Friday 27th May 2022

Confidence & Why I Need It. 29/2022.

Confidence & Why I Need It. 29/2022.

Quite some time ago, in late 2017 and into 2018,  I was recovering from a very invasive and nasty cancer which resulted in all of my upper mouth being removed (to make sure the cancer in both the jaw, gums and under top lip was gone…and it is!) and I needed to make myself a routine of sorts once I was back into more independent living.

From May 2017 until around late October that year I was fully present …in learning how to eat, drink and speak following my oral cancer diagnosis and treatments of surgeries, AND to be able to ensure I was OK to be well and truly independent outside the house.

I was so ready for this but in October, after seeing some posts relating to Outfit of the Day and Dressing With Purpose, I decided to adopt those plans and incorporate them into my day:

  • Get Up, Make Bed & Have Breakfast
  • Take some time to enjoy social media and blog and chat with my husband
  • Plan to go out somewhere for a coffee each day
  • Use this to Dress With Purpose
  • And show my self to the world via Instagram…..

I admit, it was so helpful for my mental health, and as the skinniest* I had been since early 20s, I did enjoy finally being confident enough to buy good fitting underwear and clothes for this new-to-me body.

The very first outfit shot. Off to hairdresser’s.

I use this term* with slight reluctance as I hate being defined by history is part of this. My need to show my body to the world had two motivations back then…1. I was going OK and 2. I could dress with some confidence again and took pride to be able to do so.

Now, as I write in May 2022, I see I looked ok but also getting well was a hard lot of work that I needed to let my body do.

What Happened Next.

Into 2019 I decided to stop the regular posts.

I think it was about not flooding the instagram account with same old same old…but now I think about it, I also was having some negative thoughts coming back into my inner life. 

Ones like:

  • Oh you can tell you have put on some weight
  • Are you sure you look OK…
  • I wouldn’t be sharing these as much as you will be noticed for negative reasons….

The Why and The What of 2020 into 2021.

Covid happened.

I got to have some surgeries…not cancer related and they had some challenges for me personally as recovery from the major abdominal one was complicated. I had some negative feelings about my appearance. That I was getting too fat and I became hooked on this negative thought.


I found my view was skewed. I had certainly added kilograms to my face and frame from those very early post cancer surgery days. Not eating much because you can’t will do that…. But I also knew that with some covid times, I ate more for comfort.

What did I do? I actually cut back some of the amounts of food without sacrificing nutrition or treats because I do not do deprivation! And over a few months a few extra covid kilos were shed and I was back to my days of 2018-19 weight wise. So, go me. And I am not scale dependent any more on how I feel about myself.

It was hard though to have reasons to dress with purpose during lockdown and then afterwards but just recently, with more confidence mustered I wrote this on facebook and instagram and received kind and positive responses.

My Facebook & Instagram Post. 1 May 2022.

Amazing what some confidence returning will do for a person.

I’ve been less than confident about my ‘appearance’ most of my life. But when my oral cancer diagnosis happened, and then surgeries x 4, I made myself #dresswithpurpose #takedailyphoto and get out into the ‘world’ for a walk, a catch up, a coffee and it didn’t matter that I had no upper teeth till August 2018.

I lost some confidence to continue this practice consistently thinking it had served its purpose for me: – letting people know I was doing OK – getting out and about – enjoying wearing ‘new for me’ clothes and styles.

Then came 2020 and into 2021 and now, we are one third of way into 2022. I needed to remember how confident it helped me feel in my “less than wonderful” days following surgeries and treatments, to dress well…and have a photo and go out.

Now, I have re-started it. Coming up to 5 years since my diagnosis on 17 May 2022 and I am using this month to celebrate my life, my changes and my health.

I am very grateful. Always.

Now I am putting me, the 72 year old version, out there again. And quite enjoying it. Even for a morning doing mundane things, it helps for me anyway, to look OK. Thanks for your support too friends and family. Always appreciated. The photographer is B who is not on FB. When I smile, it’s at him! That is LOVE!!

Why I Need Confidence Now.

I won’t be believing those intrusive and untrue thoughts any more

As an older woman I will continue to champion myself as I age.

I will, from time to time, add posts of my daily outfits on social media.

My budget may be tiny but I have a sense of colour and style so I will do well at making some good combinations.

I will remember this time in my life and appreciate that I can make changes for good.

Now, do you have confidence about your appearance?

Do you like to dress with purpose?

I am very interested in your comments!


Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share later this week.

Thank you Natalie.




  1. I love your smile and your confidence Denyse. Go you! A lovely sense of style and colour which I heartily approve of 🙂

    With me it’s an up and down thing, some days I feel good and others not so good but I try to put a brave face on! I love the idea of dressing for a purpose and try to include that into my days as well. Take care and it’s great to read of the return of your confidence 🙂

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Deb, you are a kind and caring cheerleader!

      I think confidence waxes and wanes as we age…and I am quite a bit ahead of you! However, we are seeing so many people in our day to day interactions on line and IRL that we cannot help but compare…and yet, it doesn’t help!

      So, I am re-gaining some of mine and will be sharing more but in a way to show the world it can still be done..and I am not being sponsored to do so!!

