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The Story of a Broken Smile

It was Friday, Apr 14 2006. I was almost 6 months into moving to Canada. Life was clearly not as promised. I was stressed and more stressed. There were several unpleasant surprises at every bend. "If you don't like it, go back to India". Ultimatums and deadlines seemed to control my every day life. I felt like a prisoner or worse still, a slave.

As these thoughts bombarded my mind, I was walking back reluctantly to the subway station, to go to the only place I could go to -my home or should I say my prison. A home is not a trap you can't seem to get out of. I wish I could run away but I had my little 10 year old silently watching the predator and victim game. Her silence boomed loud in my head - do something! The April rain washed my face and mingled with my tears. I plodded home that day to experience the worst. As I looked in the mirror, the right side of my face began to droop. I looked like I was mocking and I had no control on the shape of my mouth. My right eye wouldn't blink and seemed to have frozen open. My little girl looked at my face and said something is wrong with it. I went into panic mode. Was I dying? Was it a heart attack? I had no one here other than my little daughter. What would become of her if I were to die? The thoughts were driving me insane with anxiety. I lay down quietly in bed and prayed to keep myself calm until it was early morning. I had never been to a hospital in Canada and my first experience in ER was forever. It was not before afternoon that a doctor saw me and said I had Bell's Palsy. There was no assurance that my face would go back to how it was and there was no predictable time frame in which it would. There was no specific medication that could cure it. Steroids could work but there was no surety. My 7th cranial nerve was paralyzed. For those who know me from my childhood days. My smile was the brand of my being and now my smile was broken. I hated looking in the mirror. It was the hardest lesson in self acceptance and self love. From then to now, my loving heart has healed me. My smile will perhaps never be the same and yet I have never stopped smiling 😊

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