Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Face Off....

Sometimes my life is so full of glamour that I can scarcely bring myself to believe it. Take yesterday, for example  - my morning consisted of clearing the remaining detritus from Adam's bedroom so the new carpet can be laid later this week. This final clear-up operation resulted in a trip to the municipal dump and to the charity shop, where I deposited, respectively, rubbish and recyclable clothes, books and glassware. On returning home, I could no longer avoid the slightly pungent odour from the kitchen sink and had to don the Marigolds and clear the drain outside. This is a job normally undertaken by Mr S, but as it's dark when he returns home from work, I don't think it's fair to expect him to rummage around in the dark. No need to go into details, but let's just say job done.....since I was obviously in clearing/cleaning mode, I then cleaned my shamefully filthy car. I can confirm that its true colour is, in fact, silver, underneath all that grime and mud.

I felt quite grubby after all that de-griming activity, so after a long soak in the shower and a fruitless attempt to tame my increasingly independent hair, I had a quiet afternoon, with some desultory tidying up and a bit of ironing to stop me getting too comfortable on the squishy sofa. Amy and I did a legs, bums and tums class in the evening. It involved quite a bit of work with hand-weights and of course, that's sometimes quite tricky for my left shoulder, so from time to time I just used a weight in the right hand and only did the movement with my left arm. I am hoping this doesn't mean that I start to look even more lopsided, as muscles develop more on the right than on the left! Please, give me a break!

Zumba this morning, which is always invigorating and fun, even if I get totally unco-ordinated at times and end up going in the opposite direction from the rest of the class! I think what happens is that when I look at the instructor, who faces the class, I copy what she is doing but not as a mirror image. Everyone else seems to reverse what she does, so if she is moving her right leg, they move their left, but I move my right in exact imitation of her. Is it to do with being left-handed? I don't know, but I've noticed before that when I point out to anyone that they have a bit of food or dirt on their face, for example, I automatically point to the corresponding part of my face, but they always mirror where I'm pointing and start wiping the other side of their face! Maybe I am just a bit odd (no need to comment on that suggestion, by the way!).

Something else that happened this morning, which made me think - a friend commented on the fact that I was brave to link from Facebook to my charity fundraising page and a photo of my face. I was a bit puzzled by this, because I still don't feel ready to share what I look like with the wider public and would have thought very long and hard before deciding to put up a current picture. I checked and it is, in fact, an old picture of me, from about a year ago. My friend thought my eye looked a bit different in the photo and had assumed that this was a more recent photo. So, should I be upset that when I had my old face, I might still  have looked a bit assymetrical? I don't think so - what purpose would that serve? I suspect, looking at the photo, that I might have been squinting into the sun, but perhaps I have allowed my memory to cultivate the belief that I used to look considerably more symmetrical and "normal" than I actually did. Maybe I don rose-tinted glasses when I look back at how I used to be and somehow imagine that I looked different from how I actually did look!

The last thing I want is for my friend to feel bad about this mistake, so I mention it here with the intention of sharing my reaction and wondering if it's reasonable: initially, I was a bit taken aback (that sounds terribly dramatic, but I don't mean it to be) but then I thought - actually, if I am going to do anything at all to help myself and other people with facial palsy, I can't be reacting as if somehow I am ashamed of how I look now and getting upset if someone thinks an old photo of me pre-surgery looks as if I have some assymetry.  Isn't the point of getting involved with a charity specifically to support and educate about facial palsy to make it more acceptable to have a "different" face? To make it somehow less "shameful"?

I have now amended my fundraising page to make it clear that the photo is of the "old" me, the one whose face pretty much worked :-). Having said that, my face does still work - I can eat, drink, speak, smile (in a lopsided fashion!), blink, cry and show emotions. It just doesn't work all over in quite the way it used to.

One day soon, I think I will be ready to show a photo of how I am now. Those of you who have seen me know what I look like - if you haven't seen me since late 2011, I hope you would notice an improvement. For those who haven't yet seen my new face, when I do post a photo, you will get more of an idea of how it's changed. I just need to be brave enough to say "Look, this is how I am now".


1 comment:

  1. It's a big step Ali, and a hard decision for you to make. I'm sure you'll just know when the time is right x