Thank goodness they didn’t tag me
I have always hated having my picture taken. I’m not photogenic. I’m thin and have a long and sharp face (or I feel like that’s how I look). I have pronounced cheekbones and dark eyes and hair. My skin tone is a shade or two darker than the average whitey (ha!). These are not features the typical camera likes to work with. I always look sick and dying in all of my pictures. If I cared to count, there has probably been less than ten photos of me throughout my life that I can look at and say, “Hey, I really don’t look that bad, doI?” I tend to be the one behind the camera rather than in front of it.
Remember I made a post about my first social outing since my stroke? They took pictures and it made me break out in a sweat; which, in turn, made me a little stinky as well as glisten-y. I had this funky sheen of sweat on my face and every time they took a picture they had to retake it because, “Kt, there’s a bright light reflecting on you.” It was so awkward; it kept showing up dead center on my forehead. I felt like I was ruining every one’s memories. In case you have yet to notice, my self-esteem is not quite where I wish it to be. My self-confidence is severely lacking as well.
Luckily, the stroke only temporarily suspended the use of the left side of my face (my left face). Bell’s palsy is only minimally affecting my left face. It is easy for me to forget that I even have it. I have been more affected by the stroke on my left body rather than my face and I count that as a positive in my case. When I’m sitting and not speaking or moving, I actually look quite close to “normal.” The negative in this is that when around people I’m comfortable with I talk a lot and I talk with my hands….hand; appearing “normal” usually doesn’t last long for me. At home I don’t think about anything to do with my face. I can’t really feel it so it’s not in the forefront of my mind. My oldest, Skas, he tells me at the dinner table if I’m losing food; Kasper is always reminding me to check my left face for crumbs I can’t feel hanging and I don’t usually notice that I’m drooling until a drop of spit lands on me or the table and I wonder “how did this get wet?” The same goes for a runny nose; my left nostril leaks a lot and I don’t know why. Sometimes I can’t pluck my eyebrows even when I know it needs to be done because suddenly there’s only one solid brow (that’s an exaggeration by the way). Sometimes I have “sensitive left face” days and plucking hurts something fierce so I have to wait until the following day (hopefully). I refuse to pluck only one brow; I’d rather have a mono-brow.
Sometimes my left face actually gets in my way. A good example of this would be what happened last night. While cooking dinner, I started to put away dishes. I had the cabinet open to put away some bowls and plates; it opens right to left. In order to close it I had to reach over from my right but, as is common for me due to a lack of peripheral in my left field of vision, I couldn’t judge the distance at which the cabinet stood. Usually, I wing it and hope I lean enough out of the way. This didn’t happen last night. I was very much in the way; more specifically, my entire left face was in the way. The corner of the cabinet got stuck in my left cheek…it doesn’t end there. I had no idea how “stuck” the door was and continued to pull in hopes of simply un-jamming it from my cheek. I almost knocked myself over because my stubborn ass refused to move out of the way. It could have been much simpler. It would have been even better if I could feel how it was pressed into my damn face.
One of the women I went to dinner with at that restaurant finally posted the pictures she had taken that night to Facebook. Naturally, I downloaded them, blew them up and investigated each shot of myself, looking for every detail that is awful so I could torture myself every night as I lay in bed and try not to think about things that bother me. Usually it’s something political but ever since those pictures were posted, it’s been that. No one had been tagged in the photos at first so it was completely random that I would even see them. After I did my own exam of the photos, I deleted them from my computer in hopes of forgetting they existed. Naturally, this didn’t happen. I’ve checked those photos for comments, ‘likes’ and tags almost every day since. I hate my face. I didn’t notice the first time I saw them because I was so busy looking for smaller details that I failed to see the obvious. I noticed my hair looks greasy because I was sweating nervously. I noticed my eyes have dark circles around them because I stay up very late in the night/morning and wake up before noon. I noticed my skin is unusually pale and kind of splotchy-blotchy. Upon further review, this time just clicking the photos and trying to look at them the same as any other viewer might, I saw some pretty frightening things about myself :(
I saw why I always felt so tall around everyone. I appear a solid foot taller than everyone else; I’m only 5’4″! My smile in all of my pictures is so crooked. My left face droops a lot more than I thought and it sent me spiraling into this thought cloud like a weather plane circling the eye of a storm trying to decipher its target through climate and speed. Have I been in denial this whole time about my face? Is it really important enough to contemplate and over-analyze? Probably not but I do it anyway.
I always feel like Two-Face when I smile since my stroke but I thought it was my imagination because it is my right face that feels overly wide and out of control, not my left face. In the photos I was able to see why. When I smile, I don’t feel my left face sag while my right face lifts, making it feel as though my right mouth is way up in my cheek when it’s my left mouth that is way down. It just doesn’t feel at all like it looks and somehow this is worse than all of my previous notions about how I appear to everyone else.
I am considering posting a photo of myself but I really am against the idea. I have so much to talk about in my blogs future that is personal and private that I am wary of being associated with my own story/s, rants and even opinions. For now, I will have to be content with whatever I can find on the internet that closely relates or depicts how I feel or what I am trying to reveal.