Embracing our “imperfections”

lauren hutton crop 2 Years ago I had orthodontic braces. I wore that metal contraption – rubber bands and all – throughout the last couple years of high school, followed by a year of grueling night-time retainer wearing. If you’ve seen me anytime post circa 1990 then you’re probably wondering if I got a refund. Because today there’s a gap, front and center where my two front teeth used to meet. A big one.

At one point, a lifetime ago now it seems, I thought about re-closing it and my grandmother said simply, “Why close it? If it came back, that means it’s meant to be there. It makes you different.” She said it so confidently and with such assurance (as though she’d heard it from God himself) that I knew immediately she was right. And that validation from her was all I needed to never question the existence of my gap again. Even when some adults have asked if I’ve ever thought about getting it “fixed”.  And even when children (ok, one child) have pointed to their missing front teeth and asked me if the tooth fairy left me money too.  Even then I’ve never once considered changing my gap-toothed smile. More important than the fact that I’ve gotten more compliments over the years than comments, is the fact that I genuinely like my smile.

If only we could pull sweet grandmother wisdom out of our pockets whenever we had doubts about our perceived imperfections. We’d spend a lot less time being unhappy and a lot more time focusing on the things that really matter. What others thought about our imperfections would be meaningless, because what we knew to be true about ourselves would be shaped by someone who’d heard it directly from God himself. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start thinking about ourselves – all of it, cellulite, wrinkles and all?

So what’s your “imperfection”, and how did you learn to love it? Have you learned to love it? Share your thoughts in the comment section, or on our Facebook fan page. And, don’t forget to take this week’s poll – Would you ever consider plastic surgery?

Image: Lauren Hutton’s gap-tooth smile

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Grace

Grace is a freelance writer and blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • My most significant imperfection is my spine: I have severe scoliosis, and had surgery to at least partially correct it at 13; I have a scar that runs from the back of my neck to the back of my waist, and another on the back of my left hip; I have a hump on one side of my back, and no visible shoulder blade on the other; My shoulders and hips are asymmetrical. In short–I'm crooked.

    I came to terms with this a long time ago. I jokingly refer to my steel-reinforced spine. I rock a little black dress (though it may gap in the back on one side and may reveal my scar) and I have the finest posture a woman could ask for…which translates into giving the impression of confidence, even when my knees are at their weakest.

    I wasn't going to wake up one morning with a miraculously cured spine, and scar-free skin–and I realized that until I found the positive in the situation, no amount of lamenting my fate would change anything. Focusing on the up-side is how I learned to embrace my significant imperfection.

  • womenatforty

    Thanks for sharing Margaret and I love that you've turned your “imperfection” into the finest posture a woman could ask for and that you rock your little black dress!

  • shawn

    When i go for walks on the page i sometimes ejaculate on to seashells i find. i love imperfection

  • shawn

    When i go for walks on the beach i sometimes ejaculate on to seashells i find. i love imperfection

  • shakira

    i just came.

  • kananipod

    I had braces too when I was a kid, through my early teens and wore a retainer well into my 20's. Then I got 'lazy' and didn't wear my retainer all the time like I was supposed to and my teeth shifted. A lot! My teeth aren't as crooked as when first got braces (ugh, headgear…that memory just made a appearance), but they're far from the post-braces straight from nearly 20 years ago. I've come to terms with it, mostly it's guilt and regret of not wearing my retainer to maintain that pristine smile my single mom paid so much for. I'm thankful for it, for what alignment resulted of having had braces, and for the fact I don't cringe every time I see a current picture of myself smiling. Nature will take u where it wants you to go, and there's only so many things you can control, the most of which center around when and if you want to put up a fight, lol.

    I wish I was taller though, haha! But I've started collecting stilettos… 😀

  • womenatforty

    Hey Jen,

    So you know exactly where I'm coming from! As for the stilettos, I can barely keep my balance in flats. My ongoing battle with my imperfection is all about my weight/health. These are things I can definitely do something about that go well beyond just the size I wear and what I look like. BTW, I'm rerunning one of the first posts you ever submitted tomorrow. I'm kind of doing a “best of” reader submissions, and that one is one of my faves!

  • kananipod

    Oh you're so cool!  I got weepy when u said my post is one of ur faves. Must be the 'I am 40 years old' one (?). 😀

    Actually that post inspired me to start an outline for turning that into a book….not sure what it will be called but certainly that submission was an inspiration point for me and one that I'm super passionate about. 🙂

    I heart WAF!

    Aloha,
    Jenny

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  • womenatforty

    Great jump off for a book! Good luck with that. I'm not the only fan of that post – you've got a comment on today's repost of it and a couple on Facebook too. You go girl!

  • kananipod

    oh i get weepy when stuff like that happens, lol!  Thank you Grace!!! People like u make the world go 'round!  aloha!

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  • kananipod

    oh i get weepy when stuff like that happens, lol!  Thank you Grace!!! People like u make the world go 'round!  aloha!

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