Growing up, I had a really bad relationship with my teeth. Although things were cool when I was a little girl, once my adult ones came in, it seemed like my teeth were so big that they overtook my entire face (I've got the pics to prove it). As if that wasn't bad enough, I also had an overbite, a little overcrowding on my front bottom teeth and my left front tooth protrudes slightly more than my right one. Ugh. Out of all the things that are "wrong" with my teeth, that annoys me the most.
I begged my mother to take me to the dentist. Beyond semi-routine cleanings, she didn't. It wasn't until I was well into my 30s when she explained that even though she knows she should have, she didn't because she had an illogical fear of the dentist herself.
As pissed as I was about having these teeth of mine, there are two distinct things that happened that helped me to make peace.
For one thing, back in the day, I used to do a little bit of modeling. During a shoot, I mentioned to the husband/wife photography team that I wanted to get braces. Both of them paused and shook their head "no". The husband then said, "Braces aren't always a good thing. They can totally alter your facial structure and, believe it or not, mess up your smile."
The second thing that happened was the death of my father. My smile — lips, overbite 'n all — I get from him. Now that he's gone, it's weird but it's like I get a glimpse of him every day whenever I look in the mirror. Ironically, that makes me smile. Big.
Both of these life moments have taught me the same overall point — flaws are not something to be ashamed of or even something that we should be consumed with changing. As you'll see in just a sec, if your perspective is healthy, your so-called flaws can actually be the best thing about you (physically).
3. Flaws Can Actually Mean Perfection
One of my favorite quotes is by psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Something she once said is, "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
Beautiful people do not just happen. I get chills every time I read that. By definition, a flaw is something that mars perfection and one definition of perfection is a perfect embodiment of something. But you know what? Someone who has a lifelong scar from a domestic situation they were once in or someone who's got a burn from a house fire or car accident that happened to them — to be able to survive those kinds of things, to me, is the perfect embodiment of strength and beauty.
If you've got a flaw that reminds you of just how far you've come, that is not a flaw. It's a symbol of just how dope you really and truly are.
Feature image by Getty Images.
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