Loving myself lopsided…

“The play is done – the curtain drops,

Slow falling to the prompter’s bell;

A moment yet the actor stops,

And looks around, to say farewell.

It is an irksome word and task;

And, when he’s laughed, and had his say,

He shows, as he removes his mask,

A face that’s anything but gay.”

~ William Makepeace Thackeray

I’m having trouble with my face.

It started quite a while ago, perhaps fifteen years, and was so trifling that only my mother noticed. “Oh,” she said as I was going off to have some professional photographs taken for a work assignment. “You know you have a funny eye? You look uneven when you smile.  Don’t put that side of your face toward the camera.”

Thanks for the heads-up, Mum.  As it was, when the pictures came back she remarked that I was squinty.

It’s become worse over time, and now I know what it is.  It’s not natural ugliness or an inherited facial flaw.  I have Bell’s Palsy, courtesy of Lyme Disease attacking my cranial nerve.

When I smile, only one side of my face responds.

2013-03-14 15.52.22I tell myself it makes me look whimsical. And the upside is that one side of my face is quite free of smiley eye-wrinkles and laugh lines. Which side of my face should I put to the camera now, Ma?  The smiley side? The smooth and ageless side?

Actually, I think it’s time to face the world head on.

I’ve decided that I’m beautiful just the way I am.  If I get droopier, at least I know I’m smiling on the inside. It’s almost like a botox experiment without the botox!

If I let fashion magazines and our society’s obsession with youth and perfection define me, I’d be out with the trash. But I have something much more powerful that that – I’m grateful for my body, and I love that it has hung in here with me. I’m comfortable in my skin and I hope that in my self-acceptance I can encourage you to begin to feel the same.

Just in case you are uncertain as to my smiley status, here’s another pic, modified with the help of my index finger to get that pesky under-performing cheek into position.

2013-03-14 15.53.45I have a message for you:

Beauty begins in the heart.  Beauty is kindness and compassion in action. It’s wearing your passion and living your values. It’s being authentic and REAL. Beauty is YOU just as you are, being yourself and accepting that Self with love.

Quit judging yourself. Don’t hide from the world, wanting to be something other than who you are. Know that you are perfect in your imperfection, that your body and your life will continue to evolve and change, and all of that will be reflected on your face, but more importantly in your heart.

In the end, when we remember someone, it’s the time we spent together and the way they made us feel that is important.  So dress up in your best smile, share your love, practice kindness and do all you can to embrace your life with joy. 

I love you! Bless ♥ xx

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76 thoughts on “Loving myself lopsided…

  1. I think you are beautiful EXACTLY as you are sweet Nic – and I actually couldn’t tell anything from the first photo. I love you! Kimmie xx

  2. Beautifully put from a beautiful woman!
    It’s taken me to get to middle age to finally acknowledge the importance of my inner beauty and not care about the outer shell…such a pity I did not achieve this understanding earlier on in life! thank you for reminding me of this 🙂 !!

  3. You really showed me how often we are our biggest critic.Your beauty shines through and it hleps give me permission for mine to do the same. Thanks and love Nikki 🙂

  4. So nice 2 c you Nicole…and what a gentle lovely face and energy (a strong woman) and guess what really couldnt tell the difference in the pics except in the tiniest inciest way that might say this is my wry smile. wry smiles r good they show we know things. and yes we age some age well and others look harrowed, ashen and worn….My best hope is that (as they say n this part of the world!) that I will hold the times well. I dont want to look 20 that wud b ungracious and muttenesque.And really ones energy (aura) is ones beauty keep it cleansed and topped up and youl shine and be stunningly yourself. I just try to be stunningly myself. love 2 u Nicole u have a beautiful face.xxx

    • Who’d have known the strength within me? I guess it’s only the hard times in life that reveal it. I love that you try to be ‘stunningly yourself’ – what can be more beautiful than that. Much love to you, dear Soul Sister xx

  5. You are beautiful, Nicole. Please don’t think me shallow, but I love getting to see the face behind the blog; it adds a big dash of personal appeal for me. I do hope, however, that this condition you have is not painful.(?)
    Loved this post, it’s so honest.
    Jennifer x

