Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Liberation Day

I'm still in shock.

The braces came off TODAY.

My ortho had said that he would take molds today for retainers and that they would do so with the brackets on and it would take 2 weeks to get the retainers.  But before I knew it, he was snapping off brackets and wires and molar bands, O rings and power chains. Metal and dried glue went flying everywhere. Molds were taken for my new invisalign retainers which I'll get tomorrow. Today's gifts include a whole 24 hours of true liberation.

I swear, it still has not hit me.

Looking at myself in the mirror I see someone who looks so different, so young.  Happy! And yet, all I can think of is the gratitude I want to express to all of you who have been with me for the last three years every step of the way. I want to thank you all for reading, for your letters, your words, your encouragement, your hearts, your shoulders, the lovely meals you've made me, the adventures you've had with me. I want to thank a very special dachshund who offered his most human empathy in my darkest moment.

I've been listening to Gotye's "Save Me" which really expresses what I've been feeling for all of you:  

You gave me love, when I could not love myself. 
And you made me turn, from the way I saw myself. 
And you're patient, love, and you help me help myself. 
And you save me, and you save me, and you save me."

Beautiful song. Skip to :32 which is when the words start:

I love you all. Really, really.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Grillin'

I think the Universe is laughing at me.

No one loves watching the Olympics more than I do. My own brother called me the Thursday before the opening ceremonies to talk to me because he knew I would be "unavailable for the next 2 weeks." That made me smile. I wear this as a point of pride.

I love it all--track and field, diving, gymnastics, swimming. Especially the swimming. I used to be a swimmer and was even invited to swim with the Masters once upon a time, so I watch this event with special relish.

Now, Ryan Lochte is awfully pretty to look at. And he has the gold to back it up. But not only around his neck--ON HIS TEETH. Have you seen this??

He's got a red, white and blue grill!  And they look like braces!!

Seriously?  This is the hottest thing around?  If only I had made my braces red, white and blue with diamonds, it would have been a whole new paradigm. Then again, if I was biting on a gold medal, it really would have been a parallel universe.

I'm sprinting towards my own finish line right now with this process,  and my smile won't need diamonds--it will be big enough on its own! Stay tuned for more info on that this week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

My friend Karin recently posted this on Facebook:

"The world, Govinda, is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people—eternal life... Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good—death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me." --Hermann Hesse

The last 10 days were spent blissfully on Cape Cod, beaching, eating and enjoying friends. It was a simple, small town vacation that was so perfect. My friend Alicia even found a tiny pearl in an oyster that she ate.

I've been thinking about pearls ever since she found it, and how they're formed. A foreign substance, perhaps some stray grains of sand, gets between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle.  The oyster protects itself by layering on nacre, that beautiful pearly substance. I love the message here: It's only by being uncomfortable that an oyster can create it's truest beauty. It's only by being rubbed the wrong way, that the best of you can be brought out.

I have had a foreign substance in my own mantle for almost three years. It has most certainly rubbed me the wrong way (to the point of causing contusions, many times.) Could it be, that I have been layering on nacre for the last three years?  Perfect, as Hermann Hesse says, in every moment?  I am now able to give my loving understanding to both the sin and the grace within this process. Could it be that I have become what my father used to call me: his "pearl of a girl"?

The sun is setting on this process and rising on something new. The clouds are breaking and the light is perfectly arrayed.

Taken in Sesuit, MA, while eating Baileyberry pie

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In the immortal words of Jeff Buckley, and well, Madea, "Hallelujer!"

Went to the ortho on Tuesday. He said that he just needs one small space to close up, and next month, he will create the mold for my retainer. This, my dears, means that the braces will COME OFF IN 6 WEEKS if all goes according to plan.

I still don't think it's hit me. I have very consciously been willing this process to be over in July. I've told everyone I meet quite definitively that it will end in July. Now that July seems to be coming to fruition, I am pleased, delighted, confused, and curious. I like feeling all of these things.

I came across this passage in Eat Pray Love, this passage helped me through a painful breakup three years ago, and now, somehow, it's so appropriate now too:

Instructions for Freedom:

Life's metaphors are God's instructions

The day is ending. It is time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now let go.

With all your heart, ask for grace, and let go. 

With all your heart, forgive him, forgive yourself, and let him go.

Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then let go. 

When the past has passed from you at last, let go. Then climb down and begin the rest of your life with great joy. 

I feel like a senior in high school, with graduation day just weeks away.  I'm so ready for a known experience to end, and something new to begin. I want to accept my diploma for all that has been learned in the last three years. I want to forgive my orthodontist, and forgive myself for this experience. I want us to smile proudly, unencumbered, at one another, and mean it.

