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,