Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's in a Face?

This week has certainly helped me become aware of how much I value my face. It is a part of my identity that I often take for granted.

I've also become more aware of how I tend to perceive others--and they may perceive me--based on my face. What did people think of me when I looked like this?
Taken in the car--Thursday, July 28

I wondered if they thought I was a victim of domestic violence. Very few people asked me "What happened?" but I got looks, you know? It was kind of weird. It made me want to stay home and hide. I pondered what all that said about my vanity and pride, and how much value I place on my appearance. I don't fuss much with hair or makeup, but still...I confess that I do generally like the way I look. The experience of having my face all messed up has been unsettling and thought-provoking. What if I didn't have the blessing of a body that heals? What if this were permanent? How would I face the world? I reflected on Stephanie Nielsen at the NieNie Dialogues and her courage in moving forward after most of her body was burned.

Thankfully, my body does know how to heal. What a smart body. I am so grateful for it! Yesterday I went to see the Nose Doctor, and she told me that my nose is healing properly, and I can go out and play. Yay! We are heading out to Sparks Lake!!
Taken today, August 3, at home. Can you tell how happy I am to be going to the lake?

My scabs are almost all gone, with healthy new pink skin beneath. The funky shiny place on my forehead is where the ER doctor super-glued my two largest lacerations. (They weren't that big - they probably would have required one stitch each if she had stitched them instead.) The super glue is supposed to come off all by itself in a few more days. I hope.

I hardly think about my face now. I forget that it still looks a little funky, except when I get a look from someone. I don't even care anymore that some skin is pink and some is tan--it's my face and I am so grateful for it!

Aging is funny, you know? Sometimes I look in the mirror and get all pouty about the little jowly things starting to develop on the lower corners of my face. I play with my skin and pull it up near the ears like I had a facelift. Makes me look younger, for a second or two. I can't go around all day holding my skin by my ears.

A couple of months ago I was washing my face one evening, and I suddenly slowed down, started smoothing the soap on my cheeks in slow caressing circles. I was being kind to my face. I thought, "This is the only face I'll ever have. Even if it's showing some age, I'd better love it." That was an "ahah!" moment for me then. I carry it with me. And I also carry the brief, instantaneous memory from last Thursday, of that moment when I was falling and I saw the rock just inches from my face, and knew that I was just about to slam into it.

Yes, this is the only face I'm ever going to have. I'd better love it, and I DO!


Dorothy said...

With your floppy hat, in a canoe, and wearing a happy smile, no one will even notice. Looking forward to spending time with you and mark at the lake today!

Sarah said...

So glad you're feeling better...and lookin good! It's funny how much of our body we take for granted. I love reading NieNie. I feel like people look at me weird at the store too...but because Charlie took a nasty accidental fall off his bike. It's embarrassing when people ask him what happened with an underlying hint that he can be honest and tell them the truth...maybe it's imagined..but i still feel guilty.