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    • #16168
      Jenny Livingston
      Keymaster

      In a column shared this week titled The Long Journey of Learning to Love My Own Body, author Tré LaRosa shared about his personal experiences with body acceptance and self love. This column struck me for two reasons: 1) Tré has a way with words that I deeply admire, and 2) I rarely, rarely hear about body image issues from the male perspective.

      Although I don’t think it’s talked about frequently enough, I’ve had several conversations about body image with female friends in the CF community. Relationships with our bodies can be complex and difficult to navigate, perhaps especially when that body is a chronically ill one. But always missing from the conversations I’ve been part of is the voice of men experiencing these struggles (did they experience these things? I truly didn’t know).

      If you haven’t read this column, I strongly encourage you to do so. Here are some words I will take with me moving forward:

      “On a microcosmic level, our bodies are the sole vessel — our only home — that houses the mind and, if you personally choose, the soul for the entirety of our existence. That any life exists at all is a miracle; that we are capable of perceiving ourselves while also being capable of complex emotions is wondrous a million times over.

      If, during our lives, we choose — either by free will or due to trauma associated with past events — to hate our bodies, we will never become our fullest, best selves. It is impossible for a mind to fully occupy a home while simultaneously resenting it. The home provides protection and sanctuary.”

      Have you struggled with your body image? Does CF and the toll it takes on your body (thinness, scars, medical devices, malnourishment, etc.) make it harder for you to love your body? What do you LOVE about your body? 

       

    • #16173
      Paul met Debbie
      Participant

      Noooo, quite the contrary!

      Seeing how hard my body is trying – with a lot of success – from the very first moment of its conception right up to this second when I write this post, to cope with and compensate for all the “misfiring’s” because of the genetic quirk in its cf genome, I can only say I love it all the more. It is really amazing to see my body function despite the troubles in the ion transport it has to cope with. It’s nothing less then heroic! My body is my unsung hero. Who cares about scars, weight, mucus – this is peanuts compared to everything that goes perfectly well.

      Recently I saw some animations on YouTube of the very way in which in our cells DNA is being processed and used to produce mRNA, which in turn is used to create almost all the amino-acids and proteins that our body needs and consists of. Enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, ion-channels, you name it – almost everything is made out of these proteins, it is all produced in house and perfectly in time. Trillions of these processes are being performed every second that we live, and with a staggering accuracy and dedication. No complaining, no pause, by itself. Nature is generous and loving. Our body is not to blame for what happens with the production of the proteins that form ion channels. It is just following instructions and preventing further damage. And nature is not to blame for the mutation in the instructions either – life depends on mutations for its resilience and power to adapt to circumstances. Life = Change. This is just supposed to happen.

      It is absolutely impossible and would be completely heartless to not love my body, when I see all this hard work and perfection that is performed by it every moment to keep “me” alive and relatively well, without any conscious effort on my part. And I mean all my body, no part excluded or highlighted. Although I have a soft spot for my poor battered lungs.

    • #16179
      Tim Blowfield
      Participant

      Well said Paul. Bodies are amazing even the bodies of CF’ers. But when things are tough it can be difficult and for a CF’er to be struggling is understandable.
      Personally I believe that it is/was God who made us but others may talk of ‘nature’ not believing in God. In either case we can still ask ‘why the defects?’ and not find a satisfactory answer. Is there a satisfactory answer or even an answer at all? Maybe not but that should not stop us seeking!
      But it still is our amazing body – warts and all. Made by God in his image! (What is meant by that?) Wonderful and loved by Him. Made to be loved and by us too.

      • #16183
        Jenny Livingston
        Keymaster

        Paul and Tim, I would argue that CF bodies are especially amazing! Then again, I’m pretty heavily biased. 😉

        Thank you for these insights. I didn’t add this to the original post because I really loved all that Tré said, but for many of my friends and I (specifically women), some of our struggle is due to societal and cultural pressures. Ideas about bodies and our physical appearance are engrained in us from such a young age. I suspect this is something women face more, and I strongly believe that the cultural aspects here in the US come into play.

        However, regardless of the reasons I may struggle with this every now and then, there is one thing that never fails to ground me and leave me absolutely awestruck: my daughter. She was created, carried, and nourished by my body. If miracles do exist, she is mine. With that in mind, the everyday struggles of CF or societal pressures to look a certain way pale in comparison to the greatness I know my body is and is capable of.

        Thank you for your thoughts here, gentlemen. I truly enjoyed reading and contemplating them.

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