Stupid Girls

Thursday, July 15, 2004

on taking a terrorized child to the dentist

You are reading

I got a good night's sleep. I didn't nap long yesterday, and did it early, just for that reason. I didn't want to lay awake, worrying, and oversleep this morning.

I put away a bunch of that pile of clean laundry, so I could find one of my prettiest dresses to wear today.

I showered late yesterday, so my hair would be its prettiest today.

I won't wear makeup; it's too hot out and I'd get smudgy and sweaty.

I woke at 4:15am. I'm not listening to the radio. I'm just sitting, in silence.

Soon, I'll eat breakfast. That way, I don't have to go on a seriously empty stomach. But I don't have to worry about vomitting much stomach content; it should be pretty well digested by the time they stick tools in my mouth.

I've printed out my transcript of the Intertribal Deaf interview, so I can start writing my voice copy at the dentist's.

I'm a little shakey, so only one cup of coffee, please.

I'm sipping slowly. Already this morning, I've gagged on cigarette smoke once, and on coffee another time.

I'm coughing up, as carefully as I can, any extra mucus and phlegm. Those can trigger vomitting, too.

I'm rereading my "pep talk" (see below).

I'll take some object with me, which I can hold in my fist. I don't know what yet. Maybe the little, white Teddy bear I found in the dumpster after my daughter died. I carried it everywhere and hugged it and cried into it for weeks.

I'll wear my pearls. I worked SO HARD to earn them. My friend, Kate, reminded me of that, when I started ragging myself for being superficial and materialistic for buying them. They're evidence, she said, that I can get what I want, through persistance, commitment and hard work. Yeah, I have to wear the pearls! Through all the homelessness and craziness, I've never lost them and I've never pawned them.

I don't know if I'll walk this morning, before I go. I'm a little scared, as I'm emotionally fragile.

But there's this one tree root. I'd like to see it today. It's bleached white from people walking on it. I assume there's a subterranian rock, or something, that affected its growth. But it has grown in a circle. It looks like the semispiral images in LeGuin's book, Always Coming Home. It looks sacred. The open spiral: the "ends" don't touch. One end points to Center; the other reaches Out. Constant change, constant growth.

I'd like to see that tree root this morning, and it's all the way at the top of the park. Maybe I'll walk ONCE around, rather than twice. That shouldn't make me too tired.

The little girl I'm taking to the dentist trusts me. Oh, sure: she'd rather not go. She remembers how hard it is. She knows what can happen.

But I'm mothering her. I'm encouraging her. And not with silly crap like, "but you'll have such pretty teeth!"

No, I'm telling her she'll be stronger, healthier, if we go through this. I'm telling her I'll better be able to care for her, if I'm not prone to infection and disease. I'm telling her she'll get kisses, when her teeth are cared for. I'm telling her she won't have to hide her mouth behind her hand anymore, when she laughs or smiles.

She trusts me. I'll take care of her.

If anything happens at the dentist's which becomes too invasive, too traumatic, I'll just stop the procedure. They'll have to find another way, or at least wait for me to calm my body down.

I won't be MY mother. I won't force this terrified child to do the impossible, the dangerous. I won't abuse and bully and threaten and beat myself into compliance.

All the mothering I've felt for Viri Diana, for the kids in the War Zone, for the people around me: I'm focusing it, lavishing it, on me today.

And I feel that child absorbing it, dancing in it, celebrating it, singing to it, laughing about it. She is utterly thrilled to be the center of my attention this morning.

I've neglected her, out of fear of her sorrow. I've pretended she wasn't there. I've made her suffer in silence.

Today, I'm taking her hand. I'm dressing her up. I'm taking her for a walk. And I'm working to get her healed.

She is a remarkable creature. She's beautiful, smart, funny. She sings like a bell in the wind. She builds things. She plays music. She writes. She thinks pretty profound thoughts, to be so young.

My mother wasn't proud of her. But I am. I think she's amazing, a miracle, a real treasure.

She deserves all the love, care and protection I can give her. She needs me to be healthy, so I can keep her safe.

It's 5am now. I have to eat now.

I have to begin now.

Hoka Hey.