My teeth were a mess. I could convince anyone that I had vampire blood in me. Even then I refused to get braces. I gave myself a story that I wanted to be accepted for who I am despite my teeth. I went around with an elimination test – that anyone who commented on my teeth, were not worth spending my time with. Maybe I was right. And for a long time, I did not let that affect my self-esteem either. Or so I thought.
I did live with those teeth for 29 years. I strongly believed that I did not care as to how the world viewed me physically. But deep down I did care a little at least I guess. I must have because I got annoyed every time when dentists questioned me on why I didn’t get it fixed or the fact that I never did smile whole heartedly for pictures.
All through this, getting my teeth fixed became a necessity rather than for aesthetic. My upper teeth were grinding my lower ones and it reached a point where I had to do something. It took me another year of letting go of the image I held on to for myself and others and also facing the reality that I actually lacked self-care even. So I did decide to get the braces right before my 30th birthday and the progress has been painfully good so far.
The decision was not easy because self-care was not something I was good at. My mother always hated anyone who spent even a little bit time or money on grooming themselves. Naturally I grew up with zero self-care routine as she never taught me anything. Self-care became major part of my trauma recovery.
Even looking at myself in the mirror was such a difficult task initially but I decided that I have to change my thoughts and opinions on caring for myself. So I am getting into having a routine for myself lately. I don’t always keep up but I am trying. So the braces were definitely a long leap on my part into caring for myself.