My name is Mary; I’m a 25-year-old from a small town in New Hampshire. I’ve always admired people who can feel good about their bodies, but I’ve admittedly never been one of them. When I was 20 something happened that forced me to change my thinking. I was in college when a string of bad things happened in my life and caused a lot of stress on my mind and body. I started to not feel good, and I don’t mean a cold, I mean I couldn’t get out of bed and literally had to crawl down the hallway because I was in so much pain. I couldn’t eat; I was vomiting, among other things, constantly, all day every day for 3 months. I lost 30 pounds and as a small girl to begin with, I looked emaciated and I didn’t want anyone to see me because I didn’t understand what was happening and neither did my doctor.
After finally getting answers, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I immediately panicked because I didn’t know what that meant for me and how I would have to live my life. I hated myself and I hated my body. Why was it turning on me? What did I do wrong to have this happen to me? With the help of a lot of medication and tests, I started to put weight back on and was able to graduate on time. And I did it all over again getting my Bachelor’s degree with a string of hospitalizations, tests, trying different medications, and being too tired for weeks at a time to even muster the energy to life my head off of my pillow, while doing assignments on my laptop from my hospital room.
Every time I am hit with a flare, my body changes. Self-consciousness takes over and I think everyone will be looking at my body and why it’s different than it was even yesterday. I don’t want to go out or see even my best friends out of fear of going out in public because I don’t like the way I look this week. There is no cure for this and I’m slowly, with bumps along the way, learning to accept it even though it is not easy. My body is just fine, no matter what shape, size, or weight it is. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just luck of the draw that I have to be strong for myself for the rest of my life. My body is beautifully flawed, and that’s okay with me.