Resting Bitch Face: It’s Real

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help.  If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect.  Thanks for reading!)

According to Urban Dictionary.com, the formal definition for Resting Bitch Face is:  “A phenomenon in which the resting face lacks animation and appears to look bitchy at all times, thus leading people to believe a person must be upset, a snob or a bitch.”

I am a sufferer of this misunderstood facial phenomenon.  Thinking back on it for the majority of my life, I had absolutely no idea!  I would get the usual questions like, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Who pissed you off today?”  Or worse I would hear later that comments were made about me to others basically saying that I looked bitchy and “unapproachable.”  I wanted to say to them, “This is just my face.”  Who knows how many dates or hangouts I missed out on because someone was afraid to talk to me.  Who knows how many times someone may have looked at me and thought I was an angry person that would kick their ass in a minute.  Now to be completed honest and fair, back in the day I was not always the nicest person in the world.  I had what some would describe as a “bad attitude” and I was a bit of a “Debbie Downer.”  And I take full responsibility for that.  But I’m a totally different person from who I used to be.  I worked really hard to be a happier person for myself and toward others around me.  But do you know for all that work I did, I STILL have Resting Bitch Face?  Smh….

On a brighter note though, having Resting Bitch Face probably kept me from having a lot of unpleasant experiences.  So that’s good!  I feel like I shouldn’t be solely judged because I’m not walking around smiling 24/7.  Who the hell does that?  You know damn well if I did, people would think that I was either high or crazy.  Before when I saw someone sitting alone minding their own business smiling for seemingly no reason, I would have definitely been leery of them.  I would have more than likely thought to myself, “Is that person up to something?  They are smiling way too hard over there and they’re sitting alone.  I better get out of here.”  I know it isn’t right, but that’s what I would have been thinking.  Deep down in my mind, everyone is the potential killer/ rapist.  Weird thinking I know, but hey it has kept me alive and well so far.  I attribute this to watching and listening to far too many true crime shows and podcast.  But seriously though, it’s perfectly ok to be cautious.  But I was judging someone in the way that others judged me. And that isn’t right.

I currently work as a Teacher’s Assistant for a living until my successfully (and very profitable) writing career takes off.  I have to say children never think I have Resting Bitch Face.  Not that they would know exactly what that is, but they don’t judge me on my lack of a happy facial expression.  They usually just see another person that they can talk too about whatever is on their minds.  Children are extremely comfortable around me. I even have children in public places start talking to me without any motivation from me to do so.  I once had cute little girl start a conversation with me in a ladies line bathroom.  I’m sure to the adults around;  I may not have looked like I was interested in talking.  But she didn’t see that.  She saw a person that she wanted to talk to about her Little Mermaid shoes her mother bought her.  And that was the best.

Since I’ve discovered that I suffer from RBF, I do my best to be mindful of it.  Sometimes though, I can’t help it.  I get lost in my own thoughts of things I have to do or want to do. And my facial expressions (or lack thereof) get away from me.  That doesn’t make me not a nice person or unapproachable.  It just means I have a lot of things on my mind at that given time.  So next time you see someone who may suffer from Rest Bitch Face, don’t judge them too quickly.  There may be nothing at wrong with them at all.  For all you know, they could be thinking about how much they really want a taco.

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Yes, I’m single…. And?

There are truly very few things that I hate in this world.  Rude people, cantaloupes (someone is sure to take issue with that), the sound of my mother’s complaining and someone questioning me on why I’m single.  I hate that last one with an ultimate passion. I’ll paint the picture for you.  I run into someone that I haven’t seen in a long time and they run down the gamut of the usual questions.  How have you been? What’s new with you? Do you have any kids yet?  How’s your mom?  And finally the dreaded….Are you seeing anyone?  I swear when I would tell people, “No I’m single”, I used to feel like I was wearing a scarlet letter on my chest.  Shouldn’t have felt that way, but often times I did.  After my response I was usually given the obligatory slight head tilt and the common, “They’re out there. You’ll find them.”  First of all, did I ever say I was looking for them?  And second, how about THEY’LL FIND ME.”  I’m a catch over here.

