If you have lupus—or know and love someone who has lupus—these short videos on WebMD, hosted by Christine Miserandino of the Spoon Theory/But You Don’t Look Sick, are a really honest, moving account of what living with lupus (or any chronic illness) feels like.
There’s been lots of comment drama at the Hairpin today in response to this article on breast reduction surgery. I haven’t been in the position of the author, but I’m kind of tired of all the supposedly “feminist” hand-wringing over body modifications. I’m lucky to be comfortable with what the genetic lottery gave me (plus my ink and a couple piercings), but a lot of people don’t feel that way. (I’ll admit that in the past I’ve made a few less-than-generous comments about other people’s breast augmentations. Sorry.) But it isn’t just “blah blah the media is evil,” “blah blah ‘normal’ is bad.” The complexities of identity deserve more than that. And all this rhetoric of “accept yourself as you are” (aka “natural is better,” whateverthefuck that means) so easily slides into totally unreflexive transphobia. I think that’s the part that’s really heartbreaking to me. Can’t we just come to terms with the fact that some people are utterly (and often miserably) alienated from the bodies they were born into, whether that’s something as simple (ha!) as breasts, or as complex as gender?
P.S. You can have my smoking hot body and perky boobs but you get lupus to go with it. Deal?
but there’s nothing quite like prednisone to make things feel less terrible. For a moment, anyway.
My phone autocorrects “lupus” to “lilies.” (I have a tattoo of three lilies on my shoulder).
Well, OK, maybe just a short one. It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, but the microbloggery of facebook and twitter just aren’t cutting it these days. Maybe I just need an outlet while I’m writing my dissertation. I’ll let you know when I figure that one out.
I always struggle with the “where to start” question when it comes to narrative projects, autobiographical or otherwise. But you don’t need to know my life story for any of this to matter, so I’ll start with the thought that made me want to start blogging again, and hope that’s enough.
The other day I tagged myself in a photo a friend had taken me at a costume party a couple months ago. It’s a great photo of me, and I like it. But as friends– especially friends who don’t live here, and/or who haven’t seen me in a long time– started to post compliments, it began to make me uncomfortable. It’s only recently that I’ve started to really feel comfortable in my own skin. And while I recognize that I’m conventionally attractive in most of the “right” ways, it really took until my late 20s before I was able to see myself that way. I always saw myself as quirky and off-kilter, unconventional and interesting. Not attractive. But now, in my early 30s, I’m in possibly the best shape of my life, and I look good. And I’m finally able to see that. I won some genetic lottery that makes me tall, thin, and well-proportioned. I don’t want to be the kind of woman who can’t take a compliment. But there’s a huge caveat to all of this. (Isn’t there always?) It’s false advertising. And I do mean beyond the hair extensions and the fake eyelashes in this particular picture (which may make me sound like a drag queen, but I swear it’s no different than the average cosmetics ad– that new mascara will not make your eyelashes look like that unless you’re using glue, trust me). I’m down to the size I was when I was in college– or maybe junior year of high school, even– but it has very little to do with willpower, diet, exercise, or self-denial. Having defined triceps for the first time in my life? Well, I’ll take some credit for the yoga that made that possible. But the rest? Chronic illness. And it’s a magic bullet I cannot recommend.