NanoWrimo day 3
Before I was born, I was cursed with resting bitch face. I am not sure what bruja my ancestors angered but all the women in my family are burdened with resting bitch face. Maybe it’s a small sacrifice for the ferocity that burns through our veins. Because no woman travels to America in hopes of making a new life without the shield of resting bitch face. Perhaps my Grandma Nicolasa lost her smile on the journey and forgot how to pass it on. The women in my family have never had easy lives, we come from heartbreak and destitution, from pull yourself up from nothing and be the change you need in your life. Maybe they drowned their smiles in sorrows and hard work and raising five kids all on their own. Because a smile wasn’t worth taking one step off the path of making a better life for their children.
If I am not laughing or crying I have this constant pissed off expression set into my face. Even when I am perfectly happy and could be having a marvelous day, people ask me if I am mad. Co-workers would constantly ask me if I was angry or tired or frustrated. Don’t mind me scrubbing counters and refilling coffee carafes! I suppose I should have smiled while I cleaned up other people’s trash.
My resting bitch face says; don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, I am not approachable, I am not your friend, I am angry, leave me alone. It is a small price to pay in exchange for freedom from unwanted advances. Why do I need to look constantly happy and approachable? Why do women have resting bitch face and men don’t? When I am minding my own business, selecting onions or potatoes from the produce section, do I need to smile about it?
Our cultural narrative is one that says women need to look happy all the time, because if we don’t, men won’t want to talk to us. As if men talking to us should be the highlight of our existence. Comments from men and women telling me to “smile more” only taught me to doubt myself. Having to constantly actively engage tiny facial muscles into a plastered pleasant look does not make me a better person. It makes me a distracted self conscious person, a person who isn’t really listening to those around her because she is concentrating on not looking like a bitch.
I have had people tell me that they were afraid to talk to me because they thought I was bitchy and cold and angry all the time. I can only hope that anyone who thinks that would also allow me to display my depth. I am not a two dimensional character in a bad television program. I come with all of life’s beautiful complexities just like the next person. Don’t judge me by my resting bitch face, judge me by my actions, judge me by how I handle my mistakes.
I think my resting bitch face can be my armor. Perhaps it wasn’t a curse at all, but a gift. My resting bitch face is my power, it’s my I get shit done face, it’s my don’t mess with my kids face, it’s a little bit of curandera magic passed down from generation to generation. It is the pieces of my feminine ancestry that I will carry until the day that I die, and the memory of the sacrifice that was made for me to live the life that I live today.
I thought I always wanted to be the warm approachable woman, but I think it’s ok to not be that person. So here I am world, resting bitch face and all. And I am not sorry.