I have become a television stereotype.
You know that geeky girl, hunched over and hiding behind books and glasses? That one that smiles but you don’t notice because you aren’t looking. I’m pretty sure I’ve become her. Either that, or the little girls I volunteer with watch too much telly. They asked me if I could see without my glasses and I shook my head.
“No, sorry — I can’t see very well at all.” The girls, who sometimes act more like the young women they are growing into, looked at me sympathetically and curiously. I took my glasses off and smiled at their fuzzy faces. I was close enough to see their expressions change. Two girls retreated into their own minds, wondering what it meant to be partially sighted. The third girl gasped and exclaimed, staring at me adoringly:
“You look so pretty!”
Yes, I’ve become that geeky girl on telly, transformed by the removal of her sight aids.
I smiled at my little friend. This particular girl so rarely shares her feelings and thoughts, especially when they are positive. When she relaxed enough to be surprised and, moreover, share that surprise with me, so did I.
“Thank you,” I said to her, smiling warmly. “That’s a very nice thing to say.”
It’s been on my mind ever since. The remaining hour I spent with the girls was the best one I ever had with them. We connected, we laughed. The girls seemed relaxed and engaged. I caught more than one complimenting each other. And in my heart I thanked all the people in their lives who made that hour possible. That’s a lot of people having a lot of good days.
I know it is difficult to do, but it’s something I’ve been practicing for years. As a server at a special events catering company, I smiled as if my career depended on it because it really did. I was surrounded by stressed people who were desperate to have a good time (who were often spending a lot of money to have a good time). Well, they could afford my smile. I enjoyed putting myself aside, putting on my tuxedo (yes tuxedo) and being the friendly, calm, constant one.
The world needs more people to be friendly, calm and constant.
I know it isn’t always possible and we should definitely not hide our emotions away, but isn’t it a wonderful thing when peace happens?
I’m developing that very important skill of enjoying it while it lasts.