Resting Sad Face

There’s this term that is frequently used called “resting bitch face.” It describes someone whose neutral or resting face looks like they are annoyed or mad.  

I don’t have that.

What I have is resting sad face.

I don’t know when it started. Presumably sometime after Mike died since he (or anyone else) had never mentioned it to me before.

It was first pointed out to me by David a few months into dating. I had no idea I was doing it. I’m resting, doing nothing, and he says to me in the most concerned, worried, panicked voice, “What happened? What’s wrong? Are you ok?” I just looked at him, “what?” I had no idea what he was talking about. He described how I looked so devastatingly sad. Nothing in particular was wrong at that moment. I don’t even think I was thinking about anything. Just relaxing.

He continued to point it out and be concerned whenever he saw it. I had to assure him that I was my usual self. I thought he was over analyzing. I wasn’t doing anything with my face. Then I was hanging out with my family one day and my sister and David were there. They were talking and I was kind of zoned out I guess. My sister interrupts the conversation to say, “Olivia, are you okay? What’s wrong?” in the same panicked, worried voice David had used that first time. David smiles at me as if to say, “see, I’m not crazy” and then they discuss it.

So, apparently I have a resting (very) sad face now.  

I guess that is my default face. When I am not thinking about anything in particular, I look sad. When I am relaxed, I look sad. When I am not putting in the work to be doing something happy, I look sad.

I don’t do it on purpose. If I had a choice, I’d have a happy resting face. But maybe that’s exactly the point of it that I don’t. I work hard at making choices that make me feel happy. I am actively seeking out happy. Maybe my resting time is my body’s time to recoup to let out some of that sadness that is in there. I’m not even conscious that I’m doing it. It’s just a small outlet and release. It’s a rest.

It doesn’t feel good or bad. That is just how it is. It is there without intention. The very fact that my resting face is sad might seem sad in itself. It use to annoy me when it was pointed out. But I don’t really think that facial expression is particularly unfortunate or a reason to be upset really. It’s human. I’m human. There’s happiness and sadness in me. It shows itself when and how it wants. It’s not in control of me but it’s there.

Maybe one day I will have a resting happy face, but for now, it is sad.


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  • Diane Waguespack Romeo
    commented 2018-11-14 04:13:28 -0800
    So true. I can sometimes feel when I have my resting sad face. I try not too, but that’s how I feel. Still So sad that he is gone. I have plenty to be happy about, but also sadness seems to be around every happy- must be because Darrin is not here to share in the happy.
  • Melissa Hathaway
    commented 2018-11-03 15:25:00 -0700
    Yup, that’s me too.
  • Ron Marro
    commented 2018-11-03 07:36:27 -0700
    I look in the mirror and feel so alone. I think my resting face must show the pain and sadness I feel everyday.