Walking into her room, she positions herself once again. The routine doesn’t change. She begins by looking ahead three or four feet. Taking several deep breaths, she closes her eyes and imagines. With the expression visualized, she opens her eyes and looks into the mirror. Her eyes travel over the face that smirks back at her, analyzing each flaw that revealed itself: a crooked eye, patches of pink gums peeking out everywhere, gaps too wide between adjacent teeth, a smile too ugly. Feeling dissatisfied, she closes her eyes to try again. She continues this process several times until she achieves a perfect, but fake smile.
A smile is an illustration of one’s happiness, but it was a facade for my personal struggles. My parents worked day and night, struggling to make money to fulfill the necessities of my five brothers and I. I turned to my brothers, hoping they could provide some form of comfort and parental guidance, but I was left out because I am the only girl. Gradually, I learned to rely on myself. I became emotionally independent; crying and facing the obstacles of a teenager growing up.
This independence made me believe that, like my family, the world was too busy to listen to one mere individual like myself. I believed that people wouldn't listen to me because I was young, because I was a girl, because I was me. I believed so strongly that I denied any listening ear. I pushed. I pushed people away because I wasn’t sure how to react to someone who actually cared. Yet as they tried to approach me, I pushed even harder. I pushed because I was afraid of their judgments, afraid that even if they listened, they wouldn’t be able to help. So what was the point?
Somehow, I needed to make people think I was okay. So to avoid being rude and ignoring people altogether, I used smiling to lie. It took several months of practice in front of the mirror to pull off a nice looking, natural smile. The mouth had to be stretched to a certain extent, my head needed to be tilted a certain way, and my bangs needed constant readjustments. This smile was the perfect lie. I managed to fool my family, my friends, my classmates, and eventually myself. Everyone assumed I was a happy child, but I knew otherwise. I knew that underneath this perfectly chiseled smile was a pained frown, dragged down by every tear that fell from my eyes. I lied to myself, thinking I could handle things alone. I remembered feeling so vulnerable and powerless that I wished someone would appear to help me fight my battles. It was too late. I lied too well. Everyone left thinking I was fine, but I wasn’t.
My feelings grew and eventually overflowed, leaking tears of pain. I needed an ear that would listen, but no one stopped to see if I was okay because I became too good at lying. However, a friend noticed my struggles and challenged me. He challenged me to smile for the good things in life, for the obstacles that make me stronger, and for the people who I’m blessed with. He challenged me to smile, for real. And with that, he gave me this quote, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”
Project-Smiles, was the name of this challenge. It was a personal blog project I created for myself, but in early June of 2010, I opened it up to the public because everyone deserves to smile. I dedicated it to the insignificant moments in our everyday lives that left us smiling. I created this project to keep me optimistic, but after several months of being an active blog and group, it managed to leave 2,166 (currently) people smiling. To witness the increase in people willing to share their stories and support the project’s cause of spreading smiles and optimism LMS (Left Me Smiling). Project-Smiles was by far, the greatest service I have ever done for my community: spreading a smile. After all, ‘smiles’ is the longest word in the dictionary, there’s a ‘mile’ between each ‘s’!
Today, my smile is no longer a lie. It is instead, a true indication of happiness. I smile because I have a reason to emit these feelings; these minuscule miracles that travel miles and miles. I smile hoping that I can brighten up someone’s day, whether it was good or bad. I smile because I want to be a hero in their battles. I want to save lonely individuals who, like myself, think they have to fight alone. I want to be the support that I never had. I want to leave them smiling.
"Simple English, but very touching ."
- Bước lên khán đài nhận bằng khen "The Washington Honors Scholar", nở nụ cười ngượng ngịu trên môi, nhưng đôi mắt không che dấu được như có tâm sự u buồn gì đó.
- Bài văn là một câu chuyện có thật - Đem nụ cười đến cho mọi người ai cũng có thể làm được, nhưng có mấy ai chịu làm chuyện đơn giản này.
- T. Đinh được gia đình Bill Gates nuôi cho ăn học cho đến khi thành tài bằng học bổng "Gates Millenium SchorlarS" ( 11 năm học bác sĩ, chi phí học tập bao gồm tất cả mọi thứ và gồm luôn tiền xài vặt hàng tháng hay khoảng $500,000 - $700,000 USD.
Mỗi năm The Gates Millenium ScholarS cấp 1000 học bổng TOÀN PHẦN cho các học sinh có năng khiếu và có đóng góp cho xã hội (Không cần phải là học sinh xuất sắc GPA=4.0)
T. Đinh, I am very proud of you.Who’s Eligible? http://gmsp.org/
Students are eligible to be considered for a GMS scholarship if they:
Are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native*, Asian Pacific Islander American** or Hispanic American
Are a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the United States
Have attained a cumulative high school GPA of 3.3 on an unweighted 4.0 scale or have earned a GED
Will enroll for the first time at a U.S. located, accredited*** college or university (with the exception of students concurrently pursuing a high school diploma) in the fall of 2011 as a full-time, degree-seeking, first-year student. First-time college enrollees can also be GED recipients.
Have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities
Meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria
Have completed and submitted all three required forms: the student’s application (Nominee Personal Information Form), an evaluation of the student’s academic record (Nominator Form) and an evaluation of the student’s community service and leadership activities(Recommender Form) by the deadline
- Ước mơ chỉ trở thành hiện thực, khi các bạn chịu khó thực hiện
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