I have a confession to make.
I, the bear, have resting bitch face. Yes. It’s true. For some reason, my face just naturally falls into a state of bitch. I never realized just how bad my resting bitch face was until a few nights ago. I was in the car with my mother, we were heading home from the movies. We had just watched Red Sparrow. Without giving too much away, the movie was about a Russian spy. The movie actually depicted the process by which “spies” are trained to become master manipulators. It was fairly interesting. We eventually got to talking about emotions in general (no, it did not get all weepy). We talked about how my characteristic silence is often perceived as anger. To which I told my mother, just because I’m silent, doesn’t mean I’m angry. Without skipping a beat my mom said maybe that’s why you have little friends, because you always look angry. I don’t think she meant it as an insult but those were just poor choice in words.
Don’t worry. As an introvert, I am perfectly aware that I have few friends and frankly, I’m content with it. But it got me to thinking. Our entire discussion that night was about emotions. When do we feel happy, when do we feel sad, when do we feel angry, how do our faces project happiness, sadness, anger, and so forth. As I mentioned above, I have a very characteristic silence. Since I was very little, I never spoke much. We would have family dinners where my brothers and parents would talk politics, religion, news, what have you, and I would sit in my seat, eat, and just be in my own little world. Every since my mother learned about my introvertedness, she’s been more attuned to my silence and gives it much more importance. So now, when I’m silent at the dinner table she thinks its “out of character” rather than the total norm (which is annoying as hell). So when I sit there in silence, enjoying my food, she thinks that I’m in a bad mood. In reality, I’m not even thinking about anything. No really, I’m thinking about nothing. I’ve gone to my nothing box.
My mom, for some reason, cannot possibly fathom this idea. She thinks that since I’m not grinning from ear to ear with sunshine and rainbows popping out of my butt, that I’m in a state of misery with a rainy cloud above my head. Really, I’m just neutral. I’m not happy, I’m not sad, I’m not angry, I’m not anything. I just am. Apparently, this state of just “being” has translated, facially, into what my father calls cara de orto. Which roughly translates to “ass face” or as we like to say, resting bitch face.
I tried to explain it to my mom as a state of apathy and she said “oh so you don’t care about anything?” Why do we have to feel something at every point in our lives? Why can’t we just be indifferent? When I sit at my desk and write a paper for school, am I happy about it? No. Am I sad about it? No. Am I angry about it? No. I don’t really care. I’m writing a paper because I have to, not because I find ever lasting joy in writing about drug traffickers.
The only way I could think of explaining it to her was with a simple Mom, have you ever been sitting at your computer when you just suddenly zone out? When you catch yourself suddenly staring off into space with no recollection of the past 2 minutes? She responds well, yes. How did you feel during those 2 minutes of absolute nothingness? I think because her answer would have led to my point of indifference, she didn’t answer that question.
I like to think I’m special. Doesn’t everyone? Everyone likes to think that they’re not part of the average. I’m no different, so clearly, I must be average. Regardless, a comedian once talked about how women and men’s brains are different. Men have what is called a nothing box. In which they literally think about nothing. Which explains why they can sit for 7 hours and fish. The comedian explained that women don’t have a nothing box because they’re always thinking about something. Whether it is about how they have to write that report for work, or if they put that one load in the laundry, or did I feed the dog? According to this comedian, only men are capable of just tuning out the world and thinking about nothing.
But like I said before, I’m special because I too have a nothing box.
When I seek refuge in my nothing box, I am literally thinking of nothing. Are you getting the gist of the nothing box yet? It symbolizes indifference, neutrality, nothingness. By no means is this a bad thing. It just is a thing. Is it reasonable for my mother to assume that the absence of happiness is sadness? Or is the absence of happiness simply unhappiness? Or neutrality? Or indifference? Do I need to have an emotional opinion on everything?
Don’t you just love that shirt? No. Oh so you hate it? No!
Absence of love is not hate, absence of happiness is not sadness.
I’m simply, indifferent.