Wearing My Heart On My Face

Can’t read my, can’t read my…no, wait, you CAN read it!

I don’t play poker.  I don’t even play Poker Face, because I don’t have one.  Most every thought, every emotion that flits through my brain shows up on my face in glorious, soggy Technicolor.

The other day I was watching an adorable baby on TV when I gradually became aware of what my face was doing: lips drawn up and back at the corners, eyebrows tilting up in the middle, brow furrowed.  I was smiling – not just any smile, but that “Aw, isn’t she cute?” sappy look you get when you see a baby.  But there was no baby in the room.  There wasn’t anybody else in the room.  I was all by myself, smiling at the idiot boob tube like Pavlov’s doofus.

My face betrays me everywhere I go.

I watch TV when I’m on the treadmill at the YMCA and my programming of choice is either HGTV or political commentary.  When a 22-year-old property virgin is about to make a big mistake in buying a house, I’m mentally yelling, “don’t do it!” as if she were my own daughter, Liz.  I know I’m sporting a worried frown.

If a talking head on the news is presenting some outlandish opinion about the opposing party as if it were gospel, my eyebrows are raised up so far in skepticism that they disappear into my hairline.

My body may be barely walking on the treadmill but my expressions are flat-out running – the entire gamut of emotions.  My face is getting a better workout than my gluteus, which remains maximus.

It was ever thus.

Physics class in high school was held in one of those lecture theater-style classrooms with ascending rows of desks.  I sat about 2/3rds  of the way up.  Whenever the class’s attention started to flag, the teacher, Mr. West, liked to perk things up by saying, “Class, lets see if we can get Peg to blush.”  Everyone would turn around and look at me.  Just stare.  Seconds later it was “Tomato, party of one?”

Then there’s the crying.  Mad or sad, happy or sappy; my eyes consider these to all be good reasons to start the rain-showers.  I can’t help it.

I’m not the innocent, 16-year-old flower I once was, so I don’t blush on command nowadays.  Unfortunately, the crying business has gotten worse.  Combine a lifelong waterworks tendency with a one-way ticket aboard the Hormone Express (I got on at the Menopausal Station) and I’m constantly on the brink of an emotional train wreck.

Being unable to mask my feelings has its drawbacks, as you might imagine.

Years ago the lease was coming up for renewal on an office we rented and the landlord and I were discussing terms.  He announced he wanted a big increase in the rent.  Try to guess my response.  Did I…

  • Laugh in his face?
  • Pound the table in anger?
  • Threaten to pick up my rental marbles and go home?

Cool, savvy businesswoman that I am, I started crying.  He was much better than I at masking his reaction, but I could practically hear his thinking, “There’s no crying in lease negotiations!”

On the very rare occasions when my husband says something with which I disagree just a TEENY bit, I carefully marshal my counterarguments.  I want to be like Solomon and get my own way without having to chop the baby in half.  Before I can phrase my response, however, Bill has taken one look at my face, read the skepticism (or horror) displayed therein and said, “What’s wrong? What? WHAT?”

I guess it’s time to cross “diplomat” off my list of possible midlife-crisis career changes and move on.  There’s no sense in getting upset about something I can’t change.  If I do get upset, however, you’ll know about it right, damn quick.

Just take a look at my face.

**********************************************

If you could see my face you would see happy, as in…HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRY!  I am referring to Tar-buns over at Here & ThereSa; newbie blogger, long-time sister.  After an uncomfortable couple of weeks where we were the same age, today she is once again older than I and all is right with the world.

Stop by and leave her some birthday wishes.  Tar’s currently on vacation in Maine (Maine: not just a great state, but a great state of mind) but may be persuaded to reply if someone can pry the lobstah and beer from her buttery hands.

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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86 Responses to Wearing My Heart On My Face

  1. I am a weeper, too. Kleenex says, “Bless you!”

    Like

  2. Wow. That Mr. West was a jerk!

    Oh, Peggles, I am the worst. I was known for crying growing up. It was my full time job. I cried all through school. I cried once in front of an entire class in college. I cry at movies, commercials. I cry if my kids do something sweet like hold hands or hug each other. I will tear up at the drop of a hat. Seriously. Once my husband dropped his L.L. Bean baseball hat with the cool headlights in a mud puddle.

