The Thing

Photo by Aimee Vogelsang | Unsplash

On my face.

There’s a thing on my face. A new thing. A thing that makes people say things like, “You should get that looked at,” (the groom) and “If that was on my face, I’d be freaking out,” (the daughter).

Again, this thing — it’s on my face.

I’m not happy about this thing. I’m not used to things on my face, having been pretty lucky on the acne front and whatnot. I haven’t faced a lot of whatnot on, you know, my face.

Vanity is a sin that I have pretended to avoid. Or pride, whatever you call it — the other six I freely cop to. Who among us doesn’t occasionally fall prey to lust, gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath and envy? Honestly, at least three of those happen at breakfast — we’re human, after all. But vanity (ok, pride) is not a problem, right? I have spent a great portion of my life really, truly not much caring enough to be vain. Too lazy to do anything interesting with my hair or mess around with make-up, too uncomfortable in clothes that look amazing, I’ve settled into a fabulous mid-life vibe — “I’m happy, what do you want from me?” Vanity requires so much energy.

Until the thing, that is. The thing on my face. I’m unsure as to whether imminent death or monstrous appearance is more alarming. I’m going to die regardless, but I didn’t think I’d have things on my face. It’s as if the mask that I’m accustomed to greeting each morning is quickly morphing, growing things like a potato. Potato face. This is a new, surprising reality, one I’m not sure I’m ready for.

It’s a very small thing. It’s on the bridge of my nose, near my eye. It started out as a zit — a tiresome, mid-life, hormone-inspired zit right in the center of my face and it wasn’t alarming at all. Just another tiny insult in the catalogue of insults that is the mid-life feminine experience. But it didn’t go away, it just faded into a flesh-colored thing that now lives on my face and makes it difficult to talk to my family without finally blurting, “WHAT!”

And now I feel it, even though it feels like nothing. I wake up and think, “Wonder how the thing is?” When people talk to me, I think, “Are they looking at the thing? Wonder what they think?” Is this how the Elephant Man felt? What are they looking at? What are they thinking? Are they even listening to the words that I’m saying now?! I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!

I have to decide now if I should do the grown-up thing and visit a dermatologist or take the head-in-the-sand approach and wait for it to go away. Because it totally will. Right? This alien on the reliable landscape of my face — my facade, that I’ve used to fool everyone for a lifetime — is not a permanent fixture, it cannot be. How can I telegraph my will to the world with new decor, a strange paint job, a thing, of all things?

Feedback has not been helpful. I’ve heard, “Don’t worry, if there’s a problem they’ll just freeze/burn/scrape it off.” There are so many problems with this answer. First of all, of course there’s a problem, there’s a thing on my face, is anyone paying attention! And second, what?! Freeze, burn, and scrape are words that should never be found in sentences with the word face. Face belongs in sentences with words like cream and lovely and open.

If I skirt the dermatologist, which my most logical self is suggesting, I’ll just need to make friends with this thing. Embrace any and all positive possibilities. Perhaps it gives me character, maybe it’s mysterious. It could be a thing I’ve earned, like wisdom or noble gray. Maybe it’s a beauty mark.

Of course, that’s probably what it is! A beauty mark.

I have a beauty mark on my face. A new beauty mark, a mark that makes people say things like, “Gee, you’re so — beautiful.” (Still waiting for that.)

This is my new reality — it’s a beautiful thing — and I’m sticking to it.