    • No, not painful – numb actually. It could be so much worse, and if it gets that way, well I’ll deal with it the best I can.
      Thanks for your kind words. I believe that when we truly get to know someone we no longer see their exterior – we ‘see’ their soul. I hope my writing is helping you to ‘see’ me too.
      Love and Light, Nicole xx

  6. NO WAY!! I suffer from bells palsy too…. not to many people know what it is. It struck me when I was 18 ( I’m 33 now)……. my face has never gone back to the way it was…..I have a wonky face. when I smile I one eye closcloses and my mouth kinda curls up……. it has been really hard to accept that this is my face. I hate having my photo taken and it makes me extremely self conscious, especially when people are quick to point it out.. its most prevelant when im tired…… thanks for the post nicole…. arohanui

  7. Love you Nic!! You are just beautiful!! And Thank you. what a a great message… It is really easy to be so critical and hard on ourselves about our imperfections… Xx

    • My wise Nana always told me that when we are old and looking back we’ll see how truly beautiful we were, right when we thought of ourselves as fat, ugly, old, limp-haired or whatever other mean thing we told ourselves…

  8. Oh so gorgeous! You are simply stunning on the inside and outside! You give so many people inspiration & hope. Love to you xx

  9. My best friend of a million years got Bells during both her pregnancies (38-40 years ago !!). It disappeared after the pregnancies and is only a little bit noticeable if she is super tired….. But our faces are always lopsided when looking in a mirror (well mine is and my husband’s !) However, as you have said in your blog, beauty comes from the inside. Never a truer word said. xxx

    • Mine’s much worse when I’m tired too. I took this pic on the best day I’d had in ages. My biggest issue is that my eye now doesn’t close properly – and it’s my ‘good’ eye. My other eye is the one with all the pain and blurry vision from Lyme. But I can see, and when it’s all too hard I have my pirate eye patch, or the possibility of naps… 😀 xx

  10. You are very beautiful , I have a friend who has had a couple of attacks of bells palsy however her face returned to its normal self. I am not sure what triggers it but she is a very busy women and I have often wondered if it was stress. I hope these challenges you are so bravely accepting and facing subside soon. Life surely will shine some good on you soon xxxx

    • Stress is rotten, isn’t it? I believe life is shining some good on me anyway. I truly would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t had to suffer all of the assorted crap I’ve dealt with along the way. The journey has been hard, but I like the person it’s grown me into. Much love to you xoxo

  11. You are beautiful and I can feel your heart and the energy is shining through as well as your courage, there are sparkles/diamonds in your eyes. I love you have shared
    Keep smiling know it can be challenging. I love your message and I would like to share it on my 21 day love challenge – final day blog post if you are okay with that. Love you
    Namaste
    xxoo

  12. When I saw the title to this post I thought yup, our bodies are lopsided in many areas. Funny how we find it hard to do what others who love us naturally already do. You radiate beauty Nicole (and no, it’s not the computer screen lighting lol). I had to scroll up and down a number of times to see what you were talking about. I am glad you are embracing yourself as much as those around you.

  13. Your a beautiful person … Its your beauty and honesty over the past six months (that I found your gorgeous blog) that has made me readjust my life to love me and cherish what I have been given. Thank you Nicole xoxo

    Amanda xoxo

  14. I think you look beautifully radiant from the inside out. Your inner light shines through in your face which no amount of cosmetics could achieve. You’re wise to accept yourself. We are far more beautiful when we embrace ourselves fully. I’m getting there-a bit closer everyday! 😀

  15. You are an incredible woman & beautiful to boot. The world is lucky to have you, even luckier that you share so much of yourself xx

    • Oh dear – I’m cracking up giggling – when my sister and I were kids we watched this stupid comedy show where two French women slapped each other with fish, saying “You are stunning”, *slap with wet fish to the head* ‘NO, you are stunning”… Love you xx

  16. As a “physical specimen”, you are quite beautiful – ’nuff said. However, NOTHING can eclipse the amazing radiance of your gorgeous heart – *that* is real beauty. Mwah! <3

  17. Nicole beauty, is beauty, is beauty, on the inside, the outside and everywhere in between. Plus whenever I think of you all I hear is your beautiful ‘pearly’ laugh. Lynette xxxxxx

