Monday, August 29, 2011
She didn’t seem to have any connection to her face. It felt odd for her to think it, but when Carrie woke up, she just didn’t seem to have any interest in her face. She recognized herself in the mirror in the morning, but it was more like it was someone she had grown accustomed to seeing. She couldn’t understand the idea that that face was her identity. That face was her.
She pulled the skin on her face in different ways, imagining herself to look different ways, but they all seemed uninteresting to her. Whatever face she made, whether she smiled, frowned, opened her mouth, stretched her mouth as wide as she could, it didn’t matter. She might as well be a stranger to herself, she thought. She looked at the makeup and hair products laying around her sink and thought, ‘Maybe those will make me feel more like myself?’ But after she had done herself up the same way she does every day, she still looked at herself and found herself, ‘Who the heck are you?’
She skulked into the living room looking at the pictures she had hung of her friends and herself on the walls of her apartment. She took her eyes away from her friends’ faces, where she usually tended to look, and rather looked at her own. Is that really what everyone thinks of her when they look at her, she thought. This weird unfamiliar, yet familiar face?
Did other people think this when they looked at their own faces?
She sat down on the couch and pulled out her computer. The desktop picture didn’t make her feel any better. The picture once again had her face in it; smiling back at her. She thought, she may as well be someone else.
She opened Facebook and went to her profile and saw her profile picture, a picture she had always loved of herself, and thought, ‘Hmm, maybe if I try to look more like that picture I’ll feel better about this.’
She carried the computer back to her bathroom and started to change into the outfit in the image and redid her makeup and hair to resemble how it was in the image. She looked down at the laptop sitting on the bathroom counter, and tried her best to mimic the smile from the picture and then looked up at the mirror. ‘Is that better?’ she thought, looking at herself with a gaudy smile on her face. Her smile dropped, she thought, ‘Maybe I should choose a picture that makes me think, me, not just a picture that looks good of me.’
She undid her hair and let it fall down to her shoulders and washed off all the makeup half-heartedly. She went back into the living room and started looking at all the pictures of herself on her Facebook profile. None of them struck a chord with her. She kept asking herself, ‘Why don’t I feel any connection to this person?’
When she finally looked at the last picture of herself, she noticed it was already five o’clock and she hadn’t eaten any breakfast or lunch. She got up and left her apartment to go in search of food.
She was living off campus from her school, but she figured she might as well go get some lunch from the dining hall on campus and see who she could find.
When she got to the dining hall, her best friend, Tammy, passed right by her without a glance. ‘How strange,’ she thought, but didn’t think anything of it.
She saw a lot of other people that she knew, but they didn’t acknowledge her either. She seemed to be invisible today, and she didn’t understand or care why. ‘Whatever,’ she thought.
She sat by herself, and made faces at the reflection in her spoon. ‘How weird this version of me is,’ she thought. She stuck her tongue out and laughed slightly at how large it appeared and tilted her head slightly to make both of her eyes different sizes.
While she was eating, she got a text from her boyfriend, Carter, asking where she was. She told him she was eating dinner at the dining hall, and he seemed kind of angry, or maybe disappointed, it was hard to say through a text, that she had gone to eat without him. She had forgotten that they had planned to eat dinner together tonight. She also realized that she had neglected all of her classes today as well. She also realized that with the exception of her philosophy class, the excuse of, “I couldn’t really recognize my own face in the mirror,” probably wouldn’t work to get her professors to consider it a valid reason to miss class.
Carter showed up and walked past her twice before seeing her. She didn’t bother to call out his name, she instead was watching his face and wondering if he saw his face in the mirror and thought, ‘Yup, that’s me all right!’ She also wanted to see the face that he would make when he saw her and recognized her face as her. She wanted to understand how someone could put together her with her appearance. She wanted to understand.
When he finally saw her, she was disappointed with his reaction. Instead of giving her a look of enlightenment, he instead looked irritated. He walked over and said, “You were right here the whole time? I didn’t recognize you. Why didn’t you call me over.”
“Wait,” she stopped him, “Did you say that you didn’t recognize me?”
“Well yeah, at first,” he reached across the table and kissed her cheek. “You have no makeup on today, and, don’t hate me for saying this, but your hair is… how do I put this… atrocious today…” he grinned gently, as though trying to apologize for his last statement. Did you use a weed wacker this morning to style it?”
“Carter?” she questioned, “When you think of me, do you see my face?”
He looked puzzled. “Well, yeah, of course.” His eyebrows bunched up, he was thinking hard. “Don’t you see my face when you think of me?”
She didn’t plan to be asked the question back. She felt like she was rude to ask a question that she didn’t want to answer herself. “Umm, I guess I do. But, is that it? Is this face what defines me?”
He grinned large and reached across again and took her face in his hands and kissed her. “Your face is one of the many things that I love about you, but the least important, to be honest,” he smiled larger, “What defines you is you, you face is just an extra perk. We can put a mask on you for a while and I’ll prove that to you.” He laughed happily.
‘I guess that’s adequate enough for now,’ she thought.