Today I woke up and put on my happy face. I traipsed down the stairs eager to pour my coffee and ease into my day. This attempt was thwarted by a 7:41 a.m. pre-recorded telemarketing call. Apparently, someone loves me dearly and thinks I am incredibly clumsy and feeble of body and PREPAID for me to be the (proud?) recipient of a brand spankin’ new Life Alert System.

So of course I was then left with a few choices. Do I put on my WTF face, my disgruntled face, or the OMG I am getting old depressed face? I chose the WTF face and sloshed coffee about the table as I plopped the cordless on the table. -Yes, I know it is an antiquated notion, but I do still have a landline.

I had about a good 30 minutes to myself pondering my age over coffee before the 8 year old bounded down the stairs. Before she could hit the bottom step I had put on my mommy face.For those who may not be familiar with this face, it is a face that conveys love, concern, teaching, and if need be; discipline, at all times. This face has brought me years (and tears) of joy, pride,love, and happiness.Oh, and exasperation but could I really expect molding human beings not to be exasperating?

The mommy face stays on during all waking hours and occasionally in the wee hours of the night. However, the mommy face sometimes acts as a defense, hiding other faces within and beneath it. It can hide the face which shows I am feeling inadequate or the one that shows I’m feeling especially vulnerable.It many times reveals the hey that’s my kid you’re messing with face and the my heart breaks because I can’t fix this for you face. This face also holds the title for the most times it has made me put on my impatience face and my I have no clue what to do right now face.

There is of course the work face. I am generally pretty proud of this face because I am able to help others when in this face and find it altogether easier to deal with the wave of stupid one can find when dealing with others. This face also allows me a reprieve from having to do everything perfectly because as a tutor each tutee learns in a different manner.

I find my friend face doesn’t get used often enough. I am sure part of it is because how can you really trust everyone you meet that claims to be your friend?  Many put on this face, too; only for them it is a facade. A means to pick through your words and actions to use against you later  for mere idle gossip with others. When I put on this face it is attentive, loyal, and well intentioned despite mistakes.There is also the reality that I find many people to be not my type; however that could just be the fearful voice we all own in our minds.

Of course, I can’t forget the wife face, This face is oftentimes the hardest as I feel obligated to act in some ways like June Cleaver; cooking, cleaning, looking pretty, and all the other things the good wife is (supposed?) to do.The wife face also holds the I’m getting annoyed with you, and the well known I have no idea who you are and what you are doing right now faces. The best of this face are the nested faces. The bright I am so happy to have you here with me face and the worst is the dark we are seriously about to have a row right now face.

The other faces, the ones which most often stay hidden from view and are rarely talked about are the I’ve been hurt before face, the can I trust you face, and the past still haunts me face. I’ve done a fair amount of work on these faces and have mostly hung them on the wall like Mardi Gras masks but occasionally I will revisit the wall and snag one down to wear for a bit.

It’s a strange thing, these faces we wear. The ones we are comfortable showing and the ones we hide from view. The odd thing is many of us deny having these faces, the good, bad, and indifferent ones. I think we fail to remember that we are multi-faceted when dealing with our self and with others. I think the face of fear keeps us from admitting to such truths even if we pretend to be fearless.

Today, I think I am just going to own my many faces and be appreciative of having the ability to reveal and cycle through them. Each of my faces present an opportunity for growth, exploration, and learning through life’s lessons. Each one of them contributes to who I have been, who I am now, and who I am yet to become. And, I am quite sure I will pick up a few new faces to add to my arsenal as life goes on.


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Photo Credit: David Ho