At some point in our lives, the image in our mind of the ‘perfect’ body was formed. Then came the realization that we fell short of those ideals. Whether we thought we were too fat, too skinny, too skimpy on top, too abundant on the bottom, too tall, too short, too…well, you get the picture.
Depending on the environments we were raised in, and whether the influences around us were healthy or not, we developed a mental representation of ourselves that steered us toward a more ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ view of our bodies.
Chronic illness changes the body. Up to this point, I have been able to hide the fact that there is anything wrong with me. Unless I had told someone I had Fibromyalgia and M.E., they would never know.
Over the winter I have developed a slight limp. It’s not that bad yet, and most of the time I can keep it low-key. However, that small physical change has caused me to lose the power of choice. I can no longer choose to keep the fact that there is something wrong with me private.
So the questions begin. What happens if it gets worse? How will it look if I need to use a cane someday? What will if feel like to be judged by others as they form their opinions of me as one who is ‘sick’? What if…ect.
The truth is, people are uncomfortable with other’s afflictions because they do not want to face their own vulnerabilities. They project the illness of another onto themselves in the realm of, ‘What if that could be me someday?’, and react negatively simply to avoid any emotional connection with the potential reality of an unwanted future.
You know what? That realization kind of helps. Why? Because you simply don’t have to wear it. What I mean is, regardless of any vibe someone else may be giving off that makes you feel that you’re being viewed as weak or pathetic, in truth, it’s not about you. It really is their problem.
Leave them in their self-absorption, and know there is no shame to living in a body that’s gotten a little ‘dinged’ along the way. Living in this world is going to cause wear and tear. Sometimes the truly beautiful things in this life are the ones that have been worn and faded to a subdued brilliance.
That, and they make some really ‘kick-ass’ canes nowadays!