Do I Love My Reflection?!

“True beauty is a state of mind…it comes from the inside out.” Melissa

Well, this year I think it’s supposed to be a big year for me…at least that’s what the magazines, media, and friends say.  I’m turning the big 3-0!  Should I be having a mid-life crisis?!  Reflecting on the last 30 years of my life?!  Getting a complete makeover?!  Going out and doing something totally wild and unlike me?!  Retreat to the mountains and “discover” who I really am?!  It actually makes me anxious thinking about turning 30, not so much because of the age or the number but other factors.  Media plays a big part, I feel like I should do something completely different, escaping from reality to “discover” myself seems cool or doing something crazy seems great too.  Makeover, who doesn’t love a makeover?!  Thinking about the makeover part is what makes me anxious.

Some of you may not know or have forgotten, but almost 3 years ago, I had something called Bell’s Palsy.  I completely lost feeling and function on the left side of my face during an already stressful time in my life, though some would say it was probably the stress that caused it.  Both Honey and I lost our jobs and our last days were on the same day, had a miscarriage, bills pouring in, and my mom was getting a kidney transplant after an 11 year wait!  The transplant was a good thing, but stressful since there were lots of possible complications and it was on that very day of her transplant that my Bells Palsy decided to take over my face!  Whatever the case, it’s had some lasting side-effects.  Though many can’t see the Bells Palsy on me anymore after 3 years, I never completely recovered (according to all the articles I read, I’m in the small percentage of people who don’t recover completely within 3-6 MONTHS)!  Lucky me, right?!  I still feel twitching a lot of times in my eyes and don’t have complete control over the functions there-delayed reaction in blinking or my smile on the left side isn’t complete, and other nuisances that I know are there.  But most of the physical side-effects have healed and subsided themselves, it’s the emotional and mental side-effects that I feel are the hardest to recover from.
It was such a humbling time in my life because I relied on Honey to drive me everywhere, guide me across the street because I couldn’t keep my eyes open at will, I couldn’t keep my balance because of the ringing in my ears and I had to wear a fun eye-patch to sleep or stuff could fly in and damage my cornea forever!  I know all that doesn’t even compare to what some others are going through right now, but it was what I considered to be my struggle and challenge at that time.  I didn’t like how I looked especially not when I smiled because it looked worse than if I didn’t.  So I spent more than a year trying not to smile and now its become a habit to not smile.  I remember trying to avoid mirrors and cameraa during that time and I can’t find many pictures of myself during that year.  Makes me feel like I am missing a year of my life even though it was the longest year of my life!  I spent many nights crying myself to sleep 1) because of the pain in the left side of my face from the Bells Palsy and 2) because I couldn’t understand why life seemed so unfair (miscarriage, job loss, and then this).   But eventually, I have to break down this wall of pain, shame, and negativity.  So besides the negative side-effects to my ego and self-esteem, there were things that I did learn from it.  I realize, as I am getting older (yup, 30, should be wiser right?!), is that I have to try to see the good in all the bad or I will never get through the challenges!  Also, as Kiggster is getting older, more aware, and mimics all the things we do, I have to think about what type of messages I’m sending to her.  Do I want her to be self-conscious, insecure, hating how she looks (even though she’s absolutely beautiful), always seeking for approval and attention from people, and all the other negative messages that me as her mom is sending to her?!  I am her biggest example and if I don’t love myself, I can’t expect for her to learn to love herself too.
Things I Learned From My Bells Palsy:
  • My husband loves and adores me no matter how I look-literally!
  • My husband is the most patient and considerate man on Earth-he was my cane, guide-husband, chauffeur, book reader (good thing for that sexy voice), cook and the one that brought me back to God’s love daily!
  • I have really supportive family and friends who called, emailed, texted, and visited during this time!
  • I have to be confident in who I am despite how I look…and still show up to a pseudo high school reunion even though I wanted to hide!
  • I can and did get a job despite how I felt I looked and how I talked (the Bells Palsy made my speech kinda slurred and I think I spit a little while talking too) during an interview!
  • There are more people out there struggling with the same thing as me even though I never noticed before (yup, people I had interacted with before but never knew they had struggled with Bells Palsy) and became great support!
  • Made me focus on other areas of my life that I felt proud of or happy about!
  • God thinks I am precious no matter how I feel about myself!

What God Wanted Me To Learn:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  ~ 1Peter 3: 3-5

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  ~ Proverbs 31: 30

So why was I so anxious about my 30th birthday and makeovers?!  Because I had been hoping for a makeover and having pictures done for the past 3 years, waiting for me to “completely recover” and I’ve come to the conclusion that I may not look any different than this, even in another 3 years but I have to move on.  I have to be ok with who I am right now, how I look, what I have to offer to people besides my looks (not that they were much to offer even before).  That even if I can’t afford to have a makeover and pictures done (mostly family photos I’d feel proud to display in the house), I am still loved and have many other talents to share with those around me!