      Thanks so much and the fact that I feel well and better about my appearance these days is something to celebrate.

      Your support is always appreciated.


  2. You go girl, you look marvelous. This is so inspirational for me, thank you. I’m “only” 65 but I struggle sometimes with my appearance, my days are up and down due to a little autoimmune disease but I do practice the “get up, dress up and never give up” philosophy. I must look into this dress with purpose, sounds uplifting. 🙂

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for visiting here. It takes courage to be confident just as it does for you to manage your autoimmune disease and I would urge you to give this a go!

      Taking a photo – or getting someone to do that has two purposes in #dressingwithpurpose because I am ‘owning up to what I say’ and I have a better/different view of me that is closer to the truth rather than the image in my head.

      I am so pleased you are doing what you can to be as well for yourself as you can despite the troubles of a condition that can ebb and flow.

      Cheering you on from Australia, JP!


  3. It is interesting that both you and I have negative old wiring to do with weight. How and why did weight get to be part of our self esteem when we are literally too old for people (other than ourselves) to care…and by that I mean, they would be thinking of our age not carrying a certain amount of weight as a first impression, if they were even seeing us in the first place. I do it too but try to focus on what I learnt from Augusten Burroughs. The wiring is in there. I’m not very successful at altering it.
    Anyway, as I said on Insta, you looked great and ready to do something fun – and THAT is the important bit! #WeekendCoffeeShare

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much for this wise comment. As we have met then we can say, “oh that’s not how I see you” to each other but to believe it means a mindshift.

      I have realised that I lived with a very outspoken and judgy father (who funnily enough was quite overweight for much of his adult life) and the dominance of him in my life is what I had to live with. These days he is, because I have talked with him frankly about it some years back, a model of keeping his mouth closed!!

      I also know I had a pretty glam looking Mum and I think somewhere in my fatter years, I decided I could never live up to her.

      In my now much wiser years I can see she had some disordered eating habits and so ….

      “we all have some issues around food and appearance but these days I am much kinder to me and grateful to be well.

      Thanks for your wisdom, always!


  4. Denyse, Good for you to continue to champion yourself and maintain your confidence. I think dressing for a purpose is a good idea, and a genuine smile is always attractive.
    With me, since the pandemic started, most of my social / dress-up events have been put on hold. I keep a simple and comfortable style for my outdoor activities. I have confidence in my appearance and dress up when the occasion calls for it. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Natalie for those kind words.

      I am glad I re-gained some of the lost confidence by calling on my courage to do so.

      I think the restrictions of covid sure took away dressing with purpose but then again, its a mindset too.

      I am glad you get to do what you can and admire your self-assuredness too.


  5. You look fabulous! I try to dress with purpose most days and find that those days I am feeling more confident it really shines through.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Joanne. You have nailed it! We do feel better and our confidence lifts.

      Happy Mother’s Day too.


  6. It’s always good to have a plan!

  7. You look great … and I loved reading your upbeat notations 🙂

    I’m 65, widowed for 3-1/4 years, have a tiny budget, and am dressing with confidence too: I glitter from head to toe now (makeup, fingernail polish, snappy tops, and glitzy glasses). LOL But you gotta have fun as time slips by 😉

    Good post – have a funtastic day!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much for “getting it” Valeria!

      That is all part of growing our confidence instead of disappearing as we age!

      Well-done to you too!


  8. Hi Denyse – I’ve never understood the fascination with OOTD or any of those other types of daily challenge posts. I’m just not good at finding the motivation to photograph myself (or something else) every single day. That being said, if it makes you feel happy and confident sharing your outfits or getting dressed up and going out – then go for it girl! We’re all different and that’s one of the bonuses of this age and stage – we can do what makes us happy and damn the torpedoes! It was lovely seeing you looking sassy and happy.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks Leanne, I understand we are all different and this is so true of challenges like OOTD.

      I “needed” something like that from late 2017 onwards because it was a HUGE and good distraction from my on-going head and neck cancer post surgery pain and my inability to eat.

      It was a great motivator because I had never felt like I could march up to “anyone” and I was able to rid myself of that message with so many people cheering me on back then.

      The main reason I stopped was getting sick of it myself AND have no outfits left I hadn’t already worn. I am grateful however, that I did have quite a buy up in 2018-2019 from the shops where clothes suit me because since Covid, they are almost all closing down. Sigh.

      I am glad to have had a bit of a brightening up to do this again and whilst we literally could not go anyway much at all here in 2020 into 2021 I get to celebrate that kind of freedom too.

      Thanks so much…sassy hey!!


  9. Wow, seriously, has it been five years since 2017 already? How time flies! Congrats on restarting your confidence journey! #weekendcoffeeshare

  10. Excellent Denyse.
    You remind me of my mom’s battle with MBC.
    Rfusing to be defined by it, she instead met it head on and fought it. She won and enjoyed another 30 years of life.
    Bravo for you!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks kindly Gary for your words of encouragement.

      Great that your Mum did recovery and life beyond so well too.

      Take care,


Denyse values & reads every comment written, thank you. There is always a reply.