“Smile to Someone You Don’t Know…it May Make Their Day”
Socially awkward does not even begin to appropriately describe me. As a junior high student I developed severe cystic acne. I was subjected to whispers and stares from my classmates. If I went in public people would always look at me in pity. Often times, they would ask me “what’s wrong with your face?” or “do you have a disease?” Small children would ask me if it hurt. Because of this, I would walk around with my head down, afraid to look people in the eye. I found myself isolated and depressed. My family are hard working members of the blue collar class. We live every day pay check to pay check. I only have state insurance, so it took several months for me to see a dermatologist. By this time, my face had already developed large cysts and began to scar.
As I sat nervously in the dermatologist’s office awaiting our first visit, I was greeted with the warmest smile. She told me I was beautiful, and she would do everything she could to give me my confidence back. The words brought tears to my eyes. Not only did my dermatologist’s smile make my day, it changed my future and has inspired me to dream big. Her kindness that day has helped me develop self-esteem.
I will be the first member of my family to attend college. It is my aspiration to become a dermatologist so I can bring help to those just like me. I want to impact as many lives for the better as I possibly can. I also aim to provide assistance to those who cannot afford help as well. I dream of the day that I am able to pay the kindness that changed my life forward to another struggling being. I want to inspire others who are afraid to show their faces to their world.
Life is still a daily struggle, though. In the spring of 2016, my father was hospitalized with a life-threatening illness that required a two month stay in an intensive care unit and another month in an after care facility where he had to relearn daily life activities. I witnessed his struggle and embarrassment, as many healthcare providers and therapists taught him how to hold a fork, and how to speak again. With an encouraging smile, I stood by his side. He later told me it was because of my smile and support that he overcame what, at the time, he thought was the impossible.
During my time of isolation and anguish I developed a love for reading. Currently, I volunteer at our local library. I am able to give back to my community and provide support to those who need it. It is incredibly rewarding to assist a child with a book selection, or help an adult complete an online job application.
In life, you never know the internal struggle someone might be having. I have learned not to judge a book by its cover. I have been blessed to have random acts of kindness from complete strangers make my day. I still often times find myself unsure and without confidence. I remember the first time I looked into my dermatologists’ eyes and her smile gave me hope and inspiration for my future. I hope that my smile brightens someone else’s day. A smile is free. It could also shape an individual’s future. So, in the words of Dr. Parker, “smile to someone you don’t know…it may make their day”. And perhaps, it may make their entire life.