Hola amigos. Do you know what today is?
I'm assuming that you've counted every single day with me--rather than just reading the title--and are aware that it's been ONE WHOLE YEAR since my double jaw surgery.
It soo doesn't seem like it's been that long since I had the surgery, but at the same time it kinda feels like I've always looked the way I do now.
I mean, I can't even remember a lot of the things that used to bother me with my underbite.  The other night my brother mentioned me saying that only two of my teeth touched before the surgery and I was like, "Whoa. I totally forgot about all that kind of stuff."
Everything that other people took for granted while I was suffering, I now take for granted too.
It feels wrong. Buuuutttt, I'd rather be where I am now than where I was pre-surgery, so I'll get over it.

I realize that I haven't written a blog post since January, but I promise I tried! Sort of.
In February I attempted to venture into the huge, daunting world of vlogging for you guys. 
That was a failure.
So then I tried to edit it down to where it was just me doing stupid stuff by the time March rolled around, but deadlines and I are mortal enemies, so that was a failure as well.  But, school is out and I have nothing to do so I finally got around to editing that video.
I attempted to talk about surgery related things and about changes and whatnot--my usual blog stuff--but I couldn't even look at the camera right. So here's a bunch of stuff you can make fun of instead!
I'm fabulous, I know.

So, we've got five months to catch up on now!
Since I last wrote, I went to the orthodontist once and the oral surgeon once.
The orthodontist wasn't anything exciting, just a retainer check. But so you know, I am still famous among the patients there. Kinda. Okay, I'm honestly just a person the orthos point to and go, "See, she was hot terrible mess before and look at her now!" I'm there to reassure children, really.
Speaking of retainers though, this smartypants over here thought she'd be okay to just not wear hers for a week or two and now her teeth are falling out. Like, literally.
Forcing my teeth to fit back into my retainer every night after they shifted a considerable amount has made my front six teeth unnervingly loose and they hurt. Really, really, hurt.
But oh well, that's only multiple surgeries, endless pain, and thousands of dollars gone to waste. 
No big deal.
They taste terrible too!
Who knows, it might not have even been the retainer.
Recently I delved into the risky business of self whitening my teeth, which, while extremely successful, has left me with super sensitive teeth and visible imperfections. Thanks again, Crest!
But wait--I can't really blame Crest all that much.
The package does say the strips are not for people under 18 years old.
I don't care. At least my teeth will be white until they fall out.

Anyway, I went to see my oral surgeon for the last time a couple of months ago.
He didn't really have much to say, but he was probably just speechless. I mean, really. I have got to be some of his best work. I'm sure he was awestruck.

On a completely unrelated note (I've said before how hideous I am at transitions), senior pictures are coming up soon. I absolutely despise having professional pictures taken, but at least it won't be as bad as it would have been had I not had my surgery at this point. I really only bring this up because at some point between last January and now, I noticed that all the pictures my mom has of me around the house are terrifying and would probably cause mental scarring to any small child subjected to them. Really, Mom, I know you're reading this so... seriously could we do something about this?
One of them is my band picture from seventh grade, which is just... I don't know, sad, really. 
My underbite (which my band teacher repeatedly brought up as a reason why I would never be able to play flute--like really, band teacher. I wasn't insecure enough. Let's bring it up one more time. Please.) in addition to my general seventh grade awkwardness--out of control hair; ill fitting uniform; uhm, tuba--is just too, too much. It needs to go.
Second, there's the church pictures that they put in the directory for everyone to look at. Sadly enough, we picked out the best looking one and I'm still looking a mess. Maybe it's not as bad as the band picture, but this time I've got braces, my hair's still bad, my underbite and beak nose are worse, and now we've added an awkward pose with my brother. So. Cute.
Lastly (because the house can only handle three terrible pictures of me), there's my school yearbook picture from this year. It's the best of the three, but in a way it still manages to be the scariest. It's definitely what I would have chosen to be immortalized in the yearbook as. I am post-op at this point, but it's before I got my braces off, so I'm in the weird better-but-still-swollen-not-anywhere-close-to-normal-yet interim. My hair is still blond in the front which adds a lovely contrast to my forty pounds underweight, beyond emaciated looking frame and sallow skin. I'm. A. Beaut. My swollen lips next to my hollow cheeks and highly visible collar bone are an added bonus.
I really do wish I could go around to everyone that bought a year book and tape a recent picture of me over the one that's in there. 
But I can't, so those lucky viewers will get to remember this
as opposed to something like
or this
or my personal favorite
Yay for glamour shots!
But that's their loss. Oh well.

I guess I should say something somewhat pertinent to the actual surgery since this is the big one year post and all, but there's nothing you haven't read before.
I still can't feel the roof of my mouth, but you saw that in the video earlier.
Really, and I mean it, nothing has changed since January. That's partly why I haven't written anything.
My hair's longer. Seriously, I can't think of anything else to say.
Just look at my face.

BTDubbs, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.


What the heck--go ahead and have a whole slideshow of me making stupid faces; they still look better than any of the pre-surgery pictures anyway.

And goodness knows I can't resist making a fool of myself, so I'll probably keep on adding stupid pictures as I find them, if you want to check back in a few days.
To close, I'll mention that my birthday is exactly a week from today...
I'm just saying that if any loving, caring friends of mine would like to bestow me with gifts then I wouldn't object. I mean, last year nobody cared because I was getting a new face for my birthday. "That was enough" apparently.

