How Do My Dental Woes Fit Into the Equation of Shame?
I hid my shame behind my perfect smile pretending everything was great with me. This pretense cost me alot.
Date: 12/1/2007 8:23:21 PM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 4954 times
I have always believed that life presents us with many metaphors as clues to the real reasons we may be facing any given problem or obstacle and if one can tune into the metaphysical reasons for the challenge we may be experiencing, one will be that much closer to allowing it to eventually dissipate.
Backtrack - I was blessed (or cursed??) with wholesome good looks when I was younger (my mother was very physically beautiful and I somewhat resembled her). Only problem was that she saw me as competition for her and she always needed and demanded 100% of anyone's attention. Make no mistake - I was not allowed to be beautiful nor smart or shine in any capacity whatsoever while around her, lest I incur her wrath. I picked up on this at a very young age and have spent a lifetime minimizing not only my looks but also repressing/suppressing any natural given talent I had (until very recently). I was the proverbial tomboy, hoping not only to avoid my mother's negative attention but also subconsciously wanting to get my father's positive attention. He only had time for his two sons - his two daughters were non-entities as far as he was concerned.
In terms of my looks - I grew up having the perfect smile. Never had braces and only around age 15 did I get my first of only five cavities. White, straight sparkly teeth - yep, a dazzling smile if ever there was one. My dentist always used to marvel at my 'textbook mouth'. And how I took advantage of this - hiding behind my smile, that is. I never wanted to reveal the real me to the world because I was so steeped in deep SHAME that I would not dare let anyone get a glimpse of the real me. I always feared that if anyone discovered who I really am, it would be game over. So I have lived most of my life wearing a thousand different masks, none of them being even remotely close to the true essence of me. It was no accident that one day I 'happened' upon the following poem which really helped clarify things, making a huge impact on me.
With each succeeding pregnancy, I began having problems with my gums. First they receded and then began the incessant infections with ever-deepening periodontal pockets between the teeth. At first I was going for deep root scaling every three months to the dentist but each time I had my teeth cleaned, I would get a massive gum infection. I also hated the anaesthesia they had to administer each time I underwent this procedure. I finally got fed up, realizing I did not have a dental problem, per se, but a systemic one manifesting as gum disease. One time I went to have my teeth cleaned and the hygienist could not believe that four years had elapsed since my previous visit. I had almost no plaque build-up. It has been many years since I have been to a dentist after coming to the realization that my dental issues had behind them a tangible metaphysical reason (besides the physical one).
On a physical level, I believe poor kidney function is responsible for improper electrolyte balance causing bone loss to occur. My grandma died at the age of 31 from kidney failure and my mother also has many symptoms, including bone loss, which would lead me to believe she has kidney issues as well. It is also well known that kidneys are the organs that hold fear and if anyone has read my previous posts in this blog, you will know that I grew up in abject terror - terror that my mother would at any moment kill herself and worse, that it would happen if I was not a 'good girl'. My mom always used "you don't deserve to have your mother alive because I didn't when I was your age" line to keep her children obedient and kowtowing to her every whim. What an incredible way to manipulate her children! With all my difficulties remembering every traumatic thing that transpired during my childhood, one very vivid memory I still have is being made to swear on a stack of Bibles that I was telling the truth about something or other because otherwise "God will strike me dead if you are lying". So my challenge has been (and still is) dealing with all the fears which have been holding me back so that my kidneys can operate the way they were intended to.
Even more interesting is the metaphysical reason behind what is going on in my mouth. A number of years ago, in a moment of clarity, it suddenly occurred to me that the reason so many of my teeth have come loose is because I am refusing to 'sink my teeth' into my own life, or 'take a bite' out of my own life if you will. You know the wisdom behind the saying "Use it or Lose It"? I was stunned. I realized that this was so true of me - I finally admitted to myself my refusal to engage in and embrace my own life. I had been sitting on the periphery of life, watching it pass me by, wishing I had not been born. Although I have never been suicidal, I definitely did not want to be here.
About six months ago, I was at a fundraiser for a cause near and dear to my heart. One item being auctioned off was a stunning painting with the most incredibly vibrant colors I had ever seen. Just feasting my eyes on those colors made my heart open. It is a massive 4' x 4' painting of an apple with a big bite taken out of it. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. It was a stretch financially but we bought it anyway. I loved what it represented to me - a reminder to 'take a bite' out of my own life and begin to savor it, in all its glory and all its trials and tribulations. And that is exactly what I am doing and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. How will this impact what is going on in my mouth? Time will tell.
Recently my sister asked me why in the world I haven't filled the gaps left by my three missing teeth - after all I have two gaping holes on each side of my upper mouth clearly visible when I smile. "Because I hid too long behind the facade of my perfect smile. Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I am reminded that I can choose to accept myself despite all my imperfections. I recognize that I have wasted far too much time worried about what others think of me. I am now consciously aware that how others perceive me will be a direct reflection of how I think and feel about myself. I can't depend on anyone else to validate me, I need to validate myself. If I can feel comfortable in my own skin, others will automatically find me attractive and want to be in my presence, no matter what I physically look like. Being attractive is an inside job!!"
If those teeth would impair my ability to chew my food, then yes of course I would get dentures (forget about implants replete with titanium screws to my jaw - OUCH!). Meanwhile, I have always maintained that there must be some way to regenerate missing teeth and if there is, I will find out about it one day. I am the eternal optimist - always believing there is no such thing as an incurable illness, only incurable people. Look what came into my INBOX this morning!
Finally saying YESSSS to life and loving it...Onward and upward!
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