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Fat Thigh-roid Woes: Beauty-licious

Post Published: 17 September 2010
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Category: Column, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, Graves Disease Symptoms Column
This post currently has 6 responses. Leave a comment


My fun project for the week was “Beauty”.

I tried to go to the beach to start my day, but I forgot to bring cash to park there and they don’t accept credit cards.  There’s this thing in Los Angeles – if you want to see nature you either pay to park, or try to not park in a tow zone.  Alas, it just wasn’t meant to be…so I headed to The Grove, which is an outdoor shopping center.  They have a Fresh perfume store, a fountain, a little bridge – and it’s downright charming.

I know after I tell you this part, you guys are going to assume I just like to eat and will stuff my face on every single day of this “Essence of the Word” excursion – but hear me out.  Look at this:

How BEAUTIFUL is that bread?  I didn’t even POSITION it, it just CAME LIKE THAT. It’s the little things that make me smile.  It was calling to me…and the green sauce on the side?  Tossed it down my throat.  After my food, I ordered a french press coffee and it was the most delish coffee I’ve ever had EVER.  And this outdoor seating was so damn pretty too!

My fat ass restrained itself from ordering dessert – unlike my day of “Selfishness” and the cheesecake pounding.

After eating, I walked around and snapped shots of random people without them knowing so they wouldn’t pose.  It’s amazing how complete strangers will put on the face they want you to see.  Try it sometime – go outside with a pro looking camera and notice how many people suck in their gut, turn to their good side, and plaster an awkward smile across their face…all for you, a total stranger.  Therefore, I had to be as covert as possible.

Now, here’s the deal with kids.  I’m not generally a kid person, but I do like watching kids that don’t realize they’re being watched (not in a creepy way either, come on) and I also appreciate the nerve they have.  Not ALL kids are beautiful in my personal and, albeit, unpopular opinion.  But they all have the potential to be awesome when us annoying adults don’t get in the way.   Just like this little dude:


His mother apologized because she assumed I was taking pictures of the fountain.  Nope, I was taking pix of your son cause him and I mind melded, and I KNEW he was going to jump up and attempt a fountain swim.  I saw him gazing at the water like it was taunting him…calling him and his machismo OUT.  He was like, F U fountain, I ain’t afraid.  Then swoop, his mom ruined EVERYTHING.

Once I got home, I took a walk to the store for some chocolate chips.  Three miles people.  Three miles of thinking about beautiful things and beautiful cookies.

I am hell bent on making the best chocolate chip cookie that anyone has ever had.  As my friend Dana says, “you’re obsessed with reinventing the wheel.”  Yeah, and so what?  I’m using different types of flours, different techniques, different everything – and this pleases me.  I’m also one of those people that doesn’t like to eat off of paper plates because it’s not pretty (not because I’m an environmentalist or anything).  I just think food TASTES better when it’s served nicely.  I put TAKE OUT in a plate, instead of eating it out of the containers it comes in.  So there you go, it’s only natural that I tackle the chocolate chip project on the day of “Beauty”.  I made two different batches – one with browning the butter, and one without.  The consensus is: regular ol’ room temperature butter makes the cookies taste better the next day.  What ISN’T beautiful about Cookie Project 2010 is how I FORCE people to eat them.  I yell, I scream, I threaten – all in the name of “Beauty”.  I don’t deliver with a smile, instead, I go “TRY IT, RIGHT NOW” and everyone has to drop what they’re doing to give me an opinion.   I am the world’s meanest baker.  Sorry I don’t have a pic of the cookies for you because they disappeared as soon as they were made.

Time for deep thoughts…

Graves Disease messed up my concept of beauty.  Big time.  I felt anything BUT beautiful, and no matter what I did to remedy the situation – makeup, nice stuff to wear, it just didn’t help.  The appearance of my eyes had changed, my neck was fat, and I felt like I’d aged ten years.

I’m not going to feed you the same thing we commonly hear – things such as “if you make yourself feel beautiful, you will be beautiful” or “beauty is from within” etc.  We all know we want to LOOK good, but how do we get there when we’re struggling with a disease that changes our physical appearance?

