How Reality TV Helped Me Love My Psoriasis Body More
I was surprised to read in the newspaper that an increasing number of plastic surgery inquiries were linked to viewers of the online reality TV show, Love Island.
Reality TV lessons for psoriasis
Admittedly this particular newspaper is rarely a source of high-quality information. I mention it, because, for me, I found watching very scantily clad twenty-somethings attempting to find love in a luxury villa on a sunny Mediterranean island surprisingly empowering.
So how can watch perfectly toned men and women who come from a range of professions including firefighter, dancer, Instagram influencer and model, make me feel more in love with my slightly overweight, patchwork self? Great question.
We have a stigmatizing condition that is visual, which forces us to focus more on our appearance. It's hard to avoid when psoriasis is often the first thing we see when we look in the mirror in the morning.
Less is more
Almost all of the women wear thong bikinis. Maybe I am getting old but while I appreciate their toned bums as someone appreciating the potential for human aesthetic, I didn't find it sexy, I thought they looked less attractive.
There's nothing like realizing that my mum has always been right- only show boobs or bum never both. Bridget Bardot is a sex symbol for a reason. Those full-coverage bikini briefs were spot on. Full bikini briefs, I (and my cellulite) salute you.
Plus high waisted bikini bottoms are sexy and perfect for those of us who prefer gin to the gym or have grown a few children in their bellies.
The reality is your personality
It is so much easier to see beauty shining from within when you're an outsider looking in and have no emotional connection to the people involved. Within days the stunners shine had worn off as her personality emerged and the beauty of women I initially found less striking started to shine.
Don't think I'm just talking about women either. One islander male had a perfectly toned physique, but after letting down a girl or two and showing his true colors, his attractiveness faded quickly too.
It's another classic but there's nothing like learning something for yourself. Beauty comes from the inside. I might not be the most visually striking woman walking into a bar with my sweatshirt and leggings, but give me 15 minutes of your time and you may reconsider.
So this was the most liberating thing for me. New men and women were drip-fed into the house, and watching people's reactions was fascinating. Never did one person draw the attention of all members of the opposite sex. We are all drawn to entirely different things.
There is this desire to look like Barbie, with pert breasts and bum, big eyes and long hair. The reality is that guys and girls love more diversity than that. Confidence is more attractive than clear skin.
Making psoriasis a reality
Most of the time, though- it's not the first thing other people see. Don't believe me? Type #psoriasis into an Instagram search, what is the first thing you notice in each picture? If its a regular picture of a person, I can be sure it's not their skin.
I follow the psoriasis hashtag in my feed and random photos from people I don't know appear regularly and almost without exception, I don't realize it's a psoriasis photo. I seem to notice the eyes first, or a funny mug or a cool hairband.
Don't have Instagram? Think of a friend who has what they class as imperfect skin or something else visual. When you bump into them in the street is that the first thing you see? Sidenote- if you want to see for yourself, Love Island is holding its first winter series this year, you will have to check it out!
How often do you experience brain fog?