So…I got braces a couple weeks ago. It was…fun.
Oh wait, did I say fun? I meant the opposite of fun.
Now I look like I’m 12 years old.
People think I’m crazy for it, but I’ve been thinking about braces for a few years now.
From the front, my smile looks full and straight, but from the side my front teeth stick out (I blame it on my Taiwanese gums) and my bottom teeth are crowding. Unless you’re up in my grill (you want to see my what??), most people probably wouldn’t notice. But I do, and figuring that I’ve only lived 1/3 of my life (YES, I’m planning on living into my 90’s), I might as well have a smile I’m happy about for the other 2/3’s, #amirightoramiright?
I never had braces as a kid.
Thank goodness, because the combination of nerdy, thick glasses, social awkwardness, straight cut bangs, the awkward mish-mashed wardrobe of a dorky adolescent who didn’t know how to dress, and braces would just be too much for the universe to bear.
Hey, on an unrelated note, funny story, I actually downloaded an app before getting braces on JUST to see what I’d look like with a mouth full of metal. Because I’m vain and fearful like that. And a control-freak. And I like to feel like I can have some control over the unknown.
Oh, the agony.
Anyways, initially, I thought about Invisalign to minimize the awkwardness of having a mouth full of metal, but the cost of Invisalign is about double what the cost of regular braces are, and I figure, I’m already married, I’m not trying to impress anyone (which my bro-in-law pointed out later, getting braces ultimately contradicts this point…touche, Alby…touche), my not-as-fragile self-esteem as an adult should be able to handle a year of braces…the worst part of having braces should be the pain…right??
Well, besides having about 16 canker sores on the cheeks of my mouth for a week that are constantly being stabbed by tiny little metal hooks, having toothaches from the spacers the week before, and cutting up my tongue so that food tastes like blood because I’m obsessive compulsive about not having crap in my teeth (which is impossible to do when you eat with braces, by the way), the pain hasn’t been that bad.
To be honest, the hardest part has been realizing how insecure I still am about how I look, and how much I rely on my normally bright and huge smile to win others over. And it’s hard to lose street cred over a mouth full of metal that makes you look like a teenager.
I know, it sounds stupid, but street cred is for real, you guys. I gave a talk the night I got braces (and afterwards, got a bunch of good advice about braces maintenance from the students at UCR…kind of like a braces-hacks-for-spiritual-truth sort of exchange. Thanks guys. ;) ), and another a few days later. It’s hard to speak confidently when you have no idea where your lips are supposed to go in relation to the new hardware in your mouth, you don’t know how to smile nor do you really want to, you’re trying not to drool or lisp, and when you become astutely aware that no matter how awesomely you bring down the house with spiritual truths, you look like you’re 12 years old, AKA you look like you lack the life experience to speak as an authority figure. Same thing at work, when I meet my new client’s parents for the first time.
Not only do I lose street cred, I like being pretty and I don’t feel pretty. I admit it. I just don’t like smiling or laughing anymore, you guys. And when I do, I try to cover it up or stop right away. Mind you, I already have a RBF, now it seems to be a constant. I know my worth and value doesn’t depend on how I look. I know that. But that doesn’t change the fact that I like feeling pretty.
All this to say, the past three weeks have been quite an adjustment for me, physically, but also mentally. It probably somewhat explains my blogging absence. Some days I can laugh about it and ham it up, tell myself I’m awesome, and emBRACE the braces (see what I did there?). Others, I get lost in a self-consciousness that I never seem to be able to fully outgrow, no matter how old I am. And maybe it’s good for me to know that it’s still there.
But anyways, I got braces. They’re alright.
All most of you probably heard was, “Rawr rawr rawr, #firstworldproblems, privileged girl can afford braces to make her smile better and is so vain and complain-y about them not making her pretty when there are hungry, poor people in the world.” (Read this.)
I know. #thestruggleisreal
Have you had braces before? And do you have any braces hacks to share?