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Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Skin

I have always, for as long as I can remember, had some form of body dysmorphia. I truly can't think of a time when I was actually happy with my body. I think this is an issue with more people than anyone realizes. Our inherent views of our bodies are so influenced by societal standards. Basically, we learn to hate our bodies as soon as possible. Unless you fit into a very restricted set of bodily attributes, you are supposed to feel ashamed of how you look.

I have battled weight gain my whole life. My genetics are perfect for plus sized jeans and extra large shirts. As I got older, my physical health started to berate me and my body. I had lost about 100 lbs in my mid twenties, but even then, I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I started gaining weight rapidly and finally went to the doctor after the drowsiness became unbearable. By the time I was 30 years old, all the weight had found it's way back onto my stomach. I found out I had hypothyroidism from Hashimoto's Disease. I was already diagnosed with PCOS which had made life difficult losing weight in the first place. But after my thyroid crapped out, my body was never the same.

Hashimoto's Disease is where your immune system attacks different places in your body. Typically, it attacks the thyroid. Not even a month after finding out about this condition, I stared experiencing excruciating pain in my uterus. After an uphill battle, surgery, and lots of stressful days later, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I have had two surgeries to burn out the unwanted tissue that this disease creates and I'm on heavy doses of strong hormonal medicine to stop my body from functioning like it's defective self. All of these things caused, you guessed it, weight gain. I felt like my body was falling apart. I felt betrayed and frustrated.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that everyone's body is unique. There are factors that deeply effect how are bodies look, including genetics and health issues. We are taught, by societal standards, that if we are not a certain way that we need to change. Skinny or fat, tall or short, disabled or not, we, as a society, need to learn to look past physical appearance and start looking at people as a whole. Not everyone can control what their bodies look like, no matter how much diet culture wants us to believe this. Nobody, and I mean nobody, should feel ashamed or be berated for their bodies. We have to learn to love ourselves, unconditionally.

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