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.
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.
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.