Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Tooth

I was 18 the first time. My parents had made an appointment for me at the dentist during a break from college. I sat in the dentist's chair, overlooking Cherry Creek, and the dentist said, "So, your mother said we should take a look at your yellow tooth."

Yellow tooth?! Yellow tooth?! I was aghast and embarrassed, as only an unreasonable 18 year old can be.

At some unknown point of time, my front tooth had turned yellow, but I was personally in denial of this fact, so the dentist's words were an unwelcome wake-up to my new signature look. It was declared a bruised tooth, the only way to fix it being to cover it with an expensive veneer. Every single time I now visit the dentist (especially since I'm a dentist hopper), they say, "You know, we could fix that tooth for you..."(For a thousand bucks.))

And now every time I look in the mirror or look at a picture, all I see is that yellow tooth, like a beacon from a lighthouse calling out to me.

Recently I was out hiking with some friends. I had my best North Face gear on. And a friend said to me, "I think we're close enough for me to say this to you...If I didn't know you better, I'd think you were a pot smoker with that yellow tooth."

Not in my best of moods, instead of laughing it off, I told him that it was the single biggest thing I am self conscious about. Now don't worry, he later apologized, realizing that a. no women wants her physical flaws pointed out and b. no woman wants to be compared to a pothead. And all is forgiven and good in the hood.

But my tooth represents a larger issue and one that will come to the forefront now that I have a daughter: That of beauty and self-acceptance.

Like many women, I've had a tumultuous relationship with my body and beauty, involving many ups and downs and heated conversations with my inner thighs. But now, more than ever, I have a responsibility to model a healthy relationship with beauty to my daughter. I don't want her to see me rebuking my new-found muffin top or loathing my scraggly eyebrows.

Here is what I do want her to see:

I want her to see a woman who knows that a woman's looks are not her greatest or most important asset. I want her to see a woman who takes with good humor her tooth's foibles and her stray chin hairs. Yes, I said it, stray chin hairs. I want her to see a woman who takes good care of herself, but as a means to an end - good health - and not an end in itself.

I have a long way to go. But I have more motivation than ever - my sweet little daughter who is so much more than just a pretty face...though she is pretty darn cute.


Anonymous said...

As always, well said, Amber! One of my favorite Scriptures on the subject is 1 Peter 3:3-4: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God's sight." This is true of the most beautiful women I know. XXOO


barleygreen said...

Goodness, if you think your meticulously groomed eyebrows are scraggly, you must think I'm a Neanderthal.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Amber. It's a good reminder that we waste a lot of time believing we do not measure up. As we get older, we are grateful for legs that still carry us, eyes that still see and a mind that still remembers. So let's live today to the fullest knowing that we are so blessed!