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“What is shame? Shame is, quite simply, the feeling that there is something wrong with you. In more extreme cases, it is the feeling that there is something TERRIBLY, IRREVOCABLY, DEEPLY, FUNDAMENTALLY, wrong with you…Anyone who likes you or sees value in you just isn't looking closely enough to really see the "real" you.” – Bill Harris

Self contempt, shame, condemnation have been companions of mine for much too long. They' always seem to be lurking about... hounding me in some of the most innocuous affairs of everyday living… like having my teeth cleaned at the Dentist office. (A journal entry I recently read from a couple of years ago)

Okay, so it’s been 2 years… rounded off (actually, as the dental tech refers to my records she corrects me stating that it has actually been 2 years 4 months) since my last cleaning.

She’s a great dental tech, always chipper, warm, very enjoyable and relational. So we quickly get caught up on our lives as I semi recline into the chair and get my bib fitted. The small talk masks the anxiety of The vulnerable moment approaching… that moment when I have to… open my mouth.

You know… you open your mouth and then there’s the pregnant silence of waiting for her reaction/analysis of your mouth/character/life. It’s never just about your teeth… it’s about you as a person. There you lay, mouth open, exposed. She’ll know everything about you… somehow my oral history speaks volumes about me… procrastinator, irresponsible, sloth, pig-mouth… pig-man, a sure and certain toothless wonder in about 5 years…

… and so it’s That Moment… it’s silent beyond the comfort level, way beyond the comfort level. She’s doing the preliminary scaling with plaque-clods flying out of my mouth.

“Ummm… you’ve got a rain forest in here”

I’m immediately picturing my mouth as a Petri bowl brimming with every know periodontal bacteria, mutans and flora and several unnamed/new opportunistic strains.*

Despite her two hands, a mirror and scraper filling my mouth I break the silence with a muttered guttural ”thaaaat baaada ehhhh?” To which she adds the final nail, “yeah you’ve got barnacles hanging here.”

I’m a failure as a man. He who is faithful in little will be given much… if I’m not faithful in flossing my freaking teeth do I really think God would entrust anything to me. CHESSECAKE!!! I’m so finished, my life’s a charade, poser, pig-mouth… pig-man.

I see it. I’m fighting it. – Craig

*      Porphyromonas gingivalis and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, are two of the most aggressive offenders in periodontal disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

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