I’m MoG, and I have a dysfunctional body.
As greetings go I’d imagine that’s a little unusual. Thing is, you wouldn’t know to look at me, my disability is invisible. It has changed so much of my life, from my body shape, to my health, to my hobbies, relationships, career and self image. For six years I have struggled with hatred for me body, along with total alienation from it.
I didn’t feel like I was a part of it, more like I was trapped inside it. There was a healthy young woman trapped inside this decrepit body.
Over those six years, as more and more problems developed I lost hope that I’d ever feel confident and happy with my body ever again.
Then at the beginning of this year I started to get involved in the plus size fashion world, following incredible bloggers (like Georgina here!) who exuded confidence. At first I thought, “that’s great, but it’ll never be me”. Then over time I started to take on board what they were saying, and things started to shift inside me more when I got my long awaited diagnosis.
I now know that I am hypermobile, you may know it as double jointed. While I cannot do any odd party tricks with my joints, it does mean I am (or at least was) quite flexible. Loads of people are hypermobile, but for an unlucky group of us it causes problems. Essentially our muscles are too loose to hold our joints in place and so have to work over time to stop the joints dislocating. This causes pain, it can also cause the muscles to stiffen up making the joints inflexible.
This was what started it for me, my upper back locked up one day. I woke up totally unable to move it and in agony.
From there my life changed. I was only 24. After that the problems started to appear in my elbows, hips, knees, wrists and fingers. I started getting partial dislocations in some of my joints.
As my mobility was completely wrecked I started to gain weight, and as I started to gain weight I found it harder and harder to get help. Questions about my back changed from helpful to, “well, if you lost a bit of weight” or “it’ll be your weight causing it, lose weight and you won’t be in pain”.
I started to become nervous of resting in public for fear my need to sit would be attributed to my weight not my joints. Going food shopping became tough because I feared people were judging me if I dared to buy quick food (food preparation is painful). I stopped caring for how I looked, it hurt to make an effort, even just brushing my hair is hard on me. And while I was getting larger I felt like it wasn’t worth trying, like I’d never feel confident again, and didn’t deserve to while I was so fat and broken.
Finding out about plus size bloggers made me realise I was wrong. I deserved to be happy and confident. My weight wasn’t the issue, my view of myself was. I was focussing on what I couldn’t do, not what I could.
So what if my body isn’t in the greatest shape, I can only do what is within my physical limits to do. If I wait until my body is thin or fixed to be happy with myself I am probably never going to be happy.
I can’t change my body, there’s no cure. It’s genetic. I can learn to manage it, and I can learn to work with it, but to do so I need to learn to care for it again. I need to learn to care for myself.
The plus size community has taught me to take pride in who I am, and know that I am not just my body. They’ve taught me that I don’t need to be ashamed of my body, that embracing my body instead of distancing myself from it is healthier physically and mentally. They’ve taught me acceptance, and offered their own.
So thank you Georgina for allowing me this space.