comparison is the thief of joy quote

Comparison is the thief of joy 

I read this quote saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and it felt very apt this week as I have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to others.  And my joy feels completely stolen.

Having a chronic illness and facing surgery soon that will give me a ‘bag for life’ in my permenant ostomy is taking it’s toll.  Not only physically, but emotionally too.

I’ve been comparing myself to everyone. To her career, her body, her free spirit, her perfectness.  I look at my sad, broken, scarred body and then look across at other women and feel thoroughly shit. I look at women with careers who are so clever and educated and brilliant and then feel bad about my cobbled together earnings. I see women living the dream, travelling the world, doing what they desire most and then look at my calendar filled with hospital dates.

sam cleasby blogger
Mainly, right now, it’s the body image thing.  And it’s hard for me to admit this as on this blog, I’m all about the positive body image. But this next surgery is so final. It will create an ostomy that can’t be reversed and so I know that for the rest of my life, I will have a bag attached to my stomach that collects poo.

I feel sorry for myself. There, I said it.

And even worse, I feel sorry for Timm. Poor lad really got the short straw when he ended up with me… I told him this during one of my wailing, howling sobs that have taken place this week. He smiled and said he’d got the most colourful and exciting straw. (That’s why we love him!)

It’s so easy to say that we should be positive about our bodies. And I do know I’m lucky to be here, still standing, after years of illness and surgery. But it’s fucking hard to be surrounded by images of ‘perfect’ women and to be imperfect.

On a good day, I can celebrate my ‘imperfections’. My size 16 body that has curves and soft skin, my strong, thick thighs and great rack.

On a bad day, I see fat, I see stretch marks, huge scars, boobs that sit that bit lower than before. And I think about the addition of another ostomy and it makes me cry.

I compare myself to women with ‘perfect’ bodies and make myself miserable.  I sit on this fine line between being terrified that my husband will leave me and the idea that he probably should as he’d be better off without me.

I think about how the man I love most in the whole world is also the man that I cause the most distress.  I worry about how much pressure he is put under every time I don’t feel well. I worry that it’s not fair to him. That he would be happier if I wasn’t here.

Having an illness or disability is fucking hard work.  It brings up so many feelings of pain and burden, shame and embarrassment. And these aren’t things that are easy to talk about.

But talk about them we must.

I don’t write them here to gain sympathy. I  don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. What I want, is to share these shitty feelings because I don’t think I’m alone in this!  I want to share in the hope that if someone else is struggling too, that they will feel less alone.

sam and timm cleasby

I write because saying those words out loud are painful but the inability to speak them allows them to grow and mutate in your mind till they become bigger than everything else.

I write because I want to give others the courage to talk to their loved ones about how they feel.  To talk about the bad thoughts as well as the good.

It’s ok to speak out. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be angry.

Logically I can dissect my feelings and come up with appropriate answers.  I know when I’m hating on my fat, I need to remember that when I’m feeling good, I love my body. And I really do! I remember that I need to speak positively about my body because it is listening and I know that when my head isn’t such a mess that I believe I’m a motherfucking goddess!!! Seriously, I’m fucking delicious.

I know I don’t need to be a size 8 to be beautiful. I know that my scars are interesting and are there because my life was saved.  I know that my stretch marks are there because my body grew and housed the three best kids in the whole world.

And I know that when my ostomy is back, that it will be there to improve my life.

I’m going to try to stop comparing my life to anyone else’s.  Not one of us is perfect. We’re all facing our own battles and we compare our worst moments with another persons highlights. We’ll never win that one.

Comparison is the thief of joy.  Remember that.
Sam x

8 replies
  1. Tig
    Tig says:

    Sobbing here. As you know I really identify. I don’t feel sorry for you but I do feel sorry for us. And angry and ALL the grief. And I just read elsewhere that on the other side of grief is gratitude. Here’s to trusting that’s where we are bound…

    All love to you (and Timm).

    “I write because saying those words out loud are painful but the inability to speak them allows them to grow and mutate in your mind till they become bigger than everything else.” – yup.


  2. Caren
    Caren says:

    Sam, you should know that I’ve always compared myself to you. Look how confident, strong, and beautiful she is. Look at how she shows her bag to everyone without shame. Look at how she manages to look sexy even with the bag. Look at how courageous she is.
    YOU were the one who helped me get through my surgery. I compared myself to you and knew that I’d be ok. And I am. You will be too. And you won’t be sick anymore.
    Thank you.

  3. Donald
    Donald says:

    Hi Sam when there’s things coming up plus the stress on top of it we tend to go into a bit in the depressing mode . Because we are human we are always affected by others we compare ourself to them .
    I get a lot of stimulation from you ,your posting your corage . It does get me out of feeling sad angry and depressed . We all need to get those feeling out of us .
    I would tell you don’t change anything you are perfect just the way you are .

    Thanks for your posting
    Donald from Canada

  4. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    I feel exactly the same as you Sam I’m also having surgery for the barbie butt in January. I also think to myself what does my husband see in me. X

  5. Catarina
    Catarina says:

    I feel sorry for me too..for us, who have chronic ilness. I’ve crohn disease for 5years now (i’m 24) and my bowel is 27inches shorter due to a surgery.
    Everything you said fits me..and your words made me feel less lonely. Thank you for that.
    Thank you for sharing your feelings, they are so important for me.
    Kisses from Portugal, hope you get well soon.

  6. Nit
    Nit says:

    Try reversing the roles – From what I can gather about your marriage from reading your blogs, if Timm was in your position I’m sure you would want to love and support him through anything that this shitty disease (no pun intended!) has thrown at him and that you couldn’t bear to think of him worrying that you would leave him. I’d like to bet that he wishes he could do anything to take this hurt away from you, and to help you back to being the beautiful vivacious woman that you really are when you’re not being beaten down by this.

    It’s not much consolation now, but maybe in the future you might be able to view the bag as you do your stretch marks and scars – I have two caesarian scars which have deformed my stomach quite badly, but if I hadn’t had those operations my husband would be a widower who lost two children at birth. When I feel down about my belly, I have to remind myself that I am alive with two beautiful caring children. I know it’s not the same as a stoma, but that bag will be giving you back your health and your quality of life, just in a different way.

    I’m typing this at lunchtime after my 9th toilet trip today and a bloomin’ sore arse. Your publicity about people like us using disabled toilets has helped me enormously – Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.