I Will Not Fear

Fear has been a topic that’s been following me around lately.

We’ve done sermons on it at church.
I’ve read a book about it (Fierce Faith by Alli Worthington ~ fantastic book!).
I’ve had conversations with friends about it because lately it seems my life is a wee bit characterized by it.

I was given the opportunity to read and review a book called “I Will Not Fear” ~ A book written by a lady named Melba Patillo Beals.  She was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I can’t imagine what life would have been like — to have felt so unwanted, so other, so less than… and such fear!  I have studied American history, and I am aware of the records of what it was like in the 50s and 60s, leading to the Civil Rights movement.  I’ve read of the Klan, of the death threats….. but what I hadn’t read, until now, was someone’s first hand account.

This book will grab you and make you hold on tight.  The story this woman tells of how she was a “first” at so many things in her life — trying to integrate into a society that thought segregation was the only way to live, going to university, going to grad school, being a single mom, getting jobs where she felt “other” not only because of her skin colour but also because of her gender — it’ll grip you.

I know I’ve experienced a great deal of fear in my life, but as I read this I realized I’ve really had very little to actually be afraid of.  That’s not the point of the book, however, because Melba offers the wisdom she learned from her Grandmother throughout, and with every story of some sort of atrocious experience that would surely knock my foundation down at the knees, she tells of how she trusted God, trusted Jesus, and lived as though the protection of God were real (and it is)!

One of my favourite parts of the book, and what I found most encouraging, were the little nuggets of summary that she included at the end of each chapter.  My story may not resemble that of Melba Patillo Beals’ in any way.  I’ll never know what it’s like to live her story.  But I do know what it’s like to live mine, and fear has no place here either.  I can take just as much encouragement from her words, and from how she did not bow to fear, as anyone else can.

“… no matter what threatening evidence appears to be true, we need not fear because God is always beside us.” (p. 165)

“As complex and dangerous as a predicament may be, God is as close as our skin.  Although peril feels like forever, God is here now.  He will guide us through the jungle of fear, if we only listen and obey.” (p. 189)

I highly recommend this book.  It’s not long, only 200 pages, so it’s a short read.  And it’s written in a way that leaves you wanting to hear more of Melba’s story, to know that it comes to a happy ending just like we always wish.  Melba Patillo Beals is a remarkable woman of faith, and we would all do well to stand in the face of adversity and fear like she did and declare “not today.”


Book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


Unused Creativity is not Benign…

I’ve been listening to podcasts lately.  A good friend of mine kept sending me recommendations on iTunes, and since I spend an insane amount of time in my car every week (an hour each direction to work), and I’ve been getting tired of just listening to music (not that music isn’t amaaaaazing)…..

A couple have really hit me.  Like… punched me in the gut, and knocked the wind out of my sails.  I was driving along and life was all good, and the following words came out of Brené Brown’s mouth:  (I can’t remember if this was from her appearance on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, or For the Love with Jen Hatmaker — I think it was For the Love, but listen to both anyway!)

Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative. It gets lost along the way. It gets shamed out of us.

Shame has gotten in the way of so many things for me, as I’ve reflected on what that’s looked like over my years.  Some of them I am not ready to talk about yet.  I’m just not.

But creativity?  That, I can talk about.

See, creativity is a muscle.  You have to develop it.  And there’s skill involved in it.  It’s not just talent.  It doesn’t just happen.  It’s not something you either have or don’t.  Everyone has something they like to do that flexes that creative muscle.  Some of us bake.  Some of us cook.  Some of us write.  Some of us paint.  We take pictures.  We design rooms.  We write music or we play music.  We landscape yards.  We build bookcases.  We just…. create.

But when we try to create and we don’t like the result that comes out of it, it gets really real.  It gets even more real when someone else calls us out on it.  Even if they didn’t mean to.  Our creativity gets stifled by others.  It happens when we create something, and others don’t see the value that we do.  Maybe we baked something and it didn’t turn out great, and it didn’t get eaten wherever we took it.  Maybe, like several of my Paint Nite endeavours, we’ve painted something and it did NOT turn out like the example.  Maybe we haven’t opened the case of our violin (or other, more generic, musical instrument….) since February because we feel like we’ll never be as good as ___________.  (Comparison is the thief of joy ~ Theodore Roosevelt)  Whatever the case…. I can’t help but wonder… who are we being creative FOR?

