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Scars. Body image. And not really dealing with it. 

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last op and slowly, my wounds and scars are healing.  It’s yet another big scar, though it has gone through the scar site of previous surgeries.

Just a warning that there will be some graphic images of my wounds in this post, so if you have problems with that, perhaps click away now.

Part of my scar opened up after having the staples removed and so I’m cleaning it daily and trying to encourage to to heal from the inside out.  This means I have a little hole in my tummy just above my belly button. Inside my belly button is also very slow to heal, so it’s a case of keeping both wounds clean and dry and letting time take its course.

Cleaning the sites is a little tricky as I can’t quite see, so I am doing it in the mirror. I have this magnifying make up mirror on my dressing table and that helps for me to see inside the wounds as I wash them.

Unfortunately it also gives me this close up, well lit, view of my stomach and all it’s many scars, marks and bruises. This morning, it all got a bit much and I got really upset looking at the state of my body.  I have always dealt with my scars quite well, I see them as war wounds and have always been quite proud of them.

Yet after surgery number 5, it is getting harder and harder to see the bright side. My stomach is covered in scars, my ostomy bag and currently lots of little marks and bruises as I’m injecting myself with blood thinners to counteract DVT and blood clots. (I’m not very good at it and keep hitting blood vessels!!)

I have to admit that I’ve sat and had a big cry. I just felt so sorry for myself and I hate that I’m moping but fucking hell, my body is a mess!  I saw myself with fresh eyes today and recognised just how battered my stomach looks.  It made me wonder how Timm could ever find me attractive again?! He’s loving and sweet and I know he’d never say anything unkind to me, but it must be tough for him to see how awful my body looks right now.

I’m sorry this is such a ‘woe is me’ post, I know I’m usually banging on about empowerment and loving your body but right now, I’m finding it tough.

Saying that, I still do respect my body and think I’m a total badass! I love that I’m still standing (well mostly sitting or laying) after everything that’s been thrown at me. I’m in awe that my body is doing such a great job of healing itself after surgery.  I feel tough and strong knowing that I’ve been through a lot and I’m here.


But I think I’m allowed a whinge. I’m allowed to feel shit. I’m allowed to complain and cry. So here it is.

It’s not fucking fair. This isn’t fair, I don’t want this, I’m sick of having operations, I’m so fucking fed up of not being well and ok. I hate looking in the mirror at my scars, these open wounds make me feel queasy.  I am fed up, angry and heartbroken that 3 years after the first surgery that I thought would solve all my problems that I’m still struggling.

I feel hopeless. And that’s the hardest feeling. It’s like I can’t feel optimistic because optimism hasn’t faired me well so far. There’s no point in believing this will be my last surgery as I’ve thought that every time and it got me nowhere but disappointed. So it’s probably easier to assume the worst and then at least I’ll be proved right.


Fuck, I hate that I’ve just written all of that. I read it back and it’s not me. I’m not a pessimist, I should be sticking rhinestones on myself and celebrating the silver linings but right now I just can’t.

I read back at my older posts and wonder what has changed. Why don’t I feel hopeful and optimistic now when I have in the past?  I’m now aware just how annoying it must have been to read my jolly posts whilst you were struggling.  Sorry about that!

People say I’ve inspired them. I find that hard to say because it sounds big headed. But I am proud that in sharing my journey that I have helped people. I just hope people can find comfort in the rough posts too. I’m sorry I can’t be rainbows and kittens for you today, but I hope anyone who is having a tough time can read this and know they aren’t alone.

Sam XX

Screw your New Year diet

In 2015, I decided to stop dieting. I’d been on a diet for 10 years. 10 YEARS!!!! And it was the shittest diet ever because year on year, I started January heavier than the year before.

I went through cycles of starving and binging, salad obsessions and chocolate gorging.  I’d lose weight, lose interest and gain the weight back along with a few more pounds.

Well last year, I decided my poor old body had had just about enough. I’d had 3 surgeries in 18 months, a Stoma, a Jpouch, 2 hernias and a lot of meds and treatment. I decided that it was pretty wonderful that I was even still standing and so I should give it a break from messing with food.

Diets don’t work. You follow the rules and lose weight, but any short term food deprivation only leads to temporary weight loss.  If you loosen the reins and return back to your former ways, you will gain it all back.

