Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Beneath your Beautiful.

My husband (bless him) has had to deal with me loosing my cool with him a lot lately for taking photos of me when I am not looking. He doesn't understand my reluctance. I tell him I don't want my RBF (Resting Bitch face) on record and he tells me I am beautiful RBF or not (lucky me).  Still I am unable to give legit reason to why I don't want the photos.

I have had for a while now dreaded passing by a mirror and making eye contact with my reflection because I don't like what meets my eyes. The gained weight, the ratty dragon head locs, the blotchy complexion to name a few are just the little things. The thing that bothered me most was the haunted look in my eyes that refuse to hide even behind a genuine smile.

Most of you know I relocated from Italy to the USA recently....well it's been almost two years and I am still having  a hard time settling in. It's as a result of a combination of various reasons - Long story for another day.....

But giving up the life I knew, the friends I had and the family I created to come to the unknown with no guarantee of being accepted into the new was on its own unsettling. What made it all worse is that I come from a culture that encourages you to see the green grass on the other side of the fence as the nudge you need to work on and create an equally if not better greener grass on your side of the fence. So I came here with the thought of creating home, there I stood, looking for inspiration at the greener grass on the other side of the fence, and wondering how to recreate it here until I realized that greener grass was in fact the side of the fence that I used to be, and my first and lingering thought after realizing that was "What the heck did I just do??"

Unfortunately, I am as human as they come, I trust the devil I know better than the angel I don't know. So holding unto the safety of the familiar made it harder to take on the new, heck I would have to let go first right? But it was hard. Every which way I looked to  find something remotely friendly here to grab unto returned a frightening vacuum and that didn't help as there were other matters that demanded care.

Some of us don't have the good fortune of living through life in bliss. There is a murkiness of the mind that sometimes requires a lot more than a friendly smile and the happy-go-lucky fellow beside you telling you to simply suck it up because calmness and clarity of the mind is simply a matter of choice.

So slowly I started to spiral deeper into that dark place. Not good at all. This is my story of course and I have many such stories in the past too. Point is, when one arrives at that cross roads with a strong urge to retreat to the familiar simply due to the overwhelming fright of the unknown ahead, that fear will find its way to the surface of your visage until it nudges almost comfortably in the depth of your eyes. That is what I see when I look in the mirror lately. It has a rather annoying way of being contagious to the rest of your face until you almost have a permanent RBF when not smiling.

I'll digress a bit here....RBF is simply Resting Bitch Face (nope, I didn't come up with that one). Now that is that face we wear, or sometimes see on other's faces that looks like you are pissed off at something/someone when in fact you are just minding your business and NOT smiling like you normally would do. But behind every RBF there is a story.

So, back to what I was saying, everything I explained above is the reason behind my RBF, that isn't to say every RBF you see out there is struggling to settle in or is dealing with a murky mind or needing to retreat to the familiar. There are countless stories out there that touches one's core deeply and then rises to the surface until it shows on our faces. Point is, not every seemingly angry face IS angry.

Yes I am dealing with a very murky mind right now, I am having a hard time settling in and badly feeling a need to retreat to the familiar. And believe me, it takes a lot of spunk for me to even admit that to myself let alone tell you all. You see, where I come from, such a proclamation will have people whispering behind cupped hands and nodding at your direction with a knowing look. That bothers me.

Now I have lived in three continents (9 countries), you'd think by now I should be cosmopolitan enough  to have shed some of my initial reactions about what is and what should be, after all, we all see the same thing differently depending on what part of the world we are looking at it from and how it relates to our culture and tradition. So I should know that it IS OK to say I am not OK, yet it is still very hard for me to say that even if only to myself.

But you see that is not even all of it. We have turned into a society that are too much in a hurry to slow down and listen. I can't remember the last time I have had a conversation with someone that was genuinely interested in hearing what I was saying. The form of conversation we have adapted is the sort where we feel that every opinion has to either be agreed with or argued. We have forgotten the simple act of listening and simply taking in what was said. I am guilty of that too, unfortunately.

