On Embracing Scars



A Royal wedding dress reveal is often a rather exciting moment for most fashion enthusiasts, but for me seeing the photographs of Princess Eugenie in her stunning Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos gown felt extra special. 



From a fashion perspective it was wonderful to see a British label given such a platform (talking of which she also wore Charlotte Olympia shoes for the occasion.) There's no doubt it was a beautiful dress - the full skirt, the folded neckline - but to see the long, thin scar, a result of spinal surgery for scoliosis, pointedly peeking out from the deep V back showed the power of dress and meant that for me it was far more than a moment for fashion. It was a moment of empowerment for everyone else with similar surgical souvenirs. 

You see I too bear that same scar, as I had the exact same operation aged 14. They straightened my twisty spine and fixed it in place with twelve bolts and two titanium rods and after a painful, but thankfully brief recovery, off I went to enjoy life all straight and proper. If it wasn't for the scar that snakes up the entire length of my spine to be honest I'd quite forget I had it done, especially taking into account lung transplantation surgery almost 10 years later.

Which brings me on to the scars from that. We have the obvious one that goes from side to side across my chest where the surgery was performed. I have two scars on each side of my ribs where chest drains were inserted (one looks a bit like a star which I'm quite fond of.) Alongside the one where they put a tracheostomy (breathing tube) in, I have the ones on my neck caused by ECMO (a big life support machine with equally big tubes) and then two scars on my legs where they had to put ECMO in there after the neck one didn't work. There's the one where I had a feeding tube in my stomach and more in my neck and on my side where a port sits under my skin, as well as various scars from all the cannulas, blood tests and whatnot from over the years - there's a lot going on, sure. 

Of course I knew I'd have scars but seeing as there were no mirrors in hospital I was quite unaware of just how much my body had changed. It wasn't until I was getting dressed in my bedroom and caught my reflection in the full length mirrors of my wardrobe doors that I was confronted with this new, stark reality. It was shocking to me, to see the full extent of what my body had been through - it looked so violent, I didn't recognise myself. To be frank, I felt grotesque. Perhaps not the right thing to think after almost dying, but that's how I felt at the time. 

However, after the initial shock had worn off I began to see them as a sign of power and strength. They were a mark of all that I'd been through, a tribute to the magic of medical science and a specific reminder of the type of surgery I'd had that saved my life. Incredible things! Beautiful meanings!

Time has faded my scars and most are hidden by my clothes. They're not totally on show here either mainly because the most obvious ones are in awky places but they're there nonetheless, attached to stories that are a part of what makes me, me. Perhaps it's my love of a good novel, maybe it's the history geek in me or narcissist, depending on your view, that revels in the idea of a narrative being revealed through the strange marks on my skin. They still cause me occasional pain due to scar tissue and other parts are completely numb years later so they're not without problems. However much I think they should be normalised and without wanting glamorise them, I firmly believe we should be proud of our scars - from the ones from major surgical procedures to the little burns that nipped the back of your hands grabbing a pizza out the oven, they're a reflection of our lives rather than the airbrushed, flawless bodies traditional and social media bombard us with. 

So to see Princess Eugenie showing her scar on what was probably the most public day of her life was empowering to see - a small but mighty gesture. From the numerous tweets I saw that day to the excitable message I got from a fellow lady who's had scoliosis corrective surgery ('We are matching!') I know for sure I wasn't the only one moved by it. 



Spark Joy



Hi frens! How are we? Quick update since we last spoke, it's been a little while I know, but I was laptopless and also busy because somehow I was able to drag my summer hols out for a whole four months. I've just moved into a new (happy) place in Brighton and am about to start my second year of uni, so that's where I'm currently at in life. I had many truly wonderful moments and also some horrendously bad, I would say it was an extreme time (much like that crazy heatwave, hey?)



But I'm not gonna put all that drama on here as this isn't Facebook. Who knows, I may say something of my experiences one day as they were certainly learning curves but for now I would like to not talk about *crippling depression* and instead have a mini rant discussion about why I've felt a bit distant from the blogging world lately.

I spent a lot of the summer volunteering again at the Fashion and Textile Museum, I'm sure I'll be posting about that at some point as even though the exhibition is over now I really want to keep the diary aspect of this blog going. One of the major things that really turns me off about blogging/social media is the commercialisation of it. Yes gurl, get that dollar, I myself have done the odd sponsored post and also posted about products I've received. But oh man is it constant 'SELL SELL SELL!' sometimes. I like shopping as much, if not more, than the next person but if even I am getting overwhelmed by it all then surely most people are. Life moves on and times change but I know when I started reading blogs it was because I was a nosy bugger who wanted to know what people were watching, what they were reading, what they were thinking and not only what they were wearing and buying (I'm a creepy person like that ok.) I liked to see a bit of personality. I don't know, it's a tricky one - it's incredible that people are earning actual money, enough to live off and then some, but it's just so in your face sometimes like #AD #AD #AD and it's just so bland. Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of mindless escapism (hello, TOWIE) but I guess it'd be nice to see someone write or wear something for the genuine pure joy of it otherwise life seems pretty soulless. Which it certainly is not, there are so many things to get excited about and I just wanna know what really floats someone's boat rather than that same mascara that twenty other influencers are raving about until they're sent a new one a week later. 

