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My body is a bloody mess, but I love it just the same

I am blessed to know my body in ways that no one else can, because pain forces you to sit up, and give all your attention to it.

My body is a bloody mess, but I love it just the same

I Am Different, and Isn’t That Amazing?

My body is a bloody mess, but I love it just the same. I am amazed by all the magic that goes on under my skin. Magic, because it is such advanced science that even scientists barely have a clue.

I am blessed to know my body in ways that no one else can, because pain forces you to sit up, and give all your attention to it. You become an ardent student, whether you like it or not. You learn to respect your body’s needs, and practise patience. You gain insight into how hard it actually works to keep us well and alive for an entire lifetime. Is this some sort of delusion to make myself feel good? Maybe, but it does bear some truth.

What is Normal?

And who’s to say what’s a normal life for me? My life is already an uncommon one to begin with. The basis of society — family, work and pleasure — are often inaccessible to many of those who live with chronic illnesses. Many of us can’t even start the process of trying to achieve them. So why should I fit myself into the common man’s mould, when it’s obvious that it will never fit? I will have to find uncommon ways to earn my keep in this life, if I want to be happy. Running that rat race will only leave me in the wake of everyone else’s dust. I will only be the eternal loser.

Life is Terrible and Wondrous All at Once

I wouldn’t say that it’s an awesome life, but our bodies are wonderful creations regardless, with all the little processes going on round the clock. The steady electrical rhythms in our hearts — one little slip can make you feel deep fear and pain. Sometimes that kills. The sturdy liver that filters out all the junk we don’t even know we’re eating, and handles poison juices like a champ. Blood and all the codes it contains — one drop reveals a billion pieces of information about the universe, yet we only understand a fraction of it. Then there’s those two eyeballs of ours that we often take for granted. I could go on, but you get the idea. Our bodies are intelligent designs that work together as a team in seamless coordination. They are so skilled that we don’t even realise what, or how much, they’re doing.

Putting Things in Perspective

We need to reframe our idea of ‘a normal life’, especially if we live with chronic pain. We need to stop comparing ourselves to society’s normal. That is fiction for us, and living in a fantasy world never did anyone much good. Society is artificial to begin with. Every country reconstructs ideas about it; every culture reassembles them. Fusion and change is a constant, redefining our many ways of living every century. What is acceptable to one, is blasphemy to another.

We should ask ourselves instead: if our normal were society’s normal, how would it fare? What would it be doing? What would achievement consist of? To be honest, I think half the population would have killed themselves by now, if they followed the current definition. And from that perspective, we are definitely doing a pretty damn good job of simply being here.

Comments: 13

  • Claire
    4 months ago

    Totally agree that we need to stop comparing ourselves to some kind of idealised version of ‘normal’. There is no such thing, and it was only really when I stumbled across the chronic illness community online that I started to realise that my life is my life, and can’t be compared to others.

    • Sheryl
      4 months ago

      I’m glad you came to that realisation, Claire 🙂 Yes it did take me a long time to realise it myself, but when I did, I found so much freedom in that acceptance.

  • Nikki Albert
    4 months ago

    I don’t even know what a normal body really is since I have had a chronic illness since I was a kid… not one that caused too much of a fuss, that came later with compounding pain conditions and so forth. But what is interesting is that it all began with joint hypermobility syndrome. it caused me pain, yes, but it made my body quite different than my peers in rather spectacular ways. Wow you can bend your elbows backwards! Weird! Cool! And it got me out of doing pushups by the way. And I could do a mean crabwalk in gym. I was super flexible with ease and did well in gymnastics but Super clumsy as well… my joints never did what I wanted them to so there were a lot of sprains and some dislocations.

    Anyway, I thought it was unique and interesting, but yes, it caused pain and that is where pain began as a thing for me. An awareness of my body that others did not have. An awareness of what I could and could not do that others did not have. And fatigue and insomnia. And doctor appointments. And Difference.

    • Sheryl
      4 months ago

      Yes, a totally different body. A bit of a bloody mess, aren’t we all? 😉 But I suppose if it isn’t this, as human beings we are messed up in one way or another, too.

  • Chronic Mom
    4 months ago

    I’ve been working on loving my sick body for a long time, it’s not easy! For years I felt like I was at war with my body, and only in the past few years have I been more accepting of things.

    • Sheryl
      4 months ago

      It really can be a struggle and a battle. Sometimes I’m still struggling, but over all I think I’ve learned to accept it, which has brought about freedom. It’s a love hate thing 😉

  • Shruti Chopra
    4 months ago

    Whenever I notice me feeling down because of my health, I am somehow now programmed to give it a pep talk and let it know how magical it is – just what you say in your opening line. And like magic, it works – it lifts me up.

    • Sheryl
      4 months ago

      I’m happy you have a method that works for you 🙂 I will always be in awe of my body now, though I don’t necessarily treat it right all the time, or it me haha. We have a love-hate relationship 😉

  • Jason Herterich
    4 months ago

    This was very poetic, reading it brought me a sense of gratitude for the miraculous things my body does without any commands. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Sheryl
      4 months ago

      My pleasure. It was a little something I realised as well, after I had learned to accept my pain. And it was a powerful realisation, at least for me 🙂

  • Katie Clark
    4 months ago

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m listening to Hamilton’s soundtrack or if it’s just your wording, but “We need to reframe our idea of ‘a normal life’, especially if we live with chronic pain. We need to stop comparing ourselves to society’s normal. That is fiction for us, and living in a fantasy world never did anyone much good. ” is so powerful. It is a strong call to action to realize that a life with chronic pain has meaning and that we need to be proud of getting up each day, striving to live as we are able.

    • Sheryl
      4 months ago

      Thanks Katie, your comment is pretty inspirational too haha! But it’s true if you think about it! Imagine a world where chronic pain were the norm. I think we’re doing a pretty damn good job as it is 🙂 xxx

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