22 June 2011 – Playing Both Sides

June 22nd, 2011 § 58 comments

22 June 2011 - Playing Both Sides


  • Skirt: cut from a dress
  • Top: Forever 21
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell

End Notes:

It’s a delight to kick off our third annual Dress Your Best week(s) with something that I usually do not find so delightful: my asymmetrical face.

Most of my past choices for DYB weeks have been features that have generally aligned with western social codes of attractiveness (being tall, having a visible collarbone, etc.) or aspects that I’ve come to embrace over time (skin tone, freckles, etc.) but I wanted to start off this year’s DYB by highlighting something about my body that I STILL struggle to accept gracefully.

22 June 2011 - Playing Both Sides

I have a crooked face. The whole right side of my face is a little bit bigger than the left. My eyes and eyebrows are different shapes, even my cheeks crinkle differently from each other when I smile. Ever wonder why I’m such a big fan of the swoopy bang? It helps add some bulk to my left side. Oh, crooked face, you have given me no end of grief when I’m applying eye make-up. Sometimes I’m ashamed of you and want to stand a certain way in photos to give the illusion of symmetry. Sometimes I tend to smirk when I smile so as to make you appear purposeful.

But today I’m pinning my bangs back and wearing a shirt with a neckline detail that draws attention to my face. It may be a little lopsided, but it’s mine and I need to own it.

22 June 2011 - Playing Both Sides

22 June 2011 - Playing Both Sides

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§ 58 Responses to 22 June 2011 – Playing Both Sides"

  1. Oh wow! I never noticed. It’s still a pretty face! And kind, too, which is so much more important.

  2. T. says:

    You are lovely! You look friendly and approachable.

  3. Claire says:

    You look lovely! I, too, have a crooked face so it’s awesome to see someone else embracing theirs (and here I was thinking I was alone in using the smirk trick! LOL)

  4. Stef says:

    I am the same… Of course I never noticed it on someone else. You’re beautiful. I’ll embrace my mis-matched eyes today, too :).

  5. Kate K says:

    E, you’re just lovely. Thanks for sharing this part of you! (This is coming from someone who has an asymmetrical face as well.)

  6. Elisabeth says:

    I would never have noticed. Seriously, I was surprised to see your second picture. And, I think you’re absolutely beautiful. I’m often inspired by your approachable, yet stylish outfits! Although I understand the frustration of having features that don’t “conform” (hello, athletic arms that never look demure or slender), I hope that you know how fabulous you look!

  7. Sue says:

    I thought everybody had a slightly asymmetrical face, seriously. I sure do. (Check out some of those pre-makeup, pre-Photoshop model pictures sometime, too.) And I didn’t notice the details until you pointed them out. Know what I did notice? That you weren’t wearing earrings! Before I read the remaining text, I figured you were going to highlight your ears. :)

    • e. says:

      Sue – I think you’re right that most people are slightly asymmetrical. But, of course, I tend to exaggerate my own supposed flaws in my head and it was little comfort that everyone else was a “little asymmetrical” when I seemed “very asymmetrical”!

  8. Cynthia says:

    I once used Photoshop to make the two different “mes” — you know, take a straight on picture of your face, divide it down the center line, and then use a flipped copy of each to make two symmetrical faces. It was very enlightening. I wish I knew where those altered photos were, maybe I’ll have to make more. Left half looks like a totally different person than right half, even though I basically look pretty symmetrical at first glance. Like others, I never really noticed your face being asymmetrical before.

  9. Anna says:

    You are awesome to make this the first post for the Dress your best week!! I so admire you!

  10. Anna says:

    Ahhhh, I have an asymmetrical face too! People tell me they don’t notice it, and this post makes me think that maybe they aren’t just being nice, since I never would have noticed it on you. I really admire the courage it must take for all of you to put out there what you struggle to accept about your bodies, since I don’t even like to talk about that stuff with close friends.

