I hate pictures of myself, always have. My Facebook profile pic is a few years old and I am not one to agonize over the perfect selfie to share just because I want to say “Good morning!” to the world.
The worst ones, however, are those candid shots, the ones where I am in the background, unaware someone is snapping a pic.
If my grandmother was the photographer, she usually took the shot when I was shoveling in a forkful of something, mouth wide and eyes closed.
But those are almost bearable compared to the others – at least those are good for a laugh as she would proclaim, “And look, another one of Sudie with her mouth hanging wide like a garage! You can get a Buick in there!”
No, the ones I hate are the ones I am completely oblivious anything is going on and I am just sitting there.
“Who are you angry at in this photo?” Mama has asked.
“No one, I am just sitting there.”
“You look like you are going to stab someone.”
“Nope, I was perfectly happy. Just sitting there, listening.”
“Were you hungry?”
“Nope, see the plate on the table. I had just ate.”
“Did you eat gluten and were having a bad reaction? Sour tummy, maybe?”
For the love of Hello Kitty – no.
It’s just my face.
I have, and have suffered from a disorder that many women are plagued by. It’s Resting – I’m going to let you guess the next word – Face.
In other words, I look like an evil Disney queen when I am not smiling.
I was not aware there was such a thing until recently; I haven’t been clinically diagnosed – who has? – but I have symptoms of it. More importantly, others have recognized the symptoms before I realized anything was occurring.
“What’s wrong?” Cole will ask me at least 12 times a day.
“Nothing,” I reply.
“Are you angry at Daddy?”
“Why? What has he done?”
“Nothing! You just look…angry.”
I’m not. I am just sitting there at my computer, working. My face is void of the smile that makes me look like some circus clown, gaping at a monkey riding a unicycle.
Which brings me to another annoying point.
“Smile!” I am encouraged by people, some who don’t even know me, at random times, because they think I look all downtrodden and morose.
I am not nearly as macabre as I look, I just don’t go around smiling all the time.
I am not sure why, I just don’t.
And when you have this disorder, people automatically think you are angry, depressed, or on the verge of stabbing someone rather violently.
“You do look like you are about to punch someone,” Mama commented, seeing a photo with me in the background just sitting there, all RBF-ed.
“Punching someone was the furthest thing on my mind then,” I said. It was eking into my subconscious during this conversation though. “I was wondering when they were going to move on to the dang cake. I can only ooh and ahh over so many onesies at a baby shower until I am ready for the nonsense to be over with. I was told I could have the corner piece of cake with all the icing and dangit, I wanted cake.”
Cake, or more specifically, icing makes me smile. And smiling makes the obvious symptom of go away.
Because when you are smiling, even when you are thinking devious thoughts, you give the appearance of being happy, joyful and pleasant.
You know, you don’t look like you are going to pull someone’s ears over their head – as long as you smile.
Most of the time when my look is in full force I am probably doing the worst thing imaginable: Thinking.
I am not thinking sad or depressing thoughts; just thinking. Deeply, intently and more than likely, overthinking as well.
The look is evidently hereditary.
Granny never smiled and could look like she was going to shoot someone even when the old gal was not angry, which was rare. Mama may not realize it but when she was younger, she had it too.
Her post-middle-aged fluffiness has somewhat softened the effects, but she still has it.
For those that are used to a loved one having RBF, a fleeting, random smile can be alarming.
“What made you smile?” Lamar will ask.
“Someone posted the cutest puppy photo,” I respond.
I hate to break it to him; there is no cure, although scores of puppy photos and kitten videos offer a brief reprieve from the most predominant symptom.
It can be quite useful in some situations. There have been instances where people have not been very cooperative and while I was trying to come up with a solution, they misconstrued my facial response to be one of premeditated fury. It actually comes in handy then.
“You’re sure you’re not angry?” Cole will ask.
I’m not angry. I’m not upset, or mad, or any of those emotions.
I just look that way.