Here Piggy!

I was busted (in a general way) last week for a photo.  At first I really like the composition and the lighting that I saw, and then my heart sank as I looked at the profile and saw the same frustrations that I have always seen.  I tend to shy away from profile shots that reveal some of the natural disproportion that exists facially.  There is little that I can do about it anymore, but the issue of image seems to be a recurring one that many of us women deal.  It is a never-ending cycle of contentment and contempt that twirl concurrently to drive us into a torrent of torture, depending on the situation.  While men can age regally and become even more distinguished with the touches of gray…we tug and pull and yank them out in an effort to stave off the clock a little longer.  Where the male can sport a more portly figure, I find myself ashamed of the area where my children were carried and I cannot lose.  Instead of embracing that as a badge of courage and strength and life, I suck it in, refuse to eat 3 meals a day, and curse myself when I grab a caffeine beverage.  I am not the only female to suffer day in and day out in a self-imposed corset of too tight jeans just so the extra female softness is not revealed.  When a more female form with hips appeared I did everything to eliminate them…if I could still, I would.  I can’t.

Pure body image aside, it is the photo and what occurred in my gut after I took it that is more the issue.

I am terrified of what will occur in the next couple of days.  I will sit before a professional photographer ( i have not done so since I had my braces off and could still wear my graduation dress from high school  I was 24)  and I know this woman who will snap my head shot for more than a simple website.  I have had the dream of writing and speaking and now storytelling ever since I can remember.  I have spent the last 4 1/2 years snapping pictures of other people, events, and moments–all for the benefit of telling a greater story.  Now, as never, I feel called to bring words to other people and with that comes showing my face, and I am terrified.

See, I am great if I can hide behind beautiful worded verbage, I can create a tapestry of creativity and mix together words and senses and feelings so that there is no question as to who is writing…the only thought is of the person reading.  I do that on purpose.  All my make-up is done well, my hair fixed in a manner that would distract and pull the eye up, my clothes always well put together, and if I have on my glasses–they are sure to be ones that have a flair.  Nothing that is commonplace or traditional….I do that on purpose.  I talk with animation ( i do come by that naturally) and my hands are always on the move, emphasizing a point–and drawing the attention away from my face….away from the center part that many concentrate on in initially meeting me.  There is nothing more I can do to fix it.

I was born with a deviated septum.  Yes, most people would use that as an excuse to have a nose job…I could not use that as an excuse.  It grew as I matured and took up the greater part of my left nostril.  Due to the premature nature of my birth and some organic recreation while I was in utero, there are some things that did not have a chance to form as they might.  Be that as it may.  I remember years and years of ridicule for that damn septum.  I hated it !!!!  I hated my face with it in it.

Unfortunately, I also loved animals.  Uh, huh?  What?  My uncle and aunt lived on a farm and I spent time out in the barns with the animals…I seemed to have a way with them-I still do.  Out in the pasture I would tramp around with the Guernsey cows and the pigs.  The pigs–damn pigs.  Of course I was a reader too, so Charlotte’s Web ranked amongst my favorite books as I fancied myself a young Fern–complete with a Wilbur.  Damn.

From that love my uncle gave me a small pig pendant on a velvet string of purple–keep in mind I am not a girly girl and the cousins I hung with were male as were my brothers  ( of COURSE my brothers were male–they still are).  So here is the one girl amid at least 5 guys..and my older brother catches sight of the gift, looks at me, points at my nose and starts to laugh.  From there the nickname Piglet took shape.  Now my mother will tell you that it was out of love and endearment that I was so named.  Uh, no.  The whole school called me Piglet…the kids on the bus oinked at me, called me Piglet and oinked as I got on the bus, off the bus, and walked into the school.  Classmates would offer to pick the “booger” out of my nose and one extra special gentleman put an extra large set of tweezers in my locker so I could yank it out of my nose.  The same tweezers we would use at the lake to remove hooks from the mouths of fish after they had swallowed them.  I hated it. Never went on a date, no prom…nothing.  I hated it, it sucked.

I remember entering college and not weighing yet 1oo pounds and yet knowing that I was not facially pretty enough to make a show in theatre.  I remember being on an intercollegiate debate team and people telling me I was talented, but something was always sticking out of my nose.  Guys even told me I was a blast, but they would never date me with how I looked.  Nice.

Fast forward to student teaching sophomores and I went under the knife to remove the septum.  My number one reason was so that I could stand up in front of those speech students and actually teach them.  I knew the score.  It was a tough surgery and the recovery was not one I ever want to repeat.  May I just state for the record that breathing was much easier without half of my cartilage obstructing my nasal passage.  The Dr. who did the surgery was amazing and kind, and I was fully recovered the week that I started student teaching…the students were none the wiser.

Fast forward about ten years later and I decided to go under the knife again.  This time I was so tired of people asking what kind of accident I had been in or if I intended to fix my face anytime soon.  The oinking began again, only in a different tenor and with a different mantra.  Damn.  I could smash the front of my nose against my face…there was simply nothing there.  I sat opposite the same Dr.  he could do nothing…so he transferred me to another.  Pictures taken, molds made, more pictures taken, surgery explained.  Hope rose….and fell.

From the surgery I awoke to the Dr apologizing to me that he was not able to do more. “There is simply not enough cartilage up there to piece anything together.  I tried, I was on the phone to Mayo, asking them what to do as I was in the operating room.  It seems you have what is called Binder’s syndrome.  A macclusion of the mandible and maxilla.  To do the kind of work I wanted to do I would have to insert whale cartilage or take from your hip.  I did what I could with what we have.  I am sorry.”

No need to be sorry….you did what you could with what you have, it is more than what was done earlier.  Thank you for trying….thank you.

Oink oink, come here little piggy.

Now, in  a couple days I sit opposite a woman who will snap my picture to display on websites, on brochures, and God willing, a book or two someday.  I am good at telling the story, you see.  I have known this woman since I saw her in theatre with my older brother…I envied her cool and beautiful confidence.  She was kind to me while having no reason to be nice to a kid sister to a high school prodigy.  She was kind to me.  Now she tells me that she wants to bring out the beauty that she knows that she will see behind her lens.  Lord, I hope she is right.  Oink, oink….may the piggy sleep.

The lyrics and the media video I posted speak to a spot that I know I am not alone in filling.  I also turn another age later this week (about which I tried to blog earlier) and something tells me that the instances of pics and media and book ideas and my birthday are not mere coincidence.  I hope that I am strong enough to weather the week with grace and good humor.  If I remember, Wilbur, was SOME PIG….may it be so with me.

thanks for reading the longer post…i needed to write.

SHALOM dear ones….



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Maria Birch
    Sep 02, 2012 @ 21:46:45

    Moving words from a beautiful woman. Sending much love and support.


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