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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Worst Thing Ever

Because I read medical studies obsessively for fun, I already knew that porphyria causes gum necrosis when I went to the dentist last week. So I was nervous, and I almost didn't go, but I made my mom go with me for backup.
Which turned out to be a really good thing because the dentist told me that I have six failed root canals that are "massively infected down to the bone." Which is a shocking piece of information to absorb.
So I'm about to get six teeth pulled.
Two of them are in the front.

I felt bad for the dentist, who talked about it like a funeral or fatal car accident on the interstate. I could see  that he had thought ahead of time about how to say it in a way that wouldn't sound too harsh. I liked him for that.  The hygienist looked like she was trying not to cry.
Losing my hair and a bunch of front teeth is pretty much my worst nightmare, except for maybe living in a trailer park or having a flu-like illness nonstop for three years- all of which happened to me this last year and you know what?
I'm okay.

 Wanting it to be different won't change it.
Once you accept that it's easier to have fun.

Since I've lost so much weight a few of the bitchy little old ladies at my Mom's retirement home started a rumor that I'm addicted to meth, so I always flash a big smile when I pass them in the hallway and give them the peace sign.
It pleases me that my missing teeth will give them something to talk about because being old is boring. Nobody comes to see them, and there's never enough to gossip about.
So see? I'm already using my misfortune to help people by entertaining the elderly so it must be making me a better person.
My hair has gotten scraggly thin, so a few weeks ago I dyed it blue. Next I'm going to cut it short, buy a  crazy wig and an eyepatch so I can go into Starbucks and ask people "Is there something in my teeth?"
If I'm invited to cocktail parties I'm going to show up overdressed and tell people I lost my tooth when I got into a fight with a crack whore over the last dryer at the laundromat.
If I can find a cool eye patch I can tell people I lost my teeth at sea
 back when I was chasing after that damn white whale.

I'm sure the dentist was relieved that I didn't freak out.
Even though it might take me a long time to make the money for replacement teeth I didn't freak out because all of this shit I've been through has given me a spiritual perspective and I'm not afraid of death anymore. Once you handle that you can work it backwards like a math problem to show you the truth of just about anything.
I can deal with being snaggle toothed for a while.

 Here is the thing that no one tells you about suffering- if you just keep on walking all the way through to the heart of what scares you the most
at the last possible second
when you think you would rather die than keep going
it releases its grip on your throat.
And then you are free.

So I'm going to keep on smiling at people at the grocery store and drawing and maybe I'll go on a toothless book tour because
Fuck it.
I'm tired of taking my Self so seriously
and letting that go feels like setting down a dead body that I'd been carrying around so long that the weight of it became normal. I'd forgotten that there was any other way to be.


I was sitting outside the retirement home the other day  feeling sorry for myself,
 because I'm getting older,
and it was really fun being a young, pretty girl for a while
and even though all those old women told me it wasn't going to last I didn't believe them,
not really
I thought I was exempt,
the way everyone secretly thinks they're too special to die.

So I was feeling bad, because I've had about three pretty fucked up years in a row, and now they're going to pull out six of my teeth and I texted my friend that getting teeth pulled is horrifying because it feels so final and most of the choices we make now aren't binding
 ( They can even sew amputated limbs back on)
and she responded with-
"My neighbor just had her boob cut off. Its going around."
 I read that, then I looked around and realized I was sitting next to my friend Joe (in a wheelchair) across from Mabel, who is blind.

 The point of the game isn't to hold on as tightly as you can. It's to surrender to and learn to love the life you are given exactly as it is right now.
It may not be what you want.
It might be the Worst Thing Ever.
But it can still be okay.

Not having any money for a long time taught me how to have fun without spending it, and that I am zero percent defined by a number on a bank account or a slip of paper.
I wouldn't give up that freedom for anything,
not even all the money in the world.
If I lose all my hair, If I lose all my teeth, I can learn how to be beautiful anyway.
It doesn't change who I am.
And later-if I make a lot of money and decide to get fancy teeth with ultra whitened nano veneers and built in wi-fi;
that doesn't change it either.
It's the same.
Once you have that
you have everything.

Even with my magic megavitamins I've been really sick lately. Infections make porphyria worse, so getting them removed is likely going to make me feel a lot better, and if that means I can play tag with my daughter and roll around laughing with her in the grass again
then my toothless smile is going to be beautiful-
because she will think so.

We don't have to wait until things are better to be happy.
It's your time to smile
right now.


  1. Sunny, I love (LOVE) these pontifications. You always seem to pop up again at the most serendipitous times. Cheers to eye patches and rolling in the grass.

  2. I had a dream about God once. God was neither male or female. Suspended in the void, God existed, the universe surrounding God's middle, circling where a navel would be on a human, almost like a flat tutu of existence. I asked God, "Why life?" and God laughed, kindly and as if that wasn't the real question, like the question itself didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I awoke feeling lighter, like the dream interaction had allowed me to let go of a great deal of bullshit. When I'm really struggling, I remember God's laugh, and strive to let go of the struggle.

    Your post reminded me of that dream. You've heard God's laugh too, in your own way.

  3. I had a dream about God once. God was neither male nor female. God was suspended in the void, the universe circling God's middle where the navel on a human would be, sort of like a flat tutu of existence. I asked God, "Why life?" and God laughed, kindly, as if that wasn't the real question, as if the question didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I woke up feeling lighter, like the dream interaction had allowed me to let go of a lot of bullshit. Whenever I'm really struggling, I remember God's laugh and attempt to let go of the struggle.

    This post reminded me of that dream. You've heard God's laugh too, in your own, wonderful way.


  5. My beautiful friend. I love to read your stuff.

  6. I think you are awesome and I hope you feel better after they get the bad roots out!

  7. This post made me really happy. We worry so much about everything--most of it inconsequential but some of it really heavy. It's so nice to have glimpses of complete freedom.

  8. I hope you're doing ok sunny. I have now read all your posts and I'm going to buy your book shortly. I too have suffered from a mysterious illness all my life with the same symptoms and 'insanity'. It's uncanny how similar my life and way of being is to yours. And I too feel alone and struggling at the age of 44, worn out and sick. I had read about porphyry a month ago and it gives me hope that maybe THAT is what I have been fighting all my life. To just have a name for what I battle would be amazing, it's so hard to explain how you feel 'ill' to people when all they can see is you're walking, creating, pretty and seem fine. Much love and admiration, Jules