Rebecca (beeker121) wrote,

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LJ Idol week 3: Smile

My niece was the first grandchild born on either side of her family. As such, she was the subject of what might have been an overabundance of ‘photo opportunities’. Smile, we’d command her, smiling in the hope that she would mimic us. By the time she was two, Sara had adapted a coping mechanism for photos. If she saw someone with a camera, she would stop what she was doing and eke out a watery, fake smile until her photo was taken. Then she’d resume whatever activity had her engrossed. It became a family game to try to take photos of her un-posed and in her element – smiling or not.

I suppose she’s not alone. In grade school, my brother practiced his smile for hours in front of the mirror before school picture day. There was a small gap between his two front teeth that he didn’t like, and he wanted to be certain no one would be able to see it in his school photo. He succeeded. The tight-lipped smile in his fourth grade picture keeps all of his teeth hidden, but it looks a little plastic all the same.

I wonder how often this happens to us in daily life. The proliferation of digital cameras and camera phones make it possible to capture every single moment of our lives if we choose. It becomes easy to concentrate on what our smile looks like, and to forget the joy of simply smiling.

I know that when I’m laughing or just in a great mood my smile is huge. It takes up more than its fair share of my face and my mouth is a little too open. It looks awful in photos. But why is that even an issue? Why can’t we all just smile with joy and abandon and not care what it looks like?

It’s the sudden, unexpected smiles that are the most fun: the tickle smiles, the punch line smiles, the aced a test, got a compliment, finished a to-do list, I love you smiles. I think we should concentrate more on finding the real smiles in our lives, and worry less about how they’re going to look to everyone else. No one can choose what posterity will think of them, so maybe all we can do is have as much fun as possible and hope that shines through.

@@@This is my entry for week 3 of LJ Idol - the topic is “smile”. I'll post a link to the poll once it is up on Friday. Thank you for reading.@@@

Tags: lj idol, smile
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