It’s Bigger Than Teeth…..

I’ve been meaning to post since my last blog, but have been distracted, because I am in pain. I’ve been enduring tooth pain for the past weeks due to an issue with a wisdom tooth that hasn’t grown out, but is right beneath the surface wreaking havoc on the tooth beside it. It’s starting to worsen, which unfortunately is affecting my daily life, and I’ve even had to miss work.

Growing up I experienced a lot of pain due to my crooked front teeth. My mother had to bring me for x-rays often. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I constantly had headaches and pain due to my jaw alignment. My mother didn’t promote unnatural medicine, but there wasn’t much else she could do but give me aspirin to relieve it. I hated taking it. I avoided these type of medicines because of this.

Over the years I had many dentist and orthodontic appointments because of my teeth issues, and I actually enjoyed going to those appointments with my mother. It was time that I rarely got to spend with her alone, attention that I needed. I enjoyed the bus ride and going to the store without a bunch of other kids around. My mother always made sure that I was comfortable and aware of what my appointment would entail. She warned me of the possible pain I would have to endure and I appreciated that.

By looking at me know you’d never know that I wore a head-gear and braces for years. I often receive compliments for my teeth and smile. People don’t believe that I actually used to get made fun of for my severely crooked front teeth, which I will talk about in another blog.

I’ve taken the best care of my teeth as I can, even spent hundreds and hundreds due to having no dental insurance. I made sure to get those yearly check ups and keep my oral health in tact. My mother’s influence set that example. When she passed away, I thought about how much time, effort, and money that she specifically put into my teeth. She helped grow my self-esteem, a beautiful smile can go a long way in life. She invested in my teeth as a single mother struggling at times to ensure our basic needs were met.

The other night I found myself wanting to cry out for my mother. I was tossing and turning in my bed, trying to fall asleep and block out the excruciating pain I was in. I haven’t had that feeling since I was a child, and I wasn’t the type of child who cried for my mom when I was in pain. I didn’t want to stress her out, I didn’t want her to worry about me.

I felt ashamed for needing my mother at this point in my life, I felt extremely vulnerable….My tooth pain brought me back to a different place.

I will continue in my next blog, it’s bigger than teeth.


~Dawn Lovely

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Masking Pain for Others…..

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had difficulty expressing my pain, discomfort or allowing people to see me cry…..I am not ashamed to cry in front of others, it’s just I’ve always felt it was best not to cry in front of others for the sake of not making them feel uncomfortable…..I remember being as young as two or three years old, feeling tension in the atmosphere around me, looking up at my mother, not knowing exactly what was going on, yet still understanding that things were not “right” and trying not to cry…..I have asked my twin sister if she remembers being a toddler, and feeling that way as well, and she confirmed that she did too. That’s how I know for a fact,  it was a habit I developed at a tender age. I adapted to whatever was going on around me, and did my best to stay as quiet as possible, not allowing my feelings or fears to show…..but why did I do this…..wasn’t I too young to “think” about my feelings?…..

The natural ability to mask my feelings and not cry was done innocently, but as I grew older, I was becoming more aware of what I was doing. I fell down the stairs when I was five years old, and when my mother came to my rescue,  the crying I was almost doing, ceased…..I stopped and immediately put on a brave face as she explained calmly that I was going to be okay, she’ll get a band-aid for my elbow and clean up the wound.

I fell off the top bunk of my bunk bed when I was eight years old, I remember waking up on the ground feeling pain, and being in shock from the fall. The fall had woke me up. You can imagine how weird that would feel…..I felt a tingly type of sensation at the tip of my chin, so I touched it, realizing that there was a hole there! The hole was a result of hitting a chair on the way down, so I began to panic, but still I did NOT cry…..On the way to the hospital, my mother gave me her full attention, I still was not crying, but worried about the hole in the bottom of my chin. The band-aid was not helping, and the streetcar ride felt loooong. Yes, we had to take the streetcar, we lived deep in the city of downtown Toronto, and my mother being a single mom of six, couldn’t afford a taxi at the time. I was okay with the travel, and I told my mom I was fine, as I wore my bravest face possible. Once we arrived at the hospital, the doctor explained the procedure of “stitches” and I braced myself for the pain, still not crying though. The procedure felt strange, but it wasn’t that bad, and I was happy it was over, and still maintained a brave face. I felt bad that my mom was worried and had to leave the house just for me, I felt as though I was a burden on her. I’ll never forget the words she said to me after the doctor left the room, “Thank you for not crying, this would’ve been way harder if you did.” I responded with a nod. She then told me she’d buy me something special, and I thought that was great! Yet I was more happy that I made this experience easy on her, I always felt my mom had a lot to deal with, hence why I made sure I did NOT cry through the ordeal.

My habit of trying not to show emotion to save another, came from not wanting to burden my mother…..This revelation came to me as a teenager….It was a habit I couldn’t unlearn. Back in 2011 when my mother passed away, that habit carried me through the grieving and mourning period, as I’ve explained in a previous blog…..

I was looking through old photos the other night, I remembered taking this selfie after mom died, after a long time of feeling “un-photogenic”…..My friend had made me some beautiful earrings, and the earrings inspired me to take photos. I felt emotionally spent  but I tried to mask my feelings and take a “nice” photo, finally. Even after I took the  photos, I noticed the pain in my eyes and face, I didn’t like the pictures for that  reason. They  couldn’t  mask the way I was feeling…..This photo brings back sad memories, but I chose to share it, to remind me that it’s okay to show pain…..Even to the world.

2016-03-28 14.48.07


~Dawn Lovely

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