Fun story: When I was a teenager, a woman sat me down and told me I needed to learn how to smile correctly. She said my eyes were too squishy looking and I needed to learn how to smile without squinting so much. I can’t remember if the term ugly was ever used in the conversation, but she definitely insinuated it.
That woman also happened to be a modeling agent who then proceeded to drop me from her roster and say I was unmarketable.
This isn’t a sob story or anything like that. It’s just one of those conversations in life you remember for various reasons, that I can thankfully look back on and see from a new perspective.
I remember walking out of her office feeling (for lack of a better adjective) sad.
But, now when I look back and I retake those steps again in my mind, I’m sad for her.
She clearly didn’t know there’s no such thing as an ugly smile. And I think she hardly did much smiling herself.
In fact, I believe all smiles are beautiful. The bigger, squishier, juicier and more face consuming the better. They’re the best thing you can wear. And whenever I see big ‘ol genuine one it makes me smile on the inside. They’re contagious like that.
I wish I could end this post with that. Maybe I should…
But, fast forward a few decades, and I feel like my eyelids have doubled in volume, and coincidingly there’s just this weird pressure from society to smile without having it consume any other parts of your face. (Which is an impossible feat for me.) Blame photoshop, blame face filters, blame the Kardashians, blame some inner deep-rooted insecurity from a conversation I had with a burned out modeling agent when I was a teenager, blame us as women trying to be ageless and flawless when all we really need to be is embracing how awesome we are. But it’s there.
I had a phase when I tried really hard to just not have my eyes squint in pictures. My husband called all of those pics my “frozen face”. They’re really quite comical. It’s like I’m trying to smile and be a ventriloquist singing Mariah Carey songs at the same time. Thankfully that phase ended.
I see some people doing the same frozen face attempt, or else there’s the smile without showing your teeth (therefore any lines) smile, the duck face, the “Oh I’m surprised kiss” face, or just saying to hell with it and wearing sunglasses that cover your whole face. (Yes I’ve done/do all of those. Guilty as charged.)
Maybe there’s something about the constant sharing, selfies (which make my palms sweat), or just the in your own face-ness nature of stuff, that makes it super easy to turn into your own worst critic/disgruntled and burned out modeling agent who needs to be reminded to embrace the gorgeousness known as the squinty-ness of life.
So here’s a (very important) note to self:
Every smile is beautiful
Every imperfect smile is perfectly beautiful
Every smile with extra squishy eyes and smile lines is super duper beautiful.
Every smile that seems to hug your entire face and changes the whole countenance of your being is oh so crazy beautiful.
Especially when it’s coming from within.
So, find reasons to smile, and smile often. Laugh a lot too, and don’t even think twice about how your face looks when doing both.
In fact, go slap on some bright or bold lipstick and give your teeth some Vitamin D. Your smile is a big ‘ol gorgeous unique fingerprint your wear on your face, that might be the only sunshine someone sees in a day. Who cares about any lines that come out too.
You look beautiful. So much more beautiful than you realize or give yourself credit for.
A real smile is pretty sweet like that.