If anyone ever wanted proof that I am not the sort of woman who stares for ever at herself in a mirror, well here it is. Following my post of yesterday I stopped and actually looked at my face in the mirror, really looked and I have also almost lost my eyebrows, you would think everyone would notice that, but not me! I have to admit that not looking has always been part of me, unlike most women I never carried make up, brushes and hairspray with me, other than the years that meant I needed a tool kit for work, I have never had a handbag much bigger than a purse, if it held my cigs, lighter, keys and money, I never saw the need for anything else. Once I had chosen an outfit, put on my face in the morning, fixed my hair in place and I was out the door, I never touched my face, changed anything or looked at myself again until the next morning, when it all had to be done again. I had taught myself how to apply stage make up, it cost a little more but it really only does need applying once every 24hrs and I took it as another of my freedoms in life, I was totally sure that I always looked as I wanted to, so there wasn’t a single thought needed after that. Once you are used to not looking, well you just stop looking, so for me to not notice something about myself isn’t really a surprise, well to me at least. Once the need to have a face for the world had gone, I simply didn’t have a reason to look at myself at all, add in the fact that my immobility has added so many pounds I hate the look of the bits I have seen, the result is stupid things like this, not knowing I have lost almost most of my hair.
I hadn’t really thought about the results of living a life like mine past what I would call the obvious, there is so much that changes just because you don’t have to be that person the world knows you to be. The start I suppose is when you stop getting dressed everyday, it isn’t laziness it a combination of getting dressed is so exhausting and the simple fact that I never bothered dressing past a dressing gown, when I wasn’t going out of the house, it was a natural progression. I bought myself two sets of pyjamas for the winter, two nightdresses for the summer and 4 dressing gowns, oh and of course the pressure socks. That is my wardrobe for the past 6 years, nothing else has been needed and it works for me. It’s not just your cloths that changes, the make up routine changes more than you might think, I no longer cover my face with moisturiser, or cleansers, or any of the other things that we women feel are important. You begin to realise that those things aren’t important, they are just things we do because someone somewhere along the line told us to, I saw the point when protecting my skin from the outside world, but it’s a world that no longer touches me. Those show off things, the long highly decorated nails, loose their importance too, they were there for others to admire, others again no longer there, so the point, expense and loss of dexterity to actually fiddle around with them, again it’s easier to just stop it all. The one thing that I find really annoying about the whole thing isn’t that I don’t look as I did, it’s actually the voices I can hear out there, the voices who have read all the rot on line, all saying that not caring about my appearance is part of depression, it may well be, but a it isn’t the only reason. Not everything that changes us, is from a text book, we change for a million different reasons and as long as you know what they are, you are comfortable with those reasons and living as you are isn’t an issue for you, then there is nothing to worry about!
Chronic illness changes us in so many ways and I know that a lot of women reading this would find the thought of not “taking care of themselves” as unbearable, what we all to often forget is that all that primping and preening is a modern invention, note the word invention. Humans were born with a body well able to care for itself, as long as it’s kept clean it doesn’t need hairspray, make up, perfumes and creams. Nor does it need fancy clothes, nail extensions or any of the modern things that some how many think are essential. Just as I would look in the mirror once a day, to be prepared to face the world, I am now content to not look at it at all and I wouldn’t have looked if I hadn’t been given a reason to, it’s not the end of the world, or a sign of anything other than adapting to what you are able to do and are comfortable with. It doesn’t matter how many other changers are forced upon you by your health, be it how you look, how you act or how you sound, your libido, your memory, or even just how you feel inside, nothing makes you any less a woman or any less a man, it just an adaptation to the one you were born, rather than adaptation of fashion. I may not look anything like my favourite me any longer, but as long as I still feel like the same person, then I am. I suppose that in some ways, like it or not I am probably closer to the real me than I have ever been, as I am no longer hidden behind a face I set each day and lived behind.