Putting on a Face

Laurie's World Famous Mouse Face

Laurie's World Famous Mouse Face

One of my clients recently shared, “I don’t mind wearing a dozen different hats—chauffer, maid, cook, accountant, etc. In fact, I think it’s kind of fun. What I don’t enjoy is all of the different faces I have to put on.”

“What different faces?” I asked.

“You know… I put on one face for the people at church, another one with my family, and a different one for my friends. Sort of like a chameleon, I change faces depending on who I’m with.”

Flummoxed, I asked “Why?”

“Because they all have different expectations of who I am.”

I responded, “How about just being yourself—the real you—with everyone?”

As you can well imagine, the conversation didn’t end there. We went on to talk about authentic living. When I got home I Googled “putting on a face” and got several returns:

– appear cheerful
– take courage
– grin and bear it
– not show your disappointment

I can remember my mom saying, “Hold your horses, I’m almost finished putting on my face,” when as a family we were waiting on her to go somewhere. She always wanted to look her best when she left the house.

I don’t wear makeup, so the only face I put on is my world famous Mouse Face. I don’t do it very often, but here it is in all its glory.

When was the last time you put on a face—literal or figurative?

Speaking of “putting on a face,” the March edition of Evolving Your Spirit magazine published my article—Beauty is Being You. If you’d like to read it, simply click on this LINK. Once it’s opened, click on the pink magazine cover that says “Beauty” (it may take a minute or so to load). The article is on page 18—enjoy!

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan


© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

46 thoughts on “Putting on a Face

  1. I always used to put on different faces, too. Most of my life…adjusting to the energy of the different people. One person’s energy was shy, so I would put on the appropriate face…it went on and on. Only in the last few years have I ceased putting on the different faces as much. Blogging really helps with this. You can’t see your audience so you have to be yourself–or whatever part of self appears in the moment. You have to stand behind yourself. It is scary and energizing and oh-so-worth-it in the end. Thanks for this today, Laurie.

  2. Will definitely read your article, Laurie! Good for you for its publication. Re the face topic, I have a quick funny story to share. One day we were leaving the house to go out with my in-laws, and my mother-in-law paused to dig out her lipstick at the bottom of her purse. Putting some on her lips she remarked: “I just think better with lipstick on.” I thought that was so darn funny. My mother is of that era, as well — never leaves the house without her lips looking just right. And she’s 82. But your mouse face is priceless! Thanks for sharing it. We all know there’s a wonderful unique spirit below our faces, but humor can be a good reminder! Enjoy the day. –Daisy

  3. A friend of mine in ‘Corporate America’ and I used to refer to it as having split personalities. The work personality, the friends personality, the family personality. And, it is exhausting! Unfortunately, depending on the environment some of us work in, the work personality prevails for survival. Which is why some of us keep our eyes and ears open for better opportunities 🙂 Thanks for this blog today….a good reminder.

  4. Laurie, like you I don’t wear make up… well that is not completely true I put on a bit of a face for my daughter’s wedding last summer but it was so subtle I don’t think anyone noticed.

    There are minor shifts in the parts of me that step forward to be with different people in different settings. However, I am guessing if you put these people all in the same room and asked them to describe who I was you would know that they were talking about the same person. It takes way too much energy for me to live otherwise.

    Now I am going to slip over to Alison’s blog and read your guest post. Best of today to you Laurie.

    p.s. Josie is doing great sipped in her pod by the way. I think she has turned the corner and is doing much better.

    • Terrill – I love what you’ve shared about “minor shifts” – that’s a great descriptor. Thank you for your wonderful, supportive comment on Alison’t blog. By the way, I wear a dusting of mineral powder on my face in the summertime because I typically have a negative reaction to sunscreen.

  5. I loved your article. Here is a favorite passage from TIME OF THE WILD by A. B. Curtiss. “In the wilderness one chatters in a pleasant way about small things. No one cares whether you are right or wrong about something, just that you be easy company on the path. This is the happiness of the Wilderness: Wild Folk need not remark on one another’s flaws. Neither do they search for the meaning of life for they are made of it and are never not themselves.”

