6 June 2018

'DEAR BODY' | GUEST POST BY PETA (PE-TA.COM)



Welcome back to my little 'Body Stories' series, if you missed the first one I will link it at the end of this post for you; for now I will keep the intro to today's post super short because I really want you to get stuck right on into this, it made me cry and I honestly think it is so beautifully written.

Today's body story comes from the absolutely gorgeous Peta, from the blog pe-ta.com; you guys will know by now how much I love this lady, she is a beautiful human, with such a kind heart and soul, so I was very happy when she said 'yes' to writing something for this series, thank you Peta! Be sure to head over to her social media and show her some love once you have read this (all the places you can find Peta are linked at the bottom of this post). Over to Peta...

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When Lucy popped a message over enquiring if I'd be up for writing a guest blog post on something to do with the body in a positive light, I jumped at the chance. I'm one of those half a cup full kinda cat mums who likes to view the world with her rose tinted glasses firmly in place. Despite those gorgeous specs, it doesn't mean I don't have my own body hang ups. In fact, I've got bucket loads of them... I mean in this day and age, quite honestly, who doesn't? After a bit of umming and arring over a cup of tea as to what I was going to tip tap away on my little laptop, I decided a letter to my body would rival anything I could ever pen in regards to experiences with self love. Particularly, as the way I speak to my body is changing and evolving every day in a favourable way. Maybe it's just the tea talking, maybe it's to do with my age...maybe all of those podcasts I've been listening to are rubbing off on me. I shan't dwell on the why for too long... I don't want to jinx it. 

I'm sat at my kitchen table, with a steaming cup of tea in my most favourite cat mug with a cat on my knee (Katie) and another on the chair next to me (Albert). Bon Iver is playing quietly on one of the very few (shockingly!) tabs open on my browser - the other is the thesaurus so I can sound somewhat like a writer. Now we've got the intro over, and you’re aware of the setting, I think we had better begin. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to write about something which is rather close to my heart Lucy. You're wonderful. 



Dear Body, 

We've had a bit of a tough ride you and I, throughout our childhood we were teased for having chubby legs and a podgy tummy. That poor tummy was often very sick. Those poor legs did their very best in carrying you to and from school. In running across the field and doing rollypollies down the hill at Mount Edgecumb. In Primary School our knees, ankles, elbows, fingers, everything really, ached. It all ached, but we didn't really know how to articulate that. It’s growing pains we were told, over and over again. Gosh, if growing felt like this, we hoped there wasn’t much more to go. 

As the teen years approached you blossomed quickly, you stopped growing upwards at twelve, you were tall for twelve they said, like a little giraffe. Turns out that same tall for twelve was rather small for sixteen and kinda cute at twenty - phew. You did however grow outwards at twelve, 28DDs flanked your fifteen year old otherwise small frame. The pains continued, those growing pains that actually...maybe they weren’t growing pains after all… maybe it was arthritis the doctor said. 

At sixteen your boobs were ginormous let’s not lie, you struggled to find ANY bras to fit you never mind something an eighteen year old would want to wear. Shoutout to you Bravissimo, you saved the day. Finding clothes to fit your very strange body shape became a struggle. We discovered yoga which seemed to help that pain, which was apparently arthritis. We got a job upon leaving school and worked hard in an office for four years. Sat down all day snacking didn’t do us good at all. Not only did we gain A LOT of weight, the pain was worse, and the poorly tummy was pretty much uncontrollable. 

I was rather terrible to you during those four years, probably for a little longer than that if we’re going to be honest here. You frustrated me beyond despair. WHY couldn’t I fit into the size four clothes my friends could. Why didn’t dresses just drape and flow like they did on them? Why did I look like THAT in a bikini?! Why did men talk to my boobs? I poked and prodded you, I’d stand in front of the mirror in knickers that were too tight and had most certainly seen better days with an over the shoulder boulder holder fit for a granny and criticise you - nothing was good enough… actually scratch that, nothing was good. Period. 



During this time of body shaming - albeit only in my head, we also saw the doctor on a regular basis. They couldn’t work out why we were in so much pain. They poked and prodded you too. It took years and years of poking and prodding until we had any kind of answer. I was awful about you, I spoke nastily behind your back… well kinda, it saddens me to think you’d have heard the things I said. “Why can’t I have a normal body? Why am I like this? Why does it hurt so much?” I hate this. I hate my body. I hate my legs. I hate my tummy which can’t hold down food. I hate it so much. I just want to be normal. As if normal is a thing, something obtainable. Something everyone else just is… ha! 

The self loathing continued, I couldn’t take a compliment, I couldn’t bear it when anyone said ANYTHING kind about you. How dare they?! Why were they patronising us by lying to my face?! It was only at the age of twenty three, when we came across a lump in our neck that we got quite the rude awakening. Suddenly I was ever so protective over you. The doctors wanted to do all manner of tests. We stopped being a human being, we just became a body that was picked at and probed endlessly. They called it a tumour. I called it Norris… it made it easier to talk about. Norris was making us very bloody poorly. You couldn’t tolerate any kind of food and lost twenty kilos in weight. You were now that size four I desperately wanted you to be years ago, you looked awful. So pale, so boney, so withdrawn. So ill. 

I was told the operation could leave me without the use of my legs. Those podgy legs I’d hated so much during my childhood. The legs I’d poked and prodded. Pinched at and tightly pulled the skin at to see what I’d look like with ‘thin’ legs. The legs that were squeezed into jeans that were a size too small. I agreed to the operation, there was no other solution they said. When I came around, the first thing I did was wiggle my toes, I can’t tell you how grateful I was for those legs. 

