There are many faces – round ones, heart ones, oval ones, big ones, small ones, some as fat as your head.
And then there are the faces that I have become well acquainted with when I mention I have Crohn’s. I never considered people’s faces or reaction much in the past, but after delivering my news to numerous people over the past six months, I have become very attuned to reactions and as such, faces.
Expressions are a brilliant thing. They can let a person know in an instant what your thinking or feeling and I guess we see so many reactions and emotion pass over faces all day every day, you can sometimes forget the significance of them. Not to mention every man and his dog has had Botox so sometimes you need verbal confirmation of how someone’s actually feeling cause they are stone faced! This make things very confusing – hello Victoria Beckham?!?
She looks upset all the time… but she crawls into bed with David Beckham… there is no way that woman is upset half as much as we would think. He knows what to do with a ball, uber cool, has an accent and covered in bad arse tatts – not to mention his adorable social media pics with his daughter make women’s ovaries explode. Safe to say, Vicky is not upset, her face is just frozen.
I digress, so as I have been on this little ride I call life as I know it, I have started to take note of people faces and reactions to my C bomb.
They go a little somethin’ like this;
THE TRAIN WRECK FACE
You know how you watch a funny video of a person riding down a hill on a bike and you just know it’s about to end in disaster. You see the guy behind the handlebars trying to regain control and you see the moment he knows that he is going over the handlebars and inevitably face planting into the ground. Your face reacts to the tragic, laughable misfortune going from, part shock, part horror and you normally follow by ‘ooww’ when he finally impacts with the ground.
You can’t help it – your frowning, then your eyes are wide as you see it playing out, then your ‘oowwwing’ while frowning and grimacing and contorting your face in all weird ways – you can feel the pain the rider is going through.
That is the trainwreck face.
This face is the one I get from people that know what Crohn’s is, they have seen the shit show first hand or have detailed knowledge of what it involves. These people instantly give me the train wreck face – it say’s ‘shit, I’m sorry, what a mess’.
They are also the quickest to try and pull their face back into a neutral position as they know that the last thing you want to see is that face. The sympathy etched in features staring back at you is often just too much to handle.
I SMELT SOMETHING DODGY FACE
We have all been in a situation where we have smelt something foul. So foul in fact that before you know it, your screwing your face up trying to figure out where the offensive smell is coming from or worse yet, WHO dealt it. This face I actually make nightly in my house when Ned drops a silent fart and leaves the room.
The smell is so bad that the second the noxious gas leaves his behind, he doesn’t even wait around. He get’s the hell out of dodge before it burns all his nose hairs. I sit there with watery eyes while saying things like ‘what the fuck have you eaten’ or ‘Neeeeeddddddd you bad dog’.
My face contorts into an ‘awww, gross’ mass before I know it. This face involves frowning, squinting my eyes and even at times the neck muscles are engaged.
This is the face I get when someone is trying to figure out what Crohn’s means, they know it has to do with shit, but not really sure how, but they also know they don’t like it.
You watch as they move from ‘that smelt gross’ face to ‘I am genuinely confused’ face, then as you explain what it means and how it affects you, their face transitions through the ‘train wreck face’ stages before they are left unsure what to say or do, often landing on sympathy or worse yet, the next face – the puppy dog!
THE PUPPY DOG FACE
This is the one that kills me the most! Whenever we leave Ned at the house he gives me this look. His eye’s get a little glassy, his ears drop and I swear he actually frowns. It pulls my heart strings as I know my fur baby doesn’t understand why he can’t come with me. He considers himself a human (he is, trapped in a dogs body) and as such, wants to do all normal human things – like go everywhere with me. This look is devastating!
This is the same look I get from people who are genuinely devastated, on my behalf, when I say the word Crohn’s. You would think I had said, someone died.
This is the one that makes me come unstuck. The sympathy on the face of those that stare back at you is what cracks my walls and often has me deep breathing trying to fight back the tears.
I had this face yesterday from the most unexpected of people. Our General G.P, Dr H.
This was the guy who pushed for me to be seen by someone when he felt my stomach all those months ago and since then I have been on the Crohn’s roller coaster. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so when I told him I had Crohn’s his features softened, he tilted his head and asked me ‘how it was all going’. That genuine concerned look on his face killed me and before I knew it I was fighting back tears and trying to say the words that indicate I am okay (I wasn’t) and that I have it all under control (I don’t).
I can’t help but feel for those that hear news like this for the first time. I am living this horror story so for me and those around me, the stuff they hear or we talk about is nothing new and they are now immune to the crap (LOL) that gets thrown at us on a daily basis.
Sure, they went through the face-phases themselves at some stage, but now they give me a different face ‘the not this shit again’ or ‘haven’t they fixed you yet’. This one I love, it’s the face that says ‘I love you, but if you whinge one more time I am going to nut punch you’ – It’s my favourite face because it reminds me to just get on with it.
Sometimes we can’t do anything other then pick ourselves up, dust off and just keep on keepin on.
I’m so very blessed to be surrounded by people who don’t give me a face that will crack the external barriers I have built to stop myself from letting this disease get me down. These beautiful faces let me know it’s okay to fall, but it’s not okay to stay there.
Their face stares at me with a ‘I’ll wait while you pull yourself together but you only get minutes.’ I love their faces! And these faces are the ones that get me through the three others faces I experience often.
For now, our game face is on and we are back to kicking arse and rocking this shit, like the Crohn’s Crusaders we have become! Will it stay this way, probably not. But we will persevere and get through it.
Game faces on!!