I started thinking about why I was dieting. Did I want to be thinner, or was it just what is expected of me as a woman?  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I’m actually very happy in my skin.  I like my big body, I think I’m soft and beautiful and hella sexy.


But we aren’t meant to say that are we? Especially not if we are ‘plus size’. We’re meant to be ashamed and apologetic. We’re meant to strive to be ‘better’. But what if ‘better’ has fuck all to do with the number in the back of your dress?  What if ‘better’ isn’t about being a size 6?

Humans are all different sizes and shapes, yet we strive to be like a very narrow, Western ideal of beauty that comes from fashion and media. It comes from air brushing, the use of very young models, the use of extremely thin models.  The pressure on women to conform is HUGE.  To look more like a tiny percentage of women. Isn’t that silly?

The funny thing is that my lack of dieting last year, means I start this year lighter than I was at the start of 2015.  It’s the first year that my weight hasn’t gone up and I truly believe this is because I took the pressure off myself, I refused to diet but that doesn’t mean that I decided to eat everything in sight!

When I diet, I am constantly thinking about food. I think about calories and my next meal, I dream of food and look longingly at cheese boards.  This year my focus was on other things, I don’t want to waste time thinking about food when there is a whole world of awesome to be thinking about!  My lack of dieting made me more in touch with my body, eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. Never denying myself of food but enjoying it and savouring it.

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I’m learning all the time to love my body. It’s not easy, I do cave in sometimes and see photos of myself where I’m surprised by my size. But that’s usually because I’m viewing myself through someone else’s eyes. My confidence is dented when I think that someone else is looking at me and thinking about my shape.  In my head, I am Beyoncé. And Zooey Dechanelle. And Thandie Newton. And Superwoman. And Marilyn Monroe.

I’m a bad ass version of all those women blended into one shit hot mega babe.

And so it surprises me sometimes when I see a fat, 34 year old mum in gardening gear.

But you know, I do love my body. Are there things I would change? Yes. Do I want to be healthier? Yes. Will I diet ever again? No fucking way!

Healthy eating and exercise are wonderful, I think we should all eat delicious, unprocessed, bright, colourful, mouth watering food.  I think we should all move our bodies and take part in exercise that is fun and makes us happy.

We only have this one body and so it is really important that we take care of it by giving it the fuel it needs and working our muscles to keep us mobile.  Our physical health is vital.

But so is our emotional health, so take a moment and think about making your mind and spirit healthy too.  Acceptance and self love.  Celebrating not demonising. Give yourself the affirmation that you are beautiful.  Because beauty isn’t about looking the same as a 14 year old size 0 fashion model, it’s about your unique and bloody brilliant self. It’s about kindness and humour and confidence and love whether you’re a size 0 or a size 32+!!

This new year, you will be bombarded by adverts telling you that you aren’t enough. That you need to buy their products to change yourself to fit in.

Fuck fitting in.

sam cleasby the poo lady plus size eff your beauty standards

If you want to make a healthy change to your lifestyle, then go for it! But think about the long term lifestyle changes you might want to make, be aware that short term diets DONT WORK LONGTERM.  Find a physical activity that you want to do, do it with friends, make it fun, enjoy it!

If you don’t want to diet, don’t be led to believe that you must.  Enjoy your body, celebrate your brilliance and love yourself.

Sam X

Not thin enough for mainstream, too thin for plus size? 

I am a size 16, despite years of dieting and exercise, I always end up at a 16. For 15 years I have been somewhere between a 14 and an 18. I am open about this and often tell people my size, you kind of feel the need to when you are shaking your ta-ta’s in photo shoots.

There’s this odd phenomenon though where though I know I’m bigger than many, if I ever use the hashtag #plussize, I tend to get a couple of different responses.  One is that I “don’t look like a size 16” and the other tends to be from other plus size women who seem to think I’m not big enough to class myself as plus size.

Someone once told me that I’m the “clothes designer’s idea of a 16” and I don’t think it was a compliment!  That I am too mainstream and don’t represent ‘real’ plus size women.  As I’m tall I “carry it well”, I apparently “hide it” and “don’t help out genuinely plus size women” as I look slimmer than I am.  WTF?

