I had severely crooked teeth while growing up. My mouth, which has been measured to be 10 millimeters too small (yes Miss Big Mouth in actuality has a tiny mouth) couldn't hold all of my teeth properly so four of them had to be pulled as well as my so called wisdom teeth (we can surmise that all of my potential wisdom was extracted with them.) As all of you that know me, not much that has to do with my body goes smoothly so the pulling of the four teeth was an ordeal. They broke off so they had to cut open my gums and pull them out root first which made healing take so much longer and the ultimate goal of braces so much further away. The correction of my crooked teeth didn't happen until freshman year of high school, so I had years and years of the habit of covering my mouth every time I smiled or laughed. My brother used to swipe away my hands in an effort to retrain me. Even then he saw what I would do to hide myself. I hated any and all pictures. I hated smiling without my hand over my mouth.
As a teenager it felt like the world was picking on me. Giving me another thing on top of all the things. Being a teenage girl, in this beauty obsessed culture, surrounded by such pretty friends (I secretly hatched a plot to get less attractive friends so I could be the Queen of the Uglies) you constantly measure yourself. We, I, still do it. Facebook, Instagram, Selfie Sundays... #NoFilter, it's the same. The saying "Put your best face forward" in this society that makes snap judgements, either giving credit for beauty from the lottery of birth and then conversely assigning blame for unattractiveness. I was doing it. I do still, with Thor.
Truth is, to have a face at all, an actual functioning face with teeth and a nose and lips and both eyes and both ears without a terrible malformation that you can utilize to communicate with the other people in your life if you are lucky enough to have some is not only more than some people have, THAT is putting your best face forward.
So many people tell me I have a terrific or a beautiful smile now. It doesn't have anything to do with my teeth, or the years of braces and headgear. It's because when I smile I mean it.