Before diagnosis I used to truly actually think that I was the only girl in the world who didn’t have the energy to do the whole makeup thing, or who didn’t like facials and massages and all that. I always knew that I was different and having grown up in an emotional desert feeling totally invisible and unwanted with no one who took the time to teach me any of these “girly” things, I always put it down to just that. I assumed that I didn’t like any of those things because they were so foreign and were such a massive reminder of my huge inadequacies. That people would uncover my fear of not being … well, good enough I guess.
But on the few occasions that I had the opportunity to wear makeup, have my hair done, or get a facial, I hated every second of it and it was extremely painful, my fingernails bled the few times I have had them done, my head hurt if someone else washed or brushed my hair, and when I wore foundation or cover up I would get deep painful zits which would take weeks to go away. I pluck my eye brows but they are always in desperate need of being redone, in a moment of panic I lashed out and had my eyeliner tattoo-ed on as I just can’t seem to remember to put anything onto my eyes, …. and I don’t own eye shadow or any other makeup other than mascara (which is 5 years old) and lispstick which I sometimes remember to put on, (and it is the 24hour kind).
I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have been to a hair dresser in the last 30 years, I cut my hair at home with the kitchen scissors, and thankfully I don’t have a grey hair yet, so my hair is it’s natural colour. All this to say that I always thought that this was just me and part of my crappy upbringing and my brokenness from all the years of abuse that I suffered. It never once occurred to me that what was happening was also about the fact that my body really does hurt and does not like being poked and rubbed and my hair pulled and so the list goes on. That my skin reacts because there is something wrong with it, and that my arms really do get sore and tired from lifting them up long enough to brush my hair and put makeup on…
All of these things have had a slow and steady impact on my life in terms of feeling inadequate, “less” than other women, down that there is something wrong with me that I can’t keep up with these kinds of things. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been extremely busy, but I guess that I subconsciously knew that I needed to spend the spoons that I had on more important things than looking pretty … although because of all the stresses and so on, none of things made me feel more pretty anyway!
All to say that one of the MANY things about having a diagnosis and being part of a solid community for fellow sufferers is that suddenly I feel a little bit “normal” for the first time in my life!