A Letter from SPRe Practitioner Joy:
What my body did…when I felt my face:
Whenever I interacted with people, I could never stop feeling like my face was doing strange things.
I felt like Jim Carey when he puts on The Mask; as if
pinwheels, whizzers, bulging eyes, little rockets, grimaces – the works – might be happening. I felt like I was revealing things, but nothing intelligent, with no control – and, to me, control was everything.
In my family of origin, controlling my facial expressions was a survival mechanism; I wasn’t encouraged to have feelings, let alone express them. Unconsciously, I clamped down on my face and head so hard, my features barely moved at all. It’s not surprising that every time my face did move, it felt like a rocket going off on my face.
What if a mask hides you from yourself, as well as other people?
This immobility served its purpose - if they can’t distinguish what I’m feeling, I get to feel invisible. The flip side is that it also distanced me from my inner state; what I was feeling, and what I was feeling about the person I was talking to. Not having this information got me in a lot of trouble; I was duped more often than I’d like to admit.
Furthermore, because what I was saying could never match my expression, other people experienced me inaccurately; I wonder if I didn’t seem safe to them. It felt like I was there, behind the mask, trying to reach out.
It was the SPRe process that reflected back to me how little, in fact, my features did move. By using attuned touch, and through sensation, I was reacquainted with the muscles that would become facial expressions.
I could then re-inhabit them. The results were a little startling. People responded to me accurately! Getting appropriate responses blew my mind. This is an ongoing project for me. What I know is that the primary helmet and masking materials have been diminished, and I am continually working on full expressions. I am closer to people, and people can be closer to me - weird!
And that’s what my body gifted me when I explored the mask on my face…it began to release the intense control that I thought I didn’t have, and despite the odd grimace or whizzer, I’m moving closer to matching the appropriate expression with the appropriate emotion.
Joy Walker is a SPRe® Practitioner at Studio Evolve. She believes that understanding the importance of pursuing the health and recovery of mind and body, and that we are all dynamic and multifaceted individuals, is what makes her uniquely qualified to help clients in their journey of health and self-discovery.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Joy, please go to our Practitioner page.