Remember the time I lost my smile for three years

Something just happened tonight to good not to write about.

I’ve been working long, long hours. Out of false humility I won’t say how long but suffice to say there are few nights in recent memory where I remember falling asleep; I’ve kind of just passed out by the time I called it a night. Long hours.

And tonight I found myself lying in bed absolutely, completely miserable. Tired, run down – just bummed. And I was so sad – if that’s the right word – that I just had to get up.

As Tony Robbins says – “Emotion comes from motion”.

Backing up a few days, I was walking along the beach recently and I wanted to snap a selfie to post on social media.

And I smiled and took a photo and upon reviewing it, I just thought I looked like crap. And I tried taking a couple more – and same result.

We all have our own little relationship with our self-esteem. And it’s easy to let age compound this – we often look back and think about times we held the world in our palm. Anyway, it doesn’t help when we look back and think ‘wow, I looked really good back then’. It’s just not healthy, but we all do it.

So it’s in that frame of reference that I haven’t felt great about myself lately. So, fast forward to tonight: I got out of bed and I went to the mirror and started playing with my hair. haha Yes, dear reader – I’m giving you my full transparency tonight.

To put things in context, I recently had pulled out my clippers and in a Britney Spears moment of angst shaved my head. My hair had been fairly long. But it felt good and during the recent soccer World cup I had been told twice that I looked like a soccer player – a compliment I took without qualm.

And I’ve always been one of those guys who is obsessed with his hair. I assume nature will strip me of it one day in old age but as it stands I’ve got a full head of the stuff. (A few grays in my beard, but hey – you gotta own your look, whatever that comes with.)

So, as far as the hair styling tonight, my hair has grown out a bit, and I felt like it was time to try something new. I enjoy evolving my look. Perhaps I’m a bit vain. I’ll plead guilty to that – but is it such a crime to honor and care for the temple of the body?

Anywho, up until now I had been kind of doing a very short sidepart to the front, so I pushed some pomade through my short bangs in one of those styles you either see on little boys or thirty year-old men. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how it looked. So, borrowing a move from a smart girl, I grabbed my phone to snap a pic of it.

Well, I smiled for the photo and it was a repeat of the beach-selfie incident. Mind you, there are very few photos of myself taken in the past few years in which I felt I looked ‘great’ in, if one can admit to such a thing.

So, I tried smiling and taking a few more photos. Same result – I just didn’t think I looked good. So I thought to myself, well maybe I just need to take a photo of my good side, or one where I smile differently. So I took a dozen or so photos trying different things until I found a few that cam out good – much better than I had seen in awhile.  And then something clicked. I realized that in the good photos I had a different smile, a genuine kind of smile – not forced. So I tried to smile in the same manner and it felt almost strange – as if the muscles in that part of my face hadn’t been used in a long time. It felt awkward the point where I just had to stretch my face in a short series of awful contortions just to relax those muscles a bit.

(Yes, I’m sure this is the oddest thing you’ve read in awhile).

Anyway, I looked at the photos and then that’s when it clicked. Dimples. The good photos all showed my dimples. The others were way too exaggerated – as if I had tried smiling with my entire face instead of with my smile. As if I tried to look like I was smiling, instead of actually smiling.

A long time ago (~8 years), a friend of mine had something to me that was perhaps the most flattering compliment a male had ever given me – if it even was a compliment. He said “Bro, you know why our girls like us” pause “Because we got dimples”. And he meant it, good guy.

Anyway, I realized it, that I had lost my smile. Not the ability, or the capacity – I’ve smiled many times in the past few years, but I hadn’t been smiling MY smile. And I couldn’t believe it. I said to myself aloud “remember the time when I lost my smile for three years”. Because I had. Maybe longer. Somewhere along the way, it died, or it lost it’s mojo. And at 29 years of age tonight, I got it back. And then I couldn’t stop smiling. It felt so good. As I write this I can feel a taught soreness in the left side along my cheek – just because I haven’t smiled how I naturally do and the muscles aren’t used to it. And that’s fucked up. But I got it back tonight. I got back something very dear to me. And just loooking in the mirror smiling afterwards, I couldn’t believe how good I looked with that smile.

And this may seem like a private thing to share, or something weird – but I cannot state how important this is to me. We rarely get back the pieces of ourselves that we lose along the way. So, I had to write about it because I NEVER want to lose my smile again. I never want to forget that I got it back. (hopefully this helps someone else – if this sort of thing happens to people).

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