It just boggles my mind that it’s so hard for people to understand someone choosing to be single.  It’s as if they think you chose to be single because you can’t get anyone.  When truth be told that’s totally not the case.  I tapped out of dating somewhere in 2016 after years of encounters with the undesirables over and over again.  Undesirables meaning that same type of person who had nothing new to say or give that the one before them had. You can go around forever saying, “There are no good men or women in this world.”  And be honest, some people overall aren’t shit, but that’s a topic for another day.  Or you could do a little self-inventory and figure out what else could be the problem.  Let’s see what could it be……Not enough singles where you live?  The places you go?  (How come I never meet anyone at the club?)  The internet?  (Dating sites have nothing but perverts on them.)

I’m sure all of us have thought these things at one time or another.  But have you ever stopped to think that maybe the problem is…you?  That’s what I came to realize about myself.  I was the common dominator in these situations with these undesirables.  I was the fucking problem.  How could I possible to be the reason why I’m single?  I’m fucking awesome!  Right???  I came to realize that I was the one attracting certain individuals into my world.  That was definitely not an easy pill to swallow at first.  But I had to face the cold, hard facts of my current reality.  When I really sat down and thought about the kind of person I wanted to be with, I came to another conclusion.  I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM.  (It was a sad fact, but also a funny one to me.)  The person that I desired to be with was totally out of my league, in a big way.  That revelation came as a big shock to me really.  How could I seriously list certain qualities I wanted in a spouse and not offer them myself?  To me, that’s just stupid and ridiculous.  So in 2016, I tapped out of the game of dating.  For me tapping out basically meant the following:  No more online dating, going out with friends and fully enjoy myself without worrying if I would meet someone, learning to be happy and single, working on whatever qualities I wanted to have that I didn’t and working on my body, spirit, and mind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life.  Hell no.  But I want to meet someone perfect for me to share my life with.  Maybe have a little family of my own someday.  Honestly, I’m still up in the air about kids.  I mean I’m not afraid of being a mother.  I think I would be a great mom.  But my friends have told me way too many of their horror birthing stories.  They have scarred me for life.  (Insert crying and laughing emoji here.)  But that’s a post for another day.  What I am sure about is that the person I want to be with has certain qualities that I didn’t have at the time.  I was wasting my time going out with the same type of person, doing the same bullshit over and over again.  Having the same experiences which always lead to the same results.  Aggravation, disappointment, sadness (often cause I thought I would never meet the right person) and anger.  The anger I felt stemmed from the fact that I had made the same choice as before.  (Insert emoji with the girl with her hand over her face.)

So I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I took a good, clear look at myself and what I wasn’t happy with and took it from there.  And guess what I discovered?  I became way happier when I focused on myself and left dating alone.  Now I know that may sound strange to some people reading this.  But it is the God’s honest truth.  Some might think to themselves, “She’s actually happy being single?  Oh my god, I would die.”  And a few years ago, that person was me.  But I have come to believe (and know) that I needed to take this time to get my mind right.  And more importantly, get my shit together.  I can’t be any good to anyone if I’m no good to myself.  That makes absolutely no sense.  The famous drag queen (and media mogul) has a saying that he says at the end of every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.  And it goes, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?”
Amen…..

Dear “Scared” White People

(Quick Disclaimer:  This is not about ALL WHITE PEOPLE,  just a chosen few.  Once you read it, you’ll know exactly who I’m talking too.)

Hi. My name is Nyikia.  In case you haven’t already figured out by my name, I’m black woman.  A black woman to be specific.  I’m writing this letter to you because I’m growing quite concerned (and a little-pissed off) by a lot of your recent behavior toward black people. I have listed a few examples:

1.) Calling the cops when black people are waiting for our friends in the local Starbucks.
2.) Calling the cops when black people gather peacefully in the park to have a BBQ with friends and family.
3.) Calling the cops when black people are going to view a house that is for sale.  Even though the person is a real estate agent, and had been authorized to do so.
4.) Calling the cops when black people check out of an Airbnb (with their luggage in full view) because you thought they might be burglars.

