Just Frances

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Secret smiles

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: widowhood, pretty things, happy, giggles, confession

There is something to be said about a smile. People who smile are more approachable. They seem friendlier. They seem carefree. They seem happier.

For me, I’ve found that I smile when I’m happy. And when I’m happy I have a spring in my step. And when I have a spring in my step it makes everything brighter. And I’ve found that when I’m stressed or sad, I don’t smile. But I’ve also found that if I fake a smile, I can turn a not-so-happy day into a better one (sometimes).

There was a time when I was that happy person who smiled all the time—and rarely was I faking it. Oh yes, I was that overly chirpy person who always saw the good in everything and everyone. People would comment about how bright and cheery and happy I was. (Oh, and I hummed. A lot. In public. And I didn’t care. And I skipped at times, too.)

But widowhood stole that part of my world away. No, really. Since Paul died I’ve lost that naturally occurring joy. For more than two years now, I’ve struggled to be happy and cheery. I mean, it’s not like I’m never happy and cheery, it’s just that I’m not that person all the time like I once was.

Of course, I’ve been trying to re-claim that person for quite a while now. In fact, my 2010 resolution was ‘Finding Joy’—which helped me to see a glimpse of Old Frances. And that glimpse reminded me that I need to get back to that person all together.

For the longest time, I’ve struggled to find my smile. But now that I’m back in Scotland, plunging head-first into my future and my dreams, it’s time to put the search for my smile at the top of my list because I don’t want to be the girl who always hears “Cheer up, love” from strangers as she walks down the road. No, I want to be the one who always hears “You have a lovely smile” from strangers as she walks down the road.

But how do I do that? Well, I guess that I need to fake it. I need to plaster a fake smile on my face and walk out the door with fake confidence.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week. I’ve been reminding myself to smile when I’m walking down the street or when I’m waiting for the bus. I’m even smiling when I’m cooking dinner or sitting on the couch. Now, I don’t know if I’m in a better mood because of these forced smiles, but I do know that I have been feeling a bit peppy. (Maybe that’s the excitement of a new flat?)

Of course, this means that I’m walking down the street with a smile plastered on my face. Everywhere I go I’m aware that I have an ever-so-slight smile. A Mona Lisa-like half smile—you know, the sort of smile that you can see but you don’t know why it’s there. No one knows why it’s there because it’s a secret. And it’s a secret because I daren’t let anyone know it’s fake. (Well, other than you, obviously.)

And as I walk around with my smile, secretly knowing that it’s a smile for no other reason than to smile, I’m finding that I have a little spring in my step. And I’ve even caught myself humming as I walk down the street or singing along to the music in the shops. And it’s making me happy. It’s making me smile without thinking about it—without forcing it.

So I guess that the secret to being a happy, smiley person is to just smile. It’s that simple. Just smile. (And if you’re faking it, that can be a secret!)

Comments

I like the way you think! PS I’ve had a fake smile for years(mostly my secret) :)...that one was real!

Luv your smile lady~

by Ramona at 9:44am (GMT) on October 27th, 2011

I love your smile, too. And did you know that when I see your name on FB or my blog or my email, I smile a real smile? No faking needed!! x

by Just Frances at 2:42pm (GMT) on October 27th, 2011

I’m trying to work on the same thing. It’s hard though because it seems like every time I get happy, something happens to slam me right back down to the ground. Almost like I’m being punished somehow for being happy. And that’s when it feels the worst though doesn’t it? It’s a horrible feeling.

Ramona seemed to bloom overnight. She once was a grumpy girl who beat me up and ignored me for reasons unknown, but she transformed into this wonderfully nice happy person who always made you feel better.

Hope you both find some joy!

by Sharon B at 4:35pm (GMT) on October 27th, 2011

I am so sorry you’ve been struggling, Sharon! But I don’t think you’re being punished for being happy. And I know that one day you’ll find a great deal of joy—because you deserve it! You are too kind and wonderful NOT to have happy things.

As for Ramona, I guess I missed the grumpy girl part. Or maybe that was because I knew her and her family from The Cottage so I just knew her ‘differently’ than you? (But she IS a wonderfully nice happy person who always makes me feel better!)

by Just Frances at 6:44pm (GMT) on October 27th, 2011

You should smile just knowing that you make so many others smile too! (See… I’m doing it right now!)

by Helen at 8:17pm (GMT) on October 27th, 2011

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