Loving Who You Are

These are clearly not running shoes. These are absolutely beautiful boots that I just bought very recently. Damask, leather, gold lining (not real gold). I couldn’t not buy them. I love shoes. Yes, I love running shoes. I also have flat shoes. More importantly: I also love heels, whether heavy heels or stilettos. Wedges aren’t my always favourite, but I’m never opposed (twist my rubber arm for a cute pair of summer wedges). I have my fair share of boots as well. Knee-high, ankle-height, cowboy boots. Doc Martens. Leather, polyester, suede, hound’s-tooth, feathers, rhinestone, glitter.


I also love makeup. Beyond standard colours (and some dramatic shades), I also love false eyelashes and glitter. Even with this pandemic, some days I wear makeup just for my own happiness. Varying degrees: normal day-to-day to fabulous extremes. Colours, liners, random stars and rhinestones. As in previous photos, I love doing costume makeup too. No reason apart from my own happiness.


I will not even start talking about some of the clothes I have. Sequins, satin, taffeta. I mostly wear brewery or band t-shirts with denim skinny jeans but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a multitude of fabulous dresses, shirts and skirts. And leather jackets, I can’t not mention. Despite living in a rainy, humid climate, I can’t stop myself when I see a gorgeous leather jacket. Some are from vintage stores and some are custom-made.


What we have here is a very extreme, multi-faceted layered individual who can go for a run and wear sweaty dripping clothes or can go out looking shiny and elaborate and fabulous. I can be wearing sneakers and have to throw all my clothes in the washing machine because otherwise my apartment will completely smell like, well, like I just went for a run. Then I shower and sit down in front of my vanity and apply some glittery…purple…red…gold…makeup and slide into a taffeta wiggle dress and some three-inch heels and go out.


And I love it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving that. With loving myself. Every single layer of myself.


I have heard the phrases “You don’t look like you have epilepsy” and “You’re too pretty to have epilepsy”. I suppose they were meant to be compliments, but the reality is, epilepsy doesn’t look like anything, outside EEGs and MRIs. Statements that focus my appearance “despite” my condition are an implication that it’s impossible to be both: a person with a disability and a person who can choose to be fabulous. Statements like that imply that somehow I shouldn’t look the way I do because of my condition, whether it’s how I dress or my bone structure. Statements like that are the ones that suggest that I am required to look a certain way or else…maybe it’s not real? Maybe I’m not really epileptic. Those comments make me feel terrible, because I can’t change the way I look and I don’t want to change the way I dress.


In the words of Lady Gaga: There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are


I love the opportunities to wear Swarovski earrings and drink champagne. I love the opportunities to speak at conferences about epilepsy awareness. Those are both part of who I am and those are things that I need to remind myself that it’s okay to love. Not even just okay but necessary.


I had a friend about 10 years ago when I lived in Calgary. She was a painter and I have one of her pieces next to my makeup vanity. It’s different shades of pink and has rhinestones and feathers attached to it. She was a burlesque dancer, and she also had MS. She has since passed away. I think of her every time I see the painting. She had a condition that was sometimes debilitating and was degenerative. It didn’t stop her from the hobby she loved (painting) and from being absolutely fabulous as a performer. That right there is inspirational.


We all have facets of ourselves. We hear messages about vanity and arrogance when there are people who love those facets. There’s nothing wrong with loving ourselves. Whatever parts we want to love the most, love them. The parts that we love the least, love them. They are all part of who we are.

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