My IBS was completely out of control, and despite being poked and prodded at like a science experiment, and trying every trick in the book, simply put, doctors couldn't pin point a cause of the extreme exacerbation of my symptoms. I was already eating gluten free, not ingesting lactose, as well as avoiding any other gas producing food, yet there I was, unable to wear any of my clothes because my stomach had become permanently bloated. My intestines were irate and inflamed, causing my skin to stretch and my belly to become so distended, I looked as if I was a few months pregnant. While my shape changed in the mirror, so did my mindset. I hated my stomach. It became a serious source of negative body image for me, picking away at the positive body image I had worked so hard to create. I wished I could just get an intestinal transplant or at least deflate my stomach, but neither of those were feasible options, so what did I do instead?
I went and got my belly button pierced on a whim. Somehow, having a needle shoved through my skin, to adorn my bloat with some bling, seemed like the best option I had. I thought to myself, if I'm going to be big and bloated majority of the time, there might as well be a little rhinestone to make me feel better about it and have it look somewhat cute. That's right, I went and got my belly button pierced BECAUSE of my IBS. It was a big middle finger to the condition that was controlling my life, shredding my self-esteem, and causing me so much pain. And I felt pretty darn good about it, I rocked that ring like NO other that summer, and when others gave me dirty looks or judged me for getting a body piercing, I didn't mind. It was something I had done for myself, and what they thought didn't matter to me, because that little barbell was making me happy, even on my most bloated of days, I could look down and think "that's right IBS, you don't control how I feel about my body, I DO."
Fast forward two years, another summer of hell and a summer of healing in between and here I sit typing this post. And if you're still reading it,you're probably wondering "what's the point of all of this?"
That bling I got to adorn my constantly waxing and waning stomach due to my severe IBS had to come out recently. My belly button ring migrated, (due to the constant swelling of my stomach, the piercing never got a chance to heal). At first, I was upset, what would I do without my rhinestone? I had HATED my stomach for so long, I was afraid that the hate would creep back into my brain as the scar healed over, but it hasn't. I may have lost the ring, but my love for my body and myself, is stronger than ever. I do not need a belly button ring to feel good about myself and my body, just like you don't need to "look a certain way" to feel good about your body. And while I now have another scar to add to my stomach (lucky number five), I don't mind. It's a reminder of how strong I am, and how strong I was, to not let my condition control my mindset or self-worth anymore.
Do not let your chronic condition or reflection in the mirror determine your self-worth,
Love your body and Love yourself
- Do you have a condition that effects your self-esteem sometimes?
- Will you join my pledge to promote positive body image?