My Face Has Changed

Tara Jean O'Brien
3 min readJan 29, 2021

Not because I got plastic surgery during the quarantine.

But now that I think of it… another missed opportunity to add to my list.

I just don’t like it. I moved 16 times before I was in high school and went to nine different schools, so it’s not the “change” part I’m having a hard time with— it’s the not liking it that I, well, don’t like. The face I’ve looked at day in and day out for none-of-your-business years, is now actively attempting to break my brain. This mug is a daily reminder that absurd, never before experienced events, are happening all around me and my attempts at controlling these events, are futile.

I’m fairly certain the person under these new wrinkles, monotone pallor, and generally hairier countenance is still me. The me that believes the world always bends towards justice and that every cat and dog should beg for my attention the moment we meet.

But why is this changing face trying to ruin my psyche and replace these long-held beliefs and feelings? Could it be because we’ve been told by every guru on every media outlet to take this time to reflect? Perhaps I’ve taken this to literally by adding 76 mirrors to my hallway.

I’ve spent absurd amounts of money trying to please this face. From charcoal face scrubs, to a red/blue/green light mask that conjures up images of futuristic Jason, to an ultrasonic metal thing that will most certainly electrocute me, I’ve probably subjected my face to it. I’ve spent so much time and money on this face, it should have a master’s degree in Real Self.

I awaken with this tiny hope every morning that the relfection will finally return to the face I used to lovingly tolerate. That I’ll be able to shake off some of this sadness, some of this forced loneliness and the natural ruddy tone will return to my cheeks. The odd darkening under my eyes will crawl back into the pit from whence it came. Or that magically, I’ll finally get to see other faces, not on screens, but in person. These real-time human faces will help my brain make sense of the changes in my own face that I doubt would be so apparent if I wasn’t stuck staring at my own for the last eleven months.

Perhaps my brain is preparing me for the reality that I might not be seeing other faces in real life for a long time. My brain is saying, “Yo. This isn’t going to get easier. Like, at all. Go ahead and buy that pumpkin, turmeric, snail entrails, bone powder that’s bound to boost cheekbone ascension. At least it’s not botox!”

The saving grace in lack of daily face diversity, is I get to see my husband’s face. Thank the gods from every religion and non-religion, that I LOVE seeing his. Who’d have thought the line I wrote in my wedding vows, “I don’t specifically hate your face,” would still be true 10 years later? But seeing the full faces of strangers, no matter how quickly we get vaccinated, in the wild, is all but years, perhaps a full generation, away.

In the meantime, my face really has changed. And it greatly looks forward to seeing yours soon.

Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash
Tara Jean O'Brien

Actor, Writer, Comedian, Podcaster, Enough Already. My first book, TIPS FOR YOUR LAST YEAR ON EARTH, avail on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore!