During the pandemic, I really learned what my smile meant to me. Now, this comes from a girl that is pretty in tune with how my smile makes me feel. I have had lots of emotions based on my smile. When I was little, sometimes people would say something about my gap. In later years no one ever really said anything about it because I kept a pretty tight lock on my smile being lips only. I was 24 and walking across to my dad for the first time in my memory and smiling ear to ear for him to cut me down in a mere moment of referencing my teeth. From then on, I never smiled openly. I was insane about photos being taken without my knowledge.
Let me share a moment. Let’s roll back time to the year I was 34. I was newly married and was waiting for the return of our wedding photos and I excitedly opened them to find picture after picture of my big gaping gap and roller-coast teeth. I was so grateful I was seeing someone alone. I did not want them to see the time of day. We had an expensive photographer who did a terrible job on pictures, she didn’t take any initiative nor did she follow my directions. She just sort of stood around and snapped some really good church photos but nothing really else. I was mad that the few shots we did have were ruined in my mind by my stupid teeth…
The one true thing my Ex-husband did for me out of the kindness of his heart is he allowed me to get braces. So, at age 36 I was sporting braces and boy did I love every second of it. I had the best orthodontist in the world. I’ll fight you on that. I gained a huge appreciation for my mouth, my teeth, and my smile.
I now get told all the time how beautiful my smile is, how pretty my teeth are. I have had random people come up to me and comment on them. I relish those moments. I am so proud of my teeth. Adult braces are not the easiest thing I ever did but it was the happiest I have ever been while experiencing a great deal of pain. I will be honest, smiling now is complicated because I just never smiled with my teeth so it does not come naturally to me.
Smiling is however my favorite way to break the ice. Covid took that from me. I literally did not enjoy going out to stores or being out in the public period. I felt like my shield was down and I was open to all kinds of hurt. I would even be in my head thinking people were looking and gawking at me. Then I would think if they could see me smiling at them this would not be happening.
See I figure it this way- You smile at people they either truly get blessed by it, or they feel guilty for being rude because here is this nice person smiling at them and their initial thought was to comment on their weight or some other defect they may find in them. Either way, they normally smile or force smile back and a peaceful encounter occurs instead of a bad one. Also, a smile is a great way to get kids to like you. I have time and time again won a kid’s approval with a smile. To make a baby laugh is the biggest joy and it all starts with a smile.
What does your smile mean to you? xoxo
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