If I’m being creative because I want to impress others, I’m doing it for the wrong reason.  But if I’m being creative — if I’m designing, painting, baking, capturing, and creating…. and if I’m doing it because I know that if I don’t, I’ll wither and shrivel under the weight of judgment, grief, rage, sorrow, and shame, I will thrive.

So….. this is why I’m here.

I’m flexing my creative muscles.

I was listening to Luvvie Ajayi on Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love podcast, and she was talking about how she got started as a writer.  She said that she jumped into the blog world when it was still called web logging, and she felt like she had to do it, because it was how she processed the world.  And that hit me too, because there have been many times that I’ve expressed my need to write to process.  I’ve also thought about wanting to write a book, but I’ve even verbally admitted that I’m too afraid no one will like it, no one will read it, and it won’t be successful.  Luvvie Ajayi started me to thinking, and then Brené Brown hit it home.  Who am I writing for?  Why am I writing?  I love this!  I LOVE this!  So why am I hiding behind the fear that no one else will like it, if I should be doing it because my soul needs it, craves it, and begs me to get stuff off my chest by clacking my keyboard?

I don’t know the answer to that question.  I don’t know where the niggling voice of shame comes from that says no one will like it if I hit publish, and I should just sit on my deepest thoughts.  It’s likely that they don’t all belong on the internet, but some of them do – many of them do – and I am going to be brave.

I am going to write more than book reviews.

I am going to say no thank you to the voice that tells me I’m not good enough.  No, that’s not true.  I’m going to be much more forceful with that voice.  It has no place here.

Hi, my name is Laura.
I’m a writer.
I’m a painter.
I’m a photographer.
I’m an artist.
I’m designing my own basement renovation.
I’m a baker.
I’m a cook.
I’m a musician.
I will stop hiding from these things that I love.
I am creative.
I will create.


On Anxiety, Jesus, and the space in between.

Recently, I’ve been struggling a little bit.  It’s been hard to talk about, and I’ve wanted to write about it, but I haven’t felt like I’ve had a lot of positive to say, and I didn’t want to sound like I was griping.  I finally have something positive to say, so here I am.

I also didn’t want to be offered dozens of potential solutions that I’d potentially already tried or that would just make things worse when I tried them and they didn’t work.  I’ve been navigating fairly well with the help of a trusted circle of very close peeps.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Here it goes.

Easter weekend, I did something stupid.  Me, hyper-sensitive to caffeine, whose reaction to it can be measured in the increase in words spoken per minute — I forgot to monitor my caffeine intake throughout the course of the day, and because it was a long weekend, I also didn’t think too much of consuming caffeine past my typical 3 pm cutoff.  It started the evening of Good Friday.  I had a Cherry Pepsi with dinner.  It took me a while to fall asleep, but I’d gotten home late anyway and I didn’t think much of it.  I went for lunch with a friend the next day, and had a great big glass of Dr. Pepper with lunch.  Later, (about 5 pm — I didn’t realize it’d gotten that late) we got iced capps through the Tim Horton’s drive thru.  THEN (because I’m an idiot), I forgot about the caffeine I’d consumed throughout the rest of the day, and I had another Cherry Pepsi with dinner on Saturday night, and dinner wasn’t until about 8 pm.

Well, shocking, I didn’t sleep that night.  At all.  Like I got up Easter Sunday morning and lead worship on precisely zero hours of sleep, and was so out of it that I could hardly put music stands together.  But what I discovered in the midst of the night of no sleep is that caffeine also sends my brain spinning down this spiraling tunnel of anxiety, and while I wasn’t sleeping at all, I was over-processing, hyper-analyzing, and pretty much freaking out.  If I could think about it, I was worrying about it.

Sunday night, I went to go to bed, and was fairly thoroughly convinced I was having a heart attack (turns out that’s pretty much what a panic attack feels like).  Long story short, I ended up in the hospital most of the night only to have a doctor tell me I needed to calm down and relax.