My goal was to seek out beauty, and see if any of it was able to bounce back and penetrate this thick exterior of exhaustion, stress, and depression.  It did.  I found it more productive to just make it simple and SEE beauty, instead of trying to MAKE myself feel beautiful.  We all have a tendency to walk and look straight ahead, but not really see.

Not gonna try to get all hippie on you and say “watch the pretty birds in the morning”, I’m just pointing this out: next time you’re overwhelmed and struggling, stop and look up, or down – it will change your perspective.  This is what I’m learning to do with photography – changing perspective creates a more interesting picture.  I’m attempting to do that with my life as well.

How do you seek Beauty when you’re struggling to find it within yourself?

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6 Responses to “Fat Thigh-roid Woes: Beauty-licious”

  1. Amanda says:

    Nicole,

    Again, such a great project idea on so many levels. Noticing beauty is not easy. We get so caught up in our illness, our stresses that we see only what is on our path that we need to see. Realizing there is beauty in EVERYTHING takes work and focus.

    When my daughter returned from her wonderful 2 weeks at “art camp” [The Governors Institute for the Arts] this summer… she was in love with everything. We couldn’t walk or drive anywhere without stopping or slowing to appreciate the lines, art, colors, shapes, lighting, and people everywhere. She was in pure joy and it reflected it on the rest of us. It was wonderful and it lasted for weeks and weeks. I saw the connection then, and let it slip as things got a bit rough. But it is true, you can affect your own life/mood/point of view by appreciating beauty.

    Reset your life and look for beauty. It really works.

    As far as “me” seeing physical beauty in myself, I still see the flaws first [and my nerd glasses]. It takes work, as most beauty is within. Of course I see flaws and trivial things because they are easy. So I will now put in my bathroom drawer a note that says “seek beauty”. Great reminder.

    Amanda

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Amanda,

      I love that you’re putting that note in your bathroom drawer and I LOVE that your daughter came back so pumped after camp. It’s so hard to stay in that mindset when, oh, you know – LIFE starts happening again. I envy people that can wake up every morning without reminding themselves to find the good stuff. I also focus on what I DON’T like about myself…and that shit sucks. I wish there was a way to press the reset button…

      xoxo,

      Nix

  2. jillautumn says:

    I am truly loving what you are doing. I think it speaks on so many levels. I have been struggling with physical beauty issues for the last few years. For me, having my physical beauty slowly stripped away has made me look at things a bit differently. Instead of struggling to see beauty, I actually have an easier time finding beauty in simple places I never would have thought to look before. Its finding that beauty in myself where I keep hitting the brick wall!

    I have learned to slow down and appreciate the smaller things, and for that I am thankful.

    Thanks so much Nicole. keep up the writing. You are inspiring.

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Jill,

      Thank you and you’re welcome! I write because I want to turn my nightmare and shitty experience with Graves into something positive HERE. We’re all in the same bullshit thyroid boat – so it’s nice to be able to share, reflect, and hope it’s doing something awesome for someone who needs it.

      I’m so happy you’ve been able to seek beauty out in the world…it’s still a work in progress for me to slow down and appreciate the smaller things. For example: I am a fast eater, and no matter how many times I tell myself to slow down and enjoy my food, once it shows up I’m shoving it into my face. I think of this whole Beauty thing the same way…I keep reminding myself, but what’s it going to take to finally STICK?

      I hope you, and all of us, find a way to see the beauty within ourselves again. I’m starting by trying to get my body into shape again, since Graves made my muscles a flabby mess – but at the same time, I try to remind myself to not be so critical…my body has been through a war. We should all go easy on ourselves : )

      Take care,

      Nicole

  3. SharonM says:

    What was the green sauce?

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Hey Sharon,

      It was olive oil with a bunch of herbs and spices – deeeeeelish. I ate it too quickly to analyze what they put it in, but it kind of tasted like a chimichurri sauce.

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