Exactly what does that idiom mean? I have physically tried to stiffen my upper lip, and all I can manage to do is make my nostrils flare.
The last two weeks have been a rather hellish ride to freedom; and we aren't out of the woods yet. Now that we are starting to get settled, I am now strapped with the worry of where next month's rent is going to come from. I haven't found a job yet. I have had three interviews, two of which haven't panned out; one I'm waiting to hear from. If I get this job, I will be working as an assembler for a corporation making a fair wage with benefits and all of my worries for the time being will be over. But, right now, I don't know anything, and my stomach is in knots.
School hasn't been much better. Due to a few glitches in the school's online "system", I was cut off from my exam ten minutes early and none of my emails were getting to my instructor. Needless to say, I received a failing grade on what would have been an A+ on that test, and my instructor thinks I'm faking it all; despite the fact that I haven't been late on one assignment in a year and a half and I am a 4.0 student. I have had to send and resend information to this Dr. Meany-gut because the emails I am finally able to send haven't been thoroughly read by him. I hate to spam anyone, but due to the nature of the beast, the good Dr. is getting my full armory of letter-writing skills.
In all of this mess; through fighting the emotional weirdness of our former situation to fighting for our survival (not in a Rambo sort of way, but in a "let's-not-get-to-the-point-where-we-have-to-sell-our-furniture" sort of way), we are still alive. Every day finds a new thing to smile at from the neighbor's cat fast asleep, smiling, on top of his old junker next door; to the three little boys that came to the door selling wild roses in a toy shopping cart. I am trying to find lovely things to smile at no matter what we are going through. I have a beautiful litter of children that make me smile. I have shelter, if even for this month. I am finally a good student with a healthy enjoyment of learning. Jess makes me laugh heartily and often; and he is doing well in school, making friends and enjoying artistic ventures. Colin can sing like Pavarotti! Georgia kissed a boy. These things and more make me thankful that I am alive; that I am here to witness life as it is for us; that even in the midst of a darkness, there is still sunshine. I look at those silly flowers that I bought for three dollars yesterday from the neighbor boys and I almost cry at how wonderful that makes me feel.
There it is! That stiff upper lip. And I don't even have to flare my nostrils. I am smiling.