Posted by: mesabimisadventures | December 9, 2011

Spreading Smiles

I’m incredibly self-conscious about smiling in photographs.  Hate it.  Just hate it.

When I was in 4th grade, I got schmucked by a thrown baseball bat and lost my front tooth.  The first tooth I was fitted with had to be replaced when I was about 16 or 17 and before it was replaced, I was picked on a decent amount by a few others because, honestly, it looked really bad.

But is that any excuse for being mean to me?

Is there ever an excuse for being mean to someone because of their looks?!

Let’s face it, a person’s appearance is usually a matter of luck.  Good or bad.  I get a lot of compliments on my hair, but it’s not like I can take any credit for it.  It was just luck to have a mutant MC1R. And while you may look at someone and find them unattractive, that’s just your opinion.  And there really is no need to share that.  It adds nothing to the universe.  Nothing.

I’ll never understand the need for some humans to be mean to others, either to others’ faces or behind their backs.  I usually attribute it to insecurity or pecking orders, but perhaps some people are simply jerks?  Can you imagine if the tables had been turned on you in life and there was something physically different about you that caused people to point at you and gasp?  Something that made people pity you or your parents?  Something that made others uncomfortable around you?  What if that something was able to be “fixed” but you couldn’t afford it so you were shunned, perhaps even by your own parents?

You’d probably hope and pray that someone would help you.

So how about being that person that does the helping?  Give thanks for your blessing of “normality” and help others achieve it.


In Uganda, children that are born with a cleft lip or palate are named Ajok, which means “cursed by God.”  Cursed by God?!  Really?!  Excuse my inferred cursing, but WTF?  I try to be polite and not use profanity in my blog, but seriously, some things just push me over the edge and this is one of those.  And it’s not just in Uganda where children are shunned, it happens throughout the world.

For those of you who don’t know, cleft lip and cleft palate are common birth defects (source: Mayo Clinic) where either the upper lip or the palate are split apart.  The two sides simply didn’t finish joining up while the baby was in the womb.  That’s all.  No curse.  No reason to shun the child.  No reason to be cruel.  It just happens.  But when it happens to a family without the financial means to help the child, then a lot of problems can ensue.

The child may have a difficult time eating or speaking.  There may be hearing issues.  And of course, there is the fact that in some countries, they won’t be welcome at school or given a job as an adult.  All for something that they did not have a choice in.  And all for something that can be fixed relatively easy.

Smile Train provides the solution. A relatively simple surgery.  That’s all it can take to give these children and their families a little hope.

As their website says, “how often do you get to save a child’s life for $250?”  Have a group of friends over for some wine and apps with an “entry fee” of $25, pool the funds and provide a surgery for someone that will never know it was you that changed their life but who will forever be grateful.  If that’s out of your reach, even $25 will help pay for sutures.

Spread smiles throughout the globe, donate to Smile Train.

This 9th day of giving was inspired by a friend who was born with a cleft lip and palate and has had several surgeries throughout his life.  He has never let others’ expectations of him become his expectations for himself and I admire him greatly for that.

Note: This is the ninth post in a series of 31 highlighting donation opportunities this holiday season. 


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