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Learning to Live in My Body Again After an Injury With Cerebral Palsy

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I feel uncomfortable my body these days. It’s like my skin is not my mine. Everyday, I’m finding a new bump, bruise, scratch and mark somewhere on my body and it’s bringing me down. It’s been nearly two months since my groin sprain injury and I haven’t felt normal since.

I thought it was great to finally prove to myself that I could run a marathon; that I was able enough to run it but unfortunately after 3 km, my right ankle buckled from underneath me and I had to stop. I was in intense pain and I was instantly reminded that my body is not as strong as I want it to be. I finished the marathon, but I was in agony. A month before that, I damaged my right foot by over stretching it in the gym. I was determined to be healed for the marathon, and yet I was still in pain. I feel as if I will never be at my top physical form because of my cerebral palsy and it reminds me of that constantly.

I struggle a lot with my body image as well. I feel like a blob or a whale some days and every time I have to get dressed, I really dread it. I get paranoid and freak out and wonder have my clothes shrunk in the wash or have I gained weight. All I can see in the mirror is fat and a bent hand. My disability clouds my self-image and as much as I know I am more than that, sometimes it’s all I can see. As much I as I try to look nice and stylish with on trend clothes and make-up, I don’t feel pretty and I’m finding it harder and harder these days, especially in the summer when floral strappy dresses and crop tops are all the range. In photos, I’m smiling but when I look back, all I can see is my face on a strange body, but I know that’s my body and it depresses me. I want to be able-bodied but also physically fit and attractive. Like most women, I want to be the “ideal body type,” whatever that may be.

Whenever I think I’m healing and recovering, my body tells me otherwise. Every time I think I can move rigorously or freely, pain starts shooting through my body and I wince in pain as I walk or run. Sometimes I feel like the universe is telling me not to exercise or simply live my life independently. I’ve always fought to be unaided, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult as I get older. As much as I have enjoyed resting and taking it easy, I have missed the gym and yoga classes. I have generally missed building confidence in my body. I’m taking it day-by-day, step-by-step as I learn to live inside my body again.

Originally published: August 20, 2018
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