  6. Much like your client, I too have many faces. However, I don’t think that this reflects my lack of authenticity. All these faces are mine. I am proud of each and they all have their place.
    Love your mouse face!

  7. For years when we women said we were putting on our face it meant makeup. However, there is so much talk over the last couple years about Body language, which includes facial expressions. I suspect most of the time we do not realize what we are doing with out faces 🙂

    • Ann – Sometimes when I teach a class my husband, Len, takes photographs for our website and/or this blog. Oh my word! You should SEE the huge number of photos that get trashed because of the FACES that I make. Some are funny, but some are downright scary!

  8. I love that mouse face Laurie, I doubt that it’s duplicatible either.

    The putting on of faces seems to be something we get indoctrinated into early in life, depending of course on what our role models were like in regard to putting on faces.

    My mom had a myriad of faces, and like clothes in the closet she took them out to suit the occaision. My dad was a one size fits all occaisions type guy.

    I learned how to dance to the beat of 2 drums before even recognizing what I was doing. I can spot that inauthentic behavior a mile a way now.

    • Alison – I love the growing up story that you shared about your mom and dad and the opposite ends of the spectrum they role modeled for you, and how you subsequently “learned to dance to the beat of 2 drums before even recognizing what I was doing.” I wanted to thank you, too, for gifting me with the privilege of being a guest poster today on LIFE BY DESIGN WITH ALISON.

  9. Awesome mouse face! I used to wear faces, too, so I know where your friend is coming from. It wore me out. I think I started getting over myself around 1996 . . . that was the year I was diagnosed with cancer and my first year of graduate school. I still wear makeup, but the person I present to others is the same person I present to everyone else. Interestingly, today I took one of those psychological tests and it actually used the phrase “self-actualizing” in my profile 🙂

  10. Love your world famous mouse face!
    My journey is about honesty and integrity and even though I know it bothers some – I am just me….someone said I was always sharing the “raw” experience of being me….

    I have also been told I am an terrible actor….I guess I just am…..though sometimes I have to get away from others to regroup/ late in life I discovered I was more introverted than extroverted….better to read my words, than meet me in person
    I will come over again and read your guest post
    Nice thoughts, well shared.

  11. Imagine,Laurie,if one is from a different culture,sometimes the face becomes distorted/contorted or somewhere in between.
    it requires constant awareness to be authentic till you get used to the fact and till it becomes second nature or first nature as the case might be

  12. Oh my gosh I love the picture Laurie!!! Putting on a face hmmmm I think I constantly put on a face at work with some folks. And in fact I do that with John also. As for makeup, well that’s just part of my routine, my mother also was a hold your horses and wait for her face lady! hahahaha

  13. My Word, Laurie Jean! You had better hope the wind doesn’t change! You might be stuck like that forever. That’s the warning we always got from my Mom when we made our horrific faces and we had quite a few. I would think that I have a face for every emotion that crosses my mind, I have often been told I have a glass face, to read my mind, one has only to see my face. This is not always a good thing, I have to remember to appear expressionless when I hear or see some thing that troubles me. A wrinkled nose when trying someone’s pie doesn’t work!

    • Sandi – Your response made me laugh! 🙂 My mom said something similar to your mom when I crossed my eyes. And sticking out my tongue (or a bad word) got my mouth washed out. Like you, Len has a glass face–everything shows–even when he works at appearing expressionless.

  14. Love the mouse face Laurie
    I do an ear wiggle, which is nowhere near as dramatic as the mouse.

    It seems to me that we all respond differently to different contexts, it is a basic social skill at one level, and at another level it is a fundamental property of the subconscious mind.

    I rarely set out to consciously hide anything these days, usually exactly the opposite.

    • Ted – You’ve hit the nose squarely on the head! It’s when we “consciously hide” a part of ourselves… that’s the face (mask) I’m talking about. We do, indeed, respond differently in different contexts, myself included. For instance, at home I’m a complete goof ball, but at HolEssence I try to maintain a level of professionalism. If I went around making mouse faces at HolEssence I’d be out of business–quick.

      Way to differentiate, I appreciate it!

