I can’t possibly tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “You’re sure looking good. You must be feeling better now, right?” Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes to receive a compliment about their appearance.
Looks can be very deceiving, nevertheless. The severity of my daily symptoms simply isn’t reflected in how I look. This is both a blessing, as well as a burden. Yes, I enjoy looking like I’m a relatively healthy woman. I’m well aware that I actively contribute to others reaching this false conclusion.
Women with chronic illness have the distinct advantage of being able to use cosmetics to camouflage the actual impact of their symptoms. Everyone, healthy or otherwise, desires to look their best. I’m no exception. I wear makeup to feel better about myself.
Personally, using cosmetics is also a means of artistic expression for me. I don’t look nearly as healthy without wearing makeup. So, I’m a walking paradox, you might say. Every day, I engage in behavior that overtly contributes to creating a misrepresentation of how miserable I truly feel, the overwhelming majority of the time.
Then, I become upset when others mistakenly conclude that I must be feeling pretty well, based upon how good I look. You need only listen to my audible gasping for air, after walking but a short distance, to conclude that something is seriously wrong with me medically.
My subglottic stenosis is rapidly worsening again. Nevertheless, based on appearance alone, several people told me today, “You’re sure looking good. You must be feeling better now, right?”