I’m probably a what would be termed a “late bloomer” when it comes to the traditional “girly” stuff. I frankly never much cared for experimenting with hair and makeup and clothing was something much more functional than decorative to me. I managed to live most of my growing up years with this perspective and was honestly perfectly happy.
Then, I went to law school and I started to assimilate the outward requirements of being an attorney. It was actually a little surprising to me how much of what I learned seemed like a uniform. The requirements, I learned, included the whole picture and because ones appearance is something that could affect one’s client, I started really paying attention.
I was still looking for low maintenance options, so I tried to purchase full outfits for court, not trying to accessorize or create something on the fly. I still can’t do that well. I watched other lawyers and I developed my own “style.” I still asked my hairdresser to give me a haircut that required no work and I was always looking for makeup sets that made it super easy and straightforward.
Then, I went through pregnancy and breastfeeding while running a busy litigation firm. My style relaxed quite a bit and I’ve not really worn heels since or wanted to. I had learned a few tricks along the way and I think the adjustments I made really did make me feel more comfortable in my own skin.
And then, the biggest change of all, my diagnosis with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. While some of the men and women I know continued to dress up to feel better as they went through chemo, I actually welcomed the lack of necessity to wear makeup, to wear uncomfortable clothes. I happily started to wear pajama type loungewear as I went from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment and frankly, that’s what I still do most of the time, pajamas or yoga clothes.
While I can’t wrap my head around the idea that cancer is a good thing or has been a “blessing,” what I can embrace wholeheartedly is that cancer has some silver linings. For me, the fact that I don’t have the bandwidth to care as much about my appearance or care that other people care about my appearance, is pretty liberating. It’s enough of an effort to get out of bed some days. Some days, I don’t have the energy to do anything but ensure that my clothes kinda match and I’ve brushed my teeth.
So, if you see me in an actual outfit, with actual makeup, and have actually made an effort with my hair, you should feel very very special. I still do these rituals, I still look for outfits and I’m quite happy with the fact that its no longer my norm to spend hours making sure every hair is in place and everything coordinates perfectly. My boys don’t care about that and I’m perfectly happy not making a big deal of it either.