The Gratitude Project – Musing 13
I have a weird involuntary quirk where I grit my teeth playfully whenever I feel overwhelmed with love and affection. Especially for those pure and high souls that are kittens, puppies and babies.
It’s not unlike the whole cutesy-macabre phrase of “Oh, you’re so adorable I could just eat you!” kind of thing.
It’s strange, you know, this gritting of teeth – often interpreted in masculine ways as a reflex of combative anger or grim determination; certainly not the flush of goodness that courses through one’s veins when in love.
Why then do I do it? I have always wondered, from a rather young age.
As a career healer, I understood the involuntary gritting of one’s teeth as a tick that can come from trauma. I know that reflex well. But it’s not the same. Any residual pain from past hurt that travels to my jaw results in a gnashing of the teeth for me, usually accompanied by a feeling like my head’s gonna explode.
I haven’t felt that in quite a while, and even when I do, it’s so short lived that it passes with nary a flutter.
This gritting of teeth, the one that comes from overwhelming love, is different and something I have witnessed in others.
But I only got a deeper understanding of it after my glorious daughter started mimicking it recently. She playfully grits her teeth now from time to time when she feels a flood of love for either of her parents.
And in doing so, as usual, she teaches me more than I can ever teach her.
For Daya has helped unearth in me the faintest of memories, likely ingrained far deeper than my cognitive brain could ever retrieve. So faint that it necessitated multiple sensory flashbacks to retrieve.
A memory of me being held by my mother, hearing Amma’s banter as she coos in baby talk to me, sensing her playfully grit her teeth as she expresses that overwhelming feeling love.
I get it now.
And I’m so very grateful for memories beyond memories, traversing lifetimes and universes, gently proving that love is indeed pretty goddamn eternal.