A month ago I was told the proper term to my physical issues. RBF syndrome stands for “Resting Bitch Face,” and I have it. For years since I was a child, I was constantly doted on as though I were on the verge of angry tears or going postal. In junior high, I realized that I naturally looked pissed off all the time. For a couple of years I believed I was subconsciously too bitter and angry, and that I needed to calm down better in order to have a naturally joyful expression all the time. After a long series of anger management exercises, I discovered I wasn’t as postal as I thought I had been. Turns out, my natural relaxed-face expression mimics that of a disgruntled “Bones” McCoy from Star Trek (I knew there was a reason I liked him so much).
A couple of years ago I had really understood my syndrome when entered in my university’s beauty pageant. Holy Cow, it hurt to smile that dang much. It reminded me of all the times I would force myself to smile and laugh over a long duration, like at a job interview, a conversation about income with my boss, talking to the parents of the kids I taught (daycare), and friends of friends with whom I was entirely awkward in the beginning.
Look, I grew up taking ballet and enjoying the hell out of dramatic acting. Ballet is an expressionless-encouraged sport that expects you to be as stone-cold serious looking as possible (usually). Too many smiles, laughter, or expressions of any kind take away from the fluent body in dance, which makes sense to me. Acting required a myriad of ever-changing expressions, but drama tended to lean more towards the darker expressions like depression, anguish, fury, cunning, and serious seriousness. So maybe I was environmentally conditioned to look disgusted with everyone and pissy all the time. Or maybe it’s genetic, because my mother has dealt with this from the dawn of time… But she usually is disgusted with everyone and pissy.
All I know is that I’m nearly constantly asked, “Why do you look so mad? Are you upset? Are you ok? Good lord, what are you thinking about??? Hey, what’s wrong?!?”
I’m just falling asleep.
Or scrolling through emails, or reading a boring textbook, or simply zoning out.
Although I do enjoy rant-humor, my actual bursts of anger are fleeting and reasonably caused. I certainly do not get livid amongst others in public, unless it is a truly enraging issue. Even then, I excuse myself.
Until more people are aware of RBF syndrome, I suppose the world will continue to believe that I’m permanently judging my surroundings distastefully. Oh well. Here’s to all of us who have RBF syndrome; cheers!
(Also, check out buzz-feed’s latest video on Resting Bitch Face here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1476948509112693&fref=nf)