Catch Up Mondays – Are we really who we think we are? – revisited

I first posted this on June 21, 2013.  I quoted an excerpt from my book (in bold) where I said I had another of my emotional meltdowns.  I was always having emotional meltdowns.  I was over a thousand miles from home by myself and had been there for months already when I wrote this.  I had also in that short time gone through a complete hysterectomy and my sixth sinus surgery.

I had another of my emotional meltdowns. I commented in my journal that “everything I do is really someone else or their perception of what I would want or need. The cards I send out are picked out by my daughter. The fabric for the dress I am wearing was picked out by someone else. It is nice but I am not sure it is something I would necessarily pick out for myself. It is just that this is supposed to be a special occasion and I don’t really have control over it.” This note started a long writing about how I was feeling (May 14, 2003):

I am not me anymore

The me that existed before this illness does not exist anymore

I am now bits and pieces of others and their perception of what I would buy, wear, or send

You see I must rely on others to purchase cards, clothes, shoes, and my food

The card you receive may have my signature and a short note – but it was chosen by someone else

The sewing or craft project I should like to do may be my craftsmanship – but the fabric, trim, and buttons are of someone else’s choosing based on their perception of me

I am not me anymore

What is there for me to do? It is no longer fun to create new craft ideas with materials I have not taken time to pick out piece by piece

I am not me anymore

I am lost and trapped in a world of emptiness and uncertainty

Who am I?  I don’t know anymore;  of one thing I am certain; the me I once knew is lost and may never return again

Who am I?

Somewhere deep within this body there has got to be a somebody that can care again

Somewhere deep in this soul there has to be something to want to get up in the morning and do

Somewhere deep within me there has to be found a hope for a better life

I feel as if I am slowly wasting away and disappearing all together

I don’t think the me I have known for many years will ever be back again. Too many changes physically and emotionally have taken place

I have to try and find out who I am now and learn to love and accept this new person as much as the old one

I must figure out a way to get what I need on my own

I need to figure out how to fill my empty days with something that makes me excited

My body is frail and thin. I need to build it back up so it can help me fight

I have got to find the strength to do this within or I will soon disappear deeper into the shadows

I am trying desperately to fight the battle

But at times it feels like it is a losing battle

This was taken from my journal when I was feeling so depressed at not being able to choose things for myself and I felt like I had truly lost myself.

A few days ago I had a phone conversation with my therapist.  The conversation came around to clothes and style (not knowing what mine was) and wove itself back around to who I am.  The conversation was about in the beginning of this illness everything including clothing was purchased for me because I was unable to venture into stores to do my own shopping.  My style became whatever was purchased for me or what someone else thought I would like.  What prompted this conversation was because recently I attempted a short trip into a store with my daughter wearing my mask to find myself some shirts.  After a few minutes my daughter mentioned all the nice things there were and did I find anything.  I told her that I had not.  She then came to me with things to try on; things I would never have picked out.  I ended up with one shirt.  The dilemma I have is that I really don’t know what my style is any more.  What do I like, what do I not like, what is just so so for me?

I don’t need clothes for work because I don’t work outside the home.  I don’t need fancy clothes for parties because I don’t go anywhere requiring such fancy clothes.  I do, however, want to look nice and feel good when I go to a friend’s even if we are only sitting in their backyard playing cards.  Yet I don’t know what I want.

As my therapist and I continued our talk she talked about how she had clothes for her counseling work, clothes for her volunteer work, for her gardening, etc.  Those were all different styles.  I needed to think what I do and then try to find a style that fits what I do.  I understand the concept but still don’t know what I like or don’t like.  I don’t have any idea of what really fits me well because I don’t go out, try clothes on and buy them like I did before being ill.

