Smile

Funny, the people who smile

with their mouths and not their eyes

who smile when facing me

but drop to a scowl when they turn away.

Maybe it would be better

if they just stopped pretending

to be happy to see me, or just happy at all

maybe their smiles would be real

if they learned it was safe to smile

when they meant it

and not just all the time

like how we say “fine”

when asked “how are you”

like it is some glue

that holds this whole stupid fake society together

e pluribus unum

out of many different experiences we somehow

shoehorn all our reactions and interactions

into one great big play

where we act out what it means

to be human

without ever meaning anything real

at all.

Fake it ’till you make it – not.

Maybe it is best if we all stop pretending to be the same. Maybe if we all stop faking that we are “normal” we will all get to actually be who we really are for a change.

The more we all get cosmetic surgery to average out ourselves, the more the oddball doesn’t know he is normal.

Blind in one eye? Wear sunglasses or a patch.

Have one leg shorter than the other? Wear a lift.

Butt too big? Wear compression underwear.

Boobs too small? Wear padding.

When we smooth and stuff and shave and shape our bodies to fit some imagined idea of “normal” we have stopped being normal.

We do the same with our emotional lives. We say we are fine when we aren’t. We pretend to be on an even keel when we are angry, sad, hurt. We fake it so often we don’t know what we really feel anymore.

Who are we trying to appease/impress? Ourselves, or them? What if they are faking it too, for the same reason? It takes too much energy to be fake.

We need to stop faking it so we can start to make it for a change.

When we start being ourselves, we give everyone else permission to be themselves too. We let them know it is OK to take off their masks when we take off our own.

It is scary, at first, for us and for them. But all change and growth is scary at first. Some people might feel threatened by your new-found honesty and freedom. Be yourself anyway.

Who are you?

Why do we feel a need to change ourselves into something else? White women in America go to a tanning bed to get darker. Women in Thailand and India have bleaching creams to get lighter. Brunettes bleach their hair to be blonde. People with gray hair dye it to be darker. We are forever trying to change ourselves so we look different, but the odd part is that there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. There isn’t some “perfect” we are aiming at. It is simply that we are trying to not be ourselves.

We’ve been taught that we aren’t beautiful the way we are. This applies to men as well as women, but it seems like the pressure is harder on women. Whatever you are, it isn’t good enough. This is how the cosmetic industry stays in business.

We are taught that you can’t be happy unless you look like someone you are not. The only problem is then when you get there you still aren’t happy. It is a lie upon a lie upon a lie. It is too much to have to keep up with.

How about this? You are beautiful exactly the way you are. You deserve respect exactly the way you are.

Lopsided smile, crooked grin, one eye wobbling over out of kilter, splotchy skin, sagging boobs, frizzy hair – celebrate it all. Your differences makes you special.

If we prop ourselves up and fill in our crevices and straighten our hair and bleach our skin we are all making ourselves into Barbie dolls. We are all making ourselves into some artificial version of reality.

Do we do this to make ourselves feel better, or to make other people feel better?

I’ve long been very self conscious about my eyes. They don’t line up right. One goes one way and one goes another way. It looks really weird in pictures. Sometimes if I smile just right with my eyes, or turn sideways a bit you can’t tell. As for me, I don’t notice anything differently from my perspective. I’ve always seen the world like this, so this is my normal. But I’m very conscious about how weird this looks to other people. For years I wore my glasses all the time when I was out in public. This tends to cut down on the problem.

The deal is though that I don’t like wearing glasses, especially when I read. So when I eat lunch out at a restaurant and the waiter comes up to ask me if I need anything, before I look up from my book, I’d pop my glasses back on to reply.

I don’t do that anymore. Why am I trying to change myself to make someone else happy?

Sure, there are plenty of times where we do this and it is a good idea. Being clothed in public is a good idea. Bathing so you don’t stink. Not yelling when you talk to people (except in the event of an emergency). These are all sacrifices we need to make in order to live around other people.

But I think that certain things can go. Shaving legs and pits? I’m still working on that one. There is only so far out there I can go and feel comfortable with it.

But not wearing makeup and not dyeing my hair – easy.

I think real beauty comes from within.