Just Show Up — It’s Good

Just Show Up — It’s Good

Christine Tender Points

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.


  1. Pamela says:

    I’ve had a few “meltdowns” over my own “fall from beauty”…it’s been 3 yrs since I’ve been able to fix myself up….my experience with people’s reactions to my looks now as opposed to then is really sad. I’m invisible now…store clerks ignore me and don’t see me…..I haven’t forgotten how they used to cling to the lady I used to be, all dressed up and dripping in jewelry…and it’s not just at stores that I’m ignored and treated differently…it’s everywhere.

    • Sara says:

      Yeah, I relate to everything in this article except that. People do notice how you look and reactions differ accordingly. I appreciate this; it’s a great way to weed out the shallows before I spend precious energy on them. However, for those I’ve already known a while, it is a bit sad.

  2. Denise Bault says:

    I agree. I can’t do the hair, put on the make-up, etc. like I used to. I will however make myself “presentable” for special times, granted I have a few days leeway to prepare, i.e. rest up!

  3. I am 78 years old and have had fibromyalgia for over 30 years. It started first with migraine headaches several days a month. I recently had a MRI and was diagnosed with beginning stage Alzheimer. I think this has a connection to fibro fog and early stage memory problems. Has there been any research done in this area? Barbara Desrosiers

  4. Diane says:

    I can relate to this. I used to color my hair, do my makeup, shop til I dropped. Now I lucky if I am I’m the mood to bathe on a daily bases and forgyaboit the house, I just do one little thing a day just to make myself feel like I have accomplished something.

  5. Sharon says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

    I also am so grateful for arm chair shopping. I live in a rural area and so shopping meant a drive or 1-2 hours and exhaustion before I even got to the stores! Now thanks to Amazon I can shop from home and only buy stuff that says “free returns”.

  6. Denise Ford says:

    This was very helpful and encouraging. I could have written the story myself because I have had the very same experiences. Although I’m still very vain. LOL.

  7. patricia fraser says:

    even to take a shower is a major event or pick out clothes to wear to an event which I dread. I volunteer as a dog walker for shelter here and no one cares how I look especially the dogs, make me move and give me a purpose.

  8. Najla says:

    Doing my hair was one of the first things I had to adjust: I just cannot hold a blow drier for that long, and having one brush in the other hand also….. almost impossible. I let my hair dry naturally and use a flat iron on special occasions : of course it requires planning. Most of the days I just have my hair in an updo.
    I was never a big fan of makeup, and now, I could not care less.
    One thing I learned with fibro is to let it go, to not try to be a superwoman and do all I can and cannot do. I learned to respect my body, and say “no” to myself and others when I cannot do something.

  9. Pamela says:

    I just have a follow up to my earlier comment.. as far as the world view of “physical appearance and beauty” go, and me no longer able to meet those “standards”, I was reminded that being accepted in the world view is NOT what we should be trying to achieve. It took some soul searching to realize that I was wrong to feel sad about these things…..so when that store clerk ignores the lady with baggy clothes, tennis shoes, no makeup, and “natural” hair…that I shouldn’t get upset..she is of the world view thinking and maybe I should take that opportunity to encourage her to not judge this book by her cover.

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