I’ll stop here because the list goes on and on, with your less than stellar behavior.  If you notice from the list, there is a consistent pattern.  The pattern of calling the police on people who don’t look like you.  Why is that?  I could understand if they were doing something that was suspicious.  But clearly, in these instances, they were not.  The suspicion for you was merely the color of their skin and the prejudices you have acquired over the years.  Now I understand that your prejudices have come from a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation.  And some have come from outside sources:  literature, television, hearsay and most notorious the media.  I’m really trying to work with you “scared white people,” I really am.  But at a certain point in life, you have to take certain inventory of yourself.  Not everything you see and hear about people is true.  Even the cheeto in chief (our current play president) knows this. Hence the term his administration loves to overuse, “fake news.”  Although in his case most of what we hear about him keeps coming up true.  But that’s a post for another day. Let’s get back to the task at hand.

I understand having a little concern for the unknown.  Dark places, stray animals, emails from strange addresses and yes our fellow humans.  I grew up in the 80’s with McGruff the Crime Dog, so I learned all about stranger danger.  But the one thing McGruff never taught, was to be afraid of someone based solely on their skin color.  If you asked the average child today to describe someone that frightened them, I’m pretty sure a stranger’s skin color wouldn’t come up.  Unless they were taught that in the home.  So why is it children are wiser in this regard than most adults?  I work with children for a living, and I notice that they have a tendency of seeing people for exactly who they are. Race not included.  When they judge you, they judge you on your merits.  Race not included.  When they are leery of someone, it is because of the vibe they get from the person.  RACE NOT INCLUDED.  Children are usually both open and eager to get to know someone who is different than themselves.  They ask questions without assuming they know the answer.  Children just see a person much like themselves with zero prejudgments.  So why haven’t adults learned to do this already?

For people who are older and intellectually smarter, we sure lack the intelligence of the average child.  I’m going to take this time to let you in on something you should have already figured out:  NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE BAD PEOPLE.  That is shocking right? I know the truth often times can be.  But I feel you really need to know and understand that fact.  Let’s be clear here, there are bad people in every race, gender, and country. Being a bad person is not relegated to a racial thing.  It’s a personality and behavioral thing.  If I went around thinking certain things about certain races, then my belief right now would be that all white people are racist.  And clearly, that is not the case.

I have a suggestion on how to help you “scared white people” in working through your prejudices.  Provided you actually want to get rid of your judgmental nature and possibly make a few new friends.  BE OPEN.  Get to know more about the black people that you encounter in your everyday life.  That sounds like a lofty task, but it can be made easy.  Simple start by saying, “Hello.”  Easy right?  Have a real genuine conversation with that co-worker that you see all the time.  Get to know them on a level that based on common ground, common interest and friendship.  You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in common with the average black person.  Everyone has that one cousin that they don’t like in their family.  You avoid them at all costs at family functions until another relative asked you if you said hi to them.  You can easily bond over that.  Or how you love your kids to death, but could sometimes punt them like a football when they get on your nerves.  Often times can’t judge a book by its cover.  You have to pick it up, read the description on the back or inside cover in order to learn more about the topic.  And the same goes for people.  All I’m saying is get to know someone who’s different than you before you judge them.  And for the love of God: STOP CALLING THE POLICE.

With all love and sincerity,

Nyikia

 

I can be happy for no reason: Right?

Lately I have had this stranger feeling that I haven’t always been too familiar with:  Happiness.  Damn shame that the above sentence is absolutely true in my life, but it is.  The part of feeling happiness that is foreign to me, is the fact that I’m seemly happy for no apparent reason.   Now don’t get me wrong, I have moments where I felt happiness.  Usually though it involved me giving or receiving something.   But to feel happy and have nothing new that has been added to my life, that’s strange.  Or at least that’s what the negative voice in my head tells me.  This is usually what happens right when I start feeling happy for no reason.  I feel happy and then:

Negative voice: “What the hell are you so happy about?  Nothing new or exciting has happened to you.  You are still in the exact place you were yesterday.”

