gap

When I was 12 going on 13, I was kind of a messed up kid. I was dealing with my father remarrying and in my mind abandoning us for a whole new family, I was still hiding the fact that a neighbour had molested me and I was facing the terrifying prospect of starting Grade 9 at a brand new school. And I had a gap between my two front teeth.

While that list up top should have been tops on the priority list of un-messing me, it was my teeth that became the focus of my insecurities. I BEGGED my mother to take me to our dentist to have caps put on to get rid of the offending gap. For some reason that I still don't understand, she agreed to this, and before I started school that year my gap was gone.

As it turns out, no amount of dental work takes the target off your back once you are get in the cross hairs of the 'wrong' crowd. I won't bore you with the details of teenage cruelty, but let's just say that high school was not a great time in my life. I rejoiced at the end of each year of it, because that meant one less class of the mean girls and jackasses picking on me.

Fast forward to sometime in late 1998 and having grown up and lived and come to love myself a bit more, I decided it was time to let my gapped tooth smile shine for all the world to see. I was gonna rock that thing Lauren Bacall and Madonna style!

I went to my then dentist and told him what I wanted. What seemed to me to be an easy fix (take of the caps), was in fact, not possible. After too many years bonded to the front of my teeth, the old caps had to be drilled off and the only option I had then was to have full crowns put in place.

I remember being quite disappointed about this. I really wanted to own that gap of mine and be proud of it. To reclaim a teeny tiny part of me that I had lost so many years ago. This wasn't just about my teeth, it was about being proud of myself and celebrating my fight back to the land of self-esteem. Alas, this was not meant to be and crowns were made and new front teeth I got.

Those chompers have served me well up until now and it seems I have a new "gap" to deal with. My advancing age, an annoying case of receding gums and a new dentist who swears she can make my smile even better, all added up to me sitting in her office for three hours this morning, shedding the old crowns and prepping for my new, NEW front teeth.

So why exactly am I telling you all about my dental history?

I am not sure really.

Maybe it's because sitting in that reclined dentist chair, watching The Marilyn Denis Show on the TV in the ceiling, brought back memories of the reasons I wanted to get rid of that gap in the first place. Maybe it is because in those days, I was so worried about being made fun of, that my only thought was to get rid of any imperfection that I thought would give the mean kids more ammo against me.

And maybe because I was thinking about this so much today, that this video and the penetrating voice of the incredible Shane Koyczan hit me square in the teeth!!

Please watch it, and share it and remember it.

As I remember that gap-toothed tween from so long ago and give her a big huge hug and tell her she is BEAUTIFUL!

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/59956490[/vimeo]

Thank you,

Natasha~

 

P.S. This whole getting new, new front teeth is my silver lining for today (#10) ... I have been waiting for a few years to do this and now was the time.

 

The GASP heard across the world...(or at least the living room).

There is not much in this world that can physically shock or rattle my husband. He is a physician and has done his fair share of rotations in emergency rooms and ICUs and has seen a lot of bad sh...um, stuff. So the other night when from the other room I heard a HUGE GASP and subsequent Oh MY GAWD! I was somewhat shocked and ran into the living room. Seems as he was perusing his usual before bed news websites, he came across this.

Cue, HUGE GASP number two from me!!

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This is a picture of 4-year-old Maddy Jackson on the TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras in a Dolly Parton costume. Complete with 'C-cup' padded boobs and a padded butt to boot! The clip above of her mother explaining the 'costume' is even more disturbing and uh, yeah, her "enhancements" are hysterical - NOT!!

This story has been the lead headline all week all around the world. Some people have said that this kind of behaviour, outside of being just plain wrong, is criminal. Is it? I don't know. What I do know is that this type of pageant lifestyle and the big hair, big make-up, half-shirts, high heels and "look at me I am so pretty, please give me the big-ass crown and the $500.00 cash to fan out for the cameras" teaches our baby girls one thing and one thing only.

YOU ARE ONLY HERE AND ONLY VALUED FOR YOUR LOOKS AND YOUR FAKE SMILE!

Good Gawd people! Are we really no further along in our views of girls and women and the females of our species that THIS is what we teach our young?

Now yes, I realize that this pageant crowd is a small percentage of the world and to each their own, and yadda-yadda-yadda...but, these people have a television show and an international viewing audience and it is ALL over the interwebs. This story has been picked up by news sites in the UK, in Africa and in India too.

Pageant mothers will defend their decisions to put their children into pageants because it teaches them poise and gives them confidence. Others are quoted as saying ""She learns skills such as going out in a crowd, not to be shy, and to be herself while people are watching and focusing on her." (1)

And even other moms are more blunt and will just tell you, "My daughter looks like Barbie. I tell her to exploit it. This is your life; you take what you have and run with it." (1)

BEING herself? She looks like BARBIE? Since when do hair extensions, fake eyelashes, a pound of make-up and a fake spray-on tan, not to mention the fake teeth (because God forbid one happened to fall out right before a competition), constitute being oneself?  I'll say it again, all of these things teach our girls just one thing...

Being yourself is NOT good enough.

