Tim Cusack's Blog
Tag Archives: body language

Renée Zellweger and Dysmorphia

old young face side by side

Last week if someone had said to you, “Go into a room of a hundred people and find Renée Zellweger.”  Could you do it?  I’m not sure I could.  The first thought I had when I saw Renée’s new look was, “That’s not her….is it?”  Then I thought, “Will she act differently?  Talk differently?  Be less pouty?”  The biggest question is why?  A personal crisis, something to do?  Or is it about holding on to youth and beauty?

These thoughts were caused by dysmorphia, a deformity or abnormality in the shape or size of a specific part of the body.  In this case her face.

What freaks me out (just a little) is knowing that her old face is still behind the new one.  Full disclosure:  I’ve fantasized about how I would change my face – nose job, eye lift and a little lip enlargement, costing roughly $30,000 worth.  I could easily change my face by driving a new car worth that much!  It would be much less painful and a lot faster, and folks could recognize ‘Tim’ driving that new car.

According to Nancy Etcoff, an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard and author of “Survival of the Prettiest,” our faces are tightly packed with important biological information.  She reports that “we are face virtuosos.  We can discern one face from thousands, even millions of other faces.”

Our relationship with others is held in the individual’s face.  Our faces communicate our tribe, our emotions, our moods, our essences.  If my wife changed her face as much as Zellweger did, I would feel like I was having an affair at first.  Eventually I would want back the person I married.  A little fixing here and there is cool – as long as I can recognize the face in a room of strangers.

“If age is denied, soul becomes lost in an inappropriate clinging to youth.” Thomas Moore


Just like keeping a favorite letter, sometimes I keep a favorite voice mail just to hear it a few more times. I’m listening to the words, but more importantly, my soul hears the tone, the emotional inflection behind those words. For me there’s no match when it comes to voice versus text or email.

I know. I get it. Sometimes it’s easier, faster and more efficient to communicate by sending a text or an email. Remember, however, your text email – the printed type – is the same from your phone or computer keypad as everyone else in the world. There’s nothing unique about it – just typed words.

Communication experts claim that when people are face to face, the queues of reading another person are 55% body language, 35% tone of voice, and only 10% the words we say. If this is true, that helps me make sense of why I feel so empty after communicating with people (friends) over time by just a text or email. I’m missing out on 90% of what’s really being communicated. Intonations and vocalization add content and meaning. I need the tone! If I get a real voice then I’m at 45% chance of reading the other person correctly. I guess I would love to see the body as well. That’s another discussion about Skype.

The second I hear your voice, it carries with it parts of the soul. I’m just asking for the voice, the tone over a text or email. I feel like I’m missing out on the opportunity to care for someone who needs to be listened to; who has the need to get out some pain, worry, anxiety; or, they may want to celebrate good news. Whatever it is, by just writing it, it will never by heard out loud.

I received a lovely email the other day. It basically communicated to me that I had helped enhance a company’s project. The employees loved what I had done for them. This email was completely unexpected. I felt appreciated as I read the feedback. But I still wondered, what if she had called? What would it have been like to hear her say these same words? So, I called her back and left a voice mail, thanking her for the email. My tone was sincere, appreciative. I was honored to be working for them. I could not email or text what I communicated by my tone. I also know, she will be hearing my voice. The voice that can only come from you, the voice that is as unique as every snowflake, as every soul.

Coming Soon: More evidence on using voice over text and email.