Why my disabled self needs a mask to hide behind – “Eyes & teeth darling”

Do you sometimes feel like you need something to help you face the world?

Do you put on a fake smile, a ‘I’m fine’ face, a ‘mask’ if you will………??

Since we’ve come out of lockdown, the world has become a very odd place and for those of us with chronic illnesses who can’t ‘get out to help out‘ as often as we would like, self-care has become even more important.

The thought that people would suddenly see the world that we live in day in day out and would help us change the world around us seems to be slipping away and we feel like we are sliding back down that old slippery slope to where we feel we’ve always been – the bottom. 

But we also have to take advantage of moments that can lift us up again. For some it might be a hot bath, some fresh clothes or bed linen, for others it might be a peaceful half an hour of silent meditation and breathing. Having done all those things however, sometimes you just still feel like you need a treat. 

We’ve all had the dreaded “lockdown hair” so for many of us (me included) the first thing that I thought of when shops, hairdressers etc. reopened wasn’t where can I get the latest shoes and handbag from but “what can I do to this mop of mine and when can I get it sorted?

I’m not the only one who over lockdown, discovered that trying to keep up looking physically the way I did before my disability was becoming pointless.

I have spent nearly six years trying to maintain the same standard of hair and make up that I had when I was Pastoral Head in my local school. Even though the effort of getting it ‘assembly ready‘ was enormous and often left me in a melting heap of tears and pain, I would still do my damndest to make sure that my hair was dyed, the roots and the grey were sorted, the curls was straightened, the eyebrows pencilled and the make up applied. But after five months of sitting around wondering when this Covid lockdown would end, it all suddenly seemed a little bit pointless. Why was I doing it? Who was going to see me? And more importantly who was I doing it for?

(Is nearly six years too long to come to this conclusion?🤦‍♀️)

(Plus, after five months, there was no hiding my silver curly hair, it was making an appearance big time and there was nothing I could do to hide it any more!)

So when the Welsh Government announced that hairdressers could open, I was amazed that I didn’t swiftly reach for the phone and beg my regular hairdresser to help sort me out! I did speak to her but only for advice and help on how to manage my new lockdown look. She got me an appointment, blended the silver grey and the blonde together and wished me well on my new hair journey.

So now I had a different passion; a new one, a “how to care for curly silver hair” hobby which to my surprise, involves a lot of research. But once I’d finished grasping the basics of curly hair care, I just realised that now my hair colouring has changed to a more silvery ashen look, it seems that my face and my hair was exactly the same colour!

To solve that, I felt I needed another confidence booster so I invested in a top up of my eyebrows. Now for those of you that don’t know me, I’ve always had a thing about eyebrows. I’ve always felt that they are the things that frame your face and if I was ever presented with somebody’s face who had unruly eyebrows, you literally had to tie my hands down to stop me trimming them and making them look nice! My good friend Jess at Jessica Pullman Jones Make-up (JP Microblading) gave me a lovely top up to my brows and now the new me has emerged.

I now feel ready to face the world as and when I need to. For many, this may seem like an insignificant, frivolous, vain even, way of spending my time and my money but for me, I just can’t shake off that need for a “professional “appearance (even if the profession has gone, I still need to have a face, a mask, to show the world)

So many women I know, disabled or not, feel the same way. It doesn’t need to be a huge expense; it can be a new nail varnish, a new hairband, a touch of lipstick, or a flick of mascara but if those small things make the difference between feeling washed out and miserable or ready to face the world, then surely they are so worth it?

Sometimes we all need a mask to hide behind, I just like to have mine to have good eyebrows and red lips, that’s all……… 😘