"Are your teeth this big?"
"How do I eat without swallowing food whole?"
"It feels like food is stuck between my teeth, but it's just my teeth."
"I haven't had a full set of teeth in 50 years!"
"I wish my mama could see."
"How's that feel, kissing someone with teeth!"
"That's some damn good cement!"
This afternoon as Dr. Marin screwed the last crown on the implant, placed the last veneer on my dingy tooth, and I wiped the last bit of slobber EVER from my shirt, I felt as those I was totally changed. I got up from the last three hours in the chair, detoured to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror.
I raised my head. Is this me?
I don't look like myself. Who is this woman staring back at me? I don't know her. I have always imagined that she lived inside, but until today, I had never looked her in the eye. I slumped over the sink and began crying. Honestly, I've been crying for the last two weeks, but this time, I was in the dental office and it felt like the only alternative.Throughout the entire process, I whispered to myself, "Don't cry now. Don't cry now. Wait." I looked up and instinctively, covered my mouth as I have for the last six months. I moved my hand down and said, "Never again." I have no reason to cover my smile again.
I went to the waiting room where Len has been patiently waiting for what seemed like the last six months. He looked at me and he was giddy. He grabbed me. I grabbed him and I knew our life would never be the same.
Who knew a smile held such incredible power? Ask the girl who never smiled for a class photo, never did anything that called attention to herself in high school, never volunteered for class projects that involved standing in front of others, never shared her joy in her wedding photos, always worried that she was never good enough or pretty enough.
Today, that all changes. She has lassoed the power. And that power begins with her smile.
I have horrible teeth. Always have and always will if I don't make changes now.