Behind The Smile

24 Apr

Last week I had a routine exam with my radiation oncologist.  Unlike my other doctor appointments I see him at the hospital instead of an office or clinic. These appointments are especially emotional because I am back in the hospital in the same area/waiting room where I waited every day for seven weeks to get zapped with radiation for a half an hour. Looking around the lobby you see the same thing. All kinds of people, different colors and ages, with different types of cancer waiting their turn. Usually they are there with a caregiver, some are there alone. I couldn’t help but feel for them, especially the really young and the really old. Radiation is no walk in the park. It’s difficult and painful and near the end, it takes all your strength away. I tried to make eye contact and smile at everyone, but there was so much sadness and fear. I sat there very thankful that I was there for a routine check up and nothing else, but the crowded room always takes my breath away.

I also got the chance to meet with a couple girlfriends of mine over lunch (two different friends, two different meetings). They are very similar in current ‘life’ situations. Both excelling in their careers, both young(ish), and both single moms. If you saw either one of them they would be the ones that look put together, always social, always smiling and accomodating. What makes them miles different is their stories up to this point and what’s behind the smile. One has had outstanding family support and love throughout and one has not. One is confident in who she is and believes she can move forward confidently and one questions if her decisions have been right, she even has difficulty forgiving herself despite the support of her friends. We are so molded by our histories, they affect how we look at life and ourselves. When you talk to people and question how they are why they are, first ask them where they came from.

What’s behind a smile? In the waiting room, I was smiling, but inside I was sad for those around me and overcome with emotion at how far I’d come. Behind one friend’s smile was hope and excitement for the future, my other friend had uncertainty and sadness behind her smile. Yesterday we got the news that a 14 year old relative passed away. He had many friends and did well in school but no one knew what was behind that smile. Love people, listen to their stories, love your kids and tell them often. We all need validation and care.

Today I wear Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick on Prayer. This lipstick is a mauvey-brown color which pretty much any skintone can wear…very neutral. This particular formula from Kat Von D is rich in color and fairly moisturizing; it also lasts a very long time! I chose this color today mainly because if the name (although I do have this one in my bag for everyday). I lift up in prayer all those who are hurting behind their smiles.

10 Responses to “Behind The Smile”

  1. snadra tyler April 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    I had a difficult day today, and i’m just not the type able to smile when I don’t feel like it. Maybe I should practice wearing a smile even then. Maybe i would feel better.

    • Anna April 25, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      Sorry you had a bad day, sometimes even a smile won’t help. You definitely shouldn’t fake it, but sometimes if you can smile at someone their smile back is able to widen yours.

  2. michelle April 25, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    This post made me smile Anna…usually when someone is smiling to much you know they are in trouble. My boyfriend lost his 23 year old nephew a few weeks ago and most people were “shocked” because they thought he was doing great. Thank you for that reminder that sometimes a friend or a loved one needs you to just love them and listen.

    • Anna April 25, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      Glad it made you smile! Sorry to hear about your boyfriends nephew.

  3. Kat April 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    This post really hit home for me, Anna. I so often hide pain behind my smile and I know how easy it is to assume someone is fine when they really need a hand. Thank you for a beautiful post. XOXO

    • Anna April 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks Kat, I am that way too so I know there’s typically always more to a smile!

  4. Joyce April 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Sometimes a smile means more than just a smile, but it’s best not to over analyze.

    Catch My Words

    • Anna April 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      You’re right Joyce, sometimes a smile is just a smile!

  5. Kelly Louise (@GenePoolDiva) April 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I don’t feel alert and vibrant until I get out there and grin at people. Smiling, especially when you don’t feel like it, is so important. I’ve watched my parents during their various stints in hospital and they always have a warm smile for everyone. They’d like you, I know I do.

    • Anna April 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      Me too me too! I enjoy smiling and the world needs more warm smiles! I’m pretty sure I would like your parents and I like you too! Your blogs always make me smile if not bust out laughing!

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