I have never, ever looked at my face as much as I do now. To be honest, I am VERY un-photogenic. Seriously, many a photographer has insisted they could make me look good and has had to concede defeat as they trawl back desperately through the saved images trying to find a keeper. Cameras hate me and mirrors don’t particularly approve.
It’s not that I’m particularly ugly or anything – I don’t think. I have obviously always had a natural predisposition to be discontented with the way I look as do many women. Ironically, I was the least satisfied with my appearance when it was at its best - early 20s to early 30s I’d say. As the years have marched on I have reached more of an acceptance. I bravely peer closely into a magnifying mirror placed strategically on a windowsill every morning so I can pluck the stray hairs from my chin and check for other unsightly blemishes. It is SO unfair that one can have wrinkles AND spots at the same time! One should at least give way to the other!
While I am hardly filled with admiration at what reflects back at me, I will at least wade in and make sure I’ve erased the worst of it before anyone else has to see it.
So getting to know myself in a different way whilst teaching on Zoom, literally seeing my animated self while I meet, teach, direct, socialise – I guess I have sort of come to terms with my face. As long as it keeps moving it isn’t too bad (though my husband might disagree). Of course, in what I do, I am super-animated as well. I hadn’t realised quite how elaborately I gesticulate, pull faces, smile, grimace, roar with laughter. It all seems quite over the top but I suppose that a drama teacher’s reputation precedes them on that front!
It strikes me that there must be many people out there who have also been getting to know their ‘Zoom Face’. I know it isn’t that new. We’ve been Skyping, Face-Timing and so on for years but now we are practically TV stars in our own living rooms!
I see now that a posed photo; even a candid one, can never really capture who you are. A still image whilst representative can never tell the whole story. And sometimes it helps to get to see yourself as others see you. A bit more interesting than you thought. A little more shiny. A little bit less…self-conscious I guess.