I had similar comments when I showed my stoma, ostomy bag and scars with responses from some stating that “it’s ok” for me as my “stomach is flat”.   Comments from some thinking that I’m showing an unachievable image as others have hernias (I’ve had 2!), terrible scarring (hands up here for keloids!) and fat, wobbly bits. (Yup! Got those too!). I’m also covered in stretchmarks from having 28lbs worth of baby over three kids and four and a half years!!!

woman with scars on stomach ibd blogger sam cleasby

I know I come across as super confident but I tell you now, it takes a lot of courage to put up images of myself!  I’m 34, I’ve had 3 children and 3 surgeries, I’ve been chronically ill for 12 years and my body has taken such a pasting.  I have days where I feel shit about myself like we all do, there are times when I just want to hide away from the world.

I choose to tell my story through images, mainly because I run a photography company and so it is a normal part of my life, but also because often photos are so much more powerful than words.  When I was going through my surgeries, I desperately wanted to see other people with stomas, ostomy bags and scars.  This blog has always been about raising awareness and helping others and I desperately wanted to promote a positive body image despite everything I had been through.  Through these decisions I have been accused of sexualising disability and had comments about my weight and size.  From those taking the piss and letting me know I am “hardly a model” (NO SHIT SHERLOCK!) through to those who just want me to cover up!

I know that when you put yourself out into the public arena, that you open yourself up to judgement and I fully accept that.  Worry not, I am not weeping into my pillow at night, I remind myself of the Beyonce rule… 

“Would Beyoncé be reading this? No, she would just delete it or somebody would delete it for her. What I really need to do is… say, Fuck you. I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m Beyoncé. I’m going to Ibiza with Jay-Z now, fuck off. ”

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It often feels that the negative comments I get come from other women rather than men.  And I sometimes feel trapped in this weight and size limbo where I am obviously bigger than a lot of women and struggle to buy clothes when I go shopping, but I’m on the smaller end of the plus size ranges and sometimes feel judged for not being big enough!!

All the writing I do about self esteem and body confidence is about love and acceptance for what you have.  Through the past two years I learnt to celebrate that I’m just still here standing!  That my body, though it has disease, scars and illness, carries me through life and is a miracle.  I wish we could all gain a bit more self love, that we could see ourselves in a way that is joyous and filled with love.

We are ever fighting against a tide of social pressure to look a certain way.  We are told we must be thin, young and sexy (though not too sexy or we are asking for it!).  It’s crazy and we need to stop the judgement of other women. We can complain about the media all we want but it can start with us.  We all need to be more accepting of other people, to treat them in a way we would want to be treated.

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And we need to be strong in ourselves and have the confidence to just be ourselves, whatever our size and shape.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this.  As with everything I write, it’s my personal opinions based on my experiences. And our personal opinions are alway skewed so let me know!  Is this something other people feel? Are you plus size and have judged others or are you petite and have an opinion on those larger than yourself?

Sam x

Fat is not sexy…

These are the words of Steve Miller, do you remember him? He did a show called Fat Families where he basically bullied people into exercise and eating salad by calling them “massive fatties” at every opportunity in order to motivate them to lose weight.

Well I unfortunately stumbled upon his twitter feed yesterday and unsurprisingly it is filled with fat shaming posts.  What does surprise me is how far he is willing to push his condemnation of overweight people.  His feed is filled with venomous statements labelling people “fat” “lazy” and stating that they aren’t curvy, just fat.

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Here’s the charmer himself telling the world about the “reality” and “truth” that fat people are unattractive and aren’t able to be in a loving relationship.

steve miller twitter fat shaming

Also fat people don’t have sex.  It’s the truth, it must be!!! This vile Alan Carr wannabe said so!!  All I can think is that he has been taking a leaf out of the Katie Hopkins school of fame and hopes that if he can be as offensive as possible then he will gain fame.  He extolls himself as ‘the Simon Cowell of the slimming world’ with his Mr Nasty character and believes that fat shaming helps to motivate people to lose weight.

What a dick.

I really want to post an intelligent and reasoned argument as to why this vile toad is wrong, but I only have expletives!  How very fucking dare he?  His ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ is bullshit.  He doesn’t get to judge others on their outward appearance and assume that his fucked up, warped view of the world is the truth.

