I was walking through the streets of Chippenham on my lunch break today, when I passed an enthusiastic stranger. “Yes!” he shouted loudly, “yes! Smiley badge man! Yes!” Apparently he quite liked the smiley face badge that I wear. I thought, perhaps, that today I’d write about the story of my smiley face badge.
Back in 2012, I was very happy – I had pretty much everything I wanted in life. I’m very fortunate to have experienced such a high. In that time, I decided to buy a smiley face badge to reflect my contentedness in life – since then, I continued to wear it because it was a nice connection to a very special time.
When having dinner with an old friend in 2015, they asked me if I had always had that badge, because they felt like it suited me very well and it was easy to imagine it had always been there. Though they were wrong, I quite liked that they thought I’d always had it.
In 2017, I decided that it would be nice to start giving these badges to people as a sentimental item – something I’d only give to my very closest friends. I tried to give them for significant reasons: one was given to a friend to cheer them up, one was a farewell gift, one was an engagement present, several were birthday presents.
In 2018, I had to replace my original smiley face badge with another, as the original was becoming significantly worn out. I was sad about replacing it, but decided, like my Trusty Water Bottle, that though its physical form may be replaced, its essence and soul remains the same – so, therefore, so does the meaning behind it. I do keep the original in my wallet at all times though.
During that year, I also gave a smiley face badge away to somebody who I didn’t count among my very closest friends. I knew a colleague was feeling unhappy about a lot of things, so I put a smiley face badge on a packet of Thornton’s chocolates and left it there for them. I thought of it as a kind of calling card. In a nice turn of events, they ended up becoming somebody I count among my closest friends anyway. The magic of the smiley face badge made it so
In the past, people often misunderstood it and thought that it was a sign that I was a fan of the graphic novel, Watchmen. I’ll admit it’s a good read and I do like it – but not enough that I would make it a part of my everyday apparel. If people were to mistake it for anything, I wish it would be the face of Koro-sensei, the star of Assassination Classroom. I remember one time in particular, somebody asked “Are you a Watchmen fan?” I said “No, just a fan of happiness!” and they laughed, thinking I was being sarcastic. But, on the other hand, somebody told me that they thought of me when they first saw the Assassination Classroom manga in a shop, because of the association with smiley faces.
The truth is that I wear it, not only, as a connection to the very happy era of my life in 2012, but also a reminder. When a lot of people have spoken about me, they’ve described me very positively – it sometimes feels like some people see me as a kind of superhuman positivity machine. I’m glad that I’ve been able to come across that way, but it’s also simply not the reality. I can’t be positive all the time, nobody can. Sometimes I am negative and in low moments, I have selfish and self-centered thoughts. My badge is a reminder to myself that life can be really good and to always try to be kind and make new friends – ultimately, to remind myself to be the best version of myself, the version of myself that my friends perceive.
(I have a terrible memory when it comes to this blog – in 2015, I wrote a fairly similar blog post. Thankfully, today’s has more meaning to it and is a little longer. I must always be careful not to repeat myself though!)