I hope everyone has had a great week, and all of the mothers out there have had a great Mother’s Day. It’s a holiday that is bitter sweet to me. While I am so thankful that I have three healthy, wonderful children, two great stepsons, and one grandson, I no longer have my own mother here with me. It’s been about 14 1/2 years since we lost her to cancer, but you never stop needing your mother.
My mother was very concerned with appearances because of my father’s job as a minister. Our family was under a constant microscope. Sometimes it was just plain unfair the way we were scrutinized. We had to sit, stand, and carry ourselves in certain ways. While I understand the pressure she was under as the wife of a minister, and the mother of five daughters who needed to present a certain image, I always hated being judged in that way.
One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me to “Smile!” This is such an infuriating command! I’ve heard this since I was a teenager. Now they have a name for this scowl that I apparently carry with me…..”bitchy resting face.” Yes, I have that. It doesn’t mean I am angry. It doesn’t mean that I am upset. It doesn’t mean that I’m grumpy. It doesn’t mean that I’m mean. It means that I’m thinking about my day, my children, my career, my husband, my car, my dog, etc. It means that I’m minding my own business. It never occurred to me to tell anyone else what kind of expression they need to have on their face. It’s not really my business. Do we look better with a smile on our face? Sure! But if I walked around all day with a fake smile on my face, I would be in pain, and probably have a headache. Sorry. It’s not worth it to me. If someone tells me to smile, I will most likely look them in the eye and say, “No.” I bet that doesn’t happen to them often! I will continue to have my “bitchy resting face” because that’s just my face! Apparently, I was born with it.
Another thing that I have been unfairly called out on is body language. I realize that body language can be very useful in the eyes of the law when it comes to interrogating someone. It can also be important when interviewing for a job, or having a confrontation with someone. You should carry yourself tall (in my case….I will stretch my full 5’1″ frame as tall as I can) and proud to show confidence. However, if I am just sitting, again….minding my own business…I can fold my arms if I want to! It doesn’t mean I’m angry. It doesn’t mean I’m stand-offish. It doesn’t mean I’m closing myself off from anyone or anything. It might mean that I’m cold (which I am frequently), or maybe it’s just comfortable! I realized this morning that I was sitting through church with my arms folded, and probably had my bitchy resting face on. I wasn’t thinking anything negative, or trying to show my discontent about anything. I was just sitting the way I felt comfortable.
Sitting with my arms folded, and not constantly smiling has nothing to do with anyone else. Please do not judge others by these things. No one can know what is going on in your mind, or know what makes you feel comfortable. The people who judge these quirks might need to look in the mirror. To me, judging someone’s body language and facial expressions unfairly tell much more about the person doing the judging than the ones being judged. Maybe a better option would be to engage this person in conversation to find out if they are truly upset about something. Maybe then, instead of judging, they can help these individuals.
Making a good impression is important, but let’s not act like we know all about someone just by the way they sit or look. Let’s not make it our place to tell anyone to smile, or how to sit. It’s not anyone’s business.