Rolling With My Insecurities

Rolling With My Insecurities

I never felt insecure about my wheelchair, I felt insecure about my body.
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Growing up, I never really felt insecure or embarrassed by the fact that I was in a wheelchair. Having a wheelchair was a norm for me, I didn’t see it as something that made me a complete outsider. I only saw it as something that gave me freedom and independence. I still see it like that to this day.

Growing up, my insecurities and embarrassments came more from how my body looked. The bone disease I was born with left me to mature with uneven shoulders, a differently shaped chest, and a very short stature for my age.

When I was younger, of course, I didn’t really notice how different my body was. I was too focused on playing outside with my friends. I was too concerned about what Disney movie I was going to watch before bed. I was comfortable in my body.

It wasn’t until middle school where I started to realize how different my body was from everyone else’s. I think disability or no disability, a lot of people have that realization around that pre-teen age. It’s the age where adults tell you that you’re going to go through “changes.” It’s the age where the health teacher comes into your class to pop in an awkward video about puberty. Basically, it’s an age very few want to go back to.

It was this point in my life where I wanted so badly for my body to look like the other girls’. I would try my hardest to dress like how a majority of them dressed only to face the reality that the clothes didn’t fit my body like I expected them too. I had to face the reality that soon the clothes I wanted to wear would very rarely be found in a size that could fit me. Safe to say, these were pretty frustrating realizations.

My breaking point, though, was when I finally went to go purchase my first bra. Now, if any of you have read a Judy Blume book, you’d know that buying your first bra is a pretty big deal. It’s up there with getting your period and liking a boy (which, though I loved Judy’s books, aren’t the greatest experiences honestly). Anyway, I remember I picked out two that looked so “cool” and “mature”. In all reality, they were pretty average-looking bras, but pre-teen me was stoked about them.

When I got home I wasted no time trying one on and throwing a shirt over it to see what it would look like. I remember how uncomfortable it felt because it didn’t fit my chest perfectly. I remember seeing how lumpy it looked under the shirt. I remember feeling absolutely and positively drained.

I just couldn’t understand why my body had to look the way it did. It wasn’t until I was absolutely sick of feeling this way that I tried to turn my thinking around. I started feeling a bit better about my body in high-school once I realized that this is my body. It’s the only body I’m going to get and I need to take care of it. I didn’t need my body to look the way society promotes bodies to look. I needed to look like me.

The older I get the more representation I see of women with disabilities. There’s models, beauty vloggers, actresses, business women, etc. Though I see that representation, I definitely believe there needs to be more of that representation in the media. Tons more.

I often wonder if I would’ve struggled as much as I did if I saw more representation as a kid. I like to think I would've struggled less, just like how I like to think about today's representation possibly helping out someone who has faced the same struggles that I have.

Now, though I feel better about my body, this doesn’t mean that my insecurities are completely gone. I still have those days where I just don’t feel comfortable. Where I feel like there are so many bits and pieces I wish I could change. But, those days make the days where I love my body feel ten times brighter.

To anyone who can relate to what I have shared, I know it’s frustrating. But, please know that working towards loving your body is completely worth it. It’s hard work, I won’t lie to you about that. Like I said, I still have days where I don’t like what I see in the mirror. At the end of the day, though, that is your body. It’s unique and beautiful because it’s yours. Please take care of it and please take care of yourself. If I learned anything from my experiences, self-love is one of the best kinds of love.

Cover Image Credit: Faythann Fallon

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Open Letter To The Person Feeling Everything Is Too Much

The strongest people to exist struggle the most.

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Hey, you.

I heard through the grapevine that life's got you in the dumps. You're feeling overwhelmed by your surroundings, stressed by your responsibilities, sensitive to the things that people are saying; everything just feels like it is too much. It almost feels like you're stuck in a room filling up with water. You know that the door opens, but you're numbed by the circumstances; you can't get yourself to take hold of that handle, so you just stand there, frozen in time. You feel the water rising up around your body, and with every inch it gains, you get even more overwhelmed. Maybe the water flooding in contains your schoolwork, your family dynamic, your drama within your friend group, your relationship status, internal anger about who you are or aren't, or hell, maybe all of these.

You feel like life is throwing rogue waves at you left and right, and you can't understand it. Why is this happening to me? Why is life trying to break me?

Well, let me tell you something that has taken me years to even grasp, let alone fully understand.

The strongest people to exist struggle the most. They are given some of the most intricately woven issues that may not have a black and white solution but live somewhere within the gray. Things pile up and upon them until everything feels like too much. And you know what they do, the strongest people to exist?

They break.

They stand there, trapped in that water-filling room, and let the water seep in. They don't open that door, they don't take the easy way out. They stand there, thinking about what is being thrown at them, not knowing what to do. They let the water overwhelm them, completely filling the room. And right when they feel that they can't take this anymore, like everything is too much, the door breaks... they break. The strongest become the weakest as they float out of the room, carried by the rushing water filled with their burdens. They lay washed up on the shore, weaker than ever... broken and cracked, frozen and numbed by life.

While they lay there broken and numb, weakness does something so immaculate and beautiful: it settles into the brokenness and the cracks like fresh, fertile soil, planting the seeds of wisdom and strength. Over time as it continues to rain, wisdom and strength grow throughout their bones like vines, making them even stronger than they were before they got trapped in that room before they broke. The strongest people to exist break frequently, so that room can be made for more love, more strength, and more wisdom than imaginable.

Now you may be thinking, why this analogy? What are you getting at?

I want you to know, and read this closely: it is okay to break. It's okay to let everything feel like it's too much because you know what? Sometimes it is, it just is. Sometimes, you have to just stand there, and let yourself feel. Let it explode and wash over you. Let it leave you cracked. Once the explosion has ridden its course. analyze the broken pieces you feel inside. Look at them individually and try to find the root of that feeling. Finding the knowledge behind that feeling means that you now know how to fight back. So you know what you do? You piece yourself back together, slowly but surely, using wisdom as the glue, and you come back stronger than ever before.

You have to break before you can grow. Let yourself feel, feel all of it. Break and be grown anew.

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