the other side.
I have set up an instagram account for when we are travelling followingthebrownrabbit
Thank you for reading.