It is a line that is pushed and then crossed over and over and over in the pageant world, but even in everyday life with our children, is one that we need to be aware of and ready to address at any moment. Our little people are inundated with media and fashion images and insidious marketing messages daily and we need to be there to help them interpret these and understand what is being said or portrayed.

Take my daughter for example. She is a month away from her third birthday and as of late has taken a keen interest in my morning make-up routine. She insists on putting on 'her' make-up too and emulating what I am doing (this mostly involves taking one of my brushes and doing whatever I am doing, sans the actual make-up). And even though she has not directly asked me any questions about 'why' I wear make-up, she does ask what the products I am using are for. "What's this one for Mommy?", "That one is for your cheeks." "What's this one for Mommy?", "That one is for your eyes." I tell her what I am doing, but nowhere in the conversation do I say anything along the lines of the make-up 'making me beautiful". My daughter, and my son for that matter too, are learning from my husband and I that true beauty comes from within. Your heart, your mind, your soul-these are the things that make someone beautiful. Make-up and even clothes are only things that can help you feel beautiful. And even then, truly feeling beautiful still has to come from the inside and shine outwards.

Why is it so hard for these pageant parents and the judges and organizers for that matter, to set new guidelines for kids in pageants? Why can we not celebrate individuality, their true personalities, their authentic, unadorned little selves? Are we so far gone that we can not even see true beauty in our own children anymore? Bare mid-rifs, botox and now boobs and butts....I for one am afraid to ask what's next!

And....uhm...helloooo....did any one of these people ever actually SEE 'Little Miss Sunshine'?

Frustrated and flabbergasted (and not really digging TLC these days),

Natasha~

 

1. The whys and woes of beauty pageants. William J. Comrie. Harvard University Gazette.
2. Toddlers and children beauty pageants – Risk factors for severe psychological turmoils. Dr. Lucia Gosaru. Psychology Corner.

 

 

 

30 Days of Truth: Day EIGHT - Someone who has made my life hell or treated me like shit.

I am back. Sorry for the '30 Days' hiatus. Christmas, birthdays, 40 feet of snow in Alberta  (only a slight exaggeration) and a hip injury take a lot out of a gal! (Disclaimer:  Uh-oh, why does she need a disclaimer?  Well, cause there are a few cuss words in this post, it is not for your kids to read and if you know me or anyone in this post, well.....just deal with it, I make no apologies for my truthiness!)

Day Eight is about someone who has made my life hell or treated me like shit.  My initial thought was, really, I can only pick one? So, no, I did not just pick one, I thought I would make a list....it could be a long list... I do have, ahem, 39 years worth of shit to dredge up!!

So here it is, a list of the people and situations that I wish I had had the maturity, insight or ummm, balls to handle differently.  If you are on this list, well, then I am super surprised that you are reading this blog! If you are not on the list, then aren't you glad to know that I keep these kinds of lists (insert evil laughter here)!

It is all People's Choice awards-show like, so feel free to comment on who you think the winner(s) should be!

And the nominees are:

1. The kid in grade six who thought it was all cool to punch a girl in the stomach.  It is NOT and I kind of hope you are bald and living in your mother's basement now.

2. My mother's second husband.  I really hope there is a special section of hell for drunk-ass motherfuckers like you who call 14 year old girls, and I quote, "two-bit whores" and who trash said 14 year old's bedroom in a booze-induced blackout! (That marriage lasted all of 14 months and we hightailed it outta there as soon as we could!)

3. The guy who told me I was 'pleasantly plump' right before we had relations (at far too young an age I might add).  Do you know that at that very moment, you killed any ounce of self-esteem that I had left in me?

4. The bully/most popular/got away with EVERYTHING guy in high school who picked me up and threw me, not once, but twice into something hard and painful (a bus seat and bathroom door to be specific). You were a mean bastard and I kind of wish ill on you even though I know you are doing just fine Dr. Bully, DDS.

5. My first long-term boyfriend and supposed best friend. Thank you so much for sleeping with each other (on more than one occasion). That made me feel oh, so special. Fuckers.

6. My on again, off again, on again, off again, on again, off again, on again, off again, I thought you were my soul-mate, why did you hurt me so bad and so often, university boyfriend (who may just be reading this right now). You may not have made my life hell, but I just wish that I had had the self-awareness then to tell you that I deserved better.

7. The woman that I worked with who spread rumors that I was sleeping with the boss.  NO, I was just BETTER than you bitch and you could not deal with that!

And...hmmm, I think that is it actually. (Oh, I could name a few more, but then I would just be getting petty.)

To be honest (and this all goes back again to Doc Brown in "Back to the Future" and messing with the space-time continuum), if all of these things had not happened to me, would I be where I am today?  Would I be the strong, confident (I say with a smirk), 'I know where I have been and I know where I want to go', kind of person that I am? I really don't think so. I truly believe all things happen for a reason, even the crappy things.

So take your lumps folks, cause it is true...what does not kill us, makes us stronger.  And smarter. And able to start a blog and tell the whole Internet about that time when you did a bad, bad thing....

Natasha~