Sometime in my middle school years I started to hate my body. Not in the typically teen angst ways of I am too fat, I am not pretty enough, etc. I was actually very happy with the outsides of myself. I hated the insides of my body because I just kept getting sick. In 5th grade I got very sick with strep throat and scarlet fever. In middle school I had my first experience with my stupid awful bleeding disorder. Then in high school I had my 2nd experience with my bleeding disorder after getting my tonsils out from the many many cases of strep throat and tonsillitis I had suffered.
I got bronchitis a few days before my senior prom, which wasn’t the worst part of senior prom (oh teenagers – life gets so much better after high school). Then a few months later I got bronchitis again before my high school graduation. My sophomore year of college I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and then a few months later chronic migraines. I got mono twice in two years and I had severe complications to getting my wisdom teeth out. Starting with dry sockets so bad my oral surgeon said they were the worst he had ever seen and a week after that a horrible infection that caused me to see my surgeon on a daily basis and take penicillin 4 times a day. And the hits just kept on coming. I discovered a severe slipped disc in my neck 4 or 5 years ago and in January an irregular heart beat was discovered (which has developed recently I didn’t always have it).
My heart doesn’t beat right, my blood doesn’t clot right, my brain doesn’t process pain or anxiety right. Even now as I type these words, I feel so much anger and betrayal from my own body. We have a very hard time living together. I wish and beg for it to get better, and my body says, “nah, we’re good.” It is a very hard thing to overcome. There is nothing I can do to make my brain process pain and anxiety better. To make my blood clot. To stop that extra 3rd beat of my heart. To make the slipped disc just go back in where it is supposed to be unless I have surgery which may make my bleeding disorder kick in. Medical science has yet to catch up with all the things your body can do to you, and my body – she is one piece of work.
I have doctors say things like, “I have a student here today. Could they sit in on your appointment?” so often.
I have fought against my body for years. So many years the memory of being healthy, of waking up refreshed, of having even a little energy is such a hazy far away memory. I make peace with it and hate it all over and over again. Something new pops up and I am at square one. I have a week of pain at a 5 or higher with nothing I do giving me just a little break from the pain.
I try to do things like focus on the things about my body I love. The color of my hair, I have never dyed it. I love the natural strawberry blondness of it. I love my hazel green eyes. I love my imagination. I love my compassion. I am comfortable with the shape and weight of my body. I am feisty and stand up for myself and others. I am passionate about saving the world, kindness to all living things, movies, and books. I love my tribe the ones filled with writers, the one filled with friends I have known for a lifetime, my family. After a deep hate with them, I grew to love my crazy freckles and even have grown to find the beauty they bring.
But deep down in the depths of my soul, my body is broken in a way I can’t quite fix. That no one can fix. It steals time from me when a migraine or fibro flare hits. It limits what I can physically do. It literally hurts me every single day. I have had zero pain free days since childhood, my daily pain on a good day is a 2 or a 3. I then get swept by the betrayal of it all over and over again. I have learned this betrayal is something only someone with chronic illness can truly understand. I have never had a person betray me like my body. I have never had the fear of death brought upon me like my body has done to me.
All of these things my body is doing to me are invisible. People tell me I am so pretty and so skinny. What breaks my heart is that to SO many, especially women, that equals perfection. It is not perfection. Perfection does not exist in human form. My imperfections are invisible and often not understood. I have lost more from my invisible illnesses (jobs, friends, nights out, peace, calm, every now and then my sanity) than from anything else in my life.
We all have our things about ourselves we hate, and I am very slowly learning that is OK. It is OK to feel the anger, the resentment, the betrayals we do to ourselves but finding a way to forgive your self that is more important than anything else.
We are all fighting hard brutal battles. Be kind, have courage, and fight for yourself everyday.