Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
―Thich Nhat Hanh
Lookit me! I gots nice teef!
This is me when I was 15 or 16. I had buck teeth, a severe overbite, and my two front formed Vs, top and bottom.
I also have on black lipstick, but let’s let that go for now.
Over time I learned to smile with my mouth closed. Literally, the only pictures I have of me smiling with teeth from age 16 on are when I was pretty drunk.
I eventually developed TMJ. I experienced a dull pain… all the time. 24/7. No relief. I clenched my jaw compulsively and ground my teeth at night.
When I went to the orthodontist and he said that straightening my teeth *might* dispel that ongoing pain… I cried. In his office.
The TMJ got better before I was even a year in, and seeing this pic (with The Bangles!) I realized that even with the braces still on, my teeth looked better than they had since I was 7.
I was already hiding my teeth for school pics when I was 7, by the way.
A lifetime of hiding and feeling bad about myself. A decade of ever-present face pain.
I had to smile for pics at the orthodontist today, and it felt weird. I’m not used to it. When I stop to think about that, it makes me sad.
I may never be beautiful, but I’ll never stop myself from smiling again.
Adult braces. I felt crappy and selfish getting them, as they were a huge expense for reasons that were largely cosmetic.
They were the best thing I ever did for me.
Big time shoutouts to the folks at Dr. Honig‘s office. You guys are the best.