Wednesday, November 28, 2012



It’s funny the oddball places that you learn important life lessons.  I learned this one in elementary school choir.  I loved choir, and eagerly skipped off to every practice to sing my little heart out.  Unfortunately, I was terrible, to the point where once I was deemed old enough to not be completely destroyed emotionally (about 8) they kindly asked my mother if she couldn’t encourage me to quit. 

This experience taught me two important life lessons.  The first was that being passionate and devoted to something does not necessarily mean you will be good at it, we all have our limitations.  The second was how to sparkle on demand.

One of the first things the choir teacher told us was that you should never smile with your mouth while singing, as it can deform the pitch and note etc., so we had to learn how to smile with our eyes, and the rest of our faces.  She would say "don’t smile, sparkle".

It may seem silly, and a completely useless thing outside of singing, but it has served me well.  I had trouble with it as a kid, so I used to practice in the mirror.  I learned how to make my face look genuinely happy on demand.  The one thing that always gives away a fake smile is that the smile is limited to the mouth, the eyes and face don’t follow.  By learning to « sparkle » I learned how to control the rest. 

The first and most frequent use of this is pictures, I often get the comment that i am photogenic, that my pictures always look so happy, so sincere.  While a lot of them are moments of sincere happiness, some are sparkle.

The second use is less frequent, but in my opinion more useful.  I am prone to depression and anxiety, and when it’s just a mild attack, I consciously sparkle.  I make my face be happy when I’m not.  Numerous studies have proven that smiling on purpose helps people with depression since your body is apparently stupid and doesn’t always know the difference.  Also, when you sparkle, people are happier to be with you, which often results in good times and real happy smiles.

I’m not saying that it’s a cure all, but when it’s just depression tapping on my door trying to find a way in, sometimes the sparkle scares it away.

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. That's good advice. What's the song, "Put on a happy face" Guess it's true.

    1. It's corny, but when it's me against depression, I'll use whatever works :)

  2. Good use of sparkle--in writing and in daily living with depression. Isn't there an expression--fake it till you make it ... and like you said it can help break soem of the cycles depression causes. Visiting from Mama Kat's