Beauty means be yourself.
Coco Chanel is quoted as saying “beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” In a world where we can’t decide what we’re ok with, that can be a slippery slope.
I have written about this before. On one hand society says to embrace your flaws on the flipside when women share pictures of themselves without makeup it gets picked apart. Or conversely when women wear makeup they can be judged. I can’t tell you how many memes I saw about how quarantine was going to force women to be natural and all the jokes.
I recognize it should not matter.
But it does.
You feel it.
I feel it.
I felt when I was really little.
I try to shake it and I have friends who say, why do you care what someone thinks of you.
Maybe because what I worry about is such a big part of me.
I was born two months premature. As a result I have always been the smallest. My hair & nails don’t grow like I’d like. I had a hole in my heart which meant two open heart surgeries. But the thing that I worry you will notice.
That I don’t like to talk about.
Are my teeth.
I never got my adult teeth. The teeth that did come in were my baby teeth, but they were incredibly small and … pointed.
The name calling started pretty early on.
I think it was kindergarten or first grade walking home from school there were some older girls who would call me jaws and witch face.
My chin was pointy. There was concern about how this would impact my jaw growth.
I never smiled showing my teeth. I dreaded picture day at school because the school photographer would always try to get me to show my pretty smile. Thankfully my teachers would step in. I was already shy. My situation with my teeth, just added to it. Glasses at eight.
It felt like a lot.
Then my parents found a pediatric dentist. Dr. Wilson. At twelve I got my first pair of dentures. I had to take a few weeks off of school. I had to relearn how to eat. Talk.
When I went back to school I was a novelty of sorts. I leaned into it. For the first time in a long time I was not picked on.
I also abused the power of the dentures. I totally used them to torment my younger brother, I know… Trust me, I know.
However- a twelve year old with dentures is still unusual and I ran across situations where I was reminded of that, even by adults.
I found solace in my situation with humor. Like sneezing. Hear me out. The first time I sneezed (I’m not a dainty sneezer FYI) my dentures flew across my bedroom and hit my bedroom wall.
I erupted in a fit of giggles. Only able to point at them on the floor when my Dad asked what was wrong.
I floated along still not knowing how to smile. Still not always feeling comfortable smiling.Things I still worry about… my breath and eating. I always worry that it’s not my smile that will give me always but how long and awkward it can be for me to eat. I have overdentures. To make sure my jaw grew properly not all my teeth were pulled. So my dentures rest on some teeth and metal posts. As a result depending on what I’m eating it can be tricky. Then I worry about my breath because of that.
Then came my first kiss. For the record. And this has been my experience… men could care absolutely less.
When I started college and had my first real boyfriend he kinda shrugged his shoulders. It was my roommate who was squeamish.
Around the time I was twenty seven I began to have problems with my dentures. So I needed to find a dentist. My first experience I remember being in the waiting room and hearing two of the hygienists talking about my case. I was called odd, “can you imagine” one said, when they called my name and I stood up I said “I’m good” and walked out.
It took two years before I worked up the courage to go to another dentist. I sent an email to two dentists in our area. Both sent me very kind emails back but it was my guy Dr. Hazen who got my first and last visit. His whole team made me feel welcome. When he gave me my new set of dentures we both cried. We still get teary when we see each other. I am not as embarrassed by my teeth anymore. I still haven’t figured out smiling with teeth. It feels odd to me. There are certain things I am still worried about.
I still have friends who ALWAYS comment on how perfect my teeth are.
And my dream is implants, but financially I just can’t. But for now I have something in common with my pals who played hockey, can still gross out my little brother and get a bit nervous when I sneeze.
I focus on the humor. I deflect.
Maybe I’m a little extra.
I hyper focus on certain parts of me in hopes that you won’t notice my teeth are plastic.
But then …
I think how lucky I am to finally be able to show my pretty smile when asked by a photographer.
Self love is tricky.
Being yourself is hard sometimes and not for the reasons you think.
I’m working on it.
And be safe Mommas