In high school, I wore braces. For two years.
I had the whole “headgear thing,” then had 6 teeth pulled (including 4 wisdom), and my braces for two years.
I was so glad to get those things off.
In early adulthood, I had to have a gum graft. My gums were receding too much. It wasn’t comfortable, and took a bit to heal. I was glad, too, that that was done with.
Then it started again. Only a few years after all of this, as my life transitioned to different cities, I began to hear different dentists speak about the functionality of my mouth. I needed braces again, they murmured. And possibly jaw surgery.
I heard that from more than one source. It was frustrating. Disappointing. Depressing.
Hadn’t I already been down that road?
Some people go their whole lives without having to wear braces, and here I was, being told I’d have to wear them a second time?
I put it off. I ate bagels less. I rarely chewed gum. Things that would put extra stress on my jaw.
I got a retainer to help a tooth that had retracted inward.
I did what I could, while being in denial that I’d have to face things one day.
Then, it happened. While I was away on a trip, my jaw started popping and clicking every time I ate. My husband could even hear me eat – not because I chewed the food loudly – but because he could hear my jaw clicking and popping.
I knew. I knew I’d put it off as long as I could. I had hoped that maybe I wouldn’t have to go down this road. I was terrified to have jaw surgery. I mean, God gave me this jaw! The surgery scared me – but the braces idea on top of that? That humbled me. What gorgeous grown woman wears braces, I thought? My vanity struggled.
But I got to the point where I knew I was going to move down that path. It wasn’t one I wanted to travel. But it was one that was needed for the future functionality of my teeth and mouth. And I knew, I needed to be brave and do what needed to be done for the future health of my mouth and jaw.
Why did I have to endure this? Why would I have to wear braces twice? Why was my jaw made to work against my mouth and teeth? Only God knows.
I realize many people have to go through things twice. Maybe more. This is my “lot” in life to bear, as much as I hate it.
It’s just another chance for me to see how strong I am. How humble I can be about my looks. And just what God can do through unfortunate circumstances.
It’s not what I would choose. But it could be a lot worse.
So, I’m starting over again. Starting back at where I was in high school.
I’m going to have the best attitude I can with it. I’m hoping to learn. Grow. And be better. Not just to have my teeth and mouth improve and be better – but my whole character.
Here we go.
Here we go.