“The reality is; most men don’t want an overweight lover so as soon as they begin to get heavier their partner begins to look elsewhere. After all, who wants a fat woman on top of them in the bedroom?”

What world is he living in? His assumption that all women want to be a size 6 and all men would baulk at the sight of a woman larger than a supermodel is fucking ridiculous.

You know what is sexy? Confidence.  There is nothing hotter than a person who glows with self love, who is happy, joyous and loving life.  You know that person who lights up a room when they enter, who is interesting and clever and witty and you are drawn to them.  And they may be a size 6 or a size 26, the outer shell doesn’t matter when you are in the presence of someone awesome.

You know what isn’t sexy? A person who tries to make money from shaming people into feeling bad about themselves, who name-calls and belittles others.  Somebody who takes their own hurt and pain and puts it onto others.

Worry not, because they amazing world of twitter has responded with vigour.  Awesome blogger and fat activist Daisy replied.

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Whilst I pissed myself at Fat Becky‘s response…

steve miller fat shaming

Yeah, yeah I know lowering ourselves to mocking his appearance isn’t the most adult thing to do, but sometimes, some people are so vile that they kind of deserve it…

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, get fitter or change your lifestyle, but how many really believe that someone bullying them will help? No one should lose weight because someone else makes them feel bad about themselves, weight loss and getting fitter should be a personal choice and one that is emotionally healthy for them.

And that personal choice goes both ways, a friend told me recently that she had been dieting for years and had started a new regime, her husband sighed heavily and told her that he would rather her gain another 5 stone than him have to see her punish herself any longer.  Not everyone wants to be thin, nor does every partner care what size their loved one is.

After my surgeries I was a little shy in front of my husband, I wore long vests in the bedroom to hide my changed body, this became a habit that I eventually tired of.  I realised I wasn’t fooling him, he didn’t think I was a size 0 under my size 16 vest!!! And so I rid myself of the garments and shook what my momma gave me… The result? An honest conversation where he told me that when I covered up it made him worry that I didn’t trust him to love me, it also made him think I couldn’t be enjoying myself if I was thinking about my stomach.

This vile man, Steve Miller, would like you all to believe that if you are fat, no one will love you.  I call bullshit.  If the people around you only care about the number in the back of your dress then dump those fuckers NOW.  True friends, partners, lovers care about you as a whole package and your size and shape pales into insignificance when it comes to your self esteem, confidence, joy and character.

Sex and love are about respect, trust, fun and excitement.  These things come through self esteem and a great relationship not through salads and treadmills.

Fat is not sexy? What a load of shit!!!

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No make up, no photoshop, size 16 and in the words of the amazing Amy Schumer, I can catch a dick any time I want…

Steve Miller, go fuck yourself!

 

Sam x

Pelican Healthcare Live Your Life roadshow – Birmingham

I’m thrilled to let you know that I will be at the Pelican Healthcare Live Your Life roadshow this Saturday in Birmingham.

From 10.00 until 3.00pm at Millichip Suite, West Bromwich Albion Football Club

The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 4LF

I will be doing a talk in the morning and afternoon about self esteem, body confidence and ostomies.

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There will be tons of support and information and other interesting talks through the day.
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Feel free to drop by with your family and friends, anytime between 10am and 3pm. If you have any queries, or would like to confirm your attendance, you can contact us by:

Email – ku.oc1508660885.erac1508660885htlae1508660885hnaci1508660885lep@g1508660885nitek1508660885ram1508660885

Freephone – 0800 318 282

Register now to receive a free goody bag on entry!

I look forward to seeing you there! If you live too far away do check out the Pelican website for details of other roadshows.

Sam

So Bad Ass talk at Seven Hills WI

I did a talk at the marvellous Seven Hills WI in Sheffield last month about self esteem and body confidence.    It was fantastic to get to talk to such wonderful women and it was filmed so please do take a look.  I am a little bit sweary so not suitable for younger viewers.  It is 45 minutes long, so grab a brew and take a listen.

If you would like to book me to talk at your event, get in touch now.

