‘ I felt a profound shift inside of me.’ are the words copied straight form Naz Laila’s blog post which she said was inspired by a comment I made about my latest’s visit with my doctor. Something changed within me that day and Naz put it in perfect words. A profound shift.Call me shallow – so many already did – but while my body was changing and my face was becoming almost unrecognizable I started feeling like I’ve lost it all. I never knew how much of who I was was dependable on the way I looked liked until now. Not what I did, not what I wore but what I looked like. My face. I used to start my days with a long stare at the mirror. When sad, I made silly faces at myself, when scared or defeated, I practiced a strong mile. I looked at my face while practicing English words and trying not to rrrrroll the ‘rrrrs’. I never left the house without blinking an eye to myself and saying ‘make this day count’. The reflection of my face, the strong, determined look in my eyes, and a sneaky, courageous smile became my daily inspiration. It’s what kept me strong, undefeatable, and confident. The daily pep talk I received from my face was what helped me with every step I took in my life. And then all the sudden it was gone. My face slowly started looking different and I stopped looking at it. The girl looking back at me wasn’t me any longer. I panicked. I had nothing to carry me on. I had no one to tell me to go on. I didn’t want to listen to God, my friends, my family. I didn’t want to hear that I was still the same person when I could SEE I was not.
Fear. Shyness. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Self-Doubt. Weakness. That was new me. Too shy to speak up. Too scared to take a step forward. To doubtful to believe and trust again. To weak to keep going. Broken.The shift inside of me happened so unexpectedly. It was just a casual visit with my doctor. No change was good news. New treatment was discussed. So much trust was given to his words. The medications were discussed. Best wishes for New Year were exchanged. Hellos and goodbyes were said. Before the last goodbye the new step was added to so well known routine. The pictures of my face had to be taken. Fear. Anxiety. Tears. Deep breath. I knew I needed to ease the pain. I asked for a make up and hair artist, asked whether we could play with the light. The nurse laughed. Deep breath. The anxiety settled down a bit. The nurse promised not to sell the images to US Weekly. Deep breath. Please keep talking to me, tell me about your job, how was your weekend, what did you eat for breakfast. Deep breath. The anxiety is still here. I can persevere. Deep breath. Please don’t make me look. Tears.
Stare.Who is that in the pictures? I felt the nurse hand me a tissue. The tears made my vision blurry. Close your eyes. Deep breath. Say it. I know you can. It’s not the face that kept you strong, it’s your soul. Say it. Say it at loud. As loud as you need to. Listen and hear. Say it. ‘You are strong’ the whisper broke. Louder ‘You are strong’. The shift happened.
Stare. This time I spoke to my face. I blinked my eye. I smiled. I said what I had to say. I left with ‘keep your chin up’. I left smiling. Proud. Strong. The courage started to come back. I didn’t need my face any longer. I recovered my soul. I let go.
|In one year my face changed and with|
the change something broke in me
Today marks a week since that visit. And for the first time in months I walked into my studio with a desire to create. Not to decorate it, not to refurbish another piece of furniture, not to sit in my chair and observe the sunrise. Deep, almost painful desire to create. I gave in. No anxiety. No fear. No criticism. No self-doubt.