Poker Face--it's not just a song by Lady Gaga. It's a something we put on everyday. It was just a casual remark from a coworker, said in response to an observation that I had about the office. I ended my remark with, "Well, I won't complain," to which she answered, "Oh Christeene, it's okay, you never complain." I thought to myself, really? I never complain? Me? Could she please repeat that to my husband? (Literary term moment: this was actually ironic, because I actually was complaining in a back-handed sort of way)
I realize that in my office, I have a reputation for being a compliant hard-worker. A smiling, optimistic, "non-complainer" (apparently), who rolls with the punches, and keeps moving no matter what happens. It is a reputation that I am proud of, a reputation that I strive to maintain everyday, swallowing many a sarcastic remark, pointless whine, and caustic critique for the sake of maintaining office harmony.
I realized today, hovering over the copier, that my husband and family may not recognize that same Christeene that my coworker so earnestly praised today. Who is this "non-complainer?" they may ask. Because she surely doesn't live in our house. Why do I not bring the same gusto to my home life as I do to my job, for strangers? I have prided myself on my poker face, the veneer that I plaster on for the world ad nauseum, and saved the real ugliness beneath for the people I love the most.
Why is it so hard to bring our best home? Is it because there is no promotion, no raise, or no recommendation waiting for us at home that we allow ourselves, our tongues, our demeanor to be as primordial and ugly as possible? But when I die, I will not yearn for the faces of my coworkers. I will not remember the titles that were used to describe me when I am in need of a hand to hold from the hospital bed. Tonight I will ask my family for forgiveness for my acid tongue. Tonight I will vow to pour as much (if not more) into my family as I do into perfect strangers. Tonight I will no longer take pride that the world has not yet called my bluff and seen past this poker face.