    Like

  3. I’m the same way. Kiefer knows exactly how to make me blush, and he knows when something is bothering me.

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    • pegoleg says:

      That’s not a bad thing, that he knows when you’re bothered. Sometimes my hubby is so stoic I have no idea what’s going on in his mind, and I forget to try to find out. That Mars and Venus thing about men and women is so true.

      Like

  4. Your ‘politics face’ sounds very similar to mine.
    Which (coincidentally) is nearly indistinguishable from my ‘baby face’.
    🙂

    Like

  5. Audrey says:

    You’re just a truly genuine person, even if it is in a painfully obvious sort of way. At least people know where you stand. 🙂 Actually, I’m the same way. Drives me crazy sometimes too. 🙂

    Like

  6. Go Jules Go says:

    Ohhhh Peggles you can read my p-p-p-poker face, too! This is a great post. And, Mr. West, wherever you are, I hope a roomful of people is staring at you and making you feel uncomfortable. And the crying, oh, why oh WHY can’t we control it? I swear my whole life would be different if my immediate reaction to everything stressful wasn’t to cry. I’ve also found, if I’m not smiling, people ask what’s wrong. Geesh.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Hmmm – that “why aren’t you smiling?” thing is interesting. I imagine that is an issue for a person with a normally sunny disposition – it’s not a problem I usually have. I don’t have a reputation as a crank (at least I don’t THINK so), but I’m not Pollyanna, either.

      Like

  7. Love the picture, Peg! I think the emotional facial expressions and instant tears is part of our DNA, for I suffer the same ailment.
    Thanks for birthday wishes! You can try and pry the lobstah and beer outta my hands, but probablyl NOT today! I’m thinking martini after lunch out, then lobster for dinner – Pat’s cooking them before we head into Bar Harbor for some shopping and lunch fun.
    He’s even thinking of cooking a bunch of lobsters, removing the meat and freezing it to bring home. That would be tomorrow’s project since we have to leave dark and early Sat morning for the long trek home. Hope to maybe get a post put together soon.
    See ya later 🙂

    Like

  8. i want to say something funny, but I’m kind of stuck on how your husband notices and cares. I love that.

    I’m also kind of stuck on “kind of”. I can’t seem to stop saying it this week. W. . T .. .?

    Like

  9. I have inherited the infamous family facial expressions. So much so that I work hard to comport myself into an unrevealing wall. Which usually just makes me look bitchy.

    Sigh.

    I cry a lot more now than I used to, but fortunately I only do it alone. There have been many, many times in my current job that I have been on the verge – clearly on the verge – but refused. My #3 boss once encouraged me to do it. She was the one CAUSING it. I think she wanted to see me break because it would have made her feel stronger. Once, on a particularly bad professional day, my #4 boss (male) told me that I needed to go outside, find my sh*t and come back. I explained that, if I did that, I would most definitely lose said sh*t entirely and possibly not come back. It doesn’t matter how you slice it: even when we can control it, we can’t control it. Whaddaya gonna do?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      The inability to control emotions for me was (as it still is for you, apparently) a real problem in the corporate work-world. How can you be taken seriously if you cry at everything? But how can you control it? I never could figure that out.

      Glad to see you are still standing after all your Freshly Pressed ballyhoo – congrats again! Make sure you check out the FP widget on your dashboard. I just discovered it a couple of days ago and rushed to add the badge to the blog like the glory-hound I am.

      Like

      • Fortunately, I have also inherited the infamous family stubborn willfulness. That’s apparently how I control it at work. Thanks for the FP badge tip. Glory? Hallelujah!

        Like

        • I just saw the FPd badge on your site, Peg! Cool Beans!!!
          It’s too bad the world didn’t see your FPd face when you won those, oh, what now, 5?
          You rock, sista! 🙂
          And, apparently thesinglecell was FPd while I was on vacation. I will check it out.

          Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Yes, Singlecell was FPd, as was Angie @ Childhood Revisited. I hang out with such smarty-pants! Someone clued me about the FP badge so we can all brag about our accomplishments.

          It has been 6 times FPd for me (but who’s counting?). Angie said something about 9 times so I had to correct her – only 6. Then I yelled at her for making me feel like a loser for not having 9 and having to type “only” in front of “6 times”.

