In our sanitized culture, it seems as though we focus more on correcting imperfections than embracing them. I suppose that's because we don't know where the line between "cute" and "hot" lies, or something of the sort. Perhaps we should just throw that out the window, completely. I don't know about everyone else, but I would much rather be noticed for myself, rather than my ability to blend in. (Yes, I forget this at times.)
As many other women (and men, for that matter) do, I have a list of things that I would like to change about myself. Included are a few of the seemingly obligatory entries... and a few other things. What usually stays off that list, however, is fixing my teeth.
Sure, it would be nice to have perfect teeth... but there's something about them the way they are that just seems right. Sometimes, I see pictures and cringe. But, most of the time, I smile. I smile because they are mine; strong and healthy, like the rest of my body - and nobody else has a set like them. They didn't grow into the perfectly aligned mouth that so many orthodontists have tried to procure for their patients. Orthodontics have never touched my teeth; my family was too poor for those kinds of cosmetics.
Actually, I was probably lucky to have gone to the dentist at all. Now, I am too set in my ways of acceptance to change them. I can't imagine having perfect teeth; what I have is mine, a reflection of me. Granted, they aren't a train wreck, but I bet they would have been due cause for concern among most parents/kids/dentists. They are brushed and flossed, and well cared for... and they are shown, with my happiness when I smile. I think that's the important part.
Although I've accepted my teeth, I'm still working on the rest of the list (at one point, they graced my list, as well). I'm okay with my nose, most of the time. It's good for eskimo kisses, and usually stays out of the way for the real thing. It fits in with my family's long line of nose balls. For the most part, I'm okay with my nose. (Then again, I see some pictures and cringe.)
My dad's family has dry feet. Mine are no exception. Somehow, most of my cousins managed to get "normal" feet. Not my sister and I. If I take care of them, they aren't atrocious looking, but they are far from par for the course. My soles are wrinkled, and tell a story - of what, I'm not sure. They are pink, screaming to be looked at, with their white (not white, like the rest of my skin, but the color white) lines accenting them and their contrast to my pale skin. They look like they have been stuck in a dry, dry library - or out in a desert. Instead, they've been nestled in socks all year. I let them out sometimes, to breathe.
Even scaly feet need air... and, although they aren't pretty, they are beautiful to me - even if i keep them hidden away in socks, for their sake and my own. They carry me where I want to go. I've skated miles on them, without them protesting too much. (The rest of my body could learn a lesson from that kind of work ethic!) They've been blistered, battered, and otherwise abused by me and my animals, without much complaint. I've scorned their appearance, crammed them into uncomfortable shoes, and smeared them with Crisco, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and smothered them in socks to stew overnight. (I have never slept with such uncomfortable feet as I did that summer!)
Even with this abuse, they've carried me where I needed to go. They might not be smooth, like other people's, and they certainly aren't going to be on the top of my list of things to have other people looking at (much less touching)... but they are mine. I've realized that perhaps it's a blessing, having them dry and scaly, like a reptile. It forces me to take care of them, when I would otherwise neglect them. For that, I am grateful.
There will always be things on my list of things to change... but hopefully, I'll be able to recognize the beauty of the things I can't, and accept the challenge of the things I can. I think I owe my body that much.