  18. Like many of the readers commenting, I too had to look up again to check more closely for the difference. Nicole, you’re beautiful, just as you are.
    Does anyone really have a symmetrical face? I’ve seen them on magazine covers, but rarely do I come across anyone in “real life” with that restricting affliction! ☺ Nah! Most of us have gorgeous quirky individual deviations from the plaster cast. Hallelujah to that! And just like Gaudi, who famously differed from the architectural norm – instead of smooth, straight lines with look-but-don’t-touch facades, he whimsically created gorgeous, textural, expressive, I’m-real-touch-me creations.
    Google “Gaudi Barcelona” and shout “Vive la difference!” – or perhaps a Spanish equivalent 😀 xo

    • I was entranced by all the Gaudi creations when we visited Barcelona a few years ago, so I love the idea of my face being Gaudi-esque. The biggest frustration for me now, beside my misbehaving eye, which can get quite droopy and dry, is that when my husband or friends sit to the affected side of me, they often ask if I am sad or if something is wrong, because my facial expressions don’t really register on that side of my face. It’s also given me appalling balance so no bicycles, shoes with heels or tightrope walking for me!

  19. Hey, I can relate. I have a minor birth defect called hemifacial microsomia that makes my face rather asymmetrical, so I look very different to myself in photos than I do in the mirror. I was watching the movie Loopers the other day, where Gordon Levitt Whatsit plays a younger version of Bruce Willis, and when he meets him in person, he says “your face looks backwards.” I had to laugh, as I know how that feels.

    But it really doesn’t matter, since our bodies are just the clothes we put on when we come down here, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with who we really are. They just help us to breathe the atmosphere while we’re on this planet, and when we go we just leave them behind. No biggie. Besides, I think you’re super cute anyway. So there. 🙂

  20. You are gaw-jus! I am a nurse and I hate to be the “be thankful because of what I’ve seen” person, but Bells Palsy can be sooooo much worse than what you have. I would give anything for your beautiful full lips! Mine are barely there! Namaste!

    • You know for YEARS I used to use lip-liner and foundation to make my lips appear smaller. They were the major embarrassment of my entire face, growing up, and the make-up ladies at posh department stores would always click their tongues and tell me and my mother how important it was to reduce the *fullness* as though this was a terrible affliction. And now everyone is injecting their poor mouths with stuff to give that bee-stung trout-pout look!!! I have had people stop me in the street to ask where I had my mouth ‘done’. Aren’t we humans just the funniest things? And yeah, I know it can be worse, and mine has steadily gotten worse (can now not shut eye properly) so I’m hoping these new meds will at least arrest things, or maybe, if I’m lucky, turn it around. Namaste to you too, dear one xoxo

  21. hello nicole – i’m a new reader to your blog but i’m in heart, mind and soul. I am so grateful to have found cauldrons and cupcakes – thank you for sharing all these beautiful messages. They really resonate with me and I feel like I’ve already learned and affirmed a lot in just a few short days. You are a beautiful writer and lightworker – and your face is beautiful too. Working as a carer for someone with a disability really helped me appreciate my body and my beauty. It doesn’t matter about any perceived ‘imperfections’. My body enables me to dance, stretch, run, skip , swim. My legs and feet carry my faithfully, my arms enfold the people i love in hugs, my eyes see the beauty of the world and I grew three beautiful children in my womb.

    • Welcome Kate! So glad that you can join us. 😀 Is there any journey more magical than to grow a little person inside you? I am still in awe of the whole process of life. You’re so right – it’s the function of our bodies that is the true miracle – everything else is just window dressing. Much love to you xx

  22. It’s really nice to match a face with the “voice” that I’ve been following along with all this time. And a wise, sweet, pretty face it is. I hope that your blog, and the honesty with which you write it, helps you as much as it helps those who read it. It has encouraged me time and time again. –Lucinda

    • Writing DOES help me, Lucinda. In the most socially isolating times of my life, when I’ve been really unwell, writing has been a little window of sanity where I can go and sit for a while, and the blessing of the web is that even if you are stuck at home in bed, there is a whole community out there which you can connect into. Thanks for reading. {{{HUGS}}} xoxo

  23. thank you nicole! it is good to see your beautiful face! i too am happy to put your face with your voice as lucinda mentioned above! i envisioned you with dark hair before and now i am so glad to see what you really look like! thank you for your continuing inspiration! you add so much to my life and how i feel about myself. love, pamela

