I have to succumb to vanity…
If you look at urbandictionary, there’s one particular definition of vanity that fits the trend of our current society.
Vanity is the great affliction of the modern world. The unintentional judgement by one person of another persons suitability as a friend, associate, or future lover based predominantly on their appearance. A society/marketing driven concept.
A: “I need to look like this” (otherwise I will be rejected by SUITABLE people)
B: “That person LOOKS like a freak” (this person must not have involvement in my life……that person was so different from what I thought)
Are you guilty of this judgmental perception? How vain are you?
Me? Yes. Sometimes. As normal human-beings, we tend to judge people by its cover. Judgmental misconceptions and stereotypes exist throughout the world, in any country or any culture. We can’t help it. However, when you judge people’s appearance for the first time, most of the time, how the person looks like on the surface doesn’t correspond to who they are in real life. Their characters, values and attitude towards life will eventually become the things that will matter more. Not their appearance. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating a good first impression, we can’t deny that it is largely dependent on how we look, our appearance and how we dress. When I read this article, ‘Why is vain an ugly word?“, I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Maybe by default, we are vain creatures. The only difference is in the level of vanity’.
I don’t understand why it is undesirable to be “vain”.
Socially we have conflicting opinions about how much time and effort we should be putting into our beauty.
Many people swear they would never have plastic surgery as they consider it too vain, but they might still spend a substantial amount of time and money on clothes and cosmetics. Who gets to decide what is acceptable and what is not?
On the other end of the scale, can you imagine a world where people take no trouble on their appearance outside of cleanliness and functionality? The mere thought is enough to put me in a state of depression!
In her other article, Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Of course the point is there is no one person who everyone agrees is the most beautiful person in the world and we all see beauty in different ways. If I was doing a group lesson then invariably there would be one person who would say that Angelina Jolie is the most beautiful woman in the world and then there would always be someone else who disagreed, thus proving the point.
Well, I still believe that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. The beholder can be yourself, how you view yourself. Or they can be other people: your parents, best friends, lover, neighbors, acquaintances, old friends. They might love you just the way you are or criticize your appearance everyday. Who cares with what they say? Most importantly, when you look at yourself in the mirror, how do you feel? Do you feel attractive? Do you look attractive? Above all else, we need to treat ourselves well. When we dress well and feel attractive, we’ll exude confidence when we walk and talk and smile. Everywhere you go. Anyone you meet along the way will definitely feel your confident existence. It may sound like a cliché, but cultivating our inner beauty is a better gift for ourselves than obsessively fixing our outer appearance. Is it not? Now tell me if that’s the right attitude to begin with? How vain am I?
Two fun facts about myself:
1. I love food.
I can eat a lot and when I do, I’ll usually feel guilty and will follow up with lots of exercise the next few days. Ask any of my close friends, they know how my relationship with food is. I was told that I eat too fast. And I guess starting this year, I’m gonna slowly adjust my speed depending on the situation and my meal buddies. I don’t usually care too much about what other people think of me or how I look in their eyes. But when those other people are the ones I care about and I found myself agreeing to what they said, I think I need to listen and be less stubborn once in a while.
2. I’m a practical person.
Initially, I dislike complicated and expensive beauty procedure but found that as a woman, I need to take care of myself even more as time goes by. However, due to my thrifty habit, I can’t help but question myself harshly whenever I’m about to purchase those facial treatment packages or those expensive set of cosmetic products, why do I need to do this? Is it for myself or someone else? Why should I pay such a ridiculous amount of money for beauty when in the end I’ll grow old and wrinkly just like everybody else?
Sadly, these 2 facts: ‘I love food’ and ‘I’m practical’; are about to be challenged and taken away from my daily life soon. And why is that so?
