Tuesday, November 25, 2008

OuterBliss: Oh, Is My Face Red!?

A coneflower wearing a snow hat.

Listening to: This is a bit old-ish but a video truly has everything when it has an Asian Elvis.

Bliss: My niece will be here from Columbus for a few hours this afternoon (on their way elsewhere, so a short visit). And our writing group meets for the second time tonight -- a real meeting where we'll talk about the work of two members.

A post in which the writer feels very vulnerable...

How much are you attached to the external you?

That's a new question that I am being challenged by lately.
A few months ago, I started noticing these hot flash type moments. Really intense. A fire started at my jaw line and spread over my cheeks like it was the dry season in California. My partner said that perhaps I was entering very early stages of menopause. Possible.
But then I started getting this crazy hot and itchy thing happening with my eyes. And then, finally, to seal the deal, my skin has these little pink irritations and a general blotchiness -- on my cheeks. Classic.


Not bad, mind you, not bad at all. You would have to be standing very close to me to even notice anything at all "off." But I can see it and see it I do. I look at it. Too much. Every time I am in a bathroom. I stare at it, willing it away and probably just giving it more power in the process.
And alas, I am confronted by my vanity. Oh, ugly vanity.

I am confronted by the fact that all I do to act as if I am not vain -- the lack of make-up, the simple hair, the glasses -- alas all of that is a vanity concealing method that I have adopted.

There are no grades of vanity,
there are only grades of ability in concealing it.
-- Mark Twain

I've been somewhat aware of this, what I will call, reverse-vanity issue for a few years, as I have in those few years declared that I would be letting out my feathered and glittered self -- a self that I kept hidden for many reasons that I won't go into here. So I have been exploring for these few years what it is to allow myself to feel beautiful (argh, that was hard to even write), to feel attractive, to let myself put some effort into my outfits and the accessories, to dare to be noticed, to "pimp" myself, so to speak.

This seems a healthy exercise in not hiding your light under a bushel and all that.

But this....this red blotchiness on my skin. I feel myself worrying about what others are thinking of me. I worry that they see me as some sort of ... monster, like I can hear their thoughts: "Oh my god, why doesn't she cover that?" or "What is on her face?!" or "Oh, how sad, Christine used to be kinda cute...". Silly, of course, because most people aren't nearly that observant and even more people aren't nearly that mean.

Again, this is barely noticeable and it's bringing up so much "stuff."

I wonder how much I have walked around my whole life mistaking my body and my face for "me."

I wonder where I learned that my shell is so much more important than my guts.

I wonder what the hell I've been doing yoga and spiritual seeking for over all these years? So I could get stopped in my tracks by a little blotch on each cheek?!

I guess the yoga and the spiritual seeking are helping in two ways at this moment: first of all, I am able to recognize my behaviors, admit my weaknesses, and I am trying to work through it, figure it out, get something out of it.

And second, I am also able to look at the blotchiness as not just just a message from my spirit about my spirit but perhaps as a physical manifestation of some way that I am not physically taking care of myself. A small tap on the shoulder rather than a brick to the head about my health needs, whether nutritional or emotional or hormonal.


I still want it to just go away.

And, now, ladies and gentlemen, who is coming around the corner to join this discussion? Shame and guilt over feeling so strongly about something so silly; shame and guilt are sidling up to vanity. Oh, goody, now we can all have a tea party!


treehousejukebox said...

Can I come to the tea party??

I think every single person reading this will identify with it at least one or two ways! You definitely not alone! Thank you for sharing it so honestly.

You ARE beautiful!

Val said...

Your post made me smile and cringe. Two signs that it hit home with me.
: )

Kavindra said...

Oh rosacea has been the bain of my beauty existence! I don't think it's "vain" to want your skin and body to be and look healthy and clear. On the other hand, yes, you still are beautiful with a little redness here and there.

I assume you've been to your doc, because it's very easy to clear up :)

Also, Princess Diana had it, so you can tell people it's your "princess markings".

Thirdly, John Updike has written a whole book on the pain of living with eczema, so even the most brilliant minds have niggled over these things!

ladybug said...

Life has a sense of humor, and just as we think we've got some area of our life covered we get reminded that there is ALWAYS work to do. I think too that you don't have to be so hard on yourself for feeling vain...frankly whenever my body does something it shouldn't I find that it brings up my feelings of being 'broken' and makes me want to hide under a rock. So fight on...and smile on and if need be, dye your hair bright purple and GO with it! ;)

Big Love,

Nerdy Renegade said...


Sooo sorry you're dealing with this. But I can totally relate!

We went to Cincy last Saturday to visit some friends we hadn't seen in three years.

I cursed and just about totally decompensated in the car on the way there because my lipstick was not in my handbag! (You see, my features tend to just fade away when I'm not wearing color on my lips!)

It was, indeed, an eye-opening experience as to the state of my enlightenment (or lack thereof). Thankfully, I was able to stay in the present moment and enjoy the evening, but there were a few really tense moments. Whew.

Tess said...

Oh, those layers of the onion, they just keep peeling back, don't they?!