This I Believe

Cristine - Franklin Park, Illinois
Entered on May 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Just Smile

“The power of a gun can kill, the power of a fire can burn. The power of a wind can chill, the power of a mind can learn. The power of anger can raise inside until it tears you apart. But the power of a smile, especially yours, can heal a broken heart.” This line by Bone Thus N Harmony emphasizes what I feel everyday. I believe that when all is lost, when hope is shattered, when emptiness resides in one’s heart, the greatest gift of motivation one can give is a smile.

I can say, by experience, that a simple smile can make a difference. Let me explain. Not too long ago around February of 2007, I went through one of the most difficult times of my life: I came out. Yeah, I came out. Not once did I expect that event to turn out the way it did. My mother reacted shockingly horrible. She claimed she was disappointed in me but more than anything, I knew she was ashamed. After that, I would stroll around like a zombie with no emotions, no feelings, just numb. I know this may be a bit graphic, but I was willing to end my life.

I remember the Monday I had returned to school after the dreadful weekend my mom found out I was, well, bisexual. I was walking in the hallway to my ninth period class. I was late due to the slow thoughts of hollow pain and the bitter emptiness in my head. These thoughts, these disturbing ideas, plans of ripping myself from the thorns of agony, relieving myself of the anguish inside with a leap, a pull of the trigger, anything really. All I was concerned about was how I as going to end it all. Nothing could change it. Not even my friends whose concerned faces left me with still nothing to look forward to. But then out of nowhere, this girl, this random girl who didn’t even know me, smiled at me as I passed her in the hallway. Maybe it was out of sympathy because she saw the pathetic look on my face. Or maybe she was just a nice girl. But either way, as I passed this girl who smiled at me for no apparent reason, I felt a deep impact inside of me. I smiled back. Little did this gi rl know that her smile alone revealed to me that maybe the world wasn’t so dark. Her smile had shone light that bled through the rain cloud over my head right down to the pit of my soul. I’m not sure what thoughts were running through her head at the moment but the ones overflowing mine had changed. I saw that smile as a sign convincing me that everything would be all right. Telling me that my mom would accept me for who I am. That I would be able to regain her love that I was so desperate for; gasping for it like a fish out of water.

At the end of that day, I returned home, the place I once dreaded coming back to. I confronted my mother and hugged her with every bit of hope and courage I had left in me. And then it happened: my mom hugged me back. And up to this day, she may not agree 100% with who I am or what I do, but she does accept me and she does love me. Our bond has gotten stronger, my life has gotten clearer, and I’m grateful every morning I wake up just for still being on this world. All this happened because a pleasant stranger smiled at me.

Basically, a smile can represent a lot of emotions. It may symbolize glory, friendship, love, sympathy, and still much more. But no matter what your smile may represent throughout the day, show it big and show it often. You just might change someone’s life. A smile changed mine. Trust me, you’ll feel accomplished deep within your heart, especially when a person smiles back. Then you’ll know that your smile alone could have been the greatest gift of motivation needed to help someone broken see a light, to see hope. . . and to believe.