Poker Face

25 Aug

People in my life have been emailing me after reading my posts and are expressing that they had no idea I was in so much pain (they all knew I had muscle issues but not always the full extent of the impact), or that I faced so many challenges or disappointments so early on. No one has told me this, but I am getting the impression that they are feeling as if they may not know me as well as they thought. Or that they now think our friendship/relationship wasn’t as deep as it should or could have been. Almost like they are just now getting to know the very core of me and why I am the woman they love.

I wanted to take time to validate your feelings and let you know that it is by no fault of own if you did not know the in’s and out’s of all that was “me”. I am completely at fault and so beyond guilty for you not knowing what you are reading of.

Years before Lady Gaga wrote the song, I had mastered the art of the “Poker Face”. From the moment I was dealt my first hand I utilized it fully. The Poker Face was essential to my overall happiness in life for two reasons. One, I was determined to not let my friends and family see my true level of pain, or any other emotion that would make them feel sympathy. Sympathy was not something I wanted from them. I wanted these teammates to be strong and not stricken with worry. Secondly, I needed this face to give me strength to get through whatever challenged me. I used the face as a distraction from the reality of my hand, making myself less able to dwell on whatever I was suffering from physically or mentally. My poker face was mostly made up of non-stop humor and the smiles brought to the faces of the people around me often supplied the driving force behind my perseverance.

When I wore the Poker Face I was able to fool people who knew me and even myself sometimes. After reading emails and talking personally with some friends about my posts, I can’t help but feel I lied my way through my hand and even to some of my key players. Maybe we will call it omission, yeah that sits better with me somehow…

I wish I could say I regret wearing the Poker Face so very often. That I wish I could go back and discard it, to be transparent with those around me but that would be a bigger lie than the Poker Face itself.

I (as a child) wouldn’t have been able to find the strength to persevere  if I could see worry and pain permanently etched on the faces of my players, my soul would have disintegrated.  From the perspective of the woman I am today, I can’t help but think I robbed my players of a chance to challenge themselves. Had I not worn the face so often, maybe others could have risen to the occasion and worn the Poker Face for me… For this I am regretful. I regret not having faith in my players to be strong enough for me to be weak and depriving them of an opportunity to lend me their strength. I wish I would have allowed myself to show weakness and vulnerability more often and to more people.

At 24-years-old I now understand the importance of showing weakness and being vulnerable with the people I love and trust (and even some strangers). I’d be lying if I said I retired the Poker Face completely as sometimes it’s necessary for the greater good of life in general. For the most part though, when faced with a challenge (physical, mental or emotional) I can not easily overcome by myself I do not hesitate to call upon my exquisite teammates for help.

God places people in our lives so we never have to be physically or emotionally alone. Have faith that God has purposefully chosen your teammates, who are all capable of aiding you in whatever hand you are dealt. In fact, God may have placed specific people on your team to give them the chance to show his love, his strength and for their own person growth. Please do not rob them of the blessing they could give you, and in turn, themselves.

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One Response to “Poker Face”

  1. jill August 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Great insight Lacey. You may have changed the way you deal with life struggles now as an adult compared to how you did as a little girl. You cant go back and change your style. I believe your way of handling stress as a child developed other gifts that otherwise may not be as evident today. Your focus as a little girl was very defined and focused on your world, now as an adult your vision is much more broad. I am grateful that you are able to use past tools of survival to now bring new encouragement and perspective to so many around you.

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