Well, I bet you’re thinking that is the most egotistical title for a first ‘personal’ entry.
And on the surface I suppose it is…. however I’m a believer that nothing is ever as it seems on the surface! (As you’ll probably read in the future as my blogging confidence raises!!)
So, why that title?
In part it’s because I’m not feeling so great mentally which means my iPod is in and I’m blocking the world out, and in my search for songs that I actually *want* to listen to REM’s ‘At my most beautiful’ came on.
The other part is because this is going to be an entry about me. And it’s about looks so it works! (well I think so, you’ll see!!)
I’m not entirely sure where I want to start with this entry, so I’m going to start typing and hope that it comes out in coherent sentences (as a bare minimum, I’d hate for my GCSE English teacher to stumble across this and think “How the hell did she pass English!?!” naturally I won’t be telling you guys when I’ve Googled for grammar help!!) ;)
A while ago I read *this* which had been shared by someone on my Facebook news feed. Up until I read that (and the captions on the pictures, which are probably what made more of an impact) I had thought that selfies were for young girls, and the ones you usually see are the pretty girls. Afterall they’re the ones everyone wants to see right?
No one wants to see your grey hair and wrinkles do they?
So I decided to switch my perception on selfies a smidge. And started taking one when I felt good. Or maybe even to pick me up and make me smile and put my happy face on even though I wasn’t leaving the house.
The other side to my getting in front of the camera instead of being mummy and taking lots of pictures of everyone else, was I read *this* (which again was seen thanks to the medium of Facebook!) and it struck a chord.
I didn’t do it on purpose, but after Little H was born I took a *lot* of pictures but it was very rarely that I was in photos. (Although ‘The Godfather’ is our family photographer, and if he has been around then he always manages to get a pretty shot of me, I think he makes sure that he does!!)
I didn’t see my weight going up, but after 8 miscarriages and lots of emotional ups and downs it wasn’t something I really thought about. To be honest, until the day that I decided I needed to join Weight Watchers I don’t think I was conscious of my weight at all (although being a new mum I don’t think I’d have noticed if I’d grown another head, could’ve done with an arm though!!) so maybe my weight isn’t where to start with this.
It’s about my appearance though. Shoulders upwards. Just the bit I can see in the mirror. (There is only ONE mirror in this house, and it’s on the medicine cabinet in the bathroom so I can only [just] see my face!)
In the pictures in the days following Little H’s birth my skin flared up, which after general anaesthetic and all those pregnancy hormones was normal.
It’s only looking at that today I’m a bit shocked. Because that look never really went away.
Fast forward 3 years and I went to the GP about something insignificant and I was lucky enough to have the resident GP who had seen me since we brought our house in 2006. And after I’d finished talking about what I wanted to see her for she mentioned my skin, and asked a few questions. And then said “I think you have something called Rosacea” and she prescribed me a cream to try.
My skin is already so much better than it was this time last year, and that has helped my confidence a bit. (Weight loss factors in that, but I’m avoiding talking about weight at the moment!)
So that leads to me starting to take selfies… Although at first they weren’t “true” selfies as they were the boys and I! (Because who wants to see just my mush on its own?! I’m getting there!!)
I’ll spam you with a few, just so you can think that I all of a sudden turned into a right poser! (I’m sure my Facebook friends think I’ve gone mad!!)
1. My slightly drunk “I’m going to bed, but first… let me take a selfie!” after a night watching Ep 1. Of Season 4 of Game of Thrones, and then playing the Game of Thrones board game with friends (And Jägermeister!)
2.Who in their right minds can resist an Instagram selfie when you get a game on launch day?!! (don’t shoot me, I couldn’t resist, even in the mirror of the camera it says TIT!!)
3. This was truly an “I feel pretty” moment. And I think the FB caption on it was “Queen eyes in preparation for Game of Thrones Geek Night!” (And was a prequel to the drunkern Jägermeister induced selfie that was #1!)
4. This one probably is one of the first selfies I took that was actually just me, and my phone trying to get a pretty angle. It was around the end of January (2014) my pre christmas pink hairdye had faded and I’d gotten some new mascara (Miss Manga, I love it!!) So I was showing off my lashes and I quite liked how the light caught my hair…
Had enough of my face yet? :P
That brings me to today.
Today I did a selfie, with a caption that was also a public admission.
Kind of like therapy.
The caption said “How to rock the “I’m going bald and trying to be ok with it” look..
It’s missing something though!!” (FYI : It’s lipstick I’m missing, turns out, I don’t own any!!)
The picture was flattering, of course it’s going to be flattering. But I didn’t do it for sympathy, or hugs.
I did it because I needed to just say it. Let the people who get to see into my life, get the honour of seeing pictures of my children, (and other randomness!) get to see my ups and downs, know that there is something going on in my life right now. And I’m trying to be okay with it.
