Mental About My Dental

Teeth-WhiteningPeople are weirdly obsessed with my teeth.

Apparently a new person in my circle of friends was asking someone else about me – what they think of me – and, of all the comments and observations that could have been made about me, the person’s response was: “She’s really intense. And she has good teeth.”

I’m intense. And I have good teeth. I mean, both of those things are true. The former is one of my greatest insecurities and the reason nearly every one of my boyfriends has broken up with me. The latter, as my daddy likes to say, is because he “paid a lot of good money for those teeth!” Nine months of braces. Thanks, Dad. 

Soon after that interaction, I found myself doing the whole standing-talking-in-the-parking-lot thing with one of the men in my bible study, and during the course of our conversation, he suddenly stopped and said, “You have really good teeth.”

I appreciated the compliment, but since his family owns a cattle ranch, this – his very first compliment to me – made me feel a bit like a horse being appraised for investment. Not the most flattering compliment of all time, but I tried to take it in the spirit in which it was intended.

Then last night, while volunteering at a ministry that provides career counseling and mentorship to at-risk youth, two of my freshman kept giggling during our session. When I asked what was up, they blurt out, “You have great teeth. They’re so white!” …and then, embarrassed, they erupted into giggles, covering their mouths and hiding under the table.

I smiled, thanked them, and brought us back to the lesson at hand, but – since all three interactions involved boys – the next time a man tells me I have good teeth, I’m going to ask in response, “Would you say my teeth are ‘like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing’?”

After all, a girl’s got to know where she stands.

Authentically Aurora

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Life, Punctuated

Sidewalk exclamation point

In the sidewalk on the way from my office’s parking garage to the building, there are two holes in the concrete, one more elongated than the other, such that they look like an exclamation point. Having worked for the same company for nearly seven years now, I can honestly say that I have walked past this punctuation mark literally hundreds of times, but its meaning to me is ever changing.

Over the years, walking in and out of the office in various moods and seasons of life, this little exclamation point has meant so many different things to me. When I first started working straight out of college, it was a symbol of exuberance and excitement. My first real job!

During later years, it was an exclamation of frustration. Why is everything so difficult?! Other times, it represented outbursts of anger or bitterness – toward people, life situations or even myself. Sometimes, in more recent years, these two little holes in the sidewalk have been a cry out to God from the depths of a broken heart.

With an intensity like mine, regardless of my current emotion, that emotion is always felt – and expressed – with an exclamation point. I don’t do anything halfway. Every thought and feeling is punctuated with a depth and intensity that can only be represented by an exclamation point.

And so, in my mind, I have adopted this little marking in the sidewalk. It has been my constant companion these many years, always appearing the same to passersby but transforming in meaning for those with eyes to see.

Authentically Aurora

Tangled Up in Flynn

Lunch with FlynnI ran into Flynn at the office today. And last week. And the week before. We’ve been seeing each other a lot, completely unplanned and unanticipated. 

Last week, I walked with Jo Ann to pick up her diaper bag from our on-site lactation room, and we bumped into him while waiting in line to walk through the building’s revolving doors. As I have recently befriended Patricia, Flynn’s ex who was his girlfriend during our period of mutual interest, my feelings for him have faded somewhat, but my stomach still flip-flopped when I saw him in the office cafeteria this afternoon. He had already spotted me and was watching my winding path through the tables as I walked with my tray.

I was supposed to meet Jo Ann and Farah for lunch, but I didn’t see them yet, so I made my way toward Flynn, who was sitting alone for once. “You’re eating alone?!” I asked in a teasing voice as I got closer. He is normally a social butterfly.

He shrugged with a smile, “I have no friends!”

I raised an eyebrow. “I know that’s not true. I’m waiting for some girlfriends. Can I keep you company until they show up?”

“Sure, pull up a chair!” he gestured to the empty seat beside him.

“So how’s your lady friend?” I asked as I sat down, referencing the full-figured blonde I’ve seen in his Facebook photos lately. I wanted him to know that my joining him was not an attempt to pick him up; I knew he was taken.

“I don’t have one,” he said between bites of sandwich.

My surprise showed on my face. “What about that girl in all of your pictures?”

“Oh, you mean Josie?” He waved his hand and made an it’s-no-big-deal face. “We broke up. It was never really anything serious.”

“Oh… so who’s next on the docket?” I asked without missing a beat. Flynn is never without a girlfriend for long.

“I’m looking at her,” he said with a devilish grin that instantly changed into an embarrassed smile. “Sorry–”

“You’re such a player!” I laughed, making light of the comment. He hasn’t changed a bit.

We just looked at each other for a moment; then I added, “It might be good for you to have a season of singleness. You tend to go from one relationship right into another.”

“I know,” he said, head down. His expression told me that he really did know. “I don’t know how to be single. I tend to go from one intense relationship to another. It would be nice to have something casual and low-pressure. That’s what Josie was supposed to be, but she got really intense really fast. She was asking all of these questions…” he paused; then went on, “That’s actually why I backed off from you after Patricia.”

He grinned in fond recollection. “We would have gone on one date and been done.” And by the way he raised one eyebrow with the word done, I could tell that he meant we had ridiculous chemistry and would have mutually gone off the deep end in utter infatuation and intensity if we had even gone on one date together.

“I know.” I smiled back at him. There was a natural break in the conversation, so I pushed back from the table and said, “Well, I’d better go find those girls I’m supposed to be lunching with.”

As I stood, Flynn laughed and said, “See? Casual conversation?” he gestured low with his right hand. “Intense conversation.” He gestured high with his left hand; then whistled as he arched his right hand up the imaginary curve to intense conversation. 

I just laughed. “See you later.”

When I got back to my desk half an hour later, I had a text message from Flynn:

“So if you think we can curb the intensity for one night, you want to be my date tonight to Newsies?”

I would love to see that musical, and I would love to be Flynn’s date, but I already have a date planned tonight with Jared. He’s making me dinner at his place; then he wants to snuggle and watch a movie.

“Ha! I think we can try to curb the intensity! …but I already have plans tonight. That said, if you ever find yourself in need of a +1, I’m game.”

I wanted him to know I wasn’t completely uninterested, but I also wasn’t about to cancel on Jared.

I could see the “…” indicating Flynn was typing a reply; then he stopped and erased it. Then the “…” started again; then stopped. Finally he simply wrote, “Duly noted!”

It’s probably for the best that we’re not going out. It wouldn’t be very good for my budding friendship with Patricia. Also… we could probably both do with a season of singleness.

Authentically Aurora