Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Poker Face

"He scanned the group full of people with his dark eyes, potraying an emotionless and almost hardened expression on his face. His emotions, contrary to what he was manisfesting physically, were going haywire; yet he dared not show them. His mind was racing, and his heart whammed against his insides like a hammer, the force making it difficult for him to stand completely still. People were staring at him, glaring at him, leering at him. He could reveal none of  his inner thoughts or feelings. He didn't dare let them escape from his soul. He had to leave that poker face painted exactly the way it was when he had first put it on. His survival relied on it."

Ok, so the photo of the clover flowers which I took in DC a month ago has NOTHING to do with today's post. Nothing whatsoever. And no, the little blurb of drama above doesn't come from any of my written works in progress. It's based off of several different characters within those projects, though. Several of my charries have been in the guy above's shoes. Some are in this scenerio quite often and painting on a poker face is just a part of their everyday routine.

The poker face. One of the best expressions you can use when you are trying to appear enigmatic, fearless or inconspicuous. Or all the above. Maybe you want to hide your fear or concern for the good of those younger siblings of yours who might be worried or confused if they saw you crying or wide eyed in terror. Maybe you have potential enemies surrounding you at every angle as you walk down a crowded city sidewalk. You must appear low-key, unassuming, unobtrusive. You walk with your eyes staring blankly ahead of you, ignoring the eyes which may be watching you that very minute. If they knew who you were...things could get very bad, very quick. You must appear very unremarkable.  

Or perhaps you are leading your little siblings through the wilderness, trying to escape from a Communistic governement which would imprison you for your beliefs. You don't dare show any fear in your eyes lest the littles see, which they certainly need not. They're already scared enough as it is; they need you to be strong when they are not. So you dare not let them down. You put on a poker face.

There are many cases and instances when this expression comes in handy for less serious, dire reasons.
Most of us aren't being chased through jungles and sneaking through NYC on a mission of utmost importance.

We do however face challenges and struggles daily which either make or break us. Maybe you give your brother a compliment and he snaps back angrily at you for something you thought he'd long forgot about. Maybe you thought you finished washing all those dirty dishes and you turn around to find a whole counter-full more of them behind you.

Little things which irk, frustrate and annoy. These can be the hardest times for putting on a poker face or, even better, smiling and keeping a cheery countenance, which is what we as Christ-followers SHOULD be doing.

Sometimes a poker face is necessary, and many times it would be far better for us to simply paint one on instead of letting our true emotions flow out upon those around us. While it can be a good thing to allow yourself to be transparent, especially with immediate family and very close friends, there's also a very valid need for poker faces, too, in the proper times.

One danger which has wrecked, destroyed and even killed, in some extreme instances? Saying too much. Showing too much.

There's a time and a season for everything.

Back to using poker faces in writing, I admire my characters which are constantly utilizing the expression. Or, more fitly. I respect them. They are not squishy sissies who babble goofiness and wear stupid looks on their faces. Although some of them are hardened, jaded and skeptical of most everything, they do not speak idle words and they watch and calculate every move they make because their utter survival depends on doing so. Amidst their brokenness or rough pasts, they have learned to control their tongues and guard their lips.

That is not an easy thing to do. And even though it would be very nice to see them smile once in a while, I still respect them because they posess quite a deal of discipline. Not everybody does and it's a hard thing to aquire.

Well, there's your very random post on poker faces. Whether or not it will be beneficial to you? I don't know. But I hope it will be. :)



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