Loving my wrinkles & "gummy" smile

I went to get my teeth cleaned and was told I "needed" a gingevectomy. A what? Ya. Gum removal. Apparently, I need the ol' snip-snip because I have what's known as a "gummy smile"--an unsightly condition that really needs fixing. My dental insurance, however, considers a gingevectomy a cosmetic procedure. I don't know what's more surprising, here: the fact that I agree with my insurance company or the fact that I kinda like my "gummy smile" thankyouverymuch.

Still, this recommendation threw me into momentary self-doubt. There's nothing like a professional telling you something needs fixing to make you wonder if you've been wrong all along.

Maybe my smile really is...what? Ugly?

Wait. Stop. I refuse to travel down this path because I know where it leads: into a never-ending cycle. Today it's snipping my gums, tomorrow it's botoxing my wrinkles. I'm not ready to buy into the notion that there's something "wrong" with my looks.

And I live in Orange County, the mecca of plastic surgery! I mean, around here, it's normal to get fixed. It's almost...expected. But the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that if I start down this path, I'll never be satisfied. There will always be a reason to do something more.

Furthermore, what message does this send to my daughters? It's hard enough to grow up with a healthy body image in a society that's inundated with harmful, unrealistic images of female beauty. Won't I be validating all those harmful messages if I give into the idea that I need cosmetic surgeries?

I refuse to let that happen.

My husband snapped a picture of me the other day--"Go stand next to those lilacs!" he urged--and I stared at the picture afterward. There was my gummy smile. And look! Crows' feet around my eyes! Do you know what my first thought was?


And I do.

Sure, I wear makeup and fix up my hair. I make a moderate effort to look nice and I've lost all my baby weight.

But these wrinkles? I've earned them! And this smile? When my children see it, I hope what they see is joy and love--because that's what my smile is really all about.