For several years I would glance at photos which included me and then do a double take and ask for a second or third look. The person I saw in the shots looked worried, no, not worried, serious, no, angry or irritated. That was it. She stared at me. She always had the same look. Everyone around her shared their smiles, their happy party faces, while I stared somewhat angrily into space--or so it seemed.
After having been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease ("PD") in 2010, I learned that masking or lack of expression can be one of the symptoms of PD. I tried to explain this to people when they wanted to know why I was worried, or angry, or sad. Then I forgot about it.
The other night Michael J. Fox was on The Good Wife (a tv show) and as a follower of this wonderful man, I recorded the show, so that I could fly through the show, only stopping to see him. When he was on, we watched him, my husband and I. I took in his movements, his speech, his stare. I'd forgotten.
The next day I was in a situation where people were laughing and having a good time. I myself was trying, but, to tell the truth, I was having a hard time and surely my stare had an extra intensity to it. It was then that I realized that no matter what I said that day, it came out strained and through a strained body and mouth. The content was overridden by the context. People didn't laugh at my best lines, and I can be funny. I thought I was funny then.
But my face didn't look like a funny person's face. I guess they wondered what in the world I was trying to say--or probably thought I was being sarcastic, the way people do when their looks don't match their sounds or words.
Too bad, it was funny. Now I feel a bit sad. Now my face matches my feelings, but just for a bit.