Some things I’ve learned about Zoom:
Ø We stare at our own faces for hours on end; is this a new swell of narcissism?
Ø You can touch up your face in Video Settings.
Ø You can stop looking at your own face by hitting “Hide Self View” in Gallery mode. Others in the meeting will see you, but you won’t see you.
Ø I have wrinkles.
Ø I don’t like seeing all those wrinkles.
Ø No amount of touching up will remove those lines.
Ø When I smile, there are more wrinkles and crinkles, especially around my eyes.
There is this wonderful young poet, Willow Teagan. I discovered her on Instagram (Willow Tea Poetry).
Brief, and full of meaning, her verses reach out and yank on my awareness; I have to pay attention.
Also, she hammers out her work on an old style typewriter. How cool is that.
I mean, I guess you can download a typewriter font and use it for effect, but I like to imagine the writer hunched over an old Royal.
She wrote this piece called “Wrinkles.”
“i want wrinkles.
i want a memoir etched in tiny fissures upon my face.
deep crevices of life disguised in rivulets, evident to anyone whose gaze happens upon me.
a small token awarded me for the continuous renewal of breath every sunrise.
see there? i smiled so much one afternoon, my face cracked.”
“i want a memoir etched in tiny fissures upon my face.”
Wow. Thanks so much Willow!
Maybe we shouldn’t be so obsessed with our appearance.
I have learned so much from elderly loved ones; their wrinkles are winsome and wise. I fully embrace their so-called “imperfections” as I gaze into eyes that care for me and pray for me and welcome me into that deep, unhindered love.
So why do I reject my own creases and furrows?
Consider this – your face could well be a roadmap in someone’s wilderness. Your collective memories, good and bad, are exquisite mile markers of survival.
Your worry lines and weathered contours, are the topography of wisdom borne of loss and replenishment; mistakes and forgiveness.
Those ribbons of gray hair? … A tapestry of life in all its seasons.
Those crow’s feet engraved by your eyes? Those are a lifetime of laughter; you’ve earned them and they are brushstrokes of beauty.
Family and friends are looking to you for affirmation in their own voyages – your face is a safe place to feel centered, alive and known.
Next time I feel the need to zoom out of Zoom, I need to remember, my face has known the glow of yet another sunrise.
That’s the kind of “touch-up” I want.
Photos by Claudia van Zyl
Photos by Claudia van Zyl
Kathy Joy is a Pennsylvania-based author of a four-book series, "Breath of Joy." She writes for the collaborative group, Books for Bonding Hearts, and is a blogger at Coffee With Kathy. Recently she was asked to keep a mini-blog for her coworkers, who are sequestered at home because of the pandemic. "Wrinkles" is one of those daily blogposts.