 

 

Love Sam xx

Talking ostomies and self esteem – Pelican Healthcare

I was invited to the Pelican Healthcare Life Your Life roadshow in Cardiff to talk about living with an ileostomy and self esteem.  It was a great day, there was a ton of information stalls and products as well as dietary advice, a reflexologist, the Get Your Belly Out team and lots more.  The super friendly team at Pelican Healthcare were on site to welcome the ostomates, family and friends and to chat and guide them through the day.

pelican healthcare live your life roadshow

My talk was filmed and you can take a look here… Enjoy!

 

If you want me to talk at your event, then get in touch!

pelican healthcare live your life roadshow pelican healthcare live your life roadshow

 

Pelican Healthcare provide ostomy products to people all over the UK, as well as giving advice, support and developing a community for people with ostomies. You can like them on Facebook and follow them on twitter.

Sam x

My beautiful scars

I have a lot of scars, and with another surgery planned in the next few weeks, I will have a few more too…  I am not ashamed of them, they are the signs of my IBD journey, the battle scars of my fight of the last ten years.

My family is half Indian, and so unfortunately I have some issues with keloid scarring.  When you have damage to the skin, in healing itself the body produces more of a protein called collagen.  Collagen gathers around the damage and builds up to help the wound seal over in a scar.

However, some scars don’t stop growing. They “invade” the surrounding healthy skin and become bigger than the original wound. These are known as keloid scars. Keloids affect around 10-15% of all wounds and is more common in people with darker skin particularly African, African Caribbean and Indian people.  (This information comes from the NHS website, take a look for more info and if you are concerned, then go see your GP)

For some people, scars can be associated with poor self esteem and negative body image.  They can be an external sign of their internal struggles and people may feel embarrassed or ashamed of them.  I get this, occasionally I feel self conscious if I see people staring at my scars, this only happens at the swimming pool or beach as I am well past wearing crop tops!

But I have always found scars quite appealing, they suggest a story, something interesting that happened to that person.  My husband is covered in scars from years of skateboarding and snowboarding and we always say that chicks dig scars… Turns out dudes dig scars too!

I have done a few photo shoots before to show my stoma and ileostomy bag before, and so I thought I would have a few of my post j pouch body.

I have been through a lot in the past couple of years, a lot of difficult times, embarrassing and upsetting events, yet I am pleased to say that through it all, my scars are one thing that I haven’t struggled with.  I know they are large, and some would say unsightly, I know they are really visible and somewhat shocking.  But I had three kids before these surgeries and so I already had a lot of stretch marks and a caesarian scar.  Perhaps having these before made the transition to more noticeable scars easier for me to deal with?

After my first son, I went from a size 6 to a size 16… I gained a lot of weight and was COVERED in stretch marks.  I was embarrassed and upset by them, when a family friend told me that I should rejoice in those marks.  They were my tiger stripes, my war wounds, the sign that my body had created another human being!!! Those marks, she told me, were beautiful and something to be proud of.

These scars are a similar thing, they are the marks that show the struggle I have been through.  They remind me of my bravery, my fight, my winning.  They tell a story and they make me smile.

My scars are beautiful.

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All photographs are by Timm Cleasby from the Picture Foundry and cannot be used without permission.  Take a look at The Picture Foundry website, it is the photography company I run with my husband.

 

Sam xx

Too Ugly For Love? Why this isn't ok…

The people who brought you Katie Hopkins show My Fat Story have outdone themselves with their latest show “Too Ugly For Love?” a show about… well let me directly quote the TV channel for you.

“For most people looking for love can be daunting. But for singles with a secret physical affliction the search to find ‘the one’ can seem almost impossible.

This series follows 10 unique singletons,ordinary people living with extraordinary medical conditions, on their quest to find love. All these conditions can be kept secret during a date,and with that comes a whole world of dilemmas.  From alopecia, missing limbs and colostomy bags to medical anomalies such as hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating) and pyoderma gangrenosum (a rare form of skin ulcers), the singletons are agonising over the problems that these conditions are causing in their love lives.

How can you find love when you are hiding your true self? Where do you find the confidence to play the field? When should you reveal the truth to someone that you really like? And how will they react?

The longer you leave the truth, the harder it can be to come clean and the more dramatic the revelation. Follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”

oh no she didn't

There are so many things wrong with this that I barely know where to start! So let’s begin with the title.

