Transition to adulthood(?)

Growing up, brushing my teeth was one of my least favorite things to do in my daily life.

That and showering.

I do not deny that I absolutely loved the feeling after completing either task – rubbing my tongue along my smooth, shiny teeth, or my hands on my soft, smooth skin.

I just merely disliked the whole process of getting to that point of delight.

So, I avoided them both, basically as often as was possible.

I remember specifically, regarding teeth-brushing, how I would sit in my Social Studies class in sixth grade (it was right after lunch), and I would scratch at my teeth with my finger nails, scrubbing them clean that way… and I’m not so sure I had brushed my teeth in the morning in the first place, unfortunately…

I did this in other classes, too, but it was a regular thing that I casually would scratch them clean in that class in particular.

One day, in a casual, lighthearted and playful, yet ever-so-biting comment, one boy (D——) mentioned how I sit there at my desk cleaning my teeth all the time (among other things about me, but that’s the one I remembered).

I was shocked that it had been obvious enough that anyone could tell what specifically I was doing… it always just looked a lot like I was biting or chewing on my nails.

It hadn’t occurred to me that he might have been paying attention to me on purpose, and thereby figured out what I was doing…, but perhaps he was watching me in the first place…

At the time, I just thought I was being obscene with my teeth scratching, and was embarrassed.

I might even have begun improvements to my oral hygiene because of that interaction and comment…, though I don’t remember for sure.

I just know that it has always stuck with me.

I’m not mad at him or anything – far from it.

He definitely wasn’t wrong – I definitely often cleaned my teeth by hand, because I hated the feeling of unclean teeth.

I just probably could have helped my case greatly by using a toothbrush and toothpaste more often in my childhood. 😛

Funnily enough, I still have my days of avoiding brushing my teeth, but I still can’t stand it once I notice the feeling of unclean teeth and I’m not actively eating.

I don’t scratch with my nails anymore, though, because I basically always have toothpaste, floss, and toothbrush with me, wherever I go.

I’ve become somewhat of a fanatic about brushing and flossing my teeth, especially after having to do it all the time with the invisible aligners I had for six months last year… they kind of brought to fruition my desire to have a clean mouth all the time, by forcing me to brush and floss all the time.

Now, it is normal for me to brush and floss after any time I eat, even without the aligners during the day anymore (only a retainer while sleeping, now).

I just so dislike the feeling of dirty teeth…

I sometimes brush my teeth if I know I’ll have to wait even a little while before continuing to eat… I have definitely brushed my teeth between appetizers and dinner on more than one occasion, I just can’t take it. 😛

I also shower every day now, but I hold back from multiple times a day due to a desire not to be wasteful with laundry (which I struggle to wash as often as is reasonable – many swimsuits have served as underwear over the years, you see) or with water, so I arrange my days as best I can not to have to shower more than once on the average day.

I had a panicked phase of showering too much at one point, but am grateful that that has ended, and I can function normally now (meaning I shower daily, but don’t have a compulsion to shower after every time I use the toilet…). 😛

Anyway, my retainers are in and my mouth is delightfully clean, so I’m going to bed now – I’m exhausted!

Post-a-day 2020

Not a kiss whore

“I’m not a kiss whore…”

Laughter…, “Whatever – it seems like every time you go, you kiss someone(!).”

“Yeah: all two times, I kissed one person each time.”

Both laugh, totally tickled.

(Recall last week’s adventure.)

……….

This was near the end of my conversation tonight with my mom.

I had been telling her about my day at the Texas Renaissance Festival (RenFest) with a semi-friend today (we worked together briefly, and have always gotten along and talked forever whenever our paths have crossed), and had just shared with her the most delightful part of the day for me.

You see, a long while back, perhaps two years ago – long being relative, obviously – I met someone who really attracted me while at RenFest.

It wasn’t so much sexual attraction – I want to date you attraction – as it was simply attraction – I want to be around you attraction.

He had mentioned specifically about a possibility of our becoming friends, if I would like, and I agreed, and we met up to pursue this… so I thought, anyway.

And, when he received multiple calls in a row, and I encouraged him to take the call, and he answered with, “What’s up? I’m on a date,” I chuckled at his obvious use of the term in order to get the person to hurry up and leave him alone.

