So I’ve just had jaw surgery.

I’ve been waiting for this since 2011, when I finally lay down in the orthodontist’s chair for him to take one cursory glance and dismiss me with a referral to the hospital.

When I found out I had an open bite, which had affected my whole face, I was strangely overjoyed. Now, I had something to blame when I looked in the mirror and was sick at what was looking back. There was a reason for the flaws on my face, magnified by depressed and anxious eyes. Even better, there was now a solution.

It has been a long and painful journey to get here- a massive cliché, but if it applies, who cares? It’s sucked. Amongst all the soul destroying waiting, false hopes, and the ever growing mental health issues, were a whole host of other issues. Braces were uncomfortable, and most horribly, ugly. I had to wear an expander which gave me a gap between my front teeth, a look I could not pull off. Eventually, that gap was closed- but replaced by two larger gaps each side of my front teeth, giving me the appearance of an old woman without her fake teeth in. My lower jaw moved forward and I suddenly had a pronounced chin and gaping mouth which couldn’t fully close.

I was hideous. A monster. The tentative acceptance of my face before braces had been replaced with such strong self loathing that I felt embarrassed to talk, smile, or even leave the house. I can say with a surety that my orthodontic process worsened my depression.

But here I am- one week after my operation. I am swollen, bruised, unable to eat solid food- and happier than I’ve been for about 3 years. Everyday I can see my new face emerging, and with each new detail, I can leave my old face behind, along with all the hatred.

I know that this will not cure me. I know that as soon as I am healed I will find just as many flaws with my new face as with my old one. But now, knowing I’ve done all I can, perhaps I can accept it, and finally see some good in it.

Maybe. All I know now is that I really want some crunchy toast. 5 weeks to go, 5 weeks…