Wego Health's Health Activist Awards are open to nominations at the moment. You can nominate for everything from Best in Show: Blog to Advocating for Another. I've been lucky enough to be nominated again this year for:
Best in Show: Blog (I originally wrote "Best in Shoe". Freudian slip perhaps?)
Best in Show: Facebook, and
Hilarious Health Activist.
Thanks guys. I really appreciate you not only thinking I'm worthy of a nomination, but also using up your spoons to take the time to fill it in.
But that's not what this post is really about, although I am pretty stoked
I was looking at my photo above and realising I don't look too shabby. If I look back over this past year that's a bit of an aberration. I don't normally look like that. The effort involved isn't all that worth it. But, after looking at some of the other activist's pictures I thought I should at least try to look a little presentable.
The fact that I was un-bathed, that I was still wearing my pj bottoms, and could hardly get off the couch, doesn't show up once you throw on a bit of colour, brush your hair and chuck on some lippy. I hadn't even managed to do up all the buttons on my cardigan as it was simply that bridge too far. Thank goodness for the ability to crop the photo. And the lack of smellevision.
This is what I looked like prior.
Pasty, tired, and hair unbrushed. If you'd asked me to speak you would have had to translate through the slurring. I couldn't feel the left-side of my face and my eye-sight was complicated by some slight double-vision. Fatigue is now a constant trigger for my muscle weakness, particularly in my face and there doesn't seem much I can do to alleviate it.
In my spiffy photo, you can still see the droopy left-side of my face, which seems to be becoming more prominent. Who knew smiling could be so hard? But it is far more hidden thanks to considerable effort and good lighting. Much slapping and rubbing of my face made some movement possible, and thankfully you can't see the tremor in the muscle.
(Which is the real me?)
Now I sit back and wonder if I should have put up the unaltered version of me? The real version of me. The real version of living with chronic illness. The one that would have left me with some energy for the rest of the day. The one I see 99% of the year.
I feel like a bit of a fraud telling people they shouldn't worry about showing their sick face and here I am hiding my own. Nine times out of 10, hell, 99 times out of 100, I don't bother with make up. Hair brushing is an after thought. And bathing? Well that's why they invented perfume! Normally, I'd rather spend my limited spoons on meaningful activities like planting some herbs in a pot, or doing the household chores that can't wait.
But every now and then I have an overwhelming urge to feel girly. Sometimes I want to look normal, whatever that is. Sometimes it's simply nice to hide the pasty blancmange.
In the end it's about balance.
"But you don't look sick!" is a phrase that becomes part of your psyche. Repetition burns it into your brain. It's a bit of a trigger for me and makes me want to parade my droopy, pasty, blancmange face for all to see. A bit of an "Up Yours!" to the world of disbelievers if you will.
The reality is that I don't care if people see my sick face. I've shared enough photos of me at my worst that it's hardly a secret. And I'm open about all the less savoury sides of illness. But some days it's just nice to take the time to pop on some red lippy and brush my hair. Even if I'm going to be sitting on the couch with no one to see but the dogs. Sometimes I will even put on a nice dress, even if all I'm doing is running from the couch to the bathroom 38 times a day.
Sometimes you've got to do what's right for you in the moment. And sometimes it's simply nice to have at least one picture where you don't look like The Corpse Bride.
If you want to Endorse me for the Health Activist Awards head on over to here and click under my picture.
I love a bit of Tony Bennett,and this duet with James Taylor is just what I needed.