 

Are there things that are holding you back from living your life to the fullest?  Did you have any challenges in your life that you never thought you could emerge from?  You are not alone and you have support around you…if you want it!  I hope this helps you to also see the light at the end of the tunnel and look at yourself differently than what the thoughts in your head are telling you and sometimes even the world around us!

 

Just to fulfill your curiosity, I had to do some digging to find a photo for you…

Pre-Bells Palsy April 2009 (my bday)

Bells Palsy-July 2009

Post-Bells Palsy October 2011

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  1. That’s a lot for anyone to take, but I admire the way you’ve pulled through and managed to make it a lesson for life. ♥
    Corinne recently posted..Polishing My MirrorMy Profile

  2. Hi Kathy!well this is actually part of the logo giveaway but I found this post very touching, encouraging and inspirational on all sorts.

    It is true that we are carrying our different crosses and fighting our own battles everyday, and that’s the spice of life. We can’t be great if we only have beautiful things happen to us. I’m amazed at your perspective, just good enough for a mom. I can relate to you so much in that part about your daughter since now she is also in a stage when she mimics everything we do and sometimes I cry at night over some things I have and have not done. I am always praying to be a good mom and ask God to guide me to become one.

    You are beautiful inside out no need to worry about make overs…

    Happy Birthday!
    Icar recently posted..{Enter to Win} BOB Stroller — LullabyLaneMy Profile

    • Hi Icar, thank you so much for your sweet comments! It’s true we all have our own battles and challenges and we can’t compare ours to someone else because just like God says He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Which means we can all handle different amounts and it’s not to say one is “harder” than another or better but they’re all different and to each person, that’s what’s hard. I am learning that no matter what I think I should do, have done or want to do with my daughter, whats most important is what I am doing now because that’s what she will remember. She wants me to be present with her at that moment-not sulking that I have to work, fretting that I have laundry to wash, or wishing that I had more time with her when that just wastes more time that I could be focused on her! I think as moms, we have lots of guilt but we just have to realize that we are human and we can’t play the role of God (do all things & be everywhere at all times)! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Firstly, looking at your picture now, I would never have known if you hadn’t said anything. But secondly, isn’t it freeing to know that you can survive, your husband will love you, and life will go on no matter what? I’m sure learning that in another way would have been more enjoyable – but you have picked it up so young that you can now relax and enjoy life more fully! Congratulations, and happy birthday! :)

    • Hi Megan, thanks so much for stopping by! THank you for your encouragement and it is true, I am very fortunate to have an amazing husband and family that loves me. The funny thing about the bells palsy, from what my doctor told me, was that mostly men in their 40s get it…I was like “Do I look like a 40 year old man?!” So maybe he was implying I was old! Hehe

  4. You are absolutely beautiful inside and out, and your husband was there for you because he knew if he were in your shoes you would be there for him. What a wonderful family you have! I can somewhat relate to having something hold you back from living a normal life. Although I don’t have any physical problems that can be seen, I have nerve damage in my face (trigeminal neuralgia) from a car accident where I got rear ended. I tend to steer clear of public places because sharp pain can come out of no where and it feels like someone stabbed a pencil in my ear. If I don’t scream out, I am frozen in pain and I am sure the look on my face can tell it all. I also get sharp pains in my lower back that come out of nowhere and feel like someone stabbed me with a knife. They always make me scream because they come on so unexpectedly. It is so embarrassing when I am out in public, and scream out in pain. Even more when someone older than me tries to help or call an ambulance. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to get my breath back to speak so I end up making a big scene. I should just wear a shirt that says, “I’m fine, keep walking.” Anyhow I can definitely relate. My life is somewhat being a hobbit isn’t what I had planned but this is the hand that I have been dealt and I must play it out til the end of the game. :(
    Angela

    • Hi Angela, thank you so much for your sweet comments. I am sorry to hear that you are living with chronic pain and I can’t imagine the emotional aspect of the pain that you’re feeling. Don’t ever feel like you have to hide (much easier looking from the outside and saying this than done) because you feel others won’t understand or it will be embarrassing. I think that’s when life gets depressing and we really isolate ourselves, not just from strangers but also from friends and family that love us. I saw how I started shutting people out of my life, not wanting to hang out with people, not wanting to even call because I had a hard time even talking clearly but that made the people who did want to try to understand, support, and love me retreat farther because I made them feel unwanted. I’m not saying you’re doing that but it’s easy to get to that point. I hope you will lean on those that are around you for love and encouragement because what you are dealing with is not easy and also not meant to be dealt with alone. Hard to admit, but we need people in our lives, whether for physical help or just emotional support! I will by praying for you Angela!
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