And At The End Of The Day..

This past week has been an odd duck.

Earlier, I listed four things I was anxious about this week. The first one was the biggest – going to the dentist for an exam/cleaning after two years without. It was a new dentist and a new hygienist. So I had to go in there and try not to say too much about myself as I usually do, so that they could figure me out on their own without my strange input getting in the way:

“I don’t like jelly.”
“My body doesn’t know how to vomit, like a horse doesn’t.”
“Sometimes my gums bleed as if they’re crying.”
“I’m not afraid of needles, or sharks, or bee stings, or the worst kinds of physical pain. I’m not afraid of singing Hebrew to 400 people, or being in love with two. I’m no longer afraid there are certain things that cannot be moved past, for they can be grown against. Or around. We can hug our pain, and learn to bend with its sharp curves. We can soften the parts that stick out.”

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“I am afraid of being here, at the dentist (or any doctor). I’m afraid you’ll find something wrong, something ominous, something permanent. I’m afraid I can’t take direction when you tell me to relax. I’m afraid the freckle on my lip is skin cancer. (oh, it faded ages ago) I’m afraid the mosquito bite on my back is a tumor. I’m afraid they’ll figure out that I’m not strong. I’m afraid of being the weaker one, always. I’m afraid they’ll love their father more. I’m afraid of disappearing. I’m afraid it’s already started. I’m afraid every day of anyone telling me that I can’t be here all of the time, for a very long time, with these two”:

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(I feel the need to point out that this photo is an iPhone photo, unlike the rest, and it was taken months ago but not published.)

And what happens, when I listen to them? Des cries my name out when I walk out the door and crawls into my arms when I’m back. He says, “I lub ye.” (I love you too) Scarlet lays next to me and tells me she wants to snuggle with me for no less than two million hours. I go for days, weeks, and even months, in which I forget that I think I’m a fraud. Even during odd duck weeks, I forget. Maybe I can forget I think I’m a fraud with lip cancer, and a tumor, and fears as vast and wide as the sea, with kids who so clearly love their father more than me, and with people who pass me on the street and know I’m a no-talent with one glance.

I can forget these things because they aren’t true.

And at the end of the day, sometimes, often, all of that ridiculous junk just goes sailing out the window on a fall night breeze. Every morning I wake up and my first thoughts are never about what’s wrong. They’re about what is so right. Nearly every time.

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Two other things I’ve been anxious about during the past week followed more smoothly, since I had more of an “I got this” attitude. It was good anxiety, if that exists. It was a photo shoot for large family I had never met at a place that is nearly oppressively sunny. It was seeing long lost family members, and jogging up memories of old losses. I got this. I had that.

Next up: a potential roadtrip. To see a very long lost family member. My brother.

“Peekaboo!” See you soon..

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About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns., as well as Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead/QA Reader with Sway, and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


And At The End Of The Day.. — 116 Comments

  1. I face that same fear every time I go to any doctor too… oh yes, I do.

    But we always must walk toward our fear- always. And in the end, we walk through it.

    Praying your trip to see your brother is a long time blessing in the making, my friend. Praying so. <3

    • Oh, I know it Chris. Your recent journey chilled me to the bone because my stupid hypochondriac thoughts lead me to places I’m not at. Not now, anyway. And you – so brave and peaceful – well you’re in a good place this week. Thank God.

  2. I'm with Allie! I love that you start each day with the right thoughts. We might not be able to hang onto them through the day, but we get a fresh start every morning to try again. And, wow, your iPhone pics are better than most people's 'real' camera pics.

    • Thank you! That one was probably luck. I hate iPhone pics! I am usually disgusted with how slow and blurry the camera is, but I guess when you compare it to my pro camera, it will always fall short.

  3. I often feel like a fraud also. I went to my last craft show on Saturday, my first "real" indoor one, and immediately was like "I don't belong here," even though my jewelry was juried into the show.

    I love that you start each day on such a positive note, though! Even when the moments of self-doubt creep in, it was be so much worse if that's how each day started.

    • Yes, my mom is like that! She gets juried in and still feels self-doubt. I suppose many of us do.

      Feeling great is part of my morning thing, you know, like body brushing!

  4. Going to the dentist makes me sooo anxious! I'm glad you took it like a champ though and got over that anxiety. I've had weeks like that as well, seems like EVERYTHING makes me anxious and nervous. I'm glad the photo shoot turned out well and I can imagine it was great to shoot. I love when big families get together for portraits like that. My family needs to do this too.

    • Yes, I definitely loosen some of my photography rules when it’s tons of people. I want it to be picturesque and relaxed but I give up the ideas of starry-eyed closeups and everyone looking at the camera in every shot. It’s a comedy of errors but it strangely always works out ok.

