Internet Inspiration – September 20, 2013
September 20, 2013
Internet Inspiration – September 27, 2013
September 27, 2013

Life Lessons from Braces, Crushes, and a Redesigned Blog

Peeps, I have not been writing here as often as I’ve become accustomed to doing. And I can make excuses about inspiration, or working on several drafts, but there’s one big reason that’s undeniably true:

I have a redesigned blog coming, and everything I can think of to write is automatically going to look a million times better on that page.

I’m doing a service to my posts, really, by not putting any more stuff on this random WordPress theme.

Or so I rationalize.

The Most Important Piece of Advice I Ever Got About Life I Got Because of Braces

I had braces and orthodontia for seven years. Yes, seven. I got them on in fourth grade and had them taken off in tenth grade. And in between I had colored bands, I had the palette expander, I had reverse headgear (did you even know that existed?). For seven years, no gum, no gummy candy, no popcorn, and metal all over my mouth.

But just before I got my braces (back in the days when I DREAMED of having braces with glee), I read some sage advice in a magazine: “Keep smiling with your teeth even though you have braces. If you don’t, when you get the braces off, you’ll be in the habit of a closed-lip smile and all that time you spent in braces for straight, beautiful teeth will have been wasted!” That’s exactly what I did.

For seven years, I rocked a big, toothy grin, despite the fact that I had a mouthful of metal.

The Most Important Thing to Dream About When You Think of Your Crush

I have crushes all the time. In my mind, there is absolutely nothing more fun than having a crush. Sometimes I have several at a time, and all my boyfriends have been notified of my (somewhat extensive) Allowed Cheat List, wherein if any of my celebrity crushes magically become available to me, the relationship gets put to the side while I fulfill all my wildest dreams with said celebrity.

I craft elaborate scenarios with my crushes, imagining how I’ll meet them, how witty and effortlessly beautiful I’ll be, exactly what they’ll be thinking of me as I enchant and delight them with my capability, intelligence, and savviness.

Sometimes I’m hanging out in an airport with a long layover, and so is my crush. He mentions it on Twitter, and I invite him to join me at a bar for a drink. Obviously we have great conversation, funny, deep, poignant, honest, open. And we live happily ever after.

Sometimes I have gone out for coffee one windy, misty morning, and on my way back to my apartment I see my crush stranded by the side of the road with a flat tire. Poor guy never learned to change a tire. But I’m a Girl Scout with a PhD from the Life School of Getting a Lot of Flat Tires, and I handily help him out of this jam. Luckily the barista made a mistake with my coffee order and I happen to have two. We can enjoy the sunrise and coffee together. And we live happily ever after.

You may be wondering about my point.

The point is, what I learned with braces didn’t translate consistently to my adult life. In my adult life, I often trade in the beauty of Now for the seduction of Someday.

I’m waiting for The Perfect Blog in order to write my best material.

I’m dreaming of my crush instead of opening my eyes to the men in my life and city. I’m dreaming of how I’ll be with my crush instead of just being that totally awesome girl right now to everyone that comes into my space.

I imagine how successful I’ll be WHEN. I imagine how witty and beautiful and well-dressed I’ll be WHEN.

But all I need to know I learned when I had braces: Keep smiling while you have braces so that when you no longer have braces you’ll still know how to smile.

The journey informs the destination.

How am I going to have “better” material in a few weeks if I don’t keep writing and thinking now?

How am I going to be present for the guy right in front of me if I’m dreaming of some star in another city?

How am I going to be magically wearing the most awesome outfit and have the most awesome, well-kept apartment if I don’t do it now?

I used to do this with my body, actually. Once I’m thin, then I’ll date. When I have the perfect body, then I’ll try out for the intramural team. When I figure out how to eat so that I don’t get sick, then I’ll go out to dinner with my friends.

When __________, THEN I’ll be happy.

Don’t be seduced. Have it now.

It seems like a version of insanity to think that magically everything is going to change once some switch flips. As though achieving _______ is like guessing the right combination to a safe full of all your hopes and dreams. Like a lab rat in a maze trying to find the bait.

But more likely achieving ______ is simply, beautifully, perfectly, another part of your journey.

I’m certainly not (and never will) advocating that you stop imagining. Imagination is the best thing in the entire world.

But use it to help you explore and uncover the desires underneath your wants.

You want the “Perfect Body”? What does that look like for you? How is your life different? What can you do Then that you can’t do Now? How do you feel?

How can you get that now?

I have a perfect, full, enjoyable, luxurious, sensual, capable, successful life when I meet and marry my crush? How can I have that now? Clean my apartment. Make like Olivia Pope and get some awesome bum-around clothes. Take my dad’s advice about the liquor and snacks I should keep always stocked. Get a damn couch. Hang some pictures and a bookcase. Learn and explore my city. Meet new people and have awesome experiences.

No matter what your fantasy is, HONOR IT. But honor it NOW. Don’t put your life on hold because you’re seduced by some future possibility.

Keep smiling with your teeth.