“We need to talk…”
I know, scary words to hear. A phrase usually followed up with some sort of ultimatum or possible parting of the ways, but that’s not what this is, well, this time at least.
Something has happened to me and I want to share it with you. Unfortunately, maybe this time around, I’m not sharing great news. For instance, last week I got my YouTube certified status, that was great news I wanted to share, and I did, on twitter. (Shameless plug here, follow me on Twitter @shellysavesthe).
This time is different though, this isn’t really something that I wanted to share, I’m still debating on sharing, even as I type this. The coward in me wants to save it to drafts, or the trash. The brave part of me will hit publish, at 1:30 in the morning so that it has the least amount of chance to be seen by others.
The first time it happened to me, I was 25 and on a business trip to California. I was having trouble eating my soup, it kept missing my mouth and I was literally thinking to myself “stop being so weird!” Then I looked in the mirror and saw it. Half of my face was drooping lower than the other. I couldn’t seem to move my entire left side of my face. I was having issues speaking, something was just off.
I had Bell’s Palsy and I seemed to have it pretty severely. I went to the hospital convinced I did. They confirmed it within seconds of looking at me. They sent me home without much of anything, because there didn’t seem to be that much research on how to fix it.
We were taking a group picture the next day. I really did try to smile, I promise. Not only did I hate the way I looked, it was the first time I’ve ever wished that I could just have taken the picture with my standard resting b*tch face, that I usually despise.
Back in the day, oh to be 25 again, I decided that auditioning for a professional sports teams dance team was a good idea. I decided to be honest and try to tell them why my face was having issues not putting on the perfect cheerleader face they wanted. This was only a few days after going to the hospital.
I didn’t make the team, big surprise. They were sympathetic sure, but I doubt they were thinking I could be a calendar girl with my face the way it was in its current state. I remember feeling ashamed, my body was failing me, I couldn’t control it, and if you know me at all, I really hate not being in control of anything.
It went away on its own in a few weeks. No rhyme, no reason, no explanation, and no sadness to see it gone on my part. I’ve always thought I had a crooked smile, but during that time, through today, I’ve always felt it was accentuated more. It’s something I’ve been ashamed of, tried to work around, tried to make jokes about, but it can be soul crushing.
Here I am now, years later and as it turns out, fate is not done with me yet. It started 24 hours ago. I tried putting on chapstick, I couldn’t seem to get my lips to smack together as usual. I didn’t think much of it until later on in the day when I went to have lunch. Food was getting into my mouth but I was having problems chewing consistently on both sides of my mouth. I took another bite, food fell out of my mouth and I literally had one thought flash into my brain. “It’s happening again”.
I went to the bathroom and I tried to smile at myself in the mirror. Only half of me was able to smile back. The other side, the droopy side, gave me a sad half hearted attempt and I instantly knew. It had happened again. One eyebrow lower than the other, the inability to smile fully, and difficulty closing my eye, and all again on the left side of my face.
I don’t know what this means for me, why it’s back, but I decided to go back to the hospital fully prepared to hear there was nothing they can recommend for me. This time was different, they said instantly, yes it’s Bell’s palsy again, but this time they offered hope, in the form of a couple of prescriptions that hopefully reduce the swelling around the nerve to get my muscle control back.
Bells Palsy is a kind of partial facial paralysis often caused by nerve damage and affecting the facial muscles ability to smile or really even, hold themselves taught. I’m not fully sure why I’m sharing all this with you. I guess I want to show you that all that glitters online isn’t always gold, people go through real things every day and being online doesn’t exempt you from it.
Things can literally change in the blink of an eye. Here are 2 pictures of me, less than 72 hours apart. The world moves fast people.
I guess I’m just saying, life is really short and you never know what hand you’re going to be dealt. Things that you thought were long gone can come back with a vengeance. Dealing with things the same way as you did in your past may not work for you, or you may not get the same result.
I’m not going to be all sunshine and roses here. This sucks, totally sucks, but I’m dealing with it. I’ll keep pushing forward but I guess I need to say that if you see me soon, and you don’t get a full smile out of me, this might be the reason why.