The Now

I'm on overdrive right now...piecing myself...my kids...our lives back together.

6 or 7 years ago, I could never have imagined the twists our lives would take to reach this point. Back then, our lives seemed pretty great...nice home, art gallery co-owner, featured artist...web development director, homeschooling my kids...all organic food...couple vegetarians in the house..humanitarian activists...a lifestyle I felt good about.


Beneath the surface, the reality was untenable...very bad marriage, becoming worse day by day...violence that couldn't be hidden enough...spilling over to affect my kids. I was truly afraid...it had to be over for all our sakes. I was told help would be available as soon as I asked for a divorce. It wasn't.

The damage from 16 years, living the way I did...a lifetime of introspection and healing...relearning how to just be myself again...giving myself permission for each little thing. The financial damage has been the most devastating...hit after hit until you become almost subhuman to others...to yourself. The whole experience was just utterly shocking.

We literally had to live in a motel for months...no car...nothing. I was spending every paycheck on the room and food to both keep us out of a shelter and keep from losing our family dog. It was very hard...very very hard. Eventually, I saved enough for a deposit and first month's rent...then, the same for a car. We are still in the process of regaining ourselves...it feels surreal and a bit frightening.

We finally got health insurance...countless doctors' appointments scheduled out for months. I was in a car accident 15 years ago...bunch of permanent damage to my back and neck. I have to go get all of that re-evaluated and treated.

I received a settlement from the car accident to cover treatment, surgery, pain and suffering, lost wages...those sorts of things. I intended to use it for treatment...wasn't keen on surgery. What I planned to do was get my broken veneers all replaced and extensive dental work, to the tune of $19k, that insurance didn't cover. I made the dental appointments...

3 days before my first appointment, $24k was transferred from our joint bank account, by my husband, to one of his accounts. He refused to give it back. The attorneys I spoke with said the court wouldn't touch it, because it took place within our marriage...he could lie and say I gave it to him and there's nothing I could do about it. I was told the same thing during the divorce and terms were stated explicitly that I was responsible for any debt related to the accident, my treatment, dental work, etc.

My ex-husband switched dentists immediately and eventually dropped me from the plan. I got screwed so hard and in so many ways.

Prior to this dental trainwreck, I had been blessed with pretty good looks. My mom and dad were both very attractive and my brother, sister and I inherited those genes. I was intelligent, multi-talented...a lot going for me that should have been useful in landing a decent job while I went back to school.

The thing is...once my front veneers started breaking off, I panicked...no insurance...denied medicaid. I couldn't go out in public as some toothless mess...meet my kids' teachers, get groceries, work, function...I got my own self-cure dental composite to create everything from "veneers" to bridges.

I did a good job, unfortunately the more my teeth broke down, the harder it was to keep my creations in place. I never left the house without super glue, for emergency repairs. The pain from abcess teeth was horendous...just where you writhe on the floor begging for it to subside, before you pass out. I was sick constantly...ran high temperatures and had trouble waking up.

I was denied job after job based on how my teeth looked, even in an interview a friend arranged. I found out later...my teeth were the problem. I locked myself away for about a week, created my own "upper denture" to fit over everything. I had an incisor that kept it from fitting, so I dug it out with a pocket knife and some tools...took days and it killed. I still have it.

I stuck on my "new teeth"...they weren't amazing...just decent and convincing enough for a job in sales. This allowed me to start earning just enough to support my kids and turn our lives around. I knew, I couldn't maintain the facade indefinitely. I mean, i still had badly decaying teeth and constant infections making me sick.

I, um...didn't quite anticipate...now...the outcome. I was getting so sick...missing work, ready to lose my job...finally had insurance, so I went to the dentist. Over the phone, the receptionists were mean, inconsiderate and rude...I kept forcing myself to call the next one on the list. I said a prayer...the next one was it.

When I went in for my examination, I removed my homemade denture and shocked the dental hygenist...she looked it over and was impressed..kinda cool. I wanted to die, sitting in that chair. It turned out that I had 4 areas with multiple abcess teeth...infected jaw bone in different areas...more abcess under old root canals that were never crowned. It was a horrible mess.

When it came down to it...everything had to go...bone ground down...the works. I still have about an inch of exposed jaw bone that has to heal over before impressions can be made. I'm due back in about a week. The cavitations where my wisdom teeth still hurt a lot. I'm on unpaid medical leave from work.

I'm just trying to be patient in about 3 weeks, I'll have teeth and look normal for the first time in years. I'll be able to talk, laugh, smile, eat...omg...crazy. I'm really freaked out about this whole thing...it's one of those instances where I think going on autopilot and disassoiating , actually helps...just power through.

I feel like I'll never be able to date again...gross. I believed I'd get divorced and magically meet my soul mate...didn't happen...now, it's off the table. I guess...what matters...my kids and developing myself. I can focus on these things.

This medical leave is a good thing...I'm switching one daughter to a better school...another to dual credit for college...just spending time with them...drawing, baking, watching movies...trying new things...loving them. It's good for them and good for me.

It's trippy the way things turn out sometimes...you have to be bold, fearless...present in the now...planning ahead...all entwined in a synchronous dance. I really like finding my flow. My motto..."do whatever, say whatever, be whomever...who cares...one day you'll be dead." In that harsh context...the truth hits...just be you, because this is your life now.