"Smile"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 02, 2018

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Submitted: July 02, 2018

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“Smile”

I always thought how weird it was that we smile for photos. Why? Even if we are not smiling before the camera is raised. Why does the person behind the camera always tell us “say cheese!” As if this photo can not be shown to anyone if everyone’s face in the photo does not express pure joy

I often think how we aren’t just told to smile within photos.

I remember the first time I was ever told to “smile” during a depressive episode.

When my breath was gagging my throat

When my tears were burning my eyes

When my fist were clenched so tight, my nails, despite how short they were, tore the skin off my palms

How I felt like I was outside of my body and I would never find my way back-

When I was begging for help the only advice I got was “to smile”

As if a slight incline in my mouth will make all of this go away

All of this sadness

All of this anger

All of this anxiety- who knew that all of your problems could be solved by smiling

That if I just turn this “frown upside down” that my emotions will too turn upside down

In that my sadness will all of a sudden mirror into cheerfulness

That this anger will turn into tranquility

That this sickening anxiety will make itself into a cocoon and hatch out to become calmness…

When you are telling me to “smile”

You are telling me to paint my face with a lie

You are telling me to hide what I feel deep inside of me for the sake of the comfort of others you are telling me that my feelings don’t matter that I am nothing but a dress up game that if I just smile and look pretty that it will all be okay but you are a better liar than I am

Smile, smile, smile, as if I am competing for Ms. America my sadness is looked at as an inconvenience

As if I’m not aware

If this is an inconvenience to you how do you think it feels for me? This constant feeling of hopelessness draining down my throat taking over my body imprisoning my mind

This monster that is driving all of my loved ones away

This constant reminder that I am not good enough

This constant worry that everything I do is wrong

This feeling of falling and falling and falling and falling and falling and falling

So far down I cannot tell what is left what is right which way is up I only know down

The feeling of my heart beating faster and faster that I feel like it is going to pop out of my chest and join a drum line beating to the sound of false hope

The sound of relapsing

The sound of promising that I’m getting better, that I’m feeling better, that tomorrow will be better

This feeling of stinging in my eyes as I try to build a dam amongst my water line before this ocean has time to flood this already broken down city

If you tell me to just smile- I will look at you as if we are from two different worlds- because we are

My depression, my anxiety, my mental illness cannot be prevented with smiling

The shape of my mouth will not solve these problems

My rough edges cannot be sanded down with this power tool called grinning

When I am being told to cheer up I feel as if I am a prisoner on death row and my last meal is the act of simpering on a silver platter

Because wearing a mask does not change the face behind it

Because a face lift does not prevent wrinkles forever

Because pretending to be happy does not make me happy

Pretending that everything is ok doesn’t make it okay.

Because “brightening up” won’t make me feel less dim


© Copyright 2018 Rayne Laury. All rights reserved.

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