My face comes with a soundtrack, so press play if you fancy a bit of music to go with this post, or just hear it at the end to understand me better. This track, Brandi Carlile's The Story, was the soundtrack to my life for a while (I still can't hear it without tears in my eyes), along with the fantastic tune that is I will survive, but that one doesn't make me cry, that one makes me dance! I actually left a conversation half-way at my wedding, literally: I apologised to the poor girl who had never met this crazy bride before telling her "I'm sorry but this is my soundtrack" and ran to the dance floor to dance to Gloria Gaynor's fantastic voice.
When I say I am a woman of many faces I don't mean that I am two-faced, false or hypocritical (far from it), I literally mean that I have had many faces. This was my first face:
|Wearing a very 70s outfit on the left and with my grandad on the right (I've always had very dark circles, it's genetic)|
One minute I was a seventeen year old sometimes having deep conversations with friends (we always did), sometimes superficial ones like whether we would ever have plastic surgery and what bit of us we would change (I always said my nose because I had smashed it against a girl's bony shoulder at school when I was 8 and it had a bit of a bump but always following with "I know it gives me personality though" and my friends always agreed) and the next minute I was wishing I had my other older nose back! My whole face back! A whole of a millisecond back so that it would all be just a nightmare.
I had to spend about 16 months with that face, a Picasso face, until the day of my reconstructive surgery, I was 19 then and I didn't sign it off until just before I had to go in, in fact the night before as I headed to the hospital for an early morning start I still wasn't sure whether I was going to sign on the dotted line. After all, I had just got used to my new face, finally, what if something went wrong, what if I didn't wake up, what if... In the end I got all feisty and I did, six hours later (much longer than they anticipated), I came out of surgery with half a face lift (to level my right eyebrow with the left as I looked a bit wonky); a cast on my nose (which they had to file down a lot more than they hoped as they found a lot more damage than they expected, hence the longer surgery); implants in both my cheeks and in my chin; and other things that my surgeon tried to explain to me the day before but that I wasn't ready to listen to, otherwise I would have never authorised the surgery. This is why I don't specialise in medical translations, I am of the fainting persuasion.
The mirrors were covered again in the house, my face was all bruised and swollen from the surgery. There are photos, I have seen them, that face wasn't pretty.
|Disneyworld, Orlando (US), Christmas 1992|
Why did I have the good luck of having one of Spain's most brilliant reconstructive surgeons by my side from day one? That was down to my feisty grandma (it does run in the family), poor guy was holidaying near where we were with his new girlfriend at her parents' beach house when my grandma, who was great friends with his girlfriend's mother, heard of my accident and hired him on the spot, he came to visit not long after and immediately gave me some brilliant advice to save my left eye from an unsightly scar (I am shortsighted and was wearing glasses when I had the accident). He once called me his work of art, in the next breath he told me it would be easy to reduce the size of my saddlebags, I never went to his surgery again!
|Summer 1994, once everything had gone back to place|
|My wedding day, 2009|
This is my story "through the faces". It has all come full-circle now: my little girl shares my first face, she does in fact look exactly like her mummy at her age.
I have managed to include a photo with my grandad, who passed away in January this year, and a photo of my wedding after all.
I leave you with the words of the brilliant Brandi Carlile: All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am. So many stories of where I've been and how I got to where I am... Now, do me a little favour and go to a mirror near you, look at your face, admire every single detail, line and frown and today, just today, toss the eye cream, smile and enjoy the face that you were given because, I can assure you, it is a lovely face.
PS- I have chosen "good" photos as I would not want to scare anyone!