Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pass that paper bag

It's been a strange few days.  Last weekend I suddenly became extremely self-conscious and aware of the stares I get in public due to the gap in between my front teeth, and a Facebook post where I vented my frustration prompted an interesting conversation with a very good friend.

Why am I worried about people staring at me, when I have this blog which is showing my jaw (and journey) for all to see?

I thought that was a very good question because my blog if anything, is quite explicit in the descriptions I give and the photographs I share.  To me, it comes down to control and context.  When I post an update to my blog I am putting my face right out there for all to see.  And while I have no control in who reads the blog, the reactions of people who read it are not displayed to me right away.  If someone is reading my blog, they know I am going through surgery and so for my readers, things are put into context.  This is quite different to what happens in public.

When I am out and about in public, people stare.  They can't help it but they just do.  I have had people stare so much that I turn around and they are still looking.  On one occasion the stares have led to all out laughing which was very obviously directed at me.  The issue is this - they do not know I am having jaw surgery, they do not know this is all part of a larger plan and they do not know that I haven't been in a fight and had my teeth knocked out (because after all, I am quite butch).  Of course I don't blame people for looking because unlike my blog there is no context, however after a while the stares make me uncomfortable.  Of course the laughing to me is another matter and just plain rude, and prompted my Facebook frustration.

So there is a bit of an insight into how I am feeling and why stares in public are very different to someone reading my blog!  It has definitely highlighted my coping (or lack of) mechanisms and this is something I will be working on.  On a more positive note, this situation has prompted me to contact my orthodontist who has said they can put some temporary composite (the same material fillings are made from) across my front teeth which will disguise the gap.  It won't look like a tooth, but I won't have a huge gaping hole either so in the short term I can get back to looking fairly normal.

Now all I need to do is wait until the upper braces are fitted and the gap starts to close...


  1. Hi Andy, I've been following your blog, and really admire your courage about "putting it all out there." It's not an easy decision to let others into our personal lives to witness all of our feelings of self consciousness for whatever reason. I was actually more self conscious of letting my friends see me go through the healing process (I haven't told any of them or my family about my jaw surgery blog) than I was of the strangers who happened to see me while out and about. I'm glad to hear your OD can help with the gap while you continue to heal. I'm sure that when you're done with the whole process you'll look GREAT. In the meantime, EFF those jerk strangers who stare. Geez, you'd think they would've picked up some manners at some point in their lives.

  2. Hey u, so sorry to hear that, people can be mean, ive seen it all before, and it's not funny..i think the worst is when people burst into a loud laugh, it's really upsetting. I had this girl at uni who did that in a tutorial, because she saw the gap in my lower jaw which u have probably seen in my blog, that was a big wake up call that i needed. I dont frequently do this, but feel free to add me on facebook if you're comfortable with it, /ricardocezar.nz is my profile. :-) im boring ad hell hahaha im a bit of a geek, but would be great to have u as a friend. Cheers


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