I like make-up.
And dressing up.
And doing my nails. Often.
Also, GLITTER, in very small, very contained quantities (which is an oxymoron as anyone who has ever come in contact with glitter knows that it cannot be contained). Really, just glitter nail polish.
In my head, I look like:
Some days, I wish I were brave enough to be a late 90’s Gwen Stefani:
For a long while when I was really not well, things like makeup and nails and getting dressed up made me sad because it felt So. Freaking. Hard.
This is my “symptomatic” uniform:
Funny how laying it out on my bed makes it look like a chalk outline at a crime scene. That’s about how good I felt when I wore it. And I wore it for at least one year solid (2008, you were kind of a drag). I changed my shirt every day, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t unhygienic. I even washed the sweatsuit itself every weekend when I would simply stay in my pj’s all day. But that’s it, that’s what I wore. At the time, I was in so much pain that even clothes hurt. Drawstring waistbands and cotton are easier on ouchy bodies.
The way I ended up with this particular uniform is kind of a funny story. It’s also embarrassing for me, but whatever, I think I’ve gotten over embarrassing myself on the Internet when I took selfies of my compression stocking-d legs a few weeks ago (see In which I try to make compression stockings “Happen”, June ).
I love Sigourney Weaver. I think she is awesome and kickass and there is just something about her togetherness that I find highly enviable. I would rather be her than Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. I’m sure that says something about me, but I don’t care to comment on that right now.
Sigourney was on the Oprah Winfrey show at some point waaaaay back when Oprah still had a talk show on ABC and I was lying around on the couch, miserable and pretty depressed, as I was still undiagnosed. At some point in the interview, Oprah commented on Sigourney’s clothing and how she always looked so put together. Sigourney then said something that I wish I could go back and keep my silly, silly, teenaged self from hearing:
“I don’t own sweat-clothing. If one owns sweat-clothing, then one wears sweat-clothing.”
OhMyGosh, she is So Right, 18 year old me thought. I am a frumpy-frumperson (there I go making up words again) because I allow myself to be. If I just get up and get dressed nicely every day, I will simply stop being miserable and depressed and I will feel better and then all will be well in my world.
And so I donated nearly every item of clothing in my closet.
Pretty much everything I owned.
No more sweatpants or t-shirts. Bye-bye pj bottoms and hoodies. Yoga pants hadn’t been invented yet, but they also would have been given the boot.
I still regret this, as I had amassed a pretty significant T-Shirt collection, which at the very least would have made an awesome quilt, had I had the foresight to think of it at the time. Brain-washed by Sigourney’s declaration, and, let’s face it, significantly impaired by a POTSie lack of oxygen to my brain, I was determined.
I would get up. I would get dressed. I would stop all this melodrama of being sickly.
Want to know how long that lasted?
About an hour. Willing myself to be well wasn’t going to fix anything. So then I cried and cried and cried because by that time strangers at Value Village were picking through heaps of all my favorite clothes.
Lesson learned: Celebrities give crap advice. See also Kate Moss’s famous declaration that “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Clearly that chick has never eaten, well, anything…
I had to go get something to wear that wouldn’t cause my skin to rash and was also comfortable enough to wear over my achy, breaky limbs. The sweatsuit and I met on one un-enchanted evening in an Old Navy (it was the only one that wasn’t velour, thanks a lot Juicy Couture for popularizing the most weird feeling fabric in the whole world), and the rest is history. It was even on clearance.
I became what Sigourney and I both didn’t want to be; not just a person who wears sweat-clothing, but one who wears discount sweat clothing. I could envision her turning up her perfect nose at me. (I’m sure she is a very nice person…Hey Sigourney! I’m a big fan!…if you happen to be reading this…)
Post-diagnosis, I was able to slowly make my way to where I wanted to be, appearance-wise. I started with pants that had buttons. Until your finger joints have swollen and your skin has freak-out rashes over NOTHING, you will never know just how happy I was to get to a place where pants with buttons was An Accomplishment.
Now, things are different, dare I say better, and sometimes I even wear shirts with buttons at the same time I wear pants with buttons.
And yes, I wear makeup now:
And paint my nails:
In some twisted way, Sigourney was a teensy bit right. I do feel better when I put some effort into my appearance. It’s easier to feel sick when you look sick, and sometimes it’s easier to forget it for 5 minutes if you don’t.
Mostly, now I just think of it as fun. It’s fun to get new makeup (it’s so pretty! I’m a sucker for good packaging). It’s fun to watch youtube videos in a vain attempt to actually use said new makeup correctly. It’s fun to choose what I’m going to wear today without my splotchy, itchy skin being the first thing I consider (though it is the second thing…progress is progress).
Also, I am supremely grateful for whoever invented yoga pants, and whoever is responsible for bringing back leggings. They make my life comfier, plus I look on trend because what 20-something girl, Chronic or not, isn’t wearing leggings right now, pretending they are Real Pants? I mean come on, they have jeggings now.
Everyone wants comfy pants. I’m sure even Sigourney would agree…
Or maybe not?
*Nic Note: I desperately tried to find a picture of Sigourney Weaver wearing sweats. Apparently she is Serious about this, as not a single one exists.