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To the Young Girl with Resting Bitch Face

A Letter

You’re fine. You’re not doing anything wrong, and there is nothing wrong with you. I know you know this now. It just makes sense, right? You smile when something makes you smile. You smile for pictures, you smile when your dad tickles your neck, and when your cousin goes ass over tin cups on the slip and slide. Seems easy enough. So easy that you don’t even have to think about it. That is, until the first person says to you, “Smile, Sweetie. You’re so much prettier when you smile.”

Wait. What?

“That’s not why I smile. Is that why I’m supposed to smile?”

No. That’s not why you smile. You smile because you want to, because you’re beaming with excitement about the ‘A’ you just got on your math test, because you’re with your friends, it’s eighty degrees outside and you’re going swimming in Fontaine’s grandma’s pool, because your mom bought your favorite ice cream flavor just because she knew it was your favorite; you smile because you’re happy. There should not be any more, or any less, to it than that.

The purpose of your smile is not to please someone else; it is not to make other people comfortable or lustful. You do not have to smile at anything other than the moments that are pleasant reminders that life is good. When someone yells at you from across the street, “girl, smile for me!”, when your Aunt Linda tells you, “boys will like you more if you smile,” when your coworkers ask “what’s wrong?” and don’t believe you when you say “nothing.” Remember that’s not the purpose of your smile. When a customer at your future job says to you, “What’s wrong with you? You could at least smile,” or when your college friends confess to you later that they “didn’t like you at first, because you seemed mean” until they actually met you, remember that you don’t owe anyone a smile.

Your smile is not a form of currency, it’s not something you owe someone for their interaction with you, nor should anyone expect to be paid with a smile for just being in your proximity. You’re not a billboard with permanent, pleasant marketing plastered across it. You’re not an item that has to be made desirable in order to be purchased. You are not an item. You are not for purchase. Do not feel that you have to change the configuration of your face in order to make those around you complacent, content, or agreeable. You are not anyone else’ convenience or background image. You are not what your image portrays; you are not the sum of your parts. You are a person, who deserves to have emotions, and diverse emotions, or no emotions, or to just be at rest. You are not only your smile.

I want you to know this, and I’ll say it over and over again: There is nothing wrong with you. You are not less than the other girls who smile often. You are not more than them either. You are not some off-breed of what it is to be human. You are not bad at social interaction, or bad at love, or unattractive, or unfriendly. You are not a bitch, and your RBF doesn’t define you, regardless of how many people try to pin you under it.

You are female. You are strong. You are smart. You are beautiful. You have the right to smile when the universe gives you a reason to smile. Your RBF will keep the weak people away. It will ward off those that think women are nothing but their smile. It will keep away those who are not willing to go deeper than the surface. It will deflect the insecure and attention-seeking. It will connect you to people who are serious, and efficient, and loving, and kind, and willing. Surround yourself with people who make you smile, and if someone makes you feel anything less, your RBF will let them know you’re holding them to a higher standard of approval. This is an amazing thing, because you deserve more than the cat calls, the bad jokes, the rude comments, the sarcastic remarks, and the backhanded compliments. You deserve to smile a sincere smile.

Continue on in your power, your confidence, your authenticity, and your uniqueness; your Resting Bitch Face doesn’t take any of that away from you, and if anyone feels differently, tells you differently, or kicks, screams, and cries anything differently, your RBF will let them know they can go pound salt.


A 20-something-year-old with Resting Bitch Face

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