Writing to write

Unlike most of my posts, this one doesn’t really have a set purpose or theme, I just woke up today and really wanted to write on here. I also just drank some coffee so I am feeling really, really good since I normally don’t drink coffee on the weekends, as usually a good night’s sleep is an equal substitute for caffeine for me. But today was one of those days where I really needed a boost and tea wasn’t enough so here we are.

A lot has happened in my life recently. From changing jobs, quite drastically too – I went from being front desk at a dental office to working in the mortgage industry, to telling my parents about my secret (almost) 7 year relationship and the fact that I’m moving out, to actually (just yesterday) signing for our house and starting the process of getting things in order, it’s been a whirlwind of change. I like it though, because it feels like my life is going forward and things are happening, so even though it’s a bit overwhelming at times, it also feels really good to finally be doing things I only dreamed I would be able to do. It makes me want to work on more goals, and make those happen as well.

And I’m trying to, slowly but surely. Even with writing – two years ago I went from wishing all the time that I could properly sit down and write for a period of time to actually being able to do it. Of course this is a back-and-forth process, as can be seen from my posting history. Two years ago I learned how to sit down and write in general, and now my challenge will be to learn how to write while I am employed and have less free time.

Because it was when I got a job last year that I stopped writing because I would be so tired from work and wanted to spend all of my time either watching TV or going outside. But writing is important to me to, it feels so rewarding to put words down on paper, whether it be with pen or me typing on my computer (as I am right now). Because my words are my voice, and it is something that is truly my own, that does not exist until I express it.

I’ve recently started writing in the morning before work, my morning pages. This is in a journal just for myself, as one of the books I am reading recommended writing in the morning as a way of getting rid of the “mental junk” swirling in your head in order to have better focus on tasks throughout the day, consciously address unconscious thoughts, and as way of having some solace and a time of meditation before venturing out into the busy, bustling world.

Although this means I have to get up about half an hour earlier than I usually do, and I loooove sleeping in, I’ve actually have really enjoyed the experience of writing my morning pages. I’ll be sitting in bed with my tea and oatmeal besides me, enjoying my handwriting as it appears on the page and the light of the morning on the paper, swimming in the world of words I create. It’s also given me more time to properly “wake up” before I start my day, instead of heading to work with my mind still half asleep.

One of the goals I’ve had forever, since about junior high, has been to write a novel and I think that this is the year I will finally attempt it. Two years ago, I started seriously working on my self-discipline because before that I really had none, which is why in high school and college I would leave studying for exams, working on essays and projects until the very last minute, or not do them at all. All of my goals seemed incredibly difficult to even start on and hopelessly unattainable, and I just felt helpless. But I kept telling myself things that others had told me: you just need to start. Once you start, it is easier to keep going, but you need to start.

Around that time in my life my body started feeling pretty weak because my lifestyle was really sedentary, and I really disliked that feeling so I started pushing myself physically. I actually wrote about this in one of my earliest blog posts, how in the morning (or whenever I woke up), before eating breakfast, I would get up and go for a walk or a bike ride, forcing my body to move and exert effort before it had eaten. Although it was really difficult, breakfast never felt more rewarding.

I took this physical exertion to the next level in the fall by joining the gym. I had never thought before that time that I would ever join the gym, I was just not that kind of person. But the gym helped me immensely. I was unemployed during that time and had lots of free time so I would go to the gym. I loved it right away, because even though it was really difficult for me, the endorphins I would feel afterwards were wonderful. I also loved going to the classes they offered – that’s when I started my yoga class that is now something I look forward to every week and never fails to make me feel amazing.

The gym is what really taught me discipline and the importance of routine. It also wonderfully tired me out so that I didn’t lay awake for hours and hours with thoughts swirling in my mind, I was able to fall asleep. Which in turn helped fix my sleep schedule so that I was no longer waking up at 3pm, 4pm. And all of this combined helped me start writing on here. And once I started writing on here, and writing became less of an overwhelming thing, I started writing cover letters and applying for jobs. And got a job.

Which is unfortunately when my writing stopped – around March last year. The job was a good for a short time, but quickly became very stressful. It was an incredibly negative environment. My co-workers were cliquish and cold, my boss negative and blaming, the training inadequate. I had my first panic attack ever my first month of work, at work no less. It was horrible.

Things did improve eventually, I eventually became quite friendly with my coworkers and boss and learned how to do everything perfectly, but it was still an unnecessarily negative environment with all the office politics. I was going to quit completely last fall, but my boss offered me more money so I stayed part time. I was happier and considerably less stressed for a while, but eventually key changes, especially the loss of certain personnel made it clear that it was time to leave.

And I found a new job and did. And it’s wonderful (so far). Unfortunately the pay is not great, but the environment is wonderful. I made friends faster here in 2 weeks then I did at my old job in 6 months, people here are more positive, friendly, and mature enough to not create drama in the office. It’s been wonderful and now I’m at a point where I feel at a good enough place mentally to seriously start working on projects outside of work, like writing.

