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Smile, though your heart is breaking

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2016-10-09


Iím not a smiler. I do smile, but itís not something I concentrate on. But people make a big deal about it, so I decided to smile more for a week.

Iím exhausted. I didnít notice any wild difference or earth-shaking revelations. The only thing that happened was when I smiled at some older gentleman (I tried to smile at everyone) he asked me what date it was.

ďUm Ö itís Wednesday, so itís the 28th. I have class and last Wednesday was the 21st.Ē

ďSo Friday is Halloween.Ē

ďNo, Friday is September 30. Halloween is next month. October 31st.

ďSo,Ē he turns around, ďthey have the Halloween candy out two months ahead of time, and theyíre already selling it for half-price.Ē

ďYup. Thatís why we all have diabetes,Ē I said cheerfully, while walking away from him.

Most women I smiled at smiled back, and some said ďhi.Ē Some men smiled back, but I got the stone face from quite a few men. Probably the same face I give.

Smiles are an America thing. We smile, though our hearts are breaking, we got fired, dumped, cut off in traffic, got our order wrong at the drive-thru, epically-priced car repairs, surprise medical bills and stepped in dog poop. Frankly, Iím tired of it. So many people bullshit their way through life, denying that anything is wrong, because God-forbid we show any emotion other than a huge smile. Going through a divorce? Smile! Got cancer? Smile! Terminal diagnosis? Smile dammit!

I smile when I feel like smiling. And thatís only during certain times. Usually when Iím at Cedar Point. Occasionally, when Iím thinking of something funny. Or when Iíve solved a problem with my writing. Personally, I think itís more honest to smile when I feel like smiling, not when society expects me to be smiling. But of course, society disagrees.

Years ago, there was a Ďzine called Answer Me. It was notorious for how angry it was, but I liked it because I agreed with quite a bit of it. One of the articles written was ďSmiles are Evil.Ē I got a huge kick out of that one. It was nice to know that someone, a fellow American, born here just like me, thought the same way.

Of course, a week is a very short period of time. I may keep up the experiment to see what happens. But I donít know how long I can go on like this. Smiling means thinking about Cedar Point, Millennium Force, the way I feel after getting off Millennium Force, shopping, going on trips. Thatís a lot to remember. I usually spend my day thinking about stuff I should be doing, stuff I need to get done, my lazy garden, my crappy house, my aging cars, my financial condition, feedback on my thesis, wondering if it will be approved, what Iíll do if it isnít, skiing, the holidays, why I spend so much money, and my weight.

And smiling. For the next few weeks, Iím going to smile more. WaitóIím going to try to smile more. Iíll think about my next trip to Cedar Point, and my next skiing trip, and simple things, like snuggling up in bed on my days off and reading. I guess I do have a lot to smile about. Thatís something I need to remember.

Iím not smiling right now. Just thought youíd like to know. Iím tired.

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