Ruthless & Toothless

25 Jan

The other day I made a huge financial decision. I decided to cash out my 401K from the magazine publishing job I had before I got laid off. I called the 1-800 number and the first thing the woman said to me was “Are you sure you want to do this? You can just carry it over to your next job”. It felt amazing to say to her “Yes ma’am I do want to cash out my 401K and no I do not want to carry it over to my new job because I am self-employed and I wont be working for anyone else for a long time”. She didn’t give a damn about my newfound career independence, but she was all too happy to let me know that I had to pay a $35 processing fee, a 20% penalty for cashing it out before I turned 55, and another 30% charge for the IRS so they wont tax me. After all the damn penalties I ended up with a little bit of change; enough to tide me over for a little while.

I had big plans for that money. I want to buy a dress form, a sewing desk and chair, and most importantly, new sewing machine — that was until I woke up in the middle of the night with a throbbing pain on the left side of my face. We are talking about a pain that stretched from my jaw to my ear. A paralyzing pulsating agony that prevented me from putting on blush this morning. So I threw on my Marc by Marc Jacobs  shades, covering my puffy eyes and blush-less face, and trekked to the dentist to get the 411 on this ruthless tooth.

Now that I am underemployed not only do I no longer have the benefit of a company that matches my 401K contribution dollar-for-dollar, but I no longer have medical or dental insurance. So I dragged my sad self to the Howard University College of Dentistry. As a proud HU Alum, I am all to happy to support the school, but getting your teeth done at a dental school is like getting your hair done at a cosmetology school. After filling out beaucoup paperwork I was seen by a student dentist. The dentist was my friend and sorority sister Jessica. Jess is in her last year of dental school and already has a job offer pending graduation. She examined me and determined that I have a cavity in my wisdom tooth. Since wisdom teeth usually get pulled anyway, there is no need to get a filling. They are just going to yank that sucker out.

While I was laying there being examined all I could think was “Here I am with no dental insurance, being examined by a student who is going to graduate in a few months and make tons of cash“. Something about that caused a pang of jealousy in the pit of my stomach. Jessica has always wanted to be a dentist and I’ve always wanted to be a designer. While both our dreams take determination hers requires some successful years of schooling while mine has no set path. So there I lay with my mouth open wide pondering this unsure future of mine; one that begins with putting my new sewing machine on hold, having no dental insurance and paying cash for my critical care.

After popping 800 mg of Ibuprofen, I got home and looked at my old dusty sewing machine. While I’d love a new one, this dental work deserves my immediate attention; and funds. Next Thursday I’m getting my wisdom tooth pulled and will be walking the streets ruthless and toothless; but I’ve got to count my blessings. I have a sewing machine that works and the ability to create and pursue my dreams.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Ruthless & Toothless”

  1. z January 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    “DREAMS”
    by Langston Hughes
    Hold onto dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is like a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.

    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.

  2. z January 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Dreams
    by Langston Hughes

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.

    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.

  3. Beautiful Nightmare February 2, 2010 at 1:09 am #

    At no point in time should jealousy cross your mind. What’s meant for one is not always meant for the other. Jessica is doing exactly what she wants to do and she probably wont make as much money as you or vice versa, but at least you both will be doing what make YOU happy. Maybe she can be your official dentist. You know her and can trust her with your mouth.

    Praises go up….Blessings come down

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: