Smiles to Happiness

Olivia - Wrentham, Massachusetts
Entered on January 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in smiling. As someone who was born with perfectly straight teeth, I tend to smile a lot. When I smile, I feel more confident and beautiful. It really isn’t that hard to, only a slight pull back of the lips, over the teeth and a raise of the cheekbones. It makes me look happy and the best part is, that it makes other people happy. I didn’t used to smile as often as I do now. But as I learned how powerful a single smile could be, I became addicted to doing it.

A number of events led up to my realization that a smile was powerful. My stepsister was killed in a car crash when she was eighteen. After her death the grief that surrounded my family and town was unbearable. I felt completely helpless; I had no idea what to do. But as time went on my family’s heart began to heal. Slowly, as her death got easier to deal with, we remembered her spirit in a happier light.

After her death I did not think that anything horrible could happen to my family again. However, I was wrong. One day we found out that my aunt had committed suicide. The only thought that ran through my mind was why? My aunt left this world and my family in utter despair. Not long after that, my grandfather died. I actually thought my life was never going to get better and as a result I did not smile.

Recently my family found an essay that my stepsister wrote. It was called “ A Unique Smile”. She believed that a smile was contagious and that it could brighten someone’s day. She wrote: “A smile can be passed among a crowd of people in seconds”. After I read her essay, I decided I would smile a little bit more. Not only for my stepsister, but also for the unfortunate people who don’t get to see smiles. Maybe if my aunt saw someone’s smile she wouldn’t have taken her life. Maybe if my parents smiled at each other they wouldn’t have gotten divorced. If only my family smiled at each other, then maybe they would be on speaking terms.

There are a lot of ifs and maybes, but I do know this. I will always keep smiling at people just so it brightens their day. I believe that a smile helps other people, and makes life a little easier to live. Sometimes I smile to protect myself, only because I am afraid that if my smile falters for one second, everyone will see right through me: my broken family, the three deaths that consume my thoughts, and my desire to make people happy. I believe that smiling at others can protect them from the harsh reality of the world. I don’t want people to feel the pain that I’ve seen and felt. That is why I smile.