Now, before I start talking about how it’s affecting me, I want to say that I know that there are way worse things happening to people than what I’m going through. I’m lucky enough to have friends who have put my hair loss into perspective, and I am thankful that I am the kind of person that can take away with me the bits of advice they have given me and the things to make me smile. So please don’t think I haven’t realised that I am lucky that it is just hair loss for no other reason than genetics. I am, just I think I need to talk about it.
The reason I want to do it so publicly is because if just one person who is going through the same thing reads this and knows that she isn’t alone it has served its purpose. So bear with!!
If I’m honest looking back my hair started thinning around the time I turned 16, but it coincided with GCSE’s, and a bit of a trauma in my life, which was then followed by me rebelling against everyone even more than I had been doing in the previous years and I had my hair permed (it was the 90′s!!) and then a few months later I bleached it! (which I did more to stop my mum from going nuts over the fact that I got my eyebrow pierced…. YES MUM I REGRET THE STUPID PIERCING!!)
Over the years everything has been blamed for my hair starting to thin, my mum and nanna will swear blind that it’s all that dyeing it, I was convinced that it was sun damage and even managed to get a referral to a dermatologist who said that it looks genetic. However knowing how carelessly I have been in the sun (and growing up in equatorial countries) I was (am) paranoid that it is sun damage.
The people who are in my life are all very gentle about how it looks, and on facebook I avoid posting the pictures that show how bad it is.
Last year mum took the boys and I out to John Lewis in Cheadle (you can watch the planes landing from the cafe!) and on the way in we stopped to watch a Jumbo landing and mum snapped this picture….
I was shocked! (excuse the bewbs, they go everywhere I do!) It was the first time I really saw how bad it was!
In December 2013 I woke up one day and decided that was it, I was chopping it off. Give it a chance to grow, see if it is just because I permanently tie my hair up (another mum reason!)
I saw the Dermatologist in January and told about how tender my scalp is (I struggle wearing hats because my scalp is so sensitive, and when I tried a wig on I only had it on a couple of minutes and I was in pain!) and he didn’t know what that was about, but he couldn’t see any sun damage. The letter that followed the appointment said that he thought that the hair loss is genetic (as there is a history of hair loss in the family, but it’s all men!) I’ve played with my hair a lot over those last couple of months, I’ve enjoyed having it. Started blow drying it and using hairspray (I’m not a make up and quaffed kind of girl!) Changed colours regularly (although in part that’s from every colour fading to orange because I bleached it to go pink!) and taken lots of pictures of me with natural hair.
I go back to me knowing I’m lucky. I’m lucky I’m not losing my hair as a side effect of chemo. I’m lucky to not have had cancer.
It doesn’t stop me struggling with this.
When I leave the house I try and forget about this shiny spot that is now a permanent feature on the back of my head.
I try and pretend that I haven’t spent hours Googling about hair loss remedies (and have tried most of them now)
I try to not cry when I wash my hair and leave a fine layer of hair at the bottom of the bath/sink/shower.
I dry my hair. Use far too much hairspray to try and make it look not too bad. Put some mascara on. And game face goes on.
I try and pretend I don’t hear that group of young people with life sussed out sniggering to each other because they can see it.
And I’m thankful that since I’ve lost weight that it isn’t my weight that they’re laughing about.
I close my eyes when the hairdresser shows me the back of my hair. Not because I don’t want to see, but because if my eyes are open, the tears will fall. Game face cannot be lost in public!!
I take the compliments that friends give me when I’m having a good hair day and smile.
I keep going.
And I take selfies.
I leave out this bit.
Today was a good hair day. Lots of hairspray and concentration when blow drying it means that today it doesn’t look too shiney and baldy. Most days it does not look even close to this!
I will continue to photograph myself, not for me. I have never been a person who has thought I’m pretty. I’m just me, when I was younger I tried to be more. But I’m in my 30′s now, I know that I am an individual, just like everybody else!
I take my pictures for my boys. On so many levels.
They will never see me as “pretty or ugly” I’m just their mama. I want them to see that no matter how I looked I could still smile (or do silly faces) and share them with people because I was happy.
I want them to know that beauty isn’t skin deep, and that it isn’t just something that ugly people say to make themselves feel better.
The world that we are in now everyone has an opinion and [some] feel like it is their right to force that opinion out there. No matter how much it hurts the other person (or how uneducated their opinion is etc) I want them to know that actions have consequences (I HATED that saying growing up!!)
There are so many things I want them to learn from me, but the influence of the world seems like a scary thing for me to take on as one person. So I’m going to be over here, taking selfies and teaching my boys it’s ok to “Just Be” whatever that turns out to be!