You may fool a few people but you will always know your own riches.
We exist in a world where we are too often living in the identities of others. With everything at our fingertips, we are in constant comparison, struggling to recall who we were before we became so entangled in each other’s ‘lives’ (correction: highlight reels).
Before we even get a chance to look in the mirror to appreciate our own beauty and uniqueness we are (often subconsciously) comparing ourselves to this “perfection” we’re falling for on our screens.
I spent a large portion of my childhood and adolescence trying to figure out why the hell my life turned out like it did. I didn’t want cancer. I didn’t want one leg. I didn’t want to spend my life (for lack of a better phrase) on the back foot? That’s not where I belonged. Yet all of a sudden I’m stuck with a life I didn’t want, sitting on the sidelines wondering why this happened to me.
Do I really have to spend my life answering peoples questions? Glaring at people who stare at me?
Explaining to my future children why their mother isn’t like the other mothers?
Why did I so badly want to have two legs?
The answer is simple, because everyone else has two. Two is normal. But my answer to that now is, “Really? said who?”. Who defines normal? I spent such a long time hating the situation I’d found myself in instead of taking a step back and realising the power I now had.
It is only in the last couple of years that I have really begun to LOVE the person I have become and its not because I have forced myself to accept what I went through or because I’ve so called “overcome adversity” (post to come).
To me, the options were simple:
- Find a way to grow my leg back (biology wasn’t my best subject so probably not a good option)
- Sit and sulk for the next however many years (not one to drown in self-pity)
- Use what I went through to help make this crazy, beautiful world a better place.
I have chosen the latter. Once I began putting my story out into the world it was amazing what came back to me. Through telling people what I went through, being raw & authentic about my tributes & triumphs, and not sugar coating anything (cause trust me there was no sugar in sight), I realised I not only helped other people but I helped myself. I began to understand the good in all of this. I found the reason I spent years & years trying to discover. I now consider myself lucky to have gone through what I went through. I see the world, and its potential, in a way I may have never seen if it weren’t for facing so many uphill battles.
At the end of the day, by comparison, there is no normal. Some of us have dark hair, some of us are tall, some are short, some of us have darker skin, some of us are more pale. Some of us have developed scars (or storylines as I like to call them), others have tattoos. Some of us have freckles (sunkiss spots), some have legs made of plastic, some have no legs at all. I could go on but the point is, which one is normal? None of them.
While I was writing this I decided to look up the dictionary meaning for normal. This is what I got: “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected“.
& I did wonder for a second if my thoughts on normality was a rebellious act out of “frustration” to the fact that I am quite far from “typical”. I mean I have a backwards foot that acts as a knee (see rotationplasty), I pull my ‘thigh’ up every few steps because it falls down when I walk, I have a leg made of silicone & carbon fibre (and a wardrobe full of others), I’m by no means “usual” or “expected” but I hate to break it to you, neither are you.
Look to your right, & to your left, do the people around you look like a replica of you? No, no they don’t. They’re unique. Not good, not bad, not abnormal, not normal, simply unique. So I realised, no. These thoughts aren’t coming from a place of disappointment, they’re coming from a place of realisation that hey, normality, perfection, none of us have it but the question is, why do we want it? Why do we want to change our appearance to look like the people we “admire” or believe to be “perfect”? Why can’t we find a way to love our scars, our imperfections in a way we love an others beauty?
I want to use this platform I have to inspire others, influence people in tough times to push a little harder, rid society of this idea of normalcy. This constant desire for perfection, to get multiple likes on a photo (as if a number can justify our worth), to remove the idea that if we at least pretend we are happy or confident then we will be. Because the truth is, pretending may get you half way but at the end of the day it’s like trying to buy things with Monopoly money, you may fool a few people but you will always know your own riches. We all have insecurities, things that effect us in a big way, we just get caught up in this constant desire to be perfect & as a result, we lose confidence within ourselves.
But ‘perfection’, ‘normal’, they aren’t real. What is real is you. Your beauty. Your uniqueness. Your story. Your scars. So don’t spend your life trying to “fix” the person you are. Embrace everything you are. You are beautiful beyond compare.
Be happy. Be perfectly imperfect. Be confident. Be you.
Photo credit: Brylee Mills