The Story of My Face/Our Faces

IMG_8058It is said the eyes are the window to the soul, but what is the face?

I love my face. I guess being told I was pretty when I was a child has helped me to feel good about my features. But I also know that I wear different faces depending on how I am feeling and the circumstances in which I find myself. During meetings I try to wear a professional face, meaning I try to not let my emotions show openly on my face.

When I am reading  or performing my work, my face is very expressive and I try to display the specific emotion of the work I am sharing.

When I am with friends, just having a good time, my face is open and I do not try to conceal or project anything but myself and what I am feeling at the moment.

I try to imagine what my face looks like  during labor and child-birth.  I think  about how my face feels when I am making love.  Does it emit a different smell when I am cooking?  When I take a shower and soap my face or my eyes sting from the salt of the sea or the chlorine in the pool, how do these elements change my face? What is my sad face, when my mother died and I was flying from Jamaica to California to see her before she issued her last breath.  I did not want to see my mother’s death face.

This is my COVID 19 face.  I don’t think it shows that there is a pandemic? It is a selfie and I only wanted to capture part of my face, and the words reflect who I am and who I always want to show up as — I want my face to announce this creative resilience.

What does someone mean when they declare, “Say it to my face.” ? Often it is when something negative is said behind one’s back, and the person saying whatever they are saying  is being called out as a coward. “Say it to my face, damn it!”

Maybe it is akin to what Eleanor Roosevelt means in this quotes: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”  How does one look fear in the face?  What does that mean really? To be brave? To push through?

I like face-to-face events. I love the intimacy that these opportunities afford us. This way I get to hear and see, and therefore feel more apt to evaluate the merit of what’s being said. I suppose face-to-face is like eye-ball to eye-ball, although this latter term seems more aggressive as id a dual is taking place — who can out stare whom?

Some people refer to their face as their  mug, this usually suggests a criminal element.

This is my profile indicates a pose, a decided presentation. What about your features? Here again, it tends to be an assessment of supposedly one’s best `side.’

“Keep your face always towards the sunshine — and shadows will fall behind you,” says the poet Walt Whitman.  Do we really know what he means seeing that the quotes is lifted out of context. This is what I think happens when the sun is out, and one faces the sun, but I suspect Whitman is speaking in poetic terms, metaphorically.

J.D. Salinger’s quote is clear, and we don’t have to second guess what he means  when he says, “She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ” Here is a woman who does not attempt to hide what she is feeling –joy or contempt or anger or livid disdain. But look at how the writer puts it, `emptying’…can one also say filling up?

The Roman orator, statesman and writer, Marcus Tullius Cicero, offers a quote which I find to be profound and accurate to a point;  he says “The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.” Let’s ponder this for a moment — the face reflecting the mind and the eyes interpreting.  How accurate is this?  What about a seeing impaired or blind person?

How about this, “Every face, every shop, bedroom window, public-house, and dark square is a picture feverishly turned–in search of what? It is the same with books…”
from Virginia Woolf.  What is it that you face is seeking?  Where is it looking?  What is it telling others?  What is it concealing? How open or close is your face?  When is it most vulnerable?

Finally, think about this term, “Blackface” popularised  in the United States as a form  of theatrical make-up used predominantly by mostly white performers to represent a caricature of a black person. Imagine that, to blacken the face to poke fun or misinterpret that actions and/or mannerism of a Black person. A racist act.

Side Bar 1: Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892), a humanist,  and an American poet, essayist, and journalist work incorporates transcendentalism and realism; Leaves of Grass, his major work, he self-published in 1855

Side bar 2: J. D. Salinger is best known for  his novel, The Catcher in the Rye.  He ended up being a recluse after this success, and published very little upon till his death, novel The Catcher in the Rye

Side Bar 3: Did you know that Virginia Woolf is considered to be “one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and also a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device?”

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