It's Only Hair But I Wish I Had Some....vanity?
I've never really been vain about the way I look, just insecure. I don't know which is worse. Insecurities are hard to overcome. Vanity is an unhealthy preoccupation with one's own appearance. Nobody wants to be considered vain, either in our own minds or especially to others. Vanity suggests self-centeredness; self-centeredness suggests conceit; conceit suggests snobbery and snobbery suggests, well all kinds of unpleasantries. No matter how you look at it, vanity isn't pretty.
Since the subject of vanity has come up more than once here in the ISN forums, whether it be regarding telangiectasia (T-spots) or hairloss, I thought I'd give my impressions on the subject with the hope of maybe putting people's minds at ease. Some worry that fretting about the changes scleroderma makes to our appearance is somehow shameful or disrespectful to those with more serious symptoms of scleroderma.
It is not. It is simply a normal response to an abnormal body. Vanity does not apply here. Nor is it necessary to feel shameful or disrespectful for caring about your appearance. Even those of us with more serious symptoms flaring, care about our appearance. It just isn't a priority when we're feeling bad and/or need to concentrate on getting well. So, if you are feeling well and have the time and inclination to spend on your appearance then that is a good thing! And keep up the good work!
It's okay to share your insecurities about the changes sclero has made to your body and it is also okay, necessary even, to grieve over the loss of our "prettier" days. Scleroderma involves a lot of grieveing. You have to let yourself feel it to get through it and be able to deal with it. But that's a whole 'nother blog entry.
My American Heritage Dictionary says, "vain - showing undue preoccupation with or pride in one's own appearance or accomplishments; conceited. Now we have to look at the word "undue - exceeding what is appropriate or normal; excessive."
Scleroderma itself is not "normal". Therefore an appropriate, normal response to the changes scleroderma makes to our physical appearance is obviously concern over what those changes entail. There is nothing obsessive or excessive about concern.
I think we can put our anxieties over being vain to rest. We are having to adjust to what scleroderma is doing to our bodies both internally and externally, and that is anxiety provoking enough without worrying if we are being vain, shameful or disrespectful.
And by the way, relax -- we are not ugly, scleroderma is.