By Molly Butler

I had a phobia of the dentist.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was absolutely, irrationally, terrified. I’ve never met a little kid loves going to the dentist, but between my sweet tooth and the fact my first ever dentist was about as friendly as a rattlesnake, I was particularly discouraged. The metal instruments, the drilling sounds, the creepy diagrams, the Joker-esque before and after photos, ick. Everything about it made my heart thump and my pits sweat.

The worst part was, now, as an adult, I really needed to go. I was overdue for a checkup. I’d been putting it off and when you do that once, it just becomes easier and easier to keep putting it off. The longer I waited, the more valid my anxieties became. The avoidance was only feeding my phobia. I started to spiral. Every day I thought about my teeth. Every billboard or online advertisement for dentists caused my anxiety to spike. I found myself constantly checking my teeth, brushing, flossing, fluoride rinsing, panicking, knowing this was no substitute for the real deal.

If there’s something that scares you, especially if it’s to the point that you’re losing your peace over it, I suggest you march right up to that fear and face it. There really is no better cure.

My growing anxiety started creating psychosomatic toothaches. I was literally so worried about my oral health, I was manifesting roving pains in my teeth, one day here, the next day here, all truly painful, and none rooted in reality. I started losing sleep over this. It was getting out of hand. This was no way to live.

After months of excuses and avoidance, I finally picked an office which specifically mentioned dental anxiety and sedation. I made the appointment, fought every urge to cancel it, and finally arrived at North Mankato Family Dentistry, shaking like a leaf.

Maybe it’s because I finally faced the fear. Maybe it’s because they’re so relaxed and nonjudgmental. Maybe it’s because Dr. Flack and Karla have a better back-and-forth than most of the “comedy” podcasts my husband tries to get me to listen to. Heck, maybe it’s just the magic of laughing gas. I’ve had several appointments, my oral health is back on track, and I have not had a single psychogenic toothache since. I had a phobia of the dentist; I’m not so sure I have one anymore.

If there’s something that scares you, especially if it’s to the point that you’re losing your peace over it, I suggest you march right up to that fear and face it. There really is no better cure. Wherever you carry fear or guilt or shame, there is freedom to be gained. For me, it’s been a battle fought in my head but won in my smile. Between increasing vaccinations, growing confidence, and some good dentistry, you can get ready to see a lot more of these pearly whites this summer.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t forget to smile.

Friday

Deliciousness awaits! North Star Donuts is swinging down from the cities to bring you their tasty Apple Cider Mini Donuts. They’ll be in the St. Peter Hy-Vee parking lot from 2-8pm this Friday for this one day pop up. Enjoy their incredibly delicious donuts they perfected on their apple orchard, and pair it with a lemonade slushie. Plus, they have 5 opportunities for you to win a FREE dozen donuts. Check out their event page for details.

Save room after those donuts! Farm to Wooden Spoon experience will be outdoors at the HUB in Old Town, Mankato, this Friday, serving up a unique 4-course menu from 6-7:30pm. The meal is created in collaboration with local growers. This month’s menu will include a Bistro Salad, Vichyssoise (potato leek soup) and Chicken Roulade and more. Tickets are available online. Water and cold tea are provided, and guests are welcome to bring their own adult beverages. It’s also time for Paddlefish Days annual Steak Fry Dinner. Head to the Madison Lake City Hall for top sirloin, chicken, au gratin potatoes, hamburgers, and more, all catered by the Landing on Madison. Proceeds from this event benefit Paddlefish Days 2021.

Then all there is left to decide is where you want to listen to some live tunes. High Strung will be playing at the Wine Café beginning at 5pm (Don’t forget to check out their brand new Wine Cat for off sale). Indian Island Winery will host Paul Stewart from 6-8:30pm for classic and current country as well as ’50s and ’60s hits. Enjoy the full menu as well as their wine tasting bar. The Blue Boat in Mankato will have United By Blood from 6-8:30pm or you can catch the latest in Chankaska Winery’s UnWINEd Music Series starting at 6:30pm, with singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Andy Tackett as he gears up for a National and European tour. Last but certainly not least, Mike Munson will play country blues at the LocAle Brewing taproom, starting at 7pm. Enjoy the music, beer, and fresh eats from the Scotty Biggs BBQ food truck.

