You are seated there reading this and you thought of something you have lost when you read the title. If not, think of something. Turns out when you lose something, you gain something else, tangible or not.
As I write this, my jaw is in pain because I lost another tooth today. In fact, since I last posted, I have lost teeth, two wisdom teeth. I find the whole deal strange because all my other teeth are okay. So why would teeth I acquired two years ago have cavities? The dentist had her theory, I have mine. In the end, I will never grow some more teeth where I lost some.
I have even argued that it does not make a difference losing them because I lived with 28 teeth for years without any problem. Whatever the argument I make to feel better, I still lost teeth that I am supposed to have. Maybe I could have done something to prevent it. Maybe it was meant to happen. Either way, someone once told me not to think about what would have been but what is, and what I will do about it.
I have lost teeth but I have gained some valuable lessons. First, I will be more meticulous while brushing my teeth. I will even start flossing. It is no fun losing a tooth. God wants me to take care of His temple. Second, I have learnt the value of checkups. I have this stupid policy (yes, I know it is stupid yet I still hang on to it) on my health, if I do not feel pain, I do not need to know whether there is something wrong with me. I have learnt that it is quite unreasonable.
All along, I thought I had perfect teeth. I would flash smiles all over because mum and dad ensured my teeth grew perfectly. But behind the incisors and canines were rotting molars. This is where the other lesson is. Fear of the unknown is normal, but what if you have the ability to find out beforehand and do something about it? Is it not worth preventing greater pain? I may still hold on to the ‘no pain no check-up’ policy but my mind is still undergoing a renewal in that area.
Between the loss of one tooth and the other, I spent a few nights with my grandma. Yes she has lost her youth but she can do stuff with so much vigour and love than I can. She will dig up potatoes with her aching chest. She will reach into the depths of her pockets to reach for coins so that we will have tea with some bread. She will slaughter her only chicken so that her grandchildren will be happy.
All that and she will still think that she has not done enough. And yes I cried at some point. I couldn’t take it any more. But really, why did I really cry? I am not sure. I cry a lot sometimes for reasons beyond my understanding. Anyway, I am sure grandma gains a lot of peace and joy from serving her children and grandchildren, even when some neglect her.
I may not like it in a rural setting but I gained some skills and knowledge from everyone around. On a light note, I have realized that the closer you live to relatives, the greater the frequency of disagreements. So immediately you get the chance to move away from home, do not live in the same compound with a brother or sister’s family. That is just a lesson I learnt at grandma’s place. It could be different elsewhere.
Finally, I made chapattis (yeah, Word’s auto-correct decided that we were going to spell chapati this way today) after grandma insisted. I have never gone through the whole process on my own. I either do the kneading or the frying but never the rolling. Trust me; this was an experience I will never forget. And of course they were not the world’s best chapattis but they were alright. Reminded me why I hate cooking. I do not like doing what I am not good at. I may have lost a teeny bit of confidence that night but I gained some humility.
I may want to convince myself that in the 21st century, a woman is still a woman even when she hates cooking. But deep down inside, I know I am lying to myself. What will I teach my daughter if all I have is some computer skills or something I got from a chemistry lab? Really? Who am I kidding? I have to start focussing on the little things that entail making a home. On 29th December I will turn 22 and somehow I still try to convince myself that I am still a kid.
I always argue everything out; everyone who knows me knows that. Even this chapatti situation, I argued it out in my head. I was like, ‘Please, if a man will not love me because I do not like cooking, then he should find some food and marry it instead!’ Yeah, I have stupid thoughts sometimes. But after sometime, I discard them because they are not helping anyone.
I have lost, I have gained. I will cultivate love for cooking. I will even remind myself of some skills I completely threw off, like the knitting skills mum imparted years ago. I will take care of my teeth too. I am not losing another tooth until I am like 60 or something. So help me God.