“Please stop writing posts that revolve around how bad you think you look!”
“You’re choosing the very worst pictures of yourself to post. It’s like you’re purposely trying to make yourself look as awful as possible!”
“I don’t like the way you’re portraying yourself in your blog. It’s upsetting to read you bash yourself. It’s especially bothersome since you are such a beautiful and confident person both inside and out.”
The comments above reflect the sentiments of the three people who know and love me the most; my husband, mom and sister. I’ve tried explaining that the whole purpose of this blog is that I am confident enough to expose my vulnerabilities. If I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, how could I candidly share my perspective as a woman living with scleroderma? Scleroderma is a disfiguring disease that alters my outer appearance. This is an undeniable fact. I’ve been finding these comments exasperating. Why can’t the three people closest to me take off their “love goggles” and acknowledge that I do look different?
Most readers are telling me, “I love your blog! I totally relate to your writing.” Or, “I’m 60 years old and I still won’t approach people who intimidate me by their beauty. You’re writing reflects how most women feel, but aren’t brave enough to say.” I’ve received messages from old acquaintances and strangers who’ve identified with my writing and shared personal experiences with me that relate to their battles with self-esteem. I’ve asked many friends if they think I am depicting myself in a poor light or exaggerating how my outer appearance deviates from the norm. All have refuted these notions and insisted that my self-deprecation is reflective of how many women feel at one point or another.
I am compelled to wonder why all these readers can get what this blog is about, while my family thinks I’m fixated on inaccurately depicting myself as the ugliest woman on the planet. I’ve decided to shed my irritation and try to appreciate their perspective. When I was battling for my life during my 218-day hospital stay, one of my best friends would visit me and whisper in my ear, “Your family is crazy, but it’s all out of love.” I have no recollection of this, since I was half-dead at the time, but I think this should be my new mantra.
I have concluded that my family is truly blinded by love. This is rare and wondrous. Rather than being supremely annoyed, I should be grateful for their unconditional devotion. As we journey into 2015, I resolve to be less maddened by my quirky, overbearing, opinionated loved ones and embrace them with the same “love goggles” that they have always worn for me. Anyone know where I can buy a pair?
- The term “love goggles” is a twist on the figurative expression “beer goggles.” When I was in college, “beer goggles” were what drunken people wore when they hooked up with someone far less attractive than they typically would if sober. You may be shocked to know that I am not super hip and have no idea if this term has been used since the early 90s. However, in my favorite show The Goldbergs, the mom is often said to be wearing “mom goggles” because she thinks her kids are flawless. Not sure if referencing the hit sitcom The Goldbergs raises or diminishes my cool factor.
- To all my friends and family who also wear “love goggles,” don’t be offended that I didn’t lump you in with my mom, sister and hubby. You’ve all said that you don’t “see” my scleroderma, you just see me. The difference is most of you will acknowledge that my appearance has been altered by scleroderma. In honor of the ones who love me with fierce intensity, I am including some flattering pics of myself.