It’s a weird feeling having your body betray you. You take the minute things your body does without you thinking about it for granted.
Every second your organs perform little miracles without you even knowing. How cool is it that our heart pumps blood to every part of our body without us even thinking about it? Or how our brain can send signals to our hands allowing us to touch something like petting a tiny fluffy kitten.
So what happens when those things no longer occur? When my stomach stopped working, just the thought of all the cupcakes I was now missing out on was enough to turn me into a crybaby throwing a pity party for one. I mean, the organ worked for 20 years, why the sudden urge to just quit without even giving me a proper two week notice? That lead to resenting not only my stomach, but the rest of my body.
I was angry that I was no longer in control of what went on inside my own body. I was also angry that I was no longer in control of what went on the outside either. Months of malnutrition led to surgery scars on my abdomen where I once had a life-saving GJ feeding tube, a fluke in a medication treatment led to gaining over 80 pounds in three short months – without even eating. My hair fell out in little clumps, even when I cut it short, and just for kicks my teenage acne decided to hang around for my early twenties.
Here I was, trying to just survive my day to day activities, and instead I focused my energy on the reflection in the mirror. All I saw were stretch marks, loose skin, weird scars, and a constantly bloated body staring back at me. I hated it all. Every day it seemed like there was a new flaw to pick at – my big Italian nose or my crooked bottom tooth. I went from being the selfie queen to wishing you good luck for finding any photos of me from 2015.
I can’t even identify what triggered a turning point. Honestly, it’s exhausting nitpicking at yourself all day. So I just stopped. I began to see my stretch marks as evidence of everything my body endured. I began to see my scars as battle wounds proving that I made it out alive. I began to see all my little imperfections as ways that my body was simply trying to keep me intact.
My body hasn’t failed me. I failed myself. And I’m just sorry it took me so long to realize all of the amazing things it’s still capable of doing. This shell that houses my soul might not be perfect, but it’s mine.
“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest — thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.” — Beau Taplin
Originally published on The Mighty