Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CFIDS and Elegance ~ Me as a bridesmaid : )

Not only is the couple in this amazing picture a real, live, engaged couple, but this....is my amazing friend Cheryl and her fiance Miguel (who I can't wait to meet).

(This amazing photo is by Eric Gillet, from their wedding website, http://www.cherylymiguelwedding.com/bridegroom.html)

I am incredibly honored to be one of her bridesmaids this month! 

As a CFIDS patient, I could be a bit intimidated by the thought of being part of an elegant event, surrounded by graceful beatiful people.  Just look at their amazing pictures! (Also from their wedding website, taken by a their talented friend/photographer Eric Gillet.)

But as far aesthetics are concerned, and contrary to what I would expect as a not-allowed-to-exercise CFIDS patient, I've been losing weight.  It was not a great thing when it happened because I was not trying to lose weight (it was unfortunately illness and stress related) and because I don't have much clothing that fits.  But now that it has pretty much leveled out and I am used to it, it actually terrific timing.  I know that Cheryl would have been just as happy having me there had I not magically lost 20 pounds, but I will feel more elegant and it will be neat to go somewhere in a pretty dress while I am at this weight.

Also, my energy is overall up and my symptoms are overall down.  CFIDS still takes its toll on my social and physical grace, as it does for many (or most?) sufferers.  But not remotely as much as it did a year ago or six months ago.

Overall, I am fairly awesome, so I can laugh at my ungracefulness.  I was not particularly graceful before, so this is not one of the areas of CFIDS symptoms where I am lamenting the loss of my former self.  I have always had an amazing propensity for spilling things, for example, and I have always tended to giggle at slightly inappropriate times.  I was also a tomboy when I was younger and worked in mostly masculine settings until graduate school, so walking in heels was never a skill of mine (although as a folk dancer in high school I could ironically dance in them and land lifts and flips just fine ~ it was only walking to and from the stage that I felt silly).

This whole post may sound vain and/or superficial, but having gained weight on medications after Bell's palsy, then spending a lot of time in bed over the past year, there's not much I could do to change my weight if I were wanting to (in either direction).  Weight is a major issue for people with chronic illnesses not able to exercise and often struggling with medications and food.  So, if I were going to lose weight and not be able to wear any of my clothes (or afford to replace them!) what better timing than to have it happen in time for an elegant event?  It would also be a waste not to take some pleasure in being smaller than I've ever been since having kids (I am at my Hot Shot firefighter weight, just without any muscle tone).

This is me looking cute after Bell's palsy medications a year and a half ago:

And this is me looking and feeling cute at a friend's wedding a couple of my months ago (though my pose leaves a little to be desired, and this dress was actually even more flattering with 5 or 10 more pounds on me-I think my right arm is trying to hold my dress up):

So, in honor of Cheryl and Miguel's big day, and to match my cuteness as a bridesmaid, I will be doing my best to not spill anything on myself or to trip when anyone is watching.  Because I love Cheryl and she is absolutely worth doing my best to be elegant for.

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