Self care, self love and personal appearance

What I would like to know is why everyone seems to assume there must be an external reason to look good?

Many times this past week I have had comments made such as ‘ok, who is he then?’ Or you look smart where are you off to?

Why do I have to look nice in order to be going somewhere or meeting someone? Why can’t I just look good because it makes me feel good, or simply because I want to?

The history behind my daily selfies

I started taking selfies (initially not shared) simply because I needed to get used to what I now looked like with. Prosthetic leg. I had a whole new physical identity that I had to make friends with. It was not ok, I hated it at first. So I started taking selfies in the hope that one day I would feel ok about myself. These are my daily selfies from the last week or so.

How it evolved from there

This idea started to evolve when I decided I also needed to create some self accountability. I decided to start making an effort with my own appearance. The reason was purely selfish. I struggle with MH (PTSD and Dysthymia both amputation associated). Taking care of my own appearance was one way to help lift my mood and make myself feel better.

There is a lot of research to back the old saying that you should fake cheerful and you will eventually feel cheerful. I decided to use my appearance for the same reason.

This started by embracing the curly hair I always had but for ever straightened or tied back. I had lost interest in making an effort with myself so it was time to change that. I researched the curly girl method after a friend mentioned it then started on that journey. Whereas once I would always have been found with hair tied up (usually severely scraped back) because CBA doing anything else with it and this was easier.

Following that, I decided to gently start using makeup. I have never ever used makeup so I was never going to go to town with this, simply basic foundation, eye brow shaping – the basics.

Waaaay back when I was a teacher, I would wear lipstick at work. This was the only place I would wear it. Even then it was usually neutral shades.

I was in a local shop and liked the colour of their Karen Murrell lipsticks so bought a few. They were all quite bold colours, which I was just not sure about. But, I got fab feedback when I wore a few, so that is what started that. I switched my lipsalve to lipstick and there has been no looking back.

Then came the dresses. Since my amputation I have suffered from a secondary lymphoedema in my right leg and have to wear a waist high custom grade 2 compression garment all day every day. It is hot and sweaty, to say the least. In summer it can be a killer. That is what started my quest to find dresses. Well, that and a friend in Napier who marched me into Two Lippy Ladies and told me I needed an image revamp. Hahah! (Thanks Dave!)

Out went the trousers (too hot, too complicated with an artificial leg) and in came the dresses. I still wear leggings but not as a daily attire).

I was passing an ear piercing place one day randomly and decided there and then to get my ears re-pierced. I had them done as a child but had stopped wearing jewellery too so they had closed over. Back came the earrings and insert jewellery here too!

So, that is where I am at. No, I do not dress up for anyone else but me. It makes me feel more cheerful, which in turn helps lift my mood.

And, if you don’t care about yourself and your own appearance, how in the heck would you expect someone else to give a damn about you either? 🤷‍♀️

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