Friday, January 20, 2017

All I Want for Christmas  is My Two Teeth, By Aryan Deorah

I was running around my house energetically and excitedly driving my parents insane. It was 10:00 pm, which was well past my bedtime as a 5 year-old, on Christmas Eve, and all I was singing was, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth.” For most 5 year olds, they sang this song because they had lost their baby teeth in the front and want their permanent or “adult” teeth to grow in. However, for me, I sang this song because I had no front two teeth. Matter in fact, I never had them. I was born without my baby or permanent top incisors, so I couldn’t exactly talk properly, let alone pronounce my name correctly. An average school day would consist of me asking the teacher about something, she saying I can’t understand, and all of my classmates laughing at me and making fun of me. Also, in school, I would have to attend speech, where I would have to work on sounds, often with other kids who had speech problems or even mental disabilities. I wanted to get done with speech as soon as possible, so I attended often. My speech problems made it hard for me to communicate with anyone and get and keep friends. I became desperate for friendship, so I hung out with people who didn’t wanted to hang out with me and I became friends with people who were very rude and disrespected me, something which happened very often up until recently. Inside my home, I was very talkative and outgoing, but at school or anywhere else, I barely talked and often regretted when I did. This caused two very contrasting characters within myself, one who was me, and one who wasn’t. Even though I had a very supportive and understanding family, I felt like know one understood me, literally and metaphorically.

Things began to change when I went into later elementary school and middle school, for better or for worse. I had moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia, and though I missed my old home, I knew that I had a new slate as far as communication and making new friends. I began to think that my speech was great and almost normal, when it wasn’t anywhere close. I started to reject speech therapy and think that I was different and better than the other kids in speech, and eventually, I barely attended. I started to be more outspoken and talkative, and though that was good for my self-esteem, my two characters began to merge into one, I began to become more arrogant about speech and everything else in general. When the dental work on my teeth began in 6th grade with braces, I thought everything was going to be fixed, that I would be able to talk properly. However, the hard reality hit me. Kids would imitate my voice and mock it. They would keep asking me to repeat things just for a laugh. I started to be, angry, occasionally letting my anger out physically on my bullies. That, quite obviously, made the situation worse, because they overpowered me, and I thought there was no-one I could tell because I was the one who started the fight. I had more friends overall than I did in elementary school, but I made less long-term reliable friends. I started to become irritated with myself. After all, why did I, out of so many people, have to end up with this problem? I began to think there was no way to fix it. I became wallowed in self-pity, and I couldn’t shake it.

Finally, here I am, at the beginning of high school. I am not as arrogant and irrational like I was in middle school, and I have higher self esteem than I did in elementary school. I have made many friends, and even though there is no way to tell if they will be long term, I have a good feeling. I attend speech therapy often and my speech therapist is great, and I finally enjoy speech. Matter in fact, I have become friends with some of the other kids in my speech therapy group, who I previously would have thought insubordinate. Because of that, my speech is very close to normal and less than half of the people I meet notice or mention it. Barely anyone makes fun of me; I am just a happy, normal, but not really, teenager. The best part is that I am getting a special procedure so I will get my two teeth inserted near Christmas. But, is this really what I wanted? I love going to speech therapy, yet I am almost done. My speech is very good, and I already know what it feels like to have those twoteeth, because of a special retainer. To be honest, it isn’t very flattering. Not having those two teeth is normal for me, and the procedure may make my speech worse. I have realized, most people can’t even tell that I am missing two teeth. What is the point of spending a lot of money and getting my two teeth inserted? It feels so weird that now that I am about to receive something I have been craving ever since I could remember, and I don’t really want it. It leaves me asking,”Is all I want for Christmas my 2 teeth?”

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