“Wait … I’m beautiful!”
I had been lying on the sofa in a late night stupor when a forgotten childhood event came to me in a flash. The setting was “Francis” making a rare visit to my mother’s flat.
“Your daughter’s beautiful,” Francis had commented.
“What about me?” my mother replied.
Francis went on to say a few words about mother being beautiful but that a twelve-year-old had a different, youthful kind of beauty.
At that moment in my chronic fatigue-induced, hazy, recollection, I suddenly saw this particular childhood dynamic for the first time. It was as if I had entered into an agreement not to think of myself as beautiful.
“Wait,” I thought to myself as I sat up on the sofa. “That means …”
I decided to celebrate as an invisible weight seemed to fall off my shoulders. First I called Ade in Sweden.
“I just realized that I’m beautiful!”
“You’ve always been beautiful inside and out,” she said.
“What did you think before?” Cherise asked the next day.
I wasn’t sure. But now that I knew it, I wanted to do something that signified my recognition of my own beauty. And that’s how the makeup thing began.
I’d already come up with my Chronic Fatigue Wardrobe. What about a strategy for applying makeup effortlessly?
Meanwhile, my thick, frizzy/kinky hair was proving too much for me. I didn’t have the strength to comb it carefully section by section. This led to a lot of what’s-going-on-with-your-hair looks being shot my way. Luckily I didn’t exactly see people too often during this period. Deciding on braids to make life easier worked except for the days where I had to take the braids out, then drive a long distance to my braiding appointment. My next solution was relaxer. If I could get someone to drive me, then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But sitting in a salon getting my hair done was also too much.
In the middle of all this, my hair fell out. Iron and other supplements solved that, and it grew back. Apparently hair loss is not uncommon with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had always thought that if I ever had that chemotherapy-type hair loss, my response would be to simply cut it all off. But in reality, this was an extremely difficult decision.
Eventually I had to face facts. My hair had grown back successfully but dragging myself to a salon every six weeks or so was untenable. Off with it. And if it was going to be cut, I was going to go all the way. I was going to get it cut so short that the shortness would become a fashion statement. I am now a regular customer at a barbershop less than five minutes from my home!
Powder with built-in brush. Eye liner that doubles as eyebrow pencil. Lipstick. Now I’ve got effortless hair and effortless makeup to go with my Chronic Fatigue Wardrobe. Recovery is looking better and better!