10 October, 2010

how i learned to overcome my shortcomings and become a better person (or: weird shit that happens sometimes)

confession time: i have been a dental professional* for 15 years and have only been a daily flosser for the last 4 or 5 of those. so, not to put too fine a point on it, i've been a hypocrite for over a decade before mending my ways. how'd i do it, you ask? well, it's this little thing i like to call Mind Over Matter™. let me explain. sometimes i sit my brain down for a little talk. occasionally harsh words are spoken because it needs to know who's boss. (i'm boss.) during these talks, i tell brain that its behaviour on this or that issue is unacceptable and needs to change. stat. what happens next can often be summed up in the following way: crickets chirping. but occasionally, for no reason apparent to me, it actually works!

case in point: one day i decided that i was tired of being a dental hypocrite and i would start flossing. i would not ask myself if i felt like it, because that's a sure way to acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, but, employing the revolutionary Mind Over Matter™ method, i would simply do it. just do it is all. and, little poultries, i've been flossing daily ever since.

i've also utilised Mind Over Matter™ in changing my attitude towards one of my least favourite places of employment: i simply told brain i was sick of the pouting and from that day forward i no longer minded going there.

moreover, Mind Over Matter™ has helped me get over my utter hatred for drying and putting away dishes from the dishwasher or the sink. i used to pile them up and up, in blatant defiance of the laws of physics, until a frustrated mr. monkey put them away** or we ran out of knives. now, after several Mind Over Matter™ chats with brain, i'm drying and putting dishes away immediately! and even finding a bizarre sort of zen peace within the act! frankly it's a little weird, but whatever.

if only i could use Mind Over Matter™ to lose a few pounds. or kick this insomnia. or my atrocious attitude to the world at large. or my total inability to care about the middle east. or the constant bitching. but i'm working on it.

*if that phrase makes you throw up a little in your mouth, worry not. it does the same to me. just rinse with water and don't brush your teeth right away or you'll brush the acids into the enamel. free tip, that.

** this is always fun. you'd think the man did not live here or use the facilities. his putting away of dishes can only be termed...creative. takes me hours to find simple things like measuring cups or frying pans.


Lucy said...

Does it last though? I can do it for a while but getting into permanent good habits seems to be beyond me.

As well as making the bed I may now go and floss too. See what a power for the forces of light you have become in the world? I discovered these amazing little plastic French things with a little bow shaped bit at one end with a piece of dental floss strung across, and a hook-shaped toothpick at the other - difficult to describe, I'll have to scan one, or perhaps they're everywhere and I just thought they were something novel and peculiar. I though they might effect a turnaround in my flossing habits but no, I still don't do it enough. A nice dentist once compared flossing with writing to your friends ( this was before e-mail). You put it off 'until you can do it properly', and so never do it. Just as your friends would rather get a quick short note from you now and then than nothing, so your teeth would rather a quick floss as and when than nothing at all.

Perhaps I should follow your link to ANUG to convince me...

the polish chick said...

lucy, i've been flossing for 5 years now, so i'd say it lasts. and i know exactly what little dental things you're talking about , now go and use them!

here are some tips i give my patients - make it a part and parcel of your brushing. you don't skip brushing, do you? or do it when you're watching tv (i don't have one but apparently this works brilliantly), or do it like mr. monkey, in the shower. what you need to do is find a way that'll work for you and simply do not ask yourself if you feel like it - i hardly ever feel like it. now i just do it regardless.

good luck!