dariaphoebe: (redhead)
Shedding your problems allows you to lessen the burdens in your life. The thing is, when that burden consists of things you've put in boxes and forgotten, you have to open the boxes to figure out what weight needs to be cast out. Sometimes, opening those boxes is painful. Others, because you've effectively locked things in and tossed the key, it's nearly impossible. And so there you are, pointlessly carrying the weight.

I saw her comment about the origin of her dental problems, and remembered mine. A first grade recess resulted in me leaving the playground with a bloodied hole in the front of my mouth where my upper central incisors had been. What followed, over 26 years, were very few smiles. The plastic lumps shaped mostly like teeth that i ended up with routinely discolored from the metal pins they were anchored to, and broke frequently as well until ten years later. When they finally stopped breaking, the color was no better. But largely I could just not smile and pretty much forget it as long as I was around people who didn't already know.

I sympathized. But it wasn't the trauma of that first grade day that was the burden I'd carried. It was the conception that I was disfigured that I lived with, that was hammered into me for years. Ten years out since I finally got crowns, I'd practically forgotten about it. But in that moment, I considered the anatomy of what had transpired, and realized why things had played out as they did. We'd done the best we could with what we had.

I've had comments of late on my smile. A common one is the frequency with which it's observed. Another, one that shocked me for a moment, was how bright and white it was. But the last, one from my spouse when I ask her to take a picture of my outfit, is how often I manage to look goofy when I am trying intentionally to smile. When trying to smile is never a thing you do, you don't know how to do it. It only happens subconsciously. And so here we were. Finally happy, I am readily able to let that joy be a beacon, but the scars of my life meant it only shone when I wasn't trying.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
The morning had been rough. I found that again and again the simple thing I was trying to do failed, and crashed my computer along with it. It was my own fault: I was testing prerelease software that I'd helped develop. But being unable to make any progress made it agonizing. And then it looked like lunch would be alone, something I wasn't feeling keen on after the repeated instances of frustration.

In the end, though, a friend did join me for lunch. I left the house so I'd be able to meet them on time, still struggling with my problem. The tools to solve it were not all available to me, compounding my frustration. At the same time, I felt like I was not making progress on several other things I needed to get done. We talked a bit about it at lunch: I'm at least improving at realizing when I am feeling overwhelmed even if I can't always deal immediately. No panic attacks ensued.

As the afternoon hit, I moved on to the coffeeshop down the street. I no longer felt like I was being crushed, but without a doubt the situation I needed to continue working on felt like an uphill battle for the moment. As she rung me up for the tea I got, she asked what was wrong, though, and so I was still startled. It certainly wasn't a bad day, even if I'd had moments of struggle. My mind was blown when she shared her cause for concern: I wasn't smiling, and she couldn't remember the last time she saw me without a smile on my face.

With reinforcement of the point from others, (and in spite of the goofy look I often manage instead of a smiling) I realized the truth. Every day, I get to be myself. There is nothing to hide, no disguises, no faking. And I like the person I am. I can only wish, hope, and work for everyone else to similarly enjoy such a luxury.

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dariaphoebe

May 2017

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