My orthodontist recently told me that my juvenile looking braces should be ready to come off sometime around Thanksgiving. As embarrassed as I am to be an adult with braces, being the only person over age 16 in the Disney-themed office fit with bubblegum flavored gloves and wooden nickels as rewards for a good brushing regimen (to be cashed in for such awesome prizes like Gameboy games and toys, no less), getting repeatedly asked at bars and movie theaters for my identification, keeping my mouth shut for photos during my college graduation, I am actually kind of sad to have them go. Instead of being excited about all the candied apples and beef jerky I will now be able to consume without breaking brackets I am having an identity crisis; who is Sandy Bottoms without her braces?
The 'Sandy Bottoms' persona's existance, running parallel to that of the braces, has been good to me. If you scroll through adult entertainers ads you find that there are a lot of girls that match my description: white, curvy, dark hair and eyes, "girl-next-door" kind of look. As accessories these pain's in the gums have set me apart (aren't I witty, friends?). Braces, being unmovable props for "youth" fantasies, have helped me bring out a naive, giddy, and girly sexual projection of my real self that probably would not have come out otherwise. They've made me different. Without them, I feel I lose the novelty of my character and get lost in the crowd.
So now what? I'm too partial to 'Sandy' to give her up, but she's going to have to go through some sort of chick-flick style make-over. Pin-up goddess? Too high maintenance. Goth vamp? I don't think anyone would take that seriously. Barbie as opposed to Skipper? Maybe. I suppose the montage of possibilities is endless.
Predictably this crisis is extending itself into the real world as I reshape my goals and priorities, seeking a clearer sense of self and roles in the larger picture. Drastic changes in my romantic and familial relationships, Lusty Lady positions, involvement in different kinds of sex-worker activism, and a head-first dive into my career is all happening at the same time. Utterly overwhelming and taxing, yet exhilerating. The braces are coming off and everything is going to be straight, shiny, and new.