I had reached my pain threshold, a point I didn’t think possible.

I could no longer bear the sleepless nights, the inability to chew on both sides, or the sharp, throbbing aches caused by a change in temperature.

Now, having endured the tedious wait, walk, lay back and examination, my dentist delves right into her no smoking ad pitch. But, as I listened, I couldn’t help but think to myself, no shit Sherlock, it’s almost been a year with my chipped tooth, of course, the smoking will irritate the exposed nerve.

And as I drizzle remnants of the blood infused mouthwash, set aside the half-filled cup; then turn to face my dentist, I listen as she recites the set price and procedures. She details how fortunate I am for “acting on the damaged tooth now as opposed to a later date.”

It’s the second of three procedures – I’m asked to open and relax my jaw wide for the numbing of my gum. “Raise your hand if you feel any pain,” she says. I extend my right arm and gesture a response with my thumb. As the ET finger, looking needle is pressed against my gum, I feel an uncomfortable, but manageable twinge. I close my eyes and think to myself, if that’s the level of pain I’m going to experience, this will be a walk in the park. And as i lay in peace, unable to feel one side of my jaw, my dentist decides to blindside me with a paring knife. Or, what certainly felt like a paring knife. I could not comprehend the pain since my gums were supposedly numb. So, another dose was applied, and another, and one more until my dentist decided its best we reschedule. My pulp tissue was inflamed, and in her words, “your nerve is angry today.”


Dear Iyanu ‘Lawrence’ Folashade,

Happy birthday, it’s you, me seventeen years on from today. I’m sure you, or no one for that matter, wants to read a letter on their birthday; so, I’ll keep this short. I have come to appreciate your innocence, your impulsive and sometimes chaotic tendencies. You are curious, intrigued by the complexities of everyday reality. You see, feel and dive heart first into the unknown, and it’s time I afford you the freedom you deserve. The freedom to communicate, not only what you see, but what you feel.

The memories of self-harm: depression, anxiety; the sleepless nights in search of the will to live. Our thoughts, bleak, riddled with fear – we acted out – subscribing to the labels of a crude, loudmouth, rebellious comic. And it was in our actions that we found comfort. Doing everything to be seen; but, rarely for who we are. And without our audience, we felt alone, separate, disconnected from a society full of boisterous, aggressive, funny kids who capture just as much attention as you. 

I said I’d keep this short, and so I’ll end things here. Through acceptance of our pain, our trauma and suppressed truth, we found understanding. A long-ass trail headed towards a little soul town named freedom. And along its path, we stopped by several two-way discipline spots that serve as altered perceptions of reality, and that’s how you found yourself reading this letter.

See you soon,