Sunday, November 23, 2014

Smiling Adds an Indefinite Amount of Attractiveness

I was having one of those "reminiscing" phases earlier tonight, trying to be careful not to drift off course and cross the line into the "regretting and dwelling upon" states.  I was looking through some old pictures, which I enjoy from time to time.  What I noticed above all, that connects with something I've been noticing a lot of in the real-time world lately too, is that a simple smile adds a ton of attractiveness to anybody, regardless of physical traits.  Now, I fancy myself a pretty positive person these days, but I do have to admit one area I still lack confidence in is physical appearance.  But it's a funny thing with that; the whole smiling thing seems to erase some characteristics you or others might see as "flaws" in your appearance.  I noticed it on older pictures of myself, and I've noticed it on some of my friends' pictures on things like Facebook.  I've noticed it in person too, when you see someone smiling.  Even if you don't have the prettiest of smiles, such as myself.

Without trying to come off sounding too philosophical, it's almost like that facial expression is a window into the true essence of the person.  And who wants to see or be mad or sad, right?  A smile brightens a picture, and a smile brightens a mood.  When I was younger (and perhaps am still a bit guilty of to this day), I used to get scolded by the elders in my family for not smiling for pictures.  A large reason was I knew I didn't have a nice smile, with my crooked teeth that weren't anywhere near pristine white.  Somehow I thought faking a grin would be acceptable and look better than me with a smile.  I really didn't like taking photographs.  Honestly I still don't for the most part, I'm just not very photogenic.  But...

Man, I look back now and realize how I cared way too much about what others saw and thought of me, and how I really allowed that to make me way unhappier than I ever had any right to be.  A smile illustrates and expresses positive and good qualities like confidence and just plain happiness in its purest and most unfiltered form.  Have you ever found yourself smiling or laughing so big or hard but you just couldn't help it?  I'm sure you have, and that's good, we need more of that.  Forget everything else, forget money and stress and what anyone else thinks about anything - and just smile.  None of that other stuff is worth anything, but a smile is worth a lot more than you might think.  Another great thing about them is that they're totally contagious.

I have since gotten braces and have learned to smile more, even though my teeth and smile remain subpar.  There's a popular quote floating around, that varies but essentially goes "what other people think of you is none of your business," and sometimes it's elaborated to include "if you start to make that business your business, you will be offended for the rest of your life."  I've seen several variations and authors, but no matter who said it or how it was originally worded, it certainly remains true.  I've learned firsthand that if you make it your business, it will grab you and hold you down, and limit anything you ever do.  This is why a smile is so attractive, because it exudes confidence and says "I don't care what you think, I'm happy."  It also tends to spread the happiness around.  What I think of myself right now though is that it's getting late and I'm rambling, so I'll end here.  Remember to smile, my friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Deja Vu

How do you feel about experiencing deja vu?  The topic recently came up with my roommates. Personally it kinda freaks me out.

It seems to me like I won't have it at all for long stretches of time, and then I'll have it like once every couple weeks for a month or two. Those numbers are probably sheer speculation on my part, but either way they probably don't mean much of anything heh.

It's a bit funny I even pose the question, because I'm not sure I really have a position on it myself other than "it's a bit creepy" haha. My brother really likes it however. Says it makes him think he's on the right path. If anything though, I think it makes me think I'm running in circles. Like I've experienced something so similar before, I'm remembering that as I experience the present. The official definition of deja vu by the way is "the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time." So... even though it feels like you're reliving a past event, it's technically a new experience. Reading the definition does make me think it's more of a positive experience then as opposed to "you're doing the same thing over and over, spinning your wheels". A new outlook for me on deja vu then. Excellent. Onward and forward!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Locals" and Civil War

I believe the first thing I ever got into big time and am still into to this day, is cars.  "Eric's always liked to play with cars," they'd say.  Play with, draw, look at, admire, drive, dream of:  Cars.

So today I was out driving, and happened to be following behind a car that was the same generation and model as mine.  Now being a car guy, I'm the type that gets excited when such an event occurs. So even though the kind of car I have isn't exactly exclusive, they are somewhat rare to see, so my first reaction as usual was something like "yes, a fellow Brother in Car!  I shall follow you to the ends of this road, my friend--or until I need to turn off at least, should that happen to me first anyway.  But as I got closer to him approaching a red light, I noticed a bumper sticker on his car which read "Just cuz you live on the islands, don't make you a local".  I should mention that I am living in Hawaii, but no, I am not in fact a local to these beautiful islands.  I am however a "local" to this Earth and a fellow human being, so when I see things like this, all I can do is shake my head... to its message and its grammar.

The reason I believe there is so much violence and grief in the world, is because we tend to find ways to separate ourselves (meaning humans) into different groups.  Race, nationality, gender - even something like which sports teams we choose to root for.  All ways to divide ourselves into groups.  Some of it I believe is fairly harmless, or all in good fun, such as cheering for different sports teams.  Some of it though is saddening, like this bumper sticker.  What do you think that sticker is trying to achieve?  What point is it trying to get across?  It certainly isn't welcoming, is it?  It invites discomfort, a reminder that you're an "outsider".  For someone like me, however, it just makes me a bit sad that a fellow "Brother in Car" and human shamelessly believes the way he does.  See the thing is, where you are born is not up to you.  Nor are you the owner of the piece of land where you happened to have been born.  I was born in Texas, but that doesn't mean Texas is mine, or that I wish only people born in Texas would live there.  I understand it's a bit different with a place like Hawaii, because the land is much more limited than a place like Texas, and much more highly desired.  But still - that's just another means of dividing ourselves instead of uniting and trying to make the entire Earth a better place for everyone to live.  So long as they're not trying to hurt you or the land you reside in, I believe we should be inviting and welcoming to "outsiders" and get to know people from other places, as well as travel and see other places ourselves to get to know different cultures and ways of living.  I worked with many Pacific Islanders at my last job in Texas, all of them were very nice and interesting people.  There are good people no matter where you go, and there are some you'd rather not deal with.  Surround yourself with the good, and ignore the bad as much as possible, I say.  Like the old Guns N' Roses song indicates, any fighting/violence/war is a civil war.  We're all one people, we're all one race, we're all one group - we're all "locals" here, or anywhere on this planet. We're in this together, my friends... Peace!