Dental work is uncomfortable and expensive but if you like chewing your food instead of swallowing it whole you have to suck it up.
So a year and half ago, within six months, I had two teeth pulled, one in front and one in back. Until my first implant last year, I seriously felt like a character from the Beverly Hillbillies and NOT Ellie Mae. So practicing my best Mona Lisa smile I snuck self-consciously back out into the world.
Well, things have changed since then because last Friday I was fortunate enough to be able to begin having the second implant placed for the tooth missing in back. I lay there with my mouth being stretched like Silly Putty, the grinding of the drill vibrating in my ears, when I recalled two people I had met soon after both teeth had been pulled.
The first person was a young man in his twenties, an employee at a store I was shopping in, he approached me and I was shocked. He was missing teeth like I was, but his smile was so sincere it stopped me. I think my immediate reaction was, whoa you are missing some teeth and you don’t care. The second person was an older woman who worked at a park entrance. Her grin was so toothless and free that you couldn’t help but love her spirit. I could see that they were lovable and beautiful without teeth. Why couldn’t I believe that I was?
My body has done amazing things for me and I refuse an immature outlook that tells me because something doesn’t work like it used to or look like it used to, that I am less. We all breakdown at some point.
Those two people helped me accept the fact that I am aging, flawed, worth knowing and loving with or without teeth, and so is everyone else. Because they accepted themselves as they were, it encouraged me to change my self-perception.
Is there anything you can accept about yourself today so you can smile more?