Chronically ill and fab?

Me and my moonface

Struggling with inflammatory bowel disease is also a big fight to come to terms with your self-image.

As if it were not hard enough to deal with the symptoms — they can be many, and stranger than the strangest things — it seems like you are also forced to stop and watch as it wreaks havoc on your body.

For the first time in my life, I’m feeling perishable. Also for the first time, I’m feeling “my age”. It is weird, and terrifying to feel this way.

It is also liberating.

I don’t wanna talk about the liberating part, just yet. Instead, I’ll take a moment to reflect upon how self-esteem is not something that easily happens, and I dare say this is pretty much generalized in the current system, as everybody feels a certain pressure to be unhappy about their natural selves, and then the quest for some beauty supplementation can take up a huge amount of one’s time, money, efforts.

With the disease, you see a drastic drop on the above mentioned 3 resources. You’re faced with a tremendous lack of energy, and simple things such as getting up and taking a shower seem like major achievements on certain days.

That’s where I get to the liberating part of the story: suddenly, you are effortlessly mindful. You start to pay attention to the little things, and realize they actually matter.

The main highlight of my week was being able to be out and about for the first time in ages, without having to lean on my sister to walk, or even call a taxi to drive my oh-so-fatigued body home.

Which brings me to this picture. My sister said I was looking cute, and clicked me (in the most unnatural pose ever, hahahaha!).

When I first laid my eyes on it, all I could see were the dreaded effects of both the disease and the meds I’m on. The distended abdomen. It is there as if to remind me that I had a flatter one once and still didn’t love my body (like, I don’t even have bikini pics, and I’m a Brazilian, for heaven’s sake!).

And then…the moonface. One of the least harmful, but much awaited, dreaded and anticipated steroidal effects. For the sake of having a less stormy colon, you have to cope with a ballooning face, aches, insomnia, night sweats and nightmares.

Anything sounds less treacherous than the pain of crying bowels, though.

Today I woke up with a spark of an insight: what if I just faced my own insecurities — yet again — and just posted it? So, here it is. I am no celebrity, this picture will have an insignificant reach, but I’m posting it as a way to honor my true self and everything that I’m going through.

That doesn’t automatically make me feel happy about my moonface, but it does free up space for me to feel liberated from the constraints of beauty. By doing that, I end up feeling beautiful in my own accord.