This one is not so easy for me…
A week or so ago a video of Dustin Hoffmann went viral in which he described his experience of being perceived as a woman while prepping for his role in Tootsie. It was very moving because he broke down when he realized that he couldn’t look as beautiful as he wanted to. He realized that, as a woman, he would be passed over based on his appearance, despite being an interesting and worthwhile person in so many ways. He realized that he, himself, had done that to many women who did not meet his physical requirements of beauty.
I found this particularly moving because I‘ve been struggling somewhat with my appearance since my top eight front teeth were damaged in March. A friend of mine inquired about my “love life” recently, I sort of snorted and replied, “Hahahhaha, it would take a very special or very un-special man to look past my banged up grill.”
The funny part about all this is I am not a fussy gal. Before this happened, you were just as likely to see me in sweats and no make-up, as you were to see me done up. I’ve never been a perfect specimen but I was pretty and had learned over the years that I cleaned up well when I wanted to. I just didn’t worry about it. Now I do. I am much more careful about putting myself together because I don’t feel like myself without my smile. I wear a decent appliance that covers my missing front tooth but when I start to smile, I can feel my top lip getting close to the top edge of the device and I quickly yank it back down. It really sucks being this self-conscious all the time. And before I had the appliance, I did notice a difference in the way people reacted toward me.
I do know one special guy who never makes me feel self-conscious about the way I look, my dad. A few weeks ago, he had to have a tooth pulled. My dad is a handsome guy but he had a completely different attitude about it. He made pirate noises and seemed to get a kick out of flashing his space at my mother. He started referring to himself as Big Gap and me as Little Gap. “You call that a gap, Cindy. That’s not a gap. This is a real gap!” He even convinced me to take this photo. No small feat. It is the first one since I fell.
I am not sure I can be as laid-back about my damaged teeth as Dad is, but this dental reconstruction is going to be a long haul and the final result is not guaranteed. Soon I will have to wear braces for the first time in my life. So, I realize it would be a good idea to figure how to handle the situation with grace and humor. Maybe that is the most natural beauty you can acquire. I haven’t got it all figured out yet but I am so grateful that I have Dad to light the way for me.
Love and blessings to all,
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You are such an inspiration to people (me especially) and I can feel your pain. I lost teeth also due to bone loss and had to have very expensive dentistry done and it was very a long process. On July 1st I finally got the last bit done and I feel much better about myself now. Your grill will be back better than ever and you will be smiling just like me more than you ever did before.
Healing thoughts heading your way. ~ Margaret
Thanks Margaret for the kind words and healing thoughts! I love hearing that. It helps to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
You were and still are beautiful inside and out. And a great friend! Xoxo
Thanks Jenny 🙂 You are beautiful and a great friend too!
You are bright shining light, super strong, and super inspiring. Thank you for sharing this whole unexpected journey. There’s a reason, if we don’t know it just yet.
Oh my gosh! Thanks so much Shawne. Thank you for reading and writing me. I appreciate your time and feedback!
What an awesome article! Thank you for writing it and doing what you do! Also, please let your Dad know that his support and great attitude is heart warming! You are a beautiful woman both inside and out!
Thank you so much Lori! Will do! 🙂 I am so glad you liked the post.
Cynthia, I’ve really enjoyed reading all your posts about your experience… I can only imagine what it must be like. I am very, very self conscious about my appearance and there is nothing “physically” wrong with me. I grew up being told I was ugly by my parents… And then in school I was labeled the “dog” of the school by one boy in particular that had a lot of “power” over other boys… So I was teased and bullied for several years. I cannot imagine the bravery it takes you to go out in public where people can be so unbelievably cruel. Why we should be judged by our appearance – which generally we have no control over – makes no sense to me. I prefer to get to know someone and see their inner beauty or not.
My youngest daughter has a friend, a young man in his mid 20’s. When he was a teen he was in a horrible car accident that destroyed his mouth and some of his face. Upon first seeing him, he is hard to look at… His parents did not have insurance and so the Drs did the best they could with him. He is unable to work as no one wants to hire him. It is heartbreaking. I feel so bad for him.
You are so fortunate to have a father who supports you in the way he does!!! And your beauty – both inner and outer – shines through!!! I will look forward to more of your journey… But know that I admire you for your sharing your story… The honesty and grace with which you live your life is truly inspiring!!!
Thank you Cheryl for all your kind words and for sharing your stories and experiences! You are so lovely. I am indeed fortunate and have much for which I am grateful.
Cynthia, you look awesome! Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. People who love you don’t see your flaws.
I have an arm issue, I never wear sleeveless tops in public. Even when I’m at my goal weight I feel like my arms are truck driver big. But I’ve been thinking a lot about people who walk around in confidence. It actually makes them look beautiful, even if they are not what would be considered a classic beauty. So I went to my last Yoga class sleeveless, and decided to do it without being self conscious. And you know what? My Yoga teacher specifically approached me to comment about how far I’ve come & how much progress I’ve made since I started 6 months ago. Referring to my performance, my confidence and my appearance! She wanted to know if I could see all my progress!
So keep on smiling with those beautiful eyes and your lovely personality that shines right through! You are still beautiful inside & out! Thanks for your wonderful posts & that awesome picture.
Thanks so much Jodi! Thank you for sharing your story too. What wonderful affirmation you received from your yoga instructor after you found it within yourself.
Cynthia, you are beautiful! That gap is just that… a gap between you and the jerks who have an issue with it! Your friends and family don’t see the gap. As your friend I see your sparkling eyes and beautiful hair. You have a wonderful shine about you and the teeth are just there. You’ll get your teeth the way you like them one day and then you will see yourself the way your friends and family see you!
Thanks Christine! 🙂
Cynthia, as a young man I worked for my father. He had a carpenter who worked for him by the name of Frank who I worked with almost daily. Frank was an older man with a wonderful sense of humor who never got angry about anything and always managed to brighten the day. What I think makes this all relevant is the fact that Frank only had two teeth, one on the top and one on the bottom and never had dentures because they hurt him. The missing choppers didn’t bother him one bit and if a man can have “inner beauty” I would have to say he had it. He is no longer with us but I will always remember his kind sense of humor and how he made the day pass quickly the missing teeth made no difference at all. I guess what I’m saying here is it’s not what we see that makes a person who he or she is but what is inside that person that makes all the difference and, if you don’t mind me saying so your “outer beauty” hasn’t been marred in the least. So there’s the “guy” point of view, inner beauty AND outer beauty and no need to be self conscious.
Awwww! Thank you Arthur for sharing about Frank …and the kind words! I really appreciate you reading my blog and giving the “guy point of view.” You’re a good egg!