Okay. I've been feeling the writing bug and just experienced the trifecta effect. You know how things come in 3s? Well sometimes, for me, these are experiences and thought patterns and once I reach three, I'm completely overwhelmed and HAVE TO WRITE.
So here we go.
Flaws are beautiful.
Vanity and perfection are relative.
I was thinking the other day about when I busted my face. May 2006. Almost 4 years ago. I was leaving a Mariner's Game with my friend Annika. We were trying to figure out which bus to take home. I was checking the time on my phone in one pocket. And reaching for bus fare in the other. And then we saw our bus. So, hands in pockets, I got a little excited and my toe caught on the pavement.
The next thing I knew, I was face down on the concrete. Face was first point of impact. Mouth slightly open. Teeth through bottom lip. Blood everywhere. No one stopping to help. I freak the fuck out. Call 911. Oh my God my face is broken. Etc.
Annika, being, you know, not in shock, suggests we take a cab to the ER. So we go. I get stitches. I get some pain relief. My folks come and take me to their home.
In a nutshell, I broke both of my front teeth. After my lip finally healed enough to let my dentist into my mouth, we realized I needed to get an implant. It took almost another year to realize I needed one on the other tooth as well. They rip both teeth out. Drill titanium screws into my jaw. I wear a flipper on each side.
I was a hillbilly for Halloween for one of them. Just took the tooth out for the night. Put on a wife-beater and overalls. People were impressed with my ability to make it look real. I'm like, well - it is real. I run my tongue through the gap.
I have front teeth now. They're fake. They're attached to screws that my bones have sealed inside them. Awesome technology. Weird if you overthink it.
All this is background for those first, fleeting, hazy yet unforgettable moments after I fell. Where I was convinced I was ugly. Where I was convinced I'd lost my entire face. Where my face was broken. And my beauty was lost.
And vanity surfaced.
I am a fairly level-headed, grounded person. I'm very low-maintenance. I am a fan of natural beauty. So to experience this was confusing. As confident as I am in my own beauty, this fall scared the shit out of me.
My insurance covered a part of my recovery. I had to front a lot of it as well though, because, ultimately, getting my teeth back in place was cosmetic.
My friend Stacey commented, when I was between procedures and had one temporary cap next to a chipped tooth, that I should stay that way. I looked a little like Madonna.
I was tempted.
Fuck perfection. Fuck perfect teeth.
But I still went through the procedures and spent the money to have my smile back. My gumline is less than "perfect," but hidden by my lips. I'm confident in my smile and do so often.
Last night, I watched America the Beautiful. I'm not about to recap the entire film for you. Did it tell me anything I didn't know? No. Was it a perfect film? No. But did it weave together the incredibly sad power the commercialization of beauty has over our culture? Both male and female? Absolutely. It's on Netflix. And it's even streaming on Netflix. Add it to your queue. Watch it. Discuss it. Think about it. It leaves you pondering the deeper, wonderful, amazing truths of beauty.
This isn't part of the trifecta. And these are something many of you have probably seen. But, while we're at it, let's look at them, for context's sake:
(in case you can't see embedded video.)
Oh yeah, and this one too:
The whole Dove Real Women, Real Curves campaign is coming up on 5 years old. I'll still never forget relating to Seth Stevenson's review of it on Slate though. It's a nice idea, but I have two big gripes.
1) When will it not be news to have a plus-sized model doing something? When can she just be a model? When can she just be beautifully herself?
2) You're still trying to sell us a fucking product that's supposed to fix something. Fix our wrinkles. Fix our cellulite. Fix our discoloration. Fix our graying hairs. Fix our undefined eyelashes. Fix our natural lips and lipline. Fix these things are uniquely and beautifully who we are.
My friend Barb just posted this on Facebook today. Good stuff as well.
Please, oh please, embrace what our culture considers your flaws. They make you who you are. And you are beautiful.