  11. Carol N. says:

    The first thing I noticed is that you have happy eyes and a friendly face. I would never have noticed any asymmetry until you did the second picture and pointed it out. Love you style even though I’ve never been and will never be pregnant – but you give me great examples of color and style combinations to try.

  12. Miranda says:

    Oh, E. I don’t even know how to appropriately sing your praises. You are a beautiful, stylish, smart woman. And today you taught me a lesson about myself (and life). We look at ourselves and the things we see as flaws in ourselves (your asymmetrical face, for example, or the melasma I’ve developed over the past year) override so much. But how much do others look at those? If other people focus so much on the beautiful parts of us (or even see our “flaws” as beautiful) maybe we should too.

    Thanks for making me feel more brave about my face too!

  13. a says:

    Dear E,

    As someone who has struggled with personal appearance issues such as ridiculously large sideburns that make me look like a man, I can appreciate the courage this post took for you to write. While your features are of course the most visible and prominent thing for you because you have your own idea of perfection, I can’t help but think to myself how perfect your imperfection is – your smirk is really not just a trick. You always exude joy, pure joy, in your photos. Your face is truly full of light. Few people have such a friendly face and you’re cute as a button. Again, props for taking this courageous step. I want you to believe, if you believe only one thing today, that I looked at you with a critical eye and this is truly what I think. There is not imperfection at all. Just a lot of prettiness.
    Your post also gave me a whole new perspective on this challenge that your blog is running. I can’t think how to make my shortcomings beautiful, but I’ll give it a shot. Have a great day.

  14. Emily says:

    This is a beautiful post. And a gorgeous outfit.

    (And I never noticed your asymmetrical face until you pointed it out! I just always thought you were strikingly lovely…which I guess is good enough!)

  15. Debbie says:

    Thank you so very much for this post. I have an incredibly crooked face and struggle so much with accepting it let alone embracing it. It’s put me off pictures for years and years. Thank you very, very much for this post.

    I never noticed the asymmetry on you. Makes me wonder how many folks notice it on me. Thanks so much for a beautiful post.

  16. Jessica says:

    Even after following your posts for 2 years, I would never have noticed the difference between your eyes if you hadn’t highlighted it. Bravo for not being ashamed. We all have something that makes us a little ‘different’ but most people today seem to want to correct it surgically.

  17. MK says:

    Hi there –

    I too have an asymetrical face as a result of the crainiosynostosis I suffered from as an infant. I had surgery to correct it and most people never know unless they see my scar or I tell them. I’ve been really self conscious of my “lopsided face” since I was a child and into my early twenties. I’ve just now started to accept it and it encourages me that someone whose beauty and style I admire has dealt with the same issue! Thanks for sharing! Were you diagnosed with crainiosynostosis?


    • e. says:

      MK – I wasn’t diagnosed with crainiosynostosis. But I think that it’s great that you’re beginning to accept your “lopsidedness.” I agree that it isn’t easy!

  18. I’m really touched by what you have to say here about accepting you asymmetry, your supposed “imperfections,” your uniqueness. I have a large birth mark on my face and felt for most of my life like it was some strange blemish instead of what it is: a piece of me, that helps make me me, and that I have finally learned to embrace. So I really am touched by how you’re showing us your process and how you’re learning to understand your place inside yourself.

  19. Laura says:

    Like others, I would never have noticed if you hadn’t pointed out your asymmetry. After reading this blog for a long time, I have always thought of you as a beautiful woman with a unique sense of style and a lovely smile. When I saw this post I noticed “something different,” but I chalked it up to hairstyle until I read the text. Thanks so much for this post!

  20. cindykay says:

    Me too! I’ve always been uncomfortable with my asymmetrical features. The right side of my face is heavier, with a large eye, larger jawline, etc. I, too, wear asymmetrical bangs to help balance my face. It’s encouraging to see here the number of women who deal with that same thing. I’m not the only one! Thanks for helping me feel normal.

