When I started this blog, I was thinking about self expression as a person expressing him or herself in a creative way. However, we express ourselves in a number of ways, including our facial expressions. I know my face looks different when I am happy or sad, when I am excited or nervous, when I am tired or wide awake.
And here’s the thing. My facial expression can be whatever it is. I can choose if I want to smile or if I want to frown or if I just want to have a neutral look.
During the last two weekends, I had two people tell me “SMILE!” And I really hated it.
The first time was when I was walking to the coffee shop to work, and I was thinking about my projects. A man told me to smile because life isn’t that bad and because God loves me. This man who knows nothing about my choice to smile or not smile or what I was thinking at the time.
The second time was when I posted an updated photo of my hair on a “going gray and loving it” forum on Facebook. My eyes looked really blue, and I really that I could see my emerging gray with my hair pulled back. I didn’t have a cheesy grin. I just had my unfiltered face. When I posted the picture, I was commanded to SMILE! by a group member. Uh, no thanks.
I’m writing this to remind myself that I never have to smile. I am not a little girl sitting in a photo studio trying to look cute for a picture. I do not have to smile when I’m walking down the street, and I do not have to smile for photos. My body and my face belong to me, and I can decide what I want to do with them.
I do like to smile, laugh, and giggle, a lot. On my own terms.
To smile or not to smile, that is the question! (You decide!)
Journal, if you’d like: How do you feel when people tell you to smile? Do you think they are just being concerned about a serious or grumpy or intense look on your face? When people tell you to smile, how does it make you feel? Or: what in your life makes you smile? When’s the last time you smiled? How would you describe your facial expression at this point in time?