Loving an imperfect smile.

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My smile is far from perfect.  I once had a dentist tell me that my teeth were “too big for my face”.  I suppose that might be true.  I inherited my mother’s broad smile and my father’s narrow face, so it’s almost as though my teeth got crowded into a mouth that was too small to accommodate them all.  They overlap in places, some jut out at odd angles and there are gaps all over the place.

DSCF7947I’ve often thought that my smile looked a little like Stonehenge, with teeth randomly plonked down in no logical order.  Some are too high up, having never grown into the spaces left behind when my baby teeth fell out.

DSCF7677I used to be horribly self-conscious of my smile.  I would never, ever smile in photographs.  That’s why all of the pictures of me in my teens either show me with a deadpan expression or a shy half-smile.  Every photo is closed-lipped, and I never look at though I’m having a good time.  I always appear reluctant, hesitant or just plain bored.

When I met someone for the first time, I would always try to keep my mouth closed as much as possible lest they notice my teeth.  On dates I would avoid eating for fear that I’d get food caught in my chompers.  Every time I laughed, I’d quickly flutter a hand up to my face to cover my mouth, so even my laughter was gated and guarded.

DSCF6986It was Ross who started me on the journey of loving my smile.  Once, when we’d been dating only a few weeks, he caught my hand as it flew up to my mouth mid-giggle.  “Don’t do that”, he said. “You always cover your mouth when you smile,  and I want to see it when you laugh”.  I was shocked, because I honestly hadn’t even realised that I’d been doing it.  It had become an unconscious habit of mine.  The next time he cracked a joke, I willed my hand to stay where it was, and my smile was greeted with a wide grin from him.  It was the first time in a long time that I’d felt happy about smiling without covering my mouth.

DSCF6762Blogging has also helped me to love my smile.  When I started taking daily outfit photos of myself, I noticed my tight-lipped smile. My pictures always seemed forced because I knew that it wasn’t my real smile shining through.  Little by little, I encouraged myself to smile wider and wider in my photographs.  For months, those real-smile pictures lay unused on my computer.  Then I finally dared myself to publish one on my blog.  I waited for a firestorm of comments about my ugly smile, but none ever came.

DSCF5988Once my dentist told me, “You could have your teeth fixed, you know” and I went home to contemplate the possibility.  When I realised that I would be pissing away thousands of dollars to fix something that wasn’t medically wrong with me, I started to change my attitude.  My teeth aren’t preventing me from living my life.  They aren’t causing me pain or discomfort.  They just don’t look as straight and pretty as they could.  Well, so effin’ what?  I’d rather have those dollars to spend on an awesome trip, or a house, or something else that would make my life better.  I don’t want to waste that money to fix something that isn’t broken.

DSCF5766So, I figure if you can’t change it, you’d better accept it.  And if you’re going to accept it, you may as well try to love it.  So even though I’m not head-over-heels for my wonky smile, I’m well on the way to loving it.

Do you have a body part that you’re self conscious about?  How do you learn to love your ‘flaws”

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14 thoughts on “Loving an imperfect smile.

  1. I have an overbite n small gaps in between my four front teeth.I would always fantasize about getting that picture perfect teeth! I have almost all mh frnz n mh partner telling me my smile is very beautiful even I had my teachers complimentin me for my smile but somehow I wondered how come everyone has such a bad taste…n today I visited mh dentist n he told it can be corrected n all n so after returning I was finally feeling happy n turned towards the mirror to finally dream of that picture perfect smile…bt I didn’t feel happy on finally realising that I don’t want that. Yes I hate my teeth n d gaps but I don’t want to cover it up with something so permanant. I m me n my imperfections r as integral to me as mh perfections r n datz wen I searched for articles n stories on acceptn oneself n body positivity…N came across ds post.Ovio itz not that I have fallen head over heels in love with my teeth but it’s really good to see that there r ppl on the other side of spectrum too.Tnx fr ds post!I hope someday I can love mh smile too n adore it! N u know wat? Ur smile is too cute!

  2. I think you have a great smile and it’s really great that you accept it as they are! I have crooked & crowded teeth & I am still in the process of accepting it. My dentist asked me to get braces in order to get a great smile and to attract guys?! But I didn’t get it because the cost is too expensive & it requires 2 mini screws screwed into the jaw bone! Since I can’t get them fixed, I’ll have to accept it. I can accept it but the society can’t. To follow the society’s view on having straight teeth is better or to accept my crooked teeth?

