Those of us with chronic illnesses have a completely different relationship with our bodies than our peers.
Whilst most women, and perhaps some men, are worried about wrinkles, sags, drooping, greying and cellulite, many of us look at our bodies with much different feelings. Sometimes emotionally and physically painful feelings.
Having just been through a week of tremors, shaking, numbness, headaches, spasms, muscle weakness and immovable limbs I decided to do something radical. I don’t know what overtook me but I wanted to come face to face with it all.
I made myself face my demons and try to make some small steps forward.
I stood naked in the mirror and took my own picture.
With tearful eyes I looked at my legs, my arms, my stomach, my hair, my skin and my face… It was truly confronting.
I saw what strangers see. I saw what doctors see. I saw what family see. I saw what friends see. And. I also see what they don’t see. I feel what they don’t see.
The invisible barrier which hides all my pain and suffering is my own skin.
My joints, my muscles, my nerves, my organs and my brain are all hiding a painful secret that I alone must feel and battle.
I no longer care if my arms are flabby, I only hope they will move and work when I need them.
I no longer care if my legs look skinny in tight jeans, or whether I have cellulite and stretch marks as long as they can let me enjoy some life and carry me to the bathroom when I need it.
My face… Well… While the world thinks of wrinkle creams, Botox and youthful glows, I wish for sight, breathing, speaking and swallowing for as long as possible.
As I looked at my body I realised I haven’t forgiven it or made a real peace yet. I have a ways to go until I love it and accept that it has NOT betrayed me.
I want to. I really do.
As I put lipstick on with painful and shaking fingers, I do my best so that the rest of the world will accept this body. So that I blend in with all the others. So people with think ‘…she is doing her best …’
Because I am. I always have… In ways that many will never see or know!
You see, when you have a body that you no longer control, you don’t care about wrinkles, sags, greying or aging, you care about how long you can FEEL like you have a body at all.
Each year is an achievement for surviving and not just aging.
I thought about taking more pictures of myself until I can accept and forgive my body. I don’t know. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t… But at least I can say I tried.
What ever we need to do don’t we owe it to ourselves to try?