chronic illnesschronic styleweight loss

The Battle With The Mirror

You know there are times where the inside just does not match the outside.  If you have ever watch What Not to Wear (I love me some Stacy & Clinton), on just about every episode you hear them say that they want the beauty on the outside to match the beauty on the inside.  So they work and change and fluff the participant until she (and sometimes he) feels as lovely and confident about their outside as they do their inside.  Their lovely $5000 new wardrobe shines as brightly as their personality.  You’ve got to love a happy ending.

But what if you have the reverse problem?  What if you could wish that your insides looked as good as the outside?  After my diagnosis, I was so happy to find  Finally to find that someone else had heard that phrase as much as I had!  If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “But you look great/happy/healthy/etc” after honestly answering the dreaded question, “How are you today?”  I would be a millionaire and living on an exotic island somewhere.  You can only hear it so many times before you just begin lying and saying “Fine” and moving on.  I even sat in class once and we had a visiting speaker who shared about faith and health and he made the statement that everyone in class was healthy as we were all able to sit in class, yada, yada, yada (I’m not sure what he said after that because I was really fighting the urge to throw the stapler at his head).

So while others are trying to figure out how to get their hair/clothes/etc to reflect whats on the inside, I’m trying to figure out if it is ever possible to make my insides catch up with my outsides.  I finally found a hair cut and color that I adore.  Weight loss has helped me feel more comfortable shopping for clothes.  And I’m finally starting to get a handle on my “style.”  So while its nice to hear “You look fabulous,” I just wish I could answer, “Thanks and you know what, I FEEL fabulous.”

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just stay frumpy so that its more “believable” that I’m sick.  Maybe add some extra light powder so I look extra pale and leave my hair a hot mess.   Maybe then I won’t get the funny looks (followed by eye rolls on occasion) when I explain why I can’t do x, y, or z because I’m in pain or nauseated or you can fill in the blank.

But I’ve come to a point where I’m not ok with that.  This post by Stephanie, a guest writer at BYDLS, “Confessions of an Unapologetic High-Maintenance Spoonie,” gave me a boost in confidence that even though I’m a “spoonie” and my insides don’t quite add up to my rockin’ outsides, that its ok to be above the frump-even if it means getting the side-eye everyone once in a while.  One day that may be true.  I may feel as good on the inside as I do on the outside.  I’m still holding out hope for a cure (well, a cause first then a cure).  There may be battles with the mirror but in the end I’ve won the war.  I am more than my illness.  So in the meantime, I’m rockin’ a new ‘do and some new jeans (and maybe some heels one day!).

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8 comments on “The Battle With The Mirror

  1. Mamie says:

    Great post. I’m terrible with words, it’s nice when someone else can write exactly what I’m thinking.
    I find it so funny that I get complimented when I feel the worst. Like when I dropped 20 lbs in 4 weeks. I wanted to say, i know i’m thin, it’s because I can’t eat!!!!!!!! Now I feel like I need to wear a sign explaining what I have and why I’ve gained yet another 10 pounds. Maybe I’ll print out cards.
    At my sister’s wedding, I felt terrrible and people just kept saying, i’m so glad you’re well enough to come. I came because my sister was getting married, not because I felt good.
    The last time somebody told me I didn’t look sick, I said….Well, I am. They didn’t know how to respond to that.

  2. Katie says:

    Jamee (and Mamie, too), my heart aches for you and what you have to go through on a regular basis, but it brings a smile to my face to hear you say you’re more than a disease. To hear the hope you possess is remarkable.


  3. Carolyn says:

    Jamee – Hello! I just popped over from SITS to say hi and check out your blog. I will be back! I think you`ve got some great things to say from what I`ve seen so far.

  4. Annie says:

    GOOD FOR YOU BABE! Glad you are feeling better on the outside, even if you have a hard time on the inside. I feel the same way. I try to look reasonable, so at least one side of me is doing okay!

  5. Beth Zimmerman says:

    You GO girl! I have gotten to where I don’t even tell my family that I hurt anymore unless it’s really bad because I hurt all the time and unless you’ve been there … you just don’t get it!

  6. adriel says:

    That really must be a difficult struggle, and one that many women wouldn’t understand. I think it’s great that you feel so good about the “outside”… and maybe a part of that is inspiring other women they do too. I hope one day (this side of heaven) you’ll be able to say that you feel like you look…. fabulous.

  7. It’s almost a no win, which ever way it is good on you for working out what works for you. Keep on rocking…

  8. Colleen says:

    Wow! Powerful! Your post reminds me of the saying, “We cannot change the cards we were dealt, just how we play the hand.” Congratulations on being strong enough to say, “I don’t feel good” but then having the courage to keep going despite your chronic challenges. I think sometimes we all need a good “stapler to the head” to wake us up to the struggles of others. Thanks for waking me up today and gifting me with a greater understanding of those with chronic illness.


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