“What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.” – Walt Whitman.
Before I delve into this post properly, I just want to address that this isn’t me being vain and craving compliments. I’m not making this post to tell you all about how I don’t like certain features of my face because they’re too big, or too small etc. I want to talk about expressions, facial expressions.
Since I have known one of my best friends, I’ve always loved the facial expressions she pulls in certain moments, whether this is extreme happiness or extreme annoyance, they often entertain me. I think she is aware of how much I love her facial expressions as I often comment on them myself. However, I’ve never taken much notice of my own.
Over the past few months my friends have made comments about my facial expressions which I don’t actually know I’m pulling. They think I look annoyed, or disgusted, maybe angry, or sad. More often than not, I’m not actually feeling these things and it’s just my natural face. I also get the impression that it’s me expressing myself badly, rather than them reading my face wrong (so please don’t think I am criticising my friends when, as the title suggests, I am very much criticising myself). I hate it because it means that I struggle to convey certain emotions, those that are too powerful to put into words and as a result I often come across as emotionless.
Another thing I have noticed is that I am poor at expressing happiness. I always assumed that a small smile would suffice, but that isn’t always satisfying for those close to me. Also, it’s easier for a smile to go unnoticed. Just think, you’ve bought someone a present you’ve put a lot of thought into and you just know that they will love…until they open it and give you a small smile and a thank you. My reaction when opening presents is always the same. It could be something I’ve been dying for, perhaps concert tickets, but I’ll likely react the same way as if you’ve bought me a chocolate bar. I appreciate everything and anything someone might give me, but I’m also not one to make a fuss. I hate attention being on me. I feel uncomfortable opening presents in front of people, not because I don’t think I’ll like what they got me, but because I simply hate everyone’s eyes being on me.
Of course, I can still laugh, sometimes loudly, and show happiness that way. But I will also try and shut myself up as quickly as possible. Besides, I can’t exactly give a hearty laugh every time someone does something nice for me or whenever I’m happy, can I?
On the other hand, I do smile a fair amount even when I’m not happy. I remember in year six I won an award for being “smiler of the week” on our residential trip as smiling is just something I do. It’s like a reflex because who doesn’t like someone who is smiley? It gives off the impression that you’re friendly and open, which is how I consider myself to be. You don’t have to be happy to smile after all, otherwise so many of us would never have reason to smile. However, a smile to the right person is contagious and sometimes something so simple can make another person’s day.
My friends and family are all familiar with how I am by now (at least I hope so). I think they’ve learned not to expect big reactions from me; it’s just the way I am. Through blogging I have been able to let my confidence grow. I’ve written things and you all seem to like what I have been writing whether it’s more personal topics, books, or beauty. Either way, you have read my words and encouraged me to keep writing which has made me feel more comfortable in myself and the things I have to say outside of this blog.
Sure, I may not be one to jump up and down in excitement and I may not always look happy when I really am, but I don’t shy away so much anymore when talking in my friendship group and I am comfortable enough to ask for help in a store if I need it. These may not sound like big improvements, but they’re significant to me. I wish I could be more expressive rather than look like a wax-work figure the majority of the time, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that we are all constantly changing, improving and growin. It can be a slow process, but if you look back a year, two years, five years etc. the changes are really noticeable and often for the best.
Right now, I may not be the most expressive person, but that doesn’t mean I always will be. Or, I might be, but given time I might learn to accept it better. I hate not being able to express myself through my face and I hate how it can lead to people being disappointed or feeling worried because they can’t tell what I’m thinking. I’ve always been good at hiding my feelings, but I had never before seen it as a problem, however when it’s those positive feelings you want to express it prevents them from being seen too.
This is just something that has been bothering me lately and I wanted to get it out there as it hasn’t left my mind. I almost posted this last week, but reconsidered it. I still couldn’t get this all out of my head, so hopefully getting it out there now will release it from my head too.