At the end, when he asked if it were okay to kiss me, therefore, I was thrown – and I mean really thrown… I denied the request, and then felt really uncomfortable and mean and a bit weird… and for a while… I felt justified in giving my honest answer that I did not feel comfortable kissing him or letting him kiss me, but I still felt weird and, somehow, bad for the following year or so, give or take, off and on.

(See my comment about the meeting here, embedded within a conversation with someone else.)

He came to mind somewhat often, though we only swapped messages a handful of times again.

I thought of him whenever I was going to or at RenFest, but somehow missed him – whether by accidental forgetfulness or intentional avoidance (my own, I mean), I am not entirely sure.

But I didn’t see him again.

That is, I didn’t see him again until today.

Remember how I have had this whole beautiful transformation happening within and without me this past year+.

Well, that gave me a whole new experience of the idea of this guy when I considered him today.

Suddenly, it was clear to me that I wanted specifically to go talk to him, to clarify with him what had happened for me back on that date I hadn’t known to be a date, to find out how and a little bit of what he was doing now – still the art, and, of so, what? – and to request and to receive a kiss from him.

Perhaps the kiss last week ha some revved up, but I truly believe that it at least made things clear for me in a way they had never been before: a kiss was a kiss, and it is okay to want to kiss someone.

And it is okay to want not to kiss someone.

(And, of course, not to want to kiss someone is okay, too!)

Who I am now wanted to kiss him.

Who I was two years ago couldn’t and didn’t want to kiss him then.

I wasn’t certain about the kiss today until I started talking with him, but I was at about 90% certainty before I even saw him.

I just couldn’t seem to stop smiling while talking with him – I almost felt like my cheeks were growing red with the constant huge smiling I was doing.

(Fortunately, my teeth look amazing now, thanks to my invisible aligners from Smile Direct Club, and I smile almost all the time now, anyway.)

I wanted to complete that circle of events from our afternoon spent together… and I also wanted to kiss this man for the sake of kissing him.

And so, as we were nearing the end of our conversation, and I was letting him know that I’d bring him omiyage from my upcoming Japan trip, and we could meet up in January, I had a final analysis of the question and determined wholeheartedly that I wanted it: “Could I have a kiss?” I asked.

I had already told him all about our unknown date and my thoughts at the end, and he had assured me that he was not offended and that all was well, and so, ‘Of course,’ was his reply to my single additional comment regarding ‘making up for before’.

And he stepped and leaned forward toward me, and we kissed(!).

Hard and whole, and 100% consensual on both sides.

And I almost felt like giggling with laughter in delight at both the fun of and the absurdity of the situation, as well as the fact that I JUST KISSED A BOY!!!! AND I LIKED IT!!!

(Thanks, Katy Perry.)

I smiled gargantuously* (yet again), reiterated my plans to reach out and on omiyage, and wished him farewell, and then he wished me the same.

It was lovely.

And I couldn’t seem to stop smoking for quite a while afterward.

He had offered to me to try out being friends again, and also offered a date again, if I were interested.

I told him that I’d think about the date part, but that the friend go was a definite.

And I felt amazingly self-expressed and confident in myself on more levels than I could count and identify.

Yes, it was lovely.

I have come so far.

It is amazing.

I am amazing.

But I am still not a kiss whore, just FYI.

Post-a-day 2019

Brushin’ my teeth…

I think it’s a bit funny that we never much talk about brushing our teeth.

It is something that, supposedly, anyway, we all do every day, multiple times a day…, it has a huge role in our life, when you consider that it is 1)here throughout almost our entire life, and 2)extremely beneficial to our oral health and, therefore, ability to eat and smile and feel good on the daily… it’s kind of a necessity that provides amazing benefits.

One might think that we would want to do it the best we possibly can…, right?

And yet, when was the last time you conferred with your family or friends (or anybody) about best teeth-brushing practices?… How often do you ask opinions on flossing versus brushing first?… When do you share back and forth about preferred tooth brushes and toothpastes (or tooth powders) with others?

The answer to all of these questions, though they might be “Once or twice ever,” are most likely to be “Never, really.”

Sure, I’ve talked about it all with a dental hygienist or the dentist when I’m having a cleaning, and they compliment how well I take care of my teeth…, but that isn’t exactly the same thing – it happens to be their job to talk to me about my oral health habits and practices.

