Why I Smile | Teen Ink

Why I Smile

February 8, 2020
By kayliv BRONZE, Nashotah, Wisconsin
kayliv BRONZE, Nashotah, Wisconsin
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I stared up at the house, clenching the small golden key in my hand as I shut the car door behind me, the bitter winter air sending a chill through my nervous body. Cautiously, and on my tip toes, I walked through the garage and to the door of the house, careful not to leave footprints on the thin layer of snow on the ground. By the time I made it to the door, my heart was racing in my chest as I unlocked the door.

Now I really shouldn’t have been so nervous to enter this house, after all, it was technically my home. But, it was my home that I hadn’t been inside in over 3 years - my dad’s house. When I was 13, I left my dad to live only with my mom after years of living with a person who did nothing but introduce negativity into people’s lives. Back then, I didn’t know how much better life could be without that person in it.

So this new me stepped into my old home in search of some closure and a couple of old Wii games I’d been missing. The house felt cold and foreign, far from the warm and cozy home we all seek. I left my shoes at the door and slowly crept into the kitchen, then the family room, then the rest. No one was there to catch me in the house, but I felt the need to sneak around, knowing that I didn’t belong there anymore - I never really did. 

As I crept up the stairs, I made my way to my old bedroom, still left perfectly intact from how my eight grade self had left it. Hot pink decor covered the room, along with books upon books about dance and horse racing that I used to read in my spare time. Tears began to stream out of my eyes as I was brought back to the countless nights I’d spend in that room, crying and wishing that things could be different.

And they could be. It took all the courage I had in my 13 year old body to stand up to my dad and leave him, but I did it. As soon as I left that house, I grew up into the person that I wanted to be. I was no longer the girl who hid in my room, afraid to talk without fear of getting screamed at. I grew more confident in myself and was proud to express my thoughts and opinions. I began to surround myself with more people who were positive and optimistic, and found myself as the girl I am today - confident, independent, and constantly smiling.

I am not angry or resentful towards my dad for all the pain he caused me when I was young. Everyone that comes into your life has a lesson to teach. It is because of him that I am strong and not afraid to take risks, or to go for what I want. It is because of him that I appreciate positivity and optimism, and why I smile every chance I get. As I write this now, I smile because I am proud of how far I’ve come, and of the happiness I bring to my friends and family with my positivity. And I intend to keep smiling, to bring happiness to myself, to those around me, and eventually someday to bring joy to patients that I will be helping. After being surrounded by negativity for many years of my life, I now recognize the great importance of simply making someone else happy. 

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