  21. Dee says:

    I’ve been following your blog since the beginning and like others I have never noticed this about your face! Thank you for sharing this post. You are absolutely gorgeous, and the first thing I notice about you is your incredibly friendly eyes and grin!

  22. Mistie Watkins says:

    Like most of the other commenters, my first reactions to those pictures had nothing to do with perceived faults. I’m going to take that and run with it the next few days–the faults that I find so glaringly obvious are not the first things people notice, especially if your positivity is shining through. Thank you!

  23. Hannah S. says:

    This is odd, but I actually thought, from the title and small photo on Facebook, that you’d be highlighting a perfectly symmetrical face! Imagine my surprise!! I love you for doing this, E. I’m very self-conscious about so many things, and one of them is my asymmetrical mouth. I talk crooked and I can’t figure out how to fix it. :( I’ve never really talked with anyone about it, but I carry this kind of ridiculous shame about it. Thank you for embracing the face as it is! I will start doing the same for myself!

  24. Diana says:

    Amen! I’m glad you’ve chosen to highlight this, and I’m really happy to see my fellow commenters who have this issue too. I too am someone who has struggled to make peace with my asymmetrical face and am quite self-conscious about it at times, especially my mismatched eyes. I’ve also had Bell’s Palsy three times, and there are some residuals left from that – on the other hand, I’m really grateful now that I have a face that moves on both sides!

  25. TFTF says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for months and I truly wouldn’t have noticed in a million years. Your style is among my favorites; you always look absolutely fantastic.

  26. Julia says:

    You have a beautiful face!! Don’t you ever let yourself tell you otherwise.

  27. Sara says:

    I think this is one of those things that you notice more because its your face. I have never noticed that your face wasn’t symmetrical. I think you have a lovely face, and this is a lovely outfit to showcase it. In other news, I am obsessed with your front door. Do you know what paint color was used? I am trying to figure out door paint colors and I would totally love to copy yours!

  28. Laura says:

    My first thought on seeing your first picture was, “Ooh, she’s wearing her hair different! She looks so cute! I love how sweet and gentle and happy her face is all the time!” And then you mentioned asymmetry. And I took a very close look. “Oh cool, her eyebrows *aren’t* the same!” So yes, I just spent a LOT of time closely inspecting your face. And I had no noticeable reaction besides, “She’s freaking adorable! Ahhhhh, I love seeing happy faces. Contagious smiles!”

    So I guess it’s true what everybody is always saying about how we view ourselves versus how others view us.

  29. Devon says:

    First of all, I love your posts and think you have a beautiful face. It looks so happy, kind, and like someone I’d love to start a conversation with! As a fellow art history student, the most beautiful faces in part are not perfect. Perfection is unnatural and looks artificial. Most great faces are slightly asymmetrical or off. Those imperfections are so beautiful!

    Second of all, my nose is slightly asymmetrical and I always feel weird about it. Even when I feel incredibly beautiful, I still can see that one of my nose hole’s is slightly larger than the other.

  30. Nadine says:

    I have never noticed this about you and have always thought your face is stunning!

  31. Aileen says:

    You look lovely and I must say, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I never noticed :)

  32. R says:

    Dear E: I’ve been reading this blog for ages, and never quite dared to comment- but symmetricality is so interesting that I had to! I genuinely wonder about what makes us value symmetry so much; I wonder whether it is because symmetrical lines lead us more fluidly to a final point? Whether it has something to do with ease on the eye in that sense? When it comes to bodies, though, it really confuses me.

    Your post made me stare at myself from head to toe, and I can find nothing that looks identical on my left and right. Particularly noticeable are my little fingers- wonky on the left, and straight on the right- and now I’m inspired to think about it, I know why. They’re the result of years of French Horn playing- my left little finger hooks under to support and balance the instrument. Now I see it, I value that kink in my finger- it represents something awesome that I did with my life, and staring at it now makes me feel strangely proud.

