MY ANGRY FACE. MAYBE IT'S PERMANENT? - Tortola Adventures - By Stephen L France

"Don't make a face like that - the wind will blow and you will stay that way." 

That's what they would say, right? 

These words would spring from our parent's didactic rhetoric and not a single micro-expression exposing their fabrication emerged. 

Of course, we would believe them and the frowns and extended tongues would come to a vicious halt. 

Problem is, it appears I have fallen victim to this bizarre phenomenon,  that the weather apparently holds over our visages at infancy. 

At the age of 28, my face is still the depiction of hostility it was when I was a child... 

Embarking on a mini bar hopping adventure a couple of weekends ago, I had three interesting conversations, each one different yet significant to my alleged angry-looking face.

The first conversation was with one of my preferred bartenders in a marina located in the center of town.

We had one of our profound discussions about the nature of the universe, transcending debate about psychology, philosophy, cosmology, spirituality and finally, religion.

We arrived at the conclusion, that the world is for living so don't think about it - live it!

Amusing really, considering the fact that we'd been talking rather than acting on that hypothesis for two hours; however, it's always a nice reaffirmation of beliefs to hold conversations like this.

The second discussion was exercised out in the country at one of my favourite locations - Cane Garden Bay.

I met up with a few friends and a quirky chat ranging from talk about 'having children' to 'would you ever be a woman for a day?' kept things intriguing.

One of my friends, a very head-strong Scottish girl, believed that I was a posh boy who had never been in a physical altercation - in essence, that I was soft. This was both understandable and comical. I mean, how could I blame her?

Combining my voice, accent and education, it would appear like I was the type of guy who had never 'had it rough' or handled myself in a street bout. It's always interesting to have different perspectives and I was not the least bit offended. A little surprised. But not insulted.

The third conversation was back in a location in town with a bar maid I had never met before. This was the most unique, unusual, slightly disconcerting, yet reassuring discussion of them all.

"...he looks like he's always angry," she told me she had said to people in reference to seeing me walking through town.

The bar maid continued explaining how she wasn't the only one who had witnessed my fierce visage storming the streets of Tortola and that there were others who had commented.

She talked to me in a way that was poignant and simultaneously, endearing; she was both surprised and impressed that I remained silent - stoic even - and did not attempt to defend myself against her naked, blunt-honest perception.

As she continued, there was an indication in her words, that she knew me from somewhere and fundamentally, this was due to the fact that she shared some of the same interests I possess in psychology and 'people watching'.

Essentially, she had seen me on several occasions and every single time, my face resembled that of a person who was extremely angry, yet she also suggested that this was not reflective of my true persona.

In combining the three discussions, I had visited past, present and future, though not in that order.

The second conversation had transported me to the past in my attempt to enlighten my friend, who believed I was some kind of ponce, that in fact things had been rough growing up. It reminded me why I took life seriously.

As an infant, junior and teenager, there was always an antagonist lurking. I don't like to say I attracted trouble, but it really seemed to be the case.

I wore a frown as a deterrent in recognition of potential confrontation. Of course, it didn't work and in the years of my growing maturity, I received a hefty dose of physical and mental character-building, that most people now would likely not anticipate. Unfortunately, in my unorthodox education, the scowl stuck.

The third conversation escorted me to third person perspective of my present; my face is still dressed with a frown even though I have been conscious of this for almost two decades. In my awareness, I have done what my mother constantly instructed in my early teenage years: tried to relax my face, but despite my efforts, the engraved lines that form the intimidating expression remain an irremovable stain.

The first conversation was about how to live life for the future. It reminded me that I'm on the right track since I used to take life very seriously. In the recent years, I have mellowed considerably, but my facial expression still requires maintenance to catch up to my mentality.

So, if you see me looking angry, now you know the simple rationale supporting the apparent fury.

Funnily enough, I got caught the other day...With a big smile, the Caribbean would-be comedian's line as he extended his fist to punch hands with me was, "Fix your face man!"

Posted by Stephen L "Leslie" France