Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Think You Should Smile More

Ada thinks I should smile more.

A few nights back, Ada and I were in the TV room not watching TV. She was playing some random game on the iPad and I was watching Friends on my Mac. Every now and then she would pause whatever she was playing, call me over to her side of the room and show me some interesting or funny thing that just happened in her game. I would also show her some funny pictures about Greek mythology and Percy Jackson and Hey Arnold. Every five minutes, we found ourselves looking at the TV, asking each other what was happening in Phineas and Ferb and then howling at their silly contraptions. That went on for about an hour or so. And then out of the blue, Ada gives me her words of wisdom. 

Ada: 'You know tita Anna, I think you should smile more.'
Me: 'Huh? Ada, I am happy. I smile.'
Ada: 'You only smile in pictures. You have to smile more.'
Me: 'What on earth?'
Ada: 'Try it! It's fun!'

And just like that she went back to being a kid and to her game and I tried to focus on watching Friends. But I could not get myself to concentrate on watching that old show because of what Ada had just said. You know how some person says some random thing and you end up thinking about it for a long time? And I hate it when people make me think because that usually means that I am looking for a loophole in the truth that they just told me which I do not want to accept as true. I was searching my brain for some reason or excuse I could use to explain to Ada why she could never catch me smiling. I wanted to explain to her that happiness is not just expressed in smiles, but can be expressed in many other ways also. And smiling does not necessarily mean that the person is happy or joyful or merry. I was ready to set the record straight with Ada, but it was dinner time.

That night, I started analyzing what she said. Ada had said, 'I think you should smile more.' My Mac's dictionary said that smiling is to form one's features into a pleased, kind or amusing expression. Normally this means that the corners of a person's mouth is turned up and the person's teeth are showing. People who have ugly teeth or who look hilarious when their teeth show, smile with their mouths closed and their lips make the shape of a banana. For me, smiling is to look cheerful, happy, glad, contended, pleased and all other words that are not associated with being sad. Weird because I replied by saying, 'I am happy. I smile.' I realized that Ada was not trying to get me to be happy. She was not asking me if I was happy or not. She did not imply that I was unhappy nor did she want me to fake happiness. Ada simply wanted me to smile more. She wanted me to look happy. She wanted me to give people a look of happiness. Just a look of happiness. Look. Expression. Appearance. Facade. Look happy by smiling. Change your expression to a smiling one. Appear happy. Put on a facade of happiness. 

That sounded so familiar. It was what mom had told me years ago when I was only a little girl. Mom had told me that as soon as I leave the house, I had to smile like I meant it. And I live by that. No, I do not think that I am being fake. I would like to think that by putting a smile on my face even if I did not feel like smiling or feel happy, I would come to believe that I really was merry. It is only proper not to let the whole world know the problems I may be facing. It is only right to keep my sadness to myself. And it would be rude, to go around with an angry expression on my face that would just destroy the day of the people I interact with. Keep that smile on your face. Keep your problems to yourself. Keep your poise. 

But I wondered, is it possible to smile and really mean it? Is is possible to smile because you are happy? My friend, Jhamz, told me about a week ago that she had changed her perspective in life. I was laughing so bad because that seemed so deep. She calls her new perspective in life, 'Being Happy.' I told her that I would try to do that. But at the back of my head I was like, 'This is so stupid!' Yet after what Ada said, I thought to myself, 'Heck, Anna! Enough is enough! It is time to be happy. Really happy.' I noticed people think that you have to get to some stage in life in which you can smile and be happy. You gotta have a boyfriend , a Mac, a thin body, a new phone, a lot of money and on and on and on.But no, you never get to a point where smiling and happiness comes naturally. It is a conscious decision. It really is a change of perspective. It means knowing the hardships you are going through, yet choosing to overcome them by finding the good in the situation. Maybe that's what Ada meant. Maybe that's what mom had been trying to tell me since I was a little girl. 

Now smiling for me means so much more than just attempting to hide painful things or putting on a facade of happiness. It means a change of perspective and a new way of thinking. It means choosing to see the good in a person you just really want to kill at the moment. It means not freaking out when you find out that you've got five majors this semester and have to get a grade higher than 2.5 (85). It means not panicking when you realize that you have tons of speeches to write, edit and memorize. It means being patient with relationships and not rushing them. It means not getting annoyed when plans do not turn out the way you want them to. It means being respectful to people who may not even deserve your respect. It means looking for a solution or maybe an answer instead of sulking about the difficulty. It means being thankful. It means being grateful. It means having hope. It means clinging on to faith

I think you should smile more! =) 

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