23 August 2010

You're So Vain

You're so vain....I'll bet you think this [post] is about you. Don't you? Don't you?!

Nope. It's about ME ME ME!

Okay, so, I found out I'm vain. (You already knew that, huh?)

Surprisingly vain. See, I was all, mid-thirties and totally content. I was happy with my life. I was comfortable in my skin, flaws and all. I found myself beautiful. Not the fake Hollywood beautiful but the real world, I earned those stretch mark scars and so what if my teeth are crooked "I'M REAL" and I know who I am so I don't really care what you think of me, kind of beautiful.

I called it confidence, not vanity. But now... I'm surprised how much I think about my looks and I can't believe how tied to my identity my looks have apparently been all along. Wow, so vain!

I REALLY thought I was less shallow. I believed I thought I more about character, and personality, and worth and value. When it comes to other people I still think I do, but when it comes to myself, I guess I hold ME to a different standard.

See, I don't think I look like me AT ALL anymore, (and if you say I do I might be offended and never ever talk to you again because I don't like what I see in the mirror nowadays!) I am shocked when I see my reflection. I don't even see me in there. This crappy medicine has changed my face and body so much I don't think my own son would recognize me if he came home from his mission today. Oh, did I mention my hair has started falling out? *tears* I know probably NOBODY but me would notice the difference BUT STILL PEOPLE!!! As if feeling like my face is as round as a bowling ball isn't enough. As if having worse skin than my teenagers isn't enough! As if being heavier now than with any of my pregnancies isn't enough! NOW MY HAIR IS FALLING OUT TOO!? And then there are all the other symptoms like the numbness and tingling, trouble sleeping, heartburn, high blood pressure, muscle twitching and cramping and weakness, metallic taste, confusion, blood sugar crashes, pancreatitis attacks, fatigue, etc, etc, and most frustratingly what I like to call Mental Mud. Like my mind is mucky and muddy and mushy. Not sharp and witty and ingenious and humorous and clever. (I SWEAR I used to be intelligent and fun.) *sigh* My definition of ME is changing.

I kind of wish I could hang a sign around my neck whenever I had to buck up the courage to go be around other people (strangers even). Or maybe if I could have a flashing billboard above my head explaining the disease, the medication effects, and maybe a fantastic picture of what I REALLY look like and not what I look like now. Yes, that would be great.

But back to the vanity issue. What if this were permanent? Would I be okay with that? Would I learn to deal with it? Would I be able to find peace with it? What about people who were the world's definition of normal who have been in horrifying accidents, who's skin is burned or who lose limbs, or who are confined to wheelchairs, etc. People who, no matter what now, will be subjected to the looks and stares and questions and judgments of others strictly because of their appearance. How do they learn to deal with that?

I was talking to a wonderful friend about this a few months ago. Since I've been ill, I can't do NEAR as much as I used to be able to do and I was telling her I was glad I learned to say NO to people years ago or else I'd have a serious guilt complex to go along with everything else I am beating myself up over not being able to keep up with. We talked about what makes someone worth something? She asked me if I thought I was any more important to God than a quadriplegic. Well, no, of course not. And can that person really do anything? Contribute to society? Okay, so why should my worth be tied to the things I can't do? It should be only tied to the things I can do. So, if I CAN'T run around taking care of my kids and my extended family and my friends and my church obligations like I used to be able to do, THAT'S OKAY!!! As long as I do the best I CAN do, that's all that God uses to define my worth! And while we are on the subject, I'd like to know why people use the word "invalid" to describe a sickly person. Did you know one of the definitions is "worthless"? I don't like it!

Another interesting word is "discouraged". That word is a mountain I have to summit daily. Gah! I'm getting tired of feeling that way.

I'm not looking for sympathy! Or pep talks to buoy me up! I'm doing okay, mostly. But really, it would be easier on my reclusive personality and my vanity if I could just go into hiding for a couple of months!

To top it off, what if I'm going through this medication crap for nothing? What if I DON'T go into remission? What then?

(On a positive note, at my last appointment my labs were in the normal ranges again instead of off the charts unmeasurable like before. Now, the trick is to taper off of the prednisone sloooowly so I don't go back into a flare. Most days I still feel like I've been trampled by a pack mule, but I'm hoping that MONTHS FROM NOW when I'm finally free of the prednisone monster, and hopefully the sarcoidosis monster too, I will one day look and feel like me again. Could I have that in writing? A guarantee? Please.)

Oh and does anyone have any wigs I could borrow? While we're at it, maybe a muʻumuʻu. Or a big brown paper bag? ;)


Sara Cecil Photography said...

since you aren't looking for a pep talk or for sympathy ;) I will simply tell you that I miss you and love you and I'm sad you are feeling so crummy. I'm sending a thousand xoxoxoxo's your way. (and even if you were 900lbs, i would want to know you because you make people want to be better just because your you!)

ps-I'm secretly happy you FINALLY have a (perceived) flaw. Now I can actually be around you without feeling so jealous! ;)

Erin Evans said...

"In Life there is no failure, only unwanted results. Everything has a purpose. Many things happen that we might not understand, but if they did not happen, you would not become who you are about to become. You can't control everything in life so only worry about the things you can. Any Situation Can Turn Out Positive - Have a powerful day!" Sam Chuahan - "Bluff" Magazine This wasn't meant to be a pep talk - only to share that it made me smile and feel better, so I thought I'd pass it on to you... I Love you in any shape and form - Forever your sister, Erin xoxo

Marylin said...

Gosh darn it lady, if I just lived a little closer I would come over and have a good "book club" talk with you! I miss you and love you more than I think you know and now even more because you seem to be as vain as I am :P

Josh & Stacey said...

I'm sure this is not an appropriate comment to make for this post, but you had me laughing so hard! I have to say, even though I only felt it for nine months with pregnancy, this is exactly how I felt. I'm sure it's worse because there's no end date for you, but it really made me laugh. I hope that's not offensive. :) I love you and I hope this doesn't last much longer.

BigRedCCDually said...

Things will get better Michelle. Our lives are not defined by our looks but by the memories and impressions we leave for others. Age robs us of our looks, take it from a bald overweight father, and my hair will never grow back. Focus on the now...progress, positive progress with your disease. You are, have always been, and always will be my beautiful daughter. Just as Charla's strength was amazing, yours is too, it will be what gets you through all this and help you to return to normal afterwords.

Love Dad

Michelle said...

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! I have such amazing friends and family! Thank you for realizing I am venting and poking fun at myself.

angela michelle said...

Sounds crazy! I don't think you have to be too vain to not like this at all! So sorry.