Maybe we really aren’t who we think we are?  Because at any moment a tragedy or life changing event happens and we are no longer the same person because of these life-changing experiences.  We also talked about how we are all constantly evolving and changing either through our careers or in my case through my illness.    Then it dawned on me!  Back in the day before I became ill I was constantly changing curtains, pillows and decorations in my home as I changed and my likes and dislikes changed.  Even back then I was changing and evolving. The same thing was happening with my clothes.  While I get the idea, I am still struggling with what my style is.  Maybe some day I will know but then again maybe I won’t.  I am going to have to surrender to the fact that I may never clearly know what I like or don’t like.  This may be a direct relationship to my illness and my now very apparent difficulty making decisions of any kind. 

My questions to you readers are:  Do you know your style?  Do you truly know who you are in terms of determining a clothing style?  Do those of you with this illness have the same struggles?  Do those of you who are not struggling with multiple chemical sensitivity or other illnesses have this battle?

In May I placed a post entitled, Who Are We?  In that post I included a snippet of a poem I wrote about identity loss.  Today, a little over a year after this post, I still can say that I don’t truly know what style I am in terms of clothes and I still struggle with making decisions.

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11 responses to “Catch Up Mondays – Are we really who we think we are? – revisited

  1. When it comes to clothes, not working has been liberating. I am a hard to fit size so shopping was an exercise in frustration. Since I don’t need a lot of clothes, I can spend a little bit more on clothes to be able to get some that fit well for wearing in public. At home I can enjoy my jeans and sweatshirts – which has always been my preference.

    • Yes, but I miss having a reason to get up and get dressed with bracelets, a nice dress, and nice shoes. I guess I need to plan one day a week and while I don’t really have a dress, put on my better jeans and shirt and add some jewelry. What do you think?

      • Why not? I heard one woman say she got dressed up every day, even to do housework. That was her style.

        I grew up in the days of school clothes and play clothes. We forget that if we want to, it is okay to wear “school clothes” all day long even if we are playing.

        Wear your nice clothes and jewelry and look in the mirror and tell yourself how nice you look. 🙂

      • Kind of reminds me of the old Ozzie and Harriet shows or Leave it to Beaver when the women wore their dresses and pearls no matter what! I am going to have to try and do a better job. Who knows maybe getting dressed-up to sit here and write my blog posts may make me feel like I am doing a job rather than sitting here looking at the screen and answering emails.

      • Maybe us work at homers should have dress up Wednesday instead of casual Friday.

      • Now that would be fun! We would have to take a picture of us dressed in something other than jammies and sweats and post them on Wednesdays.

      • You could start a new trend.

  2. There have been many years I didn’t like the colors in the stores or the patterns. I like small detailed designs/patterns in fabric, not bold, large prints. This year I like the colors, clear colors not muddy colors do it for me. I like ordering clothes online, they aren’t scented like when you buy them from a store in person. I don’t like picking colors online or that I can’t try them on, but Kohls has been good about returns, but the colors have been accurate.

    • Cindy – I agree that it is much easier to get scents out of items ordered online. It is difficult truly gauging colors this way. I order and I get some from stores that my daughter helps me with but those take longer to get safe enough for me to wear. I have also found that Kohls is good at returns. They will even take returns from online orders.

  3. Reading this is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. But I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I’ve had many of the same thoughts run through my mind, and even the same dialogue with myself when I’m clothes shopping. I can’t buy a nice evening dress, or even a nice dress because I don’t go anywhere where I could wear it. My closet used to be full of business suits and other business clothes, but now that has been gradually replaced by casual clothes. I don’t even know what is in style, nor do I really care. I do know that I have found outdoor wear to be comfortable and wear them more often. I like hiking with hubby even if they are short and not anywhere near what I used to do, and so recently, I have purchased more outdoor and hiking attire even if I don’t go very often. I suppose that is my style because I am enjoying and connecting more with nature.

    • I should share the bags of clothes I threw out in a picture. Maybe I will do that soon. I bought a simple cotton dress only to discover after I washed it that it doesn’t fit that great. I am going to try it on one day with a friend over and do some pinning and I am going to alter it.

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