I believe in smiley faces.

Tori - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Crude drawings in black ink with all its certainty sprawl across my endless notes. There is one reoccurring theme; smiley faces. Smiley faces full of happiness and individual personality. These round faces of joy are always there as my ears tolerate droning lectures, during down time and home and even helped in coping with death. But the smiley faces that live on the pages of all my notebooks are also a reflection of my own smile; when I am laughing in class amongst friends or chatting on the phone with an old fried. The miniature doodles grace my pages as a simple reminder to stay positive.

On a typical school night, I found myself doing a usual workload of math homework. Rather than forty five minutes to complete it, I look at the clock and notice I have reached the half hour mark. My distraction was directly attributed to the news of my Grandpa Al’s death. My life was shattered. Battling schoolwork, giving the news to my friends and the fact that we were unable to afford for me to attend the funeral, I was caught up in my own confusion. I stared. Blankly into space. Blankly back down to the scrawl of math problems. I notice the cluster of smiley faces in the corner of the paper that were produced from my own hand subconsciously. But I realized something then. My smiley faces were trying to tell me something: in all the bad, you can always find a speck of greatness. They were a reminder to stay happy. And with this epiphany I was able to carry on each day with a smile upon my face.

From squiggles for eyes to large noses, from adding ears to eliminating freckles, the smiley faces I have doodled have evolved with my own evolution. When I am on the phone with my friends I find myself traveling to my desk with an open notebook centered on it. The pages fill and fill as I talk and talk drawing smiley face, after smiley face…after smiley face. When time finds me, I look through that notebook. I see the phases of my life. It begins with bold faces, loud and confident, some with braces, some with glasses and all smiling. Then I notice a shift. I can immediately tell it is after I moved. They are drawn aggressively, trapped tightly on a page and all smiling. As I reach the most recent point in the notebook I see soft faces. Simple, surrounded by flowers and all smiling.

My smile and ability to stay positive I once attributed directly to those little smiley faces. But I now realize that the smiley faces are merely a signal from my inner self that there is always a good for every bad. Even a smile from a trivial drawing on a page can have a contagious affect. So I use them as a reminder to spread a smile and continue life, remembering optimism.