Based in Noblesville, Indiana, Curtis writes the syndicated humor column, Grammar Guy. His hilarious-yet-thoughtful book will be available in May 2020.

Scouting Your Underlash

Scouting Your Underlash

Photo by  Daniil Kuželev  on  Unsplash

So I’ve got this weird thing that happens to me. Maybe you’ll understand, maybe you won’t.

You see, I have a hair the same consistency and color as my eyelashes that grows right under my lower eyelid under my left eye. Because of my genetic mutation (red hair), I have light blonde eyelashes, so my “underlash,” as I call it, is almost imperceptible to others, but I know it’s there. And, when it grows, I can see it most of the time in my field of vision. It’s like that fly that buzzes around and lands on the movie screen, that, once you notice it, it’s all you watch for the rest of the movie. I keep trimming my underlash or plucking it, but it always comes back.

Don’t you hate those kinds of things? Not underlashes–though they are infuriating. I’m talking about (in a more general sense) those things that follow us wherever we go (seen or unseen) that impede us from success. It could be the doubting voice in your head, convincing you that you’ll never be good enough. Maybe it’s someone else’s achievements with which you constantly compare yourself.

My underlash is a literal underlash, but my figurative underlash is anxiety and depression. Yay! I’ve officially struggled with them for over three years now. These conditions, like the extra eyelash growing under my eye, are almost impossible for others to see, but they’re with me all the time. Through counseling, daily practices and medication I’m able to limit anxiety and depression, but they’re always there, lurking under the surface, looking for opportunities to take me down.

Courage isn’t the lack of fear, but moving forward in spite of it.

Courage isn’t the lack of fear, but moving forward in spite of it. Your fear (like my underlash) may always be with you–your Achilles’ heel, your thorn in the flesh, your cross to bear–but it shouldn’t be the thing that leaves you paralyzed. You’re not doomed; you’re just human.

Most sports have scouting reports on their opponents. They will watch game film and analyze every little mannerism of their opponent. Then the sports guys attempt to determine how your unique strengths and weaknesses match up against the other team’s, exploiting advantages and creating proactive defensive measures to minimize their own deficiencies.

Do you have a scouting report for your underlash? Do you already know what causes it to rear its ugly head? What are the proactive measures you can take that will not only lessen but even neutralize your opponent?

Although your underlash isn’t the boss of you, it certainly is your foe. You need to equip yourself with ways to proactively keep the chaos monsters at bay. You need to be brave and keep moving forward.

What helps me? Ignoring the haters (internal or external) and surrounding myself with a supportive community of friends who cheer me on. Seeking counseling. Taking time to meditate and journal. Physical exercise. Having a creative project to work on.

Now, when I am doing all these things at once, I’m unstoppable. However, many of these daily practices get neglected or pushed aside as soon as something else comes up.

If something is tripping you up or blocking your path forward, study it. Find what you can do to to neutralize it. Then move forward bravely. Underlashes are dumb, but we all have to deal with them. 

There is a correct way to load the dishwasher.

There is a correct way to load the dishwasher.

Looking Forward to Right Now

Looking Forward to Right Now