When someone suggested I start a blog, my first thought was, “Who would wanna read what I have to say?” There are many times I still wonder that. A few weeks ago, I put way too much pressure on myself in regards to what people thought about me via my blog. I say this because I try to be as honest and candid as possible in my blogs, meaning I put myself out there for all to see. But I have no idea who reads this. When I go out in my community, I cannot help but to wonder who has read my writings; who knows the personal things I’ve discussed? I felt like maybe I’ve shared too much – sometimes I just feel so exposed (for lack of a better word).
Don’t get me wrong, I am EXTREMELY blessed for all the support. I put myself out there, in the media and in my writings, and have no regrets; however, it does, at times, make me feel quite vulnerable. Prior to my accident, I was a very private person, so putting myself out there so much did not come easily. Looking back now, I am so glad I did. Recently, I found myself going back to my original blog, Believe in Miracles, and had a sudden epiphany. These entries, although public for all to read, are mostly for my benefit. Many times I go and re-read previous blogs to see my progress; to take my own advice; to be inspired; or to remind myself of where I’ve been and how far I can go. For instance, this time two years ago was the first time I could scratch my nose! It is so surreal for me to know that something so simple was such a huge accomplishment, but at that time, it was a major milestone.
That being said, I want to talk about a struggle of mine. One of the hardest things for me to overcome since my injury is my self image. I will be the first to admit that I had many insecurities before my accident. All my life up until age 19, I was overweight.
At my heaviest, in 2006, I weighed in at 215. It wasn’t until my first year at Southern Miss that I somehow lost the weight. Honestly, I don’t know how. I credit it to being a full time student, full time waitress, happy in a relationship, going out with friends, and no longer eating momma’s cooking! Regardless, even after dropping 90lbs, I never saw myself as thin… But it was not just my outer appearance that I had a hard time accepting.
I have always felt like an awkward individual; constantly questioning myself and how others perceive me, often feeling misunderstood. Trust is, I didn’t know who I was because I had a tendency to focus too much of my time and energy into my relationships instead of focusing on myself, my goals, and my interests. In the last two years since my injury, a year and a half of which I’ve been single (longest I’ve been single since high school), I’ve learned so much about myself. The time away from dating allowed me to realize who I am as an individual and I would not trade that for anything. For the first time in my life, I was invested in myself as opposed to a significant other. And while I continue to discover who I am on the inside, I still find myself trying to love my outward appearance.
As I previously mentioned, I already had a tainted vision of myself from being overweight for so long. After my injury, I had to get used to an entirely new body. It did not take long to discover that many of my clothes did not look the same when I was always sitting down and, to be quite blunt, could no longer suck in my gut (no shame). My power chair, which seems to swallow me up in its oversized and intimidating frame, is usually noticed before I am. Honestly, with how cumbersome my chair is, I’m not the least bit surprised. It looks like a transformer. If my chair doesn’t attract the stares, then my spasms seem to seal the deal. Who expects to see a paralyzed chick suddenly kick out a leg and then have to have someone put it back on my footplate. But it’s not only my legs, my whole left side/arm contracts when a spasm occurs, guaranteeing some odd looks from strangers. Then there is the insecurities with my hands; my lifeless fingers stay curled into little fists. This is likely my biggest insecurity. Of course, the lack of hand use means I’m unable to do a lot of my own care and grooming, i.e., my hair. I’m sure most girls can relate with me when I say that a good or bad hair day can make or break how you feel about your appearance. It seems so simple, but I would give anything to be able to do my own hair again. Ah, but I digress.
As I said, I write these blogs for my benefit. These are words I needed to get off my chest. I look forward to the day I re-read this blog and say, “Insecure!? Katy, you’re crazy!” Like everything else in my journey, I will turn this struggle over to God and know it will one day be a thing of the past.
All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren’t.
- Marilyn Monroe