Making Up Your Face

Here is an example of the many nursery rhymes aimed at face-building. As mother repeats each line, she puts her finger - or baby's - on his forehead, eye, nose, mouth etc., in turn:

Brow bender,
Eye peeper,
Nose dreeper,
Mouth eater,
Chin chopper,
Knock at the door,
Ring the bell,
Lift the hatch,
Walk in.

Yet the lesson is not easily learned. Karen, at 9 years, still writes:
"Have you ever felt like nobody?
Just a tiny speck of air,
When everyone's around you,
And you are just not there."

I knew my arms and body were black, I could see them, but I swore my face was white and if she (Shirley Temple) ever met me, she'd return my love.  Hakim Jamal, about himself at 10

But then the worst happens. They take him by the hand and draw him towards the table; and all of them, as many as are present, gather inquisitively before the lamp. They have the best of it. They keep in the shadow, while on him alone falls, with the light, all the shame of having a face.  Rilke

Mrs. General: "If Miss Amy Dorrit will direct her own attention to, and will accept of my poor assistance in, the formation of a surface, Mr. Dorrit will have no further cause of anxiety."  Dickens

There will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.  T.S. Eliot

What a pity, when a man looks at himself in a glass, he doesn't bark at himself like a dog does, or fluff up in indignant fury like a cat!  D.H. Lawrence

Estell: "I feel so queer (she pats herself). Don't you ever get taken that way? When I can't see myself I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist. I pat myself to make sure, but it doesn't help much. When I talked to people I always made sure there was a mirror nearby in which I could see myself. I watched myself talking. And somehow it kept me alert, seeing myself as the others saw me."  Sartre, "Huis Clos"


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