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My Relationship With My Body as Someone With Chronic Illness

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Like many others, I ended up in a deep dive of random YouTube videos, a whirlwind of how-to’s, transformations and adventures. Until I found myself watching a video, where they asked a single question that sent my mind racing as I found myself focused on it, simple in words but complex in meaning.

“How is your relationship with your body?”

Being 24 years old, you may imagine a life of peak fun, excitement and adventure. Well, unlike the movies I watch, I am living a different life. I don’t look at myself in the mirror after trying on outfit after outfit in search of the right one nor try new makeup looks and follow tutorials. The truth is, when I look at my naked body in the mirror, I see the nausea that I walk around with every day, I see the pain I hide from the ones who care about me, and I see the scars and the bruises.

However, among the negatives, I see many positives. I see the strength, fight and determination to make sure this body of mine has fun, has positive experiences, lives a life full of adventures. I see a smile that no one can break and my crazy mess of hair that I love so much. Looking back at me in the mirror is a body that deserves to live life, with all its quirks.

As someone living with a chronic illness or two, I see my body so different and the relationship with my body has changed so much over the years. As a young teen, I didn’t even like taking pictures, all because I didn’t want to see myself unwell, didn’t want to see a body that wasn’t as strong or healthy as it used to be. During the fight for a diagnosis, my relationship with my body turned into frustration, a sense of unfairness, days of wondering why my body is struggling. All leading to the development of my relationship now. I wear clothes that feel more comfortable than look good but I still love dressing nice, I rarely put makeup on and have a certain few hairstyles chosen based on the amount of energy I have to dedicate to it that day. I look in the mirror, and thank my body for all it has gone through and how it still fights and carries me every day.

Like everyone, I have days where I see that little extra something something on my hips and thighs that I feel like I need to work on, and I have days where I sit in the shower and cry over why my body couldn’t cooperate with me that day despite my best efforts to convince it otherwise. Just like all relationships, it’s a work in progress; some days you need to work harder on it and other days you celebrate with ease. My illness is always changing and with age come changes as well. I am learning to hold a greater respect and grace with the relationship towards my body. Growing in love with my body, every inch, scar and bruise, in spite of feeling like poo somedays and rejoicing on days I feel like I’m glowing.

So I challenge you, despite the negatives, think about the good things, I ask you.. how is your relationship with your body?

Image via contributor

Originally published: August 12, 2021
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