One of the neat things about my process into the USAF has been the people I’ve met.
One of the hard things about my current situation is dealing with them asking “how are things going?”
At the very beginning, I took an opportunity to talk to quite a bit of people about what it was like. I had a handful of prioritized questions I could ask someone if given the time. If they only had a minute to talk, then I would only ask one question. If they had longer, we may make it through all five questions.
I’m sorry, but I don’t have those questions on me at the moment. I’ll have to look them up and give them to you.
In doing this, I unknowingly interviewed a number of USAF Colonels. I also had the opportunity to speak with a Brigadier General.
Where most of the conversations lasted between 5-20 minutes; the conversation with the General lasted well over an hour. In the end, he asked me if he could personally give my information to a recruiter.
I was utterly humbled. This man, one of the highest ranking officers in my future/possible command, was asking me if he could pass on my information.
Did I mention how humbling this was?
Of course I gave him an emphatic “YES!”
I later found out that the General and three Colonels signed onto my application as personally recommending me to the USAF.
Well, today I received an email from the General asking me how the process is coming along.
My heart sank just a bit.
You see, I take the condition of my teeth as a personal failure. I’m not fishing for sympathy, I’m just stating how I feel. Let’s face it, while there are some genetic issues that come up with teeth, most of the problems are self inflicted. For me, it was a life time of nursing Dr. Pepper all day long, combined with an unhealthy love of jaw breakers. I wasn’t the greatest at brushing and flossing on a daily basis. I also suffer from mouth ulcers that pop up when I get anxious about something, which makes brushing a literal pain.
Yes, even now I have one on the inside of my lip.
You can very well imagine what happens to your teeth when you have soda and hard candy in your mouth for most of the day.
I view this whole situation as a negative consequence of my bad choices.
In a way, I feel that I failed the General and the Colonels. I feel that I’ve failed my wife and children. I feel that I’ve failed myself. I feel that I’ve failed my God.
Please understand, I don’t lack in the ego department. You have to have a huge ego to do what I do. If anyone tells you different, they are lying.
I’m one to go to “next steps” very quickly. But, I also believe in being introspective, naming self-defeating behaviors and internal “talk.” I also want to be honest about my emotions. These feelings of failure are real. If I let them, they can be self-defeating. I have to deal with them, not sublimate them. That is part of the reason I’m writing this. It’s therapeutic.
So, what do I do now? (See what I did there?!)
I think being honest continues to be the best policy. When asked, I give people the truth as I know it.
I look to next steps. For instance, I know of at least a few things to do.
- I’ve already called my Oral Surgeon, asking their finance people to see if they know of any creative ways to pay for the recommended procedure.
- I’m also planning on calling the closest dental school to see if I can be their
guinea pigteaching tool.
- I’m going to contact another dentist to get a second opinion; and hopefully discuss all possible options as s/he sees it.
- I’m asking for prayer from family and friends (which was actually the very first thing I did).
Now, we are in a pattern of actively waiting.
We wait to see what might surface. But, our waiting isn’t made up of me just lounging around and sitting on my hands. Instead, I’m going to do what I can think of to do. At the same time I realize that I can only see from a limited perspective. I’m fully confident that something (either through my actions, or another source) will reveal itself as the proper thing to do.
I’m still going to feel sad/bad/mad in the midst of the process. But, I’m not going to let my feelings paralyzes me.
What do you do to get through those experiences that feel like a punch to the gut?