  5. I don't mind the dentist, but man, I hate going to the doctor.

    Beautiful photos, as usual, Tamara. I have some pictures of my son sitting in the back of a kiddie jeep that are almost the exact same pose as yours. Boys!

    • haha! Right. Although his sister put him there. Kids today!
      I think when I go regularly, it’s not such an ordeal to go to the dentist. It was just that it was the first time in years and I was so afraid.
      It’s almost..relaxing if you just think about what you’re doing, and what you’d be doing if you were home with two kids..

  6. I so know what you mean… I love that you start your day with a wonderful mood, not worrying. I do not like the dentist either. Life can be so uplifting when you let all the good experiences happen! Lovely photos Tamara – even the iphone photo!

  7. I love that your first thoughts every morning are always what’s right! Yes! Absolutely! Go with that. I wish I could “go with that” all day long. Maybe I can today…:-)

    • It's partly amnesia, though! Even when things are at a crisis level, there's that sweet 30 seconds or so when you wake up and forget. Anyway, I'm not in a crisis, but I think mornings are always fresh and new. (hard too…)

  8. Yep, we all struggle with fears of insecurity.. or fears of whatever. Last night my college daughter’s laptop was stolen as she traveled back to her campus from visiting a friend. Midterms/papers this week – she was hysterical. I can’t fix it, but I was trying to stay calm…still am, actually… while trying to quell the anxiety! Wish “I had this”:)

    • Ouch, that is so tough. My good friend’s son’s iphone was stolen last week and I could really understand the rage she felt. I can still fix so many things..most things.

  9. Even your iPhone photos rock. Seriously, so glad it went well at the dentist and now I need to make an appointment for myself. God give me the strength to do this. I am not scared of much, but as I shared I am so not a fan of the dentist. My old one was definitely a bit on the rough side (my gums always bled), so maybe that is why, but still then I had braces, palette expander and retainers, too in my youth. So, I think I had enough teeth trauma when I was younger. That said, seriously you are so my hero with the photos and both kids truly put a smile on my face this morning here!! 🙂

    • My gums can bleed when they’re being gentle so just be thankful you don’t have that! Do it. It will all be ok. I’m now calling and making an appointment a week. Fall is always my time to catch up.

    • It was nice to think of their faces when I was at the dentist! It also helps to think that no one is asking me for anything or screaming my name. All I had to do was lay there and tune out the world. I could get used to that!

  10. I have the same doctor anxiety. It was pretty awful when I was pregnant. My OB had to talk me off of a ledge almost every appointment. My friends were always so excited about sonograms and I would dread them. I would just assume the worst would happen. Isn’t funny how you have to get over your Dr hangups when you have kids because you don’t want them to have that anxiety too!

    • Well it makes sense, right? So much can go wrong, and yet, so much goes right. I was nervous to the point of feeling ill at nearly every sonogram I’ve done.

  11. OMG! This is so me! Lol. I'm am fearful of dentist and opthomologist appointments because I'm always worried that I will learn that I'm going blind or have a head full of rotten teeth! Lol. Sad, but true. I've been wearing glasses since I was 5, so I'm just waiting to go blind. Lord help me!

    • haha, you won't go blind! I totally think that way too. I guess it would just be too terrible for words because I'd lose one of my careers! A blind photographer? Not so! And I couldn't look at my adorable kids' faces.

  12. Me and anxiety go way back. Sometimes I forget that excitement is different than anxiety since I’m so used to plain ole anxiety. You, my dear, are far from fraudulent. Look at all us readers who stick around day after day and savor your words and images? Yay for reuniting with siblings. I hope you enjoy it!

  13. How can a person who has given birth to two gorgeous children, who always look so deliriously happy, doubt herself EVER? I just don’t get it. Your pictures are gorgeous, your children are gorgeous, you and your husband are certainly not hard to look at – except for a couple of extra million in a sock drawer, you (you published author, you) have nothing to doubt about yourself! Keep a stuff (freckle-less) upper lip, everything works out the way it’s supposed to. 🙂

    • Ok, wait. I thought the previous comment was my favorite and now I see this. Tied for first? Thank you so much. I do want that million in a sock drawer, though. One day?

  14. You're spot on sister. It's not true. None of it's true. And wanting to nail a photo shoot. That's a different kind of fear – not even a fear at all I don't think. More like professional investment in doing a great job. Which of course you have. I still think of what you said here not long ago every time I sit down to bake, when I need that time to warm up my hands, heart, and brain before I begin. (I still owe you a package, I know).

