THE BLOG

I'm 36 - It's Time to Get My Braces Off

04/21/2014 08:06 EDT | Updated 06/21/2014 05:59 EDT
Daniel Grill via Getty Images

Almost three years ago, I decided to live out a teenage nightmare and I signed up for braces to correct my raging overbite.

In my previous posts I described my experience of having braces as grown up lady as well as the surprise jaw surgeries and gum grafting that came with it. I've horrified a number of you with details of those ghastly operations and recoveries. Yet, you've congratulated me on my strength to endure pain, which was very tender of you. Kisses.

Let me tell you, those operations pale in comparison to the daily drama of living with braces for three years. My friends and family are quite familiar with my theatrical reactions to minor maladies. A paper cut will require a bandage. When I caught the flu, I was convinced that I was dying. I've been carted to the hospital in an ambulance on two separate non-life threatening occasions.

When my orthodontist finished gluing the braces to my teeth, the discomfort was immediate. I recognized that now was the time to woman up and abandon the sissy routine. I grasped at my buried inner strength determined to cope with the forthcoming mouth cuts, calluses and bloodshed. This freshly born resolve swiftly crumbled. Wearing braces became a whole new level of hurt that no amount of dental wax and vodka could soothe.

My mouth is small and rather fleshy on the inside so the brace wires and brackets were constantly rubbing and poking my tender mouth flesh to the point of bleeding. Wearing braces means that you can no longer carelessly shove things in your mouth. Gone were the days of biting into a giant sandwich or a crisp apple. Eating was a taxing chore and mushy food and liquids became my dietary staple. I had to eliminate chewing as much as possible so that I wouldn't aggravate a callous or cause a new sore.

I love to cook and I love to eat. Give me a glass (or bottle) of wine, pump some tunes, pull some pork and I'm one happy lady. Now my cherished kitchen time came with long set of rules. I lost interest in cooking as it was now associated with upcoming pain. I couldn't muster the desire to lovingly prepare meals any more. My diet consisted of processed garbage that required no prep time. I ate so that I wouldn't fall over from hunger.

This situation was quite depressing and it affected all aspects of daily living. I couldn't focus at work, I was losing weight and my health suffered. I finally admitted to myself that having braces was sucking big and that I was on a slippery slope to becoming malnourished. A dental procedure that is so unobjectionable, so common and mostly inflicted on children was quickly robbing me of my will to go on living.

During one particularly draining bout of sadness and defeat, I visited my doctor and cried my little face off. I wasn't too uplifted by her advice so I texted my mother and asked her to bring me some food. The look on my mom's face as she saw her scrawny dejected daughter unable to move from her couch forced me to realize that the pain of not eating well was trumping the pain from my braces.

That episode was last fall and It took some time to get into a healthy pattern of eating properly and gain some weight back. I started juicing again, making my own soups and getting B12 shots. B12 is quite possibly the most wondrous of all the vitamins, especially when it's injected in your arm.

Wearing braces brought on an intense battle with food issues and so it is with some reservation that I share the second and rather trivial blow that also rocked my core.

I'm a free wheelin' kind of gal who can fall in love on the subway. What makes eating the best poutine I've ever had even more glorious? Eating that poutine with a sassy and beautiful dude.

My confidence and sparkling personality wins hearts and libidos. I had no concern at all that my brace face metal mouth was going to hinder my romancing.

However, chewing food was a challenge, so surely mashing my mouth with another mouth was going to deliver some agony.

I was a touch anxious with the first man I dated after my braces were put on. On our third date (alright, the first date) while sharing a meaningful glance, I whispered "I have braces" His reply was "I don't care, come here..." We threw caution to the wind and I discovered that I can no longer throw caution to the wind. Passion came with injury and now I had to make out with caution. How boring.

What you may not realize is that aside from having pointy metal on the front side of my teeth, there are numerous areas of sharpness on the back of my teeth. This is important to note for one very crucial reason. Not only does my own mouth receive cuts on a regular basis, anything in my mouth can be jabbed as well.

I anticipated there would be challenges of participating in wanton activities. I was hella antsy on how to maneuver with my new oral obstacle. I Googled "How to give ..... with braces" The best answer I found was basically "mind your teeth."

Let's call him, Charlie.

Charlie was a beautiful man with a head of hair like young Mick Jagger. His penchant for holding hands combined with his sweet and slow stoner voice was all it took to for him to woo me. After spending a most whimsical day on the beach together, I felt it necessary to warn him about a possible grisly outcome from the romantic activities that were about to go down.

Charlie was fully enraptured with the here and now and expressed that he totally didn't care about any future danger. I implored that he should not let his enthusiasm prevail over my controlled and delicate performance. Charlie did not listen. Charlie suffered the consequences. Twice.

Charlie informed me by text the following day that Little Charlie was now damaged goods. I apologized with a "well, I warned you."

I felt terrible that he did not heed my warning. I felt worse that I had one and a half more years of being hesitant under the sheets. I was rather traumatized by this event and I lost a huge amount of confidence in my previously healthy sexual constitution. However, I am also the laziest lover out there so I used my braces as the ultimate excuse to get out of returning any courtesy.

I've moaned about my braces so frequently to anyone who will listen and while I cradle my forehead with despair, I'm often asked "so what is the first thing you are going to do when you get them off?" Every guy who asked me this question would cut off my answer with "you gonna put a penis in your mouth?"

No, you fool. A steak will be the first thing in my mouth.