After breaking out a front tooth at the gum line one otherwise glorious Sunday afternoon on Kauai, I found myself with only one option—get over it and live with it until my dentist could see me Monday! As my message and work are centered on radical authenticity, recovering from unconsciousness and complete acceptance of our humanity as the only path to integration of our divinity, I couldn’t work myself up into drama or upset or even much embarrassment about my appearance!
My husband tried to “help” my precarious vanity, by laughing hysterically, humming stereo-typical- music for the toothless and being his particular off-center brand of funny. By bed-time as we were brushing –up teeth and readying for bed I in my sweats and sports bra, he gleefully commented that I kind of looked like Jim Carey on “In Living Color”playing Vera De Milo!
Now—I don’t think I’m all that bad to look at, but when I got in to the spirit of play, struck a muscle pose, smiled big while I scrunched up my face and angled just right in front of the mirror—he wasn’t wrong! At least we went to bed laughing—albeit at my expense!
Things got more interesting a few days later after the Periodontist had to pull the remainder of the tooth. Interesting because for this I had to fly to Oahu for multiple appointments and a 12 hour day of business, shopping and public exposure. After the tooth-pulling, the tray holding my temporary tooth kept filling with blood—making my whole upper set look like some garish Halloween costume—teeth swimming in blood! The bleeding stopped as soon as the pressure of the tray with fake tooth came out.
Lucky me! Another opportunity to be authentically exposed in my current toothless reality! I decided while at my second appointment after the Doctor told me how disturbing and distracting my bloody swimming teeth were, to go toothless for the remainder of the day.
This seemed doable—I could shop and eat easily, communicating with closed mouth facial expressions and hand gestures’. It was all good! Until… I realized I had left my cell phone on Kauai! As payphones are no longer readily available, I had to go to the help desk of the store I was in and ask the cute young attendants toothlessly to use their phone!
This was the true moment of complete acceptance for me. I enjoyed the rest of the day shopping, smiling big and speaking with reckless abandon—as though I had all my teeth! What the hell—I live on Kauai, not Oahu anyway!
Our society is quite conditioned to “first impressions”, the current collective view of beauty and the meaning we assign to any deviation from what’s “socially acceptable” as far as appearance is concerned. Most of us develop our meter of self-worth based on this unexamined societal conditioning and the difference between what society says is okay and how we view ourselves within that framework.
Circumstances placed me in a situation where I could have disengaged from the day, jumped on the next flight home and hunkered down alone in the living room until I could comfortably wear my dental tray with tooth. Or I could embrace the toothless, less than attractive reality I found myself in and enjoy the moment and the possibilities it might bring.
So while the way I see myself might still be a bit off from the “reality” of how others see me, I am grateful to have been able to courageously and relatively easily represent myself—my true self, which has nothing whatsoever to do with how I look! (oh—and I’m truly sorry if I scared anyone!)
So, where might you be in denial about a reality in your life? Are you willing to courageously step into authenticity before you’re forced to make a choice?
Joyfully and with warmest aloha and all my teeth!