Sometimes I’m surprised when I’m complimented about my smile, especially when my teeth are on full display. I’m surprised because some of my teeth are noticeably crooked. This honestly wasn’t something that bothered me much – not until other people began saying things about them. My parents couldn’t afford to get me braces when I was a kid, so that was that. I just accepted my teeth as they were and went on with living my life. As far as I was concerned, my perfectly imperfect teeth were fine.
I never really thought about having my teeth corrected or straightened until I started hearing things like, “Have you ever considered braces?” and “Wow, if you got your teeth fixed you could go to Hollywood with that smile.” Isn’t it wild how some things about our physical appearance don’t bother or trigger us until other people begin to bring them up? I don’t think the people who said those things to me meant to be insulting, but their comments didn’t make me feel good about myself. Suddenly, I began to wonder if I should consider making some changes.
The more comments I continued to receive about my teeth started to make me feel a little insecure. I started to notice other women who were blessed with seemingly perfect teeth and perfect smiles. They had it all. They never had to worry about someone suggesting they fix anything about their teeth. But I thought my crooked teeth were an issue. When I became more aware of them, I went through a brief period of smiling with my mouth closed to avoid criticism and comments about what I could do to make my smile better. And when I look through old photographs of myself, I can see where I was intentionally smiling without showing my teeth, which was honestly sad. After a while, I thought, I’m fine with the way my teeth look. They’re not perfect, but they’re also not horrific. Some people even dig my smile, and I do too. I wasn’t bothered about the way they looked before. So why should I be bothered now? I don’t have to change for anyone.
I’d like to apologize to my crooked teeth for the times I was insecure. I should have loved and appreciated them more. They deserved so much better than to be hidden or to feel embarrassed. They’ve been here for me by just being themselves. They’ve never had to be perfect for me or anyone else. They’re fine as they are, and I will show them more love and appreciation than I ever have before. After all, we’ve been through a lot together. And though they may not fit the standards others I’ve encountered suggest they should, I know my teeth and I are fine. My crooked teeth are strong and healthy. They’re regularly cleaned and serve their purpose well. They help me break my food down into smaller bites, they make me laugh (in good ways), and they allow me to put my smile on full display. A smile that I was born with, along with crooked teeth that I’ve been blessed and born with too. I appreciate my crooked teeth, and if you have teeth that aren’t perfectly aligned or straightened, I hope you appreciate yours too. Even if you decide to get them fixed, corrected, or changed, just know that you’re still so beautiful – inside and out.