Too Ugly For Love? When I saw this yesterday and spluttered and swore profusely all over Facebook and twitter about it, a few people responded saying ‘Ahhh but see the question mark? They aren’t calling them ugly, they are just questioning it!’  Ohhhhh that’s ok then!! They are just asking whether the audience thinks these people are too ugly…

As I read the the biographies of the people on the show (all of whom I have no doubt are lovely, genuine people who I have NO beef with at all) I was just appalled.  There is a lady with alopecia, two gents with amputated limbs, two with ostomy bags (the biog of the show calls them colostomies but as we know, the media refuse to accept the existence of ileostomies and so who knows which they are!), a woman with keloid scarring, one with a disease that causes excessive sweating and a woman who was burnt badly.  As you read through that list, is there any part of you that would question their beauty based on their circumstances?

The title of the show is just to grab headlines, and I am not that surprised coming from a company who works with a woman who feeds off negative publicity like a grotesque leech, but I am so offended by it.

My blog is all about celebrating our inner awesomeness, about loving our amazing bodies whatever they look like and however poorly, wounded or damaged they have become.  It is about trying to show my audience that my scars, my ileostomy bag, my illness never defined me, I have openly written about my journey and how I learnt not only to accept the changes I went through, but to embrace and love my brave, heroic body that keeps going despite illness and surgery.

too ugly for love ostomy bag sam cleasby so bad ass

The idea of a show that labels people with an ostomy ‘too ugly’ is just heartbreaking.  We all have that horrid little voice in our heads, you know the one that tells you that you’re too ugly, too fat, too stupid, too (insert shit feeling here)… Seeing a TV show like this just makes me feel like everyone thinks that about me too.  The idea that it is a question makes me think “Do people think I am too ugly for love??”

As someone who had an ileostomy bag and now has a lot of scarring including large keloid scars, I hit two of their categories.  A little voice inside me thought ‘Blimey, am I doubly ugly?’

And that is when the anger struck… I am a confident woman who does this for a living, I write about body confidence, self esteem and chronic illness and so I KNOW there are so many people out there who feel crap about themselves because of illness, scarring, surgery and more.  I am so furious that there will be people out there now questioning YET AGAIN (because believe me, we do it ALL THE TIME) how people judge them.

I haven’t watched the show and I won’t be.  I know some people will argue that I shouldn’t judge a show that I haven’t seen.  But really, I can’t bring myself to watch it, I know for a fact that when they were asking people to apply they didn’t say “Do you want to be on a show called Too Ugly For Love?”  It just feels like a way to point at the people different to you, it is that sympathy porn of The Undateables, making struggling people easy fodder for the masses and it doesn’t sit well with me.

This line in the TV show’s bumpf gets me straight away…

“follow the singletons through the ups and downs of the dating game as they adopt different strategies to hide their conditions.”

I understand the feeling of wanting to hide your illness/disability away, but that is a negative thing.  To hide something means to be ashamed of it and not want the world to see.  Surely we should be helping others to learnt to accept the thing they want to hide, as a society shouldn’t we be saying ‘we are all different and that is a wonderful thing’ not watching people adopting strategies to hide their conditions!

And so I wanted to write about it, I have had so many messages on Facebook, twitter, instagram and email from people who are just disgusted by TLC UK.  I hope TLC will take on board the comments from people all over the UK who they have upset and offended by the title of this show.

And my message to anyone reading this who is less than perfect (that would be all of you!) is this…

We are all so different, some of us slim, some muscly, some obese, some carrying a few extra pounds.  There are those of us who have had surgeries that alter us in some way, who take medication that changes the way we look, there are those of us in wheelchairs, with ostomy bags, with scars.  Some of us have very visible diseases and illnesses and some have ones that are entirely invisible but make our heads and hearts hurt with the struggle…

Beauty is not perfection.  Ugly is not imperfection.

Our bodies are the only ones we have and they are with us for life, we need to learn to accept, love and celebrate the body we are in, no matter how poorly or broken it is.  I always think of my scars as the hieroglyphs of my journey, they don’t show weakness, they show what I battled through and that I came through the other side a lot stronger, wiser and filled with so much more empathy and kindness for others.

If you are surrounding yourself with people who question your physical appearance, or there are people in your life who believe you are ugly, it is not yourself you need to change, it is the people around you.

