Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sexuality, Shoes and Auto-Immune Diesease

For me being a woman has always felt right.  I just enjoy being a woman.  Guys can't get away with the chameleon like changes women so easily get away with. I can wear jeans, boots and t-shirts (my everyday tomboy self) or dresses and heels (my sexual inner diva) depending on how I feel at the moment. Even the variations in the types of jeans can change my look immensely.  Gathering cattle? A size too big plain label Wranglers, low heeled boots and whatever t-shirt I happen to grab over a sports bra.  Cowboy bar on a Friday night? Tight, blinged out Big Star jeans, push-up bra, tight low cut shirt and embroidered high heeled boots.  Sure, guys have dress and casual clothes too, but lets be honest here, there's not nearly as much transformation for them as there is for women.  And I'm not even going into hair and make-up!

When I was in my early to mid 30's, before the symptoms of my diseases showed up, I loved transforming into that sexual woman I described above in the tight jeans and push up bra.  I loved seeing my husbands eyes light up when he saw the transformation of his tomboy wife into a sexy wild cat.  That, my friends, is one of the trills of being a woman. 

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia just over six years ago now and at one point the only heels left in my closet were the ones from my wedding. Ugly old lady shoes started taking over my closet once the pain became to great to wear anything remotely sexy. Sometimes I'd try to wear heels but when the pain was too great to wear them even a few steps I broke down and threw them all away.  At the time I thought seeing them in my closet would be too much of a reminder of what I had lost. However with the loss of those heels I also started losing my sexuality, though I didn't realize it at the time.

Once I went raw and started feeling better I did buy a couple pairs of low heels for special occasions but they were still leaning more towards comfort than to sexual appeal. It's hard to be sexy in clunky Soft Spot granny "heels".

While seeing a therapist and dealing with my depression and feelings of losing who I am to my disease I discovered I'd lost something else too.  My sexuality.  Sure, I'm still tall, blond, blue-eyed and my husband still thinks I'm beautiful but I had lost my sense of sexuality inside myself.  The worst part of this was that I'd just accepted it as something I'd lost to the disease - even though I now realize I didn't have to. 

Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia have a laundry list of symptoms; loss of motion, stiffness, inflammation, joint pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory loss.... the list goes on and on but one symptom that I've yet to find mentioned anywhere is loss of sexuality. Maybe a loss of sex drive but I've never seen loss of sexuality mentioned. Anywhere. That was of my own doing.

The last few months I've consciously started working on my sexuality.  It's not as easy as it sounds for someone who had quit thinking of herself in that way years ago.   At first I just started simple; a pair of fancy jeans.  A couple sexy, tight fitting tops.  New underwear, not purchased from a discount store.  Those changes did feel good but it wasn't until I started sunbathing this summer that I really started feeling better about myself.  Now I don't want to freak everyone out, I'm not getting burnt or spending hours out in the sun, I'm just doing a half hour per side once or twice a week.  Once I started seeing my body, in a literally different light, I started loving myself a bit more again.  So much so I lost my shyness and even bought my first bikini in ten years. 

My first Jessica Simpson heels!
Then last week, while I was walking through a high end department store on my way to the main mall, I spotted a shoe sale. And not just any shoe sale.... a half price Jessica Simpson brand shoe sale!  I've always admired her shoes. I've always thought that if I were still normal I'd have a closet full of them.  Her shoes are just like her they are sexy, edgy and freakishly dangerous just as I used to be not so long ago. Today though, these are definitely not a shoe for me, especially with my crippled feet.  The feet I've described that on bad days feels like they are made of broken glass instead of actual bones.

Maybe all the sun I've exposed myself to lately fried my brain.  Maybe my diseases have affected my reasoning.  Maybe it was my inner sexual diva, the one that I'd thought was gone forever, who took control of me that day and forced me to buy the coolest shoes I've seen in years. Whatever or whoever it was I'm just glad that I bought them. Who knows if I'll ever have a good enough day to wear them out of the house.  That's not the point.  The point is that She Is Back!  and I'm so glad she is ;-)