Braces. My top teeth were always straight and though my bottom teeth were a little mangled, they didn’t show that much when I spoke. Despite them being mostly hidden, I begged my parents for braces because all the cool kids were getting them in grade seven. This may have been my first foray into pain for pleasure and let me tell you, no fuckin’ thank you.

The oral torture device was set to be in my life for 1.5 years. Not so bad. I can handle the pain for that long if it means my smile will look as much like a set of train tracks as all the popular girls. And in the meantime I can make the pain fun with colorful rubber bands! YAY! On a side note, here’s some colours to stay away from: brown for obvious reasons, silver because it just looks like more metal, and yellow because the color variation between them and your supposed white teeth is not that much.

Here’s something I didn’t know, 1.5 years is an estimate based on the assumption that you will follow the proper elastics regimen. While I was big on following in the footsteps of the popular girls, I wasn’t big on following plans specifically laid out to better my way of life. Just like that, 1.5 years turned into 3.5 years. And if you’re thinking that would mean two more years of being cool, you would be wrong. So very wrong. Except that one time in grade 9 science where I figured out that my braces were able to conduct electricity to illuminate a light bulb. That day I was definitely cool.

I was a metal mouth until my junior year of High School. The upside? I now have straight teeth and two metal bars behind them that make sure they stay that way. Another upside is that I never needed head gear (though this girl at March Break camp had it and she was really cool so again there was a solid week where I envied the apparatus).

In fear of having to revisit the device, I monitor my wires to ensure they never fall off. I’ve heard way too many stories from people saying they had braces but their wire fell off so now their teeth are crooked again. Oh hell no. Surprisingly, braces don’t have the same allure of popularity that they once had. Who’d have thought? Instead, they bring ideas of pain for pain’s sake. And I can think of way more fun ways of exploring that route that don’t include cut up cheeks, a forty minute flossing routine, and elastics causing my teeth to snap together any time I opened too wide like a noise maker with all the sound and none of the fun.

Braces: reaffirming my belief that I was, am, and will always be #anythingbutcool.

Roll over and hit the home button on my iPhone. No notifications? Whatever. Enter passcode and open Instagram to see if the photo of that inspirational quote I posted before I went to bed hit at least 20% of my followers. Nope. 12 likes. Resolve that the next photo must be a surefire hit: my cat or a selfie. Correction: selfie with too much makeup. Scroll Instagram and like the first five photos I see.

Hit my inbox next. Eight new emails? Holy moly, Ms. Popular. Oh. Nevermind. Six are from Screenwriting Blogs and Festivals I subscribe to and two are UGG outlet spam emails that I can’t for the life of me stop receiving. Check junk to see if anything important accidentally got filtered there. Just an Urban Outfitters sale notification. By no means junk but I hide it there as a means of wallet preservation. Next up is Facebook messenger. I scroll through a muted work thread and find nothing important but feel a twinge of satisfaction by being kept in the loop in little spurts of my choosing.

Last is Facebook. Notifications include a casting notice for a non-union project seeking “really funny comedian-caliber models who are real people, relatable, but with an edgy style.” I then spend a few minutes staring at my headshots wondering which one meets the breakdown. The answer? None. But I send one anyway. I spend more time than I’d like to admit scrolling through my newsfeed watching videos posted by a mixture of my Aunt, coworkers past and present, and some guys I’m pretty sure I never met.

Productivity: zero. Self-worth: low. Addiction: all time high.