Fashion helped me find joy in my own body again.
These photos represent the last year of my life.
In August 2013 I was five months post-craniotomy (I had a troublesome little brain tumor that needed removing). I’m a “sweller”. I swell up after trauma (it’s just how my body likes to cope). My face and head were swollen. My belly and whole body was swollen. Nothing fit me. I had a difficult time moving.
And, nothing… no warning… no support groups… no literature… could have prepared me for the intense APATHY I felt after surgery. It was like I was suddenly this emotional void of nothingness. A swollen uncomfortable pained black hole.
I didn’t want to die… but, I didn’t care if I lived.
Prior to surgery I was driven… hopeful… ambitious.
When the apathy started to dissolve a bit and I started to “feel” about stuff… it was all horrible emotions. I felt guilty for existing. I felt angry at how hard it was. I felt like I wanted my tumor back. Weird, I know… but, it was the evil I was used to. This was a new struggle. I had absolutely no handle on it (or myself) anymore.
I had a hard time moving. I had seizure issues and left sided weakness.
I hated being in my body.
Then… I found a reason to leave the house twice a week.
I started this Tumblr.
I got into fashion! And, it saved me.
A lot of people think that it’s “narcissistic”… or “self-centered”…
But, it helped me see myself in a new way.
Fashion gave me something to look forward to… and something to leave the bedroom for.
We started going to parks and beaches to take photos. I’d have to walk slowly and deliberately. I’d have to prop myself up, in the beginning. We’d have to take LOTS of photos because most of them were of me looking exhausted or slumped over. We had to keep shooting and shooting until there was just a flicker of the person I used to be.
I remember the beach… and girls standing nearby pointing and laughing at me. But, there was something stronger inside of me screaming “Show that camera that you are more than this.”
I’d look at the photos of myself… and I started to see possibility.
I started to see someone that deserved to live… and enjoy life!
My wonderful husband (who went through hell with me… and stuck with me) saw fashion as a big part of my recovery. He had totally lost the person that he knew and loved. It was hard as fuck. <<Emphasis on the swearing!! It was stressful.
Nobody looked at my fashion photos and realized that those photos represented about 20-60 minutes of “going outside”. Those photos represented the best and strongest moments of my life.
While other plus fashion bloggers were taking the subway in New York to go to some busy shopping mall to try on clothes and blog dressing room photos… I was limping to lean against a tree until I felt like throwing up… and then I’d get in the car and go home and have to get back into bed or a chair.
But, nobody realized that.
And, it made me STRONGER…
As I was able… I stretched in bed… we went for walks… we went for weekend hikes…
I started corset training (to get the swelling in my abdomen to go down).
I started standing and walking more and more.
That little flicker I had to force in the beginning… suddenly burst into a bonfire, one day. I was overjoyed. It was short lived… but, easier and easier to be happy!
I decided this last winter to get back into ballet training.
It is another thing that has helped me reconnect with my body (my body remembers what to do). My left side is still problematic (it might be for the rest of my life… but, I’m not going to think about that right now). Now… I’m training in pointe shoes.
I went from being barely able to stand by myself a year ago… to being able to get up en pointe.
I don’t really have an end to this blog entry in mind… because I’m still healing and struggling. I still spend a lot of time horizontal (my brain shuts down and it’s just time to sleep). But, I spend more and more time being active and happy as my body lets me.
Stuff like this isn’t easy.
And, it takes a long time to claw out of a hole that deep.
But, it’s worth it!
I’m not sure how the heck I ended up getting thousands of people looking at this Tumblr… or how I ended up with even a single follower! <3
And with that… I conclude my “One Year Tumblr” post with my current battle cry:
FOR THE JOY OF IT!!!!!