And so this year I will be working on writing blog posts on here, a novel, and a poetry book. I have other projects I want to do as well, and that I will hopefully start soon, but these are the ones I want to really focus on.

And now after writing this short novella of a blog post, I am going to head outside and enjoy this lovely sunny spring weather. 🙂

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The Most Important Things I’ve Learned Working at a Dental Office

 

  1. Know what type of insurance you have and the details of your plan.
    I can not stress this enough. Do you have a co-pay? A deductible? What is the maximum or does your plan follow a fee schedule? What is the percentage breakdown? Does your plan have a waiting period? Does it have a missing tooth clause? What is the frequency limitation for FMX, PAN, Bitewing, PA xrays? Does your emergency exam share frequency with your regular dental exams? How many times (if any) can you have a filling done on the same tooth? If you have periodontal disease can you have more than 2 cleanings a year and if you get an SRP done will it be covered or does your insurance require you to have osseous surgery first?  I mention all these specifics because I have seen patients getting screwed and owing big bills because they did not know their insurance plans and certain details slipped by those staff making treatment plans because there are LITERALLY THOUSANDS of different insurance plans and it is impossible for office staff to catch every important detail of every plan (particularly when certain insurances may not list all important details on their websites/faxes, and there are really fun (i.e. annoying) companies that don’t have websites or send faxes and will only give out information verbally over the phone).
  2. You need to floss. Seriously. 
  3. You need to brush your teeth properly, paying special attention to brushing the parts where your teeth meet the gums. You need to take care of your gums because if you don’t you WILL get periodontal disease and it is NOT reversible. Once you have it you are stuck with it for life and you need to come in to your dental office every 3 months to get a cleaning (note: you cleaning your teeth at home will not be good enough at this point because for periodontal disease the hygienist cleans below the gums and this requires a special tool) otherwise you will have bone loss and this will ultimately prematurely mess up your face. Don’t get periodontal disease.
  4. If you get a root canal done, you need a crown. Often a core as well. I know (all too well) that they can be hella expensive depending on the kind of insurance you have (Total cost for root canal+ core+ crown may range from $400-$2000. And yes, that’s only for one tooth) but you need a crown because your tooth is brittle (because after a root canal it essentially is hollow on the inside) and is more than likely to crack if you don’t get a crown to protect it. And after going through the terrible pain (and cost!) of getting a root canal done to save the tooth it only makes sense to protect your investment.
  5. Really, you need to floss. And properly – you shouldn’t be slamming the floss down on the gums, you need to gently ease the floss between the teeth and use it to scrape off the gunk that’s accumulated between the teeth. Your gums will bleed at first, but after about a week of flossing once every day they will stop and it won’t be such an awful experience.
  6. Want to save yourself hundreds, no, thousands of dollars? Take care of your teeth. Dentistry is expensive and it is in your best interest to take care of your teeth. Go to your office for your regular cleanings (1 x 6 months for regular cleanings, 1 x 3 months for periodontal cleanings). Brush in circular motions around the gums. When the dentist says you have cavities and need fillings, GET THEM DONE. If you don’t get a filling done, you will need a root canal. If you fail to get a root canal, the tooth will die and has to be extracted. Then you need to fill the hole because if you don’t 1) supraeruption 2) bone loss 3) messed up face will happen. And if you do fill the hole it will have to be with either a denture (which doesn’t prevent bone loss) or a bridge or implant (both hella expensive, but worth it as they do prevent bone loss), when all that trouble could have been saved literally by just cleaning your teeth properly and getting fillings/root canals done when you were told you needed them.
  7. If you have a DMO insurance, make sure the office you go to is the one you’re assigned to and if you’re about to go to a new office CALL YOUR INSURANCE to get them to assign you to that office, otherwise if you go to an office you’re not assigned to your insurance may not cover ANYTHING, leaving you with a huge bill.
  8. If you hate flossing and refuse to do it, at least get yourself a Water Flosser. NOTE: It does NOT replace traditional flossing, but it is certainly better than doing nothing at all.

 

Note: I work in an office in the United States that is a part of a corporation. There may be insurance/billing differences in private practices/other countries.

I may do another list like this in the future, since there are SO many things I learned working at my job, but if y’all have any questions, I’m happy to answer them, provided that I am able to of course.

Hello there :)

 

It’s been…about a year since my last post! I never expected to be gone so long, but life is a funny thing.

I basically got a job and let it take over my life (and a good portion of my mental and emotional state). I’ve been working as the front desk at a dental office, and if you’re like me a year ago, you may think that sounds like a pretty chill, relaxing position. Certainly, all the dental offices that I have gone to as a patient seemed that way. Although now I’m realizing it might’ve been because they were private practices.

The office I work for is a part of a large corporation, and it is, in a word, hectic. The phones are constantly ringing, we get a fair amount of walk-ins, and even when you think you’ve done all your work, there is always more work to do. Insurance verification, talking to representatives about the details of plans or why claims were not paid, making treatment plans, managing the schedule (which involves a lot more than one would expect), responding to all types of patient questions/complaints ranging from the normal to the bizarre and flat-out ridiculous, I could go on and on.

However, it is not really the busyness that I mind, it is the busyness combined with soap opera drama that is my workplace. For an office that has less than 10 staff, it is really absurd how much drama occurs. Gossiping, betrayal, tantrums, sharp remarks all keep the pot of negativity brewing and bubbling. Of course, not all days are like this, but enough that I almost quit on the spot three times.

I actually did try to quit for real at one point. I gave my notice, counted down the days, but then when my boss offered me more money and allowed me to work part-time I decided to stay.

It has certainly been so much less stressful working since then, and I get along well with many of the people in the office, yet I still somewhat dread going into work. However, as currently I am planning to move out of my parents’ house, and am seriously paying off my student loans, every bit of money is necessary. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize and working towards my goals. 🙂

And one of those goals is to get back to writing on here. Although I have a bit of a tumultuous relationship with the process of writing, in the end when I do write it is a rewarding experience that also helps bring clarity into my life. And, ultimately, I do want to craft a body of work and get it published. This sort of project is very intimidating to me, as it is, more than anything, a test of discipline, which is not a strong quality of mine. However, the only way to get better at something is to keep practicing, and that is what I aim to do. 🙂

 

Toxic friends

Toxic friends
burn like stomach acid
when you’ve thrown up.
Even with them out of your system,
a rancid taste lingers in your mouth.

Your stomach is empty and hungry,
begging to be filled.
But while it may be quick and easy
to fill it with chips and cookies,
only a nourishing meal
will truly satiate it.

So you wash and peel and chop the vegetables,
grease the frying pan,
throw down some garlic and spices,
listen for that sensuous sizzle before
adding zucchini, red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes,
while in the other pot you have rice cooking,
and in another pan a fat fillet of salmon
needing to be turned over,
lemon juice squeezed,
black pepper ground.

Time and effort pay off
and deliver you a meal that satisfies all your senses.

Time and effort make you forget
that rancid meat
that looked so appetizing on the surface,
so delectable to chew,
but once inside you,
poisoned you.

Time and effort bring friends into your life
who are nourishing,
and nontoxic.

Rumination

Rumination is an intoxicating drink
that makes you want to think and think and think
because maybe if I think enough I can solve this,
he will love me,
she will forgive me,
they will give me another chance.

Rumination, empty sensation,
a tangled knot that won’t unravel
no matter how much you tug on the string.

Rumination, hurricane of worry
with an Eye so calm the air is paralyzed,
while self-indulgent chaos destroys genuine action,
thoughts spiraling out and out
breaking connections.

Rumination, where obsession becomes your possession,
cherished and played with all day
while life is gradually swept away.

Let go of the spinning top
and let the momentum settle,
there is only so much you can do,
the rest is up to Them.

 

via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Doubt as a positive force

When I started looking up quotes on doubt to inspire me in writing this post, I found most were negative about doubt itself as a concept, or saw doubting as a negative, even harmful action. And to an extent these sayings are valid. The saying “Distance doesn’t ruin a relationship, doubts do” is true in that physical distance itself isn’t enough to destroy a relationship, there have to be strong thoughts/feelings which lead people to decide to dissolve their union, and these thoughts/feelings can indeed be doubts about the person or the relationship itself. And of course, in some cases it may be personal insecurity or jealousy that births these doubts, but sometimes doubt forms from just taking a honest look at a relationship and realizing you just aren’t compatible with the other person, that you each have different needs and goals that the other person can’t fulfill because of who they are as people. So definitely, doubt can be harmful if it comes from a place of insecurity, but it can also be helpful if it comes from a place of wanting honesty and clarity.

I believe that doubt can be a really beneficial tool when used in the right way. I believe that it is especially healthy to practice a degree of doubt when you examine your own beliefs and ideas about the world. To scrutinize your religious, social, political, cultural beliefs and ask yourself “Why do I believe this? Where did I get the information for these beliefs? How do I know that the source(s) is trustworthy and valid? What evidence have I seen that contradicts my beliefs? What are some of the different opinions about (x) topic? How much of what I believe was taught to me from birth and echoed around those in my family/community, whether explicitly or implicitly?”

Doubt can help us better ourselves as human beings by realizing which beliefs we hold are harmful, which beliefs are false, and which beliefs need to be changed if we want to live in reality. By trimming away these harmful or false ideas from our consciousness, we help ourselves flourish as more positive individuals and become fuller, more complex-thinking human beings. 

 

via Daily Prompt: Doubt

Finding my center

Finding my center of balance
I wiggle
wobble
and fall
face down onto the floor
Face pancake
Face red, face stinging, face making mountains of wrinkles,
Face broken into tears.

“It’s okay. It’s okay to fall. You don’t have to be perfect,
Try again.” My yoga teacher says,
her soothing voice sashaying
through my center,
finding my center.

I stand,
Tree position,
left foot against my right thigh,
palms together at my heart,
feeling my center.

My center is rooted,
steady,
and stretches like branches
through my head and legs.

via Daily Prompt: Center