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