Saturday

Start your day the healthy way. All fitness levels can head to Sibley Park at 8:30am for another 45-minute full body class by Fit and Grit Training, as part of their Spring into Fitness series. Registration is available online or you can pay cash day-of. Or, runners and walkers can join the Bookin’ on Belgrade Nearly 5K this Saturday at 9am. You can run virtually or in-person, and donations raised will go to supporting the North Mankato Taylor Library’s Summer Reading. There are options to sign up as an Adult, Child, or in a Group (6 or more). You can also simply donate here. Then, the Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) will be hosting an informal ride day from 1-4pm at the Kiwanis Recreation Area off 169 in Mankato. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further details.

The Living Earth Center will be holding an Open House at the new Blue Earth County Community Garden this Saturday from 2-4pm. Come to see the recent changes made as they break ground on the new season. There will be tours and snacks and come ready to plant seeds and get the farming season started! Join their event page for details.

Come hungry! The Mad May BBQ is on in Madison Lake! From 7:30am through 5pm Main Street will be taken over by BBQ. You can sign up online to participate in the competition (no professional teams, please), or just swing by for some delicious tastings. There will be ribs, chicken, and a variety of griller’s choice options. Proceeds from this tasty event will be donated to the Son’s of the American Legion 269 to support Madison Lake’s fireworks.

The Blue Earth Country Free Food Distribution will take place this Saturday from 11am to 1pm at the Prairie Winds Middle School in Mankato. This month they’ll have fresh fruit, dairy products, pork or chicken, and a gallon of milk for any household in need, available while supplies last. Mankato Brewery will host Ettlin’s Café Field Kitchen as part of the brewery’s May Food Saturdays. Enjoy delicious eats from 2-6pm alongside local brews.

Amy Manette will be performing jazz and dance tunes from 5:30-8:30pm at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville. Nate Boots will be at the Circle Inn in Mankato from 7-9pm and The Blue Boat in Mankato will host Lost Walleyes from 7-9:30pm.

Sunday

The Mankato Makerspace will host their May Maker Market this Sunday. Vendors can register online and shoppers can roll in starting at 11am. Shop local makers and stock up on wonderful items, all while supporting our communities brilliant creators. Vagabond Village will host an Acrylic Pour Painting Class. Participants are encouraged to wear clothes that can get a bit dirty, and watch a few acrylic pour YouTube videos beforehand so you have an idea what you want to create: Vagabond’s instructors will help with the rest. The class is $20 which includes a 10×10 canvas, paints, instruction, plus 20% off store-wide!

The 507 in Mankato will host Colby Straka, performing live music from 11am to 2pm while you enjoy brunch! There will be $3 screwdrivers, Build-Your-Own-Bloody, May Mimosa Flights, and of course, good eats. KillinTime will be playing at the Caribou Gun Club near Le Seuer from 1-5pm. This event is open to the public, just bring your dancing shoes!

Bonus: Emotional Decluttering

Y’all know me, of course I’m going to drag minimalism into this. I realize that the shame and fear I carried around about the dentist was ultimately emotional clutter. It not only didn’t serve me, it actively blocked me. It was a big pile of psychological Legos scattered all over my mental floor. I kept stepping on it, yelping, then never cleaning it up.

We can trick ourselves into believing it’s easier to live with the mess than to bother cleaning it up, or worse; we can convince ourselves it is impossible to change. But if we adopt a worldview that believes healing is possible at every moment, we can begin to free ourselves from the clutter that holds us back.

Digital Nomad and Intuitive Coach, Youheum, over at Heal Your Living has already done some incredible work on this topic. You can read her latest blog post on Emotional Decluttering or check out her YouTube channel to learn more.

I hope you can begin the work of decluttering and take your next step towards peace of mind.

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.