Behind the mask

Facial Disfigurement: Hollywood’s Shortcut to Villainy (Dr. Poison in Wonder Woman)

Hollywood’s best villains are driven by their story, but Dr. Maru’s story, (aka Dr. Poison) goes untold, as if her facial disfigurement explains it all. As someone with a facial difference (I grew up with a face half-paralyzed by the removal of a tumor shortly after birth and I refuse to call it “facial disfigurement”), […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Camp Trailblazers group May 2015

Finding Your Tribe

Who is your tribe? What group can you identify and connect with in a unique way? We all want to belong. We seek people we have things in common with. But sometimes, finding your tribe pushes you outside of your comfort zone. It was a long drive from my house to the meeting location for […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Dawn Shaw TEDx

The Emotional Process of My TEDx

Preparing a TEDx talk is an intense, grueling, and emotional process. What is a TEDx talk? TED is a national organization whose letters stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and their focus is on presenting “ideas worth spreading.” The “x” indicates that the event is independently organized and sponsored. To view my talk, titled Beauty Is […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
The creatures we encountered grouped me in with all other humans. Nothing special about me.

Different Face in a Different Place; Traveling with a Facial Difference

Traveling with a facial difference isn’t that much different from traveling without one. I enjoy traveling. In fact, my husband Ian and I recently returned from an epic trip to South Africa. Good thing I am not afraid to show this face to the world. However, I understand that some people with physical differences are […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }

The Surgery Experiment

Have you ever had to do something every once in awhile to remind yourself why you don’t do it? I did this periodically with cotton candy. I loved it’s sweet sticky mouth-staining goodness when I was a kid, but when I got older I appreciated it much less. In fact, it became rather abhorrent. But […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
How is Rosti to ride? My expression says it all.

Taking a Risk; The Story of an Icelandic Horse

I didn’t want to pay for Rosti. I knew I was taking a risk buying him because I didn’t know whether or not there was something seriously wrong with him. But I did pay for him. $500. I decided he was worth taking a risk. Besides, he needed me, or at least he needed someone […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }
facial reconstructive surgery

Facial Reconstructive Surgery- Improvement or Not?

When it comes to facial reconstructive surgery, it’s not like I can just say “please put it all back” if I am unhappy with the result. When the producer of Body Bizarre, the show that shot a segment about me to air later this year, asked me if I’d be willing to do a consultation […]

Read full story Comments { 13 }
Me and my mandolin, formerly owned by our late friend Dave.

Back Again to the Mandolin

Me and the Mandolin- Circumstances keep me away, but other circumstances keep drawing me back. Have you had an activity or hobby that you do for awhile, then other priorities take over, but then something happens and you get sucked back in? That seems to be my relationship with the mandolin. I took up mandolin […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
My face is different, but my body is not bizarre.

Why I Said Yes to Body Bizarre

I acknowledge that doing a show titled Body Bizarre involves some risk. When I was contacted via email by a producer from TLC/Discovery’s show Body Bizarre about featuring me in a segment, I took a day to think about it, even though I pretty much knew from the outset that my answer would be “yes.” […]

Read full story Comments { 7 }
Friends I've made in the facial difference community.


I didn’t realize how important a sense of belonging was to me until it manifested as a theme in my memoir. I wrote my memoir Facing Up to It backwards. This doesn’t mean I started at the end and wrote until I got to the beginning. What it means is that I started by writing […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }