Day 27: My worst habit

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I’ve got a few of these, actually. I do some minor things, like pick at my skin more than I should, or ‘peel’ my split ends when my hair is long and in need of a trim, or eat too many bowls of cereal. But I have two habits that stand out above these– one I cannot help, and another than I can and I WILL help.

The one I can’t help: I grind my teeth.

I mean, I really grind my teeth. I guess I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until a dentist in AZ told me about it that I realized it was such a problem. I’ve been wearing bite guards to bed every single night since 1999, and that’s slowed down the annihilation of my back molars somewhat. I have one tooth that is perfectly smooth and flat, and others that look like they’ve been chipped away over time in certain spots. I’m going to need crowns someday when my teeth just can’t take it anymore, and I’m pissed off about that. I wish I could stop doing it, but I do it while I sleep so it’s a little tough to stop. Even though I wear the bite guards, I’m still going at it. I grind right through the bite guards in about two years’ time on average, and need to get new ones. Fortunately I don’t have TMJ or anything wrong with my jaw; instead, it’s just me putting intense pressure down on my teeth, whenever I’m unconscious. And sometimes when I am awake, too. I’ve caught myself clenching my jaw at work when I’m stressed out, and I have to open my mouth and stretch and breathe to stop it. I hate this habit so much. I wish it would stop altogether.

My second habit is totally my own fault: procrastination. And I have control over it; I can stop this. I don’t always know how, though; that’s the challenge. I didn’t always procrastinate. It seems like I do it a little more every year as I get older. I put off little things from unloading the dishwasher to writing my articles for work until the last second. I’m not sure that living alone has been good for me in this regard: I have no one to be accountable to, even in the slightest, when I am home, and so it’s easy to just put things off indefinitely. Yet, I do love living alone, that’s for sure! I just hate that I make progress so much slower than is necessary around here. My office is one of the remaining areas of the house that I need to finish. I need to hang shelves on the walls and sort through old paperwork and shred/throw out the stuff I don’t need and file the rest. I have everything I need to do this, it’s all sitting right here, next to me right now, in fact. And weekend after weekend goes by where I don’t touch the remaining boxes I haven’t taken care of yet. This has the potential of being the coolest office ever–complete with treadmill, yay!– and yet I don’t do crap about it.

The work-thing is very, very scary stuff. I have no reason to put off the things I have to do when it comes to writing my own articles, and yet, I do. I start earlier and earlier on each article, always thinking that this is the time I knock all of the steps out methodically, one by one, and get the damn thing done early. And every time, I wind down the closer I get to that “finished” stage. I’ve been journaling about it to try to understand it; to break down what it is that makes me lose interest and want to do other stuff, any other stuff, rather than start writing, and to be honest I haven’t cracked the code. YET.

I plan to do this, though. This is the year I get better at this and stop procrastinating. Ha ha, you could say this is the year I stop procrastinating about working to get over my procrastination bad habits. Because I’ve known for a long time this is a problem. I just have to face myself in the mirror now and work this shit out.

And, another thing: I procrastinate jumping back into the dating world. I know why, on that one: I think I am very unattractive, overweight and plain-looking– I think I need to get in shape and do something like a makeover before I am presentable; and I don’t know that my friends and family actually support me going out there and dating again. They were there to see me get really, really burned, and I know no one wants me to get into a bad scenario again. They like me, now– hell, I like me, now. I’m not a doormat anymore.

But the thing is, I just might need a little push to do it. I don’t think I’ll do it on my own at this point. I’m too comfortable being alone, and hiding behind my unattractiveness. It sounds weird, right? But that’s the closest I can get to explaining it. I know I’m using my looks as an excuse. I know I am just super scared and I don’t trust my own judgment. And I’m a cynic. I don’t believe I can fall in love. It’s a nice fairy tale, but I don’t see it happening for me, on most days. I’m just being realistic. Finding a good guy I can stand to be around seems impossible. I don’t know that I can trust another guy yet, no matter how great he seems in the beginning. I’m putting off trying, though, and that’s not cool.

If I don’t get this procrastination habit kicked, I could lose a lot of things. The obvious one is that I get worse with the writing-thing and lose my job, of course. But more so, I will lose my own confidence in my abilities. I’ll begin to develop a self-defeatist attitude and wind up letting myself go in more areas of my life. I’ll get way too enamored with instant gratification than I already am, and end up ruining future opportunities and responsibilities.

And I won’t accomplish my goals. I won’t ever finish my book. I won’t ever learn to be with another person again. I could miss out on a LOT of happiness, a lot of perfectly good living. This is about me putting off my life, at this point.

So, clearly, this is a REALLY terrible habit. But I am working on it. Now. I recently decided to confront this with all seriousness, and will hopefully find a therapist to talk to within the next couple of months. So I will get better.

Now, if I could just unclench my damn jaw as I think about the procrastination thing… 😉

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3 responses »

  1. I have TMJ and grind my teeth. I need to wear a mouth guard too. It sucks because it is something I can’t control and I hate that. I do notice I do it less when I am not as stressed. And I say notice because I don’t wake up with lock jaw.

    It is so easy to put off things that can be done tomorrow. But then what happens when your tomorrows run out? That’s what I try to tell myself to get me to do things I need to get done. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a work in progress. As for the dating thing. You’ll do it when you are ready. And you’ll know when that time comes. 🙂

  2. I still think you should return to that hiking trail and throw up again. Maybe that Mystery Man will hear you and materialize and the fairy tale will be complete.

    I don’t know if it would work with a bite guard or not, but placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth is supposed to relax your jaw. No idea what happens after you fall asleep this way, but it’s something I’ve always done out of habit (having slept with face masks and retainers as a teen, leaving no comfortable place to put my tongue…). It’s mentioned a lot by yoga instructors during final relaxation/meditation, too. Another option is to gently bite the tip of the tongue for 20 seconds, which is supposed to inhibit the jaw muscles.

  3. I grind my teeth in my sleep too! A bite guard doesn’t even work for me; I wake up in the morning and it’s who knows where.

    I think, like crazyprincess said, you’ll know when the time is right for you re: dating.

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