Yesterday I was reminded of a silly game that my Mom and I used to play in busy, public places while we were waiting for my Dad. We spent a lot of time waiting for my Dad (he likes to talk a lot) so this game kind of evolved as we played and as we got more into it. My Mom and I became chronic people watchers out of sheer boredom. This game took people watching to the next level; interaction with the people we were watching. The sole object of the game was to get people passing by to smile at us by smiling at them. We would get one point for every smile, an extra point if someone actually talked to us and a landslide win by me if I got a phone number from a cute guy (that never happened!!)! So, you sit there with a crazy grin on your face, looking a little, or lot, "simple" and let the games begin. Crazy and kind of foolish, I know, (there are crazies out there!) but I enjoyed this game. It was challenging, interesting and had a vulnerable element because eye contact and smiling go together! Babies and kids were the easiest to get points out of. Women and senior citizens being more of a challenge. Men and teenagers being the hardest eggs to crack. I remember talking with my Mom about the people and what we thought was going through their heads as they walked past and saw us smiling at them like they had something on their face or their fly was undone! We would analyze why people wouldn't smile back, never taking it personally if they didn't but just wondering what those people were really like. You can tell a lot about people by how easy they return the gesture or if they even notice two crazy people trying to break into their world with nothing but a smile.
I've heard it a million times about how it takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile but have never been into smiling because of the facial work-out. Smiling is just a wonderful thing to do, especially since I am also a famed "crier". My smiling balances out the crying!! A smile, a smirk, a grin, a simper can say so many different things. Even a half-hearted, slight, turn-up-at-the-corners-of-a-mouth communicates something. As does the frown! If we knew what our face was communicating to people would we be surprised? I imagine having a video camera trained on my face for an hour and wonder what that camera would capture. How often do I crack a smile? Once or twice? How often am I looking displeased? I think probably a lot....that's my 'Mama means business" face'. I have the frown wrinkle to prove it. How much of the time am I just neutral, not communicating anything? If I knew what my face was telling the world I think I would be playing the game more often and would be making that simple gesture of joy and cheerfulness a part of my daily repertoire.
If you've never thought about what your smile is saying, think about it the next time someone is grinning their little heart out at you! Smiling invites people, even strangers, into your life for a moment. The thing that you may never know is what that moment may mean to them.
(Tres important side note: I'm officially hooked. This whole blogging thing is super fun. I'm pretty sure I could write everyday but my house would be even more of a disaster than it is and my children would be eating peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of their lives!! That said, thank you for reading. It is so awesome to know that really special people are reading this blog. Thank you for your comments....feedback is great too!)