Saturday, October 20, 2012

My body

Most mornings I hate my body. Showering or changing clothes is painful. As much as I hate to admit it, there are days where my feelings towards my body dictate or more so ruin my entire day. Some days it's just really hard to get past. Friday was one of these days. I left for work already in a bad mood. I then spent the morning calling eligible blood donors in an attempt to try to get them to donate for a patient in the hospital that they were an exact match for. This patients life is completely dependent on others. He receives blood transfusions very frequently and is in constant need of them to live. Can you imagine that? And he is just one of many.

As I sat there and ate my lunch I was overcome with gratitude. Although I have had my share of medical issues and am no stranger to being very sick, I am fairly healthy. I am able to get up every morning and live the life that I want to lead, with very little restraint. Thanks to my body I can do a lot of amazing things. My body has been through hell multiple times but it's resilience has always shone through.

Two and a half years ago I lost all of my hair. For a good amount of time I was completely bald. During this time and as it grew back I wore bandanas and hats. Every time I noticed any growth, I threw a mini celebration. Before this experience I had always hated my hair. I constantly envied people who had straight non-frizzy hair. I never understood how people could get there hair to look so put together, when no matter how hard I tried (if I am honest with myself, I very rarely tried) my hair was a hot mess. It seemed to have a mind of it's own and was up to no good. While I was bald, I longed to have my hair back. Even through each awkward stage of growth, I cherished every hair on my head. Now, it is curlier and frizzier and on most days it looks like I don't believe in a brush (I promise I do) but I have learned to accept it and am grateful to have hair at all.

When I look at or think about my body I am overcome with a long list of things that I hate. Recovering from an eating disorder has meant gaining weight and watching my body change and this has been really difficult. Unfortunately I am not in a place where I have kindly accepted  these changes and right now the idea of loving my body sounds impossible. But I am starting to replace the hatred with gratitude. While I don't appreciate the shape and size of my body I am extremely grateful that I am healthy and able to wake up every morning and give back to others. I have been given many chances in life and my bodies strength and perseverance is largely to thank.

I made this earlier this year at an event for national eating disorders awareness week. We were asked to write a "letter to our body". Other people were writing amazing, inspiring things about their bodies but all I could come up with was an apology.

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