I think it would be valuable for us to discuss all of this… different perspectives are part of how we can develop things to perfection.

I mean, most of us established our teeth-brushing habits and patterns as little kids… were we really that smart that we as adults are doing best to follow what that six-year-old determined was the best way to brush teeth?

Yeah… let’s not.

So, I’ll share a few basics here, and consider how to strike up regular discussions about all of this with friends in the near future:

I have a preferred dental floss for its thinness and the fact that its container is paper that can be easily recycled… I have a preferred toothbrush that is made out of recycled yogurt cups (my razor is, too) and is bent in a way that almost no toothbrushes are, and which makes it loads easier to reach all of my teeth from all sides… I dislike minty or fruity toothpastes… frankly, I like the Indian ones that tend to taste like they must have dirt in them, if not just a handful of herbs and spices… I don’t even like the candy peppermints, and I don’t want my toothpaste to be like them… minty fresh is not my fav… I switch around my toothpastes, somewhat based on which one or ones are on sale, usually at Whole Foods – I like the natural, hippy-like ones… especially clove and neem ones, but sometimes certain tea tree or cinnamon (natural and pure, not some fake flavouring) ones…, but I also like the tooth powders… I first discovered them at a health foods shop in France, and I stocked up, because I didn’t know that we had any in the US… since then, I’ve found ones I love so much better(!) (the dirt-like ones)… I change my toothbrush at the end of every tube or container of toothpaste or tooth powder…, and I usually switch to a new color of toothbrush, which I sometimes select at random from the store… I have a long and practiced and well thought-out method of brushing my teeth, and I end up brushing parts multiple times, just to be safe, if I somehow go out of order… I wet my toothbrush before brushing, and I turn the water off while brushing… If I can hear my toothbrush with my ears (instead of from inside my head), I apply less pressure – a dental somebody once told me that someone else in the room should not be able to hear me brushing my teeth, because that would mean that I am brushing too hard… In the US, we supposedly have so much fluoride added to our water that we don’t exactly need fluoride toothpaste… I haven’t used fluoride toothpaste since I was, maybe, seven, and the dentist still isn’t concerned for me (so, yay!)…, though I wonder sometimes about looking into this, I haven’t done it yet – that Erin Brockovich interview by Jonathan Van Ness (yes, from Queer Eye!!) shows almost exactly why I haven’t looked into this yet… I don’t use mouthwash, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem…, does it?

Anyway, those are a small glimpse of things I want to discuss and share with people regarding teeth brushing and oral hygiene in my life… Also, I occasionally imagine (especially recently, with my current bedtime book being Jaws) how it might be to have to brush the teeth of a beloved pet shark who totally would not bite me or anything… I’d be brushing for hours, let alone figuring out flossing – could we use leather strips as floss, so it wouldn’t shred instantly???… Or some other material we could rinse and re-use?… (On that note, when are we getting reusable floss, hmmmm???) So many thoughts… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Invisapain

I started my first week of invisible slingers today (instead of braces on my teeth).

I always wanted braces, but my mom couldn’t afford them, so I never had them.

My teeth aren’t terrible, but the small details of crookedness and twists have bothered me for decades, and I want that beautiful, generic, white and glistening smile that all my braces friends have gotten.

I even looked into pricing as an adult, and I still couldn’t quite afford the braces scenario for myself…, but it has been on my someday guarantee list for some time now.

Now, thanks to a friend of mine, I have a super-duper affordable option for teeth straightening…, and today was my first day using my orthodontist-approved and -monitored plan…

It totally sucks.

I mean….. the pain totally sucks.

The aligners are probably already doing a very good job at what they’re designed to do.

However…,

My tongue, my teeth, and my gums have been in constant pain since about fifteen minutes into it all.

I actually put them in last night, because doing it just before bed is recommended so that the mouth adjusts to having something in it more easily… instead, however, I woke up after three hours, needing to urinate, and I had to take out the top one, because I was in so much pain, I couldn’t fall back asleep.

When I took out the bottom one this morning, planning to go down to eat breakfast, I passed back out and slept so well, I didn’t regret it at all.

Post-breakfast, however, I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to do, and it has totally sucked.

