I was sorta/kinda happy to note that my fifth anniversary of getting Bell’s palsy came and went without notice. For someone who notoriously pays little attention to days and dates I have remained hyper aware of my relationship with Bell’s Palsy.
Five years ago I was standing in line at Shea Stadium (Citi Field) picking up tickets for a baseball game where I had the oddest sensation of pain in my hair. That’s right. My hair hurt.
I was then struck with the first of many ice pick headaches; and a more accurate name has never been given.
Over the course of the next three or four days my hand went reflexively to my head as it felt like someone was shoving a skewer into my head just above my eye.
One week later, and one day after a dentist appointment that I should have cancelled, I woke up with Bell’s palsy and half a face.
And even though I have recovered more than halfway physically, I never fully recovered, and my emotional relationship with myself has taken a battering from which I also haven’t truly recovered.
Yoga teaches that I am not the body and we are all one energy, or cosmic consciousness, and I believe that deeply in my thinking brain. But in my emotional brain, while I was no Tom Brady (or insert whatever name you like) I really liked myself for who and what I was.
And I am no little bit surprised just how much that has changed.
I am introverted by nature (just not when I am teaching) and multiplying my self-consciousness to the 10th power has not gone well at all.
Unless I know someone well, I am keenly aware of their awareness of my face, an awareness that probably doesn’t exist.
Objectively I understand the someone who has never met me before will only know me for who I am now but I perceive myself as deformed which colors my perception of their perception of me.
I used to think I wasn’t vain. I am a bit of a slob; my hair when I had some was never kempt. I could care less about clothes essentially wearing the same uniform of jeans and t-shirts for almost forty years.
And yet… here I am five years later still a bit dizzy from my physical disease that rocked my world in an emotional way.