When I was a little girl, I distinctly remember people telling me to smile more. I don’t think I was a particularly grumpy child, but sometimes, I guess, I just didn’t look like I was having a great time.
Later, in my mid-teens, I went through a depressing and hard time. I don’t remember if I smiled much then, but I know that after I “cheered up,” I made the effort to smile. I thought maybe people liked you better if you did.
Last year, my department gave me an award for smiling. It read: “for always having a smile on your face no matter what you are doing.” I didn’t understand it. Since coming to university, I barely remembered smiling or making the effort to smile.
Needless to say though, last year — my first year of university — was an absolutely transforming time. I changed in ways I never though possible. I began healing for issues I didn’t even know required help.
I learned to use my ‘real voice’ when I act. I never even knew I had a “storybook-not-really-Elizabeth” actor’s voice.
I discovered impulses. And I tried very hard, over many tears and several revelations, to go with my impulses when acting.
I found the odd yet beautiful art of failing boldly. And slowly, I began to try to fall flat on my face and pick back up again.
Looking back, I wonder if it was from these strange yet lovely lessons that I learned to truly smile.
Because yesterday, I noticed that I was laughing for real. It wasn’t fake or forced like so many other occasions in my life have been. It was natural, brilliant, loud, free.
And sometimes I smile randomly. Things make me smile. People make me smile. I don’t even think or try. It just happens.
And my voice sounds and feels so calm. Not held back, but open, clear.
The commotion, somehow, created peace. The mess became beauty. And sorrow is fast turning into joy.
There are still hard things in this life. There always will be. Life can still be a daily struggle we try so hard not to fight. But, I have learned that there is hope beyond the shadow and life beyond the grave.
I have discovered the sound of laughter — and it is the most beautiful sound in the world.
He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.