          Like

  10. lexy3587 says:

    I cry at everything too… Thinking of something sad that happened a long time ago? eyes well up. find out something sad/upsetting that happened to someone else? teary. Confrontation of any kind… choked up voice and sobs. awesome.

    Like

  11. I’ve noticed I do the same thing. I’m hoping nobody will notice how much I like the reality show we’re watching but my face betrays me.

    Like

  12. Me too, on the blushing and the crying! Especially the crying. My daughter always likes to tell people about the time I walked into her room when she was watching the TV. It was some kind of talent show and just as I walked in they were announcing which act had received the fewest votes and was going to have to leave – it was a show I hadn’t watched before, I didn’t know who any of the people were on it, they were literally just making the announcement as I walked in and I burst into tears!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Because you just feel for that poor person, seeing their hopes dashed, their dreams crushed…oh Vanessa, that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard! (sob, sob!)

      Like

  13. mistyslaws says:

    Oh god, Pegarama. Why did you have to bring up such a sensitive and emotional subject. I’m feeling all teary just thinking about it! Sniff sniff.

    I actually have broken down uncontrollably at THREE jobs, including the current one, in front of my BOSS. I don’t know what that is! How freaking professional is that? I was 19 the first time and being fired, and just sat there sobbing in front of this asshole boss, and he just sat and watched me. I couldn’t control it and couldn’t breath long enough to tell him to go F himself. The next was at a law firm I worked at in college, and was called into the boss’ office to be reprimanded for something and started crying and ran out and stayed in the bathroom for like a half hour trying to get my damn self together. And then LAST FREAKING WEEK, my boss came in and asked me if I was happy at my job, I confirmed I was actually miserable (as he fully knew) and just started sobbing. Damnit!! What the hell is wrong with me. I can stay completely stoic in most other situations, but not in front of bosses, apparently. Sigh.

    Like

  14. I can tear up at the drop of a hat, too. But I do have a poker face, except when somebody really p**ses me off, then they get “The Look”, which I have perfected through one drug-addicted husband and from raising two sons. My partner says I have the best “Look” he’s ever seen. Glad to know I’m good at something!!

    Like

  15. notquiteold says:

    I love a good cry. I’m not very emotional and I’m usually in control. So it feels especially sweet when I just let go.
    As far as my pissed-off face goes, I use it on my husband all the time. He doesn’t seem to notice.

    Like

  16. Oh dear–I can relate. This teacher is an open book.
    My mother tells me when I was young, all I had to do was turn on the faucet and my father would inevitably give in–what I wanted was mine.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s got to be an occupational hazard for a teacher – you need to be the tough, in control stoic. I think my husband is immune to the waterworks as a means to get my own way, but he very sweetly gave me a good hug when something set me off the other night.

      Like

  17. Oh, my, but we are more alike than I ever realized! I’m fine with holding back the tears in negotiation since that’s trained into me now (and I even enjoy playing “Bad Cop,” as is stated on award I just got at the office, heh). Other than that? All waterworks, all the time. Good, bad, happy, sad, angry, dismayed, mystified–all reasons my eyes decide it’s important to jump to, immediately!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I’m so glad and envious that you can at least turn it off in negotiations. Don’t you find that being a mother just intensifies the tendency? There’s so much MORE of all the above emotions, all the time!

      Like

      • I learned, thank God, to turn it off during negotiations and depositions . . . in fact, as an aside, I made my first witness break down in tears during cross-examination, but I cannot hide my annoyance, irritability or endless silly-guilty smiles to save my life.

        As far as being a mother, OMG. One time, before school was going to start, a teacher yelled at me and my kids on a school playground. My eldest was about to start kindergarten at that school, so I started to sob, on the SPOT, that the people at the school weren’t going to be nice to my daughter. I was so embarrassed! The teacher who yelled at us had to come over and comfort me and promise me that my little girl was going to be well taken care of . . . she was not at all surprised to see me collapse in one big messy sobbing heap, but I sure was!

        Peg–loved this post. Made me giggle!

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Oh, jeez El! First of all, I can’t believe that teacher was mean to little kindergarteners – and their mommies! First day of kindergarten is such an emotional time anyway; your baby is going off forever! Well, not really, but in a way they are. Once they start school they never look back, sigh.

