Friday, 5 August 2011

For Your Eyes Crohnly

[Before I begin: in order to get the full effect, this post should be read whilst listening to Carly Simon's 'Your so Vain']

By no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself to be a fine figure of a woman. But lately as my Crohn's (and the drugs I have to take) have started to take a more prominent effect on my body, on the outside as well as the in, i've found myself becoming a bit more concerned with my appearance and have begun reflecting on how this disease will affect my 'looks' in the long term.  
As a youngster I was a serious tom-boy. Dungarees were my standard uniform for several years. I considered these to be an all-purpose garment - ideal flexibility and ease of movement for climbing trees, riding bikes, fighting with boys and partaking in one of my favourite pastimes; rolling down hills. This caused much dismay for my parents as my mum in particular had been desperate for a girl and obviously harboured dreams of taking said daughter shopping for pretty dresses and jewellery and exchanging make-up tips in later years. All of this did eventually happen but probably not until well into my teens as until then I dreaded being 'girly'. 
There is photo-graphic evidence of this unfortunately, multiple pictures forever trapped in my parents albums of me in a new outfit looking glum after having paraded said outfit up and down the living-room for any relative who happened to be present to 'ooh' and 'ahh' on command. This was both to display how lovely I looked and to show my dad what an unbelievable bargain it had been. The 'unbelievable bargain' was usually the following calculation:
Full Price divided by two then a few extra pounds removed for good measure = a price my dad would consider acceptable. (Sorry Mum! x)
I was also stick-thin for my entire youth - didn't hit puberty until quite late on and it was only then I really started to bother about how I looked. Because up until then most of my friends were of the male variety, i'd never thought of a boy looking at me as anything other than someone to fling down a hill. (This is NOT a euphemism).
Anyway I digress. Recently i've noticed the drugs have given me terrible skin, mainly on my visage, and my hair is dull, lank and lifeless [insert terrible Cheryl Cole impression here]. Because these (minor) issues are symptoms and/or side effects, no fancy creams or special shampoos can really help. When I was really ill my lovely locks were falling out in clumps so I suppose I can make do with using a bit of extra conditioner until it hopefully calms down. 
Vanity aside, the major area I can't hide with make-up is my scar. As it's Summer now (which in Scotland has been unusually long - over a week and counting!) it's becoming clear I can't cover myself up and dress like an old-maid forever. The whole, to bikini or not to bikini dilemma plagues me, as I'm sure it has done over the years for many great thinkers throughout history. 
Do I embrace my Crohn's scar as part of me or hide it away so as to avoid any repulsed glances or prompt uncomfortable questions? 
I'm aware its hardly a major disfigurement compared to what some people have to go through and that I'm probably entirely over-reacting but it's still early days and I'm still pretty conscious of it. 
I like to try and think of my scar as a tiny ink blot on the whole big book that is my body. 
And I'm a hard-backed book with a lot of my story still to tell.


  1. Bikini! Its like unique body art and a badge of courage all in one! U don't pay bravissimo money for them to lie in a drawer! xx

  2. Embrace yr scars. You earned them.

    You didn't endure all that crap just to hide yrself away for the rest of yr life did you?

  3. Get those bad boys out Kath. I was always jealous of ur massive rack!

    All joking aside, you are who you are (scars and all) an if people don't like it, fuck em! Do what makes you happy, so I say go roll down a hill (actually) and see if it's still as much fun



  4. Continually blown away by your lovely comments <3 Bikini it is!

    Liz; my rack is blushing a wee bit ;) xx

  5. While i'm not a girl, I also struggle with my appearance. As a 23 year old guy its not very cool to be stick skinny. No matter what I do I cannot seem to gain any weight.

    I am generally happy with myself, but there is always that thought in the back of your head.

  6. Chron's does have a terrible impact on your appearance, and I also find there are some clothes that I just can't wear because of the discomfort either. But, the scar will dimish with time and you'll be more comfortable getting it out, so to speak!

  7. I know what you mean Catherine, I cant wear jeans comfortably yet - still giving it a good go though!