My 12-Year-Old Self Is Back in Full-Force Today

Today feels strangely like a time warp and I don’t hate it. It’s bringing back interesting and funny memories. Here’s why I’m headed back to middle school today: I’m going to get fitted for a new retainer. I know. It’s going to be so attractive. But I went through years of braces and other dental work, might as well keep straight teeth for the rest of my life. The last time I set foot in my orthodontist’s office I was dealing with the awkward, fun, dramatic, moody, Claire’s-obsessed time that was 7th grade. I was coming home every day to drool over Carson Daly on TRL as he hosted great moments like this one and this one. There was hysterics as this rude girl who shall remain nameless tried to steal my boyfriend. Don’t worry, she wasn’t successful (needless to say, “He Loves U Not” by Dream became my power anthem throughout this year of middle school). It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a time of unfortunate hair cuts.

I won’t lie, I’m a little nervous to get fitted for this retainer. Ten years ago when I went through this process (getting molds made so they can build the retainer) I remember a lot of hyperventilating, crying and a near vomit experience. When I called to make the appointment I asked the lady if technology had gotten any better in the ten years since I’d been gone.

“Um…not really but…you’re not 12 anymore so that should help things,” she said half laughing, half confused.

Well now there’s serious pressure. If I act the same way as I did all those years ago (gagging, crying, pleading for my mom) then it shows that I haven’t matured at all since I was twelve. That’s just embarrassing. It’s important that I toughen up and act like a champ as they put the smelly, disgusting molds in to fit me for the retainer. I also don’t want to scare the children in their light-up Keds (do kids still wear those? probably not) who will be in the waiting room.

I want this kindI tried to put this process off for as long as possible. My dentist had been pressuring me to get a new retainer because my teeth were starting to shift.

“It’s totally fine. I’ll just find the old one,” I told him, knowing that retainer had been lost before I even got to high school. That retainer was probably thrown out, eaten by a dog, or stepped on. There was no way I was going to find it.

“You really think you’ll find it?” he asked.


“Okay, well work on finding it and if not then you should get fit for another one.”

Each time I saw him for the next year or so he asked me about it. Finally, I could lie no more.

“Look, I’m not going to find that thing. I’ll just get another one.”

Which brings us to this day, and the appointment that looms ahead. I won’t let those molds scare me. Also, the dentist told me the whole process takes thirty seconds and that the passage of time is causing me to hype it up in my head.

I will be brave for the sake of straight teeth and orthodontia. And maybe I’ll get a cool watermelon retainer like my friends used to have.




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  1. […] pretty obvious that I’m regressing. I’m wearing a retainer at night like I used to when I was in 7th grade. I’ve also become fascinated with videos that used to dominate TRL (RIP). Carson Daly and the […]

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