Saving Face

women without faces

In today’s digital world of selfies and Instagram and endless pings, it’s hard to envision anyone being nameless, faceless, anonymous –  living a life where they’re never really truly known. But we do. We are. After all, Hamlet perhaps said it best: “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.”

women without faces 3

I think about this all.of.the.time. Authenticity to ourselves requires a great deal of thought and care and vulnerability, all commodities that can rarely be found online and are probably best practiced in close circles of trust. I often have conversations with other bloggers about how they walk the fine line between positivity and aspiration and have found that – for most of us – it’s a line that shifts with the morning tide.

women without faces 4

How can we share the good without acknowledging the bad? And how can we acknowledge the bad without giving it weight, permission to tip the scale into our thoughts and fears and focus?

women without faces 5

We do our best. We filter a bit and then unfilter a bit more and we aslkdfjoiajowi and delete and then have long conversations about how private we want to be about our kids or our businesses or our dogs or our spouses and then we accidentally break the rules because their story spilled over into ours and couldn’t be separated. Physics or something.

women without faces 8

And we readjust out of frustration or fear until we decide yes, this feels right. This is balance. And then the weight of something new – time or change or interference – tips us a bit and we’re back to wherever we were a few everythings ago.

women without faces 7

We know in our hearts that perfection doesn’t exist, that images are slivers and sound bytes do little to capture the essence of our lives. But sometimes we need the reminder. Sometimes the filters everyone else use look more light-filled than our own, and sometimes we try to recalibrate to match. We open our eyes to what we don’t have, and we blind ourselves to what we do.

women without faces 6

But the tricky thing about light, of course, is that its waves either absorb or reflect. And so do people. We can absorb the good and the real and the honorable, and we can reflect the same. We can tell the truth that yes, things kind of fell apart today*, but we can also dig for the gems that lie beneath the rubble. It takes a bit more work and sweat on our brows, but it’s sure to wash off the layers of facade along the way.

women without faces

What lies beneath, of course, is authenticity. It’s just us, seeking the good and the hard – perhaps coming up short on some days, overflowing our cups on others.

Image Credits: The Talented Miss Bean for Sketcharound

p.s. *My fall-apart moment today was when this one sliced my eyelid with the corner of her diaper cream tube, in case you’re curious. ;) What was yours?

  • YES. Though I could use a little less pressure from life’s constant demands for balance, whatever the heck that means, or looks like :)

  • This is something I think about a lot – and I love the way you captured that kind of teetering limbo and indecisiveness with your words and those perfect pictures. Lovely, truly.

  • This post is spot on. I blog anonymously, without even a pic, and I’ve been debating changing this, because while on the one hand, I am concerned with narcissism, vanity, and I most of the time I just have ideas that I want to express that have nothing to do with my life. On the other hand, there is Brene Brown (author of Daring Greatly) who notes that you have to be willing to put yourself out there, and make yourself vulnerable. Of course, the more you share of yourself, the more openings you give others to hurt you. So I might share more about myself for that reason, oddly enough.

    This post, btw, is very well written. I love the way you express ideas. Very solid craftsmanship!

    • Thank you, Susanne! I think, too, we have to be very mindful of who we’re being vulnerable with. What is the purpose or intent of vulnerability en masse? Isn’t the end result a deeper connection on both sides? I don’t know if online relationships facilitate this for both parties, so this generally gives me enough justification to protect my privacy, you know? :)

      • Very true that the goal is to create an authentic connection. I sometimes lose track of that. I think connection has to build organically over time, and it’s a little harder to do that online. I often wonder about how seeing an image of someone on a screen leads to easier objectification/dehumanization of that person, and how you have to actively work against that tendency. Okay, I will end that thought here, but you have really generated a lot of ideas with this post. Have a lovely day!

    • So sorry about this. I’m typing on my iPhone and I kept accidentally pressing ‘post comment’. Can you tell I’m stressed?! ;)

      Hopefully third time’s a charm. I found a mouse in my apartment after a really lovely evening with friends… and as not tragic as that sounds, it totally broke me. It’s like all of the stress from the past few months came rushing out… I’m still overwhelmed and anxious, and well, reading your post this morning was a really welcome addition to my day.

      Thank you, Erin.

      • Oh love – I totally hear you. Isn’t it funny the things that truly break us? It doesn’t take much when the water level’s already high. :) Sending you good vibes (and a virtual mouse trap!)!

  • Beautifully put. How do you present your “authentic” self to a virtual audience? How do you squeeze a real body of flesh into pixels and hope others will feel your heat? Le sigh.

    Maybe we should expect less of online communication and accept its limitations. We can fill in the gaps with face-to-face encounters and the rest of real life. Thank you again for your words. They’re very comforting and encouraging.

    I appreciate your honesty and openness.


Comments are closed.