Wednesday, 21 October 2015

I'm Disabled and I Wear Make Up, So What?


I've wanted to write this post for a while, in fact, I've changed this first sentence numerous times. How else do I introduce this post when the title says it all? I'm disabled and I wear make up, what's the problem?

If you're not disabled or never experienced anything that I have, I urge you to read on; if only for an insight on what it can be like to be judged for expressing your femininity.

I leave the house on crutches but mostly in a wheelchair these days, does that mean I'm not allowed to care about how I look? Should I scrap the smoky eye and winged eye liner because I'm in pain and not the stereotypical ideal of 'beauty'? Does my disability define how I should look? How I should dress? Does it determine whether a red lipstick is appropriate because my body is broken? Should I become invisible like my condition? 

On the odd occasion that I go outside, I want to make an effort, I want to look presentable. I'm in a wheelchair, I have make up on, I don't see why people give me a second glance - unless they're admiring my contouring skills. Honestly though, what's the big deal? First and foremost, I'm a woman and whether I wear nothing on my face or plaster every product you could possibly think of on it, being disabled doesn't hinder the way I express myself through cosmetics. I'm a girlie-girl (I'd never have admitted that a few years ago), I love hair, make up, nails, lashes; it's my way of feeling 'normal', embracing my sexuality and rolling with it.

I've been told that I'm too pretty to be in wheelchair, and that's really what fuelled this post. At the time I laughed it off because I didn't want to get into something, but when I reflected on the comment, it annoyed me, a lot. What exactly was this person trying to say? Disability doesn't discriminate; my physical appearance has nothing to do with my health. And do you know why I look 'pretty'? Because I'm wearing a shit-tonne of make up. If I wasn't, you'd be afraid. I don't sleep, the bags under my eyes are suitcases, my skin is breaking out due to new medication, and my lips are cracked. I wouldn't leave the house like that. I'm certainly not condemning anyone that does, you do you, I just love make up, it makes me feel better about myself.

Do you know what else annoys me, 'wow, you look amazing, are you better?' I don't know how I've stopped myself punching people in the face (maybe because I'd injure myself more). Thanks for the first part, I'm glad you think I look good but I'm not better, I'm still in a wheelchair, I'm still dislocating everyday and in chronic pain, I'm just a huge fan of Mac Cosmetics and it's saving me from looking like a zombie.

Despite these comments, I also battle with myself and imagined stigma. There's a little devil on my shoulder at all times, whispering things in my ear about other peoples thoughts; this notably takes hold when I'm wearing a full-face of make up and out in my wheelchair. Why's she bothering? Who's she trying to impress? She's in a wheelchair, what's the point? Clearly nothing wrong with her if she looks like that? Lazy cow. I let all these imagined thoughts build up and replay them whenever a stranger  looks at me for longer than a few seconds. How can I possibly know what anyone else is thinking? I'm not Professor X, I don't have powers, this is something I'm slowly trying to get over but it's hard. Especially when we live in a world where we're constantly bombarded by images of beautiful people with beautiful bodies, perfect glowing skin and perfect hair, but what we're not showing the younger generation is real people. Young men/women in wheelchairs/disabled not/wearing make up - it's real. Until the perception of disability alters (in all aspects), there's going to be people like me feeling criticised for simply being.

I wear make up for me, not for you, or anyone else. I wear it to look and feel cute. There's always going to be people who judge you, no matter what you do, as long as you're being true to yourself and are confident, who gives a shit what they think? Here's hoping I become more apathetic to ignorance very soon!


36 comments:

  1. Sarah, this post touched me, it really did. I feel quite emotional. It's horrible that you should feel like you need to justify your love of makeup to others just because you're in a wheelchair.

    You are stunning but that's not because of your make up, nuh - uh. You have a naturally very pretty face. Well done for writing this post, I'm sure it will open up many people's eyes just like it has mine. xx

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    1. Thank you so much, that really means a lot x

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  2. A great post but it saddens me that it needs to be written-- it's shocking that people make such comments towards you. Are we meant to go out looking like we've been dragged through a bush backwards?! I'm not into make up the way you are-- never have been, that's just me-- but if I am going out somewhere you can bet I'll put at least some cc cream on because I want to look well. I don't understand how anyone can't understand that. There is too much ignorance.

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    1. I know, it's absolute madness. I think some people expect us to 'look ill' every time we go out but I don't want to x

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  3. You are woman! You are attractive your woman and whether you are disable or not, you have the right like any other woman to wear make up, dress up and do your hair. I think people shouldn't even question that! Such a nasty comments! Make up and dressing up is not only wanting to look good for others but also for yourself so I don't see absolutely nothing wrong with that! You want to feel like a woman, its normal, thats the reason i put mine on! I am glad to hear you confident and strong! Keep it up girl! Love you blog!

