Life busted my face, the one the world sees. Well, not “life,” actually, but an oral surgeon.
Either way, how can I not see that as a metaphor?
These last four weeks, watching my face transform from bruised and swollen to pale and thin from a life of pudding, I see so much more than a face. I see never-ending change with no idea how it will end.
A face is a funny thing. It is what we present to the world. We are humans with many facets, many sides. Our physical face is what we project into the world as who we are. It smiles. It cries. It contorts with pain. It expresses all of the emotion we have inside of us. It also holds the eyes that reach deep into our souls, telling our stories.
And mine is changing beyond my control.
Although the changes I am noticing are jarring and unrecognizable to me because I’ve grown comfortable over the years with the only face I’ve ever known, I walk with faith through this thorny path of change knowing, on some level, that the face I show the world will be different in six months. How different? I don't know.
How can I not see this as a metaphor?
Right now, I still resemble Underdog’s girlfriend, Polly Purebred, with a swollen upper lip. As I brush with Colgate, the gappy teeth, punctuated with a darkened dead front tooth, smiles back at me. The stitches lining my entire jawbone sag into my not-so-pearly whites like a bad sewing job, and I scrub, hoping infection doesn’t set in.
The face I show the world is changing – literally -- and, with this change, I imagine I might show a new face -- figuratively -- as well. Perhaps a new side of me, more vulnerable or authentic, will surface.
Having one’s face disfigured and texting grotesque pictures to friends is vulnerable. There were a lot of “yucks and pity,” which might not be the response we’d like from showing our face to the world, but that's what happened. Many people thought Tim had abused me. Some people asked if I’d gotten a boob job and was distracting the world with this “jaw surgery” (more than a few!). Some quipped that they wouldn’t have had the guts to go out “looking like that” and even suggested in a joking way that I “cover up”. The structural change in my face rendered even Maybelline powerless.
I continue to lisp everywhere I go, trying to enunciate words that used to flow out with ease, and I cannot chew until June 10, which means slurping soups anytime I do go out. Of course, my face is still swollen and numb so the soup, more often than not, spills onto my morphing face and I don’t even know it.
So how has the physical change in my face changed me?
I don’t know yet.
But how can I not see this as a metaphor?