As a kid, I really wanted two things: braces and glasses.
They seemed like grown-up things, or at least teenager things, and I liked them. I went to the orthodontist for a consultation about two slightly crooked front teeth when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and actually ended up with braces for less than a year on only my top row of teeth. I was nervous, but excited, and as soon as they were tightened for the first time, the novelty wore off.
But braces were an investment that I am so glad that my parents made, because as soon as they came off, I was given an invaluable gift: confidence in myself. I smiled huge smiles that showed all my straight teeth, and I laughed without restraint. I think not being too uncomfortable to smile genuinely matters--whether you're trying to make a new friend or impress an potential employer at an interview. And now that I'm getting married next year, I'm so glad that my teeth aren't one of the items on that ever-growing list of things to do.
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