I was walking home from my friend Diana's house tonight, and I saw so many fireflies--the first of the season. They always cause me such delight. I looked up the symbolism of fireflies and it say that they are symbols of hope and inspiration. "They are the promise of accomplishment through hope and efforts. They remind us that we have laid the appropriate groundwork and from it will spring great reward...For those to whom the firefly appears, it is time to trust in your own rhythms, physical and spiritual...Fireflies remind us that there are others who will respond to us and who are like us. They will make their presence known soon.

Yes indeed. Let there be light.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

There's No Such Thing As A Mistake, Part 2

I came home after my appointment with the ortho on Tuesday to find that the elastic bands around my teeth had already come loose in two places. I was so angry about this that I almost punched a wall. How many times do I have to keep going back to that office to make sure that I'm getting the proper treatment that I should be receiving?  I went late in the day, knowing that he would not be in the office.

I was greeted by one of the dental assistants, who I like very much. She's always been kind and we've chatted from time to time. She took one look and said to me, "Honestly, does he think that patients are stupid?  Or that they don't notice?  I have patients coming in two and three times a month to fix wires and brackets and tubes. If he just took care of them properly the first time, those visits would be unnecessary. And if someone complains, he calls them crazy."  Or dead wood as the case may be.

Maybe I should have been surprised to hear her say this, but I wasn't. I think I know that my orthodontist has both empathy and behavior issues, and I figured that I wasn't the only one to be on the receiving end of this treatment. She spent a full 45 minutes fixing and redoing the metal tubes that he had installed so that they'd be secure. I asked her point blank, "Really, really, how much time do you think I have left?"

She said that honestly, it was 2-3 months tops. This is in keeping with what he said on Tuesday, and quite frankly, all that I will tolerate. Two to three months will put us at three years exactly, and it is NOT going beyond that. I've decided, most emphatically, that this is over in July. The retainers will begin then, but all of the colossal--and painful--moving and shifting will end.

That said, I've started to experiment with being excited. I've been toyed with so much this year, that it has been hard to let myself be vulnerable enough to believe that this will actually end. But hearing it from her, a voice I can trust, in corroboration not only with him, but what I believe in my own heart has allowed me to begin to taste anticipation on the very tip of my tongue. Quite simply, I like how it feels, and how that feeling is growing in me each day.  I am ready to end this fraught, disillusioned relationship with my ortho, and move on to something much more peaceful, clear, healthy and joyful.

And cast a spotlight on the unquestioningly bright smile that accompanies all of that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

There's No Such Thing As a Mistake

The movie "Unfaithful" was on last weekend. I was really struck by the reasoning by Paul Martel when he says (in his fabulous French accent) "There is no such thing as a mistake. There is what you do, and what you don't do."

The last time I went to the ortho, he was again pleased, and told me that we were really nearing the end. He put metal four new metal hooks inside my mouth and showed me how to essentially wire my jaw shut, which I was to do every night. This was painful, and a bit scary, but just as I started to get used to it,  one of the hooks--and a bracket--popped off about a week later. I had a big press event, so I was unable to go to the ortho that week, and he went on vacation the next week. Not wanting to put myself in the hands of assistants and replacements, I waited to see him. The teeth were floating out there for almost 2 weeks and I felt them move every day. There was something strangely liberating about this--that my teeth, one by one, were rebelling against this process and taking themselves off.

I liked the idea of this.  A lot.

Until today.

I saw the ortho and there was a new assistant at the office. He replaced the wire and she replaced the bracket, only to have it break off while she clumsily put new bands on top of it. He tried to again replace the bracket and had to admonish her that she was assisting him incorrectly. After being in the chair over 20 minutes, I started to feel my lips shaking. Once they had the bracket attached, he was about to have her finish, but this idea completely filled me with dread. I turned to him and said, "Can you finish me?  I really need to get to work." For whatever reason, this started to make me shake even more, though he obligingly finished the job. I was shaking so much by the time I got to the receptionist that she asked me if I wanted to sit down for a bit. More than anything, I just wanted out of the office.

The teeth now feel out of whack where they fit together so nicely two weeks ago. And I have to wire them shut again on top of this. I am back to feeling weepy and angry and so definitively that this whole process was one big colossal mistake.

But I am reminded by Paul Martel that there is no such thing as a mistake. There is only what I did and didn't do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why, Yes

Theine by Mary Kinzie

If compelled
to give it up
I would lift
as leaves do
from the tree
and feel the floating
thread of my thought
blown out
beyond itself
line loose
on the water
than air