The Coexistence of Smiles and Demons?

“Treachery works under a mask, covering in smiles and affability a native semblance which, if openly adopted, would lead to prevention”

“Behind this smile is everything you’ll never understand”

“O, then by day where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough, to mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none conspiracy; Hide it in smiles and affability”

“And some that smile…have in their hearts…millions of mischiefs”
~ Quotes by Shakespeare

There is very little difference (if any) between Shakespearean language and Greek to me. So if reading the above quotes feels like reading an arabic font, fret not. I will try explain. The gist of the quote(s) is that a smile is one of the greatest forms of deception that humanity has ever employed. A murderer wears a smile by day, and kills people by night. We smile all the time but behind our smiles are people who are really hurting. Grab a cuppa, I really need you to latch on to what I say next.

We are living in the 21st Century and the world has never been so fast paced. Everyone is busy making them Benjamins. We want to be the best at what we do. We work for organizations that require this of us. Because of our extremely busy lives, we are not able to stop and breathe. We are left with very little time to pause and regroup, as it were. While we are dying of work, life is also happening to us. Sometimes we are not able to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves–so we feel that we have failed. We interact with other human beings and sometimes they hurt us. We lose our loved ones. Traumatic events happen to us and we are left devastated. We have certain expectations from life that are sometimes not met–so we get disappointed. Do we stop to deal with these issues? No. We continue in the mad spiral of activity that is our lives, all the while smiling.

Then we have “our” demons. Demons. Apparently it’s a word that is used liberally these days. Oh how times have changed. I think demons are our unresolved issues turned into very negative emotions. These demons rear their ugly forms every time we try to make something of our lives. They drag us into the darkest abyss of pain, depression, anger. I wrote a post once that I called I Need A Shrink. It’s more detailed, please check it out. What all these things do is that they inadvertently make our private lives very messy. While we may look like we have it all together to the outside world, we have become subjugated and addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, crime. Some of us have even become suicidal.

Whitney Houston’s death really affected me. I obviously didn’t know her but I listened to her music since I was little. I watched all her movies and I admired her greatly. I told you here how my mum loved Whitney and as such, every time I listened to Whitney I felt a connection to my mum. I followed her drug addiction story closely, and I celebrated when she seemed to be making a come back. How could someone with such a beautiful smile be dealing with so much pain? When I received the news that she was dead, I asked myself many questions. The most important one being “Did she have a friend?”. I wondered why she was alone that night.

I’ve had my fair share of hard times. There were times when I had a support system and there were times when I didn’t. On the times I didn’t have support, I asked for it. I called my friends and I said I needed help. There are times when I closed myself off, hid myself in the cocoon of self pity and shame. I’m glad I have friends who came and smashed it open, “got in my face” and literally told me to get a life. And much as I felt that they had no right to, I’m glad they did it anyway. This is how I’m here to tell the story. I remember one time in particular, I was going through a lot of emotional pain. I asked my friend to take me to the store to get JUST one bottle of wine. JUST ONE. I don’t drink by the way. Why did I want that bottle of wine so much? Because I wanted the pain to go away so bad. I didn’t want to look like I was losing the battle to the issues that I was dealing with. I wanted to save face. I wanted my smile to stay. My friend stood up to me and she said NO. Who knows what would have become of me if I had started on the path of alcohol as a way to deal with my emotional pain? (No offense to anyone who takes alcohol). Who knows what would have happened to me that day if I was in the wrong company? What if my friend offered drugs and assured me the pain would go away?

Guys, it is time to look inwards. Are we being the friends we wish our friends would be to us? Are we judgmental? Because if we are, our friends will be artificial with us. We need to think about that friend of ours that has been going through tumultuous times, have we gone out of our way to be there for them? Don’t tell me you saw her/him and s/he looked okay. That s/he was smiling. A good friend looks past the smile. If something happens to them today will we know without a doubt that we stood by them through thick and thin? That we were their ride or die? Let us stop. Let us regroup. Let us create time to be our brother/sister’s keeper.

Yeah, I just said that!

  1. You say: ‘….While we may look like we have it all together to the outside world, we have become subjugated….’

    You also say: ‘….A good friend looks past the smile…..’

    Couldn’t put any better. I could however add… Worse, when everyone expects you to be their pillar of strength, the one person who never breaks down…. The pressure becomes unbearable, no?

  2. Exactly. Oh boy yes! The pressure becomes too much. That is why I said, “On the times I didn’t have support, I asked for it. I called my friends and I said I needed help.” See my thoughts on what to do if you are the pillar of strength and feel the pressure is too much here:

  3. So many of us have masks, which have become a permanent part of us even some relationships these days are being formed on the basis of these masks, until you can see through a masked face, you cannot call yourself a friend to someone, you are more of an acquaintance… Having a good time mentality always is what seems to be the in thing, but is it real, can it survive?? I don’t really think so…

    • Ditto. People tend to use the terms ‘friend’ & ‘love’ very casually. As years go by, I find myself gravitating towards a few people who’ve glimpsed at my flaws and instead of keeping a safe, friendly distance, embrace me as I am. Somehow they’ll sense when I am in trouble and will reach out the best way they know how…

      The tricky bit I feel, is finding people who you can open up to without fear of being made fun of, judged or worse, made to feel alone ’cause you see & feel things differently…so most people opt for masks as it seems safer that way

    • nikittacole
    • February 23rd, 2012

    Unfortunately, because we haven’t taken the time to deal with our demons, we fail to see past the smile of our friends. We don’t see it as plasti cause we are caught up in our own fake smiling.

    Lyrics to the song The Tracks of my Tears by Smokey Robinson ring true. … so take a good look at my face / you’ll see my smile looks out of place / if you look closer it’s easy to trace / the tracks of my tears …

    I once was so mad at my good friend for something so insignificant. And all the while she was going through hell and needed a support system. I was ashamed of myself.

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