Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beauty is Only Skin Deep, or as Deep as Your Pockets

This post is somewhat personal, and is on a topic that is a bit touchy for some. For those of you who only know me through the Internet or through my blog, you may not have known that I had some cosmetic work done within the last two years...that sounds pretty controversial doesn't it? 'Cosmetic work', 'cosmetic surgery', 'getting work done', those all have such a negative sound don't they? Why is that? Why is it that if we alter our bodies in any way, other than diet and exercise, from what the good Lord gave us it's looked down upon?

Well contrary to what it sounds like, I don't feel that my 'work' was as horrible as I'm building it up to be...but then again, who am I to judge? Let me go into a little detail about my situation, and then I'll make my point.

As a child we all go through our awkward stages of change that, if we're lucky, we grow out of. For some it was having a flat chest, a big nose, being too skinny, acne, a crooked smile, you name it-we've all probably had one or another. Even if time and puberty doesn't cure all, the hope is that we grow into our adulthood and mature into stable human beings that can accept all of our flaws. Then we get a new set of problems...thunder thighs, saggy boobs, big guts, HAIR in all of the wrong places, not enough hair in some, wrinkles, grays, the works. So when is it socially acceptable to say 'I don't like _______ about myself and you know what?!?! I'm going to do something about it!'?

Well I have to admit that I have accepted a lot of things about myself that I know will never change, and even learned to embrace them. I hated my nose growing up. My mother always told me that my nose was beautiful and 'regal' but in my mind, that meant big, broad, a huge blemish in the middle of my face. Now, I no longer stare vainly in the mirror wishing that I had the money for a nose job (yes, I used to obsess over it), I look at my face as a whole and know that I'm beautiful and that it shapes who I am (I've also learned that certain camera angles are more flattering than others and learn to adjust accordingly). One thing that I had the hardest time getting over, however, was my smile.

I took the same measures that most kids in junior high and high school did, I got braces and for two years dealt with difficulty flossing, food stuck in the weirdest places and being called 'metal mouth', but that's not what I'm talking about. Ever since I was little and my teeth came in I had these...for lack of a better word, spots. Some dentists called them calcium deposits, some said they were bruises from when there was trauma to the gums before the teeth came in, but there was never a sure answer. I had people tell me that I shouldn't worry about it, their brother/cousin/aunt had the same thing and it went away on its own! (well that's good, because I wasn't worrying about it, thanks). Others told me that it could be sanded down, and that I would have beautiful teeth underneath-so then what are my teeth now? As a server one year, I had FOUR different dentists leave me their card in the bill with little notes written on them 'come by and see me, I can help you!' 'Well thanks, but no thanks, and by the way I have a really good girl that can help you with your comb-over issue, she does wonders with a pair of sheers.'

Needless to say, I was working on being comfortable with myself, but it was really hard with people constantly pointing out that it was a flaw. My family and friends truly did try to help. They all said that they didn't even notice it anymore, that it was part of my personality or that it suited me. I would actually get to the point where I was comfortable with it and didn't think about it anymore, but then as soon as I would forget, someone would point it out again. The worst were little kids or people who didn't know that it was there. 'Oh, you've got something in your teeth there,' uh, no that's my tooth. Little kids were bad because they were innocent and I knew they were just being honest by pointing it out...
(Uh, flattering pictures, I know...but you get the point)
So there finally came a point where I had to make a decision.  Really, the only way to take care of my 'problem' would be to get veneers. If you don't know what veneers are, or aren't familiar with how they work, here's a little background. First, the dentist starts by numbing the area where your teeth are that need the veneer, after the numbing comes the sanding, then the temporaries. Temporaries don't look like your real teeth, they pretty much look like your teeth were made out of wax and someone held a match to them. Those are on for about two weeks, or in my case about a month. Sometimes you get the permanent ones in and they look awesome and they glue them down and you're good to go! In my case they needed some adjustments and because they are made out of porcelain, they had to go back to the lab for tweaking and polishing which took another two weeks. Not fun. Something else to think about, the whole time you have temporaries on you have to worry about not knocking them off accidentally when you're eating, they are definitely not as durable as the permanent ones.

So was I vain? Did I put my looks before my integrity? Did I sell out to society and put what others thought was pretty before what I or my husband thought was pretty? No, and this is why. It took some time to adjust to the feel of new teeth in my mouth because it changed my smile, I could see and feel that.  When I look at my smile, my wedding pictures, my memories with my husband, I don't have one ounce of regret. It's as simple as that. It may have seemed like a lot of work, pain and money at the time, but in the grand scheme of things, it was not. I may get a big 'ol pouche, saggy boobs, love handles and wrinkles in the years to come, but my smile will not change. Who knows, I could get punched in the face and lose a tooth tomorrow, but I'm not worried about that, life is going to happen. When it boils down to it, what matters is whether or not we like ourselves and if we can live with the choices that we make.