I went this afternoon and bought a solid nail file and filed all the edges that had rubbed my tongue totally raw, and that helped a bit (but the tongue is still raw and in pain).

Then I added a drop of clove and peppermint oils each into my litre and a half water bottle, and have been drinking that all evening, and that is helping dull some of the pain (at last!!).

However, everything still hurts, and I very much dislike it.

I am hoping things will improve drastically in the next 24 hours and greatly in the next 12 hours… otherwise, I might need to figure out a new plan of action for this whole thing… I never expected so much pain… they always just said that some people experience “some discomfort”, but no one mentioned anything about pain…

Ugh..

A friend of mine is halfway through her use of these, and she never had such pain – just the common discomfort…, but she said that even that improved, and that she hardly feels a difference when she puts a new set of aligners in her mouth now… boy, I hope I can get to that point, and quite soon, please(!).

Dear God, please heal my mouth, and please ease my pains such that I might continue to straighten my teeth, but that it be comfortably done… Amen.

Here’s to strong and good intentions for my mouth(!): cheers.

Post-a-day 2019

Another step forward

Can you guess what this is?

I went to a sort of dentist… orthodontist?… today.

For thousands cheaper than I was offered way back in the day, it looks like I might be able to start a series of 3-D-printed clear retainers that will straighten up my teeth, at last.

In the appointment, they gave me a set to whiten my teeth, and so I am sitting here, plugged into the power strip with my teeth whitening mouthpiece for five minutes of super-powered (though electricity is really doing the powering, to be literal here) teeth whitening.

I hope it works… my family all have slightly yellowed teeth, and we always have, so it isn’t about staining from food and drink for us, but I hope it works, nonetheless.

Whatever the case, I look forward to the teeth-straightening thing working out beautifully… I hope that one works.

Here’s to happy teeth! 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Smiles

I am always overjoyed and heartened whenever I am granted the opportunity to experience these beautiful smiles from beautiful people with beautifully arranged, pretty teeth.

It makes me see that fixing up my own teeth actually could have the potential of bringing a similar breathtaking joy to those around me…

Kind of puts a new perspective on the whole idea, as opposed to its being merely a point of vanity and self-confidence for myself…

Something new to consider, I suppose… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Teeth

I was thinking tonight about a recent opinion I heard (I think I heard it, anyway, but I might have read it) about teeth in the USA.

I think it might have been from a comedian, and he was contrasting Japan’s (or a country’s with a similar situation) teeth with those of the USA… in Japan, everyone’s teeth are different, and very noticeably so… in the USA for his first time, he noticed that everyone has the same teeth – orthodontia’s being standard has removed the individuality and the personality of people’s teeth here.

I had never thought of straight teeth being a means of stripping one of his individuality or personality.

Even now, though, months into digesting this idea, I find that I still want my teeth fixed up with orthodontia – I still want those straight pearly whites.

For me, I notice teeth in people… when they are bad teeth, it is difficult to see anything else… when they are good teeth, they kind of receive a mental check mark, and I move onward, seeing more of the person…

For me, clean and straight teeth allow for me to see more of a person… the crooked or stained teeth end up being a distraction.

Certainly, those shiny bright white teeth are also a distraction, because they are just so totally unnatural-looking… but that’s not the kind of teeth I’m aiming to see and have – those are a bit absurd (Think Ross Geller in that episode of “Friends” where he gets his teeth whitened, and they end up in a room with blacklights, making him extra freaky.).

Nonetheless, I still have that mental space reserved for preparing myself a way to have orthodontia and a tad of teeth whitening at some point in my life… I want my personality to show in other ways, not from the teeth I never would have picked, you know?

Yeah… something like that

Post-a-day 2018

Teeth Dropping

Last June, I had a filling slip on one of my teeth.  It didn’t slip far, but it slipped just enough that I had to have it replaced (although, I waited until November to do it).  Upon my having it replaced, the dentist commented how I really shouldn’t get fillings done in France, then, since I had had the filling done in France.  However, I had had the filling done in France, because the filling had popped out while flossing (while I was living in France), only three months after it had first gone in… in the USA.  When the French replacement made its slight slip, it had done its duty of holding tight for over six years.  Also, while living in Germany a few years later, the other filling that had been done at the same time as the one that had popped out in France, well, it popped out while I was flossing.  So, I had to have both the US fillings replaced, because they came out while flossing.

