The Start of My Crooked Tale
So just as the title states....I have a jacked up grill. Crooked teeth, a mangled mouth, even a snaggletooth.
It all went down between the first grade and second grade. My baby teeth fell out at a pretty quick rate and as they grew in there just wasn't enough room in my mouth for all those new teeth at once.....so they started to turn every which way
Sure I noticed it.....but it wasn't a big issue in my world yet. You don't really pay attention to those things much as a little kid. You just accept flaws and move on with your life. I was much more focused on trying to get the longest turn on the swings at recess as possible
All that changed though in the 4th grade when I was finally made fun of for my teeth. Another kid said that the school didn't need to have landscapers and that I could cut down all the trees with my beaver teeth. That single statement changed everything. From then on my teeth would be a huge insecurity for the rest of my life
Why Her and Not Me?
Not too long after my insecurity set in my older sister Kinsey got braces on. She and I were both cursed with ugly crooked teeth, hers though admittedly worse than mine.
I was happy for her. I knew it was something she wanted and needed and it made me excited for when it would be my turn.
7th grade approached, the year my sister got her braces on, and I anxiously awaited the moment my parents would tell me it was time to get the process started. Nothing. 8th grade came and passed, then 9th, and 10th grade. It was at that time that I knew it just wasn't ever gonna happen.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't bitter....because I was REALLY bitter for a very long time. I couldn't help but wonder why her and not me? Why was getting braces for her a priority but it never even seemed on their radar at all for me? I was more hurt because it never even got brought up. No explanation of any kind. I get it....we were poor. But we were always poor lol We were even more poor back when my sister got her braces then we were as I got older. Maybe it sounds petty....but it really bothered me for a very long time. I think I would have felt a little better if they would have just had a conversation with me about it but they never did. And anytime I brought it up I didn't get any kind of response. That only added to my bitterness.
It took years before I got over it....and honestly if I'm talking about it now I still think there's a small part of me that's still bothered by it, but I'm more ok with it now than ever before.
I had to accept it as best I could at the time and make my way through the rest of high school. Luckily, unlike grade school not a single person ever brought it up to me.....at least not to my face
I always wondered though in the back of my head if it was how people described me. Not even necessarily meant meanly or as a dig....but as a way to identify me. For example....
"Whitney blah blah blah...."
"Whitney....you know.....the girl with the messed up teeth"
Maybe it sounds a little crazy, but I have always feared that it has been made into my identity. I don't want to be the girl with the snaggletooth for the rest of my life
There is only one person in my life that repeatedly brings up my teeth. That person is my niece Elsa.
Starting from when she was probably 4 she has asked me several times "Why is your tooth like THIS??" as she demonstrates a turning motion with her thumb and pointer finger, referring of course to my front snaggletooth.
She is just a curious little kid asking a question , albeit freakin repeatedly, but she never meant any harm by it. She never even asked with a snotty tone in her voice, but I struggled with that question every single time.
Even though I knew she wasn't trying to be rude, the directness of her question always threw me for a loop and I never knew how to handle it. My knee jerk reaction was always a snappy reply of "Because it just is!!" I never knew what else to say. That question always made my insecurity coming flooding back, even if it was coming from a 6 year old.
The last time she asked me this question was probably about 9 months ago when she was 8. My response was the same as it always was but a little less bitchy. This time though she had her own response. She said, "Oh.....I have to get braces in my future."
That response was so sweet to me. I took it as her way of trying to make me feel better and that I wasn't alone. Like she wanted me to know she too had crooked teeth that needed fixing. For the first time ever I smiled after that dreaded question. And then I also took the time to show her and tell her how it happened. How I ran out of room and the teeth started to turn. She smiled big and pointed out her big gap between her two front teeth. It was a sweet moment of sharing our mangled mouths.....except I think her gap is adorable.
Mouth Related Meltdowns
The Boy and I hadn't been dating too long, maybe a few months, when one day out of nowhere I had a complete and utter breakdown over my teeth. Never in the time that we had been dating had the subject of my teeth ever surfaced but in my crazy insecure head I felt the need to bring it up. To me my teeth have always been the elephant in the room that I needed to address before someone else did. Like I had to make sure people knew that I was aware of how bad they are and beat them to the punch. If I talked about them first it was ok.
Does that even make sense? I don't know....but there I was...a blubbering crazy girl going on and on about how much I hated these stupid teeth of mine. He didn't interrupt me. He just sat and listened and let me ugly cry. When I was finally done all he said was. "Well I think you're beautiful." That was it.That boy of mine is so sweet. That was enough to make me feel good and forget about my insecurity for a while.........
