When I was a kid, I had braces. My teeth were a hot mess, so on they went when I was about ten or so. I had a love/hate relationship with them, and a year and a half later, I got them off.
With my new freedom came...the retainer. So I guess "freedom" isn't the word for it. I mean, I could eat peanuts and chew gum again to my little heart's content, and instead of this:
|Let's be fair...no one looks this good with metalmouth.|
I looked like this:
But to hell with it, at least they weren't braces!
I was told I had to wear the stupid thing all the time at first, 24/7, so I figured I'd like to at least like my new torture device. So when they came in to take the mold for it and they asked if I wanted glitter, of course I said yes! What twelve-year-old girl wouldn't? But I did come away disappointed--they didn't offer any colors. See, I really wanted a blue one. Even better would have been a sparkly blue one. Blue, with blue glitter. A friend of mine--just one friend, this was the mid-1990s when braces were becoming more mainstream--had a blue one, and I was...er...blue?...with jealousy, especially since I had to settle.
Truthfully, as much as I wanted one, I probably wouldn't have gotten the blue one...I'd been picked on enough in school, and decided that since people would be seeing it (I had to take it out to eat), I should stick to something fairly neutral. No sense in giving the bullies more theoretical ammo. Pre-teen kids are assholes, by the way, and that was way more than enough to persuade me to suck it up and settle for something I was only "meh" about, not that I had much of a choice given what was available.
So I got my mouth-pink glittery retainer. I wore that damn thing religiously, even though I hated it and it made me feel like I was going to puke all the time. I never even lost it; never even accidentally--or maybe that should be "accidentally"?--threw it out on my lunch tray at school. Then I was finally given the green light to just wear it at night, and I looked forward to the day when I could wean myself off it for good and be "normal."
That day never came.
I tried, but my teeth and jaw would ache like a sonovabitch if I didn't wear it for more than one night, and it was actually a relief to put it back in. I also observed my peers not wearing theirs, and their teeth would migrate like retarded homing pigeons back to where they'd been before they had braces--and in some cases, they were actually worse-off. And there was no WAY I was going to let that happen. I'd suffered for beauty (and happy teeth, but mostly beauty), goddammit, and I wasn't going to have wonky teeth just because.
Fast-forward years later (to 2011, actually), and I was still wearing the same pinky glittery thing. I'd taken great care of it; it was clean and crack-free, but loose after something like sixteen years. I'd always been complimented on my "bite" by my dentists and my teeth were good, but a visit to a recommended orthodontist confirmed it was time for a new one.
Molds were taken, and then the moment came--the one I'd been waiting for.
The color selection.
And you know what? I picked out a blue, sparkly retainer. I was a grown women, dammit, and I wasn't going to let anything stand in the way of what I wanted. I was going do and get what made me happy.
So now I have one of these:
|Not a picture of my actual retainer. I wanted to respect its privacy.|
So the moral of this whole convoluted story is that you should do what makes you happy, no matter what anyone thinks (unless it's hurting yourself or someone else).
And I think we need to remember that more often.