Don’t let the world change your smile, let your smile change the world. This statement serves as a guideline to my life. No matter how horrendous my day was, the one thing I always remember is to keep a smile on my face. As children, a parent’s job is to teach you important lessons to live by and this one has stuck with me for 18 long years! One day in the middle of my freshman year, one of my classmates that I did not communicate with much was sitting alone at lunch. She was a rather depressing person to be around. She had a permanent frown on her face which sparked my curiosity. I wondered “why? I couldn’t fathom a logical reason to constantly frown.
Although I knew that she wasn’t one of the “cool girls” and that all my friends would make fun of me for speaking to her; my curiosity got the best of me. I scooted my chair back, picked up my lunch tray and made my way across the cafeteria. I plopped down in the seat across from her. Her reaction was my automatic reassurance that I had done the right thing. We struck up a conversation and I instantly realized how much we had in common. We got stuck on the devastating topic of divorce. Her parents separated when she was young.
She insisted that she was fine and that it didn’t bother her anymore, but I could tell that something was still picking away at her. I decided to open up and share some since I was currently in the same situation. I explained to her how my parents split the year before and how my mother and I had just finished moving into our new house. My life story seemed to grab her attention and before I knew it this small, shy girl was talking one hundred miles per hour! Finally she asked me the million dollar question, “How do you keep a smile on your face all the time”? At last, it was my time to shine!
The words spilled out of my mouth like a waterfall. There is no special secret. There is no class you can take to learn how to smile. It all comes from your heart; if your heart is smiling then your lips will follow. Just because I smile does not mean that I am not upset or angry due to my parents separation. Smiling simply means that I have made the decision to change what I am capable of and learn to cope with what I cannot. Everyone has different ways of coping. There is no wrong way to deal with your feelings, unless you ignore them. Some people cope through physical activity while others might read a book and relax.
As for me, the method to my madness is junk food and big, white smiles! The most valuable lesson I learned from this experience was to never judge a book by its cover. Although the cover might appear bright and happy and promising, when you peel back that first page you could easily reveal a very depressing story. No matter what this life throws at me I will always keep a smile on my face. Rain or shine I will stand my ground and stay true to my roots. I can only hope that my smile will brighten someone’s day and that it might touch their hearts to help them get a happier perspective on life.