Please let her feel welcome 🙂
Sure, why not?
In my period of unemployment (it’s been kind of off and on since graduation last August), you’d be surprised to hear how many times I get responses of “I don’t see how you stay so optimistic” or “if that were me, I’d go crazy.” My favorite one, though, is “How do you stay so happy? You always have a smile…”
Um, thanks. Sorry if I don’t want Super Le Sourpuss (my hidden alter ego that I just made up) to surface all the time. I do realize that with my situation, many wouldn’t be able to handle it. To be honest with you, sometimes I can’t handle it. I hole myself in my apartment, think about what I could have done for maybe a day or so, and bounce back. The bouncing back part is important- I don’t like spending time dwelling on what could have been when I could be focusing on what could be. 🙂 See? There it is in practice.
I’m often reminded of the lyrics of the Charlie Chaplin song “Smile,” which includes the lyrics:
“…Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying…”
A shorter version of these lyrics, which I’ve sometimes called my personal motto (one of many, don’t get me started), is “whatever happens, don’t let ‘em see ya’ cry.” I adopted this motto after tumultuous experiences in grade school and the like, which forced me to dig into a place I didn’t know existed, and repeat that mantra over and over during the school day. These words brought me strength at a time when I didn’t believe such things existed.
Though Chaplin’s lyrics are optimistic and hopeful, does the message really promote healthy behavior? Why should I smile if my heart is aching? Isn’t that a better reason to not smile than any other? I guess to answer why I seem to always have a smile on my face, there are quite a few reasons:
I smile because… though I’m unemployed and find myself rather bored a lot of the time, and filling out applications has become as routine as doing the dishes, I find comfort in knowing that I am developing other skills that I didn’t know I had through my “freelance” work as I call it- babysitting, office help, the works! I may just call myself a “freelancer extraordinaire.”
I smile because… even though the bills pile up, and I go through each week starting with a deficit, I know that things will be taken care of. My faith lets me believe it, and sure enough, things just “happen.”
I smile because… although I don’t have insurance with my asthmatic ace, and random ish seems to happen to me on a daily basis (take Sunday, for example: scraped my ankle across the carpet, providing a nasty gash, then hit a toe on my nightstand, convincing myself that I had broken it for a while. Luckily, it’s not—I happened to “pop” it to wherever it needed to be last night… instant relief! Apologies to those of you who are squeamish.), I don’t have children or pets that would take my costs even higher than my current deficit allows. Goooo… me!
I smile because… one day, I know I’ll have all the things I want. The dream job, the swingin’ love life, the Mini Cooper, will all come. I figure that this is just one of those categorical “rough patches” of life. Am I kind of miffed that it happens to me now, of all times? Of course. But why dwell on what happened, when I need the energy to focus on what will happen?
I smile because… Sometimes, I’d rather smile than admit that everything is not going so well. During these times, my smile becomes the mask that hides my true feelings. It could be because the electric bill was higher this month, or because the cell phone got disconnected, or the landlord is on me, or because the family doesn’t want me to move to the big city (though they don’t currently visit me in my current living place now), but when all of life’s troubles get to me, my smile becomes my refuge.
I will admit though, that I’m working on that last point. Instead of just smiling my way through, I’m actually being more vocal about the things I need, what’s going on, rather than an utterance of “I’m fine” through my teeth.
So, dear readers (if you’re still with me), what exactly is hidden beneath your smile? I don’t mind if you shed a few layers, I think we could shed a few together… Relax, relate, release.
Really, I’m sorry if this was a bit long. I’ve had this subject on my mind for a while now, and figured this was the best time to get it all out.