There’s been a lot going on, and I don’t need to get into all of it because that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that since all this has happened, I’ve found myself in a place where I have never relied so heavily on Jesus, even though prior to all of this I would have told you that I did, and now that it’s happening often, I’m able to see the differences that reliance, and that open line of communication makes in my life.  I’ve had a few really cool experiences in the past few weeks, and I firmly believe my deepening relationship with Jesus is the catalyst for that.

I’ve had to learn to pray my way through situations that make me feel like I want to panic.  I haven’t had any major panic issues since Easter, but some minor ones, and I’ve learned that when I lean into Jesus and claim the promises in scripture about fear and anxiety, I can come out the other side of my bouts of anxiety with confidence, knowing I’m never alone, I have not been abandoned in any way, and I am safe.

I’ve had to create a bed time routine.  If you know me personally, you know that I’m someone who likes to fall into bed exhausted, as late as possible while still being able to function, because my best thinking, my best work, and the most fun usually happens later.  I’m a textbook night owl, and having trouble sleeping rocked my foundation.  When you’re only used to getting 6-6.5 hours of sleep a night anyway, because you’ve narrowed down the bare minimum amount you need in order to function like a responsible grown-up on a consistent basis, I found that the second I would have trouble falling asleep, my brain would reel into panic again — because “if I can’t sleep, I can’t drive to work.  That’s not safe.” and other such things that I would tell myself at 3 am when I still wasn’t asleep.

My bed time routine involves writing out scriptures (the month of May was actually focused around anxiety and fear, and it was VERY helpful), journaling gratitude (I have a journal where I’m writing down all the things I’m thankful for from each day as I get ready to go to sleep — 1000 Gifts style, I suppose.), reading my devotional book (I do NOT give myself enough time for this in the morning), praying, and having a bubble bath while I read a theology book of some sort in the tub.  When I start to doze, and start not retaining what I’m reading, I know I’m ready to go to bed.  I then fall asleep fairly quickly, which has been awesome.

Sometimes, though, when I get to the time of night when I’m ready to start this process, I can feel my brain spinning and I know that if I don’t process what’s inside, I’ll have a hard night ahead.  I have a journal where sometimes I write letters to God, sometimes I just write what I’m thinking and process that way, and sometimes I just write out my prayers as if I were speaking them.

And here we are, at the reason I wanted to post today.

A couple of days ago I made it to my bedtime routine and I found just that — my brain was reeling and spinning, and I couldn’t quiet my thoughts down enough to even focus on the scriptures I was reading through and trying to absorb by writing out.  So I went back through my scripture journal, and I wrote a prayer to God claiming all of the truths I’d learned and internalized throughout May about anxiety and fear.  I know whose I am, so I don’t need to be afraid.  I know this deeply now, and it’s become a matter of making sure I remember it in my times of greatest need.

I wanted to share what I wrote down, in hopes that someone would need to read this and that it would be helpful.  When I wrote it, I didn’t include the scripture references to which I was referring, but I have here in case you want to go read the verses themselves to see what I based this on.

Lord, I surrender.  All my fears.  They’re nothing and useless when I hold them to the standard of your love, your care for me, and your grace.  Jesus, right now I honestly don’t even know why I’m feeling anxious and fearful, but I know it isn’t from you.  You don’t elicit fear.  Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). I will fear no evil.  For my God is with me (song — You Never Let Go).  I have not been given a spirit of fear. The Lord is for me.  Who can be against me?

Father I cast all my cares on you.  I release their weight (Psalm 55:22).  I know your yoke is easy and your burden is light (Matthew 11:30).  I know you have not created me to live in this space of anxiety and fear.

I feel like I’m slipping, God, but I know I’m not, because you’re holding me and keeping me steady.  Please help me to trust my rational and logical thoughts. Your comfort gives me renewed hope and cheer (Psalm 94:18-19).

When I lean on my own understanding, sometimes I panic and I don’t even know why!  I choose to trust in you (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 62:8).  You are good.  When there’s nothing good in me.  I’m running to your arms.

David prayed to you in his distress and you set him free. Lord, I am doing the same! You are for me, so I will have no fear.  What can mere people do to me? Yes, you will help me.  You are for me (Psalm 118:5-7).  You work all things together for my good because I love you (Romans 8:28). I see this when I look back at my life’s circumstances and I trust that you stay the same through the ages (Psalm 30:4-5 — also the song Your Love Never Fails), and you will continue to work outside of time to hold my life together according to your plans.

