RB Face: not resting bitch face, RB in this case refers to Rancho Bernardo, an amazing community in southern California. The RB face in this case refers to judgement. Usually how we judge others – then fail to see that the person we are judging isn’t the issue, rather our judgements are the real problem.

I first realized this concept in the late 90s but didn’t yet have a title for it besides hypocrisy. I went to high school in a very small Montana town. The landscape was breathtaking. Most of the people genuinely believe they are good people – and they are. The shortcomings: judgement – about EVERYTHING! It started with the judgements I faced. I was a wild child, hypersexual, drank too much, smoked too much, and basically gave no fucks. I was very angry and dealing with emotional trauma way beyond my developmental ability to cope. Even now, twenty years later, I’m still figuring out a graceful way to exist and remember what happened to me does not define me. I did not handle events from my childhood well. I buried them deep, never admitting what I experienced and exhibited both internalizing and externalizing behaviors that labeled me a juvenile delinquent. I wasn’t voted “most likely to succeed” by any means – but I did regardless. The judgements I faced were mostly name calling and gossip, nothing detrimental but I definitely wasn’t the girl most parents wanted their kids hanging out with. The real judgements were dished out to people who didn’t fit the ‘ideals’ or ‘norms’ of the surrounding community.

The most gut wrenching example of harsh judgement I witnessed were the statements of “that faggot got what he deserved” when Matthew Shepard was found beaten and left for dead outside Laramie, Wyoming. My stomach churned, my heart broke – this man was a person. Who cares if he liked other men – he did NOT deserve to be treated that way. No one does. He was someone’s friend, he was a son –  if I had a son, I would die if this happened to him. So I left. Seriously, left the state – traveled nearly 1500 miles due south thinking I’d escape. Only I found myself in the Montana of the South…Arizona. Also full of breathtaking landscapes, sunsets, beautiful desert backdrop, and similar judgements. Only this time it was for the “God-damn wetback, illegal, savages”. As I waited tables and served coffee, I’d overhear these comments and realized I didn’t escape the hatred – perhaps it’s impossible to escape because it’s everywhere. Again, my heart was broken.

During my 15 years in Tucson, I was able to acquire four college degrees and countless experiences of RB face. Students judging each other, faculty judging students, and once again personal judgements I experienced whenever I expressed political viewpoints that labeled me as a, gasp, feminist. I remember when I bought my new to me Subaru Outback. I purchased the vehicle when my old SUV died. It was the right price range, had all wheel drive, great cargo space in the back for my dog and got better gas mileage than another SUV. Plus, growing up in Montana, they were everywhere. Several members of my family owned them and were very happy so it seemed like a great purchase. The response I received as I pulled up with my new wheels was “when did you become a lesbian?” I was dumbfounded. When the hell did the make and model of your car indicate your sexual orientation? Fifteen years later, I realized not much had changed in our society at all. Coincidentally, my personal and professional life was yearning for a new adventure. My husband and I decided that it was time to end our Tucson chapter and start anew. We were ready to begin our entrepreneurial endeavors and explore a new place. We chose southern California.

As we discussed our moving plan with others, the common response was “Why? California is too expensive, people are so rude – why would you ever want to live there…I mean visiting is great, but I would never want to actually live there…oh and I heard Rancho Bernardo is full of snobs and everyone is fake.” My new neighbors were judged and I hadn’t even met them yet! Not nearly the harsh judgements dished out to Matthew Shepard, but still judgements.

So what have I learned about RB Face? The irony is we pass judgements on others, we don’t know their story, and yet we are the ones being judgmental. It’s a vicious cycle and one I am also guilty of. So I came up with the play on resting bitch face, as Rancho Bernardo Face to remind myself – stop making judgments. Just as my new community was judged before I even moved in, we all make judgements about things and we don’t even know the entire story. Perhaps once of the harshest judgements our society makes is seeing obesity as disgusting. The next time you see someone obese, instead of thinking “disgusting, they should exercise and eat better”, stop. You don’t know their story. What if they ARE doing that and they’ve just lost 30 pounds and what you’re really judging is actually their exceptional efforts at self-improvement?

Today, I had to stop myself from judging a mom at one of our favorite restaurants. It has a great outdoor garden area for kids to run and play. Her little guy climbed past the fence and up into the trees, ripped off a four foot long bamboo stalk, broke it up, threw it all over the grassy area, then went back to do it again. Only the second one was used as a sword and he came after my kids and niece, swinging with all his might. She did not intervene, instead my sister in law, mother in law, and I had to tell the kids to look out (their backs were turned to him and they would have been hit if we hadn’t). Personally, my kids are not allowed to destroy landscaping and use it to hit other kids. For reasons unknown to me, those choices are clearly not an issue for the other family – it went largely unnoticed by the adults in their group. Comments were made about horrible parenting and I caught myself agreeing, then quickly disagreeing. I don’t know why the kid’s parents didn’t intervene, maybe their perception was that the situation wasn’t as serious as we felt it was? I have NO IDEA of the details surrounding that family’s situation and perhaps if I did know them, it would make perfect sense why we clearly saw the event in different light. I had to check my RB face and we left.

For anyone I’ve ever judged harshly, I sincerely apologize. My RB face was showing and I succumbed to being childish. All I can do is be the best version of me I can be and when I’m judged, I remember what other people think of me is none of my business – I know who I am and what I stand for. So the next time that friend of yours is interested in telling you all about that other person, you probably aren’t getting the full story. You mostly likely aren’t even getting a portion of truth as it would be told by the person being bashed. Kindly remind your gossip guru, their RB face is showing and discussing ideas or something of more intellectual substance is your preferred cup of tea.

By the way, our new neighbors are by far the BEST people we’ve ever lived next door to – we couldn’t have chosen a better community to start our new chapter. Nothing fake, nothing rude – just real people full of love and kindness. People really are good, we just don’t always make good choices. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others and save the RB face for what it’s meant for: your beautiful resting bitch face <3