Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Uncomfortable in my own skin

It’s a 'down day', admittedly, but that’s how I feel.

If you’ve read this blog for any time, you’ll know that I am painfully (and I use that word deliberately) self-conscious about my weight/size.  But now I have additional uglyfying things to pull me down too.  There’s a reason all this has hit me at once and I’ll come to that in a bit.

I was pretty lucky with my skin as an adolescent: only a very few, occasional spots.  But I’m making up for it now.  I’ve had psoriasis for about 15 years – mainly on my scalp.  Psoriasis is when skin grows too quickly, forming silvery or red raised scaly patches – that’s not a scientific explanation but my best approximation of it.  That means that, on my head, you don’t see it but you do see what can look like enormous lumps of dandruff.  I also got it behind and in my ears.  Of course I’ve been self conscious about that, but have told myself bracingly that it’s not so bad.  Then I started to get patches on my legs.  This mostly happened in the winter when I was wearing opaques nearly every day and when I had bare legs in the summer, it would clear up pretty quickly.  Until it didn’t.  Now I have multiple patches on my legs, mostly angry red.  My husband thought I’d been badly bitten at first, but I have some very large patches.  I’ve seen the dermatologist and had various creams prescribed but they don’t get rid of it totally, just sort of fade the patches and new ones form frequently.  It will soon (hopefully) be bare leg weather but I don’t want to bare this.  I’m trying to find longer skirts to wear to work, but clothes are tricky for me at the best of times. 

Then at a foundation trial at a beauty counter, the assistant asked what I do about the ‘redness’ on my face.  Reader, I hadn’t really noticed it much, but I had a close look at my skin and there is was.  Because of the way I feel about myself, I have become adept at applying make-up or drying my hair without actually looking at myself (because I find that distressing).  I mentioned it to the dermatologist and she said it looked like rosacea and gave me (another) cream.  It doesn’t seem to have helped and the condition seems to be worsening.  If I have a drink, particularly, I flush up massively.  I’d told myself that although I could feel it, it probably didn’t show.  Until I was at a work drinks last night and it was commented on.  I went to the loo and I was glowing like some sort of neon sign.

Now, I don’t have it particularly badly – I knew someone once whose cheeks looked like they’d been grated and I know you can get pustules with it, whereas I just get a few spots.  But the cumulative effect of my weight, my skin (legs and head (and arms to a lesser extent)), and my scarlet face just feels too much to bear (or bare).  Like psoriasis, rosacea isn’t ‘curable’.  And it deteriorates with time so it’s only going to get worse.  I’ve got my first thread vein on my face – the first of many more to come.  It’s a particularly bitter realisation, as once I got past the teenage years of wanting to be tanned like everyone else, I’ve never minded being pale (I am very pale!) and have quite liked my skin.  There are so few things I like about myself that I feel pretty rubbish that this has been taken away.  In fact, I can’t think of anything else I do like about myself.  I like the colour of my hair but nothing else about it, for example, and that’s the only other thing and it’s with rather a lot of qualifiers. 

In an attempt to focus on silver linings, I had thought I would find aging easier than most.  Because I haven’t been attractive (except for a very brief time which spanned ages 16-19), I didn’t think I would feel aging as acutely as someone who has been pretty or beautiful.  I hadn’t calculated that I too would deteriorate – just from a much lower starting point.

I guess it’s the same as the strategy I have for my weight: damage limitation is probably the best I’m going to manage.  And just because I don’t achieve much, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try or that I should give up entirely.  All this is making me increasingly introverted though: I really don’t want to go out with anyone other than my husband or my closest friends.  A work social occasion is very difficult for me, increasingly so, I dread them and feel terrible about myself at the end of them.  There is nothing so lonely as feeling alone and the misfit in a group.  I suppose that the latest one has taught me something: don’t drink any alcohol, no matter how tempting.

In not entirely unrelated news, I am at my halfway point in my ‘stone off in 2 months’ campaign.  Admittedly tomorrow is WI day so I’m predicting a maximum of 2lbs off.  Quite a long way off the 7lbs I’d hoped for.  You’d think I’d be used to this, but I’m not.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The clothes line (or razor wire)

I had a random day off this week.  It was a starve day – no coincidence as I find it much easier to do this when I’m home.  Not just because there aren’t any sweets but the day is shorter (because I get up late) and I can absorb myself in other things.

This week I – in a fit of Spring-like optimism in a panic over clothing now that the weather seems to have changed (please everyone take a moment to touch wood here), dragged out my summer clothes.  Now, at this point in the year (and again in the Autumn) I have the same thoughts going around my head: 1) what on earth did I wear last year? and 2) oh look, lots of clothes that are too small for me (sometimes combined with putting stuff away vowing that they won’t fit me next year).  Last year in an uncharacteristic fit of decisiveness, I chucked one and possibly two work skirts away as they were getting too tatty.  This has magnified my dilemmas on what to wear by possibly 2000%.  I then tried on a selection of things that I’d bought from ebay for the holiday-to-Iran-that’s-turned-into-the-holiday-to-Jordan. 

Is there any worse feeling than trying stuff on (stuff that you own) and finding it’s too small?  A lot of it was frumpy and I’ve resolutely bagged it up to go to the charity shop.  But it doesn’t make me feel any better and it does leave me with a clothing problem.  The only long linen skirt (of four) that I tried and it kind of fitted was so frumpy that, in meeting my natural propensity for frumpiness, it was magnified into some frump supernova that could have destroyed the world.  I had to ditch it.  For the good of mankind and my fast dwindling sense of self-esteem.

It was a starve day, as I said.  I had a positively exemplary starve day, fuelled by misery and fear – and I lost ½ lb.  Last week I put on 1lb.  This is going badly.  Not that I’m about to give up, definitely not.  But in not-altogether-unrelated news, I could not bear to try on the tankini I bought.  I thought that might finish me off.  It’s not the sort of tankini where you get a peek of skin between the top and bottom part – most seem to be like this which shows utter ignorance about what women want, in my opinion, if you’re going to have a roll of chub, that’s where it will be and surely no-one wants to highlight that.  I bought it as I thought the double layer of top over bottom part might hold me in more.  And allow me to use the loo.  Most bra-sized swimsuits are hideously difficult to get in or out of.  And that’s just the chirpily above the surface bit of that particularly nightmarish iceberg.  It sits in the corner of my bedroom, haunting me.  Not sure when I’m going to be brave enough – and certainly not whilst Scales of Doom are taunting me with my own inadequacy.