The poker face

The old man only just smiling is the face that stands out. Before the selfie generation, he cracks a slight smile, though his feelings might be as carried away as the delighted younger people. Mrs Clinton appears to be getting the picture right, not quite ready to press the shutter. The security guards are massive presences. What of the young man on the left? He could be excited to be close to the candidate, but looks disappointed not to be in the photograph which would make it real.

I strip myself bare, here. You hear my feelings, as accurately as I can portray them, and my feelings flow across my face easily legible to anyone who cares to know. I give various reasons for this. Perhaps I just create a story I can bear, to make sense of randomness which is not comprehensible in that way- so the bits I miss out will rise up and bite me. Possibly I uncover parts I had not recognised. Possibly I delude myself by saying “I am X”- gentle, caring, whatever- so deny evidence against that.

Right now I am in a funk because something is looming, on Monday, and I can’t decide whether to duck it or embrace it, because both choices seem dreadful. How can doing something and not doing it both be bad? Because whichever I imagine, the possible positives of the other appear greater, and those of the chosen option appear illusory. No good can come of this.

I can’t imagine making my life better. I looked at the —– Studies Handbook, a fat volume of essays on something I have thought I am interested in and wondered whether I would like to read it; and the effort required seemed far greater than any benefit I might derive. I might start it then find it too much effort. Or I could apply for a particular job- Monday was the closing date, so not any more- but didn’t, because that would just go wrong. They would never recruit me. I might have an interview, and find just greater evidence of my own inadequacy.

I might be at the end of this blog, my experiment with the selfie generation, exposing everything, putting my life on line. I saw that old man, who is a “private person” as everyone was, and wondered, what is that like? Does he suppress feelings which blow up on him? Is self-efficacy the only thing that matters? I might be at the end of hiding away: however much I retreat I am still not safe.

Photo from this New York Times article.

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