Living with an overbite

Living with an Overbite

I was born with one…or at least it showed up when my “permanent” teeth arrived. It was reminiscent of my mother physically. She had all her upper teeth pulled as an adult and replaced with false teeth to correct her “overbite” problem.

Yes, I too, developed an overbite. It’s one of those bites where the upper teeth far overlap the lower teeth. The kids in school used to call me “Buck Teeth”. Embarrassed doesn’t even come close to describing my chagrin at having my physical characteristic pointed out.

As a teenager, my mom took me to see an orthodontist…and, of course, he said he could correct the problem…without having to pull all my teeth. Thank goodness! And so, we embarked on the path to “correct my overbite”!

It worked. After at least a year of periodic agony resulting from the tightening of the screws holding the metal strips around my teeth, my straightened teeth had no evidence of an overbite…at least for a while…except…I couldn’t be persuaded to wear my retainer…you know…those wires that are supposed to keep your teeth where they’ve been put. I didn’t wear it with any regularity. As you can imagine, my teeth…gradually…over many years…slowly returned to an overbite. In my early 50s…you guessed it…I had my teeth straightened again. To this day I wear my retainer regularly. At least I’ve learned that lesson: to have a new pattern stick takes reminding and compliance.

So…I’m all good…right? Well…there’s more to this story.

A number of years ago, one of my sisters-in-law introduced me to the concept of what she coined “the appliance theory of life”. This theory applies when we realize something is going on in our environment…in our life…usually with things…that are not as they should be. For example, we always want to fix a leaking faucet because we don’t want to waste water. Yes…and… she also would suggest we should fix a leaky faucet because otherwise…”it’s money down the drain”…meaning it’s a message that somewhere in our life we aren’t watching carefully, and money IS going down the drain! Likewise…when we burn something in the kitchen, she might suggest it’s a reflection of our own “burn” …being emotionally angry or upset about something. You get the theory. “It’s the spirits talking or sharing with us…doing their best to get our attention when something is amiss and begs for our attention.”

Well…just think about it…as I did a few years ago. An overbite…hmmm…perhaps this is a reflection of when I “go for it” rather than restraining my impulses and going “whoa…slow down!…don’t get ahead of yourself…just one step at a time please”. Taking it easy doesn’t seem to be my strong suit.

This overbite trait showed up recently in my move…out of the house we built and have lived in for 45+ years.

It’s true. Our children have been eager for us to relocate because of the 74 stairs to our kitchen… that could result in unexpected challenges. I, too, have been thinking about this for the same and other reasons. So, when a possibility that seemed perfect (and continues to seem so) showed up, I “jumped on it”. Our future house was chosen.

I began…to move…I packed and moved everything I could lift in boxes and otherwise…carried it to our new home…lined the walls of our soon-to-be garage…moved other stuff to a studio in a building with other artists.

I was “on a roll” to “make it happen”.

A month ago, I paused…reflected. I realize I had pushed…perhaps pushed too hard (My second-guesser is hard at work these days.) Yes, I’ve made my children happy. They’re thrilled to see how I’ve embraced the move. Then there’s my Tim (husband and beloved partner)…not so happy.

I could have waited…until we sold our house. Did I “overbite”?

Tim does love the studio. He says, “It’s the greatest place ever.” He loves visiting it and sitting while I do my thing. He’s very supportive of my creativity. He’s just not eager to leave the place we built, and he’s called home for more than 45 years.

Now…into 2024…we are on the cusp of our “final move”. I’m ready…and my dear Tim told me yesterday that he “felt a calm come over him” and that he was certain “everything will be all right”.

Life is messy. We are human after all. We each do our best. I’m just learning…not for the first time…and probably not my last…to pay attention and manage my “overbite” tendency…clearly a pattern requiring my astute awareness.