Everyone always talks about having “haters”, but it seems that my biggest hater is me.  Maybe not exactly me, but that negative voice that I have allow to dominate most of my thoughts for a good portion of my existence.  I gave this voice a name, and her name is NENE.  I named it so I could better tell it to, “shut the fuck up” when needed.  Everyone has a NENE, even if you haven’t given it a name like I did.  For me, NENE is that voice that gives its two cents when no one ask for its opinion.  When I would want to start something new, NENE would be there to give me every reason why I will fail.  When I would want to talk to someone that I like, here comes NENE to tell me that that person would never be into me.  When I decided that I want to be a writer as my career, she keeps telling me reason why I’m not good enough for that.  To make a long story short, anything I want to do that’s positive, she’s there to quickly shut me down.  Can you see why I don’t like this bitch?  I will say this, I listened to NENE for years.  I strangely found comfort in her negative bosom.  Although she is constantly saying negative things, I listened, by doing that that meant I didn’t have to try.  And if I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail.  And if I don’t fail, I can’t get hurt.  Hence why NENE’s negative talk was comforting in a way for me.  I have come to realize that that is not a good way to live.  If I ever want to grow as a person, change my life or level up, I have to work harder and possibly fail.  Failing comes with the territory of trying to reach your goals.  Period.  Only the strong survive, and this time I plan to be one of them.  So now when I hear NENE’s negative behind creeping into my thoughts, I’m learning to quickly shut that shit down.  Whatever she says, I turn it back to a positive.  Something like this:

Me:  “Today is a beautiful day outside.  I feel quite good.”

NENE:  “It’s cold out there and you still didn’t lose that 10 pounds you were working toward.”

Me:  “Yes, it’s cold, but the sun is shining and summer is coming.  And I may not have lost that 10 pounds when I said I would, but now I can lift twice as much as when I started.”

Following me?  Whenever that voice creeps up on you with whatever it wants to say, find SOMETHING to be happy about.  It could be as simple as that fact that you are here to fight another day.  A lot of people didn’t make it to the age you are now, and I’m sure would have loved too.  You had a great breakfast, you made it to work on time despite the terrible traffic out there or you have a funny conversation with a total stranger in a store.  Anything that you can think of that makes you feel good or puts a smile on your face is sure to work.  Since I have been keeping more good feelings of happiness lately, I hear NENE a lot more than ever.  And when I do, I tell her (and myself) I can be happy for no damn reason if I want too.  And I remain happy because I learned a long time ago that if I want have things in my life to be happy about, I need to be happy now without those things.  Like attracts like.

Shy + Crush = Alone

I currently have a major crush on someone who (for all intent and purposes) doesn’t know I exist.  Maybe “doesn’t know I exist” is a bit too much.  I mean this person and I have communicated on Twitter here and there.  But you get what I’m saying.  What’s even sadder is if I had to opportunity to tell this person how I felt upon meeting them, I totally would not be able too.  Smh…..  I’m an extremely shy person, at least with people that I have romantic feelings for.  The thing I find funny about myself is, I’m not shy in any other part of my life.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I have zero problem expressing myself to anyone about anything.  But if I have the slightest romantic attraction to a person, I retreat quicker than a turtle does into their shell.  It’s quite sickening to me actually when I think about it.  Ha!  Ha!

