Quite often I see posts on social media about annoying things people say to someone living with a chronic illness. One of the most annoying comments is You don’t look sick. Referring to the fact that if we maintain a somewhat normal life and appearance. Do our hair and makeup. We must not be sick. As wrong and annoying as that comment is for me I find it more annoying when I have spent 2 to 3 hours to make myself look good and there is always that one person that wants to point out the one thing you missed or maybe just chose not to do. I’m thinking hey I look good. I might even go as far as to say (looking in the mirror) hey girl you still got it going on :). I know what I looked like before and what it took to get myself ready.
It’s an everyday struggle for me taking a shower and doing my hair. Where it used to take me 35 minutes to get ready it takes 2 or more hours now. Thirty-five minutes was everything. Shower, hair, and makeup. Showering is a struggle in itself because the rapid temperature change brings on symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, tingling, weakness of the legs, and sometimes vision loss. I haven’t taken a shower without hanging on for dear life when I wash my hair in six years. When I get out of the shower I’m dizzy, weak, and exhausted. It takes me about 20 minutes to get my clothes on. As an example of the weakness I’m speaking of imagine how hard it is putting a bra on in the first place especially right after a shower. Now try to put your bra on with a fifty-pound weight on each shoulder. That’s what it feels like to me when I raise my arms. Keep that fifty-pound weight in mind. It’s still sitting there on your shoulders now try to dry your hair. My arms get so tired I have to stop and rest them often. So, drying my hair takes 30 to 45 minutes. Putting my makeup on is the easiest part about getting ready. The only part that I find difficult is putting on eyeliner and mascara.
Now that you have some idea what it takes in my daily life you can understand why most days I don’t do my hair and makeup. When I do it It’s for me. To make myself feel better. So, I don’t feel like a slob walking around in sweats and a ponytail all the time. Even on those days I generally compromise because doing my hair is so difficult. I just do my make up and let my naturally curly hair do its thing. Sometimes it’s a little frizzy because I live in a dry state but most of the time it looks decent. Or so I thought.
The reason for this rant. Recently we had company over. One of the individuals ( J ) said to me. Shannon, you dyed your hair! First, I was a bit confused. No this is my natural hair color, I said. Red or as I call it copper. Just then another individual ( A ) said No! but she needs to. Confused again. What is wrong with the color of my hair? Ok…..whatever. Just smile and let it go. Then A says but at least she did her hair this time! Last time we were here she didn’t even do it! I just smiled again. J said your hair wasn’t done when we were here the last time? And then there it was. Before I realized it, I couldn’t bite my tongue. I said no J, I didn’t I was so weak by the time I took a shower and got dressed I decided you know what this is my house I’m just going to let it dry naturally! I did do my makeup though so I wasn’t a total slob!
Ok looking back I probably shouldn’t have let it bother me. Generally, I just let things like this roll off my back. I’m having a relapse right now so the last 3 weeks have been tough. I’m even weaker than usual so the fact that I had accomplished a shower and makeup that day was a big thing for me. I also know that I don’t usually tell anyone how I’m feeling. So, they can’t know what a struggle it was. Even when I do on rare occasion there is no real way for them to understand.
My problem with the comments was not only is it something you should avoid saying to someone with a chronic illness but just rude in general. It’s not something you say to anyone in my book. I’m all for being real! Trust me if a friend is wearing something that doesn’t look good I’m going to let her know. If I notice something about a friend’s hair I might say you should try this or this would look good on you. There’s a time and place for these things. If it’s just us girls I’m going to be straight with you. If it’s something you need to be aware of right away I’m going to pull you aside or quietly tell you. I’m not going to put it out there in front of everyone and I’m not going to say it in a hurtful way as if there is something wrong with you or indicating you’re lazy. I don’t know why the comment was made. May not have been intended to be hurtful but why was it said anyway. Why did it matter if my hair was done? I was in my home!
What I hope will be taken away from this post is that we don’t know what anyone is facing in their lives. Maybe we can all do a better job of stopping to think about what we say, how we say it, or when we say it.
Thumper says it best “ If you can’t say something nice don’t say nothing at all”