I'm just playing! Reading my last post was enough for me, I suppose. This year.
I love you guys! Thanks for putting up with me for a whole year talking about my surgery, my blog, my old face, my new face, your faces, faces in general, calves, beards; for dealing with me constantly spamming Twitter and Facebook with links to my blog; for still being my friend after I asked if you read my blog and you said no and I asked why and you said you never saw the links and I was like I ONLY POSTED A BAJILLION THOUSAND; for also being my friend if you said you did read my blog and I jumped on you, hugged you, and cried, and continued to routinely bring it up in conversation from then on out; for complying when I demanded, "TAKE A PICTURE OF ME," every five minutes for six months after I got my braces off; and, most importantly, for being there for me after my surgery and helping me adjust to my new self (and also for taking me down a notch when my ego gets too big). You guys are the best! I guess. Or something.
Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys.
Words cannot even describe how ecstatic I am to finally be 100% braces free.
I think it would be best to simply quote that civil rights guy:
"Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, [I am] free at last."
Ohh, wait a minute! I was about to make a joke about how I actually know that that's a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., but then I remembered that today is MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY!
I mean, what are the odds that exactly seven months post op would be the birthday of the man who said the quote that I've been planning to use for exactly this moment for months now?
Seriously, someone calculate that.

Anywhoodleedoodle, last Thursday I got my braces off during school.
When we went into the office I was extremely nervous that they would decide I wasn't ready (those rubber bands? Yeah, I wore those for, like, a day) and wouldn't take them off. I kept finding bad news in all that orthodontic jargon that I've--sadly--come to understand after all these years in that chair.
One ortho kept saying to the other stuff like, "Let's do a holley." I don't know what a holley is! I don't know, but it sounded bad! But soon enough those horrible, terrible pliers came into my line of vision and my fears were calmed.
That is, until my ortho very blatantly told me, "This is going to hurt."
And hurt it did. Apparently the clear braces are much more difficult to pry from your teeth than the regular ones are. There was a horrible crunch and some jerking with every single tooth (let me tell you a story in a minute!) but then I was free. It made me kinda nervous because I still feel like some of my teeth (specifically my upper right 2; you know the one) are really... weak, I guess, but it wasn't terrible.
When we got to my bottom teeth that only had regular braces, I didn't even realize my brackets were coming off until he was half way through!
The whole office was happy for me.
I'm not even exaggerating. The WHOLE office knows that I've been the problem child for the past decade.The receptionists came back. The assistants hugged me. Even someone in the waiting room knew about me. I'm practically famous in the world of orthodontia.

When *Brandi took me to get my pictures and X-Rays done she showed me all of my old pictures.  They're depressing. And precious, in a way.
The pictures from when I was little are pretty cute I guess, but you can still tell there's something wrong with me. Once we got to the ones where I'm older though... It honestly looks painful. I don't know how I lived like that. It made me feel so much better when we got to my post op pictures.  My eyes look better, I have cheek bones, my nose is mostly straight, and you can see the nine screws in my face!
I so wish I could feel those.
She then got me all fitted for my retainer and we left.

*Before leaving I told Brandi that I was glad she was there to see me get my braces off since she's the assistant that's worked with me the most over the past two and half years. She told me once, about six months into my braces (after my surgery for my upper right 2, when we were in the process of moving it half way across my face and turning it around) that they really loved to see just how much the "people like me" end up changing. Basically she nicely told me that they really like seeing how much prettier they make the ugly ones. I'm not gonna lie, they pimped me out. So I told her I was glad she was there and she told me, "Oh, yeah. You know we all rotate between patients, but when I saw you on the list a few days ago I got you. The other girls know to stay away; you're mine."
I love her.

When we got in the car I was like, "I need music for this."
I'm not convinced that it can be entirely a coincidence that the first song I heard on the radio after being released from bondage was "I'm Sexy and I Know It." It can't be.
We went to Milo's to celebrate (!!!) and then I was back to school to show off my **not-so-pearly whites.
It was fabulous. My teeth are fabulous. I'm fabulous. Life's fabulous.

**We're working on those teeth though. I'll let you know next month how I think my whitening toothpaste is working!

Last Thursday we went back and I got my retainer.
It's obscenely purple.
I love it.
I also have a retainer on the backs of my bottom teeth, but there's no way I can get a picture of that for you. But last week when I was cleaning my room I found my old p̶a̶l̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶e̶x̶p̶a̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ torture device I told you about in my first post. Look!
I've really got to get rid of that thing. The stench from it... It permeates everything.

This last weekend I went with my youth group from church to the Scott Dawson Strength to Stand conference in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was amazing (We saw LECRAE and KJ-52 and NEWSBOYS!) and we all got the opportunity to grow in Christ together. Less importantly, we also got the chance to take lots of pictures. Lots and lots of braces free pictures!

Remember when I said I had friends now that I'm pretty?
<----- First post-braces friend over there!


I mean, look at this guy.
Very few people take kindly to me touching their hair at a concert without their knowledge. At first we were "mad" at my friend when her flash went off in his face. She *swears* she turned it off, but it turned out to be a blessing that it went off anyway. If it hadn't, we never would have known how cool he is.
Go Tim!

And now... my favorite time... FEEDING TIME!
And don't think I forgot about your story! Did you know that in the first century C.E. (It's no longer acceptable to use B.C. and A.D. Now it's correct to use C.E. for common era and B.C.E. for before common era) there was a woman named Appolonia who was tortured by Pagans for her faith? When she refused to renounce her faith in Christ, the Pagans crushed her teeth with pliers one by one until they were all gone. And I think I had it hard! After they did that, they built a fire before her and threatened to throw her in it if she didn't renounce her faith. Instead of betraying the Lord she JUMPED INTO THE FIRE. Whoa.
Supposedly she's the Patron Saint of Dentistry, but since I'm not Catholic I won't claim to know anything about that.

Love you all and have a wonderful braces free month.
Unless you still have braces. Then... um...