Learning to Love the Gap Between My Teeth


Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.

It was during the time in my life when I really thought I knew some shit (read- my 20's) and I had great dental insurance. I asked my dentist to do a mock up of some bonding to close my gap. My diastema. It was so startling to see my teeth when she handed me the small mirror and asked me to inspect her handiwork. She told me at least twelve times how gorgeous my teeth looked, but something was off kilter when I looked back at myself. I did look more conventional -- more like everyone else with nice white square straight teeth -- but something was gone and it just wasn't the negative space between the teeth.

Something about me looked wrong.

My subtext was shifty.

I was off-kilter and a little bit more ordinary.

I did not have my gap closed.

It went in and out of my mind over the years. Sometimes I would be in a line someplace like a bank or a bar and someone would yell out- I LOVE YOUR GAP and I would immediately throw my hand over my mouth and remember that it was there. Kids would point it out and giggle. Lovers would stick their tongue in it. People would always say things. It is like a curse and a medal. I have felt ugly at times with it, but other times when I see photographs of my mouth, half opened and lots of lip, I see something beautiful. Something rare.

There is a whole documentary on this called Gap-Toothed Women, and it explores the mystique around the gap. I am dying to see it as I just think there is something there. I wonder about the historical allusions of gaps and sensuality and Chaucer ladies and all that. What is the root? What is the allure? I have been reading that the gap is back in vogue. Models have them and people find them sexy again. It all comes around. I know I feel better about my gap than I used to. I feel better about my looks in general and isn't that funny? Now. When the world beats down on me and tells me that I am starting the descent into age. Now when I have wrinkles and less than perfect eyebrows and skin that doesn't want to glow every single day like it used to without a thought. Now when I weigh too much and take care so very less. Now. It's like that Indigo Girls song lyric { every five years or so I look back on my life and I have a good laugh} I think.

I leave beautiful fierce marks in apple skins.

I can squirt water like a perfect stream through my gap.

But it's not all about teeth.

Even though the French -- those ever chic folks -- they call the gap tooth thing:

dents du bonheur


It's about choices.

I am just starting to choose to like myself a little bit more and it is epic.

Are you?

Photo Credit: Karen Walrond.

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