There was a little voice in the back of my head when I wrote my blog post on May 31st, Dreams Really Do Come True. It was a quiet one and it was ignored. But the voice tried to make me feel afraid of claiming the family milestone we had when we first went bowling. We've now been going twice a week with great success. But on that first day, we did a new activity as a family of 4 and it was actually fun the whole time. All 4 of us enjoyed it and Tim and I did not feel stressed or depleted afterwards. That was a really big deal. But publicly claiming that victory gave me a moment’s pause. Here’s why:
Sometimes we live in a headspace of scarcity. Like, if you claim something good and enjoy it, you will find punishment around the corner. The good stuff is scarce but if you’re quiet about it, maybe no one will notice and the hammer won’t drop. Does anyone else fear this? I’ve worked really hard on my scarcity mentality. If you don’t recognize how evil this kind of headspace can be, just look at what we’re doing in this country to “Make America Great Again.” The entire idea of deporting Muslims and building a wall centers on scarcity. This kind of nationalism lives in a place of throwing elbows and seeing people as “other” first and a drain on resources. As we know, some critical resources are finite, so any generosity or space created for diversity and acceptance threatens the amount left over for the majority.
I run my own business. And business is another arena where scarcity thrives. Everyone is trying to beat the competition and make the most money. Sometimes even at the loss of the customer either with quality or service. I cannot tolerate this. For me to represent something personally to people I care about, it has to be legit or I’m not doing it. Thankfully, I’m working with a company that lives the antithesis of a scarcity mindset, focusing on helping ourselves by helping others first. We work in teams and those teams do not compete or withhold resources from each other. It’s lovely. It’s the only way I could comfortably do business in the long-term. I literally cannot increase my business unless I’m actively coaching a teammate in achieving their goals or helping a customer improve their health. What a way to make a living! When I’m living in scarcity and fear, I understand the cutthroat mentality that a lot of businesses thrive on. And if it’s between my family or my community, I’m willing to admit, I choose my family. But I’m grateful to be in a business where I can have both. I know how rare that is.
These are some more obvious examples of scarcity thinking. But is the fear of bad following good a part of that in a distant way as well? I believe it is. I think we believe that only so much good can come to any one person in a given amount of time. And if we claim it, bad could come sooner and more intensely. Maybe it stems from my religious upbringing. There is a lot of theology that supports this either by claiming that marking a victory comes from a place of pride and “pride comes before a fall.” Or, that if you are experiencing good, that the “enemy” (Satan) will attack you and your family. Even admitting that I don’t live in that headspace anymore feels like a dumb thing to publicly claim. Not dumb because it’s obvious and no one believes that but because that fear is still there. Who would want to entice the devil?
Perhaps that is where the fear of pleasure comes from. A lot of conservative Christians fear pleasure. No one has ever said that to me outright. But we are really sexually repressed and anything that feels really good, must be sinful. That’s why we work so hard to find joy in God, because that’s the only safe place to find it. We mock “hippie liberals” for their love of nature and the environment. We judge those who imbibe for being addicts or weak. We call women who want to have sex but don’t want to be mothers whores and “baby killers.” Pleasure scares us. And maybe claiming a family victory is a form of that, enjoying a win and taking pleasure in the moment. Or maybe it’s okay, but only if we go on and on about giving God the glory.
No matter. My life has taken a few hits since that post. My tooth drama came full circle when it was extracted but not without extreme pain. Turns out, the nerve that was giving me so much pain ran THROUGH the tooth. Who knew? So, no matter how many needles my periodontist jammed into my gums and cheek, I could still feel it when he tried to extract the tooth. You know what they have to do in that case? They have to drill into the tooth and stick a needle directly into the nerve to numb it. Thankfully, after a shocking jolt and subsequent involuntary sobbing, the pain stopped for good and that shitter was removed from my mouth forever. Apparently the whole implant process takes 6 months, but day one sucked.
A few days after that, on Father’s Day, our house flooded. One of the kids left the toilet running and apparently it was also clogged. So for an hour during quiet time, 2 of the 3 of us were snoozing, the water just ran and ran. From our upstairs toilet to the carpeted hallway, through the floor to the kitchen ceiling below to the kitchen floor. The only thing we’ve really upgraded in our house we’ve had 12 years is that flooring. It’s gone now. Don’t worry, it’ll be replaced. And I’ve been saving so we can easily pay our deductible. But it’s a pain in the ass and there are strangers ripping out things I love and a lot of dehumidifiers and fans making the house almost intolerably hot.
Here are the positives. They’re always there if you’re looking. One, I had 3 dear friends help me on tooth divorce day. 2 of them drove me while I was high (though not nearly high enough). The other watched Penny while I was high. THANK YOU. It’s so beautiful to have people who, on a moment’s notice, are willing to get you your meds and make sure you get home safely. Many friends have listened to the insane tooth drama with compassion and humor. I feel so loved. Two, nothing of sentimental value was lost in the flood and we had the funds set aside to where the deductible doesn’t hurt. That’s a really big deal and I’m grateful to my business for providing us with the cushion we need to do things that really improve our happiness. Things like vacations and savings and not accruing dental debt when I feel I may have bought my surgeon a car at this point.
All in all, I will claim the good. It’s all we’ve got. And it’s enough.