The Smiling Effect

How can someone stay happy all the time? Physiologically, it’s due to chemicals like dopamine. They get released and you feel great. A single smile can lift your mood, some might say. I too agree with the “smiling effect.”

However, I am moody in many scenarios. In those situations, I find it hard to smile—I can’t smile when people let me down. When someone has messed something up for you and you’re in a position with the power to either forgive that person or not because of the gravity of the situation, you won’t find yourself smiling. 

Okay, you might be wondering why I’m explaining where your negativity comes from. But sometimes, you’ll have to lower your expectations in people in order to be happy. Once I asked a friend of mine about why he felt depressed, he told me it was because the people around him were all letting him down. 

When he said that, he wasn’t smiling. His expectations in others were too high to achieve. If anything went wrong, he felt let down. Oftentimes he was in the shoes of either forgiving someone or not. That someone would apologize to him because of the stiffness of his face—that he wasn’t smiling. 

However heavy the gravity of the messy-situation, the position to choose either going against our own impulses to forgive or indulging them by attacking that someone can be even heavier. With all that weight on his shoulders, my friend couldn’t smile. So we need to lower our expectations in people to feel happy, it’s not the end of the world. Say if your friend has forgotten to return your text messages and you feel undeserving for it, you should lower your expectations, smile and think that he/she might just be in the middle of something—and in most cases, that is the reason why they’re not replying. No one is failing you because they want to, and they’re not really failing you, because in my opinion, standards that are too high can bring nothing but frustration. 

So, how can we feel happy and deserving? When lowering your expectations for happiness seems to be too much to ask, start by giving your friend a smile.

Photo credit: sites.psu.edu

Time

I have Depression. I can’t control it – I don’t know when it comes and makes me depressed. My depression started a couple of years ago, and I’ve noticed a pattern for when it comes. Every two months it suddenly hits me. Sometimes it comes out of the blue, or sometimes something triggers my feelings and it happens. The trigger can be really simple, but it can be a big deal to me.

sun glare
Photo Credit: Evelyn Brokering

When I am depressed I feel really lonely and nothing seems interesting, it is very painful. To forget the pain I make myself busy by participating in activities and doing projects on my own. When I am not depressed I am very happy, I laugh at stupid jokes, hum along to my favorite songs, and blast music in my room and dance with friends. I forget how I felt when I was depressed, and I have a great time.

I think the only solution to solving my depression is time. I need time to process things. I hope that time will actually solve it, and until then I will keep myself busy.

Not to be Taken Lightly

credit to ebay for the photo
Photo Credit to: http://www.Ebay.com

Isn’t it weird how you can think yourself into a bad mood? You can spend all day talking about happy things, and putting off a “put together” front. But in reality, the way that you talk to yourself when you’re all alone is what counts.

People are on medication to get out of the very real and dark place that depression is. And on websites like Tumblrevery other post seems to be about how depression is cool and interesting. I think that as a society we should focus more of our attention on things that grow us as humans. Depression is a very real thing, not a trend.

As someone who has had the fortune of never being in that dark of a place, I sympathize with people who are, or have been. I think that these days depression is a trend. Why is that? Why are teenagers trying to act in a way that a lot of adults spend years trying to fix?

Somber

The meaning of life.

Is death.

Face it, that’s the cold, hard truth. We’re born, we live, we die.

Meaning there is no meaning of life.

But hey, that’s just my take on it. Not everyone has such somber minds.

“Just think preciously of every moment or time.”

42.”

“Live life with no regrets.”

“To eat.”

“I think it’s a science. We are born and we die. The best we can do is be happy everyday and enjoy it.”

The answers will always be different, as people will be different, as situations will be different and as life will be different. The meaning of life is whatever you make of life, whether it’s to watch a thousand movies until you understand the “42” reference, or if you decide to just pursue happiness.

In the end though, death still overcomes all.

But hey, why spoil everyone’s fun?

Shadow

It’s a snake. She’s black too, but the kind of black the night sky is. She’s dark. She’s vivid. She’s powerful.

She’s real. She can never leave you, and sometimes, you want her to leave you. She can be your strength, and she can be your weakness.

She speaks your mind when you lose it, she’s there when your sibling’s a bother, she’s there when you don’t understand something.

She fights. She will fight hard, and when you think she’s done fighting, she will fight even more.

Her enemy is Conscience. Conscience makes her mad, and Conscience makes her strong. She fights Conscience with all she has.

The longer she fights, the less control she possesses. She looses herself in an effort to protect, she grows stronger and out of control.

Fangs, venom, whipping tail, flared hood, she fights Conscience and eventually she fights you. Your body turns from heavy to angry.

She is Anger. Anger must be held back. She must be held back. Nothing can hold back Anger.

She rises, hissing, spitting, glowing, menacing, fighting Conscience and fighting you. She’ll fight you and everyone and everything around you.

DESTROY

Her Anger will infect you.

ATTACK

You will be a danger to be around.

KILL

You can’t fight fire with fire. You must drown it with water.

Imagine never finding water.

Conscience

It’s a butterfly. It’s black, all black, with misty, soft, glowy, fuzzy edges, like the edges of a shadow.

You can’t really hear it, it’s there. You begin to let your guard down, it’s there. You let your mind wander, it’s there.

It speaks to you. Stop trying, it says, you don’t need to be with others. Just go, it says, just go alone, sit alone, eat alone.

So you go alone. You sit alone, You eat alone. Then you leave alone.

It flies next to you. You don’t need to look up, it’s just there. It grows. It always grows. It lands on your shoulder, your head, your chest. It’s heavy, too heavy. Don’t fall, you tell yourself, don’t fall. Just fall, it replies, just fall.

It’s a heavy load, it is. In class it keeps your head down. In walking it keeps your shoulders hunched. In sleep it keeps your body curled.

The others, they try to keep it away. They fight, claws, fangs, hooves, venom, they fight hard. It keeps coming back. It keeps speaking.

You’re not good at this, it says, you’re not good at that. You’re good at being bad, it says, that’s a better way to think about it.

It still grows, it’s still there. It covers you with it’s wings, it pushes you down. You can get back up but it pushes you down harder. Stay down, just stay down, it says, stay down, stay low, then you can’t get any lower.

You can still get lower, but man, it doesn’t know that.

Afghanistan Women Cry in Fire

To burn is the only form of expression allowed to Afghanistan women.

Having been Married and suffered at young age, they fail to find an escape.

Gulbar, for example, was rushed into a local hospital in Northern Afghanistan with horrid burn on her nearly deformed body and face. Her internal body scans and blind eye narrate the story themselves: she had been brutally abused by her husband.

In another case, after an argument, Salehah’s husband poured gasoline over her tied up body and set it on fire.

Zarghona was also burned by her father-in-law for not washing her husband’s clothes thoroughly. She was fifteen.

However, these three are not the only victims. So far, about 800 cases have been “officially” recorded for the abuse cases.

The unfortunate social, mental, and physical suppression continue to bring greater depression and slavery for these women.

So, they burn themselves in fire.

If they get to survive with a slim chance, they cry muted again.