I was holding a new born baby with my two God Children at either side of me and someone said , ‘Let’s take a picture’. I instantly felt sick, I had a feeling at the pit of my stomach of sheer dread. I had no control over that photo, no reattempts to make my double chin look smaller, no high angle to try make me look slimmer. Within a second it was done. I tried to smile… but inside I felt awful. I went into the toilet and cried. I did not want to be seen.
So recently the CESA and I were on the national news regarding Cauda Equina Syndrome. I received some of the most wonderful messages of support and kindness but unfortuately I also received some pretty hateful rhetoric too. The main topic of hate was regarding my weight and my body. But it didn’t affect me as one may think, here’s why…
From the start of my weight gain post-CES I struggled with body image massively. It was one of the reasons I wanted to hide away and if I’m honest I had already said all those hateful words that people messaged me to myself in my head for years on end!
I had been a dancer from the age of 3. I had spent countless hours infront of those massive dance studio mirrors honing each movement and scrutinising each part of my body. My body was my craft…. to go from that to a size 18 and in a wheelchair. It was hard.
I became so ashamed of my body that I actively avoided mirrors that showed me anything below my neck because I couldn’t cope with seeing how my body had changed. If I posted any pictures it would just be my face or to my shoulders.
There were many nights where I felt low and angry at myself for letting my body change in this way. I was already dealing with the pain of the CES, I didn’t need this unnecessary anguish too.
But then things changed!
So I had a couple of medical scares, one of which being an allergic reaction that started closing my throat. Those experiences made me see my body and my life in a new context. After experiencing something so dangerous it made me reassess what I valued in life and probably more importantly why I valued it.
Would I be thinking about the size of my thighs on my death bed? I doubt it.
What difference have I made to the world? That may be a more pertinent question.
When it comes down to it, what I care about is what have I done to help others? The asthetic stuff is inconsequential long term, so why do I let it bother me short term?
Also I want to be happy! We all deserve to be happy and happiness isn’t just reserved for those with a flat stomachs and zero cellulite. Happiness is there for us all… what a radical thought?!
My corporeal goal changed from losing weight in any way possible, to being healthy and managing my condition and pain as best I can. So I maintain a healthy diet and do as much movement as my body allows.
Medication, water retention and immobility contributes to my size and my body fluxuates in relation to those factors all the time and I am at peace with that. I just try my best.
So now I want to experience life! I want to soak up as much of the beauty in this world as I possibly can, because we don’t have an inifinite time here. My priorities have changed for the better and it has made me question why we put so much value on these random asthetic qualities anyway?
I remember one specific time of insecurity after my CES, I went for weeks hardly eating anything at all… and it made little to no difference to my body but it certainly effected my mental health. I remember feeling that I should starve my body, as a punnishment for becoming larger. I ended up in hospital severely anaemic. Not good!
But it’s no suprise I felt insecure. We are all bombarded with this social pressure to look and act a certain way… I just can’t, and don’t want, to keep up with it anymore!
So I went on the news because my aim to help others far outweighs my vanity. I didn’t have my hair styled specifically, I didn’t put spanx on and I didn’t hide my suprapubic catheter. I was just me and hopefully that was enough to make a change.
I know now that the sum of who I am inside is worth more than how I look on the outside. It has taken years to learn that, but I’m here now.
I went into the news programme with my eyes open, knowing full well there was a probability that some people would comment on my figure. I wish the people making those comments could feel as enlightened as I do about life, because spreading that kind of negativity can’t be good for their own emotional wellbeing. So I wish everyone love and light in your lives. Think before leaving negative comments for your own sake, as well as others. It’s a happier way to live, I promise.Follow us on social media: