Wake up at 6, feed babies, put babies down for a nap, wake up at 9, change babies, bring babies downstairs, eat, feed pup, feed babies, keep babies entertained while little morning chores are done, take pup out, take a shower, put on uniform, calm babies down, drive to work. Deal with cancellations/delays/rude passengers, have a pleasant interaction with awesome passengers, solve problems to the best of my abilities, try to satisfy mishandled passengers, keep the morale up, sometimes work extra hours because of mandatory last-minute overtime. Go home, either put babies to bed or stare at them wishing you had a goodnight kiss if you had to work late, do nighttime chores, pet pup once or twice, barely time for conversation with the husband, go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat.
My face is stuck with a constantly smiling expression for 6 to 8 hours a day, and that takes rigorous practice. I get yelled at with a smile on my face. I get questioned and doubted and told that “this is bullshit” with a smile on my face. It’s not easy whatsoever and, sometimes, my smile doesn’t match my internal dialogue. But hey, there’s Camila, always smiling.
I’m actually really fucking tired, y’all.
I was talking with a friend who works for TSA here at our airport, and we were just venting about how customers forget we’re people and have our own unmet expectations and daily frustrations to deal with. About how people see the uniform and forget we’re doing what we need to in order to put food on our family’s table. It’s unfortunate that the feeling of entitlement blinds some people and they forget that the smiling and internalizing should go both ways.
But such is life when you work face-to-face with people, and we know what we sign up for when taking those jobs. We’re held personally responsible for things that we have no control over and can only exhaust resources to make amends and solutions to those problems. It’s nice when we do help customers who flat-out say they know it’s not my fault and they’re not attacking me for what’s happening, and their entire demeanor changes. It becomes pleasant. There’s room for honest smiles and compassion, and the best “you” comes out. Nothing beats feeling understood, and that goes entirely both ways. I hate it when I witness customers not being treated in a professional or courteous manner, and that shouldn’t happen either.
I have noticed that smiling all day does elevate my mood and overall demeanor, even with problems. I’m one of those people cursed with legitimately caring about others’ well-being and feelings, often putting them ahead of myself in some situations. It truly breaks my spirit when it’s automatically assumed that I don’t care about a customer’s situation because I simply don’t have the means needed to help. Smiling and working hard to help are apparently not a sign of compassion, in some people’s eyes.
The last couple of days have been really rough in the workplace, and the happy thought of finally going home gets clouded by remembering chores need to be done and there’s not much time for personal care, mental or physical (except for Friday nights, weekly Bitch & Wine video chat). The smile tends to go away on the drive home, but as soon as I see two pairs of big and squinty eyes, two drooling mouths, and hear squeaks and giggles, it quickly returns. My babies are magical like that.
Life is short (and at times, not fair), and our daily frustrations at home and work can make it hard to truly feel happy. But take the time to look at all you have and who you have around you. Learn to appreciate the small things, no matter how minuscule they might seem. Set priorities and see to them first, then try to find something that can help take the edge off, even if it’s for a few minutes.
Tomorrow is never promised, and life is perfectly flawed. So, smile!