chronically beautiful…

Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2013

A few weeks ago my fellow blogger, Kathryn, posted about participating in the annual Beauty of a Woman (BoaW) BlogFest. I thought it sounded interesting, so I committed to participating. One of my goals this year is to commit to trying new things and challenge myself. So, participating in the BoaW Blogfest seemed like the perfect opportunity.

But then I woke up this morning feeling less than beautiful and wondered how on earth I was qualified to write a post about being beautiful.  Being chronically ill isn’t exactly conducive to feeling pretty.  Beautiful women are graceful. Thin. Quick-witted. They have a beautiful glow. They radiate.

From the ever-present fatigue, I usually have bags under my eyes and dark circles from my allergies and sinus issues. I’m pale in the face, flushed in the chest and bright purple in the legs, thanks to poor circulation. My hair is four inches too long because a slight turn of my head by a stylist while getting a cut can produce an awful migraine. It’s usually not fully styled, either, because I can’t stand long enough to use a hair dryer, and after a while the heat becomes too much.

“If this is what a woman is supposed to look like, then I must not be one.” – Margaret Cho

Due to pain and/or imbalance, chronically ill folks may stumble and fall. We won’t win any awards for our grace, nor are we known for our speed. We’re overweight, or underweight. We might have difficulty forming thoughts from the cognitive impairment, and we’re not often first with a joke. Sometimes our painful grimaces are masked by smiles. We’re covered in bruises or hives or rash. And we have scars.

And we have scars.

“I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it.” – Demi Lovato

Sometimes being chronically ill can make feeling beautiful a challenge. We may not look like everyone else.
But, isn’t that part of being beautiful – being unique?
rocking the hospital gown, circa 2011
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
― Anne Frank
Stay tuned.
– L
Enhanced by Zemanta

34 Replies to “chronically beautiful…”

  1. Lindsay – I think you are beautiful. I think we have set a new standard of what beautiful should be – kind, generous of spirit and heart and understanding.

    1. I absolutely agree! Those qualities are important anyway and would provide realistic, positive goals for girls!

  2. Love, love, love this! So glad you tried something new and I have to say you did it well. My hair is too long and I can’t dry it all the way either. 😉

    1. Thank you! One of these days I will get my hair cut in an easy style!

  3. What a wonderful post, this made my day!

  4. […] chronically beautiful… | Musings of a Dysautonomiac […]

  5. Reblogged this on allergictolifemybattle and commented:
    From my fellow blogger Lindsay.

  6. Oh, this is great! Glad I came across your blog (thanks, Kathryn!).

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  7. Man, I’m bummed I missed this thing!

  8. […] Lindsay: Chronically beautiful… […]

  9. Chronic pain is miserable, and I wish you relief. But I imagine you have developed some amazing traits: persistence, strength, fortitude, empathy. And for the record, I think your hair is lovely! 😉

  10. I really love that last quote from Anne Frank.
    Nice to meet you via the BOAW fest. I’ve heard of POTS. I’ve stumbled across it a few times when Googling. I have small fiber neuropathy with an autonomic component. It really is impossible to think about outer beauty on the days I feel like crap, like the last thing I would even consider.
    But I like what you said about uniqueness, because well, it’s positive and because it really does offer some purpose. 🙂 Thanks Lindsay!

    1. Thanks, Colleen! I like the quote, too – it helps me to remain positive. There is certainly a lot of misery in the world, but I think its happiness that gets us through it.

  11. This is really great Lindsay. I think being unique is a hallmark of beauty and living a life of specificity, OUR life with all it’s challenges, is what makes us interesting and engaging humans.

    1. Thanks, Joe! I agree – each individual is interesting and special because we are just that – individuals.

  12. Unique is definitely part of being beautiful! You and your post shine with it. My grandmother has rheumatoid arthritis, and has been somewhat debilitated by it for years. She’s still one of the most beautiful women I know. Inner beauty shines outward. I see it in her eyes, hear it in her words and feel it in her energy. (Though I’m new to your writing and blog, I sense the same in you!)

    Thanks for this honest, thoughtful post, and for participating in the fest!

    1. Thanks for organizing the fest! It was a lot fun participating and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone else’s take on beauty!

  13. Like you, I often have a ball of frizz sitting on my head because I can’t see to fix my hair, or my arms get to tired to do it. As a nurse I’ve often seen people at their worst, but they were still beautiful people inside. I put this on my facebook page.

    1. Thank you! I love your comment about still seeing beauty when you see people at their worst – it shows that true beauty is something we never lose!

  14. You definitely rock that hospital gown. 🙂 Because you are you. And you own all of you. Wonderful post!

    1. Thank you so much!

  15. I’m very glad you decided to participate in the BOAW blog fest! You shared a unique perspective and certainly a strength to us all. I’m glad you’re celebrating your beauty with us all!

    1. Thank you! It was fun participating in the BOAW BlogFest. I hope to do it again next year!

  16. Lindsay, there is so much beauty shining from you, via this post. I can’t even conceive of a slight turn of the head at the hairstylist’s triggering a migraine. Your post, and Kathryn’s, too, have awakened me to a whole other level of grace, which in and of itself is beauty personified. You have that. You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this post.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your kind words, Ellen!

  17. You totally rocked that hospital gown. I don’t think getting hair and nails done or any of that stuff makes you beautiful. It makes you conform somewhat to a standard. It makes for good self-marketing, but doesn’t make you beautiful.

    Getting through illness is hard. Surviving each day and finding a sense of humor is even harder. I know from personal experience migrating are debilitating and can take you out for days. Getting through with a smile is not overt or LOUD or flashy but it is true beauty. Good luck.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I agree – getting hair and nails done doesn’t equate to beauty. It may increase confidence, but those who know us will already see the beauty!

  18. There have been a couple of posts in this beautiful Blog Fest of August’s that have referred to chronic illness, and I’m struck by how young some of you are… how young I was. I am not being judgmental or minimizing your beauty in any way… I’ve been you.
    I suffered from endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, as well as cystic acne, progressively worsening asthma and seasonal allergies that had me on a multitude of prescriptions, and yet I still couldn’t breathe half the time. I had estrogen dominance, adrenal stress, neuropathy in one of my toes, occasional bouts of gout, plantar fasciitis, allergic dermatitis, and after treatment and subsequent surgery following a miscarriage during which an ovary was removed, I suddenly began having migraines (etc). I was at my heaviest weight ever, one ovary down, and still wasn’t achieving a pregnancy post-surgery, when I began having symptoms of endometriosis again.
    I was on my way to a hysterectomy if I didn’t find a solution, which wasn’t going to help me to be a mother again; to share an experience I’d gone through completely alone the first time, this time with the man that I loved, and with whom I wanted to add to our family in the most achingly desperate of ways. I’d been trying for five years. My girls were fifteen (mine) and thirteen (his), and my husband and I had been married for eight years.
    My sister-in-law was very holistically minded, and so I had an awareness of there being another way than the path of conventional medicine I’d been traveling, and which had frankly failed me. I began doing research. To make a looonnngggg story short, these are the things I came upon…
    If you wish to continue reading, I’ve turned this into a blog post at

    I wish you and other beautiful young women who suffer with chronic illness all the best, and I hope in some small way that I can make a difference.

  19. I agree with Kourtney. That’s the best I’ve ever seen anybody look in a hospital gown! Thanks for a great post.

Leave a Reply