I don’t have a poker face, but I could probably really use one. Without that mask, I feel like I owe apologies because so rarely is my joy overtaken by my rage, but there it is. A series of injustices against my littles and passive aggression directed at me have had me in a rage most of today. I’ve had moments of distraction, but I’ve been lost to the underlying thoughts that won’t let me focus today.
When I was younger, my smile was my mask. At some point that was shattered. There’s transparency and honesty and a vulnerability that tends to make others uncomfortable. Something in life cracked open and exposed my squishy parts and I have a hard time hiding it now. My smiles are genuine for the most part. The uglier parts that beg for release are rarely hidden. It doesn’t take a lot of trust, but just enough and I share more than would make the average person comfortable. I’ve seen my forced smile in a mirror and it looks a lot like constipation.
As a war Vet with PTSD, Dad was well aware of his rage and kept control of it at all times. His threats were softly spoken and much more terrifying in some ways. In one conversation, when I must have been in my teens, he started describing the realities of war. I don’t remember it, but he remembered the look on my face and never brought it up again.
I can’t hide much. I don’t try to. Often when really great teachers are explaining their artistry they can tell when it’s not making sense to me. Really good food is honored through my silly facial expressions and odd vocal sounds. If I care about someone, they can see it in the way I look at them. I can’t mask my tenderness. Babies and puppies can always see how open and inviting my expression is because I love the ones I can give back and it shows all over my face.
For the longest time, I loved Lady Gaga’s song, Poker Face. It’s all about bluffing love so she can clean out some poor guy’s bank. I was never in love with the idea of using someone for his money. It’s not who I am, but the idea of being able to fake and hide behind an elaborate facade was what I was interested in. So often I’m so transparent that it’s my emotions that are abused.
Today I felt rage. In my helplessness to protect my littles from behavior I no longer find acceptable, I feel I’ve fallen short because I can’t fix every pain and every hurt. Last night I could only hold my son as he cried in my arms and fell asleep exhausted, only comforted by my proximity. I can only assure my other son that I won’t do what has already been done to him. I can hope they listen to my words and witness my example and hope that I’m holding myself to a standard worthy of the sons I hope to raise.
I’m having a day. It’s been a rough day most of today and I feel as though I’ve been pushed and pulled by my emotions and rage because I have been. It was a rough night and a blessed morning, followed by moments of rage and I’m having a hard time seeing beyond that, but in about an hour, I’ll be home with my sons. There will be messes and laughter and snuggles and somehow it will all settle and make sense. My little one will want to help me cook on the barbecue grill and I’ll be patient through it and tomorrow will be better. It always gets better.