I recently put this picture on my Facebook page. Someone (I don’t remember who) commented “You both have such pretty smiles!” That’s not a particularly profound or unique thing to say, and whoever wrote it probably didn’t even think about it while she was typing.
But I did. I thought about it once, twice, a lot of times. You see, I have this thing called hypodontia, which means that I’m missing a lot of teeth. No one punched them out of me. There’s no dramatic story. They just never showed up. I don’t know how or why that happened-my best theory is that I got distracted and wandered off while God was handing out teeth in heaven. But I do know that because of it, most of my life has been a long road of retainers and braces and surgeries and bone grafts. My first set of braces was put in when I was eight-I’m now nineteen and still not finished. In August of this year, the permanent versions of my top teeth were put in (what a celebration that was!!!!) I still don’t have permanent teeth on the bottom- I wear a retainer that has teeth that can pop in and out of my mouth. It’s really not bad, my quality of life has never been affected. But it does mean that I would never describe my smile as a pretty one, and I’d never heard it described as such until I read that comment.
And, I know, there are a lot more important things to be than pretty. Pretty kind, pretty curious, pretty creative, pretty helpful. Those traits, they’ll get me far in life. They ensure that I am never bored and never alone. But here’s some advice-never underestimate the power of beauty. Sometimes the only thing that gives me confidence is looking at the mirror and smiling at myself with the knowledge that yes, finally, I am a pretty girl.