Say cheese....no way we will i smile and show my teeth. Growing up i suffered from low self esteem because of my disarranged teeth. It hunted me from adolescence into a young adult. I can be with a group of friends and be self conscious with my smile or laugh. I hated taking pictures, more or less with other people as i always end up looking weird. This propelled me to me to practice till I perfected the act of smiling without showing my teeth.
I wasn’t particularly ugly and there were other part of me not perfect but my teeth gave me the most cause for worry. I’ve always felt like I was being judged whenever I showed my teeth. Yes I’ve been teased by close friends and family but i know it wasn't done with malice. It felt like i was being mocked when people look at me while talking even without them saying anything. Also back then, teeth alignment and wearing of braces were not something the average Nigerian had an interest in. When the rave of selfie came, it was like my worst nightmare materializing. Every where i want people were taking pictures of their face me to upload on the internet....whew! just the thought of it scared me* . So I became so good at giving excuses just to avoid being in pictures.
The day i met Ada was the beginning of my smile transformation. I went to the cinema with my sister and two of her friends. While waiting for our movie to start we got chatty in the lounge. Since we were in public, i didn’t contribute much to the conversation but i was so focused on Ada. She laughed the loudest, smiled the brightest while flashing her teeth like they were pearls. Though my sister had told me about her but seeing her chat so animatedly showing her badly disarranged teeth got me in awe. People didn’t look at her strangely or mockingly. For the first time i saw a glimpse of hope. If she can be confident in her look why can’t i do the same i thought? Besides looking at her, i could see she was still a pretty girl, teeth and all
All through the night i thought about Ada, her acceptance and love for herself both flaws and all. I was really inspired.The following morning i made a conscious decision to smile showing my teeth though that day ended without any success. The next day i also tried again but i couldn't smile fully . On the third day, i was in class receiving lectures. Something funny happened and everyone busted into laughter. When it died down, everyone turned and stared at me. Behold! I was still laughing.....a full blown laughter!
When i noticed their stares and finally shut up, i bowed my head in shame as i waited for the snide remark but non came. i gained courage to look at their faces but what i saw was pure amusement. Some winked at me in understanding while others smiled like it was nothing strange. I felt so elated that i couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. I didn’t get the feeling of mockery or judgement and that day i learnt a valuable lesson. Nobody made me inferior; i did that all by myself! I guess I was just projecting my insecurity unto them.
It’s been five years and I’m still revelling in my smile. Sometimes habit tries to deter me but i no longer make a conscious decision to withhold my smile. When I laugh, I let it go all the way just and it is because Ada allowed me to see the beauty in her smile.
I hope someone reads this and finds the courage to love and accept herself the way she is.
Let your smile light up the world because someone is just waiting for it to make a decision
UPVOTE RESTEEM AND FOLLOW