Wow! November already? I am sure most of you reading can relate when I say that all I have done is blinked and this year has come and gone!

Out of all the months on the calendar, November stands out for me for two reasons. The main reason being that it is Crohn’s Disease Awareness Month, and being a young lady who has battled chronic intestine pain due to Crohn’s Disease for going on nine years now, it hits home. The second reason being that my platform EveryBODY is Beautiful was born three years ago in November.

Now, I am not going to come to you just to inform you about Chronic Illness, instead I am going to stress to you just how important it is to have a positive self-image and what it means to love every aspect of yourself.

Growing up, when I rolled out of bed, I would look at myself in my full-length mirror and it wasn’t a difficult task to point out at least ten things I disliked about myself, and I am sure those of you can relate when I say that I would also find myself wishing that I was the model that was posted on that month’s issue of Vogue.

Then a reality check came.

Due to fighting an excessive battle with Crohn’s with no relief in sight, I made the decision to have an ostomy placed in attempt to get my symptoms under control. When I received my ostomy, I had excessive output which resulted in an early take-down. Taking the ostomy down early only lead to horrible consequences such as an intestinal leak, intubation, sepsis, a hospital stay that exceeded 40 days, and a second ostomy.

After some adjustments and trials, I had the second ostomy taken down, I had a successful re-hook, resulting in me going home for good.

When I arrived back home I went to my room and I stood in front of that full-length mirror as I had done for years prior. Only this time, something felt different. I raised my shirt up and I was overwhelmed with emotion. Instead of seeing these scars as something that would plague my life, I saw them as something that would pave the way for my future. Not only my future, but the future of others.

I began to make a serious lifestyle change and my platform EveryBODY is Beautiful was born. When I woke up in the morning, instead of pointing out ten things I hated about myself, I would point out ten things I loved. I would make it a goal to compliment at least ten people through the day and whenever I passed a mirror and saw myself, I would always smile.

My scars make me who I am. They not only remind me that I am an awesome woman, but they remind me that I fought to become this awesome woman, and that is the best part.

Spoiler alert: When I saw myself in a better light, I began to see others in a better light too. I truly believe that you must love yourself before you can love someone else because after I started to point out all the positives in myself, it lead to me only seeing the positives in those around me. Some things that irked me in relationships I had with others literally seemed to fade away. Most days I would sit down and seriously feel like all the negative was gone, and let me just say, it was so refreshing.

In closing, I want to challenge my readers to look in the mirror daily and point out at least ten positive things about yourself, then share that challenge with someone else that you know. Great things can come from something as simple as seeing yourself in a positive light.

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Makenzie Craft

I am a woman who tries to always see the glass half-full as I face Crohn's Disease, relationships, and even the daily tasks that can seem overwhelming at times. I run on three key things: fashion trends, coffee, and faith. With my border collie by my side, I am on a journey with the sole goal to help and inspire others and I can't wait to see where the journey takes me.

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