When I was younger, people often commented that I always seemed to be happy because I was ever smiling. What they failed to realize, however, was that my upper incisors were protruding and thus I would, more often than not, have my mouth in a fixed smile. Nevertheless, my face did not give any misconceptions. On most days I am filled with unexplainable joy, or I let my mind wander to a distant happy memory that involuntarily makes my lips curl into a smile.
As I gradually stepped into the adult world, I discovered new facial expressions. In this world, my smile fizzled into a frown, which I thought signified wisdom and knowledge. I cringed when embarrassed, trembled when anxious, furrowed my eyebrows when uncertain, and even had a distant look when I first fell in love. As is with the advent of age, I came to discover my true colors. The mask of my face became my ally in guarding my privacy and my true feelings.
No one can see the sad girl who sometimes hides behind the veil of joy and wisdom. Indeed no one can imagine that I have anxieties about my future life or that I am terrified of disappointing my parents. Even more important, no one realizes that I harbor a great hope and trust that all things eventually work out for the good. Luckily, my face affords me this luxury, which I hold dearly.
In spite of this evolution, my mask does not always hold true to its calling. Once during dinner at Collis Café, one of the cooks remarked, “You are always smiling!” I didn’t realize until then how effective my face had been in giving him a glimpse of my personality. In just a little bit over two and a half weeks, a total stranger knows that I am easy-going and for the most part a happy person.
My smile, it turns out, takes precedence over the anxieties and insecurities, which, I am certain, will phase out with time. Despite discovering new masks and even undergoing orthodontic treatment, the smile of my childhood endures on to portray the most important things about me.