Fast forward to now.  On Friday evening, guess what happened.  One of the fillings that was replaced, specifically the one that was replaced because it had chipped slightly (front tooth – it happens), though several years ago, well, it slipped!  And when?  While flossing.  Now, here I am, barely three and a half months (if that) after having the filling inserted, and here in the US again, and the filling is falling out.  I feel as though the dentist’s comment on France’s dental care was not only inaccurate a recommendation, but incorrectly directed.  Clearly the fact that so many of my fillings from the US have gone so poorly in terms of lasting quality, could rather recommend that I not get fillings done in the US.

I think this is the main reason I really wanted to get out of the US as soon as possible this past fall – I want medical and dental care to be affordable for me again in life.

Post-a-day 2018

Something in your teeth?

Have you ever considered your opinion on the matter of what to do when someone has something stuck in his/her teeth?  I often fall to the scene from “The Emperor’s New Groove”, in which Kuzco listens to almost nothing that Yzma is saying, and is, instead, staring at a tiny piece of what looks like broccoli, which is stuck in Yzma’s teeth, as he wonders, ‘How long has that been in there?’

I have considered my position on the matter, and several times.  The most recent discussion I had with others on it was at my birthday brunch last year.*  We – a somewhat large group of ladies – discussed earnestly what we felt would be the appropriate way to respond, when someone has something stuck in his/her teeth.  The unanimous agreement?  Tell the person.  No, there’s no need to be rude about it, or even to be weird about it.  But do tell the person, and in a kind way, simply informing him/her of the simple fact that something is stuck in his/her teeth, providing him/her with the opportunity to remove said something, if desired.

Almost immediately after we finished our discussion on this, and we were somewhat quietly beginning new topics of discussion, we overheard a person at the table next to ours calmly point out to the guy across the table from said person that he had something stuck in his teeth…  We silently chuckled… deeply and to our cores, in an almost pain, so as not to give away that we had overheard the exchange, nor that we knew the person had clearly been listening to our own discussion.

 

*Well, some discussions in life happen alone, you know?

Post-a-day 2017

Apples, Apple Butter, and Why the Dentist Likes Me

Tonight, we made apple butter, and we canned it properly.  We still have loads of sliced apples, but now we know how to make apple butter, so we can easily do another round tomorrow, I guess, if we feel up to it.  Hopefully Hannah’s friends will eat most of them tomorrow, though (This is not a royal self-address, but merely a different Hannah.).

I gave almost half of my 23lbs of sliced apples to the dental hygienist earlier, when I went for my cleaning and check-up.  It was my first time in a year and a half – a huge change from three times per year.  The only comment ever made about my oral healthcare is the color of my teeth.  She says that it is purely genetics that have my teeth be slightly yellow on the inside and all, as opposed to surface stains (like what coffee and tobacco cause), and so there isn’t really anything I have done poorly there, but I could have them professionally whitened, if I wanted.  Otherwise, she spends the hour practically bouncing with delight at how little buildup she can find on my teeth (i.e. almost none).  She never fails to declare that she wished she could end every day with an appointment with teeth like mine.  Today, she was extra delighted, because I gave her apples AND I took amazing care of my teeth.  She almost couldn’t believe that it had been a year since my last cleaning… “Fun fact:,” I said, “It’s been about a year and a half.”  She had to check the log to verify, she struggled so much to believe it.

And, as I had guessed, an old filling of mine had worn down just enough that it needs replacing (on that one part of it, anyway).  The dentist also mentioned that it would be best to repair the more recent chip I have in another filling in the front.  Also somewhat expected.  When the dentist asked whether I flossed, the hygienist and I shared a secret chuckle – not only do I floss daily, and then some, but I had been asking her about tricks to get to the few spots where I knew I would have some buildup (and actually did have a tiny bit)… I am her ideal patient, essentially.  I wasn’t always, of course, but I really took on my oral health after an incident several years ago with multiple fillings being needed within a very short time period.  So, I actually love going to the dentist now, and they kind of love me (they love my teeth, anyway).  I’m glad she got those apples…

Yeah, so, I made apple butter tonight with Hannah.  It was awesome.  And the canning was terrifying, just a bit.

Post-a-day 2017