Someone else’s words: Smile!
My words: About a three weeks ago I had to run into the Home Depot for something. Before you tsk and shake your head I went there because the two local hardware stores did not carry what I needed, and in fact it was the third of four hardware stores in less than 24 hours. I saw a 30 something man there with a woman who was obviously his older mother or grandmother. He was talking so kindly to her and without realizing it, it made me smile. He turned to tell her something and saw my face. “Hey” he said “what a beautiful smile. Just beautiful.” Why thank you.
I had a great weekend and although I was feeling good, I also feel really tired, by the end of the day today, I was ready for a nap, I also had a bit of a low grade sinus headache all day. But as I was standing at my door post, thinking about how things went this weekend, thinking about making a tofu quiche (eggs with soft tofu in place of the cream) which turned out yummy by the way. A very mild and soft spoken pre-K special services worker walked by me (she is speech or OT or PT or something) and said “SMILE!” I am standing there in the drafty hallway where I get the full on effect of three open doorways in the middle of a cold and snowy day, thinking about quiche, and working on my little rooster doll and maybe reading for a while this evening and wondering if I would have to shovel….her words brought me out of my daze. I looked at her. “Huh?” ” Smile!” she said. Uh at this point I felt unlikely to smile at all of course. Why can I never think of anything to say….”What is wrong why aren’t you smiling?” “Um I don’t know” I said (thinking cause my mind is at home, my nipples are about three inches long, I have a slight headache and I really want to put on my PJ’s and get cuddly under my thick down comforter with a good sci-fi) but I say nothing, mouth open. “You seem sad.” Oh here we go.
I know I have read some feminist papers on how women are expected to smile, to be cheerful. basically because of their lower status. I also know that I have read some other philosophical types of works on how our culture expects smiling happiness even at the cost of your honest and true self. Apparently at other times in history people smiled far less frequently. The thing is that I smiled all weekend, and I smiled while talking to several children just a few moments before, and I was smiling while talking to my friend just a few minutes afterward. Sometimes you don’t feel like smiling, it may be the company, it may be that your mind is elsewhere, it may be that you have a headache. “Okay. I will smile more.” I say. Nodding my head and feeling like Bozo the Clown. Yep I will smile more. Here it is my fake smile. I actually looked at that smile just this morning in the mirror as I pulled a soft strand of hair from my bun and looked at myself in the mirror. I smiled because I thought at that moment I could actually be called beautiful. Then as I stood smiling at myself in the mirror I gave myself some serious cheese and started laughing. Okay here it is fake smile.
But the problem is, that isn’t me. And it never has been.
But I will admit while I was talking to her all I could think about was this: Honey you need lip moisturizer.