Mystery of a Smile

Cassandra - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on October 14, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

What I believe in, is all around us. Every single person possesses it and it’s the most influential thing that anyone can use. What I believe in is a simple yet sincere smile. It doesn’t have to extend from jaw to jaw; just a slight perk of the corners of the lips will suffice.

Ever since I was little and entered kindergarten my parents would always tell me “remember to smile”. This was a repeated saying throughout all my life. Every day the words kept coming and it felt like they were being pushed on me, like I didn’t have a choice but to show my teeth. I always smiled at everyone I saw, whether it was walking through the school hallway or just around town. The smile appeared just to listen to my parents, and sometimes I caught the eye of a cute boy. Towards the end of my high school career, smiling wasn’t only to show charity or joy, it could be a symbol of pride and imitation.

I remember a day during the school year when my friends and I were talking and laughing. The smiles I saw were full of joy and laughter. The smiles I saw were so bright I couldn’t help but catch the attitude and place a smile on my face. Unfortunately that conversation ended quickly when one of my friends made a rude comment about another friend of mine. I knew that there was a difference between sarcasm and the meaning of what they said. As I glanced around the circle I saw smiles that made me uncomfortable. Though they were the same shape as any other smile, they didn’t shine as a bright. The environment had turned negative from a simple variation in a smile.

At that moment I understood the phrase in a way, had shaped who I was; it shaped others and their character. I found through that experience that I wanted friends who smiled because it was natural, not necessary. I could not believe that I had been so oblivious to this fact. I knew that a smile was contagious like the black plague. It was nearly impossible not to smile when I saw a smile. It always made me question what the good news was, but now, now I didn’t know if it was always good. I couldn’t question the happiness of others could I? At that moment I had a short and sweet epiphany, if a smile was contagious it could change one’s attitude even transform a deceiving one into a strong, uplifting smile.

“Remember to smile”. It was a simple and easy phrase that my parents had drilled into my head. After 18 years of growth I have come to know a part of the meaning of the unique phrase that can uplift, transform negativity into a positive glow, and even make me have a better day. A smile is a powerful component of life that will always, in a sense, remain a mystery.