A quick blog post brought to you by the fact that in an hour I and my parents are taking my grandparents out for dinner to thank them for helping me out when I was so ill. Overnight my blood sugars went from 8.0 to 19.0 because, you know, it felt like it. Sometimes the dawn phenomenon just wins. As a result my complexion is very pale today and under my eyes I’m rather purple looking. This brings up a few things both related to chronic illness and feminism and the ideals women are held up to.
Society says that I should not go out looking as I do. I should wear enough make up to hide the fact that I am unwell. Because I happen to be a female. I hate that. I should not have to do anything. People should get used to seeing people with bags under their eyes. Let people know you’re ready to murder anyone in your way and all of that jazz that are spread on motivational posters. Yet there is always this pressure to hide my disability more than it is already hidden. Diabetes is not a life sentence but in order to avoid being discriminated against and pitied when we are fully capable it seems we as a group have taken to hiding when we cannot. We cannot scare new diabetics by showing the bad times. There is amputation and those that climb mountains and no in between shown. That doesn’t sit well with me. When I’m capable I’m fine. Sometimes I can function without being great. Sometimes turning me on and off again with a long nap is required.
So, I don’t want to have to wear all this make up to go out but I put it all on anyway for others problems society has. People have this chronic need to tell others when they look different from usual. No one who is unwell or has any form of chronic illness or disability wants to be told outright ‘you don’t look well.’ Most of us do in fact have access to a mirror or at least a front facing camera on a smartphone and we are very aware of the days when our faces lose colour and our eyes bulge and we look ‘unwell’. It is not nice to get it pointed out. Then there is the dreaded ‘you look tried’ which is meant to be the polite way of telling someone ‘you look shit, mate’ but since we all know what that means we don’t want to hear that either. Sometimes that is worse because it is harder to turn around and tell someone to mind their own business.
My gran is very much one of those who would tell me I look horrific and then start asking me lots of questions about what my diabetes is doing when I really just want to have a nice meal. So, I’m wearing my makeup and a lot of concealer as well as a lot of eyeliner to mask my panda bags by creating intentional panda eyes. I’ve also painted my nails bright green so she will notice them instead. Men are also under this pressure when dealing with illness but I do think there is an added layer of it when it is a woman.