I have taken a lot of photos of my face in the last few days, and I have discarded so many, because I don't like the way my mouth and chin sit these days.
I took this photo to show how far apart my top and bottom teeth are, because of my thick retainer. I have about a quarter-inch gap -- you wouldn't think it's much, but I let it drive me nuts.
I am supposed to wear the retainer all the time, except for cleaning it after I eat. Chewing can be frustrating; I won't eat certain foods in public, because it's hard to chew them gracefully. My tongue trips over the plastic, so I have a slight lisp. I remove the retainer when I need to talk on the phone for a long time or speak to a group, because I don't enunciate very well, and I want to be as clear as possible when I'm trying to communicate.
Yeah, I pretty much hate it. Not too fond of my orthodontist, either, who has told me several times it would be easier if I'd just have the full braces put on. Yeah, no problem, I'll spend $5000 bucks on my teeth while Ross may need braces, and he's certainly going to need college tuition money. I chose years ago not to do braces, and I have been content with my crooked teeth for all these years.
Maybe I should have resigned myself to losing that molar in the back. It would be yanked, I'd be sore for a while, and it would be done. Maybe I would have been less unhappy.
So why am I so unhappy? Why does this retainer drive me to distraction? It's a temporary thing, a momentary inconvenience on the way to better-functioning teeth. Why am I unable to smile and go on my way?
Part of me is pouting and stamping its feet. It feels backed into a corner. Nobody ever asked for its permission. It keeps crying, "I don't want this!" It looks in the mirror and says "You can't eat, you can't talk, plus you look stupid!" I don't have a comeback for that.
Maybe I just need to sit with that pain for a while. Listen. And come back to the mirror with more compassionate eyes.
P.S. I do realize that this comes across as whining, and I suppose it is. I can understand if some readers are very annoyed with this stuff. I'm exploring ideas and feelings that grab my attention, and I'm trying to do it honestly but not adolescently, if that makes any sense. I hope it is helpful and/or entertaining for those who choose to read it.