Learning to Love Again…#wwwblogs

That title is a “gotcha.” If you’re here for romance, run for it! 🙂

I have spent the last almost 6 years learning to love my body again. I grew up with all of the same pressures as every young woman in North America: the focus on appearance over substance, the messages that told us thin was the be all and end all, the idea that beauty somehow was equated with a type of virtue or superiority. Most of those messages were just noise.

Losing breasts? Well, that was more than noise. I went straight into reconstructive surgery with no pause. Of course I would have reconstruction, why wouldn’t I?

If I had that choice to live over, I would choose differently. It’s not that I don’t like the reconstruction (holy hell, did it hurt at times), but why was it necessary?

I was starting to really get on a roll – training for my marathon, lifting weights again, feeling good. Up until that one day I just didn’t feel well at all and, oh yay! another surgery. Out with the appendix, and carry on. Marathon turned to half-marathon, and on we went.

Then, came the eyes. Ah, the eyes. I enjoy being able to see. I value it and I take it for granted, all at once. I often joke that my right eye can best be described as “decorative,” as the vision in my right eye is absolute crap. Still, it’s not blindness, right? Only now, it’s glaucoma: not enough to need drops, just enough to have to be “monitored.”

A whole lot of monitoring around here, most of it involving me playing the role of the human pincushion.

In my mind, all of the above is a huge betrayal. My body betrayed me. It’s personal.

Oh, sure, I work to find the humor. Cancer surgeries? Bionic woman! Appendectomy? Soon, I’ll be hollow! Glaucoma? Does this mean I can get a service dog?

But the truth is that I have been, and in some ways I still am, so flipping furious at my body. How dare my body do this to me?

Want a lesson in forgiveness? Join me in forgiving my own body. There is nothing harder for a control freak than the myriad health difficulties that fall under the heading, “shit happens.”

So, I decided to change the script. Cancer? My body kicked its ass. Appendix? Well, okay, I haven’t found a point for that one yet, haha. Glaucoma? Sure, it’s there, but it isn’t doing any damage. See what a bad ass this body of mine is?!

We hear and see negative messages all the time (anyone watching the news these days?), and it is easy to fall into the trap.

But each day, I am trying to learn to love being in my own skin again. And every day, I need to speak lovingly to my body.

My scars are my strength, my muscles carry me further than 20 year old me knew they could, dead nerves make me appreciate all of the sensory information I CAN receive.

This body will carry me to that ultimate finish line someday. And it will show the mark of every battle I’ve fought, and every war I’ve won. That might not be a fragile, delicate flower, but it’s beauty nonetheless.

One thought on “Learning to Love Again…#wwwblogs

  1. This is wonderful, Caroline. Bodies are such miracles but somehow we aren’t prepared for the wounds offered up by these “enemies,” our teachers. I was captured by this line: “My scars are my strength.” We are strong–and we hurt, wounded, and betrayed. I find it important to hold both sides of that balance every day and, yes, to give myself loving messages and not turn the angry toward my illness into anger at this body that works so hard to keep me/us going.

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