just a wink and a smile

In a conversation with a total stranger last week, I was told that I had a pretty smile. That was a nice compliment…one that could make my day. Why the hesitancy to admit utter bliss due to this unexpected accolade, you ask. It is because that sentence concluded with the statement, “I’m sure you can be pretty pretentious with that smile.” Now, I failed to mention that this dialogue was held smack dab in front of my supervisor, Ryan, who has his dual masters in counseling AND social work…therefore, as expected, Ryan’s first question after this man left was LOADED… “what are your thoughts?”

Well, as a person who tends to struggle just walking through the aisles in the department of self-advocacy, much less stand in the check out lane, all I said was, “that was interesting”. However, in my mind, my gut reaction was quite the contrary. It went something like this… “UGGHH, the audacity of such an arrogant [ “jerk” ] to find the entitlement to say whatever he deemed appropriate, notwithstanding any hint of pure human etiquette or decency. To make matters worse…he was smiling right back at me!” But all I said was, “that was interesting”. 

If you just sit back in a good ol’ lazy boy with a stack of magazines, lyrics, poems, paintings, pictures of sculptures or tattoos, books, articles, and yes, even blogs… nearly any form of art from the past decade, you’ll most likely interpretively see the buzz words of our generation such as “authentic”, “real”, “genuine”, “transparent” and the like. These words are painted all over such said expressions in an effort to give peace of mind, a type of serenity amid the uproar of counterfeit idealism, screaming in our faces every day. I found that my “pretentious” smile is sometimes my shallow response to uncertainty. Rather than walking in reality, I shrink back into my world of Harry Connick Jr’s A Wink and a Smile. There’s much more to this life of adventure, risk and conquest than to be the warrior who chooses to sit in the corner chewing bazooka bubble gum and reading domino magazine just because that’s what makes her feel better about life.   I have been challenged… 


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