Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Face She Wears

A post for the many I know who feel deeply and yet don’t feel they have permission to show these things to others.



Faces.

She has one, wears one, and changes one. She adds colour, contrast, and definition. She washes, cares for, and cleanses.

She decides the expressions that she places on it that give the world insight into what lies beneath.

And yet, she has become all too good at creating dissonance between the expression she wears and the reality of what she feels. Instead of allowing her face to wear the feeling within, she is told, shown, and challenged to wear particular faces regardless of what inner turmoil she may be facing.

A smile is most appropriate, or at least a look of contentment. It is safe. It allows another to ask her questions of how she is without fear that the answer could be anything but ‘good’. It gives the world the ability to relax, seem peaceful, and remain on the surface of reality.

It allows others to not have to take their eyes off themselves for too long. No one would want to have to focus on another’s face for fear of having to look away from the mirror reflecting his own for longer than necessary.

And so, as she wakes in the morning and between brushing teeth and munching granola, she slips on the smile. She practices it in the mirror, ensuring it is believable to the world around her. She convinces herself she feels it, convinces herself she owns it, convinces herself that perhaps if she leaves it on long enough it may actually begin to feel comfortable.

Just as she hopes, she is able to remain safely behind the expression adorning her face. Never questioned, never jolted, she walks down the street, stops at the store, meets with a friend, and avoids all possibility that the secret may be revealed that her expression and feeling are mismatched.

Perhaps, she believes, society may actually appreciate her mismatched wardrobe.

It is only at night, alone in her place, where she is able to rework the outfit on her lips to reflect the feeling in her soul. And it is here that the pain comes.

Scrunched eyes, trembling lip, dripping tears.

And it is here that she cries out for the One who does not expect the smile. The one who does not expect perfection. The one who does not expect safety.

It is here that He meets her, holds her, and appreciates the true reflections of expression and soul. It is here that He whispers that only when she is brave enough to allow these two to match that she may find healing in vulnerability.

It is here that He gives her permission to feel.

And so, she does.

She wakes with resolve. She wakes with a reflection of feeling.

And she finds that by reflecting feeling, she passes on the permission for others to do the same.

Conversations ensue, pieces of broken hearts are picked up, darkness is brought into light, and she realizes that she is not the only one who had begun to collect a mismatched wardrobe of feeling and expression.

The healing expands, it begins to relentlessly work through the hearts and souls of those who dare to expose their fa├žade. The smile that was once plastered as a tool to hide the reality begins to fit comfortably. The joy that was once void creeps into the soul.

Community forms, relationships build, and life is no longer a journey of solitude.

She is not afraid to match her face to feeling because others no longer expect the smile if the smile does not belong. She points to the One who let her cry, the One who brought healing, the One who fought for her regardless of brokenness. She looks to the One who let her soul breathe.

She matches the region of her heart to the map of her face, bringing to the forefront pain and healing, disappointment and success, hatred and love, sadness and happiness.

All of the things that she is far from alone in feeling.

All of the things that for too long she was afraid to face.


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