May 2020

This Quarantine is bringing us back to those parts of ourselves we thought were lost forever.

Some people are picking up an instrument they haven’t played in years. Others are exploring ways to play that have been dormant since childhood. (I’ve picked up long boarding.) Some of us are getting reacquainted with past loves such as favorite books or old albums that once moved us, and that now, with added time in the space continuum, we're destined to meet again. (I’m re-reading Thoreau’s Walden).

Or maybe you’re just rekindling your adolescent love of Doritos. Listen, no judgement. (This may also be me.)

Regardless of what you’ve been doing during Quarantine, I’m sure you’ve learned a lesson or two along the way. I know I have.

I’ve resumed my love affair with fiction. As a comparative literature major, I read so much in college that I switched over to non-fiction in a semi-rebellious act against the Western Canon and due to a serious case of ”I'm done reading for now” that lasted about 20 years.

Last month I wrote a poem(ish) for the Newsletter. This month, I’ve written 2 chapters of my Quarantine Micro Memoir titled “Tales of the ‘Tine”. After many years of writing inspirational social media posts and newsletters, I’m more employable at Hallmark than any reputable academic institution but, if you are so inclined, humor me.

Chapter 1: What doesn’t get used gets dusty.

On a random weekday, I stopped by the studio to pick something up. When I opened the door, the air was stagnant and still. The usual hustle and bustle of people, loud music, and good times were replaced by a quiet, sacred, and empty space.

To my surprise it was abundantly dusty. How could something in complete disuse get this way? No one is in here, Nothing is happening. And yet, I don’t ever think I had seen the studio this dusty before.

I had no initial intention of doing a major cleaning but, as is characteristic of me, I tend to go with impulses and deadlines to get things done. I threw off my sweatshirt and got to work.

All I could think of was how symbolic this was. An empty fitness studio filled with dust. What doesn’t get used gets dusty. Just like ourselves.

Chapter 2: When the excess sheds off, the pain goes away.

It’s been about 6 years or so now that I’ve lived with nerve pain from a mystery fracture on some tooth in the upper quadrant of my left jaw. When I’m chewing, occasionally I bite down <just so> that a searing pain runs throughout the whole left side of my face and throbs for minutes after. Sometimes days.

My dentist says that it is common to have a hairline fracture on a tooth that you can’t see on an X-ray and that causes occasional pain. He has tried to replicate the pain at the office multiple times but alas, it behaves like a bad boyfriend: Doesn’t show up when you need him to but is right on cue at the worst times.

“Do you know what tooth is causing the pain?” Dr. McGuire asked the first time we discussed this. I replied “I feel so ridiculous to tell you that I’m not sure! It’s this whole area” He said that it's not ridiculous because the nerves for our teeth are somewhat connected so it’s hard to pinpoint. While it didn't solve my problem, it was nice to know that I wasn't losing it.

He also said that the tooth will break at some point and that’s when we’ll know for sure which one it is. Then, it can get repaired with certainty if I can live with the occasional discomfort for now. Let's face it, no one wants to play their luck with dental crowns.

I took on this pain as a project. It was a reminder that we can be uncomfortable and still be just fine and that I’m human and pain is a part of the gig. (I know, I’m so extra.) He also said that most people end up breaking their fractured tooth while pulling off a piece of baguette with the sides of their teeth. This was so going to happen to me.

During dinner (well, really after dinner) I was chewing and I felt something in my mouth. I realized that a piece of tooth had come out. It was pretty tiny but I could definitely feel a hole back there. For those of you wondering, it was NOT a baguette. It was an Oreo, ok? Full disclosure. The trainer eats Oreos and they break her teeth.

I called the dentist the next day with all of the details and he asked “Is it sensitive to hot, cold, pressure, biting? I said no. In fact, I hadn’t felt this pain free in a long time. When the excess sheds off, the pain goes away.

Back to the newsletter...

It’s safe to say that this time is as good as any to take both of these lessons to heart. Living in Quarantine definitely allows you an opportunity to shed the excesses of life. What can that offer you? In my case, literal pain relief but I’ll be reflecting on this on a broader level. Additionally, the dust. Oh my gosh. So much dust. I'm not a fan of dust and I’m making sure none collects on my bones at this time because, you guys, it took me sooo long to clean.




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