In this moment, I’d wager a guess that there are not many 30-something year olds browsing the internet scowering for photos of famous celebrities judging each and every twist of their face to help themselves believe that symmetry is something none of us are born with. Finding the perfect photo – free from Photoshop and unaltered by a professional makeup magician is hard to do. You have to really dig. You have to really want it. In fact, you have to go back before there was a time that Mac Cosmetics made everyone a self proclaimed beautician and Photoshop was not yet on the scene as the new kind of plastic surgery.
So I find photos like this, where someone renowned for her flawless structure was captured in a time before she gave a damn.
You might recognize her as Angelina Jolie and whether you despise her or not, you know who she is and you most certainly know what she looks like, but unlike me, you probably aren’t a tiny bit relieved to exam that the right side of her face is more forward than the rest while the left side of her face boasts a bit more of that va-va-voom jaw structure every woman wants.
I call it – “The Pillow Syndrome.” I tell myself the reason why we “all” have this puffier side of ourselves is because we sleep mainly on that side of our faces.
If you’re like me, you’ll start to see it everywhere. EVERYWHERE!
Not all of us are blessed with being dubbed the most naturally symmetrical face in the world like Denzel Washington once was.
True story! In an article I remember from a million years ago, Denzel was dubbed one of the world’s most attractive men and an article so artfully explained that it is our human nature to mathematically derive “beauty” – whether we’re starring at the color combo of hex-derived color schema on a website or gazing upon a love at first sight. We. See. What. We. Like. And equality in all facially sculpted things is what the human brain is drawn to.
This is where my symmetrical obsession comes into play.
Me? Despite being born into a chinless family (except for my oldest sister, we don’t talk about her – she’s adopted! not really) due to our Welsh heritage, my conscious efforts to maintain a small figure has lent to the unveiling of most of a jaw structure (with the exception of a chin line). While some of the good grace behind this structure can be credited towards my health and the fact that I am in fact related to that one sister of whom we don’t speak of her perfections, I give most of the credit to a fair dose of age and stress.
But my symmetrical craze strengthens over one, faltering fact.
For over a year and a half, I have struggled with a dislocated jaw. Don’t worry, after the proposed 5 month fix that turned into 10, the dislocation was relieved and the physical pain finally subsided – resulting in a very celebratory eating of my long lost love affair with bread! I hadn’t chewed anything substantial in most of a year without suffering a most extreme aftermath. But even then, after 10 months, my jaw randomly got stuck left or right.
Long story short, they tried to fix it and in fixing it with an obvious lack of care (I mean hello, I was in the room when everyone admitted they had the wrong measurements for my mouth but were going to place the splint in anyway) resulted in severely misaligned teeth. Yup, my Mom is rolling in her grave at the thought of having spent $3,800 in the 90’s to bring my horse-face into alignment so the kids at school would have one less thing to make fun of me for and now all I have to show for it is TWO measly sets of molars touching while all my other teeth remain in a constant, grinding search for their supportive mate.
Of course, this came right to a head at the exact time we moved from the States to Sydney.
Another long story short, I have been rejected by a handful of dentists, surgeons, and orthodontists since being in Sydney. Nobody wants to touch this case and the one person still in line to help me, won’t return my messages. Everyone is just in it to take my money – something that has already cost me well over $8,000 out of pocket just to wind up looking and feeling worse about it all.
While my teeth remain unsupported, unfitting, and unflattering to the my eyes – there’s more to it then just the aesthetic desire to have my annoyingly large Julia Roberts face back in tact. Having my teeth so misaligned comes with serious consequences. Things like – I can’t give my boyfriend a full hearted kiss without popping something out of place; I have to consciously choose what I order when visiting restaurants with Stark’s friends and coworkers because Lord knows my teeth don’t touch well enough to grasp little things like lettuce leaves in my mouth without losing more pieces than I manage to inhale; I can’t choose what I eat when visiting other’s houses and therefore I look like my Momma sure didn’t raise me right and my table managers are one micromillimeter short of drooling at the dinner table after half my rice fell out of my mouth and down my shirt. Last but certainly not least, my teeth are moving. They are crowding. They’ve become noticeable to more than just my super-judgy eyes and due to the lack of support in my teeth structure, which acts as a sort of foundation to our entire facial structure, the right side of my face has atrophied so terribly and so quickly that I woke up one morning worried that I had a stroke in the middle of the night. And no, that was not sarcasm.
I don’t care if you can tell. I don’t care if I shouldn’t think about it. I don’t even have to mistakingly linger in the mirror too long to know that the right side of my lip droops, my right cheek is puffy, my right eyelid sags, my right eyebrow is lower than the left… The left side of my face has that coveted jaw structure and that anorexic seeming divet in my face that most women only get with a little makeup magic. The right side? Not so much.
So naturally, I tried more facial exercises. More. More. More.
Then naturally, I spent hours researching makeup techniques to see if there’s anything my younger self missed in those makeup and modeling classes I signed up for as an eager, easily-convinced 18 year old.
But no. I haven’t missed anything. I’ve shaped and shadowed, pushed and pinched, made ooo and ahhh faces, smiled big and opened wide all for naught. And where does it get me? Writing hate mail to the dental specialist that won’t return my messages, researching plastic surgery with the very same surgeon that put my face back together when I was 4 years old (that’s another story), and feeling less than satisfied over the minor imperfections of the rich and famous.