Our Faces

What filter can I find to hide those bags under my eyes? Am I always this pale or is today an extra pale day? I am aging, and I feel that it shows. I feel vulnerable and uncomfortable (again) so I’m going to do what scares me most (again) and just put it all out there.

Those were the thoughts running through my mind a few days ago before I posted the picture below. If it seems overly analytic, that’s because it is. But I don’t think I’m the only one who sees photos of myself or even a reflection in the mirror and has thoughts like that. Certainly not the only lady. I think we all have a fascination with faces, whether conscious or not, because faces are our body’s best communicator.

Our faces tell what we can’t or hide what we won’t.

Our faces show our family history; each new life bearing a curious jumble of ancestry, often reminding loved ones of those long gone before. Our faces represent familial connections even if our family can’t or won’t connect.

My face is no different. Despite Instagram’s flattering powers, this recent self-capture was not changing despite filters (as referenced above). It’s tradition for me to take a picture of refreshed hair as I leave the salon. I’m proud of my friend Linda’s work, and want everyone in the world to go to her as a client! Add the intoxication of breezy gray and green spring days, and I just couldn’t fight the impulse for a dramatic selfie moment. But I didn’t understand the picture I saw even seconds after I took it. I didn’t want to post it.

Why? Because my face told too much.

It didn’t look like me because it looked just like me. 29. Hard working. Traces of my family. There’s lots of my mom, and also my dad, and honestly it’s hard to inventory and differentiate between the two (cheers to the Scots heritage from both sides, of course). I see memories of Grandma Sandi in my eyes. I see Great Grandpa Kenny, our identical prominent noses and even our face shape and eyebrows. I am pale. I have a dimple even when I’m not smiling (maybe it’s a wrinkle. I’ll own that.)¬†Asymmetry. Honest. Real. Me.

My face told too much and it felt too vulnerable. But I posted it anyway, and I think many of us do the same.

At Story Conference last fall, David Allen, an artist and tattooer, talked briefly about selfies. He basically said that selfies¬†aren’t a surprise phenomenon, a new phenomenon, or even a vain phenomenon. Artists have been doing self-portraits for years. Centuries. When you have an idea for a shot or an emotion you want to capture and share – you use the resources you have, which is always and most often yourself.

In a world so full of change, chaos, pain, joy; so full of FEELING – we respond. It’s inevitable. We seek our roots. We try to hide. We put on brave fronts or we wrap ourselves up in the shallow. We all respond differently, but we all respond the same.

It is in our faces where we most often see the truth.

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