    • Well this little post certainly has turned into a love-fest! I’m so glad I was brave enough to put my face up there on the page. No, I have sandy-blonde hair, shot through with Viking red in the sunshine, although increasingly it is wiry grey hairs I am finding amid the tangle these days. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, and for being a part of the Cauldrons community. Bless xx

  24. Nicole you are so beautiful!!!
    As a child I had a concussion of the brain and by that my left side was paralysed. Also my face was involved, my smile wry. I suffered a lot as young lady not to feel attractive but now I know indeed that the outside is not important, the beauty comes from inside. After understanding that I changed and became more aligned.
    I have worked very hard to improve my condition that I am passable straight and I am proud of that.
    Love and light, Jetske.

  25. Jetske, you have always looked beautiful to me. How much we worry and waste energy on what we look like, instead of simply embracing the gift that is life. It’s good, isn’t it, to be able to let that go. I would be proud too, of the hard work you put in to wake your face up and bring it back under your conscious control. That’s a wonderful thing! Much love to you, my friend xoxo

    • Yes indeed it is wonderful!!! I brought back my hole body under control!
      I am thankful for my coach. Now I can help other people to help themselves too. Love you my friend 🙂 xoxox

  26. What a wonderful post and replies checked in again this evening to read after a mad day and affer checkin the ginger nut log (the sauce sounds fab and the cake 2) but all day this post and the wonderful women who replied and you 2 Nicole were in my head. Am realising that we women really are something. And whilst trying to be myself no more no less, am only realising now what it means to be woman and gifted with the divine feminine the goddess that feminity. My daughter is a girlie girl yet tough and especially feminine and gifted with quite the gob on occasiion (i say she’s like my mum) she’s actually a very wonderful 15yr old….but my realisation is we each have our own brand of feminine just like our different faces. My brand of feminine wears wellies, and may often be found washing her hands whilst hearing the beloved daughter mutter “mam you have a bit of a small bush stuck in your hair and theres more on your cardie, I really hope no one saw you looking like that” but thats fine thats nust me. Much love Nicole thank you for your evocative and lovely blog and the inspiring comments from all..xxx

  27. Thank you Nicole. Myself and many others who have been through breast cancer worry about our lopsided and deformed bodies after mastectomies, that we are no longer attractive or sexual beings. It is good to be reminded of our inner beauty and many other beautiful aspects of our bodies and that we are still experiencing life and all the beauty there is in it. Love to you and your gorgeous lopsided face. Hope your health is improving and you are feeling better every day x

  28. You’re gorgeous, Nicole! I saw you picture first and didn’t notice that you had Bell’s Palsy. I think your smile is beautiful and mysterious :).

    I like to believe that once all the bugs are dead the damage will reverse itself. It only seems fair 🙂

  29. Well Nicole I have news for you – you are very beautiful AND your post was beautiful! There is so much love, warmth and humour in your writing. I can feel that you help many people to experience love for themselves!!! Go you! Love and hugs, Rachelle xx

    • I just read a book about the power of healing clay “Clay Cures” by Anjou Musafir and Pascal Chazot. It was published in India and that’s where I purchased it from. go to “addall.com” for the best price in used books. anyhow to get to the main point i want to make: a man cured himself of Bell’s Palsy by the use of clay. It draws all impurities from the body and restores the body to health. So Nicole, you might want to read this charming little book written by a husband and wife team. The book has some absolutely amazing testimonials in there, plus the author’s first hand experiences with clay. love, pamela

  30. I just read a book about the power of healing clay “Clay Cures” by Anjou Musafir and Pascal Chazot. It was published in India and that’s where I purchased it from. go to “addall.com” for the best price in used books. anyhow to get to the main point i want to make: a man cured himself of Bell’s Palsy by the use of clay. It draws all impurities from the body and restores the body to health. So Nicole, you might want to read this charming little book written by a husband and wife team. The book has some absolutely amazing testimonials in there, plus the author’s first hand experiences with clay. love, pamela

  31. sorry i meant to post the reply to nicole, not to rachelle….so i reposted it. nicole, maybe you can remove my reply to rachelle because i can’t figure out how to do it! thank you, pamela

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