The hardest self-image issue I struggle with is admitting who I am now . I have constantly reminded myself that the person everyone else sees and hears is who I am now. Not the pre-diagnosed teenage girl. That girl, in many ways, died 18 years ago and with her many forms of innocence and hope. I fight with myself daily to accept the woman I have become….
- I am a 35yr old woman – I will be 36 in a month. So, let’s face it, you may as well round up to 40. That’s wicked old.
- A stay at home wife and mother – you know unemployed/disabled because that’s an occupation
- I do not drive – which at best makes my life tricky and boring
- A cat lady – I have 2 cats now, even though I really want a dog
- I try to eat healthily – no candy, carbs., and am currently trying to count clarories.
- I weigh 157 pounds – a moose
- I breastfed both of my sons -for a combined 3 1/2 years after two vaginal birth – pretty self-explanatory what it has done to alter my body
- I have brown/ fastly greying hair – refer back to my husband and sons
- I have altered speech – “scanner speech” (like a bad phone connection flickering in and out of service), slurred, broken quiet, and strained
- full-time wheelchair user
- I spend so much of my time and energy trying to prove to the world I am so much more than a disability, that I hesitate saying it to myself. “I used to walk,” like that somehow makes me less disabled.
Even now, it is really hard for me to describe myself. Thoughts about myself are disdainful. My sarcasm is a defense mechanism to hide my pain. I always feel like I have to rationalize myself. I have not always been in a wheelchair, but now it’s been 10 years. I used to be skinny when I was 20. The reality is no one cares about that stuff like I do. Yes, I was all those things. Now, I am not. I wish I knew how to appreciate the women I am now. Not, that at the time I ever appreciated that me either.
I am learning, very slowly, to love the current me. It truly is the hardest project I have ever attempted. I know certain things about myself that are unique and amazing. Knowing facts logically and believing them in your heart are different concepts, at least I think so.
In truth, who I am now is that same girl, just with baggage. HaHa! The good and bad rolled into one extremely large life lesson. Believe it or not, I love tattoos. That is a part of me I can easily show the world. They are a nonverbal way to express myself. Simple (only 5), minimalistic, classic, straight forward, and of course just a little “badass.” They show people who I was and who I am.