So yeah, that was a bloody long way of saying I will  be posting a lot more about exhibitions and art and life things.  Things I like. I did try therapy but I've worked out that really the nicest thing I can do for myself is a late night brain dump on here about whatever the hell I feel like talking about - whether it makes sense or not the next day will be a surprise, much like my drunk texts. If you think I chat nonsense on here, well you ain't seen nothing yet.

(But don't worry if you're here for the fashion, I obviously still love it so there'll still be some of that too.)

Niamh Nelson x

Two Years




This week I hit two years post transplant - two extra precious years that I'd never have had if it weren't for a very special person and their family. Because of them I've got to spend more time with my family and loved ones, as well as meet so many lovely new people too. Things are so different now, life is wild. Hand on heart I wake up so excited every day because I can't wait to see where the day will take me - it's definitely taken me on some adventures!

I speak sometimes about life not always being a smooth ride post transplant but that's ok because it's all worth it. It's not about trying to avoid anxious feelings but acknowledging them. From talking to others it appears that it seems to be part and parcel of post transplant life. So much of society suffers from anxiety and depression without having the added pressure of transplant and CF, I think I forget sometimes that they're not common things to happen to a person. I can be quite immersed in that world due to growing up with it, being in hospital and having lots of amazing transplant/CF friends which means I think that often I normalise it. I have to remind myself to take a step back at times and look at it from an 'outsider' point of view, then I realise that it's actually a huge fookin' deal! I still have bouts of depression now and then (February to April was really difficult) but on the whole I'm still having so much fun and am starting to be kinder to myself. Physical health issues have popped up in the last year but these lungs are still doing fabulously and are taking me places I'd never been before. It's been so great to progress in life rather than being stuck in the mud (or with sticky lungs) like I used to.

I still feel the same sentiments I'll link it here if you'd like to read. as it sums up all the feels - it's a quote from Lupita Nyong'o and although she was obviously talking about something else I felt her words were very relevant:

'It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's.'

So here's to my donor and their family, who I think of daily but particularly more this week and sending all the love and gratitude. It's a cliche but there really are no words to thank them for what they've done for me and the opportunities and experiences I've had thanks to organ donation - the gift they've given is truly priceless and I'll be forever grateful. 






What I Wore #2


So it appears I have a kind of summer uniform thing going on but hey, if it ain't broke and all that. Although I probably do need to stop stockpiling summer dresses, as cute as they are and as wonderful as this weather is of late I'm sure that in a blink of an eye we'll all be back in our woolies!

Monday

Dress Kate Moss x Topshop via Bag Charity Shop Shoes My mama's

An entirely thrifted outfit that's a reminder to self to check out the charity shops more (and my ma's closet!)

Tuesday

Jacket Primark Dress Mango (last year's, ) Bag Charity Shop Shoes

One of my all-time favourite dresses, I'm glad it looks just as cool dressed down with trainers as it does dolled up with heels because otherwise I'd never get the chance to wear it!

Wednesday

Dress Topshop () Bag South Beach ) Shoes

As you can clearly see this dress has shrunk a little in the wash, which is what I deserve for buying such a cheeky Reformation knock off. Either that or I'm in denial about how much ice cream I've been eating lately. But ice cream>fashion always.

Thursday

Tee Shorts Topshop (old, ) Bag Shoes Topshop (old, )

Something super casj for a dog walk because my hangover wasn't Freddy's problem. 

Friday

Dress New Look (old, ) Belt ASOS (old, ) Shoes Superga via Depop Bag South Beach ()

All year round I complain about having no boobs but when the mini heatwave arrives I feel #blessed because bras are not made for this weather. Not that any of us need to wear one at all, it's just I don't have to worry about them escaping out of anything if I don't. 

Saturday

Dress Primark () Bag South Beach () Shoes Superga via Depop

Just the day before I'd declared that I wasn't going to buy anymore summer dresses but I fell in love with this when I saw it and I won't let anyone, especially myself, get in the way of true love. 

Sunday

Playsuit Bag Charity Shop Shoes My mama's

I'm still fully obsessed with this playsuit although I'll tell you it's definitely not the one for a festival/gig or anything else that requires you to pee in a hurry. The denim and pockets may be super practical but the buttons certainly aren't.

So I've been sticking to a pretty simple formula lately! I live for summer dressing though, I get so bored of coats and boots when it's cold. What about you? 


© Unique Fashion. All rights reserved.
countercounter