September was Self Improvement Month. Did you miss it? That’s okay. As women (and men – I know you’ve told me this matters to you too), every month feels like self-improvement month. We’re always striving to be better. That doesn’t mean we’re not good enough. It just means that we want to be a better version of good.
Take my weight, for example. I’m pretty much at my all-time highest weight. I waffle between accepting that fact that age and hormones and wreaking havoc on my body and I’ll never be a teen model (insert Marcia Brady joke here) or fighting it with every step I track and calorie I take in. Neither one is fun, I have to tell you.
But I’m seriously not trying to be a teen model, or middle aged model, for that matter. I’m simply trying to improve upon what I have. Heavy on top, soft in the middle, rounded at the bottom. I’m not going to change that shape. It is who I am. But I do want to feel better when I walk 3 miles at Disney World. And I wouldn’t mind my pants fitting just a little looser. So I’m slowly working my way back up to the gym. Last year, I was taking pilates and yoga classes and getting on the treadmill a couple of times a week. This year, I sometimes walk to the bus stop instead of drive.
Oh, I do have my lazy ways about me. But I recognize that and I’m giving myself a break as I slowly work up to where I want to be.
Even as adults, we’re never a finished product. Take my teeth, for example. My first bout with braces occurred in 1979 when I had metal brackets cemented to my teeth early in 4th grade. And those braces stayed with me until I was finishing up 8th grade. That’s five long years, y’all.
This was picture day in 4th grade, the same day I had my very first brackets applied to my teeth.
It was okay, though, because everyone my age had braces and I got them off before those dreadful four years known as high school. And that was the end of that. Or so I thought.
Picture day in 7th grade. So close to getting those braces off. It would be many more years before I’d lose the feathered hair though.
Many years later, I suspected I might need some orthodontic correction. My jaw was misaligned and my bottom teeth were crooked (I only had braces on the top). But I was single and I could only think, “Who would want to marry a girl with braces?” So I put it off.
When I finally met and married my husband (i.e., I had hooked him), I knew it was time to do something about my jaw. After careful consideration, I opted for a second round of braces.
“Why do you need your teeth to be perfect?” my mother asked. “I think they have character!”
It wasn’t about vanity for me. It was about the comfort of my bite and health of my jaw. But as an adult, I couldn’t bear the thought of metal in my mouth so I went for the higher priced “clear” braces.
I honestly thought they wouldn’t be noticeable but instead, I spent two years trying to hide my smile. I felt like no one would take me seriously with braces (yes, I know now this is silly thinking).
If I had it to do over or had to do it now, I’d still do what I could to correct my bite but I’d do it the Invisalign® way. I was concerned about the cost of braces, especially as an adult but didn’t realize at the time that the cost of Invisalign is about the same as traditional braces.
Thankfully, braces are behind me. While it was a long two years, I’m glad that I did it. Because no matter how many pictures I look at myself in, when it’s a “bad hair day” or an “I feel fat day,” I realize that nobody sees that. They see my smile. And I see it too!
In honor of Self Improvement Month, I’m going to issue you a challenge. Put on whatever makes you feel good (a red dress, lipstick, a wig – hey, I’m not judging) and give me your best smile. I’m serious. Show me your smiling face by leaving a picture in the comments. Or tweet it to me at @allthingsfadra. Because if we can’t smile together, we can at least laugh about it!
(Also, if you’ve ever considered getting braces as an adult, Invisalign has a great Smile Assessment tool that helps you understand if you might be a good candidate for their program.)
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. And yes, I really did wear braces for a total of seven years.