My Resting Smirk Face

“The woods are lovely, dark , and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. . .” Robert Frost

Turning off emotions that don’t serve me is something I have thought about a lot during my adulthood. I realize that I may have always been quite good at shutting some of my emotions off and I suspect that I became quite adept from an early age. Sometimes I wonder if this is purely instinctual or if it is learned behavior. I suspect it is a combination of both, but I really don’t know and I guess it doesn’t really matter. The truth is I can turn off some of my emotions automatically. People say I’m stoic. This is a quality that I’ve come to understand about myself after years of seeing it reflected back to me. After years of feeling misunderstood. Like everything else in life, there is good and bad that comes with stoicism. That’s life.

The downside. I have a poker face. So my words are important and I don’t always choose them carefully enough. I feel misunderstood. My facial expressions sometimes don’t match my feelings or the words I may be using to express myself. Sometimes I laugh when I don’t mean to at all. This results in miscommunication, hurt feelings, bad blood, disconnection from loved ones, and feelings of abandonment. It causes me to turn inward to avoid hurting others. And then that hurts them, too. It’s a no win situation really.

The upside. I have a poker face. The only time I really cannot control my face is at times when I am feeling really angry or sad. At these times I might appear to have a little smirk on my face that is misinterpreted as snobbery or sarcasm or meanness. This was something that a good friend pointed out to me in high school. I might have gone years longer if she hadn’t pointed this out so kindly. Thank you, Kelly.

Because I have been a special special education policy lawyer for twenty years and I read and study evaluations about children as a job, I know that the assessments are helpful for identifying the roots of some of our challenges. I do think that it will help some people to understand me better if I identify myself. I am actually autistic. I have never received a diagnosis and have never been identified by a public school system definitively as being on the autism spectrum. The truth is I found out as an adult that when I was a child there were teachers who suspected that I was autistic, but I was never evaluated so I was never identified as anything by my public schools other than gifted and talented.

That is irrelevant. I identify myself. What I do not relate to is my human design being a disorder. It’s just my human design. I am hoping that by knowing this people may be able to understand me better and maybe even understand their kids better. And they will forgive me for my miscommunications or other challenges that being in relationship with me might present.

This is just who I am.


Published by stuckinmybra

First and foremost, I am a mother, but I am also an education lawyer and policy specialist, an advocate, and an activist. I've been told by my closest friends that I am a fighter. My practice area is disabilities and education, which is where I have been practicing since 1999, before I had my own kids who are now teenagers and are all educationally identified as twice exceptional. I write about what is on my mind, which feels like a messy file system of old and constantly new information. I think about my kids and the people they are and how to help them become who they want to be in this world. I write about issues that affect deaf people because one of my kids is deaf. I write about giftedness, autism, trauma, inclusion, mental health and chronic illness because those are all things that affect my family. I write about my own life and the people in it. I hope what I write touches peoples hearts and opens people’s minds because I think people in our world need to have more understanding and compassion. I'm here to tell the straight up truth.

4 thoughts on “My Resting Smirk Face

  1. I love reading your blog, I admire how in touch you are with yourself. This one really resonated with me. I, too, am stoic and have a decent poker face. Not sure how well either has served me, but I love your exploration of it. Miss you friend! xo

    Liked by 1 person

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