The heat has been arriving early here in the valley of the sun. We had 10 straight days of 90F in the month of March and it's just way too soon for that nonsense. My psoriasis has always been classified as severe both because of coverage and severity of the plaques and cracking, and I have 3 types of active psoriasis (plaque, inverse, pustular) at any given time. Right now I would consider it moderate personally as even though I have severe coverage, I have minimal cracking, itching and scale build up, and my pustular is keeping to a few small blisters on my palms and feet that haven't affected my ability to walk or use my hands. This time of year is when the ramp up of advertising starts up about how we don't have to be embarrassed by our skin if we would just get this medicine or use this cream. Maybe this special frequency light therapy is all we need to rid our world of the plague of scales and itch. I understand the drive of these commercials, but they've always rubbed me wrong. If it was oh so easy why aren't we all in remission and running around in shorts and tank tops playing golf and shopping?
I always thought I was pretty ambivalent to other people's opinion of my skin. I didn't go out of my way to hide it, or so I thought. When I started this blog it dawned on me that maybe I wasn't as ambivalent as I had convinced myself I was. In fact maybe I am a huge lying hypocrite especially to myself. When I worked it was in a lab that was always around 65F. This meant that even when it was 100F+ outside I was fully covered in long sleeves, long pants, closed toe shoes. All my spots were covered and I told myself it was because it was cold in the lab. I even bought shirts with extra long sleeves so I could cover my hands past my knuckles which incidentally have usually been my most plaqued and cracked area. That was in my head because my hands were cold, but really if I'm honest with myself was to pull the sleeves past the ugliness. Really lets be honest those long sleeve shirts from Target really aren't thick enough to help heat my ice cold circulation challenged hands. On hind sight I wore these clothes ALL the time, not just at work. We tell ourselves a lot of little lies to convince ourselves we aren't as vulnerable as we really are. Maybe I'm not as bad ass as I thought I was. I then decided to stop hiding. I'd go out in shorts and a tank top and let my freaky psoriatic flag fly. The people staring wasn't too bothersome. I've been stared at my whole life for one reason or another, but the people stepping away after they stared just pissed me off. Yes most are trying to be polite by not asking uncomfortable questions, but damn it ask me and I'll tell you I'm no threat to you. I'm not contagious. In fact if I am on DMARDs or biologicals you are probably much more dangerous to me with all your germiness and poor hygiene than I will ever be to you. I swung so far to the other side I would often embarrass my oldest because any interaction with people at any public place became a teaching opportunity. I was like the missionary of education for the Psoriatic congregation to the ignorant and needing to be educated public. I'd wear shorts when it was clearly not short weather just to get people to say something. I've never been a halfway girl. If I'm going to jump in it will be like a bull in a china shop decency be damned.
Today I've mellowed a bit. I still pull my long sleeves over my knuckles, but usually it's because they hurt from even change in temperature in the air. I will however be wearing the shortest shorts my 45 year old ass can carry off in public with my leopard spot scales out for all to see. I wear flip flops and put my feet up where people can't help but see the cracks and scales on my perfectly manicured feet even if those colorful toe nails are missing a nail or two courtesy of psoriasis under the nail bed. I wear my bikini that shows the inverse psoriasis in my belly button and under my breasts. I still get the looks. I just don't feel like I need to explain myself if someone doesn't ask. I will smile and carry on living my life as best as I can spots, cracks, scales and all. I'm not totally impervious to bouts of self consciousness, but I am at least honest with myself that I'm human. That means on days I feel strong enough to look past the stares and comments then by God I will. It also means on days I'm feeling especially self conscious about my appearance that that is ok. I would have those days with out Psoriasis. All of us have insecurity and we learn to live within our perceived weakness.
I don't know if there is a lesson to be learned from my rambling, but hopefully knowing that even those of us who post pictures of our scales on the internet have times of insecurity, and that's ok, that you are not alone in how you feel about your Psoriasis. We all want to find that miracle drug that will give us remission. We all want to look in the mirror and not see scales and scars. We all have days when looking in the mirror just isn't going to happen. That is OK. Each day is a new opportunity to love ourselves in what ever incarnation we are in on that day. IT WILL BE OK.