Please join me for this very special event.
I love my dentist but, it makes me want to run for the hills when they start talking to me about whitening my teeth a couple shades.
How is it that a regular cleaning turns into a pitch for brightening (read: changing) your smile? What if I was just getting acquainted with the newly coffee/wine-stained tint of my teeth? Is it going to cause any health issues further down the road?
Nope. The real kicker is when they tell me “it’s purely for cosmetic purposes.”
I understand they are only doing their job and they mean no harm by suggesting this.
It’s merely a representation of the way that our society has been permeated by a firm belief that we SHOULD change our appearance. That we really SHOULD look a certain way.
Don’t even get me started on what they said about my “crowding” on my lower teeth…
Really, I love my dentist. And I had a better experience at the dentist today than I have ever had in my adult life. No pain, no new cavities, no sensitivity. But it was disheartening that I couldn’t escape the need to change our appearance, even at the dentist. It’s something I’m almost used to at the dermatologist (“thinking about botox?”) – but I guess I’m not spared at the dentist any more…
All that said, I’m learning to love the tint of my teeth and the crowding on my bottom teeth that is a result of braces taken off too early and losing my retainer at age 14. Like, really, it’s OK. I love my coffee and tea and red wine. Maybe down the road when it’s in my budget, I’ll see what this whole whitening thing is about, but for now I’m all set.
Have you ever had someone suggest you change something about your appearance? How do you deal with it? I want to hear from you! Feel free to post in the comments below. XO
I asked this of a dear friend and mentor of mine after reading her very moving piece pertaining to her own body image struggles and her reply was:
Society’s image: stick thin is so ingrained on our psyches that we can’t see ampleness as beauty. In Rueben’s day I’d be on the cover of Vogue.
I couldn’t agree more.
But then as I was driving to meet a client later in the day I thought to myself: wait a minute, what about the girls who ARE stick thin and are STILL unhappy with their bodies and themselves? I can think of a few friends off the top of my head who I look at and think wow they must not have any body image issues, but then they open up to me and all the self-hatred leaks out so effortlessly.
What I think this comes down to is a scarcity issue in our society. It’s a much bigger issue than I can sometimes wrap my head around. I know that people often look at me, or even read my blogs about struggling with my own body image, and think to themselves “what does she have to worry about?”
But from a young age I can remember comparing myself to the other girls who were smaller, thinner, prettier, smarter, more talented, getting into better colleges, and so forth. The comparing and subsequent self-loathing seemed endless.
I allowed myself to believe that, despite my parents best efforts in trying to reassure I was doing enough – that I was gorgeous, smart, and talented – I still firmly believed that I just wasn’t cutting it. Something had to be wrong the very makeup of me. And nevermind my little belly that I discovered at a very early age and have had a love/hate relationship with every since (mostly hate until recent years).
The conversation isn’t over. An answer has not yet been found as to how we are going to cure this illness we have in our society. I aim to continue thinking about it, writing about it, discussing it, and sharing it. And in my own small community I hope to show women and men how they can use yoga as a modality toward self-acceptance. It certainly does not happen overnight but through regular practice.
I don’t care if you can do a handstand, touch your toes, or twist into a pretzel …. what I care about is how do you take the yoga with you? How does it infiltrate your self-worth? Therein lies the true practice. When you can be standing in line at the grocery store, and look down at your legs – regardless of their shape or size – and think how grateful you are that they are holding you. Rather than ripping into how lumpy they may look, or wondering why you were one of the unlucky ones born without a thigh gap.
Or it happens when you are getting dressed in the morning. And you stop and see yourself in the mirror, and while your first inclination might be to drown in the squishiness of your belly and just plain hate yourself, instead you start to see your roundness and fullness as a representation or how full and grand your heart is.
Why can’t it all be beauty? Ampleness, thin, slim, round, full, slender, skinny minny… as long as our bodies and our souls are healthy – isn’t that true beauty?
I was at dinner a few weeks ago with Brett and some friends. We were having a great time, laughing and joking around about … eating disorders. To be absolutely specific, it was about making yourself throw up and that transitioned to eating disorders.
I guess, thank god, I am finally at a point in my life where sometimes, SOMETIMES, I can step back and poke fun of my former self and the way that I used to operate. The harsh reality is that when you are dealing with an eating disorder, the disorder itself is not so funny, and life becomes less funny because you are constantly criticizing yourself.
But I digress … as the conversation started to get a little more personal, my friend paused and then asked me, “Maggie how did you get over all your stuff?” In this case “stuff” was keyword for “bulimia.”
“Yoga,” I replied.
“What? Brett?” my friend asked, misunderstanding my mumbled answer amidst the chaotic restaurant.
“No, I got over all my stuff because of my yoga practice,” I replied, a little bit louder now.
Thinking to myself, isn’t it obvious? Doesn’t everybody know that? But clearly that is not the case because I have never truly shared my full story, except for with a select few.
I’m still building up the confidence to really let it all out but even saying it at the dinner table that night, where two people who were not privy to my triumph over an eating disorder with yoga, made me flush with pride.
So this is me starting to open myself up and share my story with you. Finally.