I Hate When People Tell Me to Smile

I hate when people tell me to smile, like when any emotion besides happiness needs a beating.

Knock my worth from the back of my head and let them shatter through my teeth.

Play them like piano keys, oh, hap,py,day.

Smiling is a beauty standard, like makeup, ribbons, dresses, small waists, and perfume.

It makes girls pretty.

I can manage a brittle smile before they disintegrate into ashes blown, pouf, into your face.

I can muster a smile before teeth fall rotten out of my mouth. You can pick them up, to put in your smile collection bin.

I can wind them up and let them dance on your desk clickity clackity, clickity clackity, hear the chatter of my teeth.

I hate when people tell me to smile, they don’t want to look at my upside-down face.

I’ve been bearing souls, burdens, and trials through many smiles, the muscles that have been clawing to reach my cheeks, a smile, I must bear.

I hate when people tell me to smile. Don’t ask me to create another comfortable place for you, through my compliance, through my agreeableness.

Don’t make me bleed through the nails of my teeth when I’m just tired, not even sad, but neutral, not feeling anything at all.

I hate when people tell me to smile, that’s just my resting bitch face, it means no harm.

I hate when people tell me to smile.

Sometimes I have stoic moments where I reclaim my energy, to shift myself back to everything I am and everything I can be. I want you to know that even when I’m not smiling. I’m still me.

Thanks for reading,


What does it feel like to write? It feels like sharing your almost darkest secrets. Every time it’s hard being vulnerable, sharing the hidden parts of yourself. Here’s to no longer hiding.

This piece was originally published on Mediums publication. The Assemblage.

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