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!
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.