For the last few months, I’ve felt alienated and disfigured within my own body. At a quick glance, I look like someone who doesn’t take care of herself. But the truth is that I’m a mess. My body has been doing things I didn’t know it could do. I wonder if I will have scars after this, and this frightens me.
Spending my days on my bed, in my comfy PJs, on the laptop since last July when I started experiencing TSW symptoms (but didn’t know it) has grown stale. As comforting as the ITSAN forums are, I am alone in my room-cave waiting this out, giving me more time in the world than I need to torment myself over how gnarly my neck/face is. Before TSW, I was an exceptionally vain person. Always concerned with my hair, makeup… my overall appearance. It dictated how I felt about my day, whether I would accomplish what needed to be done, whether I lived life just a little bit more. Compliments from others cycled my fixation on my outward appearance.
TSW has taken that and flipped it on its tender, frail stomach.
Today, I finally had my first real cry in the bathtub. I’ve cried many times before, but those don’t count. They were obligatory cries, ones that I conjured up because my quiet anger had no other egress. Today’s cry was different. My mother, who is can be excruciatingly preachy, came to my tubside and talked to me about a character from the Bible named Leviticus. He was brought back to life from death by God, although L pleaded to be healed from his illness before his death.
Instead of the usual eye rolling spasms that ensue after this kind of biblical preachiness, I decided to just listen to what she had to say. I guess the moral of the story is that God can preform miracles at any time… Then she talked about how the moment we say “Thank you” for an undesired challenge is also the moment when we get answers. This clicked with me somehow and got me thinking. Though I’m not ready to thank anyone for this, except the irresponsible medical professionals for enabling Steroid Addiction, I wondered about what lesson I could possibly learn from all this, if there’s a lesson to be learned, if there’s a divine reason for everything.
Then I found this video in my suggestions box on YouTube, called “On Being Ugly.” A very young woman posted her thoughts on how personal outward beauty and the lack of it should not rule how we live. Some things she said were on the radical side, which I’m always a sucker for, but ultimately disagree with. Most of what she says is profound and beautiful.
I remember being like her when I was around her age (as if I’m that much older!). My philosophy on life was driven mostly by the lyrics of Jewel’s poetical ideals of beauty and my inherent hippie-like enthusiasm for all life. That has been tainted by various events since then, but renewed by this one video and my half-assed willingness to say “Thank you” for this crappiness we call Topical Steroid Withdrawal.
After today’s reflecting, I don’t think I will spend another healthy, healed day wasted on the pursuit of happiness via appearance. This doesn’t mean that I’ve come to terms with me and TSW. It just means that I’ve realized how the feeling of being robbed of my youth by this TSW crap isn’t actually robbing me more than the wasted time of my pre-TSW vanity.