I first posted this post on Bayart
Embrace those flaws. They are yours. They are you. They crave your love and attention like the rest of you.
In my early teenage years, I started having these yellowish colour on my two front teeth. I ignored it, as my mother insisted that I should brush my teeth more. With time, the colour became more distinguished and it became like part of my teeth. It wasn’t on the entire enamel, just a bit on the upper parts and was barely seen unless I grinned or laughed out. I didn’t really know what brought it about. Maybe my brushing frequency, too much toothpaste or more than enough fluoride/chlorine, whatever. I wasn’t keen on getting it washed off so I had to deal with it.
My classmates probably noticed though I tried as much as possible to hide it. I’d not move my lips much over my teeth while I talked. I smiled without showing my teeth, you know that awkward smile right? The one you just tried to make 🙂 Whenever I was laughing, instead of doing that throw-your-head-back kind of laughter, I’d throw mine down. I’d laugh so hard, with my head bowed down or turned away. I just made sure my teeth were not seen. I couldn’t bear that embarrassment of having someone spot my yellow teeth.
Mostly, I guess it worked. No one seemed to notice. I remember a classmate pointing it out, having seen it for the first time after a year of being my friend. That was how good I was at hiding my flaw. The few friends that had seen the colour were concerned. They told me that it could get cleaned up, and I would quickly agree with them just to cut short the topic. It always embarrassed me but I always shrugged like it didn’t bother me. In truth, it did. But I was scared of going to the dentist for the scrubbing. I’ve always been scared of dentists, and my oh my, syringes give me a heart freeze.
So this time in high school during a break, I overheard two girls talking about my teeth and laughing. What made it worse was the fact that I was just about to pass by them when they made some crude joke about my teeth and ran off laughing. Though they didn’t directly say it to me, it hit me like a plank of wood smashed on my face. I was crushed. A wave of insecurity rushed through me and I was suddenly faced by the fear of everyone talking about my teeth and laughing. Everyone knows what I’ve been hiding. They all know now. Everyone looking at me is looking at my teeth. They are laughing at the yellow colour. For a moment, these thoughts couldn’t leave my mind. As I walked down the stairs, up the corridors, out in the sun, and towards the dining hall, to my friends, for ten O’clock coffee……that’s all I thought of. I couldn’t brush it off (pun not intended) even when I sat back in class, as the teacher hummed on……God! What was I going to do?
Just then, I got an idea. I was going to face my fear heads on. I was going to stop being scared of my teeth being seen. I would show it out and let it go! I knew I was beautiful. Everyone told me that I was beautiful so why was I being scared? The first thing I thought of doing was call one of the girls, and talk to her about it. (They were two best friends, and I got along with one more.) I decided to speak my heart out and make her see my point of view.
First thing the following morning I told her that I wanted to speak with her. She was apprehensive, as if she knew what I called her for. I started calmly. I told her that I didn’t like their behavior. I told her that I didn’t like the fact that they laughed at my teeth. That it wasn’t right and I honestly felt bad about it. I asked her to put herself in my shoes and imagine what she would feel if she were me. She looked sorry and she apologized for what she and her friend had done. She promised that they would never do it again and sure enough, they never did. She always smiled and waved whenever she saw me. I regained back my confidence. And that, right there, made me accept my flaw.
You may have crooked teeth, short hair, thick arms, short legs, bad grammar, thin lips, or anything that makes you feel insecure about yourself. Don’t hide yourself because you are scared of being seen. Don’t undermine yourself. Don’t let the flaw come in your way with happiness and success. Don’t let anybody bring you down because of it. You are beautiful in every way possible. Speak up if need be. Show off and let everyone know that you don’t mind having that mark on you. It’s yours. Embrace it.
I reposted this in connection with When your shortcomings hold you back.