Today I bridged the gap. 18 months ago I had a tooth extracted and ended up with a dry socket. Sounds delightful and apart from labour was the worst pain I’ve known to date. You know the kind where rocking, rolling, moaning and crying is par for the course and no amount of codeine and alcohol touches it. Well that! It was total pants. Well eventually it healed but being a pre molar I was always conscious of its absence possibly being noticeable. I mean what would happen if I was to laugh heartily or heaven forbid have a close up in one of those unpaid student films? The horror!
After a failed attempt at a “false” tooth ( double horror) my dentist very kindly offered a bridge on the NHS. Thank you very much don’t mind if I do. So today the gap was filled. I know I will need to give it a while but it feels the most unnatural thing. I didn’t notice it gone nearly as much as I am noticing it there. It got me thinking about loss.
Sometimes something happens so gradually that by the time it has gone it feels like a natural eventuality. Sometimes it happens so quickly and without warning that it feels like you’re falling down a never ending hole and you just want to hit the bottom. Sometimes ( if a relief) it is like a gentle sigh. Sometimes it feels like you’ll never breathe again. Sometimes it feels like nothing. Numb. Lifeless.
Now I know this all seems a bit heavy regarding me and my little tooth but it’s how the gap is filled. In the past I used alcohol as a filler. It helped in the short term to fill my head with exaggerated thoughts, false reasoning, artificial understanding but of course left me with more of the problem afterwards without having really felt it at the point of loss. The pain I felt when I lost that tooth was so extreme that no amount of alcohol was going to make me forget it. I needed to feel it. Physical pain has a habit of doing that. You can’t ignore it but emotional pain is different. That likes nothing better than wearing an invisibility cloak, ducking and diving like a trickster, losing itself inside a bottle of wine.
I used to think since my teens that I had a piece of me missing. That somehow I had lost it and at times that it had been taken. Feeling angry that I had been robbed of feeling whole. It became easy to account for my sullen anger as a by product of my relationship with my Nana and the lack of support I felt from my mum and dad but confusingly and naively I looked to them to fill the void. As that never happened I suppose I turned to excess to fill it.
Maybe what I see isn’t necessarily a loss, a void, an empty space needing to be filled but something that has moved. Do you remember these-
Those infuriating puzzles where you had to move one piece at a time to make the picture or the sequence? Well perhaps that’s it. The missing or lost piece isn’t a bad thing. It allows change. Space. Rebirth. Trying endlessly to fill the gap to make the puzzle whole isn’t what is needed. If there was an extra piece in the puzzle the structure would remain fixed with no room to move or grow. The trouble comes with trying to change for others rather than for you. Do we really need to feel complete?
The dictionary definition is ” to bring to an end; finish: to complete a task.
So by filling the missing piece that is my completion, my end? If that is the case I never want to find it. I don’t want to be stuck with nowhere to go. I want to embrace that I have the capacity to change as a person. I want to inspire people I care about to to look to the part that feels empty but by looking deep into it you have the power to fill it with yourself.
I am an ever changing creature. We all are. The gap filled in my mouth is of a practical and I must admit aesthetic nature but the space within me that I have tried so eagerly to fill has a purpose. It gives me space. It encourages me to change. It let’s others in. It opens me up to love and sharing with my life with another. Maybe one day there might be someone who truly embraces who I am and is happy and content to move in the space with me.
Nighty night x
Ps 60 days