Eye Roll This Way
When women (or men for that matter) roll their eyes at someone or a situation, the meaning is clear. The last nerve has been broached.
The horror of it is –why let things get to the last nerve? I discuss nerves and nerve health a bit more in this post.
This time I want to address that heavy sigh, that West Indian strupp of the teeth also known as sucking them. “Did you suck your teeth?” a friend used to demand in humor, to make it known he heard the dissatisfaction. It always meant explaining myself.
The eye roll is the same thing and is a red alert meaning watch out. What comes after the eye roll and other body signals, like “talk to the hand,” is a literal swallowing of emotions that could have been expressed.
And though emotions are somehow expressed, the retort or ready language needed to share the depth of one’s feelings is not always available.
So, on this first day of Kwanzaa, UMOJA (unity), I’m suggesting that you observe your reactions to people. If you find yourself cocking your head to the side, looking straight up to the heavenly Father then cutting those eyes down left, right or to the floor with or without a long blink, you know you withdrew How You Really Feel.
To clarify, some folks do the eye roll AND express what they really think (maybe not feel). Their audience to the unfolding drama snicker in near unison: Tell us what you really think.
Indeed, how you really feel can be read by others, especially those with life experience. They get your drift; they’ve been there done that. There is no question you are communicating.
Even as you take a deep breath and explain yourself further, which is often the case, observe how you are now sifting, choosing what you want to say and how best to say it. Note how you may be trying to speak in as few words as possible.
God forbid you blurt out what’s going on with you and your feelings lest someone else get their feelings hurt.
In terms of feeling whole-and-complete and possessing above-the-line health, you may be taking away from YOU when “what just happened” results in an eye roll and minimal oral expression.
Stress, cortisol, adrenaline, fight-flight-freeze –all of that shot up the emotional roller coaster in the split second between your eye roll, the deep breath, and your considered explanation, if you were kind enough to spell something out for those who missed it.
So, in listening us over the years, I’ve found a good way to deal with unhealthy eye-body language is to use tonal language. You do it already probably, and you also know some people who seem to do it better than you do.
Brilliantly, you almost sing while removing the sting from your eye roll truth with these words:
Oh, I don’t know.
Well, I’m not sure.
Hmm, I’d like to think about it.
See… I’m not there yet.
This is a conversation about how to get past ourselves, meaning the ego and hurt that is expressing as us, and towards our strength and alliances.
Unity can be achieved if it is a goal. Umoja with our own feelings, significant other, families, neighbors and peeps IS where we want to go, and we may have to release eye rolls, sucking teeth or talk to the hand.
In my mind, bigger unity has to start from this humble place of zero-to-one –being in union with yourself– and 1:1 –being in union with your significant one. At least this is how eye roll.
–Rev. Niamo Nancy Muid