Smile – At Last #R2BC #WOTW

By | April 9, 2015

Smiling, it should be easy, right?  When a baby is born, people are desperate to see that first gummy smile, even though it may be down to wind.
A smile defines you, it sends a message out to other people that you’re friendly, that you can be approached, that it’s okay.
But what if someone can’t smile, has never really, really smiled?  You know, one of those great big grins that reaches up to the eyes, eyes that twinkle.
That was me, until quite recently.  
It all started in secondary school, I was told I needed a brace, not a “stuck in all the time” one but one that could be taken in and out.
I was picked on if I wore it (and lisped), picked on if I didn’t.  That girl always left at the end of choosing for teams in PE? That was me, because I wouldn’t smile.
School photos were a blooming nightmare and I’d be mocked, both at home and out of the home.
My stepfather would force my mouth open to see if I was wearing the brace and that was it, I didn’t want the attention it brought.  I stopped wearing it.  My dad was too busy to make sure I went to follow-up dental appointments, so I didn’t.
I’d perfected a kind of Princess Diana type shy smile (without opening my mouth) and that got me through a career, a first marriage and then single motherhood when my husband left because he couldn’t take the responsibility of being a father.  
The only person who ever said anything was my Grandma – “I see the mouth is the same” – but that was how she was, a woman who’d been a mother during the Second World War, who waved her husband off not knowing if she’d see him again.  She called a spade, a spade.  You knew where you were with her but she also gave the best cuddles ever.
I met Hubbie and we married.  My wedding photos still with that shy smile.  We had children 18 months apart and then things got even busier when they were both diagnosed with autism (at either end of the spectrum) and I was childminding too.
Then at the end of last year (2014), I started thinking about me and my needs.  I visited the doctor and cried, out of sheer tiredness at everything over the last few years.  I was given some tablets and had a rigorous MOT of everything health-wise.  I’m fine in my body, just the mind is a bit weary.
Oh we had fun, smears and blood tests, mammograms and then an ultrasound of my “bits” because all the stress had affected my cycle, sometimes I’d have three (heavy) cycles two weeks apart, sometimes I’d go four months between.  It meant that (as well as avoiding social situations because I didn’t smile), I never knew when those all familar cramps would start.
But I felt better in myself, the “happy pills” meant I didn’t cry everyday, the fact I had a clean bill of health made me very grateful and my mind felt clearer.
I decided to do something I hadn’t done in a long time.  I went to the dentist.
The first one I went to (NHS) was awful, they didn’t appreciate I was a nervous patient and I felt like a freak.  They said they couldn’t help.
Then, in an inspirational moment, I phoned a private practice, someone known to us already as our sons play in the same team.
I was nervous (mega), but I went.  For the first time in ages, I felt able to talk about what I wanted to achieve and they listened, focussing on my eyes and not my teeth as so many had done before (the amount of times I’d be talking to someone and think “you’re not concentrating, take that hand away from your mouth”, it was an unconscious reaction).
In the past couple of months, I’ve been attending sometimes weekly appointments, there’s been times when it’s been painful but we’re halfway there.
The worst part was when the dentist wanted some photos of my natural smile – what smile? I had to sit there and give a toothy grin, something I hated.  I squirmed like I had done for years, I didn’t want to see the photos, it was over quickly.
And now? I smile, I grin, I show my teeth.  My daughter will say “come on, let’s see that lovely smile” and I do.
I’ve been taking selfies with the children, happy smiley selfies, we’ve never done that before.  Every time I go past a mirror, I try and remember to smile, a big one, because for years I wouldn’t.
It’s my birthday today and I’ve been smiling.  Normally I’d think “blimey, I’m getting old” but now it’s like I’m reborn, I can be me, that inner, happy child has started to come out and it’s great.
The only downside is that big, big grins emphasise my crows feet so a bit more pampering may be in order, goodness knows I’ve waited long enough for it.
  
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17 Comments

tracey (mummyshire) on 9th April 2015 at 8:05 pm.

Wow what a story, and what an emotional time you must’ve had since you we’ve a teenager.
You look amazing now, I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for you.
Personal things like our teeth, our smile can have such a psychological impact It’s good to read that you’re taking some time out for yourself which is really important and yes you should continue with the pampering!!
Xx xx

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Jeannette on 9th April 2015 at 8:19 pm.

Thanks lovely, it’s been quite an eventful few months and I’ve shut myself away a bit from blogging etc but I’m mega mega pleased with the results.
Xx

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Looking for Blue Sky on 9th April 2015 at 8:18 pm.

Happy Birthday, your smile is fabulous and so glad you have it as your present this year x

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Jeannette on 9th April 2015 at 8:20 pm.

Thank you, it’s been a lovely day, lots of smiles x

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 5:02 pm.

Me too, it took a while to get there but so worth it x

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xOjox on 10th April 2015 at 12:19 pm.

I’ve never noticed your smile, but that’s probably because I don’t have straight teeth either. I’m glad that yours had returned beautiful lady xxx

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 5:01 pm.

Thank you lovely xx

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Jocelyn (@ReadingRes) on 10th April 2015 at 3:45 pm.

Happy birthday! I’m so pleased that you’re getting there with that smile now and are able to give big, happy ones. And who cares about crows feet, when you’re smiling?! Quite a tough journey, glad you’re on the upward curve now x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 5:01 pm.

Very true, smiling uses up a lot of muscles, I don’t really frown anymore 🙂

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Bright Side of Life on 10th April 2015 at 6:24 pm.

Good for you for finally doing something about it. My sister (nr Winchester) is in the process of getting her teeth fixed. I think it is so important for your self esteem to be able to smile with confidence.

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 5:00 pm.

It sure is, it was one of the missing pieces of my self confidence jigsaw x

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Kim Carberry on 10th April 2015 at 7:49 pm.

I haven’t noticed your smile before but now I do….You look fab! Happy Birthday x

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 5:00 pm.

Thank you x

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Merlinda Little on 11th April 2015 at 9:27 am.

I had my braces when I am in my 30s and it gave me confidence to smile too! Now my teeth is going back to the way it used to be as I werent able to have proper after braces maintenance. But this post is inspiring! Maybe I will go to an ortho as well =) #wotw

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 5:00 pm.

Aww thank you 🙂 I hope you get your smile back x

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Michelle Twin Mum on 12th April 2015 at 8:48 pm.

Ohh massive well done on getting to grips with this and being able to get the smile you want, that is such a massive achievement. Long may you go on enjoying it and taking selfies. Mich x

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Jeannette on 24th November 2015 at 4:59 pm.

Thank you, I am loving taking pictures now x

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