If you have been diagnosed with a form of facial paralysis, this title may ring true to you….You enter the public for the first time and want to conceal every part of that side of your face. Between the slurred speech, drooling, dropping of the mouth and decreased tearing…You feel as if you were placed into a permanent nightmare where escaping the undesirable symptoms is not an option.
This was how I at least perceived my life at the time. Based on my false perceptions, I would always question my appearance when I was around others. Can they notice how uneven my face looks? Or I would anxiously assume, “Oh my god, I should have stayed home because they think I look weird.” Crazy, right? Well, maybe you can relate to what I am saying. It was as if the TV was on, but I could not find the remote to shut off the background noise aka my anxious thoughts.
As time passed, so did my acclimation to this new look of mine. Through the gradual adjustment to my new look, I learned so much about the distorted beliefs of my very own insecurities and the perceptions of those around me. I know this may sound like a broad generalization but stay with me…
With time I realized that:
- People have their OWN insecurities — We live in a selfish society (sorry but it’s true) where people are so consumed with their looks and how they come across to others, they usually don’t have the time to analyze someone else’s flaws.
- You are your biggest critic — Flaws that you obsessively analyze and pick out on your body are flaws that are not even noticeable to others at times. And even if they are, trust me, like I said above, people are too worried about themselves.
- Everyone has different perceptions — Your flaws may appear as beautiful imperfections to those around you. For example, a guy I saw this past fall loved my crooked smile. And BTW, who is perfect or normal anyways?
IF someone seriously has a problem with the way you look, why are they even in your life? I have put myself out there in the dating world many times post diagnosis especially in 2016. When I go out with someone new, I own my looks now and if a guy has a problem with my lack of facial symmetry…deuces.
I still get anxiety at times when I meet new people, but that just comes with being human. When I remind myself of the personal realizations I have come across throughout this paralysis journey, I know I am so much better than the negative, anxious thoughts I have had. Those are silly, and those thoughts remain in the past. XO