What it all boils down too for me (and probably most of us) say it with me now: REJECTION.  I knew you would know the word.  We’ve all experienced it before and have done it ourselves.  The feelings we get from rejection are totally universal. Heartbreak, sadness, embarrassment and many more on the list that don’t need to be written.  The way we handle that rejection though isn’t always universal.  For me, I retreat and decide it’s not worth the risk of putting myself out there anymore.  But some people have so much self-esteem (aka they know that they are the sh*t) that no matter the amount of rejection, it doesn’t bother them.  Those lucky sons of bitches.  I truly envy them with every fiber in my being.  I have a friend who is exactly like that in every way.  She wouldn’t know how to be shy if she were being paid to do so.  I desperately need some of what she’s got ASAP.  I once sent an anonymous balloon to someone in 9th grade for Valentine’s Day.  I later found out that this person found out the balloon was from me, and gave it away to someone else.  OUCH!  Talk about a pain in the heart, my feelings and pride.  That one incident taught me a lesson, possibly not a health one though.  Never express your feelings to your crush.  Ever.  Ha!  Ha!  Seriously though if you’re actually brave enough to tell someone how you feel, go for it! It could actually work for you in a majorly good way.  In my early 20’s I had a crush on someone that I would see at all the poetry spots that I would go when living in New Orleans.  I knew that this person and I had a mutual friend, so I casual asked if this person was single.  Knowing how she was, I knew that she would want to hook me up with them.  She would bridge the gap that I myself was way too painfully shy to do myself. This person and I fell in love and dated for a while.

But what does one do when they are too shy to approach their crush, but desperately want to get to know them?  What has worked for me, has been finding someone to bridge the gap.  You want to be causal about it though because if you’re not, you’ll come off desperate.  No one, and I do mean no one, finds desperation attractive.  If finding someone to bridge the gap isn’t an option, you could always try sending an anonymous message to them.  It could help you feel this person out, without fully putting yourself on display.  I haven’t done this myself, but it’s definitely something that I would try.  But if you find yourself in the situation that I am currently in, crushing on someone who either doesn’t know you’re alive or barely does, have faith.  For me, I just put out into the universe that someday I will meet this person and we’ll hit it off swimmingly.  Yeah I just typed swimmingly.  Ha!  Ha!  I had an opportunity to meet them in October, but plans got changed and it didn’t happen.  And maybe that’s a good thing.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have been half as cool as I will be when the universe “hook us up” in the near future.

My job: I like it….but mostly I hate it.

Let me first start off by saying this: I feel BEYOND blessed to even have a job that I am slowly growing to hate. (Ha! Ha!)  A lot of people (including myself a number of years ago) who are unemployed would love to have a job period even if it was one that they loathed.  You ever had a job that you use to enjoy, but going there now is almost as unpleasant as going to the dentist for that filling you’ve been putting off?  Yeah, that’s me now.  I currently work a job in the education system that I actually use to enjoy.  It has since become a damn near daily, unpleasant experience.  I work with children ages 4 to 5, and for the most part they’re super cute.  But there’s always that one or two that make you question why you do this job and how you can get your tubes tied ASAP.  I don’t have kids and working this job has set that in stone for me.  (Ha! Ha!)  I try to focus on the kids that are enjoyable to be around and not the ones that if they were adults, would have gotten cussed out by now.  (Ha! Ha!)  I always said that I had more patience for kids than adults. A few kids that I work with now have me thinking that that may no longer be the case.  My patience level has be dwindling rather quickly this school year.  We are only about two months in and I’m like, “How many days until summer break?”

I try to put a positive spin on the current problem children….Oh who am I kidding?  It’s just one kid that drives me crazy.  So let me rephrase that.  I’m trying to put a positive spin on the current problem child that I have to interact with daily.  Maybe this kid was put into my life to teach me more patience for things I can’t control.  And trust me, short of me getting super stern with this kid (basically going black momma and if you don’t know what that is ask a black friend to explain, Lol) or completely ignoring them (They hate that, but it works.  Eventually they settle down and do whatever is I’m telling them to do) they are uncontrollable.  And honestly I don’t want to control this kid, or any of the others.  But what I do want is for them to follow the rules of the school (that they clearly know by now), be safe and do what you’re supposed to do.

You’re probably reading this and thinking two things:
“Why does she work with kids when it sounds like she doesn’t like them? They’re only four years old.”

