Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Your Confused Face is an Ugly Face

This is a public service announcement: Your confused face is an ugly face.

Do me a favor.
Go stand in front of a mirror.
Now close your eyes and think of a time when something confused you. Or caught you off guard. Or threw you for a loop.
Channel that moment. Feel how your felt. Make the face you made in that moment.

Now open your eyes.

Yikes!  Not a pretty face right?  In fact kind of an ugly face.

How do I know this? No, it's not because I am spying on you through your mirror - I'll leave that to the government.

The reason I know this is because that is the face we see over and over and over again when we are out in public. A confused face that is in fact an ugly and unfriendly face.  So I'm on a mission to raise awareness that your confused face is an ugly face - and in doing so hopefully make the world a better place.

Imagine what it would be like walking through life if this was the face you saw every time you made eye contact with a stranger.
















Disturbing right?

And then, as if that isn't bad enough, the person making their ugly face realizes they have been staring at you (or your child in our case) with their ugly face and they quickly attempt a recovery face - and it looks something like this:


Not much better. Actually maybe worse.

Honestly after seeing this face so many times, I want to just to go ahead and put a narrative to it for people. You might as well be saying with your blatant gawking ugly face: "My brain literally cannot comprehend what my eyes are seeing. A person who looks different or acts different???? What is this?  Where am I? Am I safe? This is so far beyond my realm of understanding my face has frozen from confusion and fear."

First of all - what year is this? Diversity has been a buzzword for more than a few decades now and I'm pretty sure wheelchairs have existed for longer than that - so these are not new things. If they are new to you, then you should consider getting out more.

Secondly, I realize I'm making an assumption here, but I feel that it is very likely that you who stare with such bewilderment at people who are different also have one of those fancy CO-EXIST bumper stickers on your bumper and are very proud of it. If that is true, and I know it may not be, but if it is true or you promote this coexist concept in some other way in your life, then maybe go meditate on the meaning of that concept you promote for awhile so that the next time you actually do bump in to diversity you don't freeze and become completely incapacitated by DIVERSITY.  Just a thought.

Third, for the sake of the children (okay, let's be honest, in our case it isn't even for the child, she doesn't see it thank God, in our case it's for me). For the sake of me, for parents like me and for the kids and adults who do see it and are sick of this being the face greeting us wherever we go, please work on your facial expressions!  You want to make a difference in the world, you want to make the world a kinder place? Master your face.

Sounds hard I know, but don't worry, I'm not going to give you that advice and leave you hanging. I am a helper! I want you to succeed.  And thanks to my seven years devotion to Tyra Bank's educational television program America's Next Top Model, I KNOW for a fact that it is indeed possible (with work) to master your facial expressions even when you feel something different on the inside! Thank you Tyra Banks for your contribution to the world.

So, with that good news in mind and a little help from Tyra, let's practice!
Next time you see something that confuses you:

It's not this.

It's this!
Try it!
It's hard, I know, but you can do it.

Let's try one more:
"I just saw something I wasn't expecting to see. What should I do with my face?"

It's not this.

Or this.
It's this!


Okay, got it? Great! I knew you could do it!  Now just practice this tutorial in front of the mirror for 3-4 hours a day and I promise you will be making the world a better place for families like ours!

Thus concludes this public service announcement.

12 comments:

  1. Great public service announcement!! And I'm so sorry you have to deal with people like that.

    I remember once, in middle school, a teacher - a TEACHER - was staring at my legs with that same confused expression, and I smiled at her as a way of acknowledging her confusion. She looked absolutely mortified, and did exactly as you described, trying to twist that confusion into a smile and failing miserably! In some ways it was hilarious, but it was also kind of discouraging.

    I love that you're speaking up about this. So many people speak about the importance of accepting people despite their differences, but I feel as though people with disabilities so often get left out of the conversation!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I'm sorry you've experienced this too - I hope raising awareness makes a difference in some small way!

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  2. I apologize if you got this message already. I've been having trouble getting it to work! I love your PSA! We often get the confused look as well as a disgusted look when we go out!

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting! I'm sorry you get those looks too - ugh!

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  3. When I have a confused look it is often a "still face".

    My hands and arms might tell more.

    Liked the way you used Tyra as an example.

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  4. haha! awesome post! as mom to 4 special needs kiddos with all sorts of diagnoses, behaviors etc i can soooo relate!! although i have gotten used to the stares to some degree i find it very irritating. every once so often the stares aka the "ugly" faces get under my skin and i will stare ugly right back and say something fresh like "do you have a question i might be able to answer?" - i realize this does nothing for the general public but sometimes it makes me feel better :) anne in ny

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    1. Anne - thanks so much for commenting! I'm so glad you liked this! I love your response - I do the same thing - glare and say "can I help you?" - I agree it probably doesn't make the world a better place but it makes me feel better for a moment! :)

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  5. I love it I get that look when people ask how old am I. I am like really I'm 31 no one believes me and they show the ulgly face. My daughter sees the ulgly face as well she has the same rare genetic disorder I have but she's way cuter then I am. She's 7 so she wont deal with that until middle school at least. I always been told I look ten years younger or so. guess it's in the genes or the un genes in my case as we have a deletion on the 22q chromozone

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  6. hahahahaa...oh my heck, great pictures. I love this post. I HOPE HOPE HOPE I do not do ugly face when I see a child with special needs and I am surprised, but now I will definitely be more aware of it and slap my own face if I catch myself doing it! haha This also goes for special needs kids/adults who may not look any different, but as someone talks to them, they start to realize that this person is "different...that's when some slowly morph into ugly face mode and just walk away. My niece with learning disabilities and my nephew who has high functioning autism both struggle socially. Let's be kind. We don't know when we just labeled someone as a "weido" but really they are on the autism spectrum or have learning disabilities. Their brains are not wired for the same social perceptions that most people have. So, wipe that ugly right off your face! Smile and say hello! Ask them to tell you about what they like! My sweet brother-in-law would be delighted to tell you about NASA for an hour. :) And, I shared your guest post from Mommy for Real....I LOVED it. Excellent. I've already been trying to help my 3 year old understand and love people no matter what they look like, act like, etc. but I loved your thoughts. I want to do better. :)

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  7. I loved your announcement!! I am a private nurse for a special needs 4 year old little boy (he has Pallister Killian syndrome) . I sometimes get the looks when I have him in public, and sad to say mostly from adults. I'm realizing that most children don't even notice differences in each other. Usually my response to those stares are "isn't he the most beautiful child you have ever seen?" Or when he "babbles" at what others consider inappropriate times I just "sing" right along with him. This child makes my heart swell with love every day I go to work. Because despite not being able to function or look like most peoples perception of what is "normal", he s a beautiful child and a joy to take care of.

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