During the last year, I've talked a lot about the value of accepting my "flaws" - about getting to the place where I'm content with being the healthiest version of myself. I've encouraged the moms and girls who've read my book and heard me speak to learn to see some of the characteristics they've always thought of as "flaws" as attributes that make them unique.
But I must confess that there's one appearance "flaw" that I've always wanted to change - my crowded teeth.
Yesterday, I took the first step in making that change. I got braces.
It wasn't just cosmetics that helped me make the decision. A long talk with my dentist about the future health of my teeth and gums helped me decide that this was the right thing to do.
That doesn't mean it was easy.
During the last few weeks, as my appointment drew near, I found myself getting more and more apprehensive. I'm not a fan of pain and discomfort. I also felt self-conscious about the prospect of having the mouth of a teenager in a 40-something-year-old body. I'm constantly out meeting and talking to people, and I don't relish the thought of doing it with a mouth full of metal.
When I wondered aloud at what people would think, my 14-year-old daughter supplied this dose of reality: "Mom," she said. "They'll think you're a grown woman who cares about what her teeth look like."
As I prepared to leave the house yesterday for the orthodontist's office, she put her hands on my shoulders and said, "Mom, I want to give you some advice."
Here it comes, I thought. She's going to tell me about the pain, the suffering...the discomfort.
Instead, she said, "You're not going to be able to hide your braces so you just have to get comfortable with having them. You should rock the braces, you know?"
I laughed at that. But I also realized that her advice rings true for any "flaw" we think we see in ourselves. Instead of trying to hide what we don't like - always worried that someone might see - what if we instead chose to own it, love it and, as my daughter says, rock it?
I'm going to give it a try.