Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beauty and the Chronic Beast

BlogHer just started a beauty campaign to take back the definition of beauty from the fashion industry and make it our own again.  This got me thinking can we be beautiful and chronically ill at the same time?   After all here in the US we are supposed to be young, skinny and athletic; practically the antithesis of what happens when you have CFS.  I'm almost 50, a devoted sofa sloth, 230lbs and growing.  I'm not going to be in the swimsuit edition of Sport Illustrated in this lifetime or quite possibly the next.

Since becoming chronically ill I've gain weight.  And it isn't as simple as 10-15 of scale weight.  I lost muscle mass and therefore gained even more fat than the ten pounds the scale says I've put on.  It is easier to say that I can no longer fit in my "fat" clothes from when I was well.  I'm down to my stretchy yoga pants ladies!  Ugh.

I no longer am capable of shaving.  Face it I'm nearing 50.   For those of you who are younger us older gals start growing facial hair at an alarming rate.  If I don't shave daily I start to have a noticeable mustache and don't even mention my gorilla legs.  Right now I'm lucky if I manage to shampoo my hair and get soap on 80% of my body.  The act of shaving anything is currently way beyond my capacity to manage.

I often have to skip showers altogether because I just don't have the energy, like tonight.  I went shopping and helped prepare dinner instead of attending to my personal grooming.  It is amazing how fast my hair gets stringy.  I'm drooling over the new adds for waterless shampoo.  Next time I manage to get to a drug store I'm buying a case load of the stuff.  If I get desperate enough I'll get it through Amazon.  Yeah!  Now if I could only remember the name of the stuff....

I haven't had a haircut since early March.  I had such a cute short haircut at Christmas.  I loved that haircut.  Everyone complimented me on it.  Now my hair is down to my shoulders and constantly falling in my eyes, which drives me batty.  So now I do the old lady thing and pin it back with hairpins.  I no longer look young and hip.  My grey hair shows when I wear it pinned back like this.  My cute haircut somehow magically hid most of my grey.  Now I look like a chubby 60 year old instead of a hip 40 something.

So ladies is it possible to be sick and beautiful?  I think it is if you change the definition.  I still have my sense of humor on most days.  I'm still kind and considerate on most days.  Right now I don't really care what I look like as long as I can shower and have clean hair. 

My husband said the most oddly kind thing to me last night, "If you were an angry alcoholic and this sick I would leave you in a heartbeat.  But, you are kind so I'm going to stay."  I still feel a little weirded out by this statement but I keep going back to the fact that he just told me that I was so kind that he is willing to stick out all the ickyness of chronic illness and he didn't want to give me up.  That is kind of cool.  I guess he likes my inner beauty and that is the best kind because it can't be taken away by chronic illness.

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