A very wise person I am lucky to know remarked "I am just very good at putting on a happy face, better than most would know."
And that person is right and is very good at it. But the question came to mind - why should anyone have to put on a happy face?
Is it embarrassment? Is it a fear that we will be looked at as weak?
Is it an adult form of Peer Pressure? Are we that worried about what people will think if they know our true level of pain?
Is it one of too much practice? After a while it simply becomes second nature and we, in a way, detach from our real self?
I'm pretty good at putting on a happy face. But I am also bloody good at being an A-1 drama queen that lets EVERYONE know how I am feeling (and yes I am attention seeking when I do it). This, conversely, is also my number one fault. Being a drama queen. It isn't pretty, but I'd be lying if I said otherwise. And most who know me would be peering at me in that "Really Rose?!" sort of way if I tried to convince them otherwise.
Giving it some thought I have come to the conclusion that it is one of permission. We don't permit others to let their true pain through. And so, many if not most of us walk around with our happy face plastered on.
Think about it. How often have we felt uncomfortable when there has been someone we know - or worse, didn't know - suddenly break down in a torrent of tears and running nose? I know I have. It makes me uncomfortable because I often want to join them. Given I am an ugly crier - snot running from the nose, contorted/grotesque face, elephant seal like wailing etc - it isn't something I really am about to do. But why not?
Because I am not allowed.
No....not by you or you or you or even you (you all know who you are) - but WE aren't permitted to as a society.
We go to work with our happy face on.
We go out with friends. Happy face ON.
We go home to our families / partners / loved ones / un-conventional domestic constructs.... happy face.
We don't like excessive emotion. Unless its happy, and even then you better measure that shit out. You're allowed to be as joyous as you want to (measure it!), but should you wish to sit down and have a good snot run?.......nope. No thank you. Go over to the naughty corner and think about what you did.
The wise person I know of is one of the smartest people I know. This is someone with a serious IQ. And yet even they are very careful to maintain the happy face. To detriment I think.
I am not saying we all need to be wailing messes all the time. But I think there is something to be said for NOT putting the happy face on sometimes. We get to be honest for a few moments / minutes. And that has to be healthy. Even if it makes me / you / us / society feel uncomfortable. Surely a little bit of discomfort is a bearable thing if it means someone else gets a few moments of honest, snot encrusted peace.
PS Yes I am aware that me trying to inject humour into this is a form of Happy Face in and of itself. The irony is not lost on me. Now, here's a tissue.