To answer your first thought, I like kids.  But what I don’t like is disrespectful, rude, smart mouth kids.  And two, I know they’re four years old and can’t always control their thoughts and emotions sometimes.  But when I tell you to do something, and you look at me and smile while NOT doing what I just said to do, we have a problem.  And that’s the type of stuff that this kid does.  And that’s what makes me loathe going to work every day.  I’m sure that whatever is going on with this kid has zero to do with me and everything to do with what is happening at home.  Or not happening at home aka no discipline.  And I try to be mindful of that as often as possible.  But when a four year old is yelling in your face that they aren’t going to do something AND calling you a liar, that isn’t always easy to do. (Takes deep breaths and remembers to mediate later.)

Just know that if you are feeling the same way about your job as I do about mine, you are not alone honey. There are plenty who feel the same way we do. So until this blog takes off the way I envision, my first novel gets bought by a publishing house, my name appears on the New York Times Best Sellers List, I’m making TV and bookstore appearances and the money that I want for my art/ writing comes flooding in, this is my job. Love it or hate it.

Kids and Older People: Funniest People Ever

Most of the funniest conversations that I’ve ever had have been with kids and older people.  One group because they’re too young to have a filter and the other group because they’re too old to give a damn.  With kids the comments are fairly innocence, but even they’ll say things that can surprise you.  When you get to 70 and up, damn near everything they say is almost shock value.  And they don’t even do it on purpose which makes it even funnier.  Both groups of people just say whatever is on their minds.  Zero filter.  The two people that I know that I have had the funniest things to say are my grandma Carrie and her mother Rose.  My great-grandma Rose passed away years ago, but I can still hear her voice just as clear as day yelling at us as kids.

“Y’all f*cking kids better get out of the damn street!”

Yes, my great-grandma cussed at us as children.  She cussed at everyone on a regular basis and didn’t care that she did.  Everyone could be called the “B” or “H” word at any given moment.  And when you are a kid, that’s freaking hilarious!  Hell as we got older, it was still funny!  As I was growing up, my grandma Carrie would often call me, “a pain in the pu**y.”  Yeah, you read that correctly. Usually this would happen when I was begging or asking for something.  She literally just called me this same thing a few months ago. And it was still shocking and hilarious to me.  Ha!  Ha!

Kids (thank God the ones I have encounter don’t curse) will say things that totally crack me up.  I currently work with 4 year old preschoolers, so there is never a dull moment. Kids this age will say the most outlandish things out of nowhere.  When my niece (who is black & white) was 3 years old, I took her to Walmart to pick her own Christmas present. While browsing the toy aisle, she starts pointing and singing a song.

“Aunt Mickey! Aunt Mickey! I’m black! And you’re black! And he’s white! And she’s white!”

Completely embarrassed and mortified I try to quiet her down by saying, “Yeah, yeah yeah.  We’re black, we’re black. Shhhhhh.”  She quiets down for a minute or two before she starts up again.

“Aunt Mickey! Aunt Mickey! I’m black! And you’re black! And he’s white! And she’s white!”

At this point I’m like, “Yes J, we are black. Will you please stop pointing at people? Oh my gosh. People are going to think that we are racist or something.”  Clearly she’s 3 years old, so I know she has no idea what the word racist means.  But she had to know I was uncomfortable or something with the situation because she starts laughing!  And honestly I did too.  It was kind of funny, what else was I supposed to do?  I recently had one of my preschool students say to me the other day that a little girl in the class was his girlfriend.

Him: Miss N. Shannon is coming over here. She’s my girlfriend.”
Me: Huh? Your girlfriend? Does she know this?”
Him: No, not yet. But I’m working on it.

I can’t……Damn near falls over laughing at him.  He’s, “working on it?”  What the f*ck? How would he even know at 4 years old exactly what that means?!  Ha!  Ha! Ha!  If you get the chance to sit down and have a conversation with a kid or a senior citizen, you should do it.  You don’t even need a specific topic to start with.  A simple, “Hi, how are you today?” will surely get the ball rolling toward their comedy and your laughter. Enjoy!