I love winter because I can plausibly claim scarves as a fashion accessory. I don’t have to face the overwhelm that is shopping with ADHD or planning coherent outfits in the morning with low blood pressure. I can wear seemingly infinite permutations of plain black or brown work pants, button-down blouses and vaguely stylish scarves that I can buy from the comfort of my computer. If I could wear scarves indoors year round, I might actually have a viable personal brand!
We were spared the brunt of a full nor’easter, but we did still have snow on the ground this week. With temperatures hovering around freezing in the first full week of Spring, I’ve enjoyed the guilty pleasure of an extra week of wearing scarves instead of having to think about what I’m doing with my work attire.
Unfortunately, Facebook slightly spoiled my revelry this week because it is evil and should never be allowed to comment on my life via its TimeHop feature. I have managed to avoid Facebook through benign neglect for about six months now, thus predating the current,“What do you mean, Facebook has a copy of every text I’ve ever sent to a contact on my phone?!” hysteria* by long enough to possibly claim to be prescient. Facebook wants me back, so it has been especially insistent in its notifications that I have memories to look back on for this week.
Another unofficial marker of co-occurring ADHD in girls with co-morbid anxiety is probably that, for about five years straight, they will take until the first week of Spring to edit and post their pictures from their Christmas trip. They will thus have a lot of Christmas memories to look back on in early Spring on TimeHop! With five years of data to review – and one more reflexive login from my phone to let Facebook further mine my data because I’m a forgetful girl – I realized that another unexpected benefit of scarves is that they minimize the appearance of weight gain on photographs. Thanks to my habit of taking trips over Christmas to places where all the tourist sites are outdoors, my Facebook photos typically include a sweater layer, a hat and maybe even the hood of my coat to obscure my actual face on all of my pictures of “myself.” I wonder if the majority of my Facebook “friends” actually remember what I look like, or if they just remember the silhouettes of the various coats that I have worn over the years? Other than bemusement about my Partner’s consistent ability to take photos of “me” that only show my eyes, I have typically been indifferent to how I look in photos.
I’m not so indifferent to the photos I took of myself in Iceland this year. I don’t think it had really sunk in to me amid everything else going on in my life, but I’m bigger this year on my photos than what Facebook reminds me has been my norm for years. Among other lousy aspects of dysautonomia / POTS, those medications I now take to keep me upright to take those mysterious unidentifiable pictures of a figure in a coat from around the world have also made me gain weight. Add to that the fact that my metabolism is already shot to Hell from the chronic stress of PTSD and the general “my body thinks it’s running a marathon when I stand up” flooding of my body with cortisol that composes the dysautonomia itself, and, well…
The dysautonomia and the ADHD medications I also take – which lower my appetite while they are in my system – duked it out. The dysautonomia meds won.
I thought I had only the normal amount of body shame endemic to all American women, but, thanks to those stupid TimeHop photos reminding me of what once was my body, I’m wondering what will happen the next time I’m called upon to take a selfie not bundled in five layers?
I clearly need to up my exercise to keep my weight in check. My dysautonomia isn’t going anywhere. I had a schedule worked out in my mind that would have allowed me to ease into a routine of exercising at least twice a week again, even with my all of my symptoms and my very high-pressure job. But, I was also just warned that I have to learn a new way to exercise because even the recumbent dysautonomia-friendly yoga regime I thought I had worked out could further mess up my joints without proper modifications. I am supposed to hold off on starting any new exercise routine, simply because I can spin a few joints around in ways they shouldn’t bend, at least until I can start seeing a physical therapist. Also, if I understand this correctly, I’m not really supposed to exercise exercise my joints even in PT, just “strengthen and protect” them? I think strengthen and protect might be code for “I’m keeping this med weight on forever, aren’t I?!”
I’ve barely been on Facebook for months because I only have the mental focus for one type of social media. Add blog; subtract Facebook. If there can be only one, I will continue to tell myself I prefer the honest one. I wonder, though, if that is still my predominant reason? Is it still enlightened detachment that will likely keep me from ever posting this year’s Iceland photos on Facebook? Or has an element of self-doubt also reinforced what was once a strictly non-decision decision? Is this sudden sinking sensation that I’m fat part of the reason I’m unsure about preserving this year’s photos online for all eternity, or am I just being ADHD as per usual?
Given my unexpected attack of low selfiesteem, should I post this year’s crop of trip pics taken in -24 C just to prove a point to myself, especially since the scarves will hide what looks like a double chin on too many of the pictures and/or no one will really notice or comment even if they don’t? Do I post anything on any form of social media that shows my face? Does it matter less if anyone who might actually care to see my photos will probably abandon Facebook soon anyway? Which choice is actually empowering if contemplating such choices at all isn’t something that I have felt the need to do in years past?
I refuse to consent willingly to giving myself a further complex about my weight if I can help it. Once bullied and/or abused, though, it’s easy to develop complexes, and it’s hard to really ever truly be okay with oneself. I was never overweight as a kid, which is why I thought that my weight was the one thing I didn’t have a complex about. I was bullied, however, for other aspects of my appearance, and I have a trauma history.
Good old ADHD made me procrastinate cleaning out the duplicates of my Christmas pics until it was almost April this year. Some vague concession to the good old social pecking order that never goes away despite my attempts to banish it is why I have continued to post trip photos year after year even after procrastinating, thus establishing a sort-of precedent (albeit a very ADHD one.) And, my good old brain is too darn good at extrapolating from similar, but not identical, data points. I care about how I look in those photos that I post months after anyone else cares about my trip any longer.
*It’s not truly hysteria to not want Facebook to control a person’s personal narrative. It is very much in line with my views on trust and personal ownership of sensitive topics to opt out. I just sarcastically referred to it as hysteria because anyone just now realizing the egregiousness of Facebook’s “privacy” policy has waited far too long to take effective action to be able to save themselves. Gallows humor, everyone. After all, Facebook came pre-installed on multiple popular Samsung phone models, so even folks like me who are indifferent users of Facebook generally most likely long ago granted full consent the first time we absentmindedly opened the app on our phones. The privacy ship has sailed so far out to sea by now that this week I read an online technical guide on how to disable Facebook on Samsung phones – I can’t uninstall it as long as Samsung phones view the factory Facebook pre-load as a systems file – and was too lazy to follow through on its instructions. All of that juicy phone metadata that Facebook has on me because I missed little details are data they will have forever. Why bother exerting a lot of high effort for extremely modest privacy-shielding effect sizes?
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