how being ill made me fall in love with myself


By: Fela M'tima



For as far back as I can remember, I've always had self doubt, as we all do. Growing into being a woman is very challenging. Take away the regular hormonal issues, body changes, mean girls, it's just simply a scary world out there to be anyone these days. I never felt like I fit in when I was going through these changes, especially around the time I was first getting my period (which was always worse than any of my friends). I didn't feel like the pretty one and I didn't even feel like the smart one. I didn't have much wiggle room for self acceptance. Boys are mean when you're growing up, at least they were to me. They are only really nice to the girls that are "pretty" during the not so pretty hormonal changes (I mean how the hell did they look good?) 

Growing up into my teen years, I never thought about loving myself or what that even meant. Maybe that's common and maybe it's not. We are supposed to grow, and learn, and even more importantly, learn to love ourselves. I wasn't a good student, I rebelled a lot, and the most common thing recognized by my family was my art work. But, I didn't want to be an artist as a career and therefor I didn't feel proud of my art anymore. If it wasn't going to be this great money making career, I didn't see the importance of me being an "artist". Though, now I do. 

I have always been a pretty morbid and negative person since day one. I never believed in Santa (and made sure no one else did either),  I was the only atheist at a catholic school constantly questioning what I thought were "unrealistic" ideas, and I always thought about death in a really empty way. From a very young age I knew life was filled with misery and pain and I was fine with that. I liked morbid things, I liked dead things, and I wanted to drive around in a hearse (still a goal). I had always lived in a world where I knew we all die and are all dying every single day. I felt zero discomfort in that, if anything, more comfortable. So, when I got sick, I stayed this way, if not more so. I had more reasons to think about death, sickness, and how miserable life can be. 

Through the ups and downs everyone who is sick can relate to, I started to reflect on everything I had survived. For someone who is so crippling dark (My dad has always called me the dark princess) I actually started seeing these beautiful rays of light in my life, and in myself. I began to notice my own strength and man, that was a big one. The strength I saw in myself through the years having Endo was unbelievable. I looked within myself and saw this dark warrior who was capable of so much.  I realized that because of what I had survived and how much love I had for myself, there wasn't a thing I couldn't take on. I became proud of myself when I thought about how many times death could have been an option and how hard I fought to stay in this cruel and beautiful world. Almost every organ had turned against me, including my brain because of crippling mental illness's, and yet I still found the love in myself to keep going. I fell so in love with the woman I became through the struggles of physical and mental illness. I don't remember a time I wasn't battling either one of those, if not both, and here I am, alive, and madly in love with myself. (and morbid forever)