• Marya Kazmi

That Smile

A woman’s smile can be the source of pure bliss and sensuous mischievousness all at once.

That smile has a presence and wields power. Sometimes women realize that too late.



She didn’t know.

For a long time, her smile was only to put on a mask that covered her loneliness from the world. That smile appeared during the beautiful moments of friendships that warmed her soul while she hid her silent pain and loneliness. It graced her face in the moments of abundance and gratitude she felt when she cradled her children and connected flesh to flesh through nursing. It took a lot to want to smile and when she did it rarely lasted. The pain was always more salient than the joy.


Then one evening she ventured out on a date in the Old Town. Walking on the cobblestone streets in heels she hung onto his arm for balance and security. In the moment of a crisp night and at the close of a rare but beautiful evening out, she was caught off guard. Suddenly a stranger noticed the couple and said to her date from down the street, “Whatever you are doing to make her smile like that, keep doing it.” And she felt him pull her a little closer and glance at her face.


Without realizing it, she had leaned into him for warmth and connection and was smiling so bright it stopped a stranger in his tracks to comment. Not because he told her a witty joke, or opened up about his feelings. The smile came from feeling safe and at ease enough to allow herself to enjoy the moment and just smile. This was a genuine and unfiltered smile, not a mask to cover pain or hide true feelings. She blushed and her date nodded in agreement with the stranger and assured him that he saw the smile too and would do just that.


She lost her power that night.


Over time she watched herself release her grip of control on the smile. He delivered his promise to keep the smile shining on her face . . . for a moment. She trusted and felt safe to allow light and levity to be more present than tears. Most of the time she knew that was real. But there were still moments where the hold on her smile loosened and she would spend nights bewildered in confusion. Those moments did not bring smiles, they were coupled with tears, emptiness and left her lost in her overthinking mind.


When he became the source of her smile, he also became the source of her tears, her heartbreak, her frustration and now he had a power that she could not control. He could bring her joy that felt like the comfort of home and pain that sliced through her skin. His hot and cold, back and forth, and predictable inconsistency started to steal her smile and dim the light inside.


Then one day she began to regain consciousness and see the light of her smile with clear eyes. It was around the second time she felt her legs tremble and the loss of her balance as her back slid down the wall overcome by tears on the familiar floor of shame and worthlessness. The Deja Vous of that moment shook her. How many years had she spent in that same position until she knew she could no more? Yet, here she was again in this triggering place.


She knew she had to take her control back. She had to find her smile amid the tears not as a mask but as a radiant aura that did not dim.


He should make her smile in presence or absence. That smile comes from feeling safe and trusting. The honesty of that smile is from being reminded of an inside joke or shared experience. That smile should be visible in her eyes just by looking at him even when talking about the most mundane or

off-the-wall topics that take her down a rabbit hole. He should make her smile by being consistent, caring, and her source of comfort without having those sought after. He should be the source of ease and place to exhale where she could smile within. He was . . . at times, but it wasn’t a smile she could allow her heart to trust in. At times the smile was an illusion that she hoped would one day be real.


He could have positioned himself to do all the things without being asked to keep her smiling, but he could never be the source. His safety and consistency helped to support the smile, but he was not the ignition, she was and always had been. It took her a moment to know and recognize the smile was her gift to the world and herself.


She didn’t know that she controlled her smile and she could take it back. Until she looked inside herself and saw it. She saw the power of the smile and used it to feed her strength and grow her spiritual wings.


As the fog lifted she saw her smile was in the words to herself reminding her of the power and prowess she possessed. The smile would greet her in the morning when she blasted her radio dancing and getting ready for the day. The smile would be there when she read her mirrors covered in affirmations and quotes reminding her of the journey she has been on and moved through. The smile would be there when she was reminded how different everything in her world felt years ago when she lived another life in a redacted version of herself. The smile was there when she was the purest version of a mother learning and growing with her children. The smile was there when she met strangers on her journey and touched their souls with pure humanity and connection. The smile was her power to move through the world with love to give and receive.


The smile was hers and hers alone. She healed when she knew her ability to be the foundation of the good that she is and can be. In time, her realization helped him to lean in and allow the space for her to exhale and embrace the smile as reality. He showed up as he should and helped support the smile. He made an effort to show her his care as her protector. He lifted her spirits when she felt her world was caving in. He knew how to communicate the good, the bad, and the difficult emotions and thoughts with clarity and grace.


He kept the smile glowing, but no longer was the source. So if they one day parted ways, her smile would stay even when he left.


That smile has the power to be the light and the deviousness to be the seductress, and when she realized she was always the reason it existed, her world and life transformed.








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