Nice, kind, good people won’t judge you for your difference.  Your true friends will love you for being you, your physical appearance means fuck all to the right people.

The person you want to fall in love with is out there, and they don’t care about whether your body is perfect, they care about whether your heart is true, your laughter genuine, your nature kind and your soul happy.  If you have to hide away who you really are, they aren’t the one.

We are all amazing beings and we need to learn to celebrate and love one another not point fingers and question their perfection.

If you are looking for perfection, you will have a long wait.  Every one of us has so many delicious imperfections that make us the person we are.

Fuck perfection.  Let’s celebrate the best parts of us and know that we are all a little broken.

I would LOVE to hear your opinion on all this, please leave comments.

 

Peace and Love

 

Sam x

 

 

A love letter to myself

Dear Sam,

This is a little awkward but here we go, this is a love letter to you because you need to hear this.  Society tells us that it is immodest to love yourself and the marketing people of the world don’t want you to love yourself but after a really shitty year, let’s just go for it.

You have been through so much and I am really proud of you, you battled so hard and I am amazed that you have come through this experience a stronger person.  Though at times you are frightened, angry and distressed, you have taken it all on board and made something amazing from a terrible situation.

I know you feel you have to always have a smile on your face, that you created this public face of positivity that sometimes makes it difficult to admit when you are struggling.  But you have had to learn let yourself be sad, let yourself cry, let yourself be angry.

I love that you love your friends, that you care about them and try to be there, your kindness has been repaid 100 times over during your recovery and you are lucky to have such wonderful mates around you.  I love that you want everyone to be happy but you know that sometimes you need to take some time for yourself.

You have learnt that you need to look after yourself, that your body is the only place you have to live, that means accepting it’s weaknesses and recognising when you need to stop and rest.  You realise how important you are, and that you can’t help others if you are broken yourself.

I love that you have learnt to love your body, that you have accepted your new shape, your scars and your modified self with pride and joy.  It hasn’t been an easy path but your new found happiness has not only benefitted yourself but has become a role model for others.

I love that after a long time of feeling that your career path was lost in the woods, that you have cleared the trees and discovered these strengths that you didn’t know you had.  Your childhood dream of being a writer that you thought was a silly fantasy is coming true through your own hard work and you are carving your own career and making your own opportunities.

I love that you are silly. That you are ok with playing the fool and know that your laughter is far sexier than any pout.  I love that you did a ropy poly across a dance floor just to see the look on all the “beautiful people’s” faces.  I love that as you grow older and relax more, your humour grows without shame.

I love that you are learning that you can’t fix everyone and that sometimes, no matter how hard it feels, you need to cut people from your day to day life who don’t bring you anything positive.  I love that you are learning that you shouldn’t be a doormat and that ‘no’ is a full sentence.

I love your interests in penguins, dinosaurs, collecting found shopping lists, learning about obscure, random things, knitting, reading and whatever else takes your fancy.  I love that you like these things despite others mocking you for them.  You know your interests should make you happy, not anyone else.

I love that you adore your children.  That you accept that being a mother means constant adapting and learning, you know you aren’t a perfect mum but you try your best and know that is enough.  I love that your children haven’t been scarred by your illness but it has taught them to be more empathetic, caring and open.

I love that you have found a man who makes every part of your life better.  Though you have had really tough times over the last 16 years, the past year that would have broke some people has just brought you so much closer together.  You are a lucky woman to have a person in your life who sees through everything and loves your soul.

I love that you are learning that the hard shell you put up for years didn’t just keep out the hurtful words but it kept out some good people and so you have learnt to drop the shield.  Your path hasn’t always been easy and I know you have anger and hurt when you think of your youth but I love that you are learning to deal with that.  You have been rough on yourself but you are learning to be kinder.  I know you didn’t always feel like you had people to guide you towards making healthy decisions, but that has made you the person you are and I forgive you for all the mistakes you have made along the way.

Your decision to take the last difficult year of illness and recovery and make something positive of it is a real achievement.  This love letter is just one way that you are hoping to teach others to love themselves and I hope you continue and make a difference to the lives of other people.  I love that you blog your journey without shame or embarrassment in the hope that it will help others.

So here we come to the end of this awkward letter of self love, all I can finish with are the words of the great Dory.

Just keep swimming…

 

Love Sam xx