    • I tend to think it’s better to accept yourself as you are, rather than fretting about whether you measure up to society’s view of what is beautiful. Trust me when I say that the right guy won’t be put off by a crooked smile. In fact, many of the men I’ve been with say they find my smile dazzling, even if it isn’t perfectly straight. If you can, try to accept your smile the way it is, I’m sure it’s lovely.

  3. I think a smile is as individual as a person! Sure, straight white teeth can look great, but I dunno, I like a little personality. I used to hate my smile and my teeth, but I too learnt to like them. I happen to think you have a gorgeous smile!

  4. I must say.. your smile is ADORABLE. I honestly love crooked teeth on people. It’s charming and cute! I like what you said, if it’s not medically wrong, or hurting, why fix it? Unless a tooth is broken, or causing you pain, why fix it. Just embrace it. I think it’s cute! I get concerned about my teeth sometimes, I feel like I have HUGE teeth! I’ve had people call me a squirrel and stuff… I also have one tooth that’s a bit crooked. I’ve thought about getting it fixed, but like you said, it’s not hurting or anything like that. So, I’ll just forget about it.
    I don’t think people notice stuff like that as much as we think they do. I looked around at your blog and didn’t once think a thing was wrong with you.

    • It’s so true. Sometimes the things we focus on as flaws aren’t even a blip on other people’s radars.

      Also, sometimes it’s a “flaw” that makes a person awesome and unique. Try to imagine Owen Wilson without his crooked nose, or Drew Barrymore without her lisp, or Kirstin Dunst without her gappy smile. Our ‘flaws” are what sets us apart from everyone else in some cases.

  5. Sweetheart, I applaud your honesty and desire to embrace your “flaws” so incredibly much. As you may have noticed, I never (save for one snap in one post last summer) flash my teeth in my photos. The reason for that is because I have very bad teeth (super crowded/misaligned) that so far I’ve just not been able to bring myself to show publicly. My parents didn’t have the means to do anything for them when I was growing up and I’ve not had the funds to fix the situation yet as an adult (I’ve had five dentists over the years tell me that my situation is well beyond anything braces could help and that I’d need tons of veneers – every quote I’ve gotten for that has been in the five figure range), but it is one of my life goals to make that happen.

    There are a lot of flaws about myself that I’ve gotten past/learned to deal with over the years, but again, my smile isn’t one of them, but you never know – I seem to become more accepting of my shortcomings with each passing year.

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* I think your smile was beautiful! I wish my teeth looked that good!!!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.
      Even though you’re so self conscious about your smile, I think you’re just gorgeous. If you really do want to fix your teeth, I say go for it. In my case, I found that I was able to move past my worries about my teeth to a point where I can accept and even sometimes love my wonky smile. But I also totally understand if your way to make yourself feel happy is to change your teeth. I think you’re gorgeous no matter what.

  6. Nah your smile is nice! Everyone’s smile is nice because it shows they’re happy! I hate my dark under eye circles and I don’t think I’ll ever learn to love them. Sometimes I wonder how people can look at me and not judge me! Plus the other day someone said I looked “terrible and tired” and that I should go home and sleep. At the time I was feeling 100%. Way to burst my bubble!

    • People don’t always realise how much impact a seemingly off-the-cuff comment can have. I know quite a few people with permanent dark-eye circles which don’t disappear with rest. I think it comes with the territory when you’ve got fair skin. I’m so sorry that you feel so self-conscious about them, and I hope that one day you’ll find a way to love them.

  7. ❤ I l-o-v-e your smile! My original smile, before my dentures, was a lot like Sookie's from True Blood (mostly straight, but a giant gap between my front teeth.) My grandmother wanted me to get them fixed, but I was like, hell no. I kind of miss that gap, as that was part of my original smile, however my dentures are okay too. 🙂 I would say, if I am self conscious about anything, it's acne. I rarely wear make-up, so it's not THAT annoying, but outside of hurting from time to time, it's just a big red blotchy annoyance!

    I would say I am VERY self conscious about how clothes fit me. Not in the height/weight wise, but actual clothing fitting. Nearly everything I buy is either: WAY too big and baggy, WAY too high waist-ed and uncomfortable for pants and shirts are everything from way too see-through to way too itchy, or too tight sleeves, etc. I just have such a hard time picking clothes that fit perfect and feel good, even when trying them on in the store! It's like I try them on, come home and they transform!

    • Oh, it sounds like your original smile was super cute (although the one you have now is also very pretty).

      I had bad acne when I was a teenager, and I was really self conscious about it. It’s settled down now that I’m older, but I’m still kind of self conscious about my skin. I very rarely go out with no makeup on.

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