    • Well I get these fears about the sun and about me freezing and getting no inspiration. It's weird how some of it is technical, which I can control, and some of it is artistic, which I can't control. And of course I can't control the weather but I can generally work with it.

  15. I used to be OK with the doctor. Then I got older and I worry a bit. I try to worry less now and pray more. So far, so good. 🙂

    I love how you turned things around in this post to believing all the good things about yourself. Our life is largely what we create and you've created a beautiful one. 🙂

  16. Ohhh….I know how you feel! My body does an auto fight or flight response with the dentist. I literally will be laying in the chair and have a panic attack. It’s a sad thing. Nothing else bothers me, I was a med device rep for years and sat thru surgeries, etc…no problem with blood or guts! Just a problem with the dentist…I’m a bit ODD.

    • haha, I was mostly afraid because it had been awhile. If you go regularly and there are no major issues, it's actually a bit relaxing. The cleaning, I mean. My husband says he doesn't mind it because it's progress to a better health. And I have to say that when I was laying there, and no one was shrieking (like my son is right now), it wasn't half bad!

  17. I’m with you in that I don’t really know how to vomit either!!! I’ve spent so many years forcing myself not to ever that I can’t do it!!! Nice!
    Glad the dentist went OK and you went home to your sweeties!!!
    I love the iPhone picture – the way Des looks stuffed into the back of the truck is awesome!!!

  18. Can I confess something?? Usually my OB/GYN doc sends one of those letters saying "It's time to schedule your yearly visit." Only, I realized sometime this summer that I haven't gotten one and I'm am pretty positive it's been well over a year. I keep finding excuses to put it off. "I'll wait until the kids are back in school" – they've been back in since late August. "I'll do it tomorrow" – then, I don't. Why am I putting it off?? I'm not sure, but I can tell you it has something to do with that anxiety – that "What if." I've got to make that call. This week. Hold me accountable, will you?? Sometimes, the what if is far worse than the truth!

    • You’ll have to hold me accountable too!! I am the same. My office merged with two other offices and become one super OB/GYN/Midwifery center. Anyway they always call to remind me and they didn’t this year. I think I used to be due in November but then I had Des so I was last checked in July or August of 2012, I’m sure. So I better call this week!

  19. I used to be afraid of the dentist, I hadn’t gone for a long time at one point too, but now I’m going every 6 months. so it’s all good.

    Hope everything else went well during your week 🙂

  20. Funny. Your strange input is exactly the same as mine. I can really work myself up into a tizzy with all that talk running around in my head. I feel like I'm often fighting the anxiety monsters. But I do. And it's ok. Better than ok usually:) Glad the dentist went well. Hope your reunion with your bro goes well!

  21. Going to the doctor, any doctor, gives me major anxiety. I have to go to the dentist for the time in three years next week. I’m preparing myself for the worst. I’ll probably walk out of there with some shiny, new fillings. Oh well. My own fault, really. I’ve accepted that.

  22. Isn’t that the way it is once parenthood hits? Always worried about anything that could take you away from your littles. I just try to push those thoughts out as quickly as possible. Best of luck meeting up with your brother. Hopefully it’s better than you could ever imagine!

  23. I played around for years without going to the dentist (the fear is real!), but then I found the perfect one and I can't wait to see him every six months!! If anyone can take on a challenging photo job, it is you!

  24. I fear the dentist. I have nightmares that they break my teeth when they clean them. lol I think thats when my fearful thoughts come out when it's dark and quiet.

  25. Yes, I will fly down and hold your hand! It won't be that bad. It was so much better than I imagined. I was so much calmer than I imagined.

    Ah, parenting. Whether they're two or 22. May the peace come back quickly.

  26. Good anxiety definitely exists. It pumps you up, makes you alert, helps you perform better. Sometimes it feels the same in my stomach as bad anxiety though – my brain has to tell my body that they are different.

    • I know what you mean! I used to call the good anxiety "mellow butterflies." The bad anxiety is "insane hornets." Sometimes, but not often, they sorta blend together. The thing about the good anxiety is that it's released the second I complete whatever it is I set out to do. The bad anxiety doesn't really dissipate. It morphs and clings to me.

  27. I can handle anything but the dentist. I get such extreme anxiety that anything more than a small touch and I have to have a local. I just will not be able to get through it. I haven’t been in two years either. I should try again but I’m afraid. Maybe since you’ve been through ti recently you can fly down and hold my hand because people who don’t have that type of anxiety over the dentist just don’t get it.

