Thursday, December 23, 2010

Body Image

Everyone is blessed with a body. Some choose to take care of their vessel of life while others do not. Since acquiring lupus, I am more than ever trying to keep it in some semblance of shape and keep a good mental attitude about my body. Not always an easy task. Lupus and some of the medications I am on can wreak havoc on my body.

Bikini season is one of my most dreaded times of the year. Not because I’m over weight or have an ugly tattoo. My lupus causes me to have rashes and other skin defects. No one wants to see someone at the pool who looks like they have the worst eczema in the world. To top it off, I’m generally bruised up. So… I look like I’ve been beaten as well. For a 17 year old girl, it can be quite challenging to come to terms with this is the best I can look in a bathing suit.

Every girl my age wants to be the model type. No matter how secure a girl may tell you she feels about her body, there is insecurity. American girls have been fed a steady diet of unrealistic views on beauty since a very early age. Take for example: Barbie. She has big breasts, a little waist and nice hips. The only thing Barbie and I have in common is blonde hair. No one could ever physically be Barbie but many girls try. With having lupus I have had to step back and say, “You are beautiful no matter what.” Basically I have learned for the most part to love the skin I’m in, no matter how bad the skin may be.

Weight is not a huge concern to me. I eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, low on salt/sugar and fat. Most of the time I am able to exercise but I know when my body needs a break. Really that’s the best I can do to maintain my weight. No crazy celery diets here! As far as prednisone goes… ahem… will not take it. Just won’t. Not happening. The side effects are far too harsh for me to willingly subject myself to. Plus I can be skinny and cranky now. And it’s easier on the joints while throwing a tantrum anyways.

I have learned to not compare other girls to me. For I am not them and they are not me. Yes they may be in far better shape than me and have letters in every single sport known to mankind. But I have lettered in things too. State champion in strength, courage and perseverance. A little patch for winning a volleyball tournament doesn’t even measure up to fighting a winning battle with lupus. So in my current state I simply smile as I watch the athletic girls parade by. Knowing I too am a winner in a very different way.

How I look is important to me. As much as lupus can change my physical appearance it has yet to change my mental opinion. I am fine just the way I am.

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