Monday, December 31, 2012

Smiling Woes and Whispers

I don't have a natural smile and so it's very difficult for me to look and act happy all the time when I am usually just perfectly at peace.  Although my mouth may not be turned upward, I'm usually very content and quite happy.  I don't naturally show it with a facial expression.  Sure, that helps!  But, it's also A LOT of work to smile all the time when you don't naturally smile.

I've been this way my whole life.

I mean, look at this cat:  he's prolly pretty content in his cat world, but he has the face of grumpy:

My whole life I have heard "Smile, it aint that bad!" or "What's wrong?" or blah blah blah.  My whole entire life.

I would find out later in life my Mom received similar comments from people her whole life also.  Guess our unnatural smile is hereditary.

When I play pool, people think I'm concentrating because I don't smile and keep a "stoic" face.  In reality, I can look like that every day of the year, lol.

People tell me, "You looked so focused!"  Really?  I was just being my normal self; my normal unsmiled self.

Here I am in a very unflattering pic of me, but it shows my everyday face (click it to enlarge and really understand why people think I'm always upset):

And here's what I look like when I smile:

When I ran the OB Cues Ladies Tour for nine years, I had to act happy, smile, be friendly, etc.  I'm really an introvert, but I had to put on my extrovert hat and be happy for two full days.  I would go to the hotel exhausted at night.  As most introverts will tell you, when we have to be an extrovert, it exhausts us.  I needed my down time; I liked it, too.  I can be an extrovert and talk more, smile more, be more interactive with people, etc., but it really does take quite a bit out of me.  But, I didn't mind!  I never minded being an extrovert (just takes a little work sometimes).  :)

Since I stopped running the OB Cues Tour for about 3-4 years, a funny thing happened.  Since I didn't have to act happy or make myself smile for the players, I was more myself; an introvert.  And I therefore didn't try to smile because I had no one to impress or ensure they were having a good time.

So, now people see me as upset, depressed, etc.  I was told the other day that I was very standoff-ish.  Huh?  Me?  Now, granted I was also dealing with a very sick Mom and then she passed so I wasn't myself for two years, but I notice now when I go to tourneys that I don't really exist.

In a way, that's good because I need to focus on playing good pool instead of having too good a time (as my friend Jennifer does ) but it's pretty disconcerting to feel like no one likes me anymore.  It's been a really rough couple of years for me in this regard.  I feel shunned and out of place.  I don't have a clique to hang around and I don't go to all the tourneys anymore.

I admit part of it was me not wanting to be around people because I was so depressed, and I admit I don't really hang around people because I am an introvert.  But, as a board member I was included more, talked to more, liked more, because I had my extrovert hat on all the time and I needed to be happy, so the players would have a good time at the tourney - that's what Tourney Directors also need to do and be responsible for.

I notice I am more talkative at the Omega Tour because I run it and want to be nice to the players so they have a good time.  I can't just be my normal quiet self - I need to step up my smile and be actively involved in smiling and be more friendly.  This is NOT the time to be an introvert.

On the ladies league I am on, I feel more at home there than anywhere!  I used to hear it was full of drama, but I instead see a great group of women who love the game of pool.  I feel welcomed and respected and liked in this league (and also on my Monday mixed league).  But, the women's tour I no longer feel welcomed or even happy being there.

I suppose that's the price for stepping away from TD duties to do the proper thing to take care of my ill Mom.  I became out of touch with the players and other board members.

But, if you don't see me smiling, it doesn't mean I am in a bad mood!  TRUST me when I tell you there is a difference on my face between not smiling to being upset.  Just ask my boyfriend, lol.

Here's another pic - I'm playing pool and very happy!  My face just doesn't reflect it.

Because I am an introvert, I would ask for your help.  Please come up to me when you see me.  I'm actually very shy but I open up like a flower when people talk to me.

Much love and happiness to my true friends in 2013!


Babylon Brother said...

All right. Next time get ready for a hug!

matthew said...

Do you ever play worse or tighten up or are otherwise see a drop in your game when you're playing someone you've never met before?

Me said...

Thank you Babylon B. :)

Matthew, I don't normally tighten up, no. If I don't know someone I've never met, I have no preconceived notions so I just play my game, while also analyzing theirs (which is natural to do). If I have HEARD of them and I know they play well, then I tighten up and kinda falter until I get comfy.

Good question!

matthew said...

I think I was conflating introversion and social anxiety. I'm very uncomfortable around people I don't know and when I play pool against them, I tighten up and play very badly. It sometimes happens with people I do know, as well.

Me said...

that's very interesting, and a thought I hadn't thought of. Try not to look at them as someone you don't know, but rather a competitor you want to beat! :) Sounds so easy, huh? ;)