    I would love waking up with thoughts of what’s right but that’s just not where my heart is at these days. My 22 yo hasn’t been home or called in two days. I wake up wondering if he’s okay. I know he’ll be home soon and then I can go back to peaceful nights and mornings.

  28. Whew Tamara, you always put lumps in my throat. I have so many irrational fears that I worry about on a daily basis as well. I wonder if everyone has fears like this? And you made me laugh at the beginning, I also over-share and in a very strange way. I bet we would have the most fantastically awkward conversation if we ever met in real life haha! I hope you have a great road trip if you end up going, it sounds very interesting.

    • I totally agree. It would be amazing, and probably so awkward that it wouldn't be awkward. Or awkward in that good way and not in that silent, "Why are we here?" way. 'Cause that would never happen with us.

  29. Um, I really need to go to the dentist.

    I feel like a fraud almost every day, at least once a week. Not really good at anything, especially what matters.

    Happy road tripping!

  30. I think you have a fear that so many people have – especially when they are a mom. I was talking to my own mom about it the other day. She is very afraid to go to the doctor and she told me that she only developed that fear when I was born.

  31. Those sweet faces. I love Des' peek a boo shots. I have been anxious too. A new home, a new life, finding a new career path and letting go of Reagan to a daycare. It's all so new and exciting but very angst ridden at the same time.

    Just remember to breathe! And then do it again.



    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  32. Oh Tamara, this struck a chord with me… not just because I'm overdue for a dental visit, but because of all of the very same irrational fears that run amok in my head sometimes. I love your honesty – and your bravery.

    And Des in the trunk? Awesome 🙂


    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)

    (¸.•´ (¸.•`¤… Jennifer

    Jenn's Random Scraps

  33. We all have fears. I fear I was dying the past 2 days which is why I haven't been around much. I've been suffering with these debilitating headaches that don't seem to want to go away. I home today because the doc sent me home and I should be relaxing/sleeping but I missed seeing your photos. I lub ye too. And remember, you got this! That should be an interesting post, seeing your long lost brother. Can't wait to see pics of the family. Happy Terrific Tuesday.

  34. I face so many of these same fears and many more. Going to the dr now, since the stroke, I'm always sure there is something much worse going on. Dr's just scare me…any type of Dr. I don't know what it is about them, but they scare me. I think we all have the same fear when it comes to our children. Will they not love me as much. My Lexi I didn't have to worry about, I was all she ever had, and she always reminds me that I was enough. Up until my husband came into our life every fathers day Lexi would have me turn around and say "Happy Fathers Day" and give me a little gift. Why did I have to turn around you ask….her reasoning was "men don't have boobs". I'm blessed! That is what I have to remember every morning….I am truly blessed!

  35. I lub ye! Truly and really even though it's so unfair that even your iPhone photos are good (grr). I'm glad that when you wake up, you remember all of the stuff that is so right. You're amazing. I definitely think that there's a good anxiety and a bad one. The good one is motivating and makes us faster and smarter and more efficient. The bad one just eats our souls and makes us feel less than.

    I really look forward to hearing about your visit with your long lost brother.


    • I lub ye too! My iPhone photos are pretty crappy usually. I can’t deal with the slow shutter speed and the lack of light and all around crappiness!! That one was a fluke. Your descriptions of good/bad anxiety are like magic!

    • haha, my best friend from high school told me the gyno was so much less scary than the dentist. They’re both scary but the dentist is probably less likely to find something serious.

  36. Having braces (twice) mostly cured any anxiety I had about the dentist – simply from going so often and experiencing all of the things that go along with that.

    I have those moments of questions and doubts, too – but like you, thankfully the first things I remember in the morning are the good things.

    Hope you enjoy your roadtrip. 🙂

  37. Oh my word, I am cracking up at the conversation with the dentist! That is so funny! Hey can you write a tutorial on the art of taking awesome selfies…. yours are amazing!!! So beautiful!

  38. I most definitely feel like a fraud most days on so many levels. Funny thing is that this week, I've felt less so and more confident in the direction I'm headed. I don't know if it was all the yoga last week and having that time and space and less noise in my head than usual. I do think that fear can be a pretty important thing in our life because of this –> "I’m no longer afraid there are certain things that cannot be moved past, for they can be grown against." We move and learn and grow from our fear. I hope that your road trip and visit with your brother goes well.

    • I think I’ve been headed there too – more confident. I don’t know if it will ever be 100% or if it even should be actually, but I like being at maybe 60% – any less than that and I’m paralyzed into complete inaction.

  39. Thank you! It's tomorrow. It's funny how these experiences do cure our anxiety. I've had gum surgery – I mean what else can be that scary once you start going regularly again, that is?

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