Thursday, November 29, 2012

Disability Dish: Look in the mirror

What do I like/love about my body? This is huge and so not simple for me to write about. It took many, many years for me to own that there are things I do like about my body. First, I’d like to share a little more about me. I am 48 years young, recently married to the love of my life, and I grew up with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA.) I contracted JRA when I was three and got the most aggressive kind, where it ravaged every joint, made my young body look old, with small fingers, short arms and an uneven gait; I’m also bionic with knee and hip replacements. As a kid, teen and young adult, my parents trekked me to tons of doctors, where they poked, prodded, examined, stared at, pricked, x-rayed, medicated and splinted me to make me hurt less. All this was done to my body, and often, the focus was on the joint/parts that were most inflamed. A wrist this week, a hip next year. Living with arthritis can feel like a roller coaster. I learned to disappear. I went into my head a lot and forgot my body. I wanted to escape the pain and stares.

In my early twenties, I found a good therapist, discovered alcohol and broke out of my shyness with men. A late bloomer with dating (another column), I think all of this contributed to re-discovering my body. You have to look at your body before you know what you like about it, right? I had never looked in a full-length mirror. I wore loose-fitting clothes, used little make-up and rarely brushed my curls. I wanted to portray that laid-back, hippie bohemian look. Who was I kidding? I don’t think I pulled it off.
I often wondered: How did I come to accept, see and like my body? Body self-acceptance is a process for all of us, but a little more complex for a disabled woman. Liking and accepting my body has been a zig-zag journey, and it is ongoing. I’m still in it. Something began to shift for me when I came out of my shell with men; having that exterior validation helped. Another experience that helped me see was when I posed nude at 42 for my Raw Beauty photography show. Face it -- women have it hard with media-driven superficial standards of beauty. Even the average able-bodied women are screwed. No one looks like supermodels…not even supermodels!

But over time, I stood alone, and my need for the external validation lessened. I only saw what I didn’t like and always compared myself to others. I couldn’t see the stuff that wasn’t so terrible and uniquely me. In my late thirties, I took the plunge, looked and really saw. I joke to Robert, my adorable husband, that God gave us a broken body, so it seemed just that he would bless us with some so-called “perfect” exterior features. Yes, this is going to sound superficial and Robert does love me for my mind/soul, but when I look in the mirror, this is what I see now and feel grateful for. I love my...

*Round butt, more perfect than geometry.
*My brown curls, bouncy, non-kinky, the kind women would pay a lot of money for.
*My big eyes, green like emeralds.
*My full pink lips.
Don’t get me wrong; there are days I am so frustrated with my body that I can’t stand it, when I hurt a lot or it’s hard to walk or get into the car. Or I’m having a bad hair day! All of this is part of my whole, my good, bad and ugly -- perfectly, imperfect me. What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you like?

--By Shelly

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. good for you for loving your body :) good post x

  2. Shelly, you have an amazing story! My niece (now grown) has cerebral palsy. As a child, she used a wheel chair and still does - sometimes she can use walking braces but she becomes tired. Like you and Melissa - her sweet heart, kind personality, and warm ways have always shined through. You are BEAUTIFUL girls inside and out!!! Your smile, our niece, Melissa have smiles that exude love from the inside out ~ God bless all of you always !! oxox

  3. Twinkle, your niece sounds amazing!! Give her a hug for me! xoxo

  4. This is so beautiful.. brought me to tears! I love though, that beauty is still as subjective as anything else. Being able to love your flaws is the most courageous, smart, and beautiful thing one can ever do. Very inspired.

  5. Most Popular and Famous Vehicles, Latest Speed Cars, Sports Cars Info and Pictures.

  6. [p]"But we've seen a boost in phones as a consequence iPods, furthermore we predict besides people are going to be stung by agreements that are more than that first-class to be true . Ornate embellishments are no-no on simply elegant sheepskin boots . All-round basketball folks usually go to the mid top only because the selection offers the best ease and comfort, ankle support and velocity to their motion . She conveys luxury, fashion and language but also to bring unprecedented levels of softness and comfort . The UGG Kids Boots triumph in addition lies in its birthplace EMU Corporation to commit to gratify customer's personalization and the life approach want, deduces the inspiration from the most primitive natural world, the innovative create, the exact technical knowledge, endorses cosy and the high level snowy environs boots for the world's the customer . Now you can find quite a number of colors and lovely prints available on the [url=]ugg boots sale[/url] market . From the next door girl to the celebrities on the red carpet and the rich, ugg shades are seen stylish to match the aura . Fashion Ugg boots enjoy great popularity among customers all over the world due to their trendy styles and incredible comfort . UGG snow boots, take away the functionality, the more will [url=]kensington ugg boots[/url] be the attitude any particular one, highlight a mode, described with this section can be edited to gUGG boots Slim is definitely the trend from the annual land selection.[/p][p]get benefit from my experience and grap a pair of cheap . After 15 minutes you can spin dry your sheepskin boots that was stained and be amazed when you see them almost brand new after washing . Preserving the leather smooth will mean the footwear will fit much more easily also . Welcom to buy cheap UGG 5498Classic Mature Boots here [url=]ugg boots sale uk[/url] to intersperse your life!Welcome to have a view . Not just by day and night or hours and minutes but [url=]ugg kensington[/url] by good and evil . There are different kinds of ugg boots available for every occasion . kids ugg boots outlet Typically [url=]ugg boots outlet sale[/url] the Tasman slip-on is made from suede using a lush sheepskin cellular lining together with Tasman detailing over the cuff . This sneaker has a gray-black upper accented by metallic gold on the heel tag, the eyelet collar, some parts of the space near [url=]ugg boots outlet uk[/url] the laces and the upper and midsole but divided by a silver design in the midpart . shoe powder is aimed at has completely get it out trace is used when.[/p]


Your lovely comments make my day so much sweeter! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin