The Kelsie Project

Biting My Teeth


A few nights before my First Communion, I had a dream that I was standing in the main tent of a three-ring circus. I was wearing my white dress, my hair was curled (which I hated) and I was wearing frilly socks (which I hated even more). I was part of a clown act.

The clown approached me, big shoes & red nose glistening under the bright, hot, theatrical lights and began to mime pulling out my teeth.

I stood still – not stiff – but like, this is a normal day. The way you stand in the kitchen while you wait for popcorn to pop.

But then my teeth started to come out. The clown was suddenly no longer miming but actually pulling on a little white string that was attached to a big, pearly tooth that had, seconds before, been attached to my gums.

The tooth came out the way you’d imagine pulling a piece of tissue paper through a good-sized hole in a wall, with a sort of “whoosh” motion. No blood, no pop, no pain.

And it was enormous – as big as my head. Sort of like how clowns will fit 20 of themselves into a little car – I guess that’s how the Dream Teeth were jammed into my mouth.

And instead of reacting to this weird clown dentist, Dream Kelsie just stood and wondered why the hell her teeth were so big.

The clown held up the tooth on a string and proudly showed the full audience, like a fisherman holds up the day’s most prized catch. It was so white and so big and the lights reflected off of it. I squinted at my tooth from where I was watching myself in the last row of the audience wondering again, “Why is my tooth so big?”

That’s all I remember.

“Dreams about teeth falling out reflect challenging emotions experienced in times of transition. The interpretation of such a dream will generally emphasize negative meanings, such as the fear of losing control over a situation or having to deal with the unknown,” according to the very reputable-sounding

I guess 8-year-old Kelsie was very concerned about her first taste of the body/blood of Christ. I’m also a little insecure about the size of my front teeth, so there’s that too.

But moving on from analyzing the dream in full (though if you’d like to, feel free), I’d like to just focus on teeth for a minute and a line I read about them that I can’t stop thinking about. 

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. (Alan Watts)

Holy shit yes.  (I guess I don’t need to tell you that I’ve been a little identity-challenged lately, do I?)

I think I’ve been a little identity-challenged for most of my life, though. When you get sad (which I tend to do), you ruminate. When you ruminate, you lose yourself in thought. When you lose yourself in thought, you lose touch of what’s real and eventually, you just plain lose yourself.  At least according to the very reputable-sounding Myself.

I’ve always been a daydreamer. I recently learned in this TEDTalk that our minds are lost in thought 47% of the time. I’m really nervous about this because if the AVERAGE mind is LIT almost half the time, what about the daydreamer’s mind? Is she even of this planet most of the time?

So, presently I’m writing under the idea that doing so is my attempt to bite my own teeth – to define myself. I won’t ever really bite my teeth & I probably won’t ever really know myself as well as the overly-analytical ask-questions-about-everything part of me would like to. But being satisfied is not having all the answers and then you get to turn in your paper to the great big teacher in the sky and spend the rest of eternity at a Catholic school Honor Roll breakfast (because I’m convinced that’s what Heaven is like); it’s being content with some aspect of unknowing.

So I’ll write until I get to that “some” level. (Which is to say that I’ll probably never stop writing.)


One thought on “Biting My Teeth

  1. I’ve dreamt my teeth are falling out a few times.
    Apparently it’s quite common-interpretations I’ve heard are death (often said with relish) and vanity.
    There was never a clown involved though.

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