I AM a speaker, I speak for a living. I kind of need my teeth to do my job well! So, it was quite disturbing for me when my teeth started to change. They started to shunt forward. Physically my teeth looked different. The front top ones used to get caught in the bottom ones when I was asleep. So even when I was asleep my teeth were trying to grab my attention that they needed to change.

Have you ever been woken up out of your sleep with a startle when something was on your mind? Yes, me too! What is on your mind is trying to get your attention to deal with it. It will continue to do this in all kinds of ways until you give it the attention it deserves or it will bring you to your knees.

Delaying the inevitable

I procrastinated on the decision whether or not I was going to get braces or not for a very long time. What I learned about myself at that time is that I was very concerned about what other people thought of me. I knew I would be very conscious of myself if I did get them and that I would struggle with my speech. I’d try conceal them, cover my mouth a lot, try to be inconspicuous. I felt that I was too old for braces and that people would judge me. Have you ever wanted to do something big in your life and felt the same way? Fearing judgement? Yes, me too!

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, my teeth got worse and my orthodontist told me it would continue to deteriorate. He was right, they did. Have you ever let a problem go so far that one day you were forced to deal with it? You could have dealt with it before now but you put it off and the problem just got worse? Yes, me too!

Decision time

So, through lots of apprehension and tears I agreed to get the braces. But I wanted the most expensive ones! I wanted the clear ones! I crack myself up now even thinking of it. Never get clear braces if you enjoy Indian food because they won’t be clear for long!

It was a very traumatic day for me and I AM not being dramatic. I was really upset afterwards. I struggled with the pain but most of all the mouth ulcers. They were excruciating. Every time I got them tightened, I got more ulcers. All growth and change happen in discomfort.

I have spoken in public dozens of times since I have had braces on.

Did I struggle? Yes.

Did I excuse myself? Yes.

Did I spit? Yes.

Was I embarrassed? Yes.

Was I supported? More than I could have ever imagined!

Everyone was so supportive! I actually couldn’t believe how many adults actually had braces. It is like a fashion accessory at the moment!

The process of change

Over time my teeth began to move into the position they were supposed to be in. They no longer got caught in each other and I AM really impressed with the result so far. It has been difficult but now I can say it was well worth it.

My orthodontist began to put the plan in place a couple of months ago for removing my braces. He explained that every cell has molecular memory (I speak about this all the time regarding our self-limiting beliefs!) and that my teeth in time would want to go back to its old ‘normal’ position.

He gave me two options:

1. Have the braces removed and leave them to their own devices and see what happens, or

2. Have a permanent retainer bar installed top and bottom to ensure that they will never move again!

Have you ever made a change and were going great for a while, then slipped up and gone back to the old way of doing what you used to do? Yes? Me too! But not this time. This is a no brainer for me! I AM getting the bar installed tomorrow to ensure that my teeth never return to their old normal. Perfectly straight and aligned is my new normal and these teeth are here to stay.

Embracing change

Moral of the story is; embrace change on your terms in your own time. Don’t concern yourself with what other people think, some will judge you anyway – the outcome will be the same. You’ll be uncomfortable and experience pain but that is how we grow. You will make mistakes and will want to give up. You might even fall off the wagon but don’t stay off it for long. Get back on the horse and keep your eye on the prize. Your vision will pull you through.

My vision has pulled me through – today is my very last day with braces, ever. Bring it on!