Monday, December 7, 2015

DECEMBER QUESTION OF THE MONTH

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I participate in a blog hop hosted by Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined. Please visit Michael's blog to sign up. Now let's go to the hop!

Michael's question for December is the following: Which one social convention would you get rid of?

I've been thinking and thinking and pondering this question and didn't know what my answer would be until the minute I put the question on my computer screen. It's something I mentioned in a blog comment earlier this evening:

The answer is smiling. Why should I smile if I don't feel like it? I'm sick unto death of people telling me, SMILE! 

Bite me. Bite my little pink butt.

I seldom smile because I'm embarrassed by my bad teeth, but an even more important reason is that I have TMJ. About twenty years ago when the pain from the TMJ became intense, a doctor sent me to a biofeedback specialist. I told her I had headaches all the time. She had a little machine to measure muscle tension. She hooked it up to my forehead. No real tension. It's my jaw, I'm telling you, I remember saying.




She put the machine on my jaw, and the number zoomed. I had ten sessions of biofeedback therapy to help me learn to relax the muscles in my face. It didn't end my headaches, but it improved my TMJ. 


So before you command someone to smile, consider the possibility that smiling can be painful. We scrunch up the muscles in our jaws when we smile. And that thing people say about frowning taking more effort than smiling?

Not true.

I'll smile in a drawing of me.

Excellent question, Michael.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug






 Please keep in mind that it's Pearl Harbor Day, and show respect for our veterans--young and old--and our Commander in Chief.


39 comments:

  1. I believe in the power of a smile but I also know the pain of a smile also. Not last week but the week before, my jaw was in bad shape that i had a hard time even talking. I laughed at something and that sent me through the roof! My joint disease has now affected my jaw on a regular basis so I get it for sure

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    1. You are not alone, Birgit, and neither am I.

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  2. It is an interesting question and after thinking about it I am not sure I would get rid of any simply because they do form some structure for social interaction. i.e. I know saying pardon me after accidentally bumping into another person serves no real purpose, but the offended party knows immediately no malice was intended

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    1. I don't think anything is wrong with polite behavior. But it's not polite to command someone to do something that causes pain. What I do with my face is my business.

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  3. I wouldn't know what that's like, I just smile naturally :P

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    1. That's because you're such a cutie pie. I've never been a smiler.

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  4. I can't think of anything. (Up in the middle of the night and need sleep--LOL!) But I understand jaw pain to a degree. Have constant jaw pain from clenching and arthritis (bone on bone). Kinda sucks.

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  5. To build off your social convention, this is a wide-spread form of sexual harassment. Please, gross dudes, please, I'm begging you, stop telling women to smile, or worse, "give me a smile." You wouldn't do it to other guys, so don't do it to strange women. It's threatening to have some guy on the street to accost you and demand that you smile. (Sorry, it's something that really bothers me.)

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    1. You're right. I've never heard anyone tell a man to smile.

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  6. I'm a huge smiler. It comes naturally. I got braces on when I turned 40 to straighten my teeth. Sorry about your TMJ. This is a hard one because a smile is inviting and friendly. When you don't smile, you look crabby and unapproachable. But, if you don't feel like smiling, don't try to fake it.
    Play off the Page

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    1. I hope I don't look crabby and unapproachable, but I'm not scowling. I simply relax the muscles in my face.

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  7. Hey, Janie. My son in law is an oral surgeon and he fitted me for an appliance to wear on my bottom teeth at night to keep me from grinding my teeth. My TMJ is gone now, and I no longer need the aparatus.

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    1. My dentist said I should get such an apparatus, but my insurance doesn't cover it. It's too expensive.

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  8. Hi Janie - I make a point of keeping a relaxed face and am prepared to smile all the time ... it helps me, and it helps those who are the recipients ... but thank you for reminding me that - that not all people want to smile for other reasons ... I'll remember that - cheers Hilary

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  9. That's a great point. I think I read somewhere that women are expected to smile more than men--something I kind of believe. If men frown, they must be thinking of something important like the stock exchange or the troubles in the Middle East. But if women frown, then it must be our time of the . . . yeah, right. Why do we have to smile so much?

    My TMJ started a couple of years ago and it took three weeks of headaches, ear ringing, and even my taste buds went wacky before a P.A. figured out what was happening and gave me the correct kind of pain reliever. Not fun.

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    1. Telling someone to smile can be a form of sexual harassment.

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  10. People seem especially free with their advice to "SMILE!" when dealing with women, I find, because women are expected to have a smile plastered on their face all the time. Sorry to hear you have TMJ. I had a friend once who had that and I remember how painful it was for her.

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    1. Mine is better now, but I have to keep the muscles in my face relaxed.

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  11. I've heard that smiling prolongs life and keeps you healthier. Maybe that was from the American Dental Association.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Smiling gives me a headache, which shortens my life and makes me less healthy, especially when I slam my head into a brick wall.

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  12. The social convention I'd eliminate are all the putdowns of our government. It's become so easy to criticize the government. I think this makes for a disgruntled society. Disagreements are natural, but lets show respect for our leaders and institutions. People died for the privileges we enjoy.

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    1. I have urged people to pay respect to our commander in chief for quite some time. My parents were Democrats. I know they weren't Nixon fans, but my dad was in the military and an unkind word about the president was never uttered in our home.

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  13. I hate it when people tell someone to smile. It's like ordering someone to be happy. I never thought about it might physically hurt.

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    1. I never say anything about someone's appearance unless it's nice: Your dress is pretty, or I like your hair that way. I would never say, Cut your hair! So why tell people to smile? No one needs to alter an aspect of his appearance for me.

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    2. Besides, not smiling doesn't mean that a person has to be unhappy.

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  14. That's a great answer. Even for those of us living with chronic pain...sometimes we just don't feel like smiling.

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  15. I am a smiler, but my daughter is not she has terrible teeth and doesn't like to smile and I get it that is ok not everyone has to smile to be happy, I would get rid of rude people but then what I think is rude someone else may feel differently

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    1. You're one of the most tolerant people I've ever had the privilege of "meeting," Jo-Anne.

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  16. That made me smile.

    Actually, I'm a smiler by nature. I feel like I need to make people feel welcome, etc. The French hate me.

    :-)

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    1. I don't know if the French are as rude as they're made out to be. I've never been there, but my daughter has gone more than once. They always answer her in French when she speaks French. They don't treat her as if she's an idiot. She thinks most French people are quite kind and helpful.

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  17. "Bite my little pink butt"... HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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    1. I'm glad I made you laugh, but the truth is that my pink butt isn't as little as it used to be.

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  18. I have what is called 'resting bitch face'. Hate smiling, mostly because of my teeth and I get so annoyed when my Other tells me to smile more. I know his heart's in the right place, but I just.. ugh. :/

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    1. I don't think it's okay for anyone to tell you to smile. Your face is your own. Do with it what you will. Do with it what makes you comfortable.

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  19. Thanks for this. I think it's perfectly fine to walk around not smiling all the time. Why do people assume that if you're not smiling, that you or sad or mad. Not smiling is not the same as frowning.

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    1. Exactly. Thank you for an intelligent comment.

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