    What I’m trying to say, I think, is that the homogeneity of symmetry kind of makes me think that we value it as somehow unblemished, but really it’s a blank canvas. Argh, that’s really long. But- yeah, whether post- or pre-natal, I think symmetrical differences are emblematic of something, be it our diverse genetic makeup that creates your (beautiful) asymmetrical face, or the way our bodies adapt to circumstances. And that strikes me, for the first time, as pretty amazing.

  33. Starling says:

    E, if I noticed anything, it was that you had a wonderful smile, like you were thinking about a delightful secret that you might share. I’ve always felt a little self-conscious about my crooked ears – one is a little higher than the other – which makes wearing my glasses a bit awkward. I even tilt my head a little to one side to make it look a little more even. Today, I’m going to try to avoid that. Thanks for the post :)

  34. I am continually blown away by how thoughtful and generous our readers are. Thank you all for your kind words!

  35. Audrey T. says:

    I love this post, E. I just posted mine, and as I wrote it last night I found it to be more therapeutic and empowering than I had anticipated. Thanks to all you ladies for setting up the challenge!

  36. Mia says:

    Your face is wonderful in all its asymmetry! I definitely have a lot of asymmetry to my body: my ears are dissimilar enough that my glasses sit tilted on my face, and my, erm, chest is also on a slant if I don’t shove my modest girls into a bra. And my boyfriend has a crooked nose! I like to embrace it as wabi-sabi.

    • Laura says:

      Ah! I love you! Forever will I now refer to my not-particularly-symmetrical breasts as wabi. This makes me so happy!

  37. Katy says:

    I love this whole outfit! The red skirt is really such a great color. I’m also enjoying skimming through all the Dress Your Best posts. It’s a great project! – Katy

  38. Emma says:

    I have to say that I had never noticed any asymmetry in your face! I have either one eye or one ear (not even sure which!) that’s higher than the other, I only realised there was something slightly off when I started wearing glasses!

  39. KBC says:

    Oh, I just love this post! Laughed uproariously about the eye make-up grief. Such an everyday irk that I experience but never have thought about others experiencing the same. So funny! My facial asymmetry is the result of the bones on the right side of my face growing faster during a puberty related growth spurt. Can’t recall the medical term for it. So great to think about how many times I have viewed photos of you and never once noticed a fellow “sufferer”, only envious of how amazing you always look. Very much appreciate you sharing.

  40. Cherie says:

    Your are so very lovely, and I enjoy this blog! I worked with plastic surgeons and craniofacial surgeons for years, and learned a lot about faces. Nearly everyone has an asymmetrical face. In fact, I have to look twice if I see a very symmetrical face. Working in that field, one sees a lot of deformed faces, either birth defects, from illness or accident, and I have to say, if your facial asymmetry is a problem for some, go volunteer at a children’s hospital or a a burn hospital. Read about Stephanie Nielsen’ horribly disfigured, burned face and beautiful soul on her blog, http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/. She is a very inspiring woman, with a beautiful family, and an indomitable spirit, who almost died in a fiery airplane crash. Read about Phoenix policeman, Jason Schechterle, who was almost fatally burned in a horrific car crash here: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0906jason0906.html. He and his wonderful wife conceived a child after this terrible accident.

    We can do no less than to applaud Stephanie, Jason and others with these challenges, and try to help them as much as possible. Sorry to sound so “preachy”, but do read those inspiring stories. “There but for the grace of God go I”.

  41. Lauren K says:

    Thank you so much for highlighting such a personal part of your body! It takes tons of courage, and I admire that!

  42. deanna says:

    in my years reading this website, and all your many pictures, never once did i notice that your face is “asymmetrical!” as a matter of fact, i cant really even see it that much in the above pictures. we all have our insecurities, but your face is absolutely beautiful. you should pull your hair back more often. it looks fantastic.

  43. laura says:

    I love your face! You are gorgeous!!!

