teeth abby

So What If I Don’t Have Teeth!

When “Angels In Heaven” went viral in 2017, my life changed in a lot of ways. I started to get so many messages that I couldn’t come close to responding to all of them. I tried to keep up with my website, but so many visitors made it eventually crash. There was an outpouring of emotion coming from the emails too, folks writing to me telling me what they were doing when they heard the song, that it reminded them of someone close, that the spoons brought back memories, prayers… I was enveloped in love from all parts of the world.

There was the darker side of it too, though. Some comments were atrocious. I’d been making YouTube videos long enough to know that if I did not moderate the comments, my ad revenue could be affected… so I read through them. Many of my musician fans had told me to not read the comments.. but I felt like I had to. Some of my viewers were children, and I needed everything to be appropriate. Some of them were mean in a humorous kinda way, others would bring tears to my eyes no matter how detached I attempted to be from it all. Eventually, It got overwhelming.

The bad comments were centered around a few key things… my weight, my clothes, and my lack of teeth. Some folks would write stuff like “eat something” and others would go into rants calling me “white trash” or “drug addict”. There were even a few comments that were long and drawn out paragraphs about this that and the other, some rants spanning several comments long. Some were foreign, so I’d have to copy them into a translator before the insult would pop up. Eventually, I could hear a drum roll in my head every time I went to translate a comment and would flinch a little as I hit the enter button.

If you thought this was going to be a post about how I lost my teeth, sorry. You can read about my past in a great article that the Washington Post published RIGHT HERE if you are interested in finding out about that part of my life… But typing out here how I lost my teeth and why simply seems like it defeats the purpose of this chunk of writing – which is simple: It shouldn’t matter.

I didn’t post a video of musical spoon playing on YouTube to show off my fashion sense, or to be picked up by a modeling agency. I wanted to play some spoons. I didn’t put on overalls to show how “mountain folk” dress. I’m from Kansas. I wore the overalls I was wearing for a storytelling night I had booked, which was about freight train riding and hitching around the US. After the video was posted, we left directly to go to the storytelling show. I figured it only appropriate to wear some the same overalls I wore on trains while telling the stories, so I did. My lack of shoes does not mean I’m “uneducated mountain” folk, it means I love to be comfortable. Just the reason I am not wearing teeth. I’m fine just how I am.

By the way, mountain folk are neither uneducated and dumb. That’s another stereotype none of us need.

I lost my teeth young, so I’ve gotten very used to the judgments, and every day I practice shaking them off. The kind words of folks who find their way to me on the internet help. Just to be clear, I have thought about wearing dentures, but I can’t stand them. I love to make funny faces anyhow, and I make some great ones right now I am. I’m proud of my ability to choose my own comfort overall, and now I’m solid with it.

Let’s admit it though… I’m a bit simple. I don’t wear make-up, I don’t do my hair fancy… I just kinda do me. Not having teeth has actually brought me a good chunk of positivity, because I’m learning every day more and more that it’s what’s inside that counts, how you treat the folks around you, and what you bring to your community. Because of these judgments, I’ve learned to puff my chest out, which I’m hoping, in turn, will teach others to do the same. You can be you.

If folks look at me and make a bad assumption because of how I am dressed, or because of my toothless grin, I’m okay with it. I’ve learned to use that as a sort of “filter” to get through life. It’s also caused me to be very careful about how I view others. Although I’ve learned countless lessons about judgments throughout the years, I have to continue to learn and remind myself. You miss out on great friendships if you aren’t careful, and some of those folks could teach you something you never knew about life. Someone can always teach you something new about life.


19 thoughts on “So What If I Don’t Have Teeth!

  1. Sanja Marinkson

    Hey, who cares about teeth. Tongue is more important. Without tongue no swallow. No swallow no food. No food NO SPOON!
    I think you are cool. I love you and I don’t know why. You remind me of someone, someone that I know would love you too. Take good care.

  2. allifarkasartist

    I know so many people whose intellect is judged by their looks. Have always admired you for just being you!

