I have always been insecure about my body. My insecurities are deeply rooted – they come almost directly from being born with hemihypertrophy.
Hemihypertrophy (now more commonly referred to as hemihyperplasia) is a very rare condition in which one side of the body is larger than the other to an extent greater than what would be considered normal.
The right side of body is much larger than the left side of my body. Living with this condition left me loathing my body. I had little to no confidence or self-esteem. Even when my closest friends or family members told me I was beautiful I could not see it. From never turning to the right side when looking in a full-length mirror, to purposefully choosing a seat on the right side of a packed room, I let my hemihypertrophy control my mind.
I struggled for years to accept my body and love it for all it was. But with a little grit, a lot of love and a shift in my perspective, I started the journey toward body positivity.
10 WAYS MY HEMIHYPERTROPHY USED TO WIN:
- I never used to try on denim jackets.
- I never stood on the right side in photos.
- When I met someone for the first time I used to approach them so that they saw my left side first.
- I called my body deformed, ugly, alien-like, uneven, fat, disgusting and unlovable.
- I let hemihypertrophy define me.
- I couldn’t see my other positive qualities because I was too preoccupied with hating my uneven arms.
- I hated having a passenger in my car because it meant they had to look at my right side for an extended amount of time.
- I purposefully and mindfully chose a seat on the far right of a room so everyone that gathered in it would see my left.
- I was depressed and lacking confidence.
- I did not believe that I was beautiful.
Taking the photos above and seeing them shook me up. I have never been photographed without sleeves. This is me outwardly saying I am beautiful, strong and worthy of being loved. I will no longer be weighed down by this tiny fact about my body. It makes me unique. It is part of who I am.
I’m here to tell you that the painful and uncomfortable emotions you might feel about your body are real and valid. But you can overcome them. If I can, you can too. You are beautiful. You can let go of believing that you need to dislike your body because it is different.
Learning to love and accept your body is a wonderful but daunting journey and you are not alone.