One common theme I've noticed when I explore the RA blogs is this: the "old me" vs. "new me" syndrome. Or the "before-RA person" vs. "After RA person."
Well, let me add a post toward the continuation of that theme. ;)
Before RA, I, your RA superbitch, was a knockout. I know it is common these days for any skinny girl with stringy straight flat hair to claim she is "hot," but I promise you, Pamela Anderson had nothing on me. Thick lustrous blonde hair, tiny waist, curves in all the right places and a smile to die for. Yep, that was me. I stopped traffic and I knew it. I once went a six-month period where I paid for nothing, I mean not a taco at taco bell, not for a movie ticket even if I were out with my girlfriends, not entry into any club. Everywhere I went, some poor guy at the door would say, "No charge for you, Sweetie."
Now before you decide that you hate me. Let me explain two things.
First, I didn't plan to be a stunner. I had grown up with babyfat, and my face always held that round Irish look. But after college, I transformed, the babyfat melted away, the highlights came from the salon and I learned to buy clothes that accentuated my waist. And before I knew it, Bam! I am causing traffic accidents.
Second, there was a downside to all this beauty. See, because I had grown up as only the "cute girl," I had a very friendly, outgoing, upbeat personality. I never formed the "I'm too hot to care about your opinion" attitude that most of my friends had cultivated. If women hated me, I cared...a lot. As in, I would obsess about how I could make those women like me. I went home and baked cookies, bought them bath products, offered to lend them clothes, pretty much do anything to win 'em over. It never worked. I finally figured out sometime in my late twenties that a woman determined to hate you because she envies you will hate you regardless of how much you kiss her ass.
And no women were meaner to me than those women working in minimum wage jobs: grocery clerks, fast food workers, the list goes on. It was something I had been so accustomed to, I barely noticed anymore when I pulled up to a drive-thru window only to be given a sneer and an eye-roll along with my change and my ketchup.
And then RA happened.
First came steroid weight, then the baby weight. And by the time I lost both of these, I had grown accustomed to sweats and ponytails. Oh, and did I mention the hair loss? Yep. Bye, bye to the long lustrous hair. Here came a short pixie cut.
Slowly, over time, I transformed physically from the person I had come to know in the mirror. Yet, this physical transformation honestly barely appeared on my radar. I was too busy trying to survive the pain and frustration of the rheumatoid arthritis.
This brings me up to today. Ok, so a few years have gone by. The drs. have learned that leucovorin given with methotrexate can slow hair loss, and I have achieved a shoulder length thick haircut again. My baby is now a child, which means I no longer have to leave the house in milk stained sweats. I slowly started pulling out jeans and fitted shirts again. All those days spent in the pool and gym to try to keep my joint function have paid off. The muscles and curves are back.
Last week, my husband and I pulled into Burger King. I was in the driver's seat for once. (The hubby makes a bad passenger, so its rarely worth the trouble of asking for the steering wheel.) Since he usually does the ordering when we are together, he was shocked to see the reaction of the girl who took my bills. As was the pattern of the past, she silently took my money, rolled her eyes at me and sighed without my having to say anything remotely rude or insulting.
My husband immediately got angry. With digust clearly written all over his face, he said, "That was rude!"
And suddenly it dawned on me, "It was rude, wasn't it?"
And then I smiled. Yes, smiled!
Because now I know I'm hot enough to be a bitch again...and not just an RA bitch.
Thanks tacky drive-thru witch for giving me back a piece of the old me!