Being Different

 

This post came unsolicited (the best kind!) from someone who already shared her story on this blog. This time she chooses to be anonymous and you’ll see why. She deals with a variety of issues that are not so common. I would imagine part of why she keeps her identity private is to avoid judgment.
People can make snap judgments, especially when it’s about something embarrassing or something we secretly fear.
 
What I like most about this story is that it shows we all have these weird little quirks, issues or experiences with our bodies that we would rather not have. It’s embarrassing. We feel like if anyone knew the truth about who we really are, we aren’t going to be accepted or loved. Here is proof that is just a bunch of malarkey!
 
Enjoy,
Kimberley
 

                                                                            

Being Different

As women, we all have issues with our body image and self-esteem.  Some grapple with these issues more than others.  For every issue that makes you hate to look in the mirror, know that there IS a solution.

My awareness of my own differences began at a very early age.  Even before I began school, I was already physically scarred. That had an impact on my self-image, even as a child.  My mother told me not to be bothered by the inconsiderate people who stared;  she told me that if that happened, THEY were the ones with the problem, not me. Even though she meant well, I found her advice hard to take, at least for myself. There were kids who were inquisitive, of course, but only one that I remember as being really mean, and that was in high school. I used to be so self-conscious that I would wear long-sleeved shirts in the blazing heat of summer.  Even now, I will still catch people staring, and some are even bold enough to ask me what happened. I tell them the bare basics and leave it at that, because I have come to the conclusion that the part of me that’s scarred is just one small physical part and it by no means defines who I am as a human being.  I was burned by coffee at the age of four. My parents had one of those old coffee pots that percolated.  It was plugged in across from the kitchen table, and I was running around the table and tripped over the cord.  The pot tipped and the coffee went all over me.  I was wearing long-sleeved pajamas, and when my mom took my pajama top off, she inadvertently peeled off a layer of skin with it as well. I had a skin graft, but to this day my arm is still scarred. I used my mother’s advice to teach my own children compassion. However, that wasn’t the only demon I was struggling with.

For as long as I could remember, I had a problem with bedwetting. Certain children struggle with this problem more than others and in the majority of cases, it usually tends to correct itself by a certain age. I wasn’t so lucky. I remember having to undergo some painful and scary tests at a very young age, only for the doctor to tell my mother that my kidneys hadn’t “matured” yet.  We tried a lot of solutions—cutting back on drinks in the evening, using the bathroom before bed and sometimes being awakened to use the bathroom in the middle of the night but those methods didn’t work either. After I got to be a certain age, with no sign of my problem resolving itself, my self-esteem began to suffer.  Sleep-overs were a source of stress, as was going away to camp, family vacations, etc. My father seemed to take it worse than my mother did because he would get upset and argue whenever I would have an “accident”.  However, I didn’t find out until later that my father had endured the same problem until he was fourteen. I married at eighteen and even then I was still suffering from “accidents.” I informed my husband of it before we were married and his advice consisted of things I had already tried. My problem ultimately caused my marriage to suffer and even ended up being used against me in our divorce and custody proceedings. Fortunately, nothing bad came of the nasty and hateful affidavits that were presented against me. Between my first and second marriage, I had a few serious relationships but I tended to keep my problem a secret and just hoped for the best whenever I would be intimate with my partner. I developed a plan in my head, screwed up as it may have been, that if I happened to have an “accident” while with someone, I would just get up in the middle of the night and go home.  Fortunately, I never had to do that.  Finally, my mother nonchalantly asked me if I still had the same “problem” and let me try some medication that her doctor had prescribed. To my relief, it worked and I wasted no time in seeing my own doctor to inquire about taking the same medication.  My current boyfriend knew about my “problem” before we began living together and he was extremely understanding and even a bit humorous about it. His response was simply, “Well, I guess we’ll just do more laundry.”  My point here is that no matter how bad your problem may seem, there ARE understanding people out there, just as there usually is a solution.

Last, but not least, I address the issue of unwanted body hair. I’m talking hair in places where there shouldn’t be hair on a female body. Whether it can be chalked up to genetics or hormones gone wild, I have to deal with this issue as well. Unbeknownst to my family, I have to shave like a man (my chin) every day. I always make sure that the bathroom is locked so no one can come barging in and discover my shameful little secret. I also have hair on my breasts that I also choose to shave. I’ve had electrolysis done on my chin, to no avail. I’ve tried bleaching but the chemicals irritated my skin and caused my chin to break out. As for my breasts, I’ve tried the cream hair removers and they’re more of a pain than shaving.  I’m no stranger to looking at myself in the mirror and thinking of myself as a freak, just as I’m no stranger to looking in the mirror and wondering, “Why me?”  Despite all these issues, I’m still a woman who is liked and loved by many, flaws and all. And that, more than anything else, is what eases the pain and makes my demons easier to bear.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011

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