Resting Bitch Face Syndrome

The semester is over and so I am back on the blogosphere. Truth be told I never left. Yes, it’s true… I had a blog affair. I was taking an Upper Level Elective writing class for my degree and a large chunk of my grade depended on maintaining a focused blog throughout the session. My blog was centered around book reviews, Young Adult novels in particular; but it’s over now and I am back to my true love, these diaries.

I wish I had some crazy stories or amazing news to give you guys, but the last two months have been the standard daily grind of work and school. I did go to a The 1975 concert and yell at some Laguna Beach looking white kids who were smoking weed in an indoor venue. Look, you want to get high, that’s your own prerogative, but do it in an open space. I’m not for forcing a second hand high on people inhaling your cheap weed cause you don’t have any consideration for others. I’m also not for doing it at their age, they couldn’t have been more than sixteen. I’m also not their parents, though I felt like it in the moment. To be fair, I endured it through two crappy opening bands and had had enough. Weren’t they sufficiently high by this time? So, I threatened them and they stopped for the three minutes I stuck around them.

Things like this are easy for me. I have what they call, “Resting Bitch Face” Syndrome. It doesn’t matter what I am doing or what kind of mood I am in, people only ever have three first impressions of me and I have heard them over and over my entire life: I’m mean, I’m intimidating or I hate them. This is literally the story of my life.

I have spent my entire life explaining myself or apologizing for myself because of this. It’s like people expect me to change my entire personality or my physical appearance to make them feel more comfortable. My state of being affects people’s whole worlds. I have the superhuman ability to shatter their entire existence based on my mood; and no one ever takes my word on how I am actually feeling. Why would I lie about this? I am not passive aggressive. I have no qualms about telling people what I am thinking or what emotional state I am in.

Just recently I went through an incident at work where someone who is related to one of  my co-workers decided that I was just like her husbands ex-girlfriend. Talk about projecting your issues. I had literally said two words to this woman at this point, but she felt comfortable enough to tell me exactly who I was like. In fact, people tell me all the time what they think of me as if because I am a strong person, I am made of steal and devoid of the ability to be hurt or affected by people’s words. It’s always some backhanded compliment, like I am nicer than they expected. How am I supposed to respond in these situations? What are people expecting of me? Do they want me to thank them? Comfort them? Explain myself to them so they can move on with their lives?

This incident with my co-worker’s relative is nothing new for me. I have spent my whole life trying to make other people happy by constantly holding myself back or bending to accommodate their personalities; and never was it reciprocated. All the while, I am miserable thinking the problem is me because I am the common denominator. I’m too strong, too unreadable, too intimidating, too me; but I don’t know how to be anyone else. So, I’ve spent practically my whole life thinking I was wrong, thinking I was too much to handle, too much of a challenge, too difficult. Nothing I did helped this. No amount of smiling, laughing, joking around or quirkiness could undo it. No amount of kindness, consideration or compassion could overshadow it. I was and am, marked for life.

However, something shifted after this particular instance. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was finally done explaining. I was done apologizing. I no longer cared to cater to other people’s opinions of me. Now, I know this might not make me anymore friends. In fact, it could just end up creating more enemies, but I will finally be able to stop beating myself up for something that isn’t actually my problem. I can finally be free to be happy living in my own skin, loving all of me, not just part of me; and that’s enough for me

If you have “Resting Bitch Face” just know that you are not alone. More importantly, you are understood. You have my empathy. What I would like you to know is an age old saying that has literally saved my sanity, “our reactions are our responsibility.” How people respond to you is not your issue or burden to carry around. You have no obligation to justify yourself to anyone. If they don’t understand you than a conundrum you will remain. It’s not your job to bring peace to their world over who you are and what you are about. Be yourself unapologetically. Be free.

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