“You have to look beyond the face,
To see the person true,
Deep down within my inner space,
I am the same as you.”
“I’ve seen compassion from the blind,
Who think with open eyes.
It’s those that judge me quick you’ll find,
Are those that are unwise.”
—Two excerpts from the poem Faceless, by Benjamin Zephaniah
THOUGHTS ON THE WORD FACELESS
I think we all feel faceless at times. Sometimes it’s a good thing—like when our introversion kicks into overdrive and we want to hide from the world—and we choose to converse behind the anonymity of our computer screen as opposed to getting out for some face to face interactions (GUILTY AS CHARGED!).
Getting out is hard to do right now anyway, thanks to the pandemic, which is another story for another day. But even still, we wear those masks when we leave the house so we’re faceless—to a certain degree—even when we go out!
Which brings me to my next thought on the word faceless. Sometimes feeling faceless is not a good thing, which I tried to portray in my image. It’s like being out in the big city or amongst a crowd, and feeling like you are invisible—or faceless. No one looks at you, or talks to you… nor do they care to. It’s as if they don’t even see you.
My favorite thing to do, as far as socializing, is to sit down and have a one on one conversation with someone. It’s almost impossible to feel faceless when there are only two of you and neither one can ignore the other (except for those annoying cellphones!). Even when I was young I felt like that. If there was a third wheel, or a fourth, or a fifth… it was like I started to fade… and eventually, I was not really there. Even my mind would drift away.
Maybe it’s because people can be loud, fast-talking, and aggressive, and I was never really one to talk loud or interrupt (not while I was sober anyway). So, I’d just start to disappear. I thought there was something wrong with me for years. Then I read about introversion and I was like “OHH… THAT’S WHAT I AM!” So now I know. One on one is good—more than that is exhausting and I’ll just end up fading away and being faceless.
On another note, I don’t think that Zephaniah’s poem has anything to do with either one of the things that I mentioned. His words are more about the inner person vs. the outward appearance, which is extremely important and pertinent these days. It applies to all kinds of things including racism, ageism, and plain old shallowness and ignorance.
Nevertheless, faces are pretty important. We lift our faces to the sky and feel the glorious rays of the sun as they hit our skin, and—best of all—we use our faces to offer smiles to our friends, our family, and to strangers in need.
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
—William Arthur Wood
I hope you enjoyed the image and my thoughts on the letter “F!” On another note, when I started this series I was going to do alphabet illustrations for every post, like I did for the letter “A,” and I realized last night that I had forgotten all about that. So… we’ll see what happens for the letter G.