Learning How to Smize


Y’all. I’m a hugger. And this not touching people is killing me. I bumped into a lady at the store by accident, because that’s the chaos of my everyday life, and reached out to touch her arm to steady her and see if she was okay, and she looked at me like I had just given her the plague.

I was escaping, quickly, from my less than 6 feet of space. And then, all the thoughts run through my head,” oh my gosh, why did I just do that?! How do I forget about this corona distancing every single day? What if I DID just give her the Rona? Do I feel sick? Have I been coughing?? Oh, geez, I just sneezed! How am I going to find this lady and tell her to self-quarantine for two weeks?! Well, maybe she is anyway since we breathed in the same air space.

Well, then. Do I need to self-quarantine? Did she just give ME the Rona? Dangit! If I’m going to get it, I’d much rather catch it by a hug than by an interaction like that; going down out of mishap and chaos.

Welcome to my mind, people.

There’s a meme out there saying to check on your hugging friends. That they are not okay, and it’s true. I am struggling. I don’t like NOT seeing people’s faces. I don’t like NOT being able to stand and visit without yelling and using hand signals. And I don’t like NOT being able to reach out and touch and hug and hold people. This is rough. Going out in public, straight up, puts me in a bad mood. Staying at home to avoid all the mishaps puts me in an even worse mood.

I need my people! I need to see their sweet, ever-loving facial expressions! I need love and affection and genuine interaction with strangers. I need more than scowls and grumbles and grumpiness and eye-rolling. Because you know, we can all see the eye-rolling. That’s on center stage right now. It makes me consider putting on a little mascara before I head out. Maybe even a little eye shadow. Because everyone is going to see my eyes, brush my teeth? Maybe. Blush? Probably not. Tweeze them stray eyebrow hairs? Only if I want to get my point across effectively! All I’ve got to work with are eyebrows, forehead creases, and smile wrinkles. These aren’t my best assets, ladies. But you gotta work with what God gave ya.

I’ve been practicing smiling more with my eyes. You know, how Tyra Banks had told the girls to do on America’s Next Top Model, she’d have them suspended from a building in lingerie and 6-inch heels, throwing water and flowers in their faces yelling, “Smize, ladies, SMIZE!!!!” This means, smile with your eyes, for those younger generation readers. And it would always crack me up—the idea of trying to smile through all of that. I used to even practice in front of my mirror. Smiling with my eyes. Imagining all the things I would have to overlook and ignore to meet Tyra’s satisfaction.

And, here we are in the middle of a pandemic. And I think that’s pretty much where we are currently. Suspended over an unknown future, sporting the stylish masks that best expresses who we are, Corona stats and city limitations being thrown directly in our face, and figuring out how to Smize. How to smile with our eyes, because that’s all anyone is going to see.

Because smiling with your mouth is pointless right now. Smile through all the chaos and distancing and people who agree with us and the people who don’t and feel like you either jump on the bandwagon or start a bunch of drama when all you want to do is survive the day without crying like you did yesterday because the truth of the matter is we all are struggling right now. No matter what side you’re on. No matter what you believe or stand for or stand against. Suppose you are a hugger or not. We all are struggling through this pandemic the best way we know-how.

And I think we have forgotten that we are a generation who claims not to judge. We were in the middle of a movement to love all different walks of life. To let you be you and me be me. To let kindness be cool. Because that’s what I miss the most. That’s what gets me down more than anything. It is how we are treating each other, how we are tearing down our neighbors. Our sisters. Our fellow Mommas. How we are assuming, we know why others are doing what they are doing and straight-up, giving them a piece of our mind.

And not the sweet piece. We have forgotten how to be gentle. That everyone has a story. We have forgotten to give people the benefit of the doubt, to give people grace. Give people the love that’s supposed to make this world go around.

We can’t reach out and hold each other. We can’t even come in too close. But we can offer our kindness. We can provide patience, even if it’s the last bit we have. We can stop bullying. At the appropriate 6 feet apart, come together and share a little bit of our smize even if we have to practice a few times in the mirror. Because it won’t come easy, it will take time.

Smiling through the chaos takes commitment. Being kind when we want to scream takes self-discipline. I’m not saying this stuff is easy. But why not give it a whirl? What else are we going to do with all this time?

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Hello all! I am a mother of three girls. Gracelyn is 8, Alise is 6, and Sayge went to Heaven at 7 weeks old. (SUIDS, which pretty much means they have no idea why she died) I was a social worker/admissions coordinator at Carillon Nursing Home in my previous life, and had quit to stay home to raise my kiddos after we had our youngest. I’m very active in kickboxing, Karate, and sparring. I know, crazy, but it has been my saving grace in dealing with the loss of our daughter. I have a fb page we had created to give out information for her funeral that turned into Letters to Sayge, and an instagram account Whispersofcourage where I try to infuse hope into the idea of going through life after the loss of a child. I also am a Lubbock coordinator for the West TX Chapter of a group called Hope Mommies that provides local support for mothers and families who has suffered child loss. I grew up on a farm in a small town. Met my husband, Shawn, in college at ACU, who I have been married to for 13 years and counting and is the love of my life. My main goal is simply to make a difference in the lives of others, while living this life to the fullest, and sharing the hope of Christ along the way.