And it is also the reason why I have had a facade that can be deeply deceptive; it makes me come across as cocky and sure-footed. I cannot say what I would like to share because no one is listening, and if I don't come back with a witty reply to someone's opinion, I am considered non-engaging or at worse docile, So I carry my murk with me like everyone else, looking natural and feeling like a snail with its shell.

I have a very busy mind, i think twice as fast as I talk and as a result I have a hard time articulating what I mean when I talk - people close to me will confirm that. I say EVERYTHING twice in the same sentence (not in the stuttering sense, just repetitive). It is frustrating especially if I am trying to share something important. There is always a lot of details to it and in fear of not wanting to bore the listener, I summarize then repeat it. It doesn't convey the point any more by the repetition.

So people that know me in person know that I surf the surface when I talk, the best way to get details and clarity about anything with me have me write it....I digress. Anyway, we all have different coping mechanisms for dealing with the load inside. I write. But I won't go into details here.

I like the song by Labrinth (Beneath Your Beautiful) because it so clearly shares what I wish we all can do with each other - dare to push beneath the surface and reach the person inside that needs to relate and pull them out, because it is as simply an act as it is extremely effective and it helps start the healing process.

So with all said, the reason why I hate photos of me when I am not expecting it is because I don't want recorded memories of my RBF face, because each haunted look holds a loaded story I don't care to make a memory of.

I am lucky to have had a Labrinth moment this weekend in New York. All I can say is friendship is a rare thing but it also is a great thing to have when found. I didn't  do a good job of conveying the murk I wear; I only managed a few repeated in-cohesive summaries but I felt listened to for once. It felt great and that alone took the edge off my RBF. I guess the husbter can look forward to taking stolen photos again soon.

So as you wear your RBFs do remember that a shift always happens when you aren't looking. Nothing is forever. So while you ponder on that. I leave you with LABRINTH



Carrie A Ryman said...

Oh, Naan! I, too, know the struggle of moving to a new place, starting completely over again, new job, new friends, new home, etc. And nothing familiar to cling to for support except your significant other, which, thankfully, we both have! I LOVED what you said here (will paste the excerpt here so you know what passage I'm referring to):

"I can't remember the last time I have had a conversation with someone that was genuinely interested in hearing what I was saying. The form of conversation we have adapted is the sort where we feel that every opinion has to either be agreed with or argued. We have forgotten the simple act of listening and simply taking in what was said."

WOW. Truer words have never been spoken. I have noticed this myself and it's why I became a listener at 7CupsofTea.com. It's a safe place where you WILL be listened to with an open heart, without interruption or judgement. The sad state of affairs is that this online service is insanely busy because we are NOT providing this open listening within our own friendships. We should be better listeners for each other and remember that when a friend "spills" about how they are feeling or troubles, they do not want to be fixed! They just want to be heard and understand and not feel so alone. I hope your blog entry hits upon a few ears and reaches down into some hearts. Great job! You are beautiful, my dear, from the eyes and down into your own heart!!

NAAN POCEN said...

Thanks for reading through Carrie, and you are right, we do find listeners in little virtual communities, if only we can create that in our real lives.....I had to ask myself several times if I lack listeners because I don't listen? You know, like attracts like? Anyway change starts with the man/woman in the mirror.

Bev said...

Just because you've moved a lot, doesn't automatically mean we are meant to be nomads... Until I was 15, we moved approximately every year, to different parts of Canada and in 2003, I made the move down here to Texas. Looking back, I know that I had an angry looking RBF for at least 2 years :( Changes are not easy for anyone, especially those of us who have a desperate need for the familiar. Someone is listening :)

NAAN POCEN said...

Thank for reading Bev, and for the kind words. It is always comforting to know someone understands what I go through :-)