I notice smiles. It is just a thing I do. I’ve done it all my life. But bigger and better smiles became easier for me to show ever since I was in my last years of being a teenager when I had my first “real” job with benefits and went into a dentist and got my very less than desirable teeth fixed. That was a big thing for me, having a showable smile. The opposite of having a smile is just having a hole under your nose that you cover with your hand whenever you laugh, or talk, or breathe. I apologize to anyone in my past I that may have talked to when I had such bad teeth. I am now sure my breath was way more than offensive. I probably could have been arrested for air pollution. But I’m all smiles now, so let’s trip along this trail..
Smiling is like opening the door to yourself. But I’m here to tell you that after a titch more than a few years of noticing smiles? While for the most part a smile is a warm and welcoming open door, there are some of those doors that you never want to see opened all the way. For example… Cruella Deville. The ferocious woman that tried and tried to steal away with the 101 Dalmatian puppies to make a coat from their coats. There’s a smile that will send a shiver down your spine. All teeth and a bit of a smirk. When Cruella smiled her huge red lips would crank up on one side and then the smile starts to slide and soon she was smiling from the other side of her face. Creepy.
On the other hand when Glenda the Good Witch floated down in her bubble she had a smile so warm and inviting that it could melt a pint of double fudge ice cream at the North Pole-in January! A demure mouth that let out just the right amount of toothy-ness. A smile that says, “There’s no place like home,” and you believe it.
I bet you half expected me to talk about actual people and actual smiles. That wouldn’t be very kind now would it? However you can probably relate someone you know to each of the two imaginary characters I used as examples. I certainly know I can.
Your smile, and mine are a miraculous accumulation of genetics from years and centuries and much longer of “meet and greet” introductions—and all that happens after that. Wink, wink. Along with the occasional cosmetic adjustments delivered by dentists and orthodontists! Have you got an even smile? Does your upper lip disappear when you smile? Have you lucked out with a smile that makes your whole face brighten up? If you look at old pictures of your family can you see your smile on someone else’s face? You know what I think is the coolest thing about a smile? It’s not just that it takes a lot less effort and less muscle to smile than it does to frown. (I read that somewhere and I believe it but to be clear, I have no science to back that statement up!) It’s also not that with just a smile your persona announces that you are open to becoming a friend to a friend. The coolest thing about a smile is that it usually follows after something really great has happened.
A smile comes after a joke. A smile has everything to do with love and caring. A smile comes after the baby lets off a little gas and then giggles. FYI my family has come to say that when a baby toots, the baby is “fluffing.” But that is another trail to go down later.
How do you know if you can trust a smile? You can’t see into people to see if the smile is true or false. There are no green light, red light buzzers to alert you to go or stop. So this is where you get to listen to that little voice that protects you. Or go with the feeling deep down in your gut that will tell you yea or nay. Are you looking into the face of Cruella or Glenda?
To be sure, I have seen both sides of smiles, like I presume most of us have. The best thing to do is; 1) always remember the good smiles that you cross paths with and 2) be sure to learn a life lesson from those deceitful smiles that have fallen off the truck of human kindness.
You never have to stand in front of a mirror to practice a smile. No, you just let it happen. You listen, live, love and even when someone around you is “fluffing?” Just smile wider!
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS is on Kindle. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org