Two words: DENTAL BRACES
Once upon a time, there’s this one guy who asked me out of the blue, ‘Why don’t you fix those teeth? You’ll look even better than now.’ Then my answer was, “It’s too expensive. It’s not my priority now. Besides, I know that if I have to wear braces, I’ll be trapped in it for the next 2-3 years, I can’t eat properly, I can’t enjoy my food, I’ll get mouth ulcers all over my lips and all the inconveniences. I’m not ready yet. Why should I torture myself? I’m not a 14-15 year-old teenager girl who has teeth problem. I take care of them and they are clean and functional. Why should I bother wearing braces at my age? It’s a bit too late, don’t you think? Maybe I’ll just be with someone who would accept me the way I am, including my imperfect teeth.” And then just recently, I’ve had this another guy who told me that even with my imperfect teeth, he still liked me anyway. I’m very flattered when he said that but I’ve made up my mind at that point in time. I’ve already set an appointment with my orthodontist the following week. See? He said he liked me regardless of how messed up my teeth are. I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, huh? *faith in humanity restored^_^*
Now, do you notice my upper teeth? I have this one tooth sticking out and it has been that way for years. I think it’s around 2004 that it started to get very obvious. There used to be a tiny gap between the teeth, now that gap has completely closed. Leaving no space for my tiny tooth to go in between. I have crowded and overlapping teeth on both upper and lower. Anyway, I still love to smile and show my teeth. So there are loads of other pictures like this one. I never really bother to fix it until recently.
I call these overlapping teeth a ‘3-way junction’. They unfortunately exist on both my upper and lower structure. I don’t realize that they actually look quite awful until I saw the mold below. Bread crumbs and grains of rice would stuck at my 3-way junctions and I’ll usually just floss them away. But there were those days when I forgot to bring my floss out and I had to use my tongue to somehow get rid of them. It’s driving me crazy when that happened. So uncomfortable and annoying. So one fine day, I told myself, “Enough is enough. Should I fix it?”. At that time (around early last year), I know that I’ll spend too much $ on other stuff and my priority was not for braces. So I was pondering for about one year, went to two Orthodontist consultations before I settled with the current one and decided to fix the bracket next week! Now that I have the time, money and good Orthodontist to help me, I hope that in the end, it’ll worth all the pain and sacrifices along the way.
So this is how the whole structure looks like. Look at those 3-way junctions…I want to get rid of them so badly. Every single thing just stuck there. So annoying!
So finally, I had my three remaining wisdom teeth extracted on Monday. Then in the next 10 days, I’ll officially wear braces and start the treatment. No other tooth extraction is needed at this point. We’ll see how it goes after 6 months. Here are the pros and cons that I’ve gathered from interviewing my friends who’ve been there:
- Better-looking teeth, nicer smile (hopefully after 2-3 years).
- A good weight-loss method (which I think is a myth, I can exercise and reduce my food intake without putting on braces. If I eat more, I’ll just exercise more). But if your daily menu looks something like this. Then maybe yes, it can help you lose some weight. Menu: mashed banana with yoghurt, milk chocolate, fish-sliced porridge, ice cream, duck porridge, beancurd, all other soft food that don’t require any excessive chewing *I’ve been eating these for the past 4 days T_T*
- Practice eating slowly and mindfully. It’s my fifth day of medical leave and I tried eating fishball noodle this afternoon. It took me the entire 45 minutes to finish them. I’d normally finish them in less than 10 minutes. Look what I’ve done to these fellas.
- Be in pain and discomfort after each visit to the orthodontist
- Swollen cheek after extraction, mouth ulcers
- Can’t eat properly in the next few weeks/months
- Tedious maintenance (cleanliness)
- Burn a hole in my wallet
- Need to practice smiling without showing my teeth
- Go back to point 1
After all this long-winded justification of my decision to wear braces, I’m hoping against hope that everything will be just fine and I’ll get use to the metal wires in my mouth in no time. I really wish that having straight teeth and nice smile are NOT the only things that make people attractive. That beauty is STILL in the eye of the beholder. That no matter how vain I feel right now for willingly torturing myself with this whole experience, it’ll all be WORTH IT in the end.
Wish me luck!!
*whose right cheek still a little bit swollen and is chewing meat with her 4 front teeth *damn difficult and slow*