Dick's Blog

“Her Face”, Chapter 40 of “Inside and Outside”, a Free Book

IMG 0608

STILL SMILING AT ME AFTER 56 YEARS, IDAHO ROAD TRIP

This Week, “Her Face”, Chapter 40 of 92 of “Inside and Outside” (totally in love with that smile.)

Next Week, “ Deep Snow”, Chapter 41 of 92 of “Inside and Outside” (walking in his tracks requires less effort). 

By early 2019, I will have finished posting all chapters (1 through 92) of “Inside and Outside”. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions for future projects. You can reach me and comment on my BLOG or on my Facebook page at Dick Sederquist Author.

Update:

In high school, I was love struck by a particular young lady who passed me regularly in the halls. She was petite in all her features, had long blond hair, and a beautiful wistful expression. Every time she passed, I felt myself going into cardiac arrest. I wanted so much to say something to her, but out of shyness, was paralyzed in the vocal cords. My fear was that I didn’t know which way her expression would turn if I spoke. Would it be a smile of approval, or a frown of disapproval? I never found out. I suffered for three years, kicking myself over and over for my fear of rejection. I’ve long forgotten her name, but not her face.

Several years ago, an article in Time Magazine addressed shyness in children. Some children have difficulty in identifying human facial expressions, particularly those fleeting ones that give visual clues as to the intentions of the person behind the face. The shy person holds back, not knowing whether they see a threat, approval or rejection. I would extend that analysis to the faces that show passivity or neutrality. The shy person may not want to find out whether they will turn into a smile or a snarl. Since the problem is totally in the hands, or the mind, of the shy person, they internalize their frustration and further retreat into indecision. Thank goodness for the occasional good soul who exudes smiles and encouragement and invites the shy one in.

Her Face

The first lady in my life was my mother. From her I learned what I appreciate and find special about the women in my life. This is dedicated to Hazel, Linda, Susan, Karen, Lauren, Kathi, Morgan, Nancy and thousands more, including those whose names I’ve forgotten or never even knew. 

As a teenager and young man, the conversation among my friends would eventually turn to the subject of what you find most attractive about women. I always suspected that the guy who said he was a leg-man wasn’t really telling the truth, just promoting himself above the wolf pack as more cultured and sophisticated. I kept silent, or just seconded another of my friends, unable to put in words that which I most revered.

As a child, I would have a recurring nightmare of a white lady’s face hovering over me. Her look was ghostly serene, expressionless. Thinking back, I imagine she could have represented death, like the lady in white in the movie, All That Jazz, about Bob Fosse, the Broadway dancer and choreographer. Awakening from my nightmare, my mother would be there to comfort me with a smile, a look of reassurance, trusting, approving and comforting. One day, as I lay in my mother’s arms, she walked past the mantle over the fireplace. I screamed, “White lady!” Looking at me at eye level was a white flower vase with the relief of a woman’s face. Her eyes followed me, and had been following me, since

I was able to crawl into the living room. The vase quickly disappeared from our house. I have long forgotten how my mother looked to me at that tender age, but her expression, in that smile and her eyes, I remember and cherish. It’s the characteristic I look for, appreciate and find special about the women in my life.

In high school, I was love struck by a particular young lady who passed me regularly in the halls. She was petite in all her features, had long blond hair, and a beautiful wistful expression. Every time she passed, I felt myself going into cardiac arrest. I wanted so much to say something to her, but out of shyness, was paralyzed in the vocal cords. My fear was that I didn’t know which way her expression would turn if I spoke. Would it be a smile of approval, or a frown of disapproval? I never found out. I suffered for three years, kicking myself over and over for my fear of rejection. I’ve long forgotten her name, but not her face.

A recent article in Time Magazine addressed shyness in children. Some children have difficulty in identifying human facial expressions, particularly those fleeting ones that give visual clues as to the intentions of the person behind the face. The shy person holds back, not knowing whether they see a threat, approval or rejection. I would extend that analysis to the faces that show passivity or neutrality. The shy person may not want to find out whether they will turn into a smile or a snarl. Since the problem is totally in the hands, or the mind, of the shy person, they internalize their frustration and further retreat into indecision. Thank goodness for the occasional good soul who exudes smiles and encouragement and invites the shy one in.

I don’t think I’m alone in what a face can do, or how it can affect one’s mood. Witness Helen of Troy, “The Face that Could Launch a Thousand Ships,” My Fair Lady’s, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” and the strains of Frank Sinatra’s romantic ballad, “Nancy (with the Laughing Face).” If my son had been born a girl, he would have been named Nancy. A lot of us have a similar—call it what you want— hang up or passion. The face that moves me to song or joy or tears or peacefulness has changed since my childhood. I see it in my wife and others who are kind and gentle, who light up in my presence. I see it in my favorite Vancouver waitress, the receptionist at my health club, good friends, my granddaughter who is a clone of my daughter, or my dental hygienist who works behind a surgical mask but whose eyes invite you in. Yes, I am hopelessly addicted, fatally smitten, totally in love with that smile, the melody, the words, the message, her lovely face.  

Next Week, “ Deep Snow”, Chapter 41 of “Inside and Outside” (walking in his tracks requires less effort).

Dick Sederquist is a retired engineer, engineering consultant, writer, author, hiker, motivational speaker and cancer and depression survivor. Dick suffered an emotional breakdown 35 years ago, realizing that he had been depressed all his life. That started his long journey back to mental health and happiness. Dick writes motivational and inspirational nonfiction short stories and essays for general audiences on many topics including life, family, humor, spirituality, nature, science, his volunteer prison experiences, hiking and travel adventures, depression, overcoming adversity, and what the author refers to as “home improvement”, healing the mind and body we live in. Dick and his wife have been married 50 years; have two grown children and four grandchildren, all part of a close-knit, active, caring and loving family. The whole family believes that the greatest gift in life is helping others.

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest
Guest Tuesday, 24 April 2018