I pushed you to recover quickly, it was my way of being in control. The doctor advised six weeks of bedrest, we - by we I mean you and I Body, agreed on three days. The doctor said it normally takes six months to fully recover from the operation. I shrugged and said “I’m not normal though.” The doctor smiled at me. “You most certainly are not.” he replied. We were fully recovered from the op in less than half of the time. This whole not being ‘normal’ was beginning to grow on me. 

I know that I was really hard on you during recovery, having to be physically helped into bed, into the shower, just to walk from our bed to the kitchen was not something I was gracious at. Whilst I plastered a ‘Can Do’ look on my face, I know I probably sounded like a very angry sports coach inside as I berated you for needing to cling onto something, someone. Either a wall or my sister. Thanks Sis! 

You were diagnosed with EDS - Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It affects the body tissue everywhere - your skin, your vital organs, your ligaments and tendons. It means that on a good day you are hyper flexible and can do anything a fit and healthy sixteen year old could do. It also means that on a bad day my ninety year old grandad is more mobile than you. Yet, going through the years of hospital visits made me so proud of you. So bloody proud.

“I’d expect in a normal evolution of the type of EDS you have, that you’ll be in a wheelchair by the time you’re thirty.” Said the doctor, hands clasped on his desk, looking somewhat remorseful but mainly rather matter of fact. “Good thing I’m not normal then” I replied for the second time. We were also told that the ongoing vomiting and upset tummy was something we just had to accept and live with. The tumours would come...and go, sometimes they wouldn’t go. The heart palpitations would continue and all manner of symptoms could pop up at any given time. 

I went home and researched everything I could. Changes had to be made. What I fed you had to have a complete overhaul and so a journey on learning what I could and couldn’t feed you began. Then came the exercise - what could we do, what couldn’t we do. Everything changed. I’d gone from dispising you just a few years before, to desperately wanting to take care of you. I learned about energy management, how far I could push you without paying for the consequences for a week afterwards - in all honesty I’m still learning that one. I learned that, just as we found at sixteen, yoga is always a good idea. Be it a full on, high intensity hour long yoga session on a good day, or a very gentle calming chair yoga session on a bad day. I learnt to be so grateful for you. That you were willing to work with me and I was able to find kindness from within to take care of you and appreciate you for what you are.  

I learned that the weather heavily influenced pain levels. That cold water is never a good idea, that warm water - with the added bonus of bubbles always is. Unfortunately we learned the cold water thing the hard way, challenging our best friend, who is now our other half, to see who could last the longest in a 3’c swimming pool. Turns out, unsurprisingly, not us. 

Cold and damp or hot and humid days make your joints seize up. Getting coins out of your purse or doing up your coat becomes as challenging as a sudoku...and we both know I don’t get along well with sudoku. It’s okay though. I’ve learned to smile politely at the person at the check out and apologise… or thank the sweet heavens above for the new contact card pay thingymajig. As for the coat thing, sometimes we have to stay in the coat for a while when we get home until our hands are warm. Which is fine. Leaving the kettle with enough water and a cup with a tea bag next to it before I go to work in the morning, means that this happens rather efficiently now. Not so many kitchen floor meltdowns which is always a bonus. 



I’m rather into gratitude writing at the moment Body, so here’s a little gratitude to you. Thank you for walking me to work every single day - sometimes zig zagging between passers by, flying past mums pushing pushchairs and dashing across the zebra crossing as the green man flashes. Other times a little slower, limping, having to put up with my lack of confidence in crossing the road if I think the green man could flash. Patiently taking each step as it comes and getting me there safely. 

Thank you for those strong arms which carry armfuls of shopping in from the car. Which lift the kids up at work spinning them around and around. Which carry box loads of props and costume on a good day or give someone a huge hug for helping us on a bad day. Side note: hugs are the best, we need to give more.

Thank you for strong pretty nails, for fingers which happily type away on a good or bad day. For showing me when I’m lacking in something : sleep, vitamins, iron, water… Thank you for fighting. For never giving up, even when I had given up on you.  

Thank you to those legs, which are often stuck under a snoozing cat. Thank you to those feet which dance barefoot on the kitchen tiles whilst listening to glee songs and those toes which enable us to be on tiptoes and reach the high shelf in the kitchen. Thank you for those teeth which make a smile a real smile. Those eyes that see the very best in others, always. Thank you for a waistline which is continuously changing depending on our health, which I have learned to love however flat or podgy it may be. Thank you for lungs that fill up with air and can swim great distances underwater and bellow out my favourite tunes. Thank you for a liver that probably took quite the battering during those teen years of nightclubbing and tequila sampling.

Thank you for that thumb and index finger that clasp around a cup handle effortlessly as I devour yet another cup of tea. Thank you for those cheeks that snuggle into furry tummies and those lips that kissed our life long best friend...inevitably making him our other half. Thank you for that nose which knows the smell of home, takes delight in the smell of the sea or a homemade pasty -  it’s the Cornish girl in us I’m sure. Thank you for those ears which make it possible to listen to beautiful songs. Thank you for that heart, which is so full of love for you, for our friends and family. Thank you for being the home for me, your soul who believes that she picked this body for a reason. Thank you for teaching me how to be understanding, empathetic, kind, loving and above all patient.

Thank you.

Thank you so much Peta, those are the words that will bring up so much emotion in so many others going through their own battles and I truly believe that sharing our own stories really helps so many others. Guys, please go and show Peta some love over on her...

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If you missed the first post in the series than you can find it right here. Finally, if you would like to share your story then please email me on fromlucywithlove@outlook.com (you can remain anonymous if you want and write about any body-related experience you choose!).

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1 comment

  1. Peta!!! This is incredibly honest and beautiful-thank you for encouraging me to be grateful to my own little physiological hotchpotch!
    M xx

    ReplyDelete

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