Living With Your Face

When I saw this picture today, I was transfixed.   When I saw Connie Culp on the news tonight, I was stunned.   As “the nation’s first face transplant recipient,” here’s what she said:

Don’t judge people who don’t look the same as you do. Because you never know. One day it might be all taken away.

After smirking at photos of celebrity plastic surgery, I have to take stock of myself.

Imagine going through life without your face to depend on. Your face is everything! It’s the thing that stares back at you in the mirror, the thing you present to other people to communicate with them, to charm them, to placate them, to seduce them, to project who you are or who you’re pretending to be.

Without your face, you have to give up all that. You have to rely on your actual Self. You have to have inner resources that I can’t even imagine.   You have to have courage.   Connie Culp was shot in the face and lived through it. She has lived through the experience of being called a monster by kids who were frightened by her face.

And now she has appeared at a press conference, in order to help persuade potential donors that face transplants matter.

If only we could always remember how lucky we are, instead of thinking about our skin problems!

Schopenhauer’s advice for dealing with the problem of existence is to rely upon art, compassion and resignation.   I think that gratitude is a good idea, too, even if it sounds like preachy 12 step crap.

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18 Responses to Living With Your Face

  1. Aja says:

    Well put. Nothing like a hard dose of reality to bring us all down from our high horses.

  2. honeypants says:

    Wow. That poor brave woman. Good for her. I’m glad she’s getting a normal life back. That thing about the little girl who called her a monster was so sad. Oddly enough, someone emailed me a link to this clip yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4dFU1MmL6c which is about a guy who had most of his face eaten away by a fungus. Doctors removed the rest. He’s just forehead, mouth and chin. His wife is still with him, and says if anything, it’s made their love stronger. Some people are a billion times stronger than I could ever be.

  3. Jill says:

    Fuck! What a fucking cold shower wakeup call. Thanks for that…seriously. Sometimes I don’t realize how fucking fortunate I am…I lapse into taking everything for granted. Fuck!!!!

  4. Jill says:

    I’m going to link to you…and you have a larger following than me…here’s a link where people can donate. I’m sure any little bit helps.
    http://www.savingfaces.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=48

  5. Danielle says:

    You know, I had wondered what happened to her, because I remember when the transplant happened and how it made news. I’m glad to see she’s doing better. Brave souls!

  6. I am amazed by this woman and what she’s endured. 30 operations on her face! It certainly does put things in perspective. But I can’t get over the fact that her husband (the one who shot her in the face) only got 7 years.

  7. hoochiegucci says:

    exactly what I was going to write, Iheartfashion……7 years?!!!! It’s disgusting.

  8. hammie says:

    Wow. I worked for a winery once where the owner was a plastic surgeon. And I used to joke about getting my boobs done on the company. Turns out he specialised in surgery for kids in New Guinea and the islands who were either born deformed or caught tropical diseases that distorted their faces. He was basically saving lives as he was saving faces as the kids would not be able to eat properly or thrive.
    Put the gift of plastic surgery into perspective for me too.
    xx

  9. Lauren says:

    I needed this today, thanks for posting Sister Wolf. xoxo

  10. Deni says:

    Sister Wolf, you have touched on a lot of issues, from how we see others to our own self esteem which is erroneously based on the superfluous, as you point out above. And then there’s the crazy people who harm others and get inappropriate sentences, the modern miracle of science/medicine which is able to reconstruct a face; and how small our problems are in comparison to human beings such as Connie Culp’s.

    I’m going to be more positive and count my blessings. And continue to oppose guns . . .and bombs, and mines, and war, and all the bad stuff that really can screw up someone’s life.

  11. Deni says:

    Big, big typo . . . maybe one day I’ll type something w/o a typo! But I doubt it.

  12. arline says:

    It is nice to be humbled, and see things with perspective.

    I have countless things to be grateful for.

  13. HelOnWheels says:

    I love this blog more and more each time I visit.

    Thank you, SW, for reminding me how fortunate I am.

  14. Sonia Luna says:

    This truly makes me realize how trivial my hung ups about my body are … time to stop moaning about my fat arse and count my blessings!

  15. Winter Bird says:

    It never ceases to amaze me the lot in life some people must endure. I have truly been humbled by Connie’s story. She is my hero. I think she is beautiful. I hope the mother-fucker who shot her rots in hell.

  16. Sister Wolf says:

    Aja – Yep, xo

    Honeypants – Wow. xo

    Jill – Thank you for thinking of that! If I only had a brain. xo

    Danielle – So brave, xo.

    Iheartfashion – No sense there at all. xo

    hoochiegucci -Ditto. xo

    hammie – xoxo

    Lauren – Thanks for reading it. xo

    Deni – it’s hard but we have to count the blessings. xo

    arline – Same here. xo

    HelOnWHeels – Thank you, xo

    Sonia Luna – I have to keep reminding myself. Several times a day. xo

    Winter Bird – I agree with every point. xo

  17. Speaking of Lil’ Artie Schopenhauer: “Work, worry, toil and trouble are indeed the lot of almost all men their whole life long. And yet, if every desire were satisfied as soon as it arose, how would men occupy their lives, how would they pass the time? Imagine this race transported to a Utopia where everything grows of its own accord and turkeys fly around ready-roasted, where lovers find one another without any delay: in such a place some men would die of boredom or hang themselves, some would fight and kill one another, and thus they would create for themselves more suffering than nature inflicts on them as it is. Thus for a race such as this, no stage, no form of existence is suitable other than the one it already possesses”

  18. I have to say I was amazed and impressed by her courage and think she was incredibly brave to talk about it all. I’m wishing I could take on board all of these points!

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