Thank God, I don’t have bitchy resting face.

How awful would it be to have people telling you that you have bitchy resting face?

Yeah.

Ouch! Right?

I can tell you from experience that it’s worse than having a passerby on the street say, “Cheer up!” or “Smile!” I can tell you that, from experience, because it happens to me more often than I care to recall. Having someone tell me I have bitchy resting face is actually even worse than my kids asking me if I’m mad when I’m not mad at all. It’s worse to be told I have “bitchy resting face” because it automatically puts a judgment on me I’m not sure I like all that much. Let’s be honest here. It’s a judgment that makes the viewer of my face feel better about themselves while making me feel sort of horrible.

I’ve seen the video that sparked all the BRF comments and I guess I thought it was funny at the time. There are some very funny moments in it, I admit, and yet at the same time I had trouble connecting to what exactly was funny. It felt familiar, that’s for sure. It felt on point. And so I started to say it too, trying to make light of something about me that clearly makes other people uncomfortable. I suppose what makes people uncomfortable is not being able to read my emotions just from the look on my face. Or more specifically, reading them (incorrectly) as angry or sad. Anger and sadness make people uncomfortable. I get that.

It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my daughter in the car and I asked if she was feeling all right that I questioned the label. She looked sad to me. She said, “Nope. I feel fine!” then smiled. I responded with, “Oh, you’re like me. You just have bitchy resting face!” She was offended and said. “No. This is just my face.”

There’s nothing like having my 16-year-old daughter school me on good thinking. I knew immediately she was right and I knew it because I felt this surge of relief run through my body. I don’t have bitchy resting face! Whew!

If you’ve never been misread like this then it may be hard to understand why I was relieved. It may be hard for you to understand why having someone tell you to “smile” or “cheer up” when you feel perfectly fine already is such a burden.

The thing is, when I’m deep in thought, or tired, or walking down the street, when I’m writing, when I’m concentrating, when I’m making grocery lists in my head, even when I’m thinking of butterflies and sunflowers, I am resting my face. My lips are turned down a bit. My brow might be pressed together. Maybe I’m squinting. Sometimes even when it feels like I’m smiling, it doesn’t look like I’m smiling. I’m not bitchy. This is just my face.

I feel as though I have spent my life trying to fit into someone else’s definition of what it means to be a fully functioning member of polite society. Maybe we all go through this, but I have often, if not always, felt outside the norm, outside the box. And you know what? I’m finally fine with being outside of it for the most part. It’s taken most of my adult life.

After years of struggle and identity seeking and random comments from strangers about my perceived emotional state, that comment from my teenage daughter hit me like an arrow to my insecurities. In that moment those insecurities burst and scattered like water from a filled balloon and I realized that I don’t have to play that game. Those people who need to label my resting face to make themselves feel better can feel free to call it what they like, but I don’t have to subscribe to it. And if you’re like me and have a face that operates like mine? You can call it bitchy resting face if you’d like. That’s your own call. But I don’t have to label myself that way. Labeling it that way just paves the path to my feeling awful about myself. I don’t have to do it. I can just love my face the way it is, free of the “bitchy” label.

So thank God, I don’t have bitchy resting face. This is just my face.

IMG_3898

The author and her resting face.

Advertisements

beautiful…

this morning while washing my face
i had this thought

it’s been a long week
a long month
a long year, truly.

i can see this year
written on my face
residing in my eyes

some sadness
some joy
some hopefulness
some peace
some worry

a few wrinkles
a few smile lines

as i washed away the night of sleep
i thought
‘beautiful’
even though i was not sure i meant it
or really believed it
still, i knew it was true
so i dedicated myself to that thought

and repeated it over and over
beautiful
beautiful
beautiful

because that is what life truly is for me
no matter what the circumstances of today
this moment
this day
this week
this year

it is, in the end
all beautiful.

What makes me beautiful?

I was in Target today and I came across this little pink sign in a lovely frame which read:

To be confident
is to be beautiful

At first I was taken with the sign. It was attractive; pink wood frame, interesting embellishments on the pink textured paper. I thought it might look nice in Riley’s room. I wanted to remind her that beauty was not based on mere physicality, especially now that she is in that pre-teen stage of her life. I placed the sign in my cart and took it out again three or four times. There was something about that sentiment that just did not sit well with me. So in the end I put it back on the shelf.

I’ve been considering beauty for a while now and often it seems that just when I have it boiled down something comes along to press me further into the examination and the appreciation of what it means to be beautiful.

This is where I went as I continued down the aisle toward the bath towels and bed sheets… Does being confident really equal being beautiful? What about being kind? Doesn’t being Kind trump being Confident?

So I’ve decided we’re to make a list. This is your assignment this week. I will start the list for us of that which makes us beautiful and would like you to add to it through comments.

I’ll admit that yes, confidence is attractive and mixed in with a few other things can in fact make us more beautiful so that will make the list.

Ready then? Here we go.
THINGS THAT MAKE US BEAUTIFUL:

honesty
being just
kindness
mercy
confidence
trust
wisdom

I believe there are many, many more but I’d really like to hear your additions to the list. What makes us beautiful?