Sis, Accept it or Change it!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Word- Ep. 1

There is a prayer that goes "God grant me the serenity (the peace) to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference." This is called the Serenity Prayer. This prayer is widely used in addiction recovery but the prayer itself brings comfort to many, not just those in recovery. It’s about LETTING GO of situations beyond your control and TAKING ACTION on the things that you can control. This leads me to this message: Sis change it or accept it and both takes an action!

I had a big insecurity up until earlier this year (and still do- just much smaller now) and that was my smile- my teeth. For as long as I can remember I hated my smile. My canine teeth sat up high. I had teeth that sat behind the others and not to mention pain from not getting cavities fixed immediately. This insecurity caused me to really hate myself. I had low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. I was the only person (within my family at least) that had crooked teeth. Not my parents, siblings, close relatives. No one. Not even my closest friends. There was on one to talk that experienced this.

Growing up, my childhood was pretty unstable. I'm not going yo go into much detail but let's just say children are supposed to go the dentist at a very early age and I didn't see one until my teenage years. By the time I did go to the dentist, I had to get a root canal. If you ever had a root canal, then you know the experience is not fun! You have to sit there with your mouth open for what seems like hours and the sound of the drill nealrly caused me to faint. This was a VERY traumatic experience for me. See, my first experience at the dentist wasn't stickers and high fives; it was drilling, poking and prodding which ultimately made me very hesitant on ever returning.

Fast forward a couple years when I started to mature into a young woman. A young woman who was concerned with her image just like any teenager. I started paying more attention to my image and boys started paying more attention to me but by that point the damage was done - I already felt worthless. I think my crooked teeth and other minor insecurities, exaggerated the issues that I was already struggling with from my childhood. So problems at home, coupled with teenaged insecurity equaled a very worthless Monique. Any what do people who feel worthless do?? They allow people to take advantage of them, they people please, they speak negatively about themselves and they go search for something or someone to make them feel valued and sis, I searched in some very dark places. I even thought having kids would fill that void. Nope. Still felt worthless.

Since I never got my teeth fixed in my childhood (I'm guessing my dad could never afford to) this feeling lasted well into my late 20’s. You can imagine how my late teenaged years and early adult life could have been. It affected me so for so long. In friendships. Relationships. Every aspect of my life was affected by what some may call a ’small’ issue but was VERY BIG to me! It was hard for me to smile, which made me stay angry. Hard for me to laugh naturally so I would always be self-conscious. It was hard for me to progress in anything. Whether it be school or work which caused me to settle for bare minuimum. Too add, it was hard for me to return to the dentist to get other things worked on that caused pain in my teeth because one, I was traumatized and two, I was embarrased.

Between 2011 and 2014, I had two children and being as though I was an unwed mother, I qualified for welfare insurance and although they did not cover orthodontic treatment, they did cover the care I needed to stop having pain in my teeth. At some point during that time I just knew I had to face my fears and go to the dentist to address the pain if I was going to have any quality of life. I also knew that I had to address this insecurity because I was tired of living the way I was living. I worked in fast food at the same position for many years becuase I felt like if I moved up, I would have to be more friendly, more inviting. So I stayed there, making minimum wage.

Fast forward again to 2014 when I started playing in makeup. I seen my cousin get into makeup and I wanted to too. So I started watching videos on YouTube and practicing and I felt that really helped curve the attention away from my mouth and encouraged people to focus more on my upper face. I started to accentuate the one thing that I admired about myself. My eyes. This gave me enough confidence to move the needle forward in my life. So in about late 2015, I finally had just enough confidence to take a promotion at work which helped me to be able to afford braces. I was then referred to an orthodontist through a friend and started the process of getting braces. I was even able to be on a monthly payment plan to help with the costs.

The first day I got my braces

See I thought I had to pay the costs upfront, thats why I never looked into it. Thank God for the referral! I thought I would never have that type of money. So by April of 2016, I had braces! Sis, for a long time I thought I could never get braces. That I would never be able to afford them. I blamed my parents for never getting them but I had to let go of that! I had to take it upon myself. I had to take action. Even though over the years I thought I couldn't change my teeth, I had the wisdom to focus on the one thing that I did like about myself. People would compliment my makeup and my eyes and just that little confidence boost ignited a fire in me that was longing to be lit.

Now this was not an easy process. I definitely had some setbacks and bad habits to break but sis, I took action that changed my life! My prayers to God were finally answered! All I had to do was apply the courage and faith. Faith without works is dead. You can't pray for somethng and expect it to fall from the sky. You have to put in the work but you also have to have wisdom in knowing what can and cannot be changed. I couldn't change my parents not taking me to the dentist but I'm capable of taking myself to the dentist. I couldn't change the mistakes I made but I could learn from them. I counldn't change the amount of times I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, but I could make sure it never happend again. I could only change what i am in control of- and thats myself.

I thank God for the moment I seen my cousin do her makeup because in the midst of all of this - I learned a new skill and learning new skills makes you happy, mentally healthy and confident. I encourage you sis to let go of what you can't change, pray for a courageous Spirit to change what you can and ask God for wisdom to know one from the other. I’ll be praying for you sis!

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