  15. Your mouse face is adorable and a bit unsettling at the same time! On what sorts of occasions do you have a chance to use it??

    It is such a relief when we finally allow ourselves to be who we truly are in all situations. That is the trick, putting on different hats without changing faces! I don’t wear make-up either.

    I read and thoroughly enjoyed both of your articles. I didn’t know about the Yin and Yang meridians before and am now planning to look into them. The Gweneth Paltrow quote mentions being comfortable in your own skin – that seems to come along nicely with being ourselves. There’s a middle ground somewhere between the extremes of being a slave to fashions in “beauty” and letting ourselves become unkempt.

    • Barbara – I don’t use the mouse face much. When our son was growing up I would use it to make him crack up. What you said is spot on, “The trick is putting on different hats without changing faces!” I’m glad for your visit and trust you’re having a great weekend.

  16. “I responded, “How about just being yourself—the real you—with everyone?”

    Indeed Laurie! I know some people who put on a thethora of faces, and while I realize it’s in most instances to conform what people expect of them, it projects a false image of who they really are. I can’t say I don’t do this myself sometimes, even while trying to let my trademark personality traits be visible to family, friends and acquaintances. What a great post led by that fab photo, which serves as the perfect lead-in!

    Let’s see, I did satisfy my kids on Halloween when I wore a mask. I know. Duh. I’ll go one better than that. Yesterday I got my annual teacher’s observation from our school superintendent, who observed me administer a writing lesson to sixth graders. I asked them to assume in another life they were an animal and I spent about 25 minutes discusing various animal traits and why one would be drawn to a number of choices. Let’s just say I was seriously animated, wearing my “impress at all costs” face! LOL!!!

    • Sam – I love your story of the “impress at all costs” face! I’m sure the review went beyond well. I expect you guys are heading into spring break–most of the schools in our area will enjoy that this coming week. I’m looking forward to reading you Monday Morning Diary tomorrow to see what you and yours have been up to.

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  18. Laurie,

    I have been lurking on your blog for a few months now (I rarely comment on the things I read online,) but I wanted you to know that I LOVE the things your write about, and there is a silent audience that appreciates what you write here.

    I found your blog at a time when what I wanted in life was not clear to me. I have been struggling to find myself, and cope with an intense lack of motivation. Reading your blog, (along with herbal remedies, yoga, and a good group of supportive friends,) has helped me to get over some of my issues and figure out who I am. So thank you.


    P.S. I just discovered that you’re from Crystal Lake. I’m from Cary! Small world.

    • Hayley – Quite some time ago I determined that my purpose in life is to be a channel for grace–an agent for heart-based change. Thank you for letting me know that Speaking from the Heart has made a positive difference for you. And whether you write a comment, or read quietly, you are oh-so-welcome. And to think, you’re just down the road in Cary–that’s where my son lives!

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  20. I spent most of my life putting on other faces because I didn’t know who or what I was. I’d reflect other people’s personalities – their moods and their needs – and would be an unconscious catalyst for them. They would somehow come off better and I’d come off unchanged. This continued til I grew older and a few years ago I moved from a very stressful urban envirnoment to a a peaceful rural one and I’m no longer like that. I still don’t recognise myself completely, but I’m ‘coming into myself’ more and more.

    I love your mouse face. Do you do that for effect or does it just sort of ‘happen’? My silliness (which I enjoy and thankfully so do other people) just happens spontaneously.

    • Val – I love what you shared, “…but I’m ‘coming into myself’ more and more.” My mouse face rarely comes out (maybe once or twice in a year). I never know in advance when it’s going to happen, but it usually appears when I’m with children 🙂

  21. Hi Laurie, I’ve just been catching up on your wonderful posts and this one has me chuckling out loud (the picture, not the topic). Our grandkids will LOVE this face and I’m hoping you won’t mind if I share this picture with them. They will be so delighted with the idea of making mouse faces. And getting everyone to join them! Making silly faces with laughing children tends to keep life in perspective 🙂

    • Kathy – I’m glad that Mr. Spock and I look a wee tad different. You’re going to have to do a post with your best face (not your every day face, but the best silly face you can make).

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