When Your Flaws Make You Feel Insignificant

woman sitting near the tree
Casper Nichols / Unsplash

I just wish I would have fixed this.

Some days, I am thankful for my stubborn attitude, and others I wish that I just knew when to back down and that the nice guy doesn’t always win. Sometimes, it really is best to just go with the flow.

Maybe in a different time, crooked teeth won’t make you stand out; maybe someone, somewhere finds them beautiful.

A lot of people tell me that I am beautiful. But I cannot help but wonder what they would say about me if I wasn’t. What if the rest of me wasn’t considered “pretty” by society’s standards? If I wasn’t thin and made-up and dressed well all of the time, would you still be okay with me looking like this?

Sometimes I catch my friends describing someone’s “ugly” or “messed up” teeth. I always call them out and tell them not to speak like that around me. I am always assured that they are people who look nothing like me, people whose teeth are nothing like mine.

But I never feel reassured. I will never know what all you say about me behind closed doors.

I know I would be more confident if I didn’t look like this. And I know the day is coming where I will have no choice but to fix it. I just wish the chance wasn’t one in a million for who we consider beautiful with flaws and who we do not.

For every well-loved gap-tooth model, there are countless little girls wondering when it will be there turn to be that pretty.

Why doesn’t anyone ever tell them that they are pretty?

I know that we are trying to get better at accepting all of our differences, but you cannot just choose to accept the ones in the spotlight.

Don’t forget about the child at the bus stop with you

Or the girl in the checkout line.

Or your teacher who seems like they have it all together.

We shouldn’t need the spotlight to be told that we are beautiful.

It shouldn’t be a lottery game and a lucky draw that decides whose flaws are interesting and whose are just ugly.

I wish we could all just erase the word ugly. I always try to tell people so focused on covering up their flaws that they don’t need to. I wish I could do the same for myself.

I wish we would stop telling people with flaws that they are not ugly, they are “unique.” Sometimes unique can be just as much of an insult. Who are you to decide what is normal and what is unique? Why can’t we all just be without having a title?

The pretty one, the rebellious one, the unique one?

How about we are all just people trying to make sense of ourselves in this place, and the last thing we need is someone trying to comfort us by telling us just how different we really are.

I can tell the exact moment someone notices my crooked teeth. The look in their eye is burned into my brain. The moment it all changes. I can tell when someone thinks they are doing a good deed by telling me I have a beautiful smile. I will never forget the customer I had my last day working at Whole Foods (three years ago) who did that exact thing to me.  You did not think I had a beautiful smile; you just assumed no one would ever tell me that so you wanted to save me.

We shouldn’t pretend to accept others’ flaws just because it seems like the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do, but the problem is you should already know that. Compliments are a wonderful thing, but without sincerity, they can sting more than an insult.

My crooked teeth are not who I am, but I would be lying if I said their presence in my life was insignificant. They often make me feel exactly that:

Insignificant. TC mark

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