Behind Kendall McElhaney’s Smile


Ana Gutierrez, Entertainment Editor

If someone were to illustrate Kendall McElhaney’s mind through a painting, there would not be enough colors in this world to define all her thoughts. A conversation about pink dolphins with her is equivalent to discussing the weather with any other person, yet the oddity of it all is counteracted when you find yourself laughing along.

While most of us spend our days thinking about college and other trivial topics, her eccentric yet wondrous mind can see past what happens today. She believes that finding a reason to smile becomes simple the second we stop looking for one.

“Just think of the future! There is so much that can happen,” Kendall said. “It motivates me knowing that right now there is someone out there that is going to love me one day. And that I’m going to have a job, a dog, a house, a cat; just about anything, really.”

When tomorrow is not enough,  Kendall seeks out things in her life that are worth smiling about today, no matter how small.

“The beauty of this world makes me feel so much better,” Kendall said. “Just look at the trees! If that is not enough, the possibility of a better tomorrow makes me smile every single day. That certainly includes graduation.”

As deep as these reasons may seem, Kendall is not one to find significance in every little detail of life. Sometimes corny jokes are just enough to turn her frown upside down.

“I was born without a filter. So if I think it, I say it,” Kendall said. “Here is a good joke: “What did the last unicorn say? Noah, Noah, Noah! Get it? Like, it’s trying to stop Noah? Oh Biblical allusions.”

Speaking of the Bible, Kendall has one close friend that has helped her out of lots of sticky situations.

“Jesus and I have a really funny path,” Kendall said. “He makes me smile and will high-five me every now and then. He gave me my parents who, as cliché as this may be, are always there for me. They are dorky, but they are still awesome.”

If high-fiving the Son of God is not enough, Kendall has experienced her fair share of ups and downs. That has taught her many lessons to live by every time things go wrong.

“I would say to people that are going through depression, from personal experience, that it is so hard to smile whenever it seems like everything is crashing around you,” Kendall said. “But if you make a habit each day of getting used to your smile, it will show up more often.”

Sometimes it is crucial to take a step back and look at the big picture. Most of us reading this are not even adults yet and have the rest of our lives ahead of us. So that test that you failed yesterday or the date you screwed up last week will not matter in your last days as you look back at what you made of life. Making memories is more than striving for perfection. It is realizing that for every breath we take our life is getting shorter, so it is time to live it before the last breath comes.

“Tomorrow you are going to wake up and realize that nothing really matters,” Kendall said. “Judge me, but YOLO.”