Too Little Too Late

Today started like any other Tuesday.

My alarm woke me up at 5am. I made a cup of coffee. I sat down on the couch and leafed through the latest edition of Essence magazine, slowly sipping. I finished the magazine, stood up, and rushed into my husband’s arms. Eyes filled with tears, I uttered the phrase that’s been permeating my thoughts for quite some time.

“…I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”

My husband chuckled, held me tighter, and replied, “Join the club.”

Ever since COVID hit, I’ve realized more and more that life is too short to waste on things that don’t fulfill you. The “great resignation” of the past year proves I’m not the only one–we are all waking up to the fact that we can control our own lives. We don’t have to work at a place we hate for pennies; we can make our way through life in our own way, on our own terms.

These realizations are freeing and crippling (at least for me). I’m so overwhelmed, y’all. A billion questions fly through my head at any given moment: What am I passionate about? Where do I start? What do I do? How can I make a life–a comfortable, sustainable life–that brings me true joy? What is true joy anyway? Have I ever even felt it before???

There are so many things I like to do: orate, read, cook, motivate people, laugh. But I struggle to see where I stand apart in those areas, how I can bring something new and different to the world. There was an article about Tabitha Brown in the Essence I read today and good Lord–what an inspiration! That’s the kind of person I want to be: funny, kind, uplifting, a breath of fresh air. Tab’s got that lane on lock right now–she’s even got the vegan scene covered! (Veganism–particularly for Black people–is also something I find very important.)

In my head, I’m giving “too little, too late.” I feel like I missed an opportunity I didn’t even know was there. I was so focused on work and school and other people I neglected to nurture myself. I was too busy just trying to keep my head above water, going to work and coming home and paying bills like a fucking robot.

But hey, hindsight is 20/20 as they say. I can’t look backward–I’ve got to look forward. I’d never tell anyone else they’d missed their opportunity to get what they want out of life, so I won’t say that to myself.

I won’t let fear stop me from pursuing my goals either.

A lot of people know me as an outgoing, confident person. But the truth is I’m scared as shit. I’m absolutely terrified of making a mistake, causing problems, not being perfect. For the longest time I thought perfectionism drove me forward and made me successful, but now I’m realizing it hindered me in many ways too. My therapist tells me, “There is no such thing as perfect, so do what you want.

Easier said than done, right?

Especially for me, a Black woman from a tiny town who can’t seem to take her blinders off. A 30-something who can’t get out of her own head long enough to figure out what she really wants out of life. I feel like a piece of furniture from Ikea with no instructions–all the pieces are there, but I can’t figure out how to put them together. I see all these examples of excellence everywhere–Tabitha Brown, Issa Rae, and many others–and wonder how the fuck they did it.

My guess? They just tried. And if it didn’t work out, they tried again. And if that didn’t work, they tried something else!

So for 2022, I’m just gonna try shit and see what happens. Stop being scared and start doing me. Time to work on all those things I’ve wanted to do but didn’t have the time/energy/money/motivation to pursue. I’m going to focus less on “perfect” and more on authentic. Any amount of effort can’t be too little, and it definitely isn’t too late to start–I’ve got the next 30+ years of life to put myself and my dreams first.

I wish you and yours all the best in the new year–drop a comment and let me know what you’re planning to work on in 2022. One of my goals is to make this blog more interactive, so I promise to reply to comments (which I admit I haven’t been good about in the past). Maybe we can help each other become the best versions of ourselves. 🙂

Tooth Scary

I would say I’m sorry for the hiatus, but I’ve been out living life (and having a grand time doing it) so I don’t feel that bad about taking a blogging break–more details on my awesome adventures in a later post. 🙂 However, not every adventure since my last post has been awesome. Take, for example, today’s adventure–the dentist. 

I have had dental anxiety for as long as I can remember (and apparently before then). My mom told me I had to be sedated at the dentist’s office as a child because I kicked, screamed, and fought. My memories consist of tears, sweating, and an overwhelming feeling of panic. This anxiety haunts me to this day. Literally. To this day–I’m writing this from the dentist’s office. Just a short time ago, I got so worked up about getting the Novocain that I had to get damn near topless I was sweating so much. I trembled like a leaf. My breath became shallow and my heart raced; I thought I was going to pass out. 

 See? Not happy. 

Apparently, I’m not alone. Many Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety. I don’t know what it is about being in the dentist’s chair that freaks me out so much. Actually, i *do* have a few ideas:

  1. I don’t like people putting their hands in my mouth. That seems very personal to me for some reason. 
  2. Needles and sharp objects. Never been a fan of those, but once they’re in my mouth my stress level quadruples. 
  3. The drilling. Oh, the drilling. It is irritating enough when it’s outside your office window. Even more so when it’s INSIDE YOUR HEAD. 
  4. Smell and taste. Smells like a nail salon, tastes like a chemical cocktail. I actually gagged today because whatever they used for my filling got onto the back of my tongue. 
  5. The cost. Not only do I have to suffer through #1-5, I have to give up all of my hard earned coin to do it!

I did some research and found that others feel anxious about going to the dentist for many of the same reasons I do. This is comforting; I’ve always felt like a freak for getting so worked up about sitting in the dentist’s chair. Luckily there are things one can do to cope with this fear, including (but not limited to) taking awesome care of your teeth so you don’t have to go to the dentist in the first place. 

That’s going to be my new coping mechanism–brushing like a fiend, flossing like a champ, and waterpik-ing like nobody’s business! I’ll also keep seeing the awesome ladies at my dentist’s office–they are excellent at making me feel comfortable and calming me down if I panic. 

Any of y’all get anxiety like this–not just the dentist, but with anything? If so, how do you cope?