Unlike Lady Gaga, I have no pa-pa-pa-poker face.
You can read me like an open book, a very open book. A book so open the binding is broken, for those of you old enough to remember words printed on paper.
I have tried. And it should be easy. I have been described as, including but not limited to: sarcastic, ballsy, confident, owning the room, harsh, a tough customer, etc. But it seems my tough exterior is a thin chocolate coating over a complete cream puff. A cream puff left out in the sun. In August.
Apparently, I give off some sort of b*tchist vibe (yes, b*tchist – I made that word up) which makes me seem like I can take it, whatever it is. But trust me, I can rarely take it. If I am mad enough I may not cry but if I am hurt or touched or overwhelmed, it’s on like Donkey Kong and you will not only know how I feel, you may become increasingly uncomfortable with my river of tears or trough of laughter or frustration or even downright fury.
It’s not always tears, its everything really.
I have alternately described food as tasting like it has ‘little bits of Jesus in it,” and “tasting like *ss.” Those are two very different experiences and if I think about it, neither of them may have deserved those reviews. I can wax rhapsodic about a new eye shadow palette when whose life is it going to really change (other than mine)? I can break into a jig when it starts to rain outside and I am feeling like angel’s tears are washing away the ick, from me and the environment.
I describe myself as missing some sort of filter but the truth is I am not sure it was ever an option.
My Mom was brought up in a culture of “children should be seen not heard” and “anger is a sin.” She went to great lengths to allow me to say what I was feeling for better or worse. When I was 12 or 13 she off-handedly commented “Maybe I have made a mistake letting you express everything you think or feel…hmmm….”
I disagreed. Vehemently.
The most honest t-shirt ever was made popular by Hugh Laurie’s Dr. Gregory House. It reads: Everybody Lies.
I am, as you can probably predict, a horrible liar.
I pray that people don’t ask my opinion of something unless I know they can take it. I especially pray that those that I love dearly don’t star in any crappy plays or crochet a really bad afghan. I am not a monster, I can soften my response. I find that the best I can really do to save the feelings of everyone involved is to commit a sin of omission. If I don’t say anything I can’t hurt anyone’s feelings. It works many more times than it doesn’t. Try it my fellow truth tellers; it serves us well.
Being a see-through human has its upside.
Those who don’t know how much I truly hate this sentence may say to me “Tell us how you really feel!” Followed by their hearty laughter and my deadpan stare into their soul hoping I can stop their heart with the lasers in my eyes.
It never works by the way.
But the phrase said to me most often by newcomers is “I always know where I stand with you.” It may be a left handed compliment but I will take it. I could say it’s too late to change me now. But truthfully I don’t want to change. My tell it like it is-ness makes up part of who I am. It also engenders in my friends and loved ones a trust in me that is priceless. It can be troublesome when the occasional white lie needs to come into play.
The Buddhist way of living includes trying not to be upset by the vagaries of life and alternately trying not to be too jiggy when things are going our way. And as much as I really dig this way of living it’s a struggle for me. I find myself very black or white. I am learning to embrace the gray.
This doesn’t mean we stop telling those who bring us joy how much they mean to us. I take it to mean that we weather the sh*t storms with a more released countenance, a poker face if you will, opening our Andy Gump umbrellas and letting it fall.
It will always be in fashion to let someone know how much you love them, passionately. It will always look good on you to express a compliment or how much you appreciate someone or something. Some poker players wear sunglasses so that opponents can’t pick up subtle signals or “tells” that would give away what cards they are holding.
Take off your Ray Bans and lay down your Royal Flush or your 3/2 off suit and just do you.
Do all of you. And it’s all beautiful. I wouldn’t lie.
Author: Melissa Morgan
Editor: Renee Jahnke