I'm not saying that everyone should go out and get a boob job, or a nose job and totally alter their appearance because it will make you happier in the long run, that's a decision that a person will have to make for themselves. What makes you happy? For some people, happiness is in material possessions, a career, family and friends, a pet or a home; I'm not going to be the one to judge though.

Keep it real,


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Anonymous Anonymous said...  

This post really spoke to me. As a clumsy, softball-playing kid, I broke my nose at least four times growing up. I do not come from a family of button noses. I come from a family of "regal" noses. Only my regal nose was all sorts of bumpy and messed up. Not to mention my snoring. But, alas, still functional.

Not to try to make myself out as quasimodo -- I was a pretty cute kid. But I went through most of childhood and all of my teenage years being very self-conscious of my beak. So, my sophomore year of college, I got it "fixed". Not like an Ashley Simpson mega-fix, but enough to straighten my septum and straighten it all up a bit.

Some people (a lot of people, family included) have judged me for it. So what? Life's too short. And now I can take a picture or turn my head to the side without cringing.

Thanks for posting this. I think you are so beautiful, and this made you very real to me :)

Blogger Caroline said...  

This was really a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing.
I feel like the right words aren't coming to me tonight, so I apologize if this is sloppy, or I
don't get the right point across.
There's one belief I hold that applies to most things in life - If you're not happy [with your partner, body, job - whatever] either change it or move on. Too many people dwell on situations they're stuck in for far too long without making an effort to make things better. Good for you for taking steps that you knew would make a positive improvement on your life.
Personally, I'm not very happy with the 20lbs I've put on since meeting my boyfriend, but I know I'm the only one who can control how hard I work out and what I choose to eat, so until I take action to change things I'm certainly done complaining about it. I too have spots on my front teeth - convenient that that's where they lie isn't it? ;) - supposedly from over-fluoridated water when I was very young, they're fairly subtle and don't bother me as much as they used to, however, my inconsistency with wearing my retainer post-braces has caused my teeth to shift juuust enough to really bother me. I'm hoping to do a quick run with braces or invisalign before my boyfriend and I get engaged, but I'm doing my best to focus on what I like about my face and learning the right camera angles in the meantime :)
Thanks again for posting this - it came at a really great time.

Blogger jenny aka. little j. said...  

Good for you! I don't think it's vain if you can change something like that and it results in an amazing shift in confidence. We all have our "flaws" that eat at us, and really no one should look at something like that any differently than say dieting to get that smaller/fit body they want.
By the way, you look great! :)

Blogger Rolled Up Pretty and Cut Off Thoughts said...  

I love this post! I just scheduled an appointment for July to "get some work done" and everyone is telling me that I shouldn't do it, but it's something that has always bugged me and I think always will. I am self conscious about it and I figure I might as well fix it since I can right? Good for you for doing what you felt and for posting this! Your teeth look amazing too BTW :) Glad I ran across your blog today!

Blogger Lori said...  

Kelsey - I honestly had no idea!! I'm not sure I even remembered the spot on your tooth either... (maybe I'm not that observant??) :)

As a side note - Caroline said it best: change it or move on...

Your smile is gorgeous, because you are gorgeous on the inside!! Love you, Kelsey!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...  

I seriously loved this post so much Kelsey! There is a huge difference between getting "work done" and making something you will always have (teeth) last for you and make YOU happy!!!

You look absolutely gorgeous!!

Blogger Alex said...  

I love this post and I'm struggling with something similar, so this really related to me right now. I had a baby tooth up until last year when my new dentist decided I should pull it so the adult tooth could grow in. Well to make a long story short(er), it hasn't grown in, and I am now left with a choice of what to do. I can get braces (again), a rubber band retainer, or a crown over it and the three teeth next to it. So i have an appointment set to get something done, and it's probably going to be braces. But this has made me realized, whatever I have to do, if it is going to make ME feel better in the long run and at the end of it all, who cares if I'm looked at funny because I have braces when I'm twenty. Whoever honestly cares isn't honestly important to me. Thank you for this, really, you are beautiful and this was truly inspiring!

Blogger Alycia (Crowley Party) said...  

LOVED reading this post for so many reasons. I don't think it is vain to do something that makes you happy :) Your smile is beautiful and I think taking care of our teeth is no different then getting a new hair cut or some cute clothes. Beautiful photos my dear!

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