I have never had a good relationship with my body. I was born with talipes and a club foot which required over 30 operations to get me up on two feet and stay there. The operations and the condition itself was painful, the time spent in hospital and away from friends and family was emotionally and socially painfully. But the most painful thing was the way I despised my body.
Those scars and physical abnormalities were the cause of years of teasing and as I grew older they were the cause of years of self loathing and abuse. I would starve myself to be thin because it was something I could control. I couldn't remove the scars or change the shape of my legs to make them look like everyone elses, but by God I could be thin like them.
For years I pushed my body to do things it really shouldn't have done. Not happy with the fact that I could walk alone unaided, I skated, skied, surfed, jumped off mountains - all things they said I would never do. I don't really know what the greatest motivation was. I wanted to prove them wrong, I wanted to see how far I could push my legs and I just so desperately wanted to be normal or at least what I thought was normal.
I did more than my parents who sat in the hospital with their physically impaired newborn, would have ever imagined or dreamed I would do.
But I still could not accept my body.
Love and Motherhood are the most amazing gifts. They put into perspective so many different things for me.
My husband fell in love with this scarred and less than perfect body. He decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life with that body.
Together we created life, and within that scarred and less than perfect body I grew three of the most amazing children ever.
When those legs were again damaged in an accident that saw me almost back to square one, I almost gave up. For nearly two years I allowed myself to be dwell in the biggest dark pit of anxiety and depression whilst I fought to rebuild those legs.
But throughout those dark moments, my husband and my children, my family and my friends supported me and loved me.
Me........ They loved me with the wonky legs and scars.
They loved me for who I was, not how I looked.
I can't change the shape of my legs and try as I might I cannot fade the scars on the exterior, but it is because of those imperfections I am who I am today. I can't change the teasing that took place or erase the heartache I felt as a child and teenager for not feeling normal or like most other people. I will probably always dream about wearing short little dresses and cute high heels and running and just walking without pain.
But that's OK - dreams give you hope, something to aspire to and a place to escape to when the pain gets a little too much.
Today something truly amazing took place. Reading all the other amazing stories over at We Heart Life I was inspired and uplifted. I realised that for the first time ever I want to tell my story. I want to inspire through my story. I want to tell the world about something that I have never really spoken about to anyone apart from my husband, parents and my therapists.
Today I can proudly say for the first time ever - I wouldn't want to change anything about my body. Not really. Because my imperfect exterior shape has been responsible for shaping my interior - my heart, my soul and my true being into something I really do love and am proud of and something I don't ever want to change.
For that reason alone, I heart my body. My imperfectly perfect body.
I encourage you ... no I implore you to go over and check out all the other amazing woman and their stories and no matter what your shape - learn to love your beautiful body for what it is..... a beautiful You!