Losing her smile to synkinesis after unresolved Bell’s palsy changed how Faye Linda Wachs was seen by others and her internal experience of self. In Metamorphosis, interviewing over one hundred people with acquired facial difference challenged her presumptions about identity, disability, and lived experience. Participants described microaggressions, internalizations, and minimalizations and their impact on identity. Heartbreakingly, synkinesis disrupts the ability to have shared moments. When one experiences spontaneous emotion, wrong nerves trigger misfeel and misperception by others. One is misread by others and receives confusing internal information. Communication of and to the self is irrevocably damaged. Wachs describes the experience as a social disability. People found a host of creative ways to reinvigorate their sense of self and self-expression. Like so many she interviewed, Wachs experiences a process of change and growth as she is challenged to think more deeply about ableism, identity, and who she wants to be.
Contents 1 When Life Gives You Lemons…. Interview Lots of Other People Also With Lemons 2 Theorizing Change: Culture, Identity, and the Face 3 Microaggressions, Internalizations, and Contested Ideological Terrain 4 It's My Face—Why That Matters 5 Disrupted Selves 6 Someone I Would Rather Be 7 Walking Away: The Challenge of Change Acknowledgments Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Notes References Index
Faye Linda Wachs is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Psychology and Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona).
“Metamorphosis is a groundbreaking, nuanced study of the experience of facial paralysis (FP) and synkinesis. This is the first academic book on synkinesis or facial paralysis, and Wachs is the perfect person to write it.”
~Kathleen Bogart, director of the Disability and Social Interaction Lab at Oregon State University
“Metamorphosis is an important contribution to sociology of the body, critical disability, and sociology of emotion scholarship, as well as being of interest and use to anyone interested in understanding more about the nuts and bolts of face-to-face communication; Wachs is a gifted writer.”
~Travers, author of The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution