Once upon a time I was a punk. Mohawk and all. I felt the need to express my different personality in every way I could. I dressed very funky, I remember in my first year of varsity, people in my res would come to me to borrow ‘interesting clothes’ whenever they had a costume party to go to (still don’t know if I should be offended…) I played with my make-up, coloured my hair blue, purple and pink.
Then the bipolar happened and I gained a lot of weight. (like a small person’s worth of weight). I didn’t want to attract attention to myself anymore and I started dressing very plainly. Muted colours, loose fitting, boring… What contributed to this is the fact that in South Africa you can’t really find funky clothes in bigger sizes. All in all I dressed like someone much older and more responsible than me. I hated it. I used to bite my nails, but when I started earning a salary I could have my nails done and I started wearing tips so after a year of that I had learned off the habit of biting my nails. I started expressing myself through my nails, once again all the colours and patterns you could think of. Then I lost my salary and I had to give up having my nails done. I tried doing them myself but I just cant get it right so now all I do is paint my toenails a pretty colour. Next to go was all my very funky shoes. I was just too big to fit into all the cool designs that were popular and I couldn’t wear heels anymore (hats off to those who wear heels, I wish I could but I just can’t). All that was left was my hair, but haircuts are also expensive so I just let it grow, wearing a pony most days (okay all days).
Then this new hairstyle started popping up, the whole short on the one side, long on the other side look. Oooh I wanted it so badly! It spoke to all the funky bones in my body and I started obsessing over it. I found all sorts of excuses not to do it, my hair is not straight enough, husband won’t like it, it’s high maintenance… I went to visit my mom a few weeks back and she said she would sponsor me for a haircut, I took the plunge and cut my hair into this cool hairstyle I’ve being obsessing about! I loved it, I still love it! and it isn’t that high maintenance except for the fact that I have to get it cut every month in order to keep it neat and in style. That means money, If you’ve been reading my blogs you would know that we have applied for a bond to buy a house. Which meant the budget had to be revisited to see where we could cut down in order to afford the house. Sitting with the budget open in front of us, I knew it was now or never, If I don’t speak up about my new monthly expense I would have to grow out the hairstyle and lose my last thread of funky. When we finally got to my expenses I told hubby that I need more money, not less. He wasn’t impressed but I think he saw it in my eyes, how much I loved my hairstyle and how much it meant to me so he gave in and added the money I would need for my monthly haircut. I was so grateful, I still am.
I often catch myself thinking of what I’ve lost since my diagnosis. I’ve made peace with losing my job, my house, my dogs (I had the two coolest Great Danes ever!) my sportscar, my energy, my ability to concentrate and up till recently, my creativity (it’s slowly coming back) I miss my old body a lot. I wasn’t the thinnest little thing before the diagnosis, but I wasn’t plus size like I am now.
I’ve realized that when you aren’t happy with your size and you can’t do anything about it (sorry but I’ve tried everything, I can’t lose weight on these meds) then you should focus on what you can control. I have relatively funky glasses and our flat has got the most interesting decor. But at the moment, it is my hairstyle that I’m letting my funk shine through. I’ve given other things up, like having a cool phone and having coffee with friends and buying cool birthday prezzies and random gifts for other people, all to make the budget work, but the hairstyle will stay. If I wasn’t so embarrassed about my double chin I would post a photo of my hair but alas, you will have to use your imagination. I am slowly rediscovering myself and it is exciting. What will I try out next? Any suggestions?