Two years ago, I was in a wheelchair at the Mayo Clinic unable to shower by myself, chew, hold my head up or walk. A million painful tests and one muscle biopsy later, I was diagnosed with an very rare genetic neuromuscular disease called a Lipid Storage Myopathy. There is no cure for it. There are no drugs to treat it. There are only a few known cases of it in the world. My health and my life suddenly had a giant question mark hanging over it.
I consider myself lucky.
I am lucky because I was diagnosed. I am lucky because I am much healthier than my doctor's ever thought I would be. I am lucky because I am alive. But most of all, I consider myself lucky because the experience gave me what I lacked most in life: the ability to take a risk.
I always appreciated other people's daring hair color or edgy look. I always pushed others to try that new vampy lip or neon nail-polish. I loved everything the beauty world had to offer, just not for me. These looks were for daring, sexy, thin, rich and beautiful women. i.e. Not me. So I stuck to my same old, same old sad brown smoky eye shadow and pale pink lipstick. Years of working in the fashion industry and listening to shallow, supericifical people made me lose my beauty balls.
However, a funny thing happens when your organs start shutting down: you look like total crap. Your hair falls out. Your skin turns yellow/gray. Your eyes look tired all the time. You get bags, wrinkles and spots on your face that seem to show up overnight because, well, they do. All of a sudden what worked before, worked no more.
Medical science has proven that a positive attitude greatly increases the body's ability to heal. At this point, my life and body were out of control. I could not fix what was in me- so I decided to take charge and fix what was on me. I had to take better care of myself as a whole person, not because I was superficial, but because I needed to survive.
So I did. The first major change was my hair. My shoulder length reddish/strawberry blonde hair had bald spots and my illness insured that hair growth was not going to happen again any time soon. Not willing to passively sit by and watch any more hair fall off my head, I took control and cut it all off. With my new modern super short cut not only did I no longer have to bear witness to seeing my hair fall out as much but my very fine hair looked fuller. Emboldened, I bleached my hair blode because the the process roughens up the cuticle making the remaining hairs thicker. Despite having never been a blonde in my life, and afraid I would look like a train-wreck a'la Courtney Love, I ultimately said screw it and did it anyways. I figured if I could get a disease that is rarer then winning the Powerball twice in my life- why not dye my hair and see what happens. I loved it. My skin had more of a glow, my blue eyes looked bluer and the whites of my eyes look, well whiter. And while I'd always read that people with round faces could not wear super short hair, here I was, a girl with a disease that kept my figure full, getting more compliments on my looks from strangers than I ever had during my "pre-disease" life.
Riding a new wave of confidence- I didn't stop at the hair. I changed up my skincare regimen to reflect the new reality I was dealt. Suddenly, moisturizing wasn't enough- I wanted to have a healthy glow once again. So I tried a ton of creams, lotions and serums until I found a system that worked. The result? My skin feels and looks better now than it ever did before I got sick. However, until my organs started working correctly again, the new skin care routine was not enough. I had to fake health with makeup. I tried every product possible so that I could look human again. At times this was frustrating, only because, who the hell really wants to age 10 years in about 10 weeks time. I felt a pang of "not fair" every now and then but then I would remind myself- I'm alive. Pang gone.
This exploration of beauty-land not only took my mind off my disease and my painfully delayed law school graduation but I made a ton of new, supportive friends. The exploration for a better, happier, healither self meant I had to focus on myself, something I stopped doing years ago.
The disease forced me to follow a new doctor mandated diet of high protein / high carb / low fat. The doctors informed me that my new diet, combined with their demand that I never spend more than 20 minutes doing cardio as it will cause muscle atrophy, means it is pretty much impossible to lose weight. No one ever wants to hear that. As a woman, this meant finding new sources of confidence.Taking the beauty risks I always wanted to but were told not to, went a long way in this area. I had literally nothing left to lose. So I tried new things and discovered what I thought was "me" before I got sick- was never really "me" at all.
Today, the outside matches the inside 100%. Turns out I am more edgy, daring and colorful then I thought. A bit more irreverent. Polished but not perfect. More punk than prep. I am also more willing to embrace change and try new things because change has been thrust upon me. Like I said before, I consider myself lucky.
My goal is to help people see past their flaws. We all have the power to do so- sometimes we just need the tools, a little perspective and permission to explore. That is what this blog is about; sharing what I've learned and learning from others. Celebrating beauty where it truly lies and not where we are told it resides. Glossy Esquire helps women to take back their beauty balls and risk it all to become who they were meant to be.
Coming soon. Please see my check out my Linkedin account (below) for my professional experience and background. Or, feel free to send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I also have another website, NEON ESQUIRE (NeonEsquire.com). NEON ESQUIRE is a site primarily focused on the field of fashion law. I would love for you to come over and visit sometime. I promise, it is a lot more fun then it sounds being a law blog and all!
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