Appearance Isn’t Everything–But Smiling With Confidence Helps

Smile Brilliant on bettysbattleground.com

When I was a kid, my mother and my orthodontist conspired to ruin my smile. Okay, okay, they conspired to fix my smile. I had a terrible overbite, crooked teeth, and massive crowding. So at the tender age of eight, I was fitted for braces and spent the next several years dreading my monthly visits to get them checked and tightened. The flip side of getting braces so young, of course, was that when most kids were getting them on, I was getting them off.

At the rebellious age of 13, my smile was beautiful. Seriously, I got compliments all the time. But the retainer I was directed to wear was one of those hard plastic ones. I was supposed to wear it any time I wasn’t eating or drinking–and it completely disgusted me. I thought it looked like my teeth had a seal of saliva over them at all times. And the idea of popping out that thing in front of my friends so that I could eat horrified me.

Maybe–maybe–a few years older would have provided me with enough perspective to understand that the retainer was salvaging my glorious smile. As it was, I never wore it during the day. Sometimes I wore it at night, but those occasions grew fewer and fewer. My teeth began to slide and crowd again, and the compliments lessened. Then I had kids, and began requiring numerous daily cups of coffee to function. So on top of crooked teeth, my teeth became stained. It’s hard enough to smile when you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, but when you’re also devastated by the thought of your own teeth, you develop a mastery of closed lips.

As of now, I still have the crowded teeth–maybe one day I’ll afford to fix that–but I was recently able to trial a home whitening product that changed my perception of my smile more than I honestly thought was possible without spending thousands of dollars.

This is a sponsored post, which means I received compensation in the form of money or trial products in exchange for an honest review–however, Betty’s Battleground is very selective about who I accept as sponsors (seriously–just ask all the PR people who constantly email me). This is still part of the same honest and relevant content you’re familiar with.

Continue reading

Why Being Judgy Is A Privilege (That You Probably Shouldn’t Use)

If you're judging others, you need to work on yourself--on bettysbattleground.com

Being judgy is a privilege. And while having privileges can be a positive thing, this is one in particular you probably shouldn’t be using. At least not as much as you might be.

Everyone is judgmental to an extent. Being a little bit judgmental is actually helpful; after all, assessing whether you should skirt the guy with the creepy grin who’s been following you involves making a judgment. Judgments keep us safe, they help us make friends, accomplish goals, and all sorts of wonderful, important stuff. But “being judgy” isn’t quite the same thing as making a judgment call. And it’s generally not so nice–when we’re “judgy,” we are usually putting someone else down for a characteristic we perceive to be flawed.

Continue reading

Letting Go And Starting Over

Letting go of all your things is crushing and freeing rolled into one--on bettysbattleground.com

Letting go is hard. When my mom was a young teenager, her family left Cuba in disgrace. In 1966, the Revolution was over, Fidel Castro was in power, and many of the changes that would prove him a ruthless dictator were already taking place. My grandparents were both teachers–intellectuals were reviled in communist Cuba because they were considered among the most outspoken against the new regime. Before she left, my mom saw signs posted around the campus where her father taught, declaring him a traitor. The government seized their house, and they were only able to bring two suitcases among the five of them. I’ve never seen a picture of my mom as baby for this reason. On the airplane, she had to surrender her Cuban passport for refugee admissions to the United States. To this day, she has never again set foot in Cuba.

Continue reading