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    1. You're an absolute angel, thank you so much x

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  4. You are SUCH an inspiring person and a great writer too. It's a really great post but it's upsetting that you've evened to write it. I think disability is like anything, can happen to anyone in a blink of an eye. You are pretty but unfortunately looks don't stop an illness from progresses. It's great to see how strong you are though xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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    1. Thank you, I really appreciate it. Exactly, nobody knows if they'll end up disabled, injured, anything...everyone has the right to look however they want x

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  5. So inspirational! Your words are so true, honest and right! Disabled people should not be categorised and should be able to express themselves in any way they want! The same thing for men if they want to wear makeup so what? Nobody walks up to an abled bodied woman and questions her motives for wearing makeup! Do what makes you happy xx

    www.jessdownard.com

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  6. Whenever I go out in my wheelchair I always get odd looks if I'm smiling or laughing!! So, I should basically go around looking sad and miserable all the time because that's what people expect of someone with a disability? SOD THAT! You've put everything so perfectly, if we want to put on some makeup (or a lorry load of makeup) then we bloody well will, I know for me it can make a massive difference with my mental health. If I look nice then I feel nice and usually that makes me happier! Fab post lovely <3 xxx

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    1. Thanks, Shona. It makes a massive difference to me too, I feel much more confident. I don't want to be sat looking horrendous in my wheelchair, if I'm going out, I'm going out looking fabulous lol x

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  7. I love this post! I have a neurological condition and I also have bipolar but when people find out they find it funny that I can find the effort in myself to put on make up, create a 'face of wonder' as my mother likes to call it... Like I should be sat all day just living in a dark dungeon feeling all woe is me. The comment 'You're too pretty to be in a wheelchair' made me laugh because as you say disability doesn't discriminate no matter what you look like and I have had a few people tell me 'You're too pretty to be mental' 'Too pretty to be Bipolar' and my favourite is 'If you're ill, then why do you make the effort?'. Putting on make up and playing with all my pretty things actually makes me feel happier, I couldn't imagine what it must feel like for you to have comments because you have a physical disability and for me it's only if people know. People are just so quick to make assumptions and it really annoys me, you just keep on doing what makes you happy. It's so nice to see an honest post but also so sad that in the times that we live in that you feel like it needs to be written. Such a fabulous post xxx

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    1. Thank you, Charli. I'm sorry you have to deal with it too, people are way too quick to jump to conclusions; they don't see us on our bad/worse days...and of course we'll make a bloody effort, why shouldn't we? We have as much to live for as anyone else. Glad you liked the post x

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  8. "Clearly nothing wrong with her if she looks like that..." - Yep. Fellow EDSer here and I've heard that comment before, seen the looks when I shrug off my coat into my wheelchair on the bus to reveal a pretty dress underneath that clearly say the exact same thing. People like that make me sick.

    I don't wear makeup partly because of hand tremors but also because I just don't care to - the way I see it is if somebody isn't attracted to me the way I am without it, then I'm not interested in whether they'd be attracted to me *with* it, because that's not the real me. If you see what I mean.

    What really makes me want to slap them is the dirty looks and comments when I happen to wear kitten heels in my chair. FCOL, it's not as though I'll be walking in them, so what *is* their problem? We have as much right to look nice as they do; it just adds to my anger when people like the DWP/Atos examiners assume that being dressed neatly and clean must mean I did all that myself without help, and the general public seem to make similar assumptions too. No, my carer(s) helped me look like this, and why shouldn't they when their job is to help me live as independently, and seem as much like an average able-bodied person, as I want/care to? It all makes me so angry, and I bet it does you, too, going off this post.

    Do you get the looks and comments if & when you move your arms and legs, or occasionally stand up and/or walk a few steps, too? I do. Too damn many people make the erroneous assumption that the majority of wheelchair users are (or should be!) paralysed, when the latter proportion only works out at about 15% of chair users when it's properly examined. *irritable sigh* I'm so fed up of that sort of rubbish.

    As for makeup, I didn't wear it when I didn't have a chair, so there's no reason for me to wear it now, but I have actually been questioned (& frankly insulted) by an agency carer about my not shaving my legs. This despite the fact that she'd just given me a shower during which she washed and dried my legs from the knee down because I couldn't do it myself, mind you, and she knows that her agency don't allow the carers to do anything like that involving sharp implements being used on their clients, either. She actually suggested I go to a beauty salon and get my legs waxed. Why the f--- should I? I don't care and my girlfriend doesn't mind, and if she doesn't I don't give a damn about anybody else. Why should I be pressured to spend money on something I find totally pointless and that certain other people would probably use as yet more "proof" of my lack of genuine disability, anyway? SMH... Makes me want to scream. Do you get that one?

