Body Positivity & Chronic Illness

Let’s talk about body positivity. I know that many people have talked about this, but whenever I read those posts, I never come away feeling like any of them represent me or my relationship with my body. In fact, I’ve often felt like I shouldn’t love my body because the focus always seems to be on ‘health’.

You see, I am sick. I suffer from multiple rare chronic conditions which have a huge impact on my body. Yet all the body positivity posts I’ve read focus on the saying ‘as long as you are healthy’ and to be honest that used to make me feel like a failure. So bad, in fact, that it left me in a depressive state for years.

I had always thought that body positivity was inclusive and meant to be about loving your body, regardless? The whole ‘as long as you are healthy’ type of belief is ignorant at best, but ableist at its worst. Why am I suddenly unworthy of being able to love my body based because of the status of my health? Do these people understand how truly harmful that is to base someone’s worth on their health? I really struggled to love my body due to the fact it’s tried to kill me and left me with a reflection in the mirror that I no longer recognise. When you’re sick and your body is fighting against you, it affects everything in your life.

Despite everything that has happened to me, I have learned to love my body. Instead of feeling worthless because I am not ‘healthy’, I decided to look at what my body has been able to do. I’ve grown and given birth to a tiny human, I’ve been accidentally overdosed to the point of almost not breathing, and yet I’m still here. I’ve been through multiple surgical procedures and emergency admissions, and I still get back up. My insides are scrambled (literally) thanks to Heterotaxy Syndrome, but my body has kept me alive. I happen to think that’s pretty fucking incredible.

No longer do I allow anyone to define body positivity for me. I may not be healthy, but I am strong, and no one will ever take that away from me.

Tamsin Hopkins

I'm a book nerd and SciFi geek with an obsession with Stargate SG1 and Sanctuary (Amanda Tapping is my idol!).

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