So many reasons to smile

This morning I woke up and asked myself “What Do I Love About My Body”?

You see, I really wanted to participate in “Love Your Body Day“.

I decided to think about it over breakfast:

My kitchen was a total disaster, so I ended up going to my local cafe and ordered a yogurt, fruit and granola bowl + a side of Chicken Apple Sausage + a nonfat Cafe Au Lait. Yeah. a kind of weird mix, but I really wanted that chicken apple sausage. Anyway, I didn’t feel like eating out of a plastic container, so I transferred my yogurt mix into my Snap Crackle Pop bowl.

And I went back to thinking about what I love best about my body.

I came up with an answer, too.

My smile.

But this was a kind of uncomfortable realization, because this whole love your body thing is about loving yourself as you are, and my smile isn’t exactly the way God intended it. You see, I had braces. Not as a kid, but as a 23 year old. Why? Because I hated the way my teeth looked.

Pretty scary, right?

Sure, medically, it was necessary. It was impossible to floss and because the teeth were all on top of each other, I was getting lots of cavities. But let’s be real. The true reason I was finally getting this taken care of was because I hated the way I looked when I smiled.

So I got braces. Even documented the entire process in my ortho blog, which is still up, though without pictures, so it’s not terribly interesting at this point. After about 2.5 years, I went from the above, to this:

Much better!

So when I look in the mirror, I see me smile back and I feel happy. It’s my favorite feature by far….but is it wrong to love something that was cosmetically changed?

My answer? No.

You see, I don’t love my smile because it’s perfect. I’ve been sans braces for 3.5 years and my teeth aren’t that straight anymore. The bottom ones are crooked again due to me ditching my retainers. As you can see from above, even at the best of my oral hygiene routines, I still had stained teeth. I do not have the smile of a model or movie star, and I never will.

The reason I love my smile is because it shows the world how happy I am.

I thought 5 years ago that the reason I never smiled was because my teeth were crooked, but in truth, it was simply because I was miserable.

I had braces in this picture, but I wasn’t scowling because I had braces and I was trying to hide my crazy mouth from the world. I was scowling because I wasn’t satisfied with who I was as a person. I picked myself apart constantly. My teeth are ugly. I’m too fat. My grades suck. Blah, blah, blah.  I had convinced myself that losing weight or fixing my teeth would instantly change that.

If I was pretty, then everything would be hunky dory.

Think again!

My teeth are straighter and my body lighter, but life isn’t easy.

Looking closer to societal norms won’t make you any happier.

Since all of my physical changes have taken place, I have become more content though. It has nothing to do with appearance, but more with the Alexa on the inside. I’m a person who is able to look at the bright side of things a little more easily now. I am more thankful for the things that I have than upset about the things that I don’t have.

While there are aspects of my life that I might like to be different, overall, I’m happy…and I have lots to smile about:

Like trying to play basketball…

…or bowling with friends and realizing that I actually have my casino player’s club cards in my wallet from the Reno trip I took several weeks before….

(Yeah…I’m a high roller….right…)

…or realizing that I can fit my entire body into one leg of my “fat pants”….

….or because I met President Obama…

(I totally did NOT meet President Obama…)

….or because I forced Maya to go with me to Tokyo Disneyland….

(What a trooper!)

…or because one of my friends of 14 years got married and had the most perfect wedding ever…

…or  because Florence’s wedding had an open bar!

I have a million reasons to smile, so I do it daily. I also promise to never revert back to that person who never did anything but scowl!

Edited to add: One more thing that makes me smile is that the Giants won tonight 6-5…one more win and we’re going to the World Series!!!

What makes YOU smile?

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5 Responses to So many reasons to smile

  1. maya says:

    Maybe it’s because I got used to seeing you ‘smile’ that way over a good 14 year (wow…) chunk of my life, but I really didn’t see that as a scowl until you mentioned it!

    Either way, I have seen the mental transformation you’ve gone through over the past few years first hand, and I am super proud of and happy for the person you have become. ❤

    Disneyland was much more fun that particular (somewhat rainy!) day than any of the other times I've been dragged there. ^_~

  2. I love your smile, too! My smile is my favorite thing about myself… mostly because it’s how I interact with the world. I had braces for FIVE years… so I had some pretty messed up teeth, too. And I think it’s perfectly fine for our favorite feature be one that was cosmetically enhanced.
    Keep on smilin’!

  3. you definitely have a beautiful smile & a lot to smile about! 🙂

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