  3. Shelby Melvin

    I guarantee that the ones that love you just the way you are outnumber the ones that think being ugly to someone is even necessary. It only mirrors the ugly in themselves. With that being said I am not going to read the article about how or why. All I know is I love what you do and I love listening to your music. Just keep on being you and delete the ugly comments, they aren’t worth the time it takes to click the button to read them. I wish you all the success in the world doing what you love and just being who you are.

  4. anne

    I love your message. Thanks for being true to yourself, and reminding me that kindness matters. I started following you because of the music, and just love the whole thing. I hope to catch you live on the streets of Asheville someday soon, until then, I will keep on being uplifted by your vibes on Youtube!

  5. bumwv90

    This is personal to me. Lost all my teeth before 40 due to a congenital bone defect in my jaws. God bless you Abby for being outright about it ! And being a native Mountaineer from WV I’d be proud to consider you a Mountain Mama !

  6. sehigh

    I think your very cool. Love everything about you, no teeth me either. Lost mine due to to much chemo from breast cancer. It don’t make us who we are it’s what’s inside that matters. You are who you are because of the person you are and of course YOU can play the SPOONS!!

  7. bcnewe2

    You fucking rock! I love your talent. Your face reminds me of my grandmother who has been gone 30+ years . Not only does your spooning rock, you make me all warm inside when I watch you play.
    Be you and stay proud. Thanks for making this vid. to keep all of us humble and kind.
    Spoon on

  8. kittenx3-2

    Be yourself. Don’t change for anyone. Do what makes you happy. Life is too short and too precious to worry about soulless ignorant people.. l love you just as you are. You always make me smile.

  9. Cher Bee

    Thank you spoon lady. You are a beautiful person. I don’t care what you look like, I just enjoy your music, your style & how you play the spoons.

  10. aay39

    Hi Abby,
    This is Tony from Missouri, i always considered the source of judgement and criticism!!! The fact that you have the strength to be you should be a lesson for those who lack the self esteem to be themselves!!! Aren’t we all different in our own little way? some of us show the difference readily visible to the naked eye, some of cover our ” difference” with clothing others are “different” in our thought process!!!! We are all different, but there are and always will be the superficial, the elite who think that they can pass judgement on those who are strong inside to be their own person!!! I say press on Abby!!! You are a beacon of strength for those of us who don’t dare to be different!!! You live your life the way most people wish they could- happily, comfortably and carefree!!!
    You are loved for who you are!!!

    1. aay39

      P.S. Hows the bus coming along??? We’d love to see you when you are closer to home!!! We live the the Kansas City Metro area. Look forward to attending an event when you schedule one out this way!!!

  11. Victoria Lee

    Abby you ARE a WONDERFUL LADY! Someday I hope to make it over the mountains and find you making music on the street and meet you. Don’t listen to those people that criticize you, it is the only way they can feel better about themselves by putting others down. They are just very sad people. Just hold your head up and give them a BIG SMILE.

  12. bud whitfield

    You just keep being you Abby, To hell with all the haters, they don’t matter anyway. Keep up the great work!!!

  13. melias

    You have such a great message about lookism. You’re very inspiring and brought tears to my eyes. Thank God there are people like you who lead by example , not conforming to please or be accepted by people who don’t share the same values. I just love the saying “beware of enterprises that require new clothing” I just came across you on YouTube tonight. I’m looking forward to reading all your uplifting messages. You have soul, talent ,heart, brains, confidence, awesome overalls, and that’s beautiful! I guess Idon’t have to tell you this because I can see most people think you’re a badass Rockstar. Keep on spooning sister! You’re the kind of people I want to hang out with! I can’t wait to see all your videos too. Such a feel-good night. Thanks!!

  14. WindyBank

    Saw you last night on TV. I was awed!!! I only wish my dad were alive to hear your play the spoons, something he liked to do during his life!!! He would be so enamored with you! Keep playing, you lovely talented lady.

  15. Stan Godbey 1

    I watched that video and it made me so sad. I don’t have top teeth either and neither does my daughter. People can be so cruel. I love you both just the way you are and would love to meet ysll. ❤

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