Last Monday, after almost 3 and a half years, I finally got my braces off! And while it has been exciting to finally be able to eat without spending the next hour getting pieces out of my teeth, the most surprising thing for me has been how significantly my facial dysphoria has been relieved.
When I first got the braces, I went through a week of intensive dysphoria so bad that I was dissociating completely out of my body and it felt like I was seeing my life from the bottom of a deep well. It was the worst. And while I managed to pull myself out of that well, the dysphoria for the last 3 years has been bad, enough so that I was afraid to smile completely, especially in photos. I’ve also been seriously contemplating whether I needed facial feminization surgery (FFS) because I hated my face so much.
But the last week has been so much better! I keep glimpsing myself in the mirror or my zoom screen and smiling instead of cringing. Even with my retainer on, I look so so much more beautiful! My face has changed so much, even in the last year, and it is nice to finally be able to see that.