I’m getting braces. There, I said it. The metal train tracks more commonly associated with teenagers doing their GCSE’s, not 23 year olds with jobs.
I’m getting braces because I need to, not because I want to, and I’m quite bitter about that.
Even the word strikes up images of awkward teens, not smiling on photos until they get them taken off. It reminds me of my friends from year 10 wrapping their retainers in napkins and accidentally throwing them in the bin.
It doesn’t remind me of professionals. Of twenty somethings. Of adults.
I have to have braces not because my teeth are crooked, but to prevent them from becoming crooked in the future. I have a retained baby tooth, and the adult tooth is beginning to push its way through despite having nowhere to go.
So the options were put to me like this: leave it, let nature happen and end up with wonky teeth that will need braces anyway… or have braces now, so the whole process can be planned out and everything lined into place.
When I found out I needed braces, my first reaction was anger. Anger because this should have been sorted before I turned 16 for free (my new dentist actually told me this). Then my reaction was revenge. Not in the “I’m going to find my old dentist and stab him in his sleep” sense (although tempting), but the “I’m going to do everything I can to get compensation for this” sense. That emotion then turned back to anger when I was told that wasn’t possible, and then to indifference. Acceptance. I had to have braces and that was that.
That was 5 months ago.
And now, with less than a week to go, my emotion has turned to fear. Apprehension. Bitterness.
I’m 23 years old, and I have to spend the next two years of my life wearing braces.
I’ll have them for meetings, for nights out, for meals. For appraisals, and events, and holidays. I’ll have them for birthdays and Christmas. I’ll have them when I’m a bridesmaid.
And none of my peers will.
None of my peers will be stood next to me in presentations, wondering if the room is staring at their metal mouth. Nobody else will have to clean their teeth every lunch time in the work toilets, or after a meal out with friends, and spend the rest of the time worrying if there’s food stuck in the braces.
And that’s what bothers me. I don’t want braces. I don’t want them in my mouth, for two years, and I most definitely don’t want the financial worry they’re going to bring along with their confidence issues.
It’s 6 days before I get them.
I can’t stop thinking about it. The indifference I settled on 5 months ago has turned into worry.
I’m nervous. I’m a bit scared, and I’m unsure.
And it might sound silly when a lot of people have had braces too. But the emphasis is on had. I’m not the only person to get braces, or the only adult, but it really feels like it right now.
6 days to go. I guess we’re doing this.