Thank you for making me feel completely embarrassed and self- conscious in my own skin. From a young age you have made me quite aware that I am different. Before you came along I looked in the mirror without noticing a single flaw. But the second I stepped off the bus the first time in middle school, you made it abundantly clear there was. Being born with a stage three under bite, and skeletal deformity has eaten up my life. If you are not making me feel bad about the way I look, then I’m probably thinking it myself. Once you hear the same ugly names over and over, you eventually start to believe it. After I found out my bite would not be fixed with braces, my heart sunk. Ultimately this just gave you more reasons to bully me. I guess now a days having a surgery, and wearing braces for extended amount of time is not something to sympathize. Now when I look in the mirror my eyes burn; it’s a daily reminder of the bullying I have endured. Phrases like “ugly, crimson chin, and piranha” are nicknames I am used to being called my way. When I look around and see my friends who have prefect teeth, I constantly catch myself wondering why I had to inherit this awful deformity? Why do I have to be the one so self-conscious? The answer is simple; I have been cursed. Having my condition was a curse; which has caused extreme amounts of emotional and physical pain.
I used to go by what my mom says to me that I was gorgeous and oh, so pretty. But now it’s hard for me to look at myself, and don’t get me started on taking pictures. I absolutely cannot stand it, I hate smiling. I always feel like the person taking the photo will judge my smile. Sad to say, I have every reason to. In eighth grade the school athletic photographer told me to stop fake smiling, to smile “normal”. I simply responded by reassuring him that I was indeed smiling normal. That was the first, but not the only time I was criticized for my smile. Now when a group of my friends are huddled around to take a photo, I either quietly slip away or volunteer snap the picture. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by you, and you always have something to say. People I don’t even know partake in this behavior, which has utterly resolved in my self-loathing. All I do know is apply make-up and avoid smiling not willing to bare my teeth, in hopes you won’t notice me.
Seven years at the orthodontist, a maxed out insurance plan, six pallet expanders, three sets of braces, two sets of headgear, and two retainers. After all this time my family and I refuse to give up. I need to have the “perfect” smile. I mean once that finally happens I won’t be so reluctant to take pictures. In my head I keep picturing myself with glowing white teeth; standing and smiling with my friends in front of an iPhone. That image replaying in the back of my mind is truly what is getting me through. For each year that passes, the more intense my treatment becomes. I am currently at the point where I can count the days on my fingertips, until I have reconstructing my jaw surgery. Thankfully this surgery will only be leaving me with six different sets of screws and plates, in my jaw. Maybe if I run into you at airport when the metal detector goes off, you can make fun of me! To me it’s a sad fact that I am excitedly counting down the days until my jaw bone is shaved, and I spend two days in the hospital strung up on the highest doses of pain killers. The braces I have now are also no walk in the park. I go to the orthodontist every other week to be tightened, to ensure my teeth will be surgery ready. My teeth are to sore to chew, so I watch my family and friends devour my favorite foods, while I sit in silence with tears oozing from my eyes. I know how funny you think that is.
Thank you again for making me notice my flaws. I truly don’t know what my life would be without my constant harassment. My curse has caused many nights crying myself to sleep, from both physical pain, and also self-embarrassment. You have helped me realize that society does not accept people who appear different, but instead ostracize them, making them feel less than others. Thank you for helping me with my decision to move on with life altering surgery. Please feel free to visit me so you can make fun of my black eyes and swollen cheeks.