You will never leave me. You will never forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6). You will never abandon me (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Father, I praise you for all these promises and truths, and I rejoice because I know I can trust them. Rest in them. Claim them. Live them (Psalm 56:1-4).

I am pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed. I am perplexed, but not driven to despair. I am never abandoned by you. I get knocked down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

My hope is in you! (Psalm 62:5).  You alone are my rock and salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken (Psalm 62:1-4).

I have all that I need in you. My rest comes from you. My peace comes from you. My strength comes from you. Even when I don’t think I can handle what comes at me, I don’t have to be afraid, because you’re right there with me. You protect and comfort me. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:1-6).

You are always ready to help in times of trouble! (Nahum 1:7, Psalm 46:1-3)

I want to live in the shelter of the Most High so I can find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. You alone are my refuge, my place of safety. You are my God, and I trust you.  You will cover me with your feathers and shelter me with your wings. Your faithful promises are my honour and my protection (Psalm 91:1-6).

You yourself will fight for me.  My job is to stay calm (Exodus 14:14). So I rest in you. I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings (song — My Hope is in You).


Anyway — it’s my hope and prayer that these verses find homes in the hearts of those who need to read them, like they have in mine the past couple of months.  In the five days since I wrote that prayer, I’ve reread it three times, and it washes me with peace every time I do.


The Car (In)decision

I’ve just started a new job.  My new job has me driving more than 10 km each direction to work (more than any distance in my entire professional career, and more than any distance ever that I’ve driven to work).  I’m doing English as a Second Language support for 8 different schools all along Lake Erie (which I don’t live that close to), and I have to drive, most days at least 45 minutes each direction.

Mind you, I love my new job.  I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m currently enjoying the drive.  Plus — I’m being paid mileage, which I didn’t know when I applied for the job, but it’s a great perk.  In my first week, I tacked 500 km on my car.  My first mileage claim, which I filed yesterday for the month of September, was for 1120 km.  Insane.  For the last 8 years, I’ve put no more than 100 km per week on my vehicle for work.

Because of this, and the fact that I drive a 10 year old car, it felt like it was time to start car shopping.  My mileage can, of course, cover the payment to buy a new one.

I found though that I couldn’t make a decision, and I didn’t know why.  See, I’ve been driving a Toyota Matrix for a long time, and before that I had a Toyota Matrix, and before that?  A Toyota Corolla.  It would make sense given my record that I’d be able to one-stop-shop by walking into a Toyota dealership.

But part of my consideration in car shopping was that I haaaaate winter driving.  Hate.  So I figured that since I had the money, I could go to something bigger.  Tougher.  Gutsier.  Something that’ll tough its way through the snow a bit better.  Something with AWD, or… even better…. 4×4.  I wanted a Jeep.  I’ve always wanted a Jeep.  And when I started shopping and I saw the new Jeep Renegade, I knew I had to drive one.

I started researching, and I fell in love with the Renegade.  I mean, look at it…

But I also test drove a Chevy Trax, a Nissan Rogue (which I also loved, and probably would have gone with…), a Toyota Rav4 (brand loyalty for the win), a Mazda CX-5, a Honda CRV, and a Honda HRV.

I had pretty much come to a decision.  I was going to buy a Nissan Rogue AWD, and the only thing I was sad about was that it didn’t come in red in the base trim level.  I wanted something flashy.



the niggling feeling that something wasn’t right would not go away.

A week ago, I was out with friends having an extreme brownie night (I have awesome friends!) and a few of us started talking about car accidents.  Three of us had been in pretty serious ones, and we’re all very lucky to be alive.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really laid out how mine made me feel in this location.  It’s been hard for me to talk about to pretty much anyone.  I had two car accidents in 6 months, and they left me pretty much a wreck behind the wheel — the second one in particular.

