The Ice Queen

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

When you think of me I hope you smile, in a memory, after a quick conversation or a passing in the hall.

I go out of my way to say hello to people in my morning routine. As I have mentioned many times now, it all happened during my darkest time. I was wrapped up in my own pain, stress, and uncertainty. I could barley focus. A friend was helping me refocus and heal. She forced me out of my comfort zone, but in baby steps. Each week she gave me a new goal.

I had to smile and say hello to one person each day, even total strangers! I realized as I started doing this that I had known most these people for ten years, yet I didn’t know them. I didn’t interact with any of them.

I was fearful. What if they didn’t say anything back? Well, at least I tried. I walked down the long wide hallway and a woman came around the corner. This was my chance to squeeze in my one hello for the day. She approached me I looked her in the eye, smiled and said hello. She said hello back. I survived.

Now look at me a year later, I say “Hello” or “Good Morning” to everyone I pass. I even stop in some offices to say hello and chat. All the people around me are nice. We all have different busy lives, yet we are similar. I am happy I got to know these wonderful souls.

My daily interactions warm my heart.  It got me thinking when I leave what memory will they have of me?

“She’ll leave you with a smile,” this is my legacy. Despite all the ways I am messed up, flawed or the many times I have stumbled, I am still smiling. I have endured. You can be broken to bits and survive. I am an example of that. I am putting myself back together piece by piece.  The scars will always be there, but I have learned a lot about myself. I know what is truly important. I would rather be hurt than be the person hurting people. Instead of saying you are honest, be honest. Your example will show others your true character. My children learned how to be good citizens, not by my telling them, but by showing them. My children learned how to be honest, trustworthy and loving, from my actions. “Actions speak louder than words.”

My children also saw my pain, fear, broken soul and despair. I know I worried them.  I have repaired my brokenness, rediscovered the girl that was lost and I am now renewing who I am. I hope my children can see that after all I have gone through… I am still smiling.

When it comes to family, friends and perfect strangers, I hope the legacy I leave behind is a warm smile that was filled with love.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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