I was pointed to this blog post from a Facebook group I belong to: it’s by Lottie Ryan of Who’s That Lady For Women With Chronic Illness.
I wonder how many people will try to do this? Or how many will give up (before beginning) and say ‘too hard’? I wonder if it will make me feel better? Or if feeling better will make me want to try it out?
Have a read and let me know what you think…
One thing that Lottie is definitely correct about is that #sicklookslikeme.
I incite a revolution at the end of this post but you’re going to have to read it to understand the point, so grab a cuppa and dive in…
HAVE YOU STOPPED MAKING AN EFFORT WITH YOUR APPEARANCE?
IS MAKEUP FESTERING IN A DRAWER SOMEWHERE HAVING NOT SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY FOR YEARS?
HAS ‘MAKING AN EFFORT’ BECOME SOMETHING OTHER WOMEN DO, WOMEN WHO AREN’T LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS?
If so, then you’re going to get something valuable from this post, but if makeup, nice clothes, looking good and all that jazz aren’t your thing, and are never likely to be your thing, then you might just want to skip to the action in the last paragraphs.
At some point during my late twenties, early thirties, I stopped wearing makeup.
This happened at exactly the same time as I stopped being the real me and stopped valuing myself as worthy.
I’d stopped wearing makeup and fallen into the “I haven’t got the time or energy for that” thing or “No one needs makeup, I’m happy au natural”, which was really code for “I’ve stopped caring about myself, because I’ve forgotten my true value, and I don’t think I’m worth the time or energy”.
I also thought I had to look sick to be sick.
On top of the usual mommy guilt from which we all suffer, I had the added guilt of having birthed my children into a seriously ill situation knowing I couldn’t care for them as I wanted, and as they needed. I turned to my amazing husband (who never fails me, or them) and our parents to help, but with that felt a compelling need to ‘prove’ I really was as sick as I felt.
In addition I noted that doctors take a lot of interest in your appearance and on the odd occasion I’d turned up to clinic looking better presented their exclaims of ‘Oh, you look much better, I’m so glad to see things are improving’, despite my protestations that they weren’t, made things harder, giving me more reason to look sick to prove I was sick.
Then one day I realized I was deeply, heart achingly miserable and I’d started avoiding mirrors or any reflective surface as the sight that greeted me was just too depressing.
I’d become something I just wasn’t inside and if my chronic illness was indeed chronic and therefore for life I just couldn’t continue the rest of my life as the miserable, depressed, pale and wretched thing I’d become.
My marriage and relationships couldn’t survive me being this wretched person either. It was too depressing and awful. Oh, don’t get me wrong, my husband loves me with or without makeup, but there’s no doubt he finds me much more attractive when I’ve made an effort with myself, and why shouldn’t he? I certainly always wore makeup during the time we dated and was not pale and wretched-looking, so that’s not who he fell in love with. Nor did I walk down the aisle without makeup on, so that’s not who he married either.
I Can Change
I recognized that I couldn’t quickly, if ever, change what was going on inside of me but I could change how I presented myself on the outside and thus how I felt about myself.
Though weak, in pain, and truly exhausted there was definitely still a sparkly heart thumping in my chest, intrigued by all things bright, excited by small adventures and so very open to living a beautiful life despite it all. I needed others to see this person and recognize me for who I was despite my illness, and in turn that recognition might just bring me back to life.
The only person who could change this situation was me. I decided to stop worrying about others’ judgements and assumptions and go out shining as I truly am inside; to be authentic and acknowledge that how I look has no true bearing on how I feel. Doctors and others soon got used to seeing me looking amazing but showing up in all of their tests as the sick person I undoubtedly am.
I went on a mission to redefine what sick Lottie looks like.
To start this, I started wearing makeup.
It was that simple.
There’s a lot of cynicism around make-up and modern beauty standards, but I’m of the opinion that we have this amazing tool at our disposal, to help us feel better about ourselves, so why not use it?
Women fought to wear makeup (seriously…read on)
It’s a fact that women fought hard for the right to buy and wear makeup without shame. It’s a right we sought alongside our right to vote.
Prior to around 1910 makeup was an ‘under the counter’ business, deemed fit only for ‘Ladies of the Night’. In the 1920s women demanded the right to dress and make themselves up as they see fit; relinquishing their corsets, showing their legs and wearing bold makeup with red lips and smokey eyes.
Makeup became widely sold over the counter and worn by the average woman. It has been a tool women have used to express their femininity and create the best version of themselves ever since. It’s an important part of our history and modern being, and I’m a big fan.
Wearing makeup again was just the beginning of my long journey, so if you recognize yourself as similar to the way I was at the top of this story, take hope in the fact that YOU CAN change back, or into the person you really are, with small simple steps that won’t overwhelm you.
Hopefully you’ve read my ‘5 Simple Steps to Better Mornings’ and started doing them. I know they seem ridiculous in their simplicity, but this is where I started and if my personal journey is anything to go by these simple things might just lead you to various adventures of a lifetime.
From Pilled Up to Pinup
If someone had told me 6 years ago when I started this journey that wearing mascara would be the start of my journey towards becoming a published vintage pinup model I would have laughed in their face and told them they were being ridiculous. I, a woman in her early thirties, mom of two toddlers, with BOWEL disease, fluctuating weight due to steroids, and a future filled with abdominal surgeries could not possibly be a vintage pinup.
Yet here I am:
Let’s Start A Revolution
Start small. Start today and then start dreaming about what you really want in your life, as these small steps WILL lead you somewhere great if you take action.
You can read my stories, my suggestions and my ideas all day, every day, but nothing is going to change unless YOU TAKE ACTION.
So, I want your help to start a revolution.
I want to change the way sick is viewed by people. In the 21st century people can live with a chronic illness and look fine. I could be in hospital almost dying and still look pretty good with my makeup on and my hair done (in fact I have been, much to my nurses’ amusement). Judgements based on looks are outdated, unhelpful and need to change, and I need your help to change them!
Go and ‘put your face on’, that beautiful face that mirrors your heart not your illness, and head out to shine despite it all, but first take a selfie – yep, I’m for real.
We’re going to document this, and start a revolution at the same time. There’s power in a hashtag don’t you know?
When you’ve taken your selfie post it on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook with the hashtag #sicklookslikeme, then post it here in the comments too or, if you’re shy, come into our Facebook group and post it there, until you build your confidence to perhaps post elsewhere.
Are you in? I hope so as I can’t bring about this change on my own. This is all about team work and I want YOU on my team.
You’re never alone.
PS This is not a one-off, thing. I’m going to use this hashtag and work on this revolution for the foreseeable future. There’s work to be done! #sicklookslikeme