The first one was an improper left turn on my part, and while I couldn’t see properly, it’s still my fault, because I pulled into traffic making a left turn thinking that I was in the clear.  I looked, I didn’t see anything coming, but when I was promptly T-Boned it was clear that I was wrong.  A combination of factors led to that, but ultimately — my car was written off and I was very upset.  In the second one, I was merging onto the 401 at the end of December, and hit a patch of black ice as I was changing lines.  My back tires slid out from behind me, I fish tailed a few times, and then I don’t remember anything else until I was on my roof skidding to a stop, but both my passenger and the car behind me informed me that I hit the cement median and rolled back into the highway three times before skidding to a stop of the roof.  My brain has obviously censored a chunk of that experience out, and I think I’ll be delighted if I never retrieve that memory.

That second crash left me in a shaky, unsure of myself, out of control mess.  I didn’t feel like I had control of anything, and I couldn’t fall asleep without seeing the sparks of my roof against pavement for months.  I couldn’t merge onto the 401 without hyperventilating for three months after the accident, and I could hardly take care of myself.  My world felt like it was caving in around me (for more reasons than just the accident), but it’s created a marked fear of winter driving in me that I haven’t even consciously acknowledged in years.

It hasn’t occurred to me in years that the reason I hate winter driving so much is because the worst year of my existence started around the time I lost my back end on black ice.

When that thought hit me though, I immediately wondered the question that would ultimately be the undoing of my car decision — am I buying a 30,000 dollar vehicle because it’s the practical and wise decision?  Or am I buying a 30,000 dollar vehicle because I’m scared?

I knew right away that if the answer was that I was scared, I was going to spend 30 grand just to be scared the first time it snowed, and that felt like a really big waste of money.

If the reason was that a ten year old vehicle won’t withstand the piling on of kilometers and all that extra maintenance, well, then it would make sense to make the purchase while my ten year old car still has any trade in value.

But after a lot of soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I was scrambling for a new car so that I could feel in control and safe…. and a car can’t give me that level of security.  The following doubts started to creep in:  How much worse would it feel to ditch a 2015 than a 2006?  I’m spending a lot of time on country roads… what if I slide off into a ditch?  What if I damage my new car?  What if I hammer it so hard with kilometers that the life is gone out of it before I’m finished paying for it in 84 months?  How will I ever pay off my line of credit (that I’m doing pretty well at right now) if every time I make more money, I take on a new payment for something else?

Ultimately, after wrestling all those doubts to the ground and praying for direction and wisdom, I decided what to buy.

I am buying good snow tires, new windshield wipers, new headlight bulbs, and I’m getting my headlights polished.  Instead of putting my trust in a 30,000 dollar car, I’m going to put my trust in the only place it belongs, and trust that God has my back, and that maybe, just maybe… this can be the winter that I don’t panic every time I have to drive in the snow.  Maybe.

I discovered while I was car shopping that Toyota no longer makes the Matrix (what I’m driving now), and I found that I was very sad.  If they still made it, I’d likely have signed on the dotted line for an All Wheel Drive Matrix before any of the second thoughts could have set in.  So I guess… thanks, Toyota?

Today, while catching up on some TV I missed the last two days, I saw a commercial for the new Scion iM.

2016 Scion iM

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2006 Toyota Matrix
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Do you see the resemblance?  I think — when I’m finally ready for a car purchase to be the practical decision, and not one that I made out of fear and lack of control — it might be an AWD Scion iM.  Cuz…. pretty!

Or a Nissan Rogue….

Or, who knows, I did enter a contest to win a Jeep…. maybe I’ll get my Renegade after all.

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There’s nothing to fear except, well, everything.

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve stared at this blank “new post” screen probably 8 times in the last week.  I sit and I stare at it.  I might write the first paragraph of this post, and then I chicken out and I delete it.  We’ll see where I get today.

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that I am a great big chicken.  In life.  In pretty much everything that I do… I’m just scared.  I’ve been feeling restless and uneasy and it all boils down to this:  I’m terrified of my life.  Maybe not terrified.  Maybe that’s extreme.  I’m generally apprehensive of my life.  That’s better.

I digress.

I know I haven’t been given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  I get that this does not come from God, and that I should be fighting this with everything in me (partnered WITH God).  But I don’t seem to be able to bring myself to do it.

Know what I’m scared of?

Happy Go Lucky 358
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Everything.  Well, and…. Change.

You see…. things keep changing.  But I want them to stay the same.

My friends get engaged, they get pregnant, they get married, they go back to school, they get into serious relationships, they get new jobs, they move away, we never talk anymore…. these things just happen.

I got a new job.  Now I have to face my fear of driving in the winter because some of the schools I have to go to are 75-80 km away from my house.  Each direction.  And right on Lake Erie.  That means snow storms!  And that means fear.  And I don’t like it.

I’m afraid to follow wholeheartedly after God because I’m afraid of what He might ask me to do.  I just spent an entire summer at Camp where I was supposed to learn and grow, and instead I stayed the same.  I sat in my comfort zone and wouldn’t let myself leave it because… well… it’s scary.

And now I have this new job, and I’ve left my work friends, and I feel a touch like I’m in over my head.  And I don’t know how to process that because in 2014-2015 I was comfortable.  And now I’m not.

I’m afraid to try to play the guitar because what if it’s too hard?  Even though I learned to play the violin as an adult… my skills combined with God’s faithfulness in the past has proven that I legit have nothing to be afraid of, and that fear isn’t worth the effort or the hassle… yet here I am.

I’m afraid to try dating because… well that’s a whole other world of crazy right there.  Every time I do it I seem to end up with nothing but ridiculous stories that would make me more of a successful author than a successful wife.

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Dorothy Thompson Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live
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Karen Salmansohn When your faith is stronger than your fears, you can make your dream happen
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If you read this blog and you know me personally, please don’t feel like you need to call me and say “I read your blog.”  I am working through this.  But if you know me personally, you also know that I write better than I think or talk (which I don’t understand but whatever), and that this is how I process.  I am processing.  I don’t need to talk about it, because I’m doing the equivalent of that right now.

Fun Fact:  I’m also afraid to hit publish because this feels like a big confession right now… that I’m scared of everything… but it feels kind of like if I don’t hit publish and put it out there for the world to see and comment on (all 18 of you who actually read my posts…) then I’m going to have to pay someone for a therapy session where I sit and fumble my way through explaining this less articulately, when I could have just spat it out in writing on the interwebz and achieved the same result.  (longest sentence ever, man alive… maybe I’m not even a good writer…)

Ok…. time to hit publish save draft and go have a shower.  Cuz…. I might as well mull on this some more.

My Teeth Hurt :(

I went to the dentist tonight.  I haaaaaate going to the dentist.  And let me be clear… I don’t hate the dentist.  My particular dentist hasn’t done anything wrong, and all the dentists at my dentists’ office are actually quite understanding and respectful of the sheer amount of anxiety I go in with.

I’m also understanding of the fact that I am being a mega baby, and that my reaction to even having my teeth cleaned must make the hygienist feel terrible.  The wincing, the pulling away, the tears, the forgetting to breathe (yeah, that happened, the hygienist had to remind me to breathe)… you know… I can’t imagine they make her feel good about what she’s doing.  She just wants my teeth and gums to be clean and healthy, and I’m really grateful for the benefits that cover that.  It’s EXPENSIVE!

Please allow me to explain.

I’ve never really ENJOYED going to the dentist… I assumed it was a universal feeling.  However, I’ve spoken to people who absolutely love it because they LOVE that clean teeth feeling.

I, however, guess I prefer dirty, built up teeth…. it’s my personal philosophy that if ovens can be self-cleaning, why can’t my mouth?  (yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds)

When I was a kid, my Mom used to have to hold my hand through all dental procedures.  Tonight, after going to the dentist for a cleaning, I called my Mom who lives 4 hours away… and asked her to come down in two weeks to hold my hand through a filling.  She laughed at me…. probably for good reason.

I had a ROUGH experience with braces — 3 years of an abrasive, mean orthodontist who called me a baby when my gag reflex would kick in.  Three years of her leaving wires too long in the back of my mouth, and then telling me to tough it out when I would go in with bloody, cut up, swollen cheeks.  Those things, combined with many awful retainer fittings (I vomited on my orthodontist once… told her I was going to, she told me I was a baby and I needed to get over it), and a jaw condition where my jaw locks open, cracks, and gets very sore, have left me with some mega ‘dental anxiety.’

I had a cleaning this afternoon after work.  It was painful!  Letting someone dig tiny, sharp, metal hooks into my gums is not the way I want to spend any day.  It was kind of a bizarre experience, though… my dentists’ office has started offering fresh popped popcorn in the waiting area while you wait to be called in for your appointment…. so the entire time I’m having my teeth cleaned, all I could smell was popcorn… and all I could taste was blood.  Strange!

