Have you ever been approached by a total stranger and they told you to smile? I mean seriously, you don’t know this person at all. You know for sure that you and this person have never met face to face in any way shape, form or fashion. But, yet this unknown person just gave you an order. Now, if you’re like anyone else the first thing that you do is begin to silently start talking to yourself. And without hesitation you ask yourself “are they talking to me?” And then the next question is always “who the hell is this person”? Now let me tell you the reason why….
Whenever you’re going through something unhealthy, especially if you’ve ever experienced any type of trauma, it is common for your emotions to run high. Your mood is unbalanced. Your thoughts are in a whirlwind. A feeling of uneasiness has started its curvy and bumpy course. Worry and fear has already begun to set in. How can you smile during a time like this? Nothing makes sense to you. Remember the old saying “it’s written all over your face”? Some of you might even remember back in the 90’s a male R&B group by the name of “Rude Boys” wrote a popular song called “Written all over your face”. Who knew, that the chorus to this particular song would be sung out loud as a way to describe a situation. Unfortunately, I have had a lot of those moments. If you really want to be honest, it was an extremely miserable and depressing time for me. I had a lot on my mind and a plate full of shit. Hell, I was being abused on a daily basis. I wasn’t living in the best situations and my environment was toxic to say the least. I was involved in a complexed, unsafe, unhealthy relationship and all of this while being a teenage mom. It was a lot for anyone to have to endure. The trauma of abuse was paramount. I didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to. It just seemed like an endless dark tunnel and all I saw was him with his fists balled up at the end of it. I wasn’t special and I knew that. I, like so many other single mothers had other obligations. I couldn’t worry about myself. I had a small baby that I had to think about and so I found myself walking around wearing my emotions. My sadness was my outfit for the day. There was so much despondency, that I wore the same clothes every single day. I didn’t change colors. I didn’t add accessories to it. I didn’t change shoes and I never washed my outfit. It was a permanent costume.
One day, I became tired and fed up. I grew weary, upset and angry. I was disgusted of the smell that was wreaking from this horrible emotional garment. I no longer wanted to smell the gloom and the hopelessness. It was coming out of my pores. My eyes told a story of panic and fear. When I opened my mouth to speak, I could hear the weakness in the sound of my voice. It was then, that I knew that I had to do something. I needed to change my clothes but I couldn’t put back on the same attire. I wanted a complete makeover so I decided that I was going to throw my clothes of sadness away.
Here was the best part of it. I was prepared to be naked. I wanted everyone to see what had happened to me. I wanted to be exposed. I wanted everyone to see that I longed for something new, something better and that something was ME. I actually fantasized about a new ME. The real ME. A ME who had no bruises. The new ME had healed scars. The new ME was optimistic. The new ME was inspired and motivated. I looked down at myself and I started to embrace every inch of my mind, body and soul. The need for change was understood and then I started to plan what type of change or changes I wanted for ME. It wasn’t easy walking around trying to piece together the right outfit. I was well aware that I probably would never find the perfect outfit but there was one thing for sure, I knew that I did not want thise old smelly clothes. No matter what I had to do, I was ready to take on the challenge of finding and accepting change. I was “Under Construction”.
It took a while for me to understand that when someone who knew nothing about would tell me to smile, it was because they looked in my face and saw my pain. I understood that it was also a compliment. A stranger was telling me that whatever it was that I was going through, whatever it was that was heavy on my mind, the best thing for me to do and the only thing for me to do to get through it and to conquer the pain was, to smile. People don’t realize that when you smile you can tear down a wall. Something as simple as smiling is so powerful or powerful enough. A smile can shield you from anything negative.
I knew that I had made it. I smiled because I knew I did not have to look back. I didn’t have to look over my shoulders anymore. I didn’t have to live in fear because I knew that my child was safe. I smiled because I started to see the smile on my baby’s face. During those times of smiling, my outfit became more stylish, more creative, more innovative. I started to get compliments. I started to meet new people.
I started to meet the right people.
The biggest part of my outfit was that it was complete. My new expression attracted me to other people, not just anybody but people who were just like me. People who had reached the point where change was due and they were tired of wearing that same smelly outfit. Like me, they wanted to smile. I couldn’t believe how I was able to put myself in a position where I could help people and teach people how to find a new way to live. The feeling of inspiring someone to get rid of the rags that drape over you and stench of abuse and depression…. is priceless.
Remember you are amazing and you can smile too. Wear your smile everyday. Its fashionable and it never goes out of style.