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.