Lots of physical things change when you have various illnesses, diseases and disabilities but our personalities, likes, dislikes tend to take a long time to catch up; if ever! And in my own circumstances this meant that one day I loved dressing up, hairstyles, fashion, colour, shoes and heels to barely being able to dress myself! What crueler torture could there be for someone like me? Well, actually there have been plenty more but this one hit hard.
I think fashion has always been an extension of my artistic personality and therefore it still follows me even now, even when I struggle to brush my hair. What to do? What do I do with all these shoes and clothes and memories? I sat on the bed searching for a solution of blending the old world with the new. One a fashionista and the other a not so able bodied person. It was during a flare that my husband went to my wardrobe and took out one of my treasured red Jimmy Choo’s and he said “Whats wrong with keeping them? Your past is as much a part of you as your present and your future…” He was right!
We all have bits and pieces that we keep. Old books, old trinkets, memorabilia that brings us memories, emotions and keeps people close to our hearts. That’s how I see some of the pieces of my old wardrobe, like old friends that I remember with fondness and respect. My current wardrobe may need to change with my abilities and needs but it doesn’t mean I have to delete who I was. Now I look for new and fun ways to evolve my fashion sense with my physical abilities and limitations!
Hats are now a fun journey for me as my skin has become sensitive to the sun (Chemo and Sjogrens diseases) and I love having fun with the different types of hats I can find. Flat shoes are a brand new experience for me. I am a flat heeled virgin and so I have been researching shoes that look fun, pretty, girly and still afford my poor damaged joints the comfort and support they deserve. Spending time in a wheelchair means that I must consider the types of skirts and pants I wear… and so on and so forth. Instead of seeing it all as a terrible loss, I try and find the novelty and inspiration in my new circumstances and challenges. The diva still lives on!
It has also given me the inspiration to start a site dedicated to other like minded people who may find their needs have changed due to illness, disability or disease and I would like to create a place for us all to come together in a fun, judgement free and respectful way. Never afraid of a challenge or trying something new! From this thinking I have created, with a fellow Autoimmune fighter, a website and Facebook page dedicated to celebrating fashion for the challenged!! Our hope is to bring together anyone and everyone who are interested at looking at and thinking about fashion in new ways. If you are one of those people please join in and share your voice and experiences with us. No matter what illness, what disease, what disability, what race, what gender… even if you just want to share the fun… you will be welcome.
Lets not let go of some of the things that we loved about our former lives and our personalities, lets just find new ways to enjoy them. Viva la Diva!