That was until he proposed just before our one year anniversary. The first few days I was absolutely giddy as expected. Starring at my ring every five seconds and flipping through wedding magazines daily. It wasn't long though before the insecurity about my teeth crept back up on me....hard. The result: another meltdown. I kept thinking how could I get married with these hideous teeth. I was going to be "that bride" that looks like trash the second she smiles. A lifetime of reminder of them in picture form. I REALLY didn't want these stupid teeth in my wedding pictures
This all might make me sound like a drama queen to some, but for somebody whose had an insecurity for most of their life it can b e hard to shake them for such a big moment in your life.
After listening to me ramble on and on about my teeth yet again, The Boy offered one suggestion. he said, "Why don't we get you braces before the wedding." That question put everything into perspective for me.
At the time of our engagement I had been unemployed for months and only recently had started working temporarily for the Census. My student loan payback was about to kick in soon and I had no permanent job prospects. It was no time for me to be getting into more debt. I also knew I didn't want to have to wait that long to marry him. So while the question was a sweet gesture, it made m e realize I needed to get over it. I said my feelings out loud, I shed some tears, and now it was time to move on. And I did.
The feelings never really came back, not even on my wedding day. And if they did I don't even remember it so it obviously wasn't crippling feelings of insecurity. I smiled big in pictures and didn't let it bother me. I was beyond elated that day and nothing could change that, not even my snaggletooth.
Not all girls get this, but I got a pretty bad case of the post wedding blues. And with that came the whole teeth debacle...again. Even though it didn't bother me at all the day of the wedding I was now terrified of getting back our pictures from the photographer. I had this vision in my head of picture after picture showcasing my crooked teeth.
After a month of stressing over it we finally got our pictures back. I pored over every single picture and to my surprise...they weren't that bad. Not too bad at all actually! This was about as bad as it got........
|My snaggletooth is poking out slightly in this one|
|And while my teeth don't look great in this one, my closed eyes and dorky face is what makes it worse lol|
But that was it. I can live with that! All the other pictures were great and showed exactly what I was....a happy in love girl.
Dealing With It
There is no masking my teeth in person. They're right there for everyone to see. I've actually come across a handful of other people in my life who have dental issues, whether it be missing teeth, crooked teeth, or whatever....that try way too hard to hide it. I think trying to hide it actually draws more attention and defeats the purpose. I've seen them try to talk without barely even moving their lips, or refusing to smile with their mouth open. Then when they smile or start to laugh naturally and their mouth opens, they quickly catch themselves and snap their mouth shut. It just makes it more obvious. You wonder....what is going on in there that you won't even let yourself laugh???
They only way I try to mask my teeth a little is in pictures. If you can kinda sorta cover it up.....why not? lol
My left front tooth is turned inward, which is not nearly as noticeable in photos as my right front tooth which points outward...my snaggletooth. For this reason I had my nose pierced on the left and my bangs swept the left as well, making it "the chosen side" lol
Everyone close to me knows I gravitate toward the left side in all group pictures...gotta catch my good side yo!
This is why all my Wardrobe Wednesday posts look the same too....the favoring of the one side.....in case you ever wondered
Being incredibly awkward doesn't help
Pictures of me from the right side are pretty rare since I'm adamant about being on the left, but I dug up a few
|My seester's wedding|
|I hate this picture so much I can't even believe I'm posting it|
There you go....I have revealed the dark side! lol
But moral here is...how do I deal? I stand on the left ;)
Where I'm At Now
So here I am....married....almost 25....and pretty much accepting that I will never have straight beautiful teeth. And if I ever do it will be way, waaaaaay, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down the road.
Life just happens and so many other things take priority first. Right now we need to buy The Boy a car, at some point we would like to buy a house and start a family, and we will both be in student loan debt for the rest of our lives. And even if we ever had a little bit of extra money I would choose getting Lasik done on my eyes first before braces. My eyeballs have started rejecting contacts and wearing glasses is incredibly inconvenient in my job....but that's another story.
The point here is....there is always going to be something more important than my teeth and that's ok. I'm not whining by saying that. I accept that as part of adult life and realize that I may have missed my window and this is just how it's going to be. It's been like this for 18 years....what's 60 more? lol
Remember my niece Elsa with all the questions and the braces in her future? Well the future has come! Ironically just as I began brainstorming this post in my head I found out my sister had taken her to the orthodontist and she was getting braces on in a week. I was so excited for her!!
The cherry on top of the whole situation was when I heard that as they were walking out of one of her orthodontist visits she said to my sister, "thank you for paying for me to go to an orthodontist."
Isn't that the sweetest damn thing you've ever heard? I'll be honest....I cried when I heard this....but I'm an emotional wreck anyway. She said this all on her own after an unpleasant visit of getting molds that make you gag and getting fitted for a headgear. She could have easily walked out of there with a bad attitude but instead she chose to thank her mom for doing this. And this is also without them ever telling her about how much it costs. She just knew on her own that this was a big deal and that she should grateful for this opportunity. I am so proud of her for realizing that all on her own.
So there you have it.....my tale of insecurity.
I'm done talking about teeth now! lol