How I Learned To Love My Body’s Flaws

Too thin is not a fashion statement. It is not healthy. It should not be desired.

Growing up, I always disliked the way women were treated in the media. To me, it seemed as though I couldn’t be pretty unless I was ‘skinny’. I was a skinny kid, and growing up people would make comments to me. My friends would buy my pop-tarts and cookies at lunch to “put some meat on [my] bones.” I had a friend who was slightly overweight, and I remember several times where she would compare her body to mine. It always made me uncomfortable, partly because I didn’t understand what the big deal was.

In high school, I began to appreciate my small, wiry stature. Hallways were crowded, and it wasn’t difficult for me to weave in and out of traffic (I think this is where I got my driving skills from). I went to a private, all-girls high school, and a lot of the comments stopped in high school. Whether they stopped because  no one cared about their appearance, or because I began to put on some muscle from living on a farm, I don’t know. I do know that I enjoyed it. For once, I felt that I wasn’t measured by a number on a scale. It was nice.

Then, senior year of high school happened. For the first semester, I couldn’t ride because I was dealing with crippling chronic pain. I began to put on weight, and began to feel body conscious again. Thankfully, at my high school, no one really cared. No one made comments towards me, and I learned to love the rolls in my stomach, and the stretch-marks on my thighs. After all, they were the marks of a warrior, the marks of someone dealing with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

But, that January, I began experiencing horrible nauseous episodes. I would get sweaty, hot, and shaky. I always thought I would throw up, but I never did. I began cutting foods out of my diet until all I could eat was a Wendy’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich. I began losing weight. Just as I had begun to love my body’s flaws, a new one came.

With this flaw came a new diagnosis; Gastroparesis. It was a condition in which my stomach didn’t empty food fast enough. I hated it. I hated my body. After several months of chronic nausea, I found something that worked. A botox shot, and a God send called Amitriptyline. It was on Elavil that I gained back 15 pounds I had lost. As I started my freshman year of college, I was so thankful to gain the freshman-fifteen.

A year later, I entered my sophomore fall term with different results. At the start of the semester, I suffered from an allergic reaction to paint that brought my chronic nausea back. In just two months,  I lost twenty-five pounds. We couldn’t find the right combination of medications, and my anxiety began to grow. Everything I had worked so hard for came crashing down. I couldn’t attend classes. I could barely force food down my throat most days.

I was thin, but I was miserable. There are a lot of things that the media doesn’t portray when they show beautiful, thin women. Here’s a list of 5 things that happen when you’re too thin:

  1. You’re dizzy. While I am sure that some of my dizziness is due to my chronic condition, Orthostatic Hypotension, I was not this dizzy when I weighed 25 pounds more.
  2. You get full easily. Gaining weight is hard work! Believe it or not, when you stop eating as much, your stomach begins to shrink. Now, not only does food stay in my stomach longer, but my stomach can also hold less food.
  3. You loose sleep. Did you know that your gut plays a role in sleep? A large portion of melatonin, a chemical your body releases to help you sleep, is in your gut. When your gut isn’t healthy, your sleeping habits tend to change.
  4. You get stretch marks. Okay, maybe this is an EDS thing. But, losing a lot of weight that quickly will cause stretch marks on a lot of people.
  5. You feel like trash 24/7. It’s true. You may look ‘thin’ but you don’t feel healthy. You’re going to feel weak. You’ll miss out on fun things because you’re too tired to do anything.

Here’s the bottom line: thin does not equal beauty. Thin does not equal healthy. Thin is not desirable.

It’s hard to love a body that is constantly fighting against you. It’s hard to love a body that causes you to be nauseous, dizzy, tired, and weak. It’s hard to love a body covered in stretch marks. It’s hard to love a body that makes you feel like this, yet gets you compliments 24/7. But, nothing in life is ever easy.

Even though my body is as messy as my life, I still love it. It’s the only body God gave me. And, even though it is faulty, it is the body God created and designed. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” If this body, with all its faults, is good enough for the Holy Spirit, then I know I can love it. And you should too.

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