Today I am whole again.
Sure, most days I may feel a bit overwhelmed and consumed within the dental industry, but I feel totally blessed. My days are filled with phone calls, virtual meetings, giving live presentations, touring dental clinics, and the occasional day of clinical hygiene. I am also producing and co-hosting the Dental Alements podcast.
There are days where I find myself working away, checking off my to do list, when all of the sudden I get this warm feeling in my gut and a feeling of completeness and joy. It is that warm fuzzy feeling that confirms what my true passion in the dental field is.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a feeling of what my purpose may be in life. Now that I am a woman, I feel the desire to confront the emotion behind it. The emotion that has been nurturing my roots.
I could now see my future unfolding in front of me. It is that ahh ha moment we all desperately search for at times. But, before I could watch my future unfold in front of me, I needed to take a peek back at my past. A peek into my foundation, my root system. This is where I would realize my reason for joy, my why.
THE PIECES I LEFT BEHIND
As a sweet innocent grade schooler, a much larger boy with a way too loud of a voice noticed a hair on one of my wee little arms. He began to yell out “harry scarry harry scarry” I was mortified. For many years after that horrific day, I wore only long sleeved shirts. I begged my mom to let me shave it off but I was denied.
Thanks to that one loud mouthed boy, on one rainy school day, calling me one hairy name, a piece of me was left there on that playground.
The first time I was brutally beaten was on a warm Summer evening when I was barely 12 years old. My friend and I were walking on a wooded trail at dusk giggling about how we just snuck into a drive-in movie when all of the sudden I was knocked to the ground by a gang of teenagers. They held me down and beat me all over. Still to this day when I close my eyes, I can remember what those muddy boots felt like kicking me in the face, kicking me in the head and kicking me all over my body. I still remember what it felt like to have my face smeared in leafy muddy water, with tree branches scratching my ears. I remember the fear of getting too close to that cold murky pond. I remember the fear of drowning that night, the fear I would die that night. I still remember the two black eyes that could only see stars for days, and I can still feel my head throbbing from being kicked so many times by so many boots.
Thankfully, I did not drown on that warm Summer night, but a piece of me was left there on that murky cold trail.
Another piece of me was left at an escrow company I was working at. The manager there would bully me daily. She had this loud cackle and would often tease me in front of the other employees. She was constantly reminding me that I wasn’t 21 yet so I was not allowed to hang out with her and the other ladies from the office. She would demand that I pick up her kids from school, get her coffee, go feed her dogs, pick up her dry cleaning, and all other non escrow related tasks.
This was not a high fashion magazine that we were working at but boy did she sure think she was fancy.
As a paralegal in a fancy law firm, I loved learning about the law and reading all of the case study books in that office. I had even decided that I was ready to go to law school. That was until the attorney I was working for started to become abusive and yelling at me. He literally had his arms folded and was stomping like a little baby and was shouting and pouting that I was not making him rich. It made me ill to have to go to work there every day and listen to him yell at me.
Then I learned something that changed my life forever.
PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER
A girlfriend asked me to join her in signing up for a psychology class. Thank god I did. That class changed my life forever. It was in that two night a week college course that I came to realize that not everything was about me. What?
I learned that all of those bullies who took a piece of me – the boy in school, that gang, the condescending lady boss, the manchild attorney, and the abusive boyfriend. Well it turns out that they were missing pieces and trying to steal mine.
It was this one little course that gave me the power to stand up for myself and to eventually stand up for others as well. And that is what I did. I began to see my situation in a different light. No one could fool me any longer.
Now I was angry. The next time that manchild started shouting and stomping his feet, I was out of there. I took one good look into his eyes and told him he needed to get help. I gathered my personal items, said goodbye and walked out of that door for the last time. I got into my car, and I hit the highway.
I peeled out of that parking garage on two wheels, my tires were smoking, and I was fuming. I turned on the radio just as the song ‘Here I Go Again On My Own’ by Whitesnake had started. It was a sign.
I cranked that dial on the radio as loud as it would go and I drove and drove and I cried and cried. I cried tears of anger, and I cried tears of fear, but mostly I cried tears of exhilaration. I had done it, I had finally stood up for myself, and I stood up for little harry scarry, and I felt so proud.
Today I can now proudly say that I am a woman entrepreneur in dentistry.
ROOTING OTHERS ON
I have now recovered most of those pieces that were taken from me.
Now it is time for me to share my secret with those dental hygienists and assistants who are about to graduate from school and enter the dental operatory. I co-founded rootUon in 2019, and it is through our mentorship program, Bridging the Gap from the Classroom to the Op, that we are able to do just that and more.
rootUon is a community of dental colleagues who are joining forces to help empower each other. As far too many dental hygienists, and assistants are fleeing dentistry, it is our goal to make the op great again through mentorship and education. This includes working with dentists and office managers as well as the auxiliary team to bring peace and harmony to the dental team.
Through real honest communication we can all be happy, healthy, and prosperous. Whose in?
Cindy Rogers is a practicing hygienist who is the founder of rootUon, producer and co-host of the Dental Alements Podcast and an OSHA, HIPAA and Infection Control Compliance Consultant with Healthcare Compliance Associates. She also works as a matchmaker for the dental staffing platform, onDiem. Cindy may be reached at the following locations: https://linktr.ee/cindyrogersrdh