Has anyone else noticed how many faces are now tired, cranky, angry, non plussed and/or straight out aggressive? I cannot go to my local shopping centre without encountering at least one person swearing at me, getting angry and using very aggressive body language WHEN THEY ARE AT FAULT.
Roads around the shopping centre have pedestrian crossings. Plenty of them. People assume they do not need to look as they step out onto the road and I need to slam my breaks on. I don’t bother tooting my horn any more to get their attention. I just accept they have right of way and hope I can avoid their angry faces and words. People have little sense of accountability any more. Anything seems to go. Not only online, as Ginger Gorman writes about in Troll Hunting, but in everyday instances like this.
I rarely smile these days. My resting bitch face tends to reflect all that happens in the real world. It indicates what an angry, agressive state of life we live in. My response is to live as much at home as possible and go online for any semblance of community. I do not want to have to walk amongst NTs and equally drained autistics any more.
But then, the main place one gets happiness and smiles these days is on Instagram. Staged, stylistic photos with peaceful looking 20-something yo women wearing the latest beige outfit. No, thank you; it is one arena I stay away from.
As an autistic person, I am really on the alert to people’s expressions. Hyper alert, in fact. It can take a while to sink in and for me to assess and react to expressions, by which time, the person is long gone and has either bitched about me to their mate or forgotten all about me. I have had mostly angry and cruel expressions on parents, teachers, partners and friends faces. I find it acutely alien and discomforting to experience happy faces and genuinely huge smiles. I don’t know how to react any more because my face has been affected by the wind changing. My face seems to be set in resting bitch face stone, BUT I can tell you that my heart simply yearns for kind faces. Those who laugh with me, look thrilled to see me and become patient when I am anxious or confused. Those who show me these faces and expressions are ones I pledge loyalty to and will move the earth for.
I do need to make a conscious effort to calm myself and return to a much more pleasant inner state. I no longer want to join this world as it currently exists. Especially in suburban Australia. I want, and need, a world, or at least a local community, with less aggression, less anger, less complacency and more compassion. It starts with me.
I drive away from the angry shoppers, the hate filled co-workers and tired shop assistants with a sadness that they must have very poisoned souls. I hope that the screaming and swearing mother from this morning doesn’t treat her children like that. Is she reacting to a communal flow on effect that seems to blight us as a community? Is she feeling as alienated and marginalised as the others, looking so passively beyond it all, nearby? Or is she a product of a domestic violence history?
I know we all are complicit in where we are and where we head collectively. I see a very ill society around me and part of me wants to walk away. I had more kindness around me during a 30 min lunch break at a busy Singaporean hawker centre than I do in a whole year visiting my local shopping centre 26 times a year.
I need to find the energy to somehow change how I engage with it all. Withdrawing altogether is not the solution. I need to try harder to act in ways I think kinder, more respectful and compassionate. I am currently at severe risk of becoming the angry dead too. What an ugly picture…