How Does Chronic Illness Fit Into The Body Positivity Movement?

People often talk in the body positivity world about commending your body for what it does for you, rather than how it looks. But for some of us, these bodies we’re in do not only not meet societal expectations in appearance, they actively prevent us from living the lives we so desire. 

How can I reckon this with the reconciliation of body and mind? How can I learn to love such a place that does not always grant me sanctuary? My journey of chronic illness and its relationship to my body has been going on for nearly nine years, and I was 11 when it started, so my teen years were filled with trying to grow up in a place I felt didn’t welcome me, and I was very isolated in that at the time. As I got older, gaining a new diagnosis and a life filled with things I never expected, both good and bad, I’ve come to the realization that to a certain extent, it’s about facing your reality. 

The truth is, we can’t leave our bodies, cannot shed them to become anew in some abstract version of ourselves; in essence, we’re stuck, some more than others. But is there some solace to be found in that? Is it not part of this wild adventure of life to be faced with impossible circumstances and find a way to overcome them? Isn’t it not up to us to change our bodies but for the world to adapt to its people? And that’s what I feel needs to be made room for, that it’s okay that your body doesn’t even get you from point A to point B, you are still worth every ounce of yourself and you shouldn’t be forced to change for anyone. My body doesn’t work so great right now, but I can find ways around it, love it for what it is and accept it as it exists, both in a physical sense and an emotional one. 

Can broken bodies teach us as much as functioning ones? I think the answer is yes, far more than we know, but we just have to listen. We have to look beyond what we see and into what whispers; just because it’s quieter doesn’t make its truth any less loud.