What?! You guys didn’t all have jaw surgery when you were in high school?! Maybe it was a London thing…
I had braces, like a lot of high schoolers, but I also had a severe underbite, meaning that my bottom jaw stuck out further than my top. It had progressively gotten worse since I was a kid and would have apparently impeded my ability to chew food in my 30s if it had not been corrected. Sure braces were kind of embarrassing, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, kept my self-confidence at bay like my insecurity about my weird underbite. I used to loathe sitting in any position that would allow people to see my profile…which was pretty impossible, duh! And despite the fact that my friends told me it was not that noticeable, or that it was not something people would notice unless I pointed it out, I was positive that this was my defining characteristic, the thing that people would notice right away and then remember me for.
Anyway, when I was 17 the big day finally came and I was put under the knife, had some bits of my bottom jaw removed, had my top jaw tilted upward (this part was purely aesthetic as my oral surgeon had previously exclaimed ‘while we are in there we need to give you some cheekbones woman!’), and the whole mess was fastened together with some metal plates (6 in total) that remain in me to this day. And no, they do not set off metal detectors…I asked.
Total hospital stay: 4 days
Total recovery time: 6 months, although I was back in school all puffed up like a chipmunk pretty much two weeks after the surgery. After the one to one-and-a-half month period I probably looked pretty much normal to everyone else.
Although I did not see things this way at the time, I suppose in a way I was kind of lucky. Lucky in that I had a very real physical issue that made me self-conscious that was actually fixed. I guess it was like my “nose job”. Not everyone can actually have “that thing” that they don’t like about their appearance fixed, so I guess there is maybe some silver lining to the whole thing. And while I can’t say that all of my personal confidence issues disappeared after the surgery (I did have to wear braces for another year after all), I can say that it made a big difference in my self-perception…for the better if you were wondering…