smiles of Copenhagen.

For some reason, multiple people have seen me and smiled to me here.

This feels unusual as i am used to operating under the assumption that nobody wants to feel like i exist as i walk past them. When i am standing in line at a grocery store, my existence is an inconvenience to everyone else there.

This is how I’ve viewed others, and how i assumed that others view me as well.

And however twisted it might sound, I’ve looked at people i walk past on the street, like an uncomfortable thing that should not be acknowledged.

A few years ago i talked about this with my moral council and roommates Isak and Amund.

They convinced me to try smiling to someone on the street. They told me it makes them feel a bit better, and also it feels nice to recieve smiles.

A few days later, i was walking to a pre-drinking event. The sun was shining, and i felt great. I wasn’t planning on smiling to someone, but suddenly i got eye contact with another man who looked like he was also really enjoying himself, so i took the chance and i smiled to him.

To my surprise, my smile completely sucked the joy out of him. It’s as if my smile released some evil spirit or one of those harry potter face eater things. It completely morphed his smile into a cold stare.

I was mortified after this event, but i was not deterred. I mean surely that guy was just weird or something. Its not like this is going to happen everytime i smile to someone?

WRONG. Everytime i smiled at someone, it seems i made their day worse.

I felt like a cockroach, who meets the terrible fate of being squashed simply for existing in the wrong place.

For a while i thought that people refused to smile to me specifically because i am not handsome or nice looking enough. I mean my roomies are really handsome after all!

I’ve often heard people compliment their looks! Compliments i receive usually revolve around me being the subject of entertaintment. I felt like other people never had the issue of receiving smiles.

I thought that maybe my smiling technique freaked everybody out. Should i smile with teeth, or maybe nod my head simultaniously?

Then something happened that made me not want to smile for a very long time. I realised that i shouldn’t expect anybody to smile. How could i have been so entitled, as to expect people to smile to me, or even to pretend i exist? Who did i think i was?!

I forgot all about my attempts at smiling to strangers, as everything i was looking at, was viewed through a filter of analytical negativity. Everyone hates me, and i hate everyone. Its a fine symbiotic existence with the world.

After weeks became months and months became years, this filter has slowly started to fade. It’s happening so slowly that i havent even noticed that things look less dark now.

Here in Copenhagen, several people have smiled at me, without me initating it, or telling a joke. This has never happened in Norway.This always catches me off guard. I feel awkward and shy and maybe even a little bit unconfident as i realise what is happening. I dont want to take up this space. I am sorry for accidentally looking into your eyes.

Before i can grasp what is going on, the moment is over and the smiling stranger has passed me by, before i had time to smile back.

I cannot help but project my insecurities onto this small act of kindness.

Did they smile to me, because i look so broken that they feel bad?

Maybe i looked at them weirdly and they just smiled to me to be polite?

Does that smiling stranger want to FUCK ME?

Are these people smiling at me because i behave / look different than i did those years ago?

Maybe this same shock is what all the people i smiled to also experienced?

Yeah so i guess the smiling may be a cultural difference then?

I hope people keep smiling ;P