This morning when I opened the Five Minute Journal, I was met with the week’s weekly challenge.
Yes, I am challenged to smile at myself in the mirror for ten seconds. I smiled when I read the challenge and took a screen shot. Not a difficult challenge at all, nothing like the weekly challenge from a few week’s back when the Five Minute Journal challenged me to start a conversation with a stranger.
It made me think of a time when I did have to smile in the mirror.
It also made me think of this week’s photo challenge – layers. It made me think of the following conversation from the movie Shrek.
Shrek: For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.
Shrek: Example… uh… ogres are like onions!
[holds up an onion, which Donkey sniffs]
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes… No!
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?
Donkey: Oh, you leave ’em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs…
Shrek: [peels an onion] NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers… You get it? We both have layers.
[Shrek walks off]
Donkey: Oh, you both have LAYERS. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions.
Shrek is right – ogres AND people are like onions, we have layers. Those layers define who we are, define our values, and explain why we do what we do. But, often, most people see the surface, the outer layer, and don’t look further. My wife and I discuss this sometimes and our perspectives differ – I could care less what other people think about how I look. I have long ‘wild’ silvery grey hair, not the norm for my age group. In November, I am going to grow a crazy mustache for the 5th year in a row. It’ll look ridiculous and that’s the point, but more on that later. As I’ve aged and matured, I have learned to revel in being different.
So why did this week’s @5MinuteJournal make me smile?
Almost 30 years ago, it was the summer of 1989 and I was living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was before I became a professional educator. I woke up one morning and my face didn’t work. I didn’t notice it at first. The first sign was when I sipped my coffee, I couldn’t get my lip to seal the edge of one side of the cup to my lip and I dribbled coffee on my shirt. Next, I noticed that my eyes, actually one eye, was dry and I couldn’t blink. I went to the washroom and I looked in the mirror and saw that one side of my face didn’t move when I tried to smile. I don’t recall which side worked and which didn’t, but I was worried, but not worried enough to do anything, like go to a doctor – I was at work and I was busy and ….. (this is why I grow the mustache…) and my boss was visiting my restaurant that morning. When he arrived, he noticed something was amiss and asked, if I was okay. I explained what was happening and what I had noticed.
He asked if I had a stroke, took my store keys, and he sent me to the doctor and ran the restaurant the rest of the day.
I did go to the doctor and after listening to my symptoms and some diagnostic tests the doctor told me I had a condition called Bell’s Palsy. He explained it was temporary, but he couldn’t predict how temporary. He explained that Bell’s Palsy was caused by a virus which pinched the facial nerve on one side of my face. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug and told me to rest. AND he told me to do ‘smile-ups’ in the mirror three times a day.
So, took the drugs, took the rest of the day off and the next day, and I did my ‘smile-up’s – I looked into the mirror and forced a smile and held it for 5 seconds, relaxed and repeated until I had completed 15 smile-ups. I did these three times a day, morning, lunch, dinner, and sometimes a fourth set. Within a week the symptoms abated and eventually the symptoms completely disappeared and my smile came back. I’ve had it ever since.
So, I’ll smile at myself in the mirror this morning and remember there is more to me than what meets the eye. I’ve got a great smile, but there’s more, so much more. You just gotta look.
Today is Sunday and it’s gonna be a great day. I’ll be doing what I do every Sunday during the school year. I’ll be getting ready Monday and the coming week. I’ll try to sneak in a trip to the pool to swim – the outdoor pool is still open and probably will be until mid-October. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one smile to the world, and another smile back at me.
What’s gonna make you smile today?
Today’s post is inspired by this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers. In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo which means LAYERS to you! Layers can reveal, conceal, and make something more complex. They can vary in size, texture, color, or functionality. Each layer can have its own story, meaning, or purpose. They can overlap, blend, or be distinctly separate. A layer doesn’t have to be a part of a single object but can even be a slice of a multifaceted image or scene.
Actually, goofed and read Layers, not Layered. Layers was from 2013 – here is the challenge information for for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered…… This week, share with us a layered image of your own. The topic is wide open, as long as you focus on the interplay of depth, density, and texture (or just choose one of these elements if you’d like). Strata of clouds, a shirt collar peeking through a sweater, a cross-section of an onion: you can keep your interpretation as literal or as figurative as you wish.
I look forward to exploring this topic through your photos!