My Body Is Ill, But It Hasn't Failed Me


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

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: francescoch


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

girl in a hat on a watercolor background.

Why I Sometimes Need to Hide My Illness From Myself

Invisible illness is a phrase thrown around in the chronic illness community a lot – it is a simple representation of a reality we live with every day. These diseases we manage, no matter their weight, are hidden from most. On one hand I think it’s really great – I am privileged to not get [...]
silhouette of young woman with flowers on green background

Why It Matters That I Got Dressed Today

Today, I got dressed.  Yesterday, I got dressed. In fact, I’ve gotten dressed every say since February 5.  Why is that important? What does it matter that I got dressed? It matters because I haven’t been getting dressed for the last two and a half years. For the last two and a half years, I’ve been sitting/lying [...]
sketch of three women walking wearing different outfits

What It Means to 'Dress Like a Woman' With a Chronic Illness

In 2017, it was reported that President Donald Trump requires female White House employees to “dress like a woman.” When one hears this phrase, images of flowing dresses, ruby red lips, and perfectly coiffed hair comes to mind; the ideal woman of the 21st century in all her marketable, feminine glory. She wakes up early [...]
sunset at field and trees

The Power of Social Media When You Are Sick

It’s winter and the short days of cold, windy rain are taking their toll on my body. I hurt. I’m sad. I’m ready for a break from the relentless pain and monotony of feeling terrible. Of course I don’t dare say that out loud. I don’t show that part of my life to many people. [...]