The reason I’ve shared this photo is to encourage people with any physical disability to realise they are certainly not abnormal or socially taboo. The journey to feeling comfortable with yourself is long and difficult. With the media blasting out pictures of models and so-called “perfection” – which is a disgraceful label because each person is as individual as a fingerprint and normality/perfection of a person is, to me, a social construct (pink is for girls, blue is for boys). Images of Kendall Jenner, for example, can intimidate and make girls feel sadly uncomfortable about themselves. I used to feel hideous seeing X, Y and Z but the years have taught me about individuality, resilience and survival.
I’ve written a few posts regarding the subarachnoid brain haemorrhage I suffered in 1996 as a result of an arterio-venous malformation rupture and the subsequent effects. I felt strangely numb pondering the possibility of death and inability to walk again. Guess it was because I was 19 and very oblivious to the reality. I found urinary catheter bags and speech therapy funny: hail good humour!
The years have rolled by rather unkindly due to the snowball effect of yet more fuck ups. But it is what it is and I’m very grateful that I’m on two feet as opposed to Christine the blood red wheelchair. After the Stephen King horror character I loved. A grey one would have definately been called Jaws. So, the years have rolled by. I’ve written about my heart failure and functional neurological disorder plus the sprinkling of musculoskeletal pain and of course, Borderline Personality Disorder.
The photograph above shows the muscle atrophy of my lower left leg with lesser wastage on my knee. My foot is more or less defunct but there’s slow ankle movement and I learned to walk with the disability using my weight and a leap of faith. The toes have had all the tendons released and my big toe has been fused hence it being shorter. No toenail either because I kept snagging it and it partially separated from the bed.
I became so self-conscious I had the heart tattoo on my right foot to distract the eye of myself and others in summertime when I wear sandals. Apparently one of the most painful areas to be inked but I laughed as it tickled. I’ve developed a high pain tolerance.
I used to talk to a group of Warriors on Instagram and Twitter. These people were suffering yet radiated positivity, support and encouragement. We were very different yet the same. Time passed and they restored so much self-confidence in me which further aided me in self-acceptance. Social media is a fantastic tool to connect with others in your situation and give each other self belief.
My biggest surge of acceptance and confidence has evolved from escalated suffering. The more I go wrong, the more bitch I feel towards myself and strive to continue with my stubborn determination. Many people have become fierce because of the same thing, it’s like we’re being trained SAS style to cope and conquer!
What doesn’t kill you had better run away
© Copyright: Sharon Lawson™