Well aren't I a great big Pinocchio!! I boasted about fast and frequent blogging in one of my last posts. It turns out though, that laying around for extended periods isn't so good for the creative juices. When you spend days on end just praying for a good poo, your capacity for writing anything articulate or interesting is a distant hope.
But I'm back.
As I have been going to the toilet every 15 minutes I have been involuntarily exposed to my reflection just as frequently.
I can't avoid it unfortunately...if I'm to close my eyes I could go ass up. I don't stare at myself but I glance. Quickly. All this glancing quickly at my face - usually grimacing in discomfort from what my body is telling me it wants to expel urgently- I'm getting acquainted with my new face. My 50 year old face. My 'cancer' face.
Allow me to share with you something I have never talked out loud about...to anyone.
( Now I've built it up too much....its really not that startling.)
It's about my 'looks'.
The cancer face I stare at these days has reminded me that I have spent a lifetime hiding, and never discussing the parts of myself I am most uncomfortable with.
I wasn't about to draw attention to them right? Do I as a consequence come across as someone who is perfectly happy with the image I face the world with? This isn't true for even the most beautiful among us so its certainly not true for me. Of course I have my insecurities.
I just made up my mind when I was 13 years old that I was not going to be that long suffering angst ridden teen who equated her value with what she looked like. I knew I wasn't beautiful or pretty even. But I believed I could make myself 'attractive' and I would use my confidence and personality to give the impression that I was at the very least one of the cool kids.
We didn't wear make up back then, or get our hair done by actual hairdressers. There was no 'blonde-to-chestnut-ombre-tips please, thank you' not until I could pay for it myself. Plucking of eyebrows came much later. I had no obvious deformities, a great sense of humour. and very blue eyes that I could work with.
And as I entered year 7 it certainly didn't hurt that all my best mates were a year above me, all popular themselves (cos 'we were Mernda dudes') allowing me to blend in seamlessly avoiding both attention and ridicule.
I neither wanted nor expected to have guys fall all over me. I loved hanging with boys, don't get me wrong, but I was only interested in finding like minded mates to collude and connect with.
Back to the topic of this blog....my vanity.
I developed my curves too young to appreciate them and so enjoying my food took precedent over looking hot in my jeans. Hormones equalled weight gain so while I never let it get out of control, I battled with my weight for the next 3 to 30 years. However I was never known as a fat chick because my solution was to adjust the way I dressed. I would never enter any swimming or sporting events where my cellulite-log-like-legs were on display next to Janice Exton's sexy-as-all-fuck-legs. Clever see.
I was careful about what extra curricular activities I went to, making sure I was never expected to be seen in anything unflattering or revealing.
I created my own style and became rebellious with my uniform options. Winning teachers over with my wit and charm.
And while we are on the uniform lets take a minute to remember that fashion statement shall we....
What cruel twisted asshole hated students enough to make us where shit coloured jeans with canary colored t-shirts? Not just any t-shirt either, a Bonds cotton thing that didn't keep its shape and was unflattering to everyones breasts except Kayleen Lloyd's.
And that dress? I wore mine only once.
It was a sack really let's be honest and it wasn't even a color. It was like another shade of poo.
Oh the ugliness.
I think it could actually scar your brain to have to look at nothing but brown and yellow for 6 years. It was almost dystopian like.
The other defect I had to learn to hide, which brings me back to my current reflection, was my freckles. Oh how I longed for flawless chocolate colored skin. (Why didn't my mother choose her husband based on the color of skin that was most likely to accommodate her future daughter's teenage self esteem issues? Is that soooo much to ask? Where did love get ya mum hey??)
Freckles were so not cool back then. Nor was white white skin. Thanks to my very ordinary and boring Scottish ancestry, I had been blessed with both. How did I avoid being called fly-shit face? How did I escape the insults I heard directed at white skinned folk on a daily basis? Well I never wore that dress so my lilly whites were never seen and I made sure I was just smart and intimidating enough to not make anyone want to torment me. I treated others as I wanted to be treated thus avoiding the desire for someone to humiliate me.
As I got older however, I learnt to hide my face with light makeup. Highlighting my blue eyes with darker eyelashes, and just making sure my hair was always coloured. Always.
This was my mask. You don't have to be blessed with a Shelley Collins exterior, you just have to make the most of what you have.
Cancer has stripped me bare. The side effects of chemo have forced me to reveal my true self and its not only not pretty, its bloody ordinary. I'm not being self deprecating, I'm just being brutally honest. My hair is grey. My eyelashes and eye brows are so pale that they are invisible. My skin is naked and its imperfections exposed for all to judge. There are lines. Faded blemishes.
Years of using expensive skin care may have helped, I'm not sure. I don't really know how I look to others. When you have cancer not even your ex husband will be brutal enough to tell you how old you look.
If I'm out of bed or even sitting up I get told how good I look, bless their cotton socks.
Its all so trivial now of course. This is who I am. And yet it's not who I am.
I am going to look a whole lot worse before this disease is done with me, so I should enjoy this reflection for a while, accept the beauty of something as simple as good bone structure. My loved ones don't see the lines on my face when I smile, they see the light in my blue eyes.
So what the fuck is this blog post about you are asking??? What great revelation have you made??
I guess what I am disclosing is the truth of my insecurities. I'm telling you that I know I'm not beautiful and that I accepted that years ago so I wore a mask of BB cream and confidence and that now that I don't I am forced to look at what I was hiding and that maybe its not so hideous. Yeh, I think that is it.
I also want to share some wisdom for those who let their insecurities dictate their ability to enjoy certain experiences. Don't. Just know that you are so much more than your breast size, or your nose shape, or your imperfect skin. By all means, get that fortnightly microdermabrasion, if for know other reason than to escape the kids. A little jab of Botox, why the fuck not, no-one has died from it yet. Colour the grey roots, no one wants to see you look like your Nanna. False lashes, only if you really need them because they are a bitch to keep up with and quite scary when you wake up after a big night...
I know my friends and family will be compelled to dispute my self evaluation. That's ok, dispute away. I'm not fishing for compliments or hoping for someone like say John Over to come forward from high school and tell me I was in fact pretty and he never even noticed Janice Exton's legs when I was around. I don't want that. Please don't.
This is simply me telling you from my heart the truth for me. Another little part of myself I'm sharing with you.
love y'all xxx