  44. Eleanorjane says:

    See, if I’d met you in real life, I think I would have been a bit intimidated by how gorgeous and stylish you are… thanks for showing us a little bit of your struggles. :)

  45. Terri says:

    I’ve never noticed before, but I’ve been under the impression that everyone’s face was this way…though I can’t recall where I got that idea.

  46. R says:

    I’ve been following this blog for almost a year, but this is my very first comment. This post really helped me see myself in a new light. I’ve always thought that you’re very beautiful and have a lovely face, and even when I scrutinize these photos, I can barely see the asymmetry that bothers you.

    I’ve always struggled with self-consciousness about my open bite (a genetic jaw condition where my front teeth don’t come together when I smile), especially when dentist after dentist tells me I should have it fixed with an extreme surgery that I can’t afford…but when I tell people about it, they always say, “Oh, I never would have noticed!” I had trouble really believing that until you shared this post. Thanks!

  47. Rachel says:

    Me too! Glad to see you embrace it. I have to wear glasses, which I feel puts an emphasis on my asymmetrical eyes.

  48. Amy B says:

    I loved this post, and I can’t wait to share it with my sister.
    We both have kind of crooked or uneven faces, and growing up we didn’t like it. But then a few years ago my sister had an accident and shattered her left orbital, breaking her nose, cheekbone, and eye area. She had to have a big surgery and 5 metal plates put in her head to hold the bones together. The surgeon came in to reassure her that he could easily follow the contours in the bone to restore the left side of her face. He said also that he noticed her bone structure was naturally crooked, but that since he was reconstructing her nose and cheek lines anyway, he could fix that if she wanted. All she said was, “I want my crooked nose.” He put the bones back along their natural contours and they healed great. She says she’s glad to know that, literally having been given the opportunity to have a symmetrical face, she chose her own. She’s proud of the angles of her face now, and she healed beautifully. She taught me to embrace my crooked face as well, and I’m so glad to see this post where you encourage others to do the same!

  49. Jen says:

    I never noticed!

  50. Jonni says:

    A wonderful job. Super helpful infmroatoin.

  51. Carol says:

    Year after year, newspapers publish the “awesome scientific breakthrough: people perceive symmetrical faces as more beautiful”.
    I’ve always felt bad for myself after reading that comment, and I just asummed it was true. But your picture is proof that that isn’t the case at all! As the rest of the readers, I’ve never noticed that feature on you, and I also didn’t think “yuck! she’s not pretty at all!” after seeing your revealing picture. In fact, I noticed you looked different but in a cute way.

    So, screw the scientists! We can all be beautiful in our crooked faces!

  52. Emily says:

    If I ever had a friend who was as mean to me as I am to myself I’d dump the chick. I had never noticed this about you in all the post I’ve read. It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe people don’t notice the things I stress over either.

  53. Jim says:

    I’m a dude in his forties, and I have exactly the same type (and degree) of asymmetry as you. The right side of my face is larger, my right (viewer’s left) eye is slightly higher, and my right jawline is a bit larger. I have the guy’s version of your face. Psychologically, it’s weird. Sometimes it causes me mental pain. Sometimes, I fully embrace it and I’m very proud to have a crooked and unconventional face. I have always done the smirk thing too! Right now I’m dating a lady who has commented on my “smirk” at least three times. When I do a full smile without showing my teeth, it’s an endearing look (kind of like a happy English Bulldog). I have a tall, athletic, symmetrical body, which is a big help toward my overall attractiveness level. I think that, in a weird way, my asymmetrical face adds to my attractiveness level because other people are more comfortable around people who are “happily imperfect” (which I am most of the time).

    You are very good looking. A high percentage of asymmetrical faces are more attractive than symmetrical faces.

  54. kat says:

    I have a really lopsided face too! I think a tad bit more than yours. SIGH will try to accept it or just save up for surgery, at least to bring my eyes to about the same size!!

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