I am an exceptionally modest person. And I could never figure out where that Came from. I wasn’t really that much when I was younger to the point I became. There are the usual woman’s body image issues but mine have generally been rather healthy no matter my weight really. But I won’t wear shorts. I won’t wear a dress. I won’t wear anything that makes me uncomfortable in my skin.

There is nothing wrong with being modest, by the way, and I have no issue with it. No problem with showing off your sexy self either. Rock it! But I do not rock it. I am very modest.

Self-Image: Ms Vs. My body

I may have started with keloid scaring when I was young

I developed about 5 keloid scars when I was younger.

When skin is injured, fibrous tissue called scar tissue forms over the wound to repair and protect the injury. In some cases, extra scar tissue grows, forming smooth, hard growths called keloids. Keloids can be much larger than the original wound. They’re most commonly found on the chest, shoulders, earlobes, and cheeks. However, keloids can affect any part of the body.

Healthline

Specifically I had three of them ugly ass scars on my arms and tending to keep my arms covered as it caused a lot of questions from people and it made me very uncomfortable. I personally think mine were hypertrophic scars because they did in fact go away on there own when I was in my 20’s, rather spontaneously, and that is not the case with keloids. Up to that point though No treatment worked… my body would just build the scar tissue back up again. They didn’t fit well with either diagnosis and the specialist had a hard time figuring them out and couldn’t treat them. Either way, I was very subconscious about them up until I turned 18 and stopped giving a damn.

Nevertheless, I do believe that was One thing that impacted my body image. And made me more modest.

Part of it is comfort based due to fibromyalgia

I have sensitive skin. I cannot tolerate certain materials against my skin or I Will scratch my skin off. So I have to wear cloth that is comfortable and not at all itchy in the least bit. So I have always been inclined towards Comfort.

Second level to Comfort is that I need to change positions with fibromyalgia pretty much every few minutes or that position causes pain. In a skirt or a dress one has to sit a specific way. Cross your legs one way. The other. Then back. Then back the other way. And within 20 minutes my knees hurt like Hell. I need more positions to sit in than that. I need to curl them up as that is the least painful for me. Partly that is the fibro, partly it is my bad knees due to being so double-jointed in them. So I have always tended to avoid skirts and dresses whenever possible because it is so painful to sit for any length of time in them.

Weight issues

I’m not going to lie the fluctuations in weight to due hypothyroidism and the 800 medications that cause weight gain and the sudden and profound weight loss likely from depression does a number on one’s body image. When it happens in the beginning it makes you feel pretty bad about yourself. So in the beginning the weight gain from thyroid issues on top of medications with the side effect of weight gain (99.9999% of them) it sucks that you can gain 10-50 pounds. Some gain more than that but that is my typical range I fluctuate in.

However, over time I have learned to love my body in all its shapes and weights. Because it constantly changes and sort of have to. With these meds… it just makes it so unpredictable. You have to love what you have because that is the way it is. That year. And save 3 sizes of clothes at ALL times because you have no idea what you will weigh the next year.

I do not like the stigma associated with this though. I can be doing fairly well and be at my top weight. And very poorly and very ill at my bottom weight (and I was very ill at my bottom weight, very sick indeed)… but So many people said ‘I must be feeling better’ and ‘I looked so good’. Well. Then. Surely since I looked better I must Be better then. Right? No. No is the answer t that. Weight for chronic illness either way it goes can be a sign we are feeling better or feeling much worse. Thin does not mean healthy. Overweight does not mean unhealthy. Weird that people think this. So weird.

Maybe I am uncomfortable in my skin in the sense I used to blame my body a lot for failing me

There is a point somewhere along the way where you being to think of things as You against Your Body. That Body that failed you. And you begin to not like that body for failing you.

It is maybe self-hate but it is subtle. It is definitely something I saw as a failure of my body. My body as a Limit. My body as a The Illness. My body preventing me from doing the things I wanted to do. I wanted to. I had the ambition, the desire, the goals, the willpower… my body impeded me.

It was very much a dichotomy of thought. Me Vs. My Body. I do not see it that way now. I see myself as a whole embodied being. Everything effects something else and I am my body and my mind and it is all connected. And I no longer have that hate for my body as a limit. I am limited by my chronic illness but I move in the world within those limitaions.

But I do believe the way I thought created a poor self image of myself. It made me very modest. Why be proud of a body that failed me? Better hide that. My body made me Uncomfortable. So I didn’t like to express it in any way. I liked to hide it.

But it wasn’t about body image because that has always been rather healthy. Just a sense that my body isn’t something I can exactly depend on. It is unreliable. It causes me pain. It is erratic. Sometimes I could walk a short distance. Sometimes longer but it was undependable. I couldn’t do the things my peers did, ever, no matter the age. My teen, in my 20’s. When I did, man, I regretted that. Nothing I tried worked and doctors said I was ‘too young to treat’. I had a hate-on for this fallible body of mine.

And so to this day I am modest as hell. I am not judgmental about it. Like, hey, you should be modest too?! Because I am not Morally modest. I just am because I developed a skewed relationship with my body. And I am not a judgmental person. I rather like people that are Free to express themselves any way they want with clothes and styles and whatever… without this insane modesty holding them back. But at the same time this modesty is also pretty much part of my nature now. I really feel very uncomfortable in other clothes.

Compassion

Nevertheless, my relationship with my has developed over time to have a lot more self-compassion- for my entire being. I pace. I rest and recover when I need to. I have acceptance and try to improve as I do. And you have to have a lot of self-compassion for when you cannot function and for knowing what you cannot do.

While at the very same time celebrating what you can do every damn minute of the day… that is precious to me. You have to celebrate what you can do and not focus on what you cannot. Naturally, you have to Accept your limitations but no one said you can’t nudge them from time to time to make progress.

See more posts

Chronic pain and self-compassion
Chronic pain and self-esteem
Reflection: self-imposed hate from being disabled

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3 thoughts on “Self-Image: Me vs. my Body

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