It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts, Right? / I Will Get Back to You

Growing up, we’ve all heard, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”  And in church, I’ve often heard “God looks at the heart.”  While all of these things are true, the reality that many sick women face is that people do judge us by our appearance. We have to strike a balance between loving ourselves regardless of our changes and realistically caring about our appearance.  I need to dress strategically so I look employable–not pitiable. I work for a charity but I don’t want to look like a charity. God knows there are days where if I looked as bad as my body feels, no one would hire me.

How Do I Do It? (12 meds and 5 illnesses)

Some of you have asked me how I survive balancing 12 medicines and 5 diseases. That’s a good question! Beyond faith, family, friends, medicine, and Pilates, I laugh at my pain. Whether that’s finding humor in the little frustrating things or watching black stand up comedy (God bless Katt Williams) and I Love Lucy, I laugh as often as possible. What has helped me deal with people’s insults is laughter. Friends ask me if the people who have said nasty things about my looks are particularly good looking and the answer is NO! The most attractive people in my life have never insulted my appearance. People who have the audacity to insult sick women do so because they are insecure–about their looks or their accomplishments or perceived weaknesses. It’s not about us; it’s about them!  

When What’s on the Outside Does Matter

While it’s true that I am a good person no matter what I look like, the way I look is

Looking the Part at Work Despite My Fatigue

critical in a lot of areas of my life–especially my job.  I was recently appointed Team Leader of an important, long-term project at work. Last week, we had two days of non-stop workshops. So I couldn’t rest at all. I had to adjust my medicine schedule–in particular, Pyridostigmine in anticipation of fatigue.

How to Look The Part

More than prayers and trying to get extra sleep, which is hard when you’re in charge, I needed to look the part last week. Here are some tips for looking the part: 1) Try Tarte’s 12-hour Amazonian Clay. In the photo, I’m wearing their 12-hr blush and eyeliner. 2) Avoid Mascara. You don’t want to look like a football player at the end of the day when your mascara smears because you’ve rubbed your eyes or splashed your face with water. The latter is a great strategy.  3) Look confident. If you think you’re weak, people won’t follow you or even listen to you. Remember the qualities you possess that your illness can’t take away–creativity, determination, and resilience.

I Will Respond to All Your Comments

I apologize because I haven’t posted in two weeks.  Rest assured I am reading your comments and will respond.  I am thankful for my work but the job makes it hard to respond to all 300 comments–80% of which are spam.  Who needs lead lightbulbs? Viagra? Castles? (Yes, I said castles.)

Some of you have asked me questions about my past treatment, which are great.  But as someone who is on 12 meds and has tried dozens over the past decade, I have to research my own medical history before I can respond. (I’m probably like the Octomom. From time to time, I forget the names of my meds. I’m sure Octomom forgets the names of her fourteen kids.) In short, thank you for your patience!

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno

JessicaGimeno

Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), polycystic ovarian syndrome, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

One thought on “It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts, Right? / I Will Get Back to You

  • October 26, 2012 at 11:49 am
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    I love Tarte! I have been accused of faking my illness because I don’t look sick. Even when I’m hobbling along with my cane or walker. The is a very fine line we have to tightrope walk most days.

    Reply

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