Today was a really big day for me and about one year in the making... this morning I went to the dentist to have my final crown started. I just came home with my temporary crown and will go back to the dentist in June to get the permanent one placed.
And then? I can start to have routine exams again. No more crying in the dentist office with enormous estimates. No more dental pain.
The significance of this day is best understood by reading a story I wrote last June:
In it, I wrote about sitting in a dental office for one broken molar, and finding out that I needed more than $17,000 in fillings, root canals, and crowns. At that point, I had no idea that another tooth would break just a couple of weeks later.
For many years, proper dental care was too expensive for me to manage, and after my pregnancy, my poor, neglected teeth began to crumble.
All I really knew last June was that I needed a fortune, but I had none. Back then, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to manage rent each month because I'd lost so much freelancing work.
So I wrote this story and set an enormous intention for my future:
Yesterday morning when the office manager was going through page after page after page of work that needs to be done to save my teeth, my eyes began to burn and sting. I am a huge crier. And I am not good at fighting back my tears.
So I thought I was going to be stuck in yet another episode of “Shannon inappropriately cries in front of a stranger hour.” But something was different this time. Okay, yes, for a brief minute I thought about contacting The Ellen Show for help. I seriously did. But after that, I thought… I could have this money next year. I could keep hustling and change my entire financial situation. I could change my entire life.
Stranger things have happened. We see transformational stories every day. I could be one of those stories too.
That gave me enough peace to not cry.
I wound up slowly getting my teeth taken care of over this past year. Fortunately, I had some help with a sliding fee clinic.
Last year, I had broken and sensitive teeth. This year, they're finally fixed.
Honestly? Life without tooth pain is amazing.
So, dreams do come true.
All these months later, I actually do have an entirely different financial situation.
I no longer live paycheck to paycheck. I get paid every month and put money in the bank. Sure, I'm paying off debt and whatnot, so I still don't have $17K just lying around for huge emergencies.
But I think I'll get there.
And I'm definitely at that point where I can take care of a new dental crisis.
It's crazy. Beautiful, but crazy too.
I told myself this day would happen at least 300 times over this past year... but I didn't know it would really be true.
I never knew what was possible, but I showed up anyway.
I'm not really sure how to explain my feelings today. Of seeing myself in one dark place and hoping for my dreams to come true. I’m proud that I've worked so hard to get here.
Nothing is perfect and it's not like I have any stability, but maybe that could be my next thing. To be honest, I kind of feel like anything's possible all because this happened.
Right now I have a savings account for taxes, a car, and emergencies. And I have that only because I dared to dream that my writing might help me create a new future.
So I kept writing, and this is where it got me.
If I don't give up, who knows where I might end up next year?
It's the same thing for you.
If you have a dream for a better life, don't let anyone tell you it can't come true. Don’t take their word for it. Do the work and prove them wrong.
There's no way to know how long it will take you. But there's no way to find out if you never try.
Today is a damn good day.
And I want to say thank you. Some of you have been with me for the whole year, cheering me on. And some have done so much to inspire me to believe in following my dreams.
In particular, thank you Michael Thompson, Shaunta Grimes, Judy McLain, Tom Kuegler, Zach J. Payne, Cheney Meaghan, Caitlin Dragon 🐲, Sam McKenzie Jr., Bethany Nelson-Lieser, Norell Leung, Deb Knobelman, PhD, T.S. Narkissa Luna, J.J. Hartly, Robin Klammer, Anthony Campbell, Alice Vuong and so many others who have taken the time and energy to inspire me when I was first starting to dream.
Picturing a better life for yourself isn't selfish or silly. In fact, this is the kind of thing that we all need because dreams make the world come alive. And those of us who do reach our crazy dreams get to not only inspire others, but tangibly help people in need.
Isn't that worth all of our hard work?