          I’m glad to hear you can turn it off when needed.

          Like

  18. Al says:

    This was…sniff, sniff….. one of the…sniff.. sweetest…..sniff..blogs I have….sniff…..ever read.
    I …sniff….can’t go…on….sniff………………………………………….

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      ha ha. (I hope you are hearing my dry, sarcastic laugh tone). I bet that ‘s not what you say when your WIFE hops on the sob-express. You’re probably all “Oh, snooki-wookems, what can I do to make it all better? What? ANything! Diamonds always make you feel happy, don’t they? Hmm, my sweet baboo?”

      Like

  19. pattisj says:

    Daughter and I were watching a movie, one of those with animals as the headliners. She said, “If there’s a tear in my eye, I know it’s Niagara Falls on your end of the couch!” I can identify. I’m pretty sure my face gives me away, too, and I often wonder after an encounter how obvious was my reaction. We’re all in this together.

    Like

  20. Mary K. says:

    I think it’s in the genes! LOVED the picture!

    Like

  21. Lenore Diane says:

    Oh do I ever blush, Peg-O. Wow. People have called me out so many times. And, once I start blushing, it only gets worse.
    I cry, too. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry. Sometimes I laugh so hard I pee – then I blush because I pee’d, and then I cry because I laughed hard, pee’d, and blushed. It’s hard being me. (But, it makes for great entertainment for those around me.)

    P.S. My facial expression gives away my crankiness, too, but I won’t go there right now.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Jeez, I didn’t think about that part – everyone can tell when my inner b*tch-goddess is rearing her ugly head.

      I can just see your cycle of blush/laugh/cry/pee – love it!

      Like

  22. mj monaghan says:

    I have trouble masking my “grumpy” frame of mind, but am pretty even keel otherwise. MLB, on the other hand, can cry at the drop of anything. I think she went to crying school with a lot of you when you all were small children. 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It’s in the hormones, MJ – we can’t help it. Couple that with the fact that little boys are told to suck it up and be a man when they cry, but little girls get ice cream cones and ponies. It’s a hell of a bait-and-switch because once you’re conditioned to cry, you find it does NOT get you ponies or lower rent when you’re a grownup.

      Like

  23. Angie Z. says:

    So me. I can no longer listen to NPR StoryCorps on the way to work or I screw up my make up. And growing up my brother would famously say, “Don’t smile, Angie,” whenever there was a sappy love scene on TV.

    I cannot believe this happened because this is not me. But it was one day. I got pulled over in a speed trap. When the officer came over to my car, instantly bawling. Horrible. I’m a disgrace to my gender. But I only got a warning. Cha-Ching!

    Happy birthday Peg’s Sister! You don’t look a day over Peg’s age.

    Like

  24. Dani Werner says:

    Yup, this is me all the way. I’m just highly charged, and so is my mother. You can imagine what life was like when I was a teenager. We still haven’t fully recovered from that and continue to have occasional joint tantrums, but then I’ve only just graduated from university, and she’s going through menopause too now…

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh crikey – two hormonally charged women in the same room is just plain dangerous. Congrats to both of you for making it through puberty without major injury.

      Like

  25. I’m just like you–I can’t hide a thing. And that’s why I choose very carefully the people I’ll play strip poker with these days! 😉

    Like

  26. hollybernabe says:

    I used to be a super cool cucumber. I never cried at ANYTHING, not even funerals. Then, somewhere in my late 20’s it’s as if a switch flipped and I started crying for no reason and now I can’t stop. You know it’s bad when you watch an old re-run of the Smurfs and you cry at the sappy “lesson” at the end.

    Like

  27. tulziscooking says:

    I have recently learned how to put on my ” ok, thats cool” face – with that blank expression look. Great tool for work.

    Like

  28. Dana says:

    I’ve been forbidden to read anything SPCA-related anymore, because the tears flow every single time. (Even, nay– ESPECIALLY– when there’s a happy ending involved). At least I’m not difficult to read, though. I don’t even have to waste my time talking or explaining my feelings. My face says it all, and with less effort. Go, me!

    PS: Love the album cover!

    Like

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