Today I had my hair cut and I was sat there whilst my hairdresser was snipping away thinking how lucky I am to have people around me who help make me feel pretty and maintain some of what makes me ‘me’. I have a wonderful hairdresser who I’ve known for 10+ years and she comes to my house and I sit there in my pyjamas whilst she works quickly and methodically to cut my hair.
All in all, she takes about ten minutes mostly because I rarely change the style of my hair and I’ve never dyed it. I have my hair long because I love it and argue its easier to take care of than shorter hair. Arguably, I can’t wash it or dry it so someone else has to, but it can be shoved into a bun and ignored rather than having to style my hair every day. My hair when short it’s ‘wavy’ in the loosest of terms, it sticks out at awkward ninety-degree angles mostly and not in a good way. So for me, long hair makes more sense.
I value the time people take to help me feel more like me rather than a shadow of my former self. I have my hair curled for special occasions and if needs are, makeup back up, even though I love to do my own makeup. I am thankful that the lovely women in my life know how vital it is for me to keep trying to retain some of me. Because when you are ill and going bare-faced isn’t ‘brave’ it’s your normal, sometimes it feels like you lost part of your identity.
Before being ill I found getting ready to go out or an occasion more fun than going out. I love makeup to this day, and I used to love doing my hair until I felt like it was all ‘perfect’. It was artistry for me and I wasn’t that great at it before getting ill but it was part of me. Due to skin sensitivities and energy makeup flew out the window. I just needed to get through the day get my school work done and try to not catch a cold at any point. I got into skincare and tried to take care of my skin in a more natural way.
Then after school was done for the time being I tried again. I researched brands that might work better for my very pale sensitive skin and tried until I found a happy medium. Makeup isn’t something I need to feel beautiful but I can’t deny I feel more put together and polished when I have a little on to cover the panda eyes I have. It makes me feel more like me.
People may think that to put makeup on or go shopping or get your hair done how you like it, might be a waste of time, energy and money. But it might keep you sane and help you to feel good about yourself, despite the chronic illness in your life. I am so very different now than I was before getting ill, it can’t really be a comparison because I was a child and now an adult having learnt and changed a great deal.
But to look like me is invaluable, I’m a twentysomething who feels like a Nanna, my bones creak and ache I love going to bed at 8:30 pm and I eat porridge year round. I need to remember what it is to feel young and to feel like me without M.E.