Tag Archives: OMG

This Is Me

Ta daI have had some insightful conversations this week with people who have only known me since my MS diagnosis.

Without wanting to inflate my dented, bruised ego, they have all remarked on how positive I am.

Who, me? (looks behind, just in case). Well, yes, I guess I am in some ways.

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us” as Robert Burns, that famous Scottish poet wrote – or in other words, wouldn’t it be fab to see how we appear to other people?

Well, this has certainly helped my little, fragmented and shattered to smithereens sense of self. I too often concentrate on my shortcomings, my weaknesses, my complete inability to fit in with my socio-economic grouping.

So, hey, this is me. This is me with MS, this is me living with MS.

I’m not actually doing that badly. The dark tunnel I went through is coming to an end. I’m not the same person I was, starting from that definitive date in July 2011, the day I woke up unable to speak properly (I mean, really, how dare MS do that to me?).

I have been through every single grieving stage, and then some. I have held countless pity parties. I have gulped and cried into my wine glass  too many times to mention (plastic glasses, now, of course).

But when I say, This Is Me, who exactly am I now? Am I new and improved? Am I better than before? Hmm. Let’s switch viewpoints. How do I appear to others? That might give me a handy guide as to how I am doing.

Well, I am Campaigning. I am Getting Involved. I am Informed. That aside, what does the future hold, for me, personally?

If I thought I had enough problems trying to date as a divorced single mother of 40, how on earth can I push my way through the dating Meat Market as a 40 year old, divorced, single mother with a degenerative illness, MS? Ahem, not that finding a partner is uppermost in my thoughts (much).

No. As I said to someone today, the best thing MS has done for me, is it has allowed me to battle something alone. To find my own strength and find comfort in being Alone. I don’t want ‘Another Half’. I don’t need to ‘Feel Complete’.

When I find that career and that special other person, it will be on equal terms. I don’t need to be rescued. I just need someone to say. ‘You are you, and I like you’.

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Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall…

mirrorI am writing this by flickering candlelight, with slightly shaky fingers (shakier than my normal MS-y fingers).

Yesterday, I had the misfortune to think that clothes shopping would be a most excellent idea. I had a bit of spare money (The Teenager was away, natch), so what could be more soothing for the soul than treating myself?

Well. On entering the store, I was accosted by a very, very, very young and very skinny slip of a thing, no doubt a size sub-zero, who asked me in a bored voice, ‘wanna sign up for our catalogue?’ Nope. ‘You looking for anyfink special, like?’ Nope. ‘Help you with anyfink?’ Nope. Um, can I shop now please? ‘yeah, whatevs’.

I shook her off and wandered round the store, picking things up and hooking them over my arm so the sizes wouldn’t show. I must have looked distinctly dodgy as a girl darted over and asked, ‘can I yelp you?’, eyeing up my bag. Nope.

I sought sanctuary in the changing room. Mistake. Big mistake. I waited for the girl on the door to finish her very important phone conversation, ‘yeah, gotta go, oh I know, loves ya, yeah, you too babes’ (rolls eyes, sighs, stomps over to me and slaps a round disc with a 5 on it into my hand). I shuffled off to the cubicle and sealed the curtains each side. Just in case.

Right. trousers. Stumble over attempting to change into them. Get the fright of my life. Who’s that person looking back at me?

It was me. In eight different, unforgiving angles. In all my glory. I slumped to the plastic chair. Really? Seriously?  That’s me side-on? I turned my face this way and that, examining my double triple chin. The fine network of wrinkles spreading out from under my eyes. I looked…..old and tired.

I gulped back the tears and took the trousers off, but not quickly enough to avoid seeing how I looked from behind, an image now seared indelibly in my brain. Pulling myself together and dabbing at my eyes, I took my stuff, paid and left.

Back home and as deflated as a popped balloon, I examined myself in every single mirror in the house, the cat trotting behind me like it was some kind of game. I googled ‘get rid of a double/triple chin fast’ and ‘how to lose 4 stone in 4 weeks’.

My tip? Dim the lights. Cheaper than a neck lift. Extra bonus – you don’t see the dust, but that’s another story…

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