Essay: "My Face" By Megan Wheeler

My Face
By Megan Wheeler

Mornings are intimate times – this is when your face is naked and you are most vulnerable. 

A typical morning for me consists of a cup of coffee with too much creamer, and maybe a shower, depending on if I showered the night before. The first glance into the mirror is always a little difficult. Blemishes are always the brightest and my flaws are fresh to my eyes. It’s hard to look away from the bright spots that have decorated my forehead, cheeks, and chin. I am quick to use over-priced makeup to cover my face so I don’t have to see it anymore. So you don’t have to see it anymore. I beat my face with a beauty blender and I apply unnecessary amounts of eye makeup in a desperate attempt to make myself seem intimidating. When I am finished painting on my face, I stand back and look into the mirror again, usually with a little more confidence.  My blue eyes appear grey in the bad bathroom lighting, and the thick, black frames to my glasses hide the work I put into my eyeliner and eyeshadow. My eyes do look a little more intimidating, but I cannot shake the overall sadness that shows in my face.

I am quick to use over-priced makeup to cover my face so I don’t have to see it anymore. 

I always thought that I had a resting bitch face, a resting mad face, but after many years of people asking me, “Are you okay?” I came to realize that I had a resting sad face, a resting “I’m very tired” face. Maybe it’s the placement of my eyes, or the position of my eyebrows, or the way my bottom lip pouts. I find it rather difficult to try to describe my face. There are no redeeming qualities that I think are worth describing. My face is just a face. I don’t have a scar with a story to tell you. It’s just sad, and I’ve never liked appearing sad— it brings unwanted attention. To me, having a resting bitch face gives off a sense of looking confident, and confident is something I’ve never been. 

When I look into the mirror, when it is bare, I cannot ignore that I look sad. Maybe I’m always a little sad, but aren’t we all? I’m a little sad of where I’ve been, and I’m a little sad from what I’ve seen. I’m really sad that my grandma is gone, and I’m really sad that I let an unhealthy relationship go on for so long. But I’m really happy. I’m really happy with where I am. I’m not particularly thrilled with how I got here, but I’m happy nonetheless. Unfortunately, though, this isn’t obvious because a stranger won’t see that I’m happy unless I told them, and why would a stranger ask? A stranger is going to see a sad face and a desperate makeup attempt to look fierce. They are going to see someone who doesn’t look like they’re sleeping enough, even though I can assure you I get a fair amount of sleep most of the time. 

You won’t know the story by simply looking at the face, you’ll only know if you are willing to listen.

So does it really matter how a face looks? A resting bitch face doesn’t mean a person is living in a constant state of anger. And a resting sad face doesn’t mean a constant state of sadness. A face is the timeline for a story- every worry line and frown line sets the date. It’s the eyes that saw the story, the lips that spoke the story. You won’t know the story by simply looking at the face, you’ll only know if you are willing to listen. It’s taken me a while to be okay with a resting sad face. I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter how my face looks or how much makeup I’m wearing because the people who really care to listen focus more on the story I have to tell rather than the sadness in my face. 

Megan Wheeler is a writer from Kuna, Idaho.

"Writing has always been a thing for me to do and something for me to turn to. It's just a way for me to express myself- it's just who I am."

On Her Work:

"I HATED this piece. When I was writing it, I had a specific message I wanted to get across but it felt like no matter what I did, I couldn't get my message right. I really struggled writing this but I felt like it was important to share because I am my own worst critique. Hopefully, other eyes will see things I cannot."

On Female Creators:

"Our voice matters. That's all there is to it."