Dysmorphia is a word seldom heard or read. It’s a character disorder that obsessively perceive severe flaws in one’s own face, body or general appearance. This warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix the flaw. Exceptional measures range from over the counter cosmetic to cosmetic surgery. It usually starts during adolescence when both boys and girls are preoccupied with their looks.
Even if factual, the significance of the flaw may be severely exaggerated. The nose for example differ according to race although it serves the same purpose for all. It could either be too flat, too big, or too small. Rhinoplasty is the first and most elected cosmetic surgery for non-Caucasians. Who made the Caucasian nose the standard of perfection? The world can’t remember.
We all believe mirrors can’t lie, so we believe what we see. The sad thing is that flaw could be imagined. A dysmorphic person might actually be good looking but see ugly when in front of the mirror. At the very least, the person sees a different face in the mirror from what other people see. The dysmorphic view is so distorted that compliments don’t help. It sounds like that nobody else is telling the truth about it.
When I attended a photography training with Kodak, Philippines, it was said that cameras don’t lie. So, I thought, just like a mirror. Then, people found discrepancy between the photo and the mirror image. The word photogenic was invented. It meant that faces not generally pretty or may be even unattractive when photographed can produce an attractive image.
In one of our conversations, my daughter called me “dysmorphic”. I never heard the word before. I had to look it up. I looked at my photos, then looked in the mirror. That settled it, I’m photogenic. My daughter loves to play psychiatrist. She said no one could convince me that I look good.
I remembered Reb, the hero in REBEL, in a conversation with his comrades, said about me, in my presence, “She doesn’t know she’s beautiful.” He said it not like flattery, but like an observation.
Ten years later, I met the love of my life. He once said to me “Do you know, you’re foxy?”
“Oh, I look like a fox?” I made a pun about his compliment.
When I got home that night, I looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t see foxy, didn’t see beautiful either.