I have had plenty of low points in these past 26 years. All of them significant in their own way, with one notable difference. A particularly difficult part of my life was captured on picture. Every time I look at it, I see more. A hobo with scraggly hair. A boy starting to look like a man. Happiness in the face of adversity. A missing front tooth.
I was living like a hobo. We had just done 10 000 kilometers to reach a new city we knew almost nothing about. I spent weeks living in my car, hoping to land work with Paspaley Pearls. We just happened to find a coconut under a palm tree. I bit into it at and my front tooth broke off. It was missing for six months, until I had saved enough money to go get it fixed in Manila, Philippines.
Social interactions became incredibly uncomfortable again. I felt the way I looked – lousy and miserable. I became enclosed, avoiding smiling and laughing. I stayed indoors, away from people as much as I could. The only times I felt included, were on boats. Working amidst a group of immigrants, aboriginals and locals was enjoyable. Somehow we were all broken physically or mentally, ostracized from the general public. Even though I’d spend my free time alone, I was active. I didn’t want it to keep me down.
I spent six months working on the Indian Ocean. I grew out my hair and beard. Started exercising regularly after work. Ate proper meals provided by the chefs. I started feeling better about myself, even with my obvious flaw. I can’t say that it stopped bothering me, but I accepted it as a temporary reality. After getting it fixed, my first smile in the mirror was genuine. With that happiness, my adventure as a seaman came to an end.
Now, we’ve had loads of controversial pictures on our old blog. And there was a lot of concern if we should upload them. Never from us, but people closest to us. You have your obvious offenders: Ass and Grass. For me that one time was also on the list. Even my mother went as far as to recommend me to take it down. It’s a picture of me that shows me at my lowest.
Looking back at it now, it’s difficult to conjure up emotions. I don’t care about having to go through it. I ended up getting a new tooth in Estonia anyway. What does surprise me is the amount of confidence I lost. It’s a curious thing, living without your front tooth. Tiny, yet so impactful.