“Kerrie, Why Are Your Shorts So Short?!”

“Kerrie, Why Are Your Shorts So Short?!”

Yes, I Know It’s a Wedding.  Yes, I Know We Are In a Church.  Yes, I Know I am Dressed Like a Hooker.

In the last few days, a certain photo of a women pumping gas showed up on my Facebook news-feed.  Not once, not twice, but several times.   Most of the comments were not nice.  Here is the picture:

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I immediately felt bad for the girl, because it brought back some memories of myself facing ridicule for what I wear.  So the focus of this post will be to think before you judge.  Now, if you shared this picture, and made fun of this girl, I am not judging you or blaming you.  In fact, a few years ago I would have thought, “Man, girl, where are the sweatpants that go with that hoodie?”  But now, I am just like that girl in the picture. And I want to share with you my experiences so maybe we can start giving people the benefit of the doubt before we make fun of them.

A few months ago I quickly popped out of my back door to tell my son and step-daughter it was time to come in for dinner.  Before I even got the words out, my neighbor yelled to me, “Kerrie, why are your shorts so short!?”  She yelled this in front of several kids and I was pretty embarrassed.  Now, this came from a women who knows all about what’s going on up in my body; she has even been kind enough to drive me to the ER or watch my kids while I drove myself to the ER.  So if she is saying this to me, how can I blame other people for wondering why I’m wearing such a tight dress at a bridal shower, or for staring at me as I walk into a funeral because my shirt is a little too low cut and my skirt is too short.

As you have probably figured out, I dress the way I do because of the way my skin feels.  Anything rubbing or moving on my skin either hurts or drives me crazy the way nails on a chalk board would drive you crazy.   So, my ideal outfit would be a tight fitting, soft tank top and yoga Capri pants.  However, in the summer, yoga pants are too hot so I have to wear shorts or skirts.   Shorts are usually not soft, so if I wear them they have to be high enough not to hit a very painful spot on my right thigh; same with the skirts.  Unfortunately, I have not found tight tank tops or soft, tight shirts that are not low cut, so my chest is exposed more than is appropriate for some occasions. (if you find some, please let me know!)

Most days, as I’ve said before, I don’t care what I wear.   But sometimes, I do, and sometimes I feel extremely self conscious.  I feel self conscious when I wear the same two outfits to every work event I attend because they are the only ones I can stand, I feel self conscious when I am at a wedding and I know I look inappropriate, I feel self conscious when I am out with a bunch of women, some of whom I don’t know, and I think I feel them staring at me.  But what other choice do I have?  My other choice would be to stay home, all the time, locked in my house, refusing to give myself and my sons the life we deserve.  So, I chose to face the stares (that may or may not be in my head).

Now I am going to share a couple of unflattering pictures of myself; pictures of a tight shirt too soon after I gave birth, and pictures of short skirts and short shorts.   But I want you to notice something in these pictures.  Notice that I am happy.

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Can we agree, now, that we need to give the lady at the gas pump a break?  We really need to start giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.   Don’t judge the lady wearing her pajamas at Walmart, because maybe she is on the way home from the hospital after being called to see a loved one in the middle of the night.  Don’t judge the lady at the mall with her belly hanging out of her shirt because maybe she just gave birth and doesn’t have the money to buy “in between clothes”.  Don’t judge the guy at work that wears the three same shirts every week because maybe is spending money on medical bills for his sick son.  And don’t judge the lady in a low cut top bending over at the children’s museum because maybe that’s the only way she will be able to get out of the house to spend time with her son.

If you have an similar experiences, please share!

 

Babe, I’m glad you have MS

Babe, I’m glad you have MS

Wait. What?

Ok, well, it is really not the simple.  But it is really not that complicated either.

Let me explain…

I won’t go into too many details because it is not my place to do so, but I will tell you that the medical luck in my husband’s family rivals the luck in my family.   But this post isn’t really about the medical issues as much as it is about my husband and his outlook on life.   First, I need to explain a few details.  For one, my husband is the youngest of four children.  His mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was nine and passed away when he was 16.  To him, she was sick in almost every memory he has of her.  Secondly, my husband very rarely shows emotion.  If something is wrong or potentially wrong with anyone in his immediate family his reaction is to block it out.    So, it may seem that he would not be the ideal spouse for someone with a chronic illness.   And furthermore, it absolutely seems like he is getting ripped off; a sick mom and now a sick wife.  However, my husband is the most amazing partner.  And as I discovered, his perspective on this whole situation is one that I am sure will surprise you.

As I am sure many of you understand, and can relate to, I feel guilty.  I feel guilty that my husband got royally screwed in the wife department.  I feel guilty for the sacrifices he is forced to make because of me.   I feel guilty for all the time he has to spend taking care of me.  I also feel guilty for the stupid things, like having to leave a restaurant after we get our drinks because, um, yeah, maybe it is a little too hot in here.   But, you know what?  That’s his job.  Yep.  He said it, and I agree.   He promised, in front of God and family to be in this through it all.  And his is.  He knows I would do the same for him.  So, that’s really not that surprising or crazy.  The crazy part is the way he looks at the time I have to spend at home either resting, or sitting on the couch because of how I’m feeling.  Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he sees it the other way.  He feels kinda lucky.  I’m around.  I’m around him.  I’m around the kids.  We are around each other.  The time I spend on the couch is quality time I have with my family that I may not have if I were perfectly healthy.  I think that is how he looked at his mother’s illness.  Yes, she was sick, but she was home with him maybe more than she would have been if she wasn’t.  He deals with his reality now the way he dealt with it when he was a kid, he looks at the bright side.

Some months are better than others for me.  The past few have been pretty great and we’ve been able to do more.  However, it is nice to know that when I can’t do what I wish I could, in his mind; he’s gaining, not losing.

So, what about the blocking out and shutting down?  Well, that has its positives and negatives.  When I was younger, and I had the flu, my mom, like most, checked on me constantly and brought me Popsicles and ice.  Wellllllllll, let’s just say that now, when I’m upstairs in our room, with the flu, he’s not exactly banging down the door with a fist full of Popsicles.  BUT, that is not because he doesn’t care.  For one, when he is sick he doesn’t like to be bothered, so he doesn’t bother me.  But secondly, when I’m MS sick, he doesn’t break down.  He doesn’t get depressed.  He doesn’t fall apart.  He brings me ice for my skin and lets me rest.  He takes care of the things I can’t and goes on about his day.  THAT is the amazing part.   If our roles were reversed I would be an emotional wreck.   He handles it, because unfortunately or fortunately, that is what he is used to doing.   He doesn’t dwell on anything negative about my medical situation.   He just does what he can and moves on.

And some days I, like everyone, get kinda down on myself about my situation. And his response?  At least you are here.  At least you are here for the kids.  At least you are here for me.  You see, the kids don’t know how life is “supposed” to be.  They have their reality, and to them, it’s a great one. (and that’s another post: Mom, Isn’t this the Best Day Ever?)  They don’t know about everything I wish I could do with them, and that is ok.

According to my husband, he and the kids are not missing out on anything because they have the one thing they really need.   They have love.

And so do I.