On Smile Lines and Life Lines.
It’s a Tuesday night — our standard night for groceries. I’m in the midst of a step challenge and in the beginning stages of wanting to move my body a little bit more. So before we travel for groceries, we stop by a trail in the River Valley. It’s Dave’s first walk in the River Valley, which shocks me because he’s lived here for a year and a half now, and we live so close to nature now.
We snap a couple of pictures together — they’re forced, because I want to commemorate the moment. I pull the phone back after extending my arm for a selfie and review the photos we took. I zoom in on the right side of my cheek to see it - the stretching of my face. I genuinely wonder if I’m getting my childhood dream of getting a dimple. Adult onset dimples? Are those a thing?
But it’s not - it’s just the beginning wrinkle of a smile line. I’m 25. Why do I already have smile lines? Maybe I should’ve been taking off my makeup in the evenings…
And then I think about the timeline of my life I started that day in counselling. I take a sheet of paper and a Crayola marker. I am supposed to chart every significant event in my life. When it was a positive significant event, I move the line of the timeline up. When it was a negative significant event, I move the line of the timeline down.
At the time, we were just beginning this practice of writing down a life story. Already then, the timeline often curved down or stayed neutral. It was showing itself to be cyclical — moving through up and down cycles. If we’re counting, the long bend is downwards.
I think about how often there were reasons for my face to fall in this similar downturn.
With this timeline in mind, I think about developing smile-lines at the age of 25. Because maybe the timeline of your life does not determine whether you have smile-lines. This is a small comfort to someone who has always wanted her face and eyes to be crinkled with joy.
And it feels like a small act of resistance and defiance — choosing the upwards lines of joy in a life that kept trying to give me downward lines.