Sometimes God throws a curveball designed to strike you out. To put it another way, sometimes God allows things to happen that expose something about your heart you’d rather not see.

I’ve been going to physio for TMJ. No idea what that means. I’m pretty sure the “M” stands for “mandibular” because my jaw clicks and grinds really bad and I needed professional help to restore normalcy on the chewing front.

To date, my therapist has employed skilful massage, acupuncture, lazer therapy, and ultrasound. To my knowledge, she has not used “the Force,” but she’s had me abstain from overly chewy foods and engaged me in daily exercises for my jaw. I also wear a night guard that keeps me from grinding my teeth. And I say my prayers. Unfortunately, these treatments aren’t working as well as we’d hoped, so she decided to tape me up to kingdom come—kind of like traction, I think—to see if that helps.

Awesome, right? A few strips of tape, budda-bing-budda-bang, problem solved.

Yeah. I can’t recall beige tape being so utterly not skin coloured. You can see what I look like all taped up. I’ve been this way for better than a week (taking a break on Sunday, thank God).

Beyond the obvious awkwardness and discomfort stemming from taping up half your face (the bandage on the hidden side covers the entire lower cheek and I have another bandage below my left ear), I’ve found myself a little embarrassed by my appearance.

I’m forty.

Years old.

A grown-up, most days.

But this tape has dug up some petty insecurities, and I don’t like ’em. Noah has friends over right now, and I don’t want them to see me. How stupid is that? Sure, I take care of myself, my body, my hygiene—and I like to dress well—but I never would have guessed such ridiculous vanity lurked in my heart of hearts.

So I’m glad for the tape. It’s shown me something in the mirror that going tapeless couldn’t reveal, and now it’s time to grow up in this area of my life. You know what? I’m… I’m going downstairs, to meet Noah’s friends.

In a minute.

What about you? Do you struggle with vanity? How does this manifest itself in your life? Can you go out without makeup? In sweat pants? Without shaving? Without doing your hair? Are you self-conscious when you aren’t “yourself?”