Sometimes, your life doesn’t follow the chronological order of the standard human life calendar set out for you by society. Some things you may experience earlier than the average person would, and some things might come much later than they should have.
In my case, it was braces. At the tender age of 29, I made the decision to fix an uncomfortable dental issue, and sadly this meant getting braces.
The fear of humiliation and ridicule was almost larger than my desire to feel better and healthier. I tossed and turned over this for many months before finally agreeing. And now they’re in.
Surprisingly, I almost dare to say this has been a positive experience.
There are some unique advantages of getting braces as an adult that you wouldn’t necessarily have as a teenager.
The first one is bullying. Nobody bullies you. They may think of it, but they don’t say it.
All of a sudden, you have the power. You can talk about your braces, you can show them freely, and people are not allowed to be mean to you. In society we care so much about what other people think, which is actually a much harder truth for the brace-bully than for the brace-wearer. If a person makes a mean or negative remark about my braces, they would instantly become the bad guy in the eyes of the remaining observants. I would be the victim, and I would be showered with pity. Which, as George Costanza once said, is totally underrated.
The other perk is your adult sense of self. By now, I am fairly stable in my self-image in the sense that I know I’m not an awkward, friendless nerd, or a loser, or ugly, simply because I am wearing braces. As a teenager, braces may define who you are, but as an adult they won’t. Nobody describes me as ‘the girl with the braces‘.
Sadly it’s still ‘the girl with the loud, irritating voice and the big hair‘.
Finally, it’s the respect you get from your peers. People admire your brave decision to get braces at such a ridiculous age, and to put yourself out there. In fact, many people have confessed to me that they too would like braces, yet haven’t had the courage to get them.
So there you have it.
If you need to get braces, you just do it. You go, and you get them and you don’t try to learn how to smile without showing them – you just wear them like a boss!