Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Purpose Of Primping

I tried to keep up appearances when I got sick, I really did. When I was first taken out of work for a month with disabling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, I spent what precious little energy I had putting on makeup every day. It was a silly priority, considering my right arm was nearly paralyzed, and I was too sick to even leave the house. But the makeup artist was so deeply ingrained in me, it seemed vitally important to not look as bad as I felt. And of course I didn't want to fall out of tune with my own high standards, and the pulse of the world around me. That was how I thought things worked, eight years ago. Today I can only smile at the naive little girl propping up her right elbow with her left arm to sweep that second coat of mascara on. If only she knew what was to come!

Things kept getting harder, I got sicker, developed new diseases, ballooned up from medications and inactivity, and completely and totally let myself go. Seeing as I was a hair's breadth away from losing my mind, the last thing I cared about was how I looked. Eventually I became the woman who was lucky if she brushed her hair and teeth each day. The clothes I threw on to take the dogs out when I first woke up were the clothes my husband saw me in when he came home from work that evening. Manicures, pedicures, waxing, puffing and fluffing, all part of that past life I no longer lived. The life where I had choices and opportunities and the most important thing I couldn't find, health.

Can I blame my progress in this area on juicing, too? Once my symptoms began stabilizing I started to be able to count on myself a little bit. Life wasn't a day-to-day free-fall of circumstance and knee-jerk reactions. One day I realized staring at my dirty, sweatpants-clad self in the mirror was depressing. Then it dawned on me a woman in such an unkempt state wasn't preparing to live her life. So I put my computer down and got my ass in the shower. I straightened my hair and put on some makeup. Then I sat back down on the couch, because something as simple getting myself fixed-up used all my energy for the morning. But I kept at it, health permitting, and grew to realize when I didn't take a bit of my time to make myself presentable, I felt worse. While it still felt frivolous to invest in the effort, I sure liked looking in the mirror a lot more. Today I can see caring about my appearance for what it is; a way to boost my confidence, prepare to engage with the world, and remember how far I've come.

Thanks for joining,

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