09 December 2008

Chivalry ain’t Dead! (But my smile has been)

Today someone actually held open the automatic door for me at the safeway. By this I mean that he walked up just before me and triggered the door then stood in the “zone” and held his hand out for me to walk before him. I laughed and said – “That’s a first, I’ve never had someone hold open a door for me without even touching it!” He introduced himself and commented that I had a great smile. It was then that I realized that a smile goes a long way, yet mine has been away for a long time. I had been in a particularly happy mood this morning, for no particular reason and for the first time in quite a while. I also realized it has probably been a long time since I have not been in stress mode and therefore, most likely not smiling, in fact probably grimacing. Unfortunately it took a trauma to put it in perspective for me that all the little things that cause anxiety on a daily basis really just don’t add up to a hill of beans. After returning from the funeral of my 21 month old niece I have been in a bit of a funk to say the least. At these times I shut down and out and push away friends when I need them most. It is a paradox that I am not proud of. But in my introspection I realized that painful events make everything else pale in comparison. They make you count your blessings – of which I have many. It makes you slow down and let the logistics of the tedious days flow by like the creek after a heavy rainfall while you just watch it instead of getting swept with the current or trying to paddle upstream in vain. It was just a few weeks ago and slowly I have been reminding myself to let the little things drift away like eddies downstream. I began to ask myself, What happened to the care-free girl who was always looking for the next adventure; who inspired others to live to the fullest and love themselves; who was most often in a good mood for no particular reason? Perhaps I need to immerse myself and let the waves wash over me to rinse these layers gathered by sleep deprivation; overwhelming responsibility of raising a child on my own; betrayal of friends and family; and a myriad of other stressors and hurts. Or perhaps not to rinse completely, but smooth them into a texture of both character and healing with patches of the old me peeking up from within. I want to laugh again just for the sake of laughing; to explore the world again with an open heart; to love again just for the sake of loving; and mostly to find and love myself again. I want my smile back, not just for a visit but for good. When I smile, doors will open all over the place and my heart will follow!