World, you seem to be laboring under a misconception. You believe that, because I am a young woman, it is my duty to be winsome. Because I have an easy laugh and giant blue eyes, I am to be cheerful always. There is a problem here, however: I am not a robot. I am a person, who—as a consequence of her personhood—has feelings on the darker side of the spectrum.
Take, for example, when I am driving in the Whole Foods parking lot. It’s after work, everyone is in a hurry, and we all want to pick up our gluten free fudge frogs and get the hell out. So, when it’s my turn at the stop sign and you, frizzy-haired woman in an SUV, just go without stopping, I’m going to get a little upset. I may even frantically gesticulate at you, so you know You Have Wronged Me. I will not pull a gun on you. I will not even flick you off or call you a twitface. BUT I WILL RANT, IF I WANT TO. It is not your place, oh breaker of sacred driving covenants, to flash a peace sign at me and smile pedantically. It is your place to wave apologetically or ignore me.
I am allowed to be angry, when you endanger the safety of both me and my shiny new Volvo. Flashing the peace sign does not teach me to control my emotions, but only further enrages them. You do not get to devalue my feelings, just because they make you uncomfortable. I do not have an anger issue, I have an issue with people not paying attention to the rules of the road! You, my dear dumplingkins, are the one who screwed up. In the real world, I get to feel real emotions about that and display them within reason. If you find that other drivers yell at you so much that you’ve developed a condescending reaction to it, perhaps you should consider the pattern more carefully.
Similarly, TSA officer/construction worker/men in the next car, it’s not your job to tell me to smile. I will smile, if I’m happy. I will smile, if I think something is funny. I will not smile, simply because you demand it of me. It is not my job, as a young woman, to go about looking sunny and agreeable for you. Sometimes, I’m having a bad day. Sometimes, I’m deep in thought about whether or not Justin Timberlake chemically straightens his hair. It does not make me feel happier, when you insist I smile. It only makes me want to beat you silly with my copy of The Feminine Mystique.
People don’t go around smiling all the time, unless there is something clinically wrong with them. Our facial muscles would be exhausted! If you want to see a woman constantly smile, look at a photograph. Out in the real world, women show emotion based on how they feel. We do not exist for your viewing pleasure.
So, World, please back off. You don’t get to tell me how to feel. I, like you, react to the stimuli around me. Sometimes, that reaction will be a cheerful wave, but sometimes it will be furrowed brows and a wagging finger. This is how people work. Even pretty, blonde female people. If you want something that is always happy to see you, buy a puppy. They’re adorable and compliant!
I am not.