There was a time when appearance was everything to me. Yes, vanity was my vice. Any event (even a trip to the grocery store) prompted a mental visit to my closet. What should I wear? Are my white jeans in the wash? Should I iron the blue sweater that’s been sitting wrinkled in a drawer? Do I have the right shoes? Does my purse match? All these things once mattered to me. These days, showing up is all that matters.
I can’t tell you when the transition occurred, exactly. I guess it was gradual. The whole concept of looking good is, of course, dependent upon having the right thing to wear. And that condition is dependent upon shopping. Lots of shopping. For a large part of my life, that was my favorite activity.
Having my clothing budget drastically reduced by being unable to work didn’t stop me. It only changed the places I shopped. Instead of major department stores, I became a thrift-store junkie. My greatest joy was in finding the occasional brand new item that fit perfectly and included the original price tag. A few frantic searches for nonexistent restrooms took away some of the charm of shopping in cut-rate establishments. My irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was determined to be in charge of my life — even with my wardrobe.
Fortunately for me, internet commerce came on the scene at just about that time. Today’s shopping excursions are more likely to take place at my desk. Online shopping may not yield the fantastic bargains I once found in person, but I’m satisfied with the trade-off. I’ve rid myself of the stress and fatigue that once resulted from endless searches all over town when a specific item was needed (clothing or otherwise).
But it wasn’t only about the clothing. My hair and makeup had to be perfect as well; it was never good enough. As I wrote in my Nov. 29 Tender Points column, perfection is nobody’s friend. Struggling to maintain it takes precious energy. So I keep my hair short and easy — as I’ve always done. But now, I’m not above clipping the edges myself or allowing the world to see I’m not as blond as nature first made me. Instead, my level of fatigue dictates just how good I look on any given day. And I’m just fine with that.
But here’s the interesting thing. Nobody has noticed a difference in my appearance — except me. This is one time when fibromyalgia actually did me a favor. It gave me permission to lighten up my once-strict requirements for myself. I no longer waste precious energy on these or other unimportant matters. Dealing with my health issues is quite enough for me to handle. How I look is rarely even a thought any more. As long as I have a smile on my face, I’ll show up.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.
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