Hello, day 5 of January blog a day. Today’s topic: Biggest fear.
When I first started work in New Zealand, I wanted to impress my new team mates so I did the American thing — I had lots of meetings where I volunteered my expertise, talked-up a future of collaborative projects, did a little vision casting, sent out the invitation to “dream big”… This is regular mind-blowing stuff in the states.
But in New Zealand –where the average work week is 37.5 hours and you can go barefoot in restaurants and grocery stores — they aren’t so impressed with the antics of the Yanks. In my induction meetings, I could only do so much talking and take so much staring so eventually I’d ask just this colleague I just met: “Do you think I’m crazy?” Their answer was about a half a chuckle and shoulder shrug, no words. So… er… yea? Yea, you do think I’m crazy?
This exact experience repeated itself about nine more times over the next couple of weeks as I met with different teams and managers to introduce myself and learn about their piece of the business. That’s nine more people agreeing by verbal omission that I’m crazy. Affirmation from others that you’re crazy is actually the exact prescription to make someone crazy. And I am living proof!
I had been working for a good two months or so by now, walking around with my invisible crazy shirt on with my crazy hair and crazy ideas, and was ready to enjoy a restful weekend. I woke up Saturday late morning, adoring husband by my side, sun shining through the window, birds were probably chirping. I had serious dragon breath so I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Toothbrush, toothpaste, water… I leaned forward at the sink and opened my mouth to start brushing.
But my teeth… they were eroding. Not like visibly in the process of eroding where I could literally see them disappearing in my gums, but eroding as if the boogie monster had been sandpaper-ing them all night long. My teeth were barely a cm or two above the gum line. And my front teeth were little. As if all this time they’d been wearing those puffy feather jackets and a sweatshirt and a scarf and they’ve taken it all off. They were 120 lb healthy teeth and now they were anorexic 80 lb. teeth that needed to eat more carbs. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME???!! What did I eat? What did I do? What do I do now?!
Call mom. Mom and sister are both dental assistants, surely they can help me. I jumped on Skype right away and rang mom.
(Me) “Mom, my teeth are eroding. In my mouth. Right now. LOOK!”
(Mom) “Oh my gosh. What did you do?”
(Me) “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!!! What can I do? Tell me there’s something I can do to fix it.”
Mom and sister stare into our video chat closely at my teeth.
(Mom) “I don’t think there is. You just have to be really careful. But I think they’re all going to be gone soon.”
And then I cried. A toothless mouth. I’m now a pirate. Or a meth addict. It doesn’t matter. Just shoot me now because my biggest fear has just come to life. Nothing worst physically could ever happen to me. For the rest of the day, I just sat and cried.
Or at least I think I did. Because the ‘losing my teeth’ part of this story was a dream I had so I don’t recall all the details except the bathroom scene, calling mom, and crying through the bad news.
I returned to work the next day with a heightened desire to talk about myself (since playing into the American stereotype, I decided, was much easier than avoiding it) so I told all my colleagues-who-think-I’m-crazy about my teeth eroding dream. I wasn’t helping my case at all, I know. Just so happens that one of my teammates listening was the token hippy dreams expert and told me I needed to look that up… losing my teeth in a dream “means something.”
And you know what…. it does: One theory is that dreams about your teeth reflect your anxieties about your appearance and how others perceive you. Your teeth help to convey an image of attractiveness…. Thus, such dreams may stem from a fear of rejection…
Anxiety about how others perceive me? Fear of rejection? Man alive! Dreams website, you are actually legit.
In this story two of some my biggest fears came to life: legitimately losing all my teeth, and having my colleagues think I’m crazy. And now, I have a dream to affirm that yes, I am actually a little crazy.
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More from #Janblogaday: Day 1: New… year, new resolution. Day 2: Two… things you should never say to your partner. Day 3: Bucket list… of (some un)realistic wishes. Day 4: Pet peeve… fountains are not the new jungle gym. Tomorrow day 6: Embarrassment: Lindsey – 1, Dad – 4.
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