Back when I was in my O levels, a close very good friend cousin of mine joined my school for her A levels. Though we are very different as people, because she is a childhood association and I genuinely love her, we have always been friends before family. So admittedly I was quite taken aback when several weeks into common school ground, she made a comment along the lines of “What are you always smiling about?” I did not understand so I asked her what she meant and she explained saying that whenever she crossed me in school, be it in the hallway or in the playground or waiting for our cars, I would be smiling away. And not a vague smile, a full blown genuine I am so happy kinda grin. She truly wanted to know what it was that I was so happy about.

I don’t remember what I replied – to be honest I hadn’t realized my default face was a smile, but this thought has come to mind many times over the last 20 years when someone or the other has commented about my positive or happy disposition. I still don’t quite know how one is hard wired- what makes someone happier and more prone to smiling even in the midst of distress and what makes another prone to darkness even when bathed in sunlight.

This last year was a darker one for me. Though I am an eventual acceptor, some things just throw you. And sometimes what throws you is not what happens but how you react to others reactions to what is happening. If that sounds illogical, it probably is. There is no sense to feelings but there is a method and truth be told, it has taken me the better part of the year to understand that and let go. And that process costs you. It costs you some sanity and if you’re unlucky it can cost you love and security. I wasn’t that unlucky, thank God. But if there is ever going to be a year I will look back and realize I became slightly more cynical in, slightly less positive, less smiley in, I think it just may be 2013.

But. Yes of course there is a but. I am a smiley remember? But the thing with something costing you is that you get something in return as well. Something we may not be able to fully grasp the value of because we are hurting but something that is essential for your inner growth into who you are becoming (yes I am big on this becoming more me idea- but more on that later). So, what did I get in return for this year of confusion and emotional strip down? I got some parts strength. Did you know that even in the face of abject msiery, for the sake of the people you love, you can smile, with your eyes no less, and dance and throw parties and be alive? Yes, I did. The other thing I got, which has always been in short supply where my life is concerned, is patience. I am an immediate person. NOW should have been my first word (it wasn’t but that too is another story). I can see things too clearly (gift and curse both) and as a result I am not too good with processes. Not mine not others.

Secretly, I like the me I have become- am becoming- as a result of this past disloyal year. I am a bit impressed with myself, a bit horrified and mostly still evolving. There are awful days when you are surprised you can still function after being stripped away of all those things you clung onto as “givens” and there are amazing days because you are new again and new is a change and change is hope and hope is just brilliant, in any size or shape. And as much as I want to mourn the losses 2013 brought- and there were many- each loss is somehow linked to a rebirth. You know. Phoenix. Ashes. Yin. Yan. Death. Resurrection. Al Khafid. Ar Rafi.

And how can that not make me smile?


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