Long story short, because I don’t need to gripe about every single part of having my teeth cleaned… I have a cavity.  I was really hoping to not have any, because the needle is the worst part about the experience.

Due to the level of anxiety experienced during the cleaning, both the hygienist and the dentist suggested that my next appointment be done with the aide of nitrous gas.  I’m not sure how I feel about that… because I feel like there’s still going to be pain… but maybe there won’t be streaming tears?  It’s the needle I can’t do…

Before I wrap this post up, I feel the need to express that I don’t typically get overly anxious about too many things.  I mean, sure, I have a bit of anxiety over some things, but nothing like the dentist.  There was a time when I had significant anxiety over pretty much anything that could go wrong.  High school was rough.  I literally made myself sick.  Like… Mom took me to the doctor several times and the only thing multiple doctors and an ultrasound could come up with was “you need to chill out.”

Through much prayer, and much focused effort on ‘chilling out,’ I have gotten much better… but the pain from the dentist feels like it’s always going to make my heart race and cause me to forget to breathe laying in the chair.

What about you?  Is there anyone out there who actually likes going to the dentist?  Why?  Is it the clean teeth feeling?

Anyone feel my pain on the dental anxiety?  What do you do to conquer it?

Lastly… Has anyone had nitrous gas for their dental procedures?  I think I’ll be trying it for my next cleaning.  I may try to champ it without it for the filling in two weeks, though… the dentist said it’d take ten minutes without the gas, and twenty with it.


My Biggest Fears

I’m gonna have nightmares after I write this post.  I shall make it brief.

WordPress’s 365 Days of Writing Prompts says, “You’re locked in a room with your biggest fear.  Describe what’s in the room.”

If I were locked in a room with my biggest fear, there’d be centipedes crawling around all over the floor, probably up my legs…. moths flying overhead, probably landing on me…. and there would be multiple June Bugs stuck in my hair, buzzing incessantly while they squirm to get unstuck.

Oh, and I’d be alone and childless.

You know, no big deal.

AAAHHH I need to stop.

That is all.

Daily Prompt: Fear Factor

Today’s idea to write about is fear — either rational or irrational.

Here are two of my completely irrational fears.  I know they’re irrational.  That doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination mean that I have found a way to conquer them.

I would go so far as to call them phobias, to be frank.

In fact, I JUST Googled “phobia of centipedes” to try to figure out what the name for ‘fear of centipedes’ is called, but the link I clicked on to give me the answer brought me to a page with pictures of centipedes and I squealed and covered the screen.  My Mom came and covered the screen with a scarf for me so I could close the tab.  She’s helpful and enabling like that (she also didn’t know what I was freaking out over, and made fun of me when she saw).  One time, I found a centipede in my sink.  I cried, because I didn’t know what to do with it.  I tried to flush it down the drain, I really did… I even have a spray nozzle on my tap… but its creepy hundred-legged body just folded in half and scrunched helplessly in the food catcher part of the drain, and it didn’t go down.  I was on the phone with my Mom at the time, crying, screeching, telling her that since she was merely 20 minutes from my place to come for a visit, she would need to save me from the centipede so I could do dishes.

She told me to suck it up and that she was doing this for my own good.

I ended up filling my mop bucket with super hot water in the bathtub, holding the bucket over my head, and pouring with great force while screaming and crying.

Very thankfully, when I opened my eyes, I saw that the force of the downpour of water had in fact forced the creepy disgusting creature’s body into the depths of the sewer system beneath my home.  I plugged the drain and left it that way for days when not in use following that incident.

With an ounce of bravery just now, I have discovered by finding a link with no images that it is called Chilopodophobia.  Yup.  I have that.  I don’t know why.  I guess technically, aside from being creepy, disgusting, gross, hideous, and awful…. they haven’t really done anything at all to me.

I’m not including pictures.

I also have a fear, though not quite as intense…. I wouldn’t call it a phobia…. but I’m scared of moths.  Again, irrational, I know.  I dunno what moths ever did to me… something about their wings disintegrating when you touch them I think.  They’re almost the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  Almost.

Centipedes win every time.