Waking up with anxiety, or how my beard trimmer scared the bejesus out of me

Me post-anxiety, with my goatee.

Me post-anxiety, with my nice, trim goatee.

This morning, I woke up to a major anxiety attack. On my personal scale of 10, I’d call this one a 7. I was shaking, my heart was pounding, and I could barely speak, even to myself.

I knew what the cause was. But first, a little back story. I recently grew a goatee. I really just wanted a change, and people have told me I look good with it. But I realized that if I want to keep it looking nice, I’d have to trim it occasionally, and my old razor wouldn’t do. So, last night, I bucked up and bought myself a beard trimmer. This morning, I planned to use it for the first time.

And THAT is what scared me. Yes, that’s right. My beard trimmer scared me. What if all the parts aren’t there? What if the instructions are shitty, and I can’t figure out what parts go where? What if I shave myself all wrong and wind up looking like some degenerate alien from a horror movie? 

I’m almost embarrassed to say how normal this thinking is for me. For pretty much anything that I have to open up and assemble in some way, my nerves shoot up through the roof.

One of my doctors who specializes in anxiety always tells me that there’s really only one way to overcome it: you have to do whatever it is that scares you. So, this morning, after I did some breathing exercises to calm myself down a bit, I began opening the beard trimmer package.

I brought one of those gizmos that could trim not only my beard, but almost any kind of hair on my body. As I happen to be very hairy, I figured this was a good thing. To my relief, the package included pictures to show what nozzle I should use to shave the arms, the legs — and yes, even pubic hair. (Let’s just say the photo did not go very far down, but I got the picture.) As the most commonly used razor head was already attached, all I had to do was push the button.

And just like that, I started trimming my goatee. I remembered the advice of a friend of mine who has a goatee: in order to trim without removing the hair, just hold the shaver a little further away from the skin surface. That’s what I did. In about 2 minutes, a had a nicely manicured goatee — and calm nerves.

I’m proud to say that I’m no longer afraid of my beard trimmer. But I know damn well that my anxiety will kick up again with the next new gizmo I face. I’ll be nervous. But, at least with nice, trim tufts of face hair, I’ll be a better looking nervous wreck.

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