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    1. I really don't understand some people, I'm constantly baffled by humanity, I really am. I'm so sorry that you've had to experience that. I'm hoping the more publicity we can bring to these kind of things, the more idiots are aware of their rude and ridiculous comments and assumptions but I'm pretty sure I'm living in a fantasy land as I know some people are just too stupid x

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  9. I actually love you. This is everything I feel. I got told by my Doctor that there was clearly nothing wrong with me and I shouldn't get DLA because my eyeliner game was on point (Not his exact words). How does my fierce eyeliner and fabulous lip combo decide whether I'm disabled. He didn't witness how long it actually took me to get out of bed and how many rest breaks I had to take getting dressed. He also didn't get to witness me swearing at my eyeliner when I dislocated several joints opening it (was pretty funny though).

    Just because we look damn fine doesnt mean our bodies aren't still broken and falling apart. We just look good whilst doing it.

    Also Too pretty to be disabled makes me aggressive every time. Why do people think its acceptable.

    Anyways I'll stop ranting in your comments section now. Keep being fabulous.

    Love you billions
    Beth x
    Mermiad in Disguise

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    1. I love you, Beth. We are so fabulous, if the able-bodied folk can't handle it, they can piss off! *flicks hair* Exactly, it takes me absolutely ages to get ready, partly because I'm a woman and I can't decide on my eye shadow game but because of resting, pacing, stretching, it's so hard to get ready and leave the house looking presentable. I sometimes get ready and I'm too tired to even go out.

      Love you xxx

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  10. Oh my God, do I ever know what you mean! Though I often go without makeup, I dress nicely when I go out and write a blog about style and disability. I've dealt with all of the stuff you write about and more.

    http://www.sublimemercies.com/

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  11. I can relate to this somewhat. I have been on crutches for over a year now and will be for a good 6 months or more yet and I wear a large knee brace which I get a lot of looks for but then I get oo what happened oh you look good and it does annoy me. I wear makeup to feel better too and it helps that tiny amount so the people that don't like it or comment they can shut up! I can imagine it took you a lot to post this but you are amazing! X
    Emma | www.EmmysBeautyCave.com

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    1. It took a lot to write it but I strongly felt that it needed to be said as it really angers me. How can a bit of foundation and lippy change my health? It's so absurd. I'm sorry you're dealing with that, I'll come and batter them for you if you want. You're a diamond, thanks, Emma x

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  12. Make-up is for everyone!
    Jabeen x
    http://www.spilling-the-beans.co.uk/

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  13. This is a wonderful piece. It's so heartfelt and I can identify with it so much.
    I hate my disability. It confounds me because it makes me feel weak when I'm actually strong. I hate that look people get when they hear about it. I hate hearing people talk about it like I'm not even there. I hate how much energy I put into being angry about all that.
    I love makeup and clothes and pretty things. They don't pass any judgement and they make me feel powerful because my confidence soars when I wear them.
    I'm not going to let anyone knock that!

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    1. I love this comment, Sophie, thank you for leaving it :) I feel exactly the same way! x

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  14. You are so amazing Sarah! I saw this post along side one of your other ones and was intrigued to read it. I had no idea the kind of things that people judge you for that should be your choice and yours only. No one has the right to make you feel inferior. If you want to wear make-up, then you go right ahead and wear it, because I'm pretty sure that the people who are judging you for it can't do it nearly as well as you can!
    (You look absolutely gorgeous in the photo by the way. I am a little jealous of your contouring and general eye look!)

    Grace x

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    1. Awww, Grace, that's so kind of you to say, thank you, sweetheart.
      It's insane what people will judge us on. Wearing lipstick does not take away my conditions - if only it was that easy x

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  15. This is an autistic/twice-exceptional and able-bodied girl's perspective. I get "You're too smart" and "You're too pretty" (which makes NO logical sense) a lot. If you go on Google+, you will see pictures of me wearing makeup. So what? How smart and pretty are autistic people supposed to be? Do you (referring to people who make such comments) even realize how willfully ignorant you sound? I get these comments more from neurotypical people than from autistic people (and I have received them from autistic people.).

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  16. You are really a strong women and I like your attitude.I like your pretty look.When people feel sick or sad, we understand it by their appearance.But,you are really amazing and beautiful.That is attitude.People with disability should not be categorized.They
    have the freedom to enjoy and do what they love.So inspirational blog.
    Nayana

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  17. You go girl! This post is amazing, it must have taken so much courage to write it. You are such a strong woman.

    Kayla | www.daintydweeb.com
    xo

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  18. Love this post - I have EDS as well plus a few other conditions. I love make up & have just started to learn how to do it again in a way that doesn't hurt my hands. I'm going to follow your blog because I feel your post will not only help me, but inspire as well. I've just plucked up the courage to share my first 'make up' post. I mean I still learning despite wearing make up for years I've never learned how to do it properly. 41 years old and yet I feel like a teenager all over again! Take care Zo xx http://craftygasheadzo.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/being-me-make-up-my-way-with-little-help.html

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