Hello, everyone! My name is Melissa, and I am so excited to be featured on Caitlin’s wonderful blog today. I write about my life with a physical disability (and any other pretty things that strike my fancy) on my blog, So About What I Said. When Caitlin suggested that I choose a topic I’d like to write about today, it wasn’t hard coming up with the perfect idea: Loving our bodies just the way they are. Everyone struggles with body-images issues, don’t they? After all, we get “advice” on how we should look all the time — from movies, magazines and even celebrity red carpets. But a piece of the puzzle that conveniently gets tossed aside? This “advice” is probably the most unrealistic and damaging piece of “advice” you’ll ever get.
As a woman living with a physical disability, I’ve had to work even harder to avoid falling into that black hole known as the Pretty Trap — that scary and unhealthy vortex where you find yourself fixated on everything you hate about your body instead of celebrating everything you love about it. Well, NO MORE!! Isn’t it about time you celebrated your body? Here are my Top 5 Favorite Things About My Body (feel free to take your cue from me)…
My red hair
Growing up, all I ever wanted was to have blond or brown hair like all the other girls in my class. I hated that I looked so different from everyone else. But after my father died nearly 10 years ago, I began to realize that my autumnal hues, which came from his side of the family, kept me close to him. Now, my hair is something I celebrate as a way of keeping my father’s memory alive. Plus, I sort of like being able to stand out in a crowd.
Sure, I sometimes feel like I have a million constellations running up and down my arms. And in the summer, those constellations seem to turn into huge bullseye targets that you could probably see from miles away. But when I think about it, freckles are just another way for me to stand out!
It’s a fact: Most people’s hands are mirror images of each other. They both look pretty much the same. Well, not my hands. I was born with Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a genetically inherited bone and muscular disorder. One of the main symptoms is joint contractures and stiffness, so when I was growing up, I had dozens of surgeries to loosen my joints. The result? Both of my hands are distinct, which I absolutely love.
My green eyes
My mom and sister both have beautiful blue eyes, and I used to be so jealous. But then I remembered something: My father had green eyes. When I look in the mirror, it’s comforting to be able to think of him.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t always love my surgical scars. It’s not like I have just a few of them here and there. I’ve had more than 26 surgeries, so it’s safe to say that I have quite the collection. My hands. My feet. My knees. My neck. My back. I have scars scattered all over my body, much like those once-pesky freckles, but instead of those scars reminding me of scary hospitals, I’ve come to think of them as sort of a badge of honor. They are a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve overcome. I can’t imagine my life without them.
I’d love to hear what you love about your body. Isn’t it time to celebrate the beauty of being YOU? Thanks so much, Caitlin! Feel free to connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. See you there! xoxo