Last week, I took Justin to the dentist. His teeth have been bad since before we got together. Recently, I had to take Justin to the emergency room because of an infection deep in his mouth. It was Sunday so we couldn't get to the dentist. Justin looked at me and said, "Enough is enough. Can you start looking for a dentist?"
Because Justin is exhausted from constantly dealing with the pain from his teeth. From having constant anxiety of something getting stuck in them and causing an infection. From having his life revolve around his teeth. He is being so brave and I am so proud of him.
Justin and I went to DQ after the dentist. That may seem like a walking contradiction, but it’s a tradition my mom started with me after I did something that scared me. Got shots at the doctor? Let’s go get ice cream. First therapy appointment? Let’s go get ice cream. Moving out? Buy all your favorite flavors at Adrian’s and have a frozen custard party. (Because at that point, it felt like sacrilege to go anywhere but Adrian's.)
I wanted to share this tradition with Justin because it means a lot to me. It means closeness and vulnerability and "You are not alone in this." It means sharing the hard parts of yourself—your fears and if you stay to fight them or if you pull the blanket over your eyes and pretend everything is fine. It means adding another strand in the unbreakable bond between you and your people. (And you get ice cream out of the deal!)
As Mei Ratz says, "Nervous means do it." So get out there and do it